The dreaded days of crimson were about to return.
Ever since vampires turned into a vicious plague, (some say during the Middle Ages, brought in huge numbers by the barbarian hordes that ravaged Europe) and way before the Catholic Church struck back with documents such as the Malleus Maleficarum, a group of warriors began to organize what would be simply called “Hunts”. These “Hunts” where designed to eradicate as many vampires as possible, without exposing to the world the true existence of these creatures. Soon these warriors increased in numbers, and the secret organization, while officially remaining nameless, began to be referred to as “The Hunters”. And whenever a new wave of vampire hordes – prompted by wars – aroused, those dark days of bloodshed were referred to as the Days of Crimson.
Alan Reinhard, father to Philip and Senator of the United States, was worried not only about the return of these days, but also about the magnitude it could take, if this war became as catastrophic as it seemed headed to. That’s why he and other leaders of the organization had quickly ordered for practice Hunts to take place all over the world, in sites known for sheltering dangerous creatures, like the werewolves in the Klondike or the chameleon dragons in Antarctica. These Hunts were supposed to have as little casualties as possible, since werewolves, for example, did not represent as big a threat as they did in the past, with the new technology available. The Klondike Hunt, however, had featured five deaths (Pierre’s body was later found, half eaten), and one wounded. Ignacio spent a couple of days resting in bed, visibly shaken, and refused to talk about what happened in the forest.
Now, Senator Reinhard wanted to find out what went wrong.
“Esteban,” greeted Reinhard as Esteban joined him. They were meeting at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. “Please don’t feel pressured,” he continued, “this meeting is unofficial. Just a simple talk between two old friends, away from the Gentlemen’s Council.”
“Yes, Mr. Reinhard,” he answered.
“So,” Reinhard said, “what happened?”
“I think it was a setup.”
“Oh? Why do you think that?”
“I can’t find a better explanation,” Esteban said, “of course that it is possible that we ‘just’ had a really bad night. But I find that very unlikely. The Klondike werewolves are all new, as they hunted down the previous pack. This new pack just took over the territory, which means that they are good at fighting, but still inexperienced against Hunts. Yet, they took over half of our people.”
“Maybe they are really good?”
“No, they were prepared.”
“Prepared in what sense?”
“Your son Philip found that they were wearing bulletproof collars.”
Reinhard chuckled, “Bulletproof collars.”
“And it’s not just the collars,” Esteban continued, “We knew the pack was composed of six wolves, but there were only five calls. They do that when they want their prey to think that they are fewer in number. I found it odd at first, but after the way the Hunt went through, I have no doubts that they were expecting us.”
“But how?” Reinhard asked, “these are werewolves, they just can’t…are you suggesting that there are werewolves inside our organization?”
“Probably. Maybe the precautions we take against possible werecreatures joining us are no longer good enough.”
“Is this what you will tell the Council? This is your report?”
“Yes, except for the part about werewolves amongst the Hunters. That’s up to them to conclude. It’s too dangerous to wave an accusing finger on them, specially if it’s true. The werewolf may be any one of them.”
“It may be me,” said the Senator with a smirk, “or you.”
“That’s right,” said Esteban without the sarcasm, “and we must proceed with great caution from now on.”
After a few moments of silence, the Senator declared the “unofficial” meeting over, “See you at the Council, Esteban.”
Both men parted in different directions, with their heads full of concern about what the future had in store for them.
It certainly felt like the Days of Crimson had returned. The true Hunt was about to begin.