As he toppled to the carpet he looked to the door; it clicked shut, and the sound of footsteps on timber raced up along the other side of the wall. Victor stumbled over himself in a rush to get to his feet, then ran to the door and threw it open. The vampire saw him in the mirror above the fireplace; footsteps raced away at the top of the stairs. As Victor looked up at the uninviting light at the top of the staircase, the vampire crossed the room, with its long, unnatural strides. Victor saw it approaching and growing, its fangs lengthening almost past its chin. He ran up the stairs while looking to the mirror across the room; two thirds of the way up the staircase he lost the vampire’s reflection. He stopped and watched; the vampire, with a confused look, gave up the chase and returned to its painting.
Victor waited on the stairs. Once he saw the vampire was back on the canvas as a Cavalry Officer, he turned and continued his ascension, with caution. He gradually saw that from the top of the stairs floorboards extended a short space and then came to a wall; it seemed a hallway branched off to the left and right. On the second last step he paused.
“Hello?” he called.
No answer. No footsteps. Victor breathed in, then out. He nodded to himself.
With a sudden leap he sprang over the last step and turned to the right. Before his feet hit the ground his eyes widened and his legs began to backpedal.
“Oh God, no!”
He slipped and fell on his side, though his legs kept pumping like pistons. Scrambling to his hands and knees, he gripped the edge of the staircase and launched himself down the stairs. After sliding and tumbling halfway he managed to get to his feet, but within three steps he missed his footing and tumbled again, crashing to the bottom. He leapt up, and, without looking back, turned and ran. The vampire had seen him in the mirror halfway down the staircase and had left its painting; it crossed the room, ready to cut Victor off. Victor made a direct run for the door to the hallway. The Vampire stood before him, arms open, a bloodthirsty spider welcoming the fly to its web.
“Move!” said Victor, gaining pace.
The vampire bared its fangs and laughed.
“F***IN’ MOVE!” Victor shouted.
There is a fear so great, so all-consuming, that it dwarfs all other fears, no matter how insurmountable they may have previously seemed. And this fear, rather than crippling a man, inspires him to superhuman feats. It was this fear that had gripped Victor at the top of the stairs. It was this fear the vampire now saw in Victor’s face. The vampire’s eyebrows rose, and its smile fled. Victor charged like a bull. The vampire raised its hands in front of itself and tried to turn around, but only managed to get side-on before Victor ploughed into it, shoulder first. An involuntary, raspy grunt escaped its throat. Victor raised his forearm on impact, lifting the vampire from the ground and shunting it forward; it twisted in flight, and hit the floorboards face-first with a solid thump as Victor hurtled past. The vampire heaved short, agonised groans, while Victor kept straight on for the door, opened it and then slammed it behind him.
As he raced up the hall a flash of light shone behind him and he yelped. He darted into the bedroom and flung the door shut. Taking hold of the top of the bookshelf, he heaved it toward himself and brought it crashing down; books spilled all over the floor. The shelf was tall and wide and heavier than Victor, yet he handled it as if it had been a plywood doll house, dragging it backwards and laying it hard up against the door. He then grabbed a long, pointed piece of timber from the foot of the bed and went and stood behind the toppled bookshelf. His breathing was short and rapid, his eyes fixed on the door. He held the timber piece forward like a spear, and whispered in between breaths, “If you come in here I’ll kill you… If you come in here I’ll kill you.”
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