Prologue: Hiram Rockwell, May 2nd, year 1

Ever since we had been thrown into our cage, the head guard had been bragging how he had been abusing two recently captured sisters aged 13 and 15. Four days ago, Leo Buckson had a permanent change in his lifestyle. He was probably still in bed writhing in pain.

The guards had been dragging one of my men off to be killed and had made the mistake of not paying enough attention to me. I had placed myself behind Leo. I put my hand between his legs and ruined him forever.

Within seconds I was swarmed by the other guards. I remember being hit on the head with a billy club before I lost consciousness. I woke up a few hours with my arms chained behind me. I had bruises all over my body. I couldn’t see out of my right eye and my nuts were swollen. I had obviously been kicked multiple times in my crotch in revenge. For the past four days the last of my remaining men had been hand feeding me.

We were now down to just me and Max Sutter. When we had been captured twenty-two days ago there had been ten of us. Every few days one of us had been killed. Even before the zombie outbreak the FLDS or Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints had been complete fucks, practicing incest and polygamy with underage girls. They had constantly been giving us real Mormons a bad name. Since the outbreak they had been out of control, killing or enslaving other survivors.

Both Max and I knew that one of us would die today. Every few days the FLDS fed one of us to a vampire for their amusement. According to them God had placed vampires on Earth to kill sinners. I figured I would be taken today. After what I had done to Buckson, they were never going to unchain me and they were too lazy to bother hand feeding me.

As I expected, a little after 2 in the morning I was pulled out of cage and brought into a gymnasium. The center of the gym had been turned into a fighting pit. A 30 foot diameter area was surrounded by steel fencing that went all the way up to the ceiling. There was a hole cut into the ceiling. The gym was lit with kerosene lamps. The light from these lamps were too dim to bother a vampire. A couple hundred of the FLDS had gathered on the bleachers to watch me die.

The guards pushed me into the fighting pit. My hands were still chained behind me. One of the guards told me if I backed up to the fence, he would unchain me through the fence. I let him unchain me. At first I couldn’t lift my arms but I kept moving them. After about five minutes of stretching I was able to regain normal motion of my shoulders.

The vampire would come soon. There was a chance I could take it out. Director Jones had killed a vamp by ripping out its throat and according to the FLDS their prophet had killed one too, so it was possible for an unarmed man to take out a vampire.

I was weak. I hadn’t had a good meal for twenty-two days. My body was a mass of bruises. I had a constant headache and my balance was still off from being knocked unconscious. My face was so swollen, I couldn’t see out of my right eye. I wasn’t at my best, but I was going to do my damndest to take out the vampire that was coming for me.

The Director had been able to take out his vampire because of his speed. I’ve sparred with him. He’s almost as fast as a vampire. I know my strengths and weaknesses. I’m strong and coordinated but I’m not particularly quick. The technique that the Director used wouldn’t work for me. I started jogging slowly around the pit. I needed to warm up. The only advantage that I had against a vampire was my height and weight. Before I was captured I weighed 260 pounds, even with all the weight I had lost in the past three weeks, I probably weighed over 240 and I’m still 6 foot 4 inches tall. All the vampires I’d had seen in the past weighed less than me and were shorter than me.

I knew the vampire had arrived by the change in the tone of sound from the crowd. I looked up and saw the vamp diving toward me with its claws outstretched. I reached up and grabbed its left wrist with my left hand and slammed the vampire to the ground. I didn’t need to be quick to perform this maneuver. The vampire couldn’t fly. It was just falling with style. Its trajectory had been set since it launched from the roof. Being slammed into the ground didn’t faze the vampire; it bounced up like a rubber ball toward me.

You can fake speed with anticipation. I knew it was going to do this. I still had a hold of its left wrist. The instant it jumped into the air, I could move its body with minimal effort. I used my grip on its wrist to guide its body as it came at me from the floor. We ended up chest to chest. Its left arm was trapped between our bodies. My right arm was behind its back pulling it toward me in a bear hug. My forehead was at the perfect height to smash into its nose. Its head rocked back from my head butt and as it flexed forward in response to my blow, mouth open to bite my face off, I slammed my left hand into its mouth. I could see the surprise in its eyes as it reflexibly bit completely through my hand.

Vampires feed only on blood. They do not eat any solids. It opened its mouth to spit out my fingers. As it did, I shoved the rest of my hand and half my forearm down its throat. It tried to bite through my forearm. It got to my bones but it couldn’t bite through them. The mass of my forearm inside its mouth made it impossible for it to completely bite down. Vampires are basically turbocharged human beings. Their core temperature is much hotter than ours because their metabolisms are so much faster. They are stronger and quicker than us but they also need more oxygen. It takes about 4 minutes to suffocate a human to death. It took less than a minute for the vampire to die. It couldn’t breathe with my arm down its throat. The vampire was much stronger than me but I had all the leverage. Its left arm was trapped between us in such a way that it couldn’t use it to attack me. Its feet were off the ground so it had no traction. I was too close to it for it to kick me. Only its right arm was free but because of how close we were, because I had its head extended backwards, its mouth pointing up as I shoved my forearm down its throat, it didn’t have the leverage to claw through my skull, spine, or rib cage. It was able to rip my back muscles into ruin, but it wasn’t able to kill me, or make me drop it.

Once it stopped moving, I let it slide face down on to the ground. I almost passed out. I willed myself awake; I still had things to do. I slammed my heel down on its neck just below the skull. I could feel the vertebrae beneath my heel separate and its head flopped loose on to its side. I slammed my foot down again and again. Each time my foot came down, the vampire’s head moved a little further away from its body, and the area beneath my foot got thinner. I don’t know how long it took, but eventually, its head was crushed away from its body.

The room was completely quiet. I sank to my knees. It was either that or fall. I pointed with my right hand to the FLDS Prophet. The guards had told us that he was the chosen one because he had been able to kill a vampire in unarmed combat. I laughed “That’s my second vampire, asshole. See if you can match that.”

Prologue #2