Reaching Dawn

Vampires!? How in the hell are there vampires? thought Abby as she crouched under the steel-topped lab table, the chemical contents of some shattered experiment she’d toppled oozing ever closer to her knee. She could still hear the unholy wails and shrieks of those things that had once been her colleagues echoing down from the floor above. The sounds of feral rage and desire.

Abby was the junior scientist on a cutting edge experimental gene resequencing project at Synergic Biotech. The new serum used DNA from several exotic animals and plants, promising to extend the human life span and enhance physical strength and vitality. Her team lead Dr. Einrich had made a breakthrough earlier that day and had insisted the team stay into the wee hours of the morning to pursue it.

Sometime around 4:30am, the test tube holding the latest iteration of the experimental concoction exploded in the centrifuge, spraying Dr. Einrich in the face. They’d scrambled to clean him up, flushing the serum from his eyes and mouth. Sterilizing the tiny cuts on his cheeks from the glass. He’d seemed fine, huddled in recovery at his desk… until he nearly tore Garrett’s throat out.

Abby and the remaining three scientists had sprung into action to try and stop the assault, but quickly lost control. Whatever had befallen Dr. Einrich had also infected Garrett, their combined efforts dropping two more of the team in grisly, wounded heaps on the floor. She’d ran towards the lab door at full speed. The creatures who were once her fellows roared in defiance at her escape, but didn’t immediately pursue.

Abby slammed the heavy lab door shut behind her. She paused to look back at the scene through the safety glass window in the door and saw the horror within. Dr. Einrich had backed Monica, the only one besides Abby not struck down, into a corner and was bearing down on her. Garrett had another team member propped against a table, his mouth clamped tightly around their neck. Blood seeped around his lips and his eyes looked wild. He was feeding on them.

She backed away in terror from the door window, bringing her hands up to her mouth in shock. But she stopped them before her face, noticing the blood on her fingertips like a macabre, red nail polish. It wasn’t hers, as far as she could tell. But it would be if she didn’t escape the building now. She ran for the stairwell.

Halfway down to the floor below, the lighting flashed red and an alarm klaxon bellowed, indicating the building’s emergency lockdown protocol had been activated. It could not be lifted until an all clear signal was sent from within and received by outside emergency services. Abby was trapped here, and likely the only one who could send that signal. Yet there was no way she could, not with those creatures here. The heavy door from their lab above slammed open, She felt the impact of it crashing into the wall through the stairs. Abby ran down again.

She reached a first floor lab and crouched under the lab table to catch her breath. These things which were once her colleagues had somehow become vampires! Garrett had been feeding on the blood. Something about the experimental serum had caused Dr. Einrich to change. He then infected Garrett when he’d attacked him, and now the pair had likely infected the others, too. How in the hell would she survive trapped in a building with 5 vampires? she thought.

Abby decided to review what she knew about vampires that might help her survive, assuming these guys followed the traditional rules. Stake through the heart? Not gonna happen. Garlic and holy water? Sorry, fresh out. Sunlight? Hmm… she checked her watch. It was now 5:37am, sunrise would come soon. If she could only reach the dawn…

Her thoughts were momentarily interrupted by a crashing and shrieking from above. The vampires weren’t going to wait until dawn. She had to find the safety of sunlight. It wasn’t as simple as finding a window. In an experimental lab company building, there were no windows. Except for one place… The all glass façade of the main lobby foyer. And it just so happened to face the East.

Abby quietly crawled out from under the lab table, careful not to touch the ooze or cut herself on the broken glass. She tiptoed through the first-floor lab and out into the hall. She could still faintly hear the vampires somewhere above, but she paused in the hall just in case. Judging it clear, she slinked in the direction of the main lobby.

5:50 now, about ten minutes until sunrise. Abby rounded the corner of the hall into the building’s main lobby. It was nearly dark in here, save for the faint glow on the horizon that she could see through the expansive front windows. The lobby was largely empty, the company opting for a minimalist, modern look. In the middle of the space sat a semi-circle granite greeting desk where the receptionist and security sat during business hours. Abby walked slowly over to it, noting its top now cleared of anything of value. She continued around the window facing front of the desk and slid down, back against the frigid stone and stared at the too slow rising light in the distance.

5:57. The sun had crested over the horizon, casting its life-giving glow across the world. The first rays reflected and glittered across the sealed shut glass doors of the lobby, the line of light slowly creeping inch by inch further inside. She heard it then… a guttural snarl from the hallway behind her. They were coming, and she was now trapped.

5:59. Abby hunched down ever further, trying desperately to calm her panicked breathing. She could hear all of them now… growling and scratching at the corners of the hall. Did they smell her, did they hear her? The waxing sunlight through the foyer still only reached within a foot or so. They had found her. She was out of time.

6:01. The feral noises of the vampire creatures become suddenly quiet. Abby stifled her breathing, straining to listen. She held her breath for nearly a minute, then released it in a terrified scream as an animalistic roar from above her head rent the stillness. Abby scrambled forward across the lobby, trying to gain her feet. She glanced back to see all five of the vampires pouring over and around the desk, eyes and mouths blood red, lab coats falling in bloody taters around their limbs and wounds. She screamed again and powered towards the lobby windows and the safety of the dawn.

6:03. The vampires powered after her, moving with cat-like speed and agility. Abby slammed her back up against the thick, front windows as if trying to melt into them and the sunlight piercing through. Was it enough, was she safe within its glow? Would sunlight even stop them?

What was once Dr. Einrich raged towards Abby and reached out for her neck into the pool of light she prayed would save her. His hand and arm disintegrated in a flash of smoking ash when it pushed into the light. The creature screamed in shock and pulled the stump of its arm back right as the rest of the horde slammed into his back, toppling them all into the sunlight. Abby quickly closed her eyes and mouth to the exploding cloud of smoky ash that then engulfed her as the vampires were undone in a final scream that echoed through the lobby.

Abby slid down the glass, not opening her eyes, and collapsed exhausted in the warmest, most amazing dawn sunlight she had ever felt. She should probably find a phone, but the light felt so good.

***

Today’s Prompt: Red Nail Polish, Glitter, Dawn

I used these prompts as more descriptive words to include rather than fully inspired concepts. Accept for dawn. This short is not my usual genre, and I can’t even begin to explain how I was inspired to write it based on these prompts. But, here it is! I hope you enjoy.

For the full list of prompts and to join in on the 30 Day Restart Challenge, visit the prompt page here!

One thought on “Reaching Dawn

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  1. Wow! That was a great response to the prompt! Locked room scenarios where the character is being chased or hunted seriously freak me out so I was stressed right along with Abby the whole time. Love the progression of this piece and how you set the pace with the time stamps. And thank god she’s alright in the end! I thought all that build up was just gonna lead to the sunlight not working and she gets turned too. So yay for happy ending!

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Miz Writer Lady

A resource for writers

John Mastro

Aspiring Author

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