Posted by: Thomas Drinkard | March 30, 2012

Sample from “V Trooper, Second Mission – The Demon”

The novella will be available this weekend ( 3/31 – 4/1) on Amazon.
Following is a sample from Chapter 2.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Getting to the objective was a familiar process. Wil sat in the back of a small stealth helicopter. He didn’t recognize the pilots, but they were as professional and impersonal as the ones he’d ridden with when going in on the EGGSHELLS mission.
“Passenger, we’re about five minutes out from your drop-off point. We’ll hover about five feet above ground and let you hop out,” the pilot or copilot spoke through the headphones.
“Roger, give me another heads-up when we’re about one minute out,” Wil said.
“Roger.”
Rising to his knees, Wil looked out the window. His vampire’s vision showed him much more than the aircrew could see, even with their night vision goggles. The pilot was roughly tracking a river Russell had shown him on a map. Along the banks, were pomegranate groves. They’d provide concealment for him as he moved through the night.
The target for tonight’s foray was a village chief named Wakil. The bomb maker was thought to be nearby, and known to him. Wakil lived in a walled compound about a kilometer from the river. It wasn’t as large as the Dostrem layout had been, but was still a finer house than most of the farm homes nearby. Boyd’s GPS unit held its coordinates.
The vampire carried his familiar Heckler and Koch MP-7 weapon with a suppressor. Since he didn’t anticipate armed combat, he’d only loaded the twenty-round magazine. It swung at his left side on a nylon strap; the Taser was holstered on his belt on the right. In his rucksack was the terror costume he’d wear inside the target area.
“Passenger. One minute,” the pilot.
“Roger.”
Wil checked his equipment for the final time.
The helicopter swung in on the side of the river nearest Boyd’s objective and settled almost as silently as a leaf dropping from one of the pomegranate trees. Boyd dropped to the ground and disappeared beneath the trees. The aircraft immediately gained altitude, crossed the river and vanished in darkness.
It was so silent that unaltered human ears couldn’t have heard it within ten seconds. The vampire heard it for twenty-five.
Boyd checked his GPS unit. The pilot had done well. He was less than 500 meters from the compound’s walls. Satellite imagery showed that the main house, a two-story structure, lay in the corner of the enclosure closest to where he stood. The barred gate was in the opposite corner, near the village road.
“Base, Boyd.”
The vampire spoke into the tiny microphone on his shoulder. His earphones were wirelessly connected.
“Go ahead,” Russell’s voice
“Insertion complete, no problems. Moving on target.”
“Roger. Keep us informed.”
Boyd turned the device to text and silent operation. Fasting from blood for several days had sharpened his senses and heightened his muscles.
He loped, in long strides to the target, silent as the wings of a hunting raptor, gliding above its unsuspecting prey.
His watch showed 3:10 A.M.
On time.
Boyd threw a black nylon rope with a muffled grappling hook over the wall on the side opposite the gate and climbed to the top of the wall. He paused and listened.
Gate guard’s asleep. Simplifies things.
The Afghan sat in a wooden chair. His chin rested on his chest. Even without his enhanced hearing, Boyd could’ve heard the man’s ratcheting snores.
Once on the roof of the main building, the vampire paused. He pulled a huge cape from the rucksack. It was deepest black and made from lightweight non-reflective fabric. Bobby Flynn’s contribution. Wil drew it around him and fastened the single button at his throat.
When I spread my arms, they’ll look like giant wings. That’s part of the show.
He removed his normal upper teeth that were anchored in his jaw by two titanium snaps, replacing them with the glittering, sharp metal teeth. Anna had had them fitted for him within days of the moment she’d made him a vampire.
“Just for fun,” she’d said.
Only partly true. Wil had ripped Babue Dostrem’s throat out with the fangs, just a bit more than a month before.
Wil paused for a few seconds. He concentrated on the reason he crouched on the roof, a part of the darkness on a moonless night.
Someone was supplying the Taliban with bombs that maimed and killed Americans troops and innocent Afghans. They had to be stopped.
Adrenaline flooded. Every nerve and muscle was prepared to function far beyond unaltered athletes.
He moved to the side of the house away from the gate, swung down until his feet were on a window ledge.
The window was open! Even though it was only mid-May, the resident had wanted the night breezes.
Boyd pushed the curtains aside. A man lay on his side, snuffling and snoring on a western king-sized bed, wearing a gray nightshirt. His back was to the window. The vampire stepped inside and watched his target’s breathing.
Got to get the words right.
He’d learned only a few phrases of Pashto for this, the initial venture, in the psychological operations (PsyOps) and intelligence-gathering operation.
It should be enough.
The PsyOps people had created rumors in the local community that the Americans had a demon helping them. The creature was said to resemble the Eastern European vampire, which would kill a man in such a way that he’d never get to paradise, or his seventy-two virgins.
There was no moon, and clouds hid the stars. Unless the man in the bed could see him, the effect of his cloak and teeth would be lessened.
No one had been prepared for nearly absolute darkness. Wil could see the man perfectly, but his victim couldn’t see him. Mistake. The victim seeing him was the major consideration in the costume.
“Wil, my dear, you need a little light. I’ll help for just a few minutes. I felt your frustration. This should do it.”
Anna’s silent voice chimed in his consciousness.
Hanging in the air, just below the ceiling, a pale green luminous globe appeared. The light stood steady in clear air, but glowed like a giant firefly.
“Awaken, you dog,” Wil said.
He was speaking a memorized phrase in Pashto, but had to repeat the command to break the man’s slumber.
When Wakil heard the voice, he turned over and, seeing a massive shadow lighted in glowing green at the edge of the bed, leaped to flee.
Before his bare feet touched the floor, the vampire had rounded the foot of the bed and locked fingers like manacles around the man’s throat. A thumb, hard as the points of desert thorns, pressed his larynx into silence.
Terrified, the Afghan looked into eyes that radiated a pulsating blood-red glow.
“Who is the bomb maker?” Wil said.
The quivering man pawed at the arm and hand that trapped him. He may as well have been groping at a steel flagpole. He garbled feeble words.
“The name,” the vampire said.
His voice was a bare whisper, but enough to send the man into a shaking spasm. Wil smelled urine.
“The name.”
He incrementally released his victim’s throat and bared his glittering teeth.
“Gafoor. Ulla Gafoor,” the man gasped.
Wil reapplied the pressure, reached under his cloak and brought out the tiny digital recorder.
“Again,” he said.
The Afghan gasped, drew in air.
Too much air, he’s going to scream.
He pressed the larynx again. Harder.
“No. The name, again. Only the name. Quiet, or you die now.”
Once he allowed his prisoner a sip of air in his lungs. Wil asked another telling question.
“Where is he? Quiet, now.”
The man babbled. A hoarse, frightened stream. Boyd held the recorder to capture the words.
“You can live—for now,” the vampire whispered.
With the edge of a hand hard as oak, he chopped the side of the man’s head, just above the ear. When the victim slumped in his hand, he removed his shining fangs and punctured the unconscious man’s neck. He didn’t want the man’s blood in his mouth.
Could cause too many problems. Tonight is PsyOps and Intel gathering. Only.
The wound was barely deep enough to draw blood, but would be sufficient.
As Wil lifted the unconscious Afghan back to the bed, the glowing green globe shrank to a pinpoint of light and blinked out.
Wakil’s mouth was hanging open, making the final part of the mission easy. Boyd slid a capsule the size of a large multivitamin pill into the open mouth and stroked Wakil’s throat to be sure the man swallowed.
Time to go. Got to get this recording back to base. We’ll have a CIA translator decipher this asshole’s blathering.
Out the window and on the roof, Wil stowed the cape in his rucksack and took out his communications device. He pressed the button for a recall. The helo would be on the way soon. Switching to the text mode, he messaged back to base.
“Mission complete. Bringing info.”
Barely a second after he pressed send, the device vibrated.
“Good. Congratulations. Come home.”

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