“It’s beautiful,” I said, as Murphy steered the boat towards it. As we drew closer, I watched the water race up the side of the cliff face in brilliant, red glistening streams. And as I stared in numb wonder, I wrapped my arms about myself as the temperature suddenly dropped and my skin crawled with gooseflesh. At first, I thought I was becoming jittery at the realisation that we were drawing close to where the Lycanthrope lived - hung-out? But then I noticed that a fine mist had crawled from between the pine trees that circled the lake on all sides. The mist swirled across the surface of the lake like smoke, almost seeming to deliberately make its way towards us, where it lingered about the bow of the boat.

“It’s getting chilly,” I said, rubbing the tops of my arms.

“We’re getting close to the Lycanthrope,” Luke started to explain, but before he’d had a chance to finish, Potter was hollering from the opposite side of the boat.

“I think we’ve got company!” he shouted, staring out across the lake.

Racing across the deck, we joined him, and glaring into the mist, I could see a series of red lights hovering just inches above the surface of the water.

“Are those the lights of another boat?” Isidor asked.

“I don’t think so,” Potter snapped, the lights getting ever nearer.

“What are they then?” I asked, my stomach tying itself into knots.

“I’ve got a bad feeling about this,” Luke whispered. Then, glancing back at Murphy who was still playing captain in the cabin, Luke shouted, “Sarge! Does this boat go any faster?”

“Faster?” Murphy asked, peering back over his shoulder at Luke. Then seeing the red lights coming towards us, his eyes bulged beneath his silver eyebrows and he shouted, “You’ve got to be kidding me!” At once, the boat’s engine began to make a grinding noise as Murphy forced it forward.

“What are those lights?” Isidor asked no one in particular as he slid his crossbow over his shoulder and held it out before him.


“I hate to disappoint you boy-wonder, but they ain’t lights,” Potter said, “They’re eyes!”

“Eyes?” I gasped. “Whose eyes?”

“Their eyes!” Luke shouted, pointing at the vampires that were swimming through the water towards us.

Turning, I shrunk back in horror at the gaunt-looking faces that were submerged half-in and half-out of the water. Their hair lay in black streaks which clung wetly to the sides of their heads and their eyes glowed like hot coals from within sunken sockets. As they sped closer, the vampires’ faces looked wrinkled and shrunken like skin that had been left too long under the water. They raced towards the boat on all sides, leaving behind huge wakes which rippled back towards the shore.

“Can’t this piece of junk go any faster?” Potter hollered over his shoulder at Murphy who frantically pumped more gas into the engines as he loosened the throttle.

“She’s going as fast as she can!” Murphy roared back. Then there was a rumbling sound, followed by a large hiss as thick black smoke belched from the engine.

“Talk to me Sarge!” Potter yelled. “What’s going on up there?”

“The engine’s gone!” Murphy shouted back. We turned to look at him. “It’s not my fault!” he spat.

Turning back to face the lake, I looked into the water to see the vampires sink beneath it. The boat slowed to a standstill and the silence was deafening.

“Where have they gone?” Isidor whispered as he trained his crossbow at the surface of the water.

“They’re beneath the boat,” Luke whispered back, as he peered over the wooden rail that ran the length of the boat. Leaning over the side, I stared into the dark water, but all I could see was my own rippling reflection. I stared down into the water until the surface calmed and was still once again. It was quiet, and I dared not to breathe just in case I missed some noise that would indicate the location of the vampires hiding beneath the water. The only sound I could hear was the water lapping against the bow of the boat.

Then breaking the silence, Isidor whispered, “They can’t hold their breath for that long. It’s impossible - they’d drown.”

“They’re already dead, you Muppet,” Potter snapped, “They can’t drown.”

“Shhh,” Murphy hissed at them, and as he did the boat began to slowly rock from side to side.

“They’re trying to roll the boat over!” Luke snapped. “Hold on to something!”

Gripping the rail as hard as I could, I lurched forward then back again as the vampires rocked the boat from beneath us. Potter must have seen the fear in my eyes, as he grinned at me and said, “Take it easy, tiger, they’ll never tip this thing over.”

I was just about to scream at him that I wouldn’t count on it, when the boat did what Potter said could never happen, and it rolled so far over onto its side, that I was flung clear of the boat and into the lake. The water hit me like an ice-cold slap in the face, and I instantly sucked in air, but in doing so and in my blind panic, I took in some water. Flaying my arms in the air and desperate to keep my head above water, I felt myself being dragged under. With my head disappearing beneath the lake, everything seemed to go quiet as if the sound had just been turned off. Looking down to see what it was that had snagged me, I screamed in horror at the sight of one of the vampires yanking on my ankle. But my scream beneath the water made no sound, all that came out was a series of bubbles as my much-needed oxygen escaped from my lungs.

In a blind panic, I kicked out at the vampire and my legs felt heavy and sluggish. I kicked again, and I felt my boot connect with something, and then the hands that had held me were gone, and I was frantically clawing at the surface of the water again. My head bobbed momentarily above the water and in that quick flash, I saw Luke and Potter dive into the water and race towards me. Within a blink, I felt arms slip around me and I was dragged clear of the water. Before I could even take a breath, I was looking down at the lake as I soared above it.

Then I was falling again, but in a controlled way as whoever had hold of me, was racing us back towards the ground. Glancing upwards, I caught a quick glimpse of Potter’s face, but we were travelling so fast that it was just a blur. Before my eyes had had time to focus, I was lying on the sandy bank of the lake and Potter was gone again, skimming just above the surface of the water, racing back towards the others.

The boat listed to one side as it took on water and the vampires scurried across it like giant black crabs. Kneeling, I coughed water up from my lungs, and it swung from the corner of my mouth in ropey lumps. Knocking it away with my sleeve, I shivered as I pulled my wet clothes about me. I desperately scanned the dark water for any sign of my friends. Then, like a rocket being fired from a submarine, I saw Isidor propel himself from the water. As he launched up into the night, he sliced through his coat with his claws and it fell away in thin ribbons. Spreading his wings, Isidor looked like some dark angel. Turning in the air and racing back towards the water, he stopped abruptly and just hovered, crossbow in hand.

Then, Luke was flying up from beneath the lake, spraying water behind him. Several vampires had managed to attach themselves to him, and he slashed at them with his claws, desperate to be free of them. But they were all over him. Luke tumbled through the air, pieces of vampire falling away into the night as he lunged at them with his fangs and cut at them with his claws. Seeing the desperate situation Luke was in, I screamed at Isidor.

“Over there! Look over there, Isidor!”

Corkscrewing through the air, Isidor turned, and seeing Luke plummeting back towards the water with the vampires attached to him, he shot forward at lightning speed, releasing wooden stakes from his crossbow in quick succession. The vampires screeched in agony as the wooden missiles ripped into their bodies, causing them to explode. Their powdery remains showered Luke. Shaking it from him and now free of the vampires, Luke tore his coat aside and his wings sprang from his back. Within inches of crashing into the water again, Luke spread his wings open and soared above the sinking boat.

I saw the vampire first. Before I’d had the chance to open my mouth to scream, it had sprung from the shadows of the boat and dragged Luke crashing downwards. They smashed into the deck of the boat, shards of wood shooting away from the impact. The boat rocked and tipped completely onto its side, sending forth a huge wave that rushed towards the sandy shore.

“Luke!” I screamed, as I watched the vampire sink its teeth into Luke’s neck. Racing towards the water’s edge, I kicked off my boots and dived into the water. Pin wheeling my arms over and over, I cut through the water towards the boat and Luke. Every few strokes, I looked up only to see that Luke was now being dragged off the deck and into the lake by a vampire clawing at his legs.

With my lungs burning and my legs feeling like rods of iron, I pushed myself forward towards him. But the water was so cold, I could barely feel my arms, and I began to slow.

Faster! I told myself. Faster!

With the boat only inches away, I held my head above the surface of the water and watched as Luke kicked and clawed at the vampires who were dragging him down into the water. Luke dug his claws into the side of the boat, and they made a screeching sound as they dragged across the surface of the deck as he was pulled beneath the water.

“Luke!” I screamed. Then suddenly, I was being pulled under again. Water sloshed into my mouth, nose, and ears, and I paddled my arms and legs in a panic. Through the murky water, I could see that Luke had been consumed by a group of vampires, and they savaged him like a shoal of piranhas. The water around Luke began to turn crimson and I thought of the red-coloured water running backwards up the fountain.

With every bit of strength I had in me, I tried to get to him, to help him, but I was yanked down again, as if I had lead weights tied to my feet. Glancing down and desperate for air, I could see that I had two vampires, one hugging each leg, grinning up at me and clawing at my jeans. Their plan was to hold me beneath the water until I drowned.

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