Well, Marco's gone hunting again.
And you know how messy that can get.
You will notice that in this particular excerpt, Marco has become slightly more cranky than usual. Something is bothering him, and if you've read Murphy's Law of Vampires, you can probably take a guess by what you read here.
If you haven't, well, you should be reading it.
Earlier, I said that this would be the book in which certain elements of the first two books come to a head, and this chapter is a large part of the reason why.
Let's put it this way, gentle reader -- if you think that you've had more than enough of waiting for Marco and Amanda to settle their issues, imagine how the two of them feel.
And David Weber sometimes worries about what would happen if he ran into his characters in a dark alley because of what he's done to them. Gah.
Someone touched him on the arm, and he turned. The blonde was utterly stunning. Marco’s face didn’t even shift a little, and he made certain to look at her lips. “Hi there.”
She gave him a toothy grin. “You’re cute.”
He leaned into her, almost so that he could put his lips to her ear. “Could you repeat that?” he asked at normal volume.
Unseen by anyone else, his left hand drew out a syringe. The needle was thin enough to be barely felt by most people, but sharp enough to penetrate most clothing. As he spoke in her ear, he stuck her in the belly and injected the contents straight into her abdomen.
The woman stopped, blinked, jerked, and tore off for the bathroom.
She never came out.
He sighed, and shook his head.
The bartender looked at him. “You scare off another one? What do you say to them, dude?”
Marco Catalano shrugged, his smile still amused. Fifty CCs of Holy Water into the guts of a vampire. “No idea.”
Someone touched him on the arm. Marco felt a well of rage flare up from his stomach. His smile stayed, though it didn’t reach his eyes. He spun on the bar stool again, ready to just tear the next vampire’s head off.
In this case, it was a petite redhead. Yana Rosenberg’s hand recoiled like she’d been burned. “Marco.”
“Yana,” he muttered, turning back to the bar.
“Are you okay?”
Marco’s eyes narrowed, and his smile tightened with suppressed rage before turning back to the smile. “I’m fine. Thank you. Now get lost. You’re scaring off the vampires.”
Yana grabbed his arm and pulled. “Come on, Marco, you’ve been here too long and -”
Marco swung around so fast, Yana thought he was going to hit her. His hand came up, and she flinched before a blow landed. Instead, it was just his finger pointing right between her eyes.
“You listen to me, you petty little witch,” he snarled. “I don’t give a crap what you have to say. Take your fashionable, San Francisco stereotype drivel out of here and leave me be. The only woman - the only person - I give a damn about is three thousand miles away, and has ignored me for almost four months. So pardon me if I don’t take your self-serving advice. Now get out, and get eaten by a vampire or something. Because we both know that without me and George, you, Tara and Tiffany would have been eaten months ago.”
“But Marco -”
Marco pushed past her, nearly hip-checking her into the crowd. “If you’re not going to leave me alone, then I’ll just leave.”
Marco made his way through the club, pushing and shoving anyone who didn’t get out of his way fast enough. This led to one rugby player taking a swing at him. Marco ducked, came up with a knee to the groin, then stomped down on the man’s instep. The rugby guy bent down low enough for Marco to clock him in the face with an elbow.
Marco went out the back way, kicking the door open. It was the back alley, just like he expected. The stench of foul matter emanating from the dumpster was its own special sort of hell.
Marco looked off to the side. It was a group of vampires. They wore the standard black leather “We’ve seen too many movies” look. The only distinguishing mark was a red armband on each arm. Of course, it had a peace symbol in the middle.
Marco arched a brow, smiled back. “How very San Francisco.”
The leader shrugged. He was about the size of a standard fullback - two meters tall, one wide. He had the brightest blue eyes that Marco had seen in a while.
“You’ve been killing my people. Mostly my women.”
Marco gave his own shrug. “Actually, I’ve been sticking them with holy water. Heck, had they picked up anyone else in the bar, they would never have known I was there. Next time, you should shop in singles bars.”
The leader took a step forward, and Marco nodded. The leader blinked, confused.
The confusion grew when the flaming arrows rained down on the group of vampires. The ground ignited under them.
The leader whirled to see his cadre burn alive. While he was distracted by the death of all his dreams, Marco leaped on his back, ramming a stake into the side of his throat and punching out, cutting everything from the windpipe to blood vessels.
The next stab was to the kidneys. Had the vampire been alive, it would have been a death so painful that he couldn’t even scream. The vampiric nature of the creature prevented him from dying, but didn’t spare him any of the pain.
Marco also didn’t spare him any pain. He stabbed the vampire in the side, the ball joint of the shoulder, the shoulder plexus, and basically everywhere but the heart. The wooden stake made certain that none of the wounds would heal immediately, and that all of them hurt. The vampire fell to one knee.
Then Marco got nasty.
Marco tossed aside the stake and brought out a crucifix from the canvas sheath under his jacket. He stabbed away again, this time in all the wounds he’d already made, cauterizing them open. Each stab of the crucifix burned even worse than the stakes.
The vampire fell face first onto the concrete. Marco flipped him over, straddled his blood-soaked chest, and continued to pummel him, the crucifix still in one hand.
Had Marco’s team not cut off the alleyway after the vampires entered it, or if Yana hadn’t chained the exit behind him, there would have been some danger of a passerby coming through. Had an outside observer seen Marco beating a vampire to death, they would have called the cops.
Had they seen his eyes, they would have run for their lives.
The vampire saw glimpses of the hate and rage burning in Marco’s eyes as he was slowly beaten to death. They were filled with such darkness, he had a passing thought that Marco may have been a demon.
The strangest part of all was Marco’s face. With the eyes of a mass murderer, he had a small, sardonic smile on his lips.
Marco merely continued to beat him to death. He changed his tactics, and started to stab the vampire in the front - again, everywhere but the heart.
After two minutes of nonstop striking, Marco staggered back, off the vampire. He pulled out a small atomizer with his left hand, and sprayed the vampire down with holy water.
Marco, panting, looked down at the vampire, death still in his eyes like a bad case of jaundice. “Your throat is going to heal, little man. But you’ve killed too many people in this city. It’s time for you and your people to leave here. All of you. And I am sick of you. I’m sick of vampires. I’m sick of demons. The term I’m going for is genocide.”
He took a deep breath, stood, and reached behind the foul dumpster. He had dropped a stink bomb in the dumpster every day for the past week, so that it would cover the smell of napalm that he had laid down during the day.
Marco came back with an ax. And a smile.
“Don’t move. This won’t hurt… for long.” As he raised the ax, he said, “No one expects the Marco Inquisition.”