The one sitting in the passenger seat turned his head slowly and looked at me. Then winding down the car window, he thrust his arm out, and began to fire wildly with the gun he was holding in his gloved fist.
In an instant, Murphy’s window exploded inwards, and he ducked to avoid the shot.
Taking hold of his crossbow, Isidor roared, “They can’t do this! They’re cops!”
“But not like the ones you’ve seen on T.V., right?” Potter quipped as he began to slide out of his long dark coat.
“They’re not normal cops, Isidor,” Luke shouted back at him, as he too loosened his jacket. “These are like the ones who killed that police officer back there.”
The cold night air that swept in through the smashed window blew my hair about my face and I shouted, “I think you’re right.”
“What do ya mean?” Isidor shrieked.
Before I’d had the chance to answer him, Murphy swung our vehicle back towards the police car. Once he’d drawn level with it, Murphy shot his arm through the window at lightning speed and drove the tiny silver crucifix that he carried with him into the face of the cop that had been firing at us.
Immediately, the police officer began to screech as if in agonizing pain. I looked at his face and it was as white as snow and covered in thick blue veins. The officer clutched at the air as if drowning as a row of razor-sharp fangs broke through his red gums. But then his face began to perish. It looked as if it had been sculpted from sand which was now being sucked inwards through its mouth, leaving a huge, gaping hole in the centre of its face. But what freaked me out more than his crumbling face, was how his blood-red eyes stared at me. The vampire-cop threw its gloved hands to its face and began to wail.
My whole body went cold, and I prayed that I’d never have to hear that awful cry again. I watched with fear and revulsion as the vampire-cop started to thrash its arms about and jerk with violent and sudden convulsions in the front of the speeding police car.
“Help me!” the cop screeched, as it turned and blindly began to flay its arms at the cop driving their car.
Peering past Murphy, I watched as the driver fought madly to maintain control of their speeding vehicle. Losing it, the police car darted away from ours. Looking back over my shoulder, I saw it collide into the crash barrier, where it flipped into the air and spun away like a toy car being thrown from a ‘Scaletrix’ track. It landed on its roof and spun into the path of an approaching police car. This vehicle smashed into the overturned car, sending it careering forward in a shower of sparks and causing them both to ignite into a seething ball of fire. The force of the explosion sent our car flying forward and the helicopter into a violent spin overhead.
“I bet they haven’t shown anything like that on T.V.,” Potter yelled at Isidor, and I could tell by the sound of his voice that he was pumped-up, as if enjoying every moment of what was unfolding around us.
Then, Luke roared, “Sarge! Beside you!”
Instinctively, we all glanced to our right to see the third police car racing along beside us. The window had been lowered and the cop in the passenger seat was leaning out and firing shots wildly at our car. Bullets thudded into the side of our vehicle, and whizzed about our heads.
Ramming our car into theirs, Murphy desperately fought to knock it off course and into the crash barriers.
“Where’s your crossbow, kid?’’ Potter hollered at Isidor
“It’s here,” Isidor said, holding it up.“Don’t just sit there looking at it - fire!” Potter roared as the cops let off another round of shots. Without further hesitation, Isidor began to spray the pursuing police vehicle with stakes.
“Do you have another one?” Luke yelled at him. “Another what?” Isidor shouted, not taking his eyes from his target. “Oh for crying-out-loud,” Potter shouted. “Another crossbow!” “No, of course not!” Isidor hollered over the sound of screeching tires, sirens, and humming rotary blades from above. Then, glancing quickly at Potter, Isidor flashed a fake smile and said, “Who do you think I am, Buffy-the-bleeding-vampire-slayer!”
Cutting over them, Murphy shouted, “Look, I’m not going to be able to hold them off forever – somebody help me out here!”
Removing his coat, Potter raised his right arm above his head. Where he once had fingers, he now had a set of claws. Groaning, he rolled his head back as if in pain. Then snapping his head forward, he rolled back his lips and I could see that his mouth was now full of gleaming fangs. Reaching up and flexing his claws, Potter began to rip a hole in the roof of our car. His nails sliced though the metal as easily as a can opener cutting open a tin of food. Once he had made a hole big enough, he climbed through it and disappeared onto the roof of our car.
I heard him stomping around above, and then watched as he slid down the windshield and onto the bonnet. I could see that he had now lost his shirt and his wings hung from his back. They still looked worn and tattered in places from the damage caused by the vampires who attacked us at Hallowed Manor some weeks ago. Seeing Potter balancing on the hood of the car, the vampire-cops released a volley of fire at him. As the bullets screamed over his head, Isidor released a burst of bolts at the police car to draw away their fire. I then heard a deafening thud as Potter thrust his right claw into the hood of our car, and in one swift movement tore it free. Propped against the windscreen, Potter held the hood in the air, using it as a makeshift shield.
“Move out of the goddamn way!” Murphy roared, as he strained to see past him, throwing the car left and right to avoid the police car that continued to ram us from the side. The helicopter hovered restlessly back and forth ahead of us, its searchlight trained on our every move.
From behind me, I heard movement. Spinning round, I just caught a glimpse of Luke’s feet disappearing through the hole in the roof. Peering up and through the windscreen, I watched Luke bound through the sky and land on the roof of the police car that raced along beside us. Tearing his shirt, Luke’s wings sprung out of his back like a jack-in-the-box and flapped on either side of him. Like Potter, Luke’s wings were not fully healed nor were the scars that ran down his chest and back. Leaning over the front of the car, Luke smashed one claw-like fist through the windscreen, and in a flash of movement had reached in and yanked out one of the vampire-cops.
Thrusting his head forward, Luke buried his teeth into the face and neck of the cop, who began to convulse. The vampire-cop began to thrash about uncontrollably, as he tried to claw at Luke who was savagely eating away at him. Within moments, the cop began to fall away, like sand slipping through Luke’s claws. Then, as if still hungry, Luke licked his lips and turned to face the driver. He smothered him behind the wheel, as he began to eat. The car roared away, hurtling into the crash barrier, where it crumpled like a piece of soggy tissue.
“Luke,” I yelled, throwing my hands to my face. But through my fingers, I watched him soar from the wreckage moments before it became engulfed in flames.
“He’s okay!” Isidor yelled. “He got out!”
Slamming his foot on the accelerator, Murphy sped the car forward.
“We’re all clear behind,” Isidor said, poking his head between the two front seats.
With his face a mask of concentration, Murphy tried to see around Potter and the light from the helicopter that dazzled him from above.
“What about that helicopter?” Isidor yelled. “We can’t out run that!”
As if reading Isidor’s mind, the air observer in the helicopter released a volley of bullets at us. They skimmed off the surface of the road and thudded into the hood of the car, which Potter was still holding up like a large shield. Crouched behind it on the engine of the car, he glanced back at us. His eyes glowed green like a set of cat’s eyes. Showing no emotion at all, Potter stood on the hood as we continued to dash up the carriageway. His wings rippled all around him against the rush of air. He continued to hold the bonnet out in front of him, protecting us and him from the gunfire coming from the helicopter above. Then, Potter staggered momentarily, as another tirade of bullets thudded into his makeshift shield. I gasped, fearing he was going to lose his footing and fall beneath the wheels of the car. Potter righted himself; then without warning, he flung the car bonnet into the air towards the helicopter. It spun around and around as it sliced through the night like a giant discus traveling faster than any human could have thrown it.
The twisted and damaged sheet of metal ripped into the cockpit and tore it open. The helicopter immediately began to tailspin out of control, its rotating blades whining as it plummeted towards the road ahead of us. The tail end of the helicopter clattered into the hard surface of the carriageway, sending up a shower of sparks into the night sky. The helicopter bounced back into the air and started to cartwheel towards us.
It tumbled through the night like a stunned dragonfly, as Potter hurriedly clambered back across the roof of the car and dropped back through the hole he had made. As he landed on the backseat, the helicopter roared overhead in a ball of flames, its rotary blades tearing at the top of the car. The sky lit up with an orange explosion of light as it ripped apart in the centre of the road behind us.
Then poking his head through the hole in the roof of the car, Luke said, “Room for one more?” and climbed inside.
Murphy veered the car off the dual carriageway and weaved a path along a series of dark and narrow country roads. Occasionally, I looked back, and could see a tower of grey smoke corkscrewing its way into the night sky from the helicopter that lay burning back on the carriageway. As I glanced back over my shoulder, I saw Potter looking out of the car window and into the night, his face stern – as if troubled in some way. He caught me staring at him, but he just met my curious gaze with his green eyes, then looked away.
As we raced away from the town, smoke started to billow from beneath the hood of the police car and spiral up into the night. The car rattled, began to slow, then stalled.
“The engine’s fried,” Murphy said, steering the battered, bullet-ridden car off the road and into a nearby field.