Like last week, we get a letter that gives us a bite from the story NIGHT CHILDREN: DARK BIRTH. H is for Hawke.
"Who is Hawke", you may ask? Hawke is the dreaded vampire hunter whom crossed paths with Annabelle and Roland in 1692 and again in 1714. He is one of two men whom successfully gives the vampire Annabelle daymares.
Chapter Nineteen: The Courage of Hawke
She didn’t want to face Hawke. If she never saw him again, it would be too soon. Unfortunately, Annabelle knew she wouldn’t be that lucky.
Within the week she was proven correct. After a successful hunt, she and Roland sat on a log near the outer northern boundary and drank from two dead foxes. Angry shouts drew their attention towards the barrier.
“After everything we’ve seen, I’m almost afraid to check anymore.” She stopped at a large clump of bushes near the barrier’s edge and knelt down.
Roland joined her. “Not me.” He always worried her when he didn’t say much.
Her breath caught at the sight of Hawke. Defiantly standing within a clearing just outside the shimmering barrier he brandished long twin swords. The weapons were made of thin metal and each had long black handles. Annabelle saw a picture once when she worked at her father’s book binding business. She thought they were called katana swords.
Hawke grinned with wicked insanity.
A male vampire stood beside Penelope. Their backs faced Annabelle and Roland. Behind Hawke towered a Sasquatch. Surrounding him on both sides were four more vampire men she’d never seen before.
Servo stood a ways off by a tree. His face split into a yellow smile that didn’t reach his frightened eyes. “We have you cornered, hunter. The Master will reward us greatly for your death.”
Hawke laughed and Annabelle’s blood curled. “Talk is cheap, ghoul.”
The four unnamed vampires charged and Hawke sprung to life. He slashed wide with his swords; one vampire was cleaved in two from the right shoulder to the mid section. He dissolved to ash before hitting the ground. The other lost his head.
A third vampire bit Hawke’s arm but the vampire slayer slammed the flat of his sword against his attacker’s face. He spun around and slashed off the vampire’s arm. Another one punched Hawke five feet into the Sasquatch’s waiting arms. Hawke dropped his swords as the towering creature squeezed him.
“Break him!” Servo commanded from the safety of the bushes.
“I will.” The one who punched Hawke rushed forward.
Hawke smiled and pulled out a strange silver blade from his long, dirty coat. It reflected the ivory light of the moon. Shorter than his twin swords, it had a thick tip that tapered down to its hilt. A flick of a latch and two smaller blades sprung out from either side. The weapon resembled a warped cross.
Shock followed shock. Hawke spun the weapon backwards and jabbed deeply into the howling Sasquatch, then pulled it from the creature’s gore. The hulking beast fell back to touch its wound.
His arms free, Hawke slashed upward, severing the charging vampire’s head at the neck.
With his other arm free, Hawke whipped out three silver stars and flung them at Servo. The creep screamed and ducked.
“Enough,” Penelope sneered as glowing sparks shot from her fingers and lit up the clearing. Hawke dived, leaped and jumped out of the way. Penelope kept sending blasts of magic at him but he didn’t stop. He used his weapon to slice another vampire in two.
Hawke sneered. “You’ll all pay for polluting God’s earth.”
“Stop him! Stop him!” Servo screamed while hoping up and down.
Hawke dodged various blows from the last unnamed vampire. It was the one who lost an arm, but it didn’t slow him down. Annabelle could almost swear Hawke was playing with him. He ducked and cut, but only left minor wounds. “After I kill the rest I think I’ll let you live, Guardante.”
“Why?” A trace of hope flashed in Servo’s wild eyes.
“So I can use Hell-Slayer here to carve a message to your dark master.” The hope melted into fear.
Annabelle pulled on Roland’s arm, “Come. Let’s leave before he sees us.” Roland didn’t budge. He watched Hawke’s moves with deep curiosity.
“I want to see how he does it.”
Hawke slashed off the last vampire’s head, rolled on the floor to miss a crippling grab from the Sasquatch. He picked up one of the swords he’d dropped.
“If we have to survive Dominic’s attack, I want to learn how.”
She hadn’t thought about it. Hawke survived years fighting not only hordes of creatures, but Dominic himself. He still scared her, but she started to notice something admirable about the hunter. He stared certain death in the face and laughed.
Hawke drove his sword through the Sasquatch’s chest. The monster gave an anguished howl, and then dropped to the ground, dead. She felt sorry for the beast.
She looked up in alarm as magic exploded across Hawke’s back. His coat on fire, he writhed on the ground while strange red lightning crept over him.
“Witch!” He threw a silver star her direction. It came close enough to cut her cheek and break her concentration but the damage was done.
Hawke rolled on the ground and let out a moan. He stood up, placed Hell-Slayer in its sheath and picked up his other sword. A large open hole in the back of his coat revealed deep, red scorch marks. “I’ll be back. Sure, I can’t heal like you filth.” For the first time she noticed fresh cuts that bled through his torn clothing. “But I will return. I’ll make sure you die like all those witches in Salem. You’ll see.”
As a human, Hawke could enter the barrier any time he chose. He wouldn’t be able to see it or even know it existed, but it didn’t matter. He could return anytime. The thought chilled her bones.
Annabelle’s heavy heart beats slowed once Hawke disappeared into the woods and Servo left with Penelope, but any of them could return at any time. They had to take their training more seriously. The threats were building.
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