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I thought vampires drank virgin blood. They hypnotize... they turn into bats...
— Nora Martinez

The Vampires, also known as Strigoi, are one of the main opposing forces in Guillermo del Toro's The Strain, taking the form of a pathogen/parasite that alters human biology into a bloodsucking predator.

The affliction is introduced with a parasitic capillary worm that enters the bloodstream of a human being, which, after several days or weeks, begins a process of metamorphosis that turns them into a Vampire.

For the typical feral Strigoi, all traces of humanity such as sentience and gender are replaced by special adaptations meant for spreading the parasite and consuming human blood. Major organs systems in the chest fuse together to form an extensible tongue-like 'stinger' that ejects from the mouth, latching onto prey and infecting them. In exchange for this altered biology, the Vampires demonstrate superhuman strength and speed, as well as immortality by virtue of not ageing.

Strigoi are fatally weak to sunlight and strong UV rays, however, as well as silver, damage to the brain and spine, and specialized bioweapons.

Non-feral strigoi include The Born as well as ancient Vampire lords who were the progenitors of the affliction. The Born are vampires created through the infection of a pregnant mother demonstrate human intelligence in the place of typical feralism. Ancients such as the Master, who began the spread of the pathogen in New York, demonstrate human-level intelligence and are usually far superior to their feral and non-feral cousins, able to remotely control their spawn via a telepathic hive-mind link. If one of the ancients are killed, all of their brood eventually wither and die, lacking any mental connection with their masters.

Battle vs. Dusk till Dawn Survivors (by Dargoo Faust)[]

"For the love of God, please shut the fuck up."

The car sped through the desert road, which had seen better days. Seth could have sworn that cheap plastic excuse for a seat he was sitting in would dig into his crotch ever time they hit a bump, and since the road they were traveling on might as well have been a Japanese garden minus the plants, that was pretty often.

"You have no right to do this to us! Who the hell do you think you are?"

"Sweetie, I think me and my partner here are two men with loaded guns, one of which is pretty pissed off right now. Last time I checked, your pal over there doesn't have a pistol up his beard, so I'm pretty confident who the hell I am."

Seth's brother chimed in from across the seat, sipping from a can of bear while not so conspicuously looking straight into the rear-view mirror at Kate, with the fact that he was turned on being even less conspicuous.

"Told you, Seth, should have got the handkerchiefs."

"Yeah, next time we do an armed robbery I'll buy you a chocolate bar too, while I'm at it. Oh, maybe a slurpey with a side of fries. Richie, I'm not a fucking bus boy."

"Whatever you say."

Unsurprisingly, crossing the border into Mexico wasn't exactly a complicated arrangement. The group didn't even notice that they crossed the imaginary line, since the road ran through the literal middle of nowhere. Dusk began to take over the sky, taking an orange tint, and Richie began to snore in the passenger seat. Surprisingly, both hostages seemed to have calmed down, although Seth kept his other hand remarkably close to his pistol.

The car approached a large strip bar, gleaming with neon lights that were visible from miles away, especially more visible since it was probably the only stop within a hundred miles of the place. Seth pulled up the car with the music from inside the building still loud enough to produce small earthquakes, and turned towards the hostages, Kate and Jacob Fuller.

"Here's the deal. We have a friend of ours to meet up in this joint at dusk, and since we're out of the country, you two can take a whack at fooling boarder control when we're done talking. Got it?" Jacob slowly nodded in response, but Kate was sitting down, head in arms. "Richie, take the two inside. I'll talk to the owner."

"Yeah, I'll do that," Richard said impassively, staring at Kate.

Taking the two inside gripping his Norinco, Richie pulled Kate and Jacob in while Seth watched the perimeter. Waiting outside, he gave it about 2 minutes before he thought he'd have to pull out his gun, but that time came remarkably faster.

"JESUS CHRIST!" Richie came barreling out of the building, before doubling over and vomiting on the dirt. Kate and Jacob followed quickly, running past the two, before Seth pulling out his Terminator and unloaded a round with a loud BANG. Everyone froze up except Seth's brother, who was still wiping his lunch off of his face.

"Don't get any funny ideas, you two. Rich, once your'e finished unloading on the dirt over there, tell me what the hell is going on."

"...dead...inside...worms everywhere..."

Seth's eyes narrowed, before he gave a long glare to his two captives and calmly walked into the building.

The inside of the strip club looked like Monster Mash met the Texas Chainsaw Masssacre. There were bikers ripped open across tables like bloody pinatas, and strippers that seemed to be in Halloween vampire costumes spreadeagled on the floor, tiny white worms surrounding each and every dead body. While Seth didn't visibly react at first, he walked out to check if his brother kept an eye on the hostages, and addressed the group.

"Okay, new plan. We're leaving."

The bearded captive, who looked like the father of Kate, stepped forward and looked Seth in the eye. "I'm a man of faith. We're not moving unless you tell me what happened in there, and if anyone needs help."

"Jacob, that was your name, right? Look, you can stay here as long as you want, but I'm not getting involved in that shit. Rich, we're going. Start up the car."


Kate looked up, then gave a furious look at her father and grabbed Seth by the sleeve. "You're not going to leave us here, right? Please, just take us back! We won't say anything!"

Before Seth could brush her off, Richie ran back into the building, yelling incoherently, and the three heard a gurgled, choking screech drown out the conversation. As if by instinct, Seth grabbed the two and followed his brother inside, hearing something jump onto his car, shattering the glass. Closing the doors to the building behind them, Seth quickly looked around and pulled over some chairs to prop up against the handle. Before the group could collect themselves, a wet thump hit the door, followed by a loud, sloshing bang. Underneath the door, several white worms crawled around Jacob's shoes.

DtD Survivors: RedRedRedRedRedRed

Vampires: BlackBlackBlackBlackBlackBlack

Rich, who looked like he had just wet his pants, turned towards Seth. His brother gave him a look that surmounted to Please don't puke.

The priest looked back and forth between Seth and Richie. "What are you two doing? For all we know, that's a survivor of this mess."

Seth turned towards him. "Wanna open the door? Be my guest." He threw his hands into the air, loaded his gun, and pointed it towards the direction of the banging.

"Right... okay." Jacob couldn't help but to feel his hands shake a bit, then he slowly moved the chair and ran to cover.

Behind the door, a pale, lanky monster in the shape of a man burst through the lock with wood chips flying into the air. It screeched, before moving its head back into an impossible angle, preparing to thrust out something, before -

BANG! Seth fired his Terminator for the second time that night, without a warning shot. Viscera and blood coated the door, interlaced with the same white worms. Black

"...Christ." muttered Jacob under his breath.

"Close what's left of the doors. I'm not babysitting your ass next time." Seth looked around, the gruesome scene of the strip bar hadn't changed at all. "I don't know what the hell that was, but it wasn't friendly, and it looks an awful lot like what's left of these poor saps."

Richie looked pale, about to panic. He looked hungrily at Kate, pleadingly at Seth, and overall was pretty pathetic, despite being the only other armed person there. Kate appeared to be in shock, clutching the silver crucifix hanging from her neck. Jacob wasn't worse for wear, but he looked disheveled. Seth tried to look like he didn't give a rip, but he still couldn't hide the fact that he was utterly floored at what happened.

Seth noticed that one of the worms was trying to climb up his shoe before he kicked it off and stepped on it with a wet pop. "Let's go look in the back. I'm not letting myself be the only person with a gun here who hasn't pissed his pants already."

The group got up, kicked off more worms, and walked over to the counter, where another stripper in a vampire costume was hanging off of the table. Seth briefly wondered about how realistic the makeup was, before focusing back on getting the keys to the back room. Carefully avoiding touching the worms, he reached behind the counter and pulled out some keys.

Seth went to the storage room door, unlocked it, but it wouldn't budge. Slowly realizing that the door could only open from the outside, he tried to knock on it politely. There was a bunch of rapid, frenzied shuffling, before footsteps approached the door.

"Anyone out there? Can you hear me?"

"Yeah, four of us.  You and your pals survived this mess?"

"Pal. No one else got out alive. Here, come on in."

Some creaking and the sound of wood clattering on the floor, and the door was unblocked and opened. Inside, there appeared to be a collector's paradise of biker goods with what looked like a male stripper and two bodybuilders forced into one body waiting near the door, fists ready. The living mass of muscle spoke up first.

"Name's Frost. Survived the 'Nam War, so I was lucky enough to get out of this mess. My friend here's- well, I'll let him introduce himself."

The man laden in spandex with an unusually bulging crotch chimed in. "Sex Machine. Pleased to meet you."

Seth looked at him funny for a second, shook his head, then focused back on the issue at hand. "Right. Our ride's totaled, and I think more of whatever killed all the people in here are outside. Found any weapons in there?"

"There's more of them outside?  Sex Machine, get your whip, and get some of these folks something to keep 'em alive."

The man pulled out a crossbow, a rusted shotgun, and a jackhammer, then passed them out among the group. However, before the crew could head out and try to organize themselves, Richie collapsed on the floor. 

"The hell? Rich? Rich!" Seth rushed over to his brother, dropping his gun and lifting his brother's head, noticing him hyperventilating. Before he could process what was happening, Seth's hand recoiled in pain, and he noticed one of the worms was trying to burrow its way into his hand. He pulled it out, tearing up the flesh on his finger.

Kate gasped. More worms were crawling out from under his neck, and a small puddle of thick blood was forming under a wound from the back. Seth, getting a grip on himself, checked for a pulse, before noticing it was stone cold, with something slithering underneath. Jacob looked down, gestured a crucifix with his hands, and closed Rich's eyes. "I'm, um, sorry for your loss."

"Yeah, right. Just take a weapon and get ready to kill as many of those bastards outside as you can." Seth grabbed a gun, pointed it at his brother's head, and fired. Red

While the majority of the group was stunned at Seth's lack of emotion, he had always prepared for his brother to get shot down by some agent or get crushed in a car accident. That said, he wasn't very prepared for him to die from whatever was hunting the group from outside at the moment.

The group got themselves armed, with Jacob taking a Winchester and a bat and tying them into a makeshift cross.

Seth gave Jacob a funny look. "Any particular reason why you're tying a perfectly fine baseball bat underneath your shotgun?"

"Well, we're fighting vampires, right?"

Seth rubbed his forehead. "I don't believe in vampires, and if I needed a stake and silver bullet to kill them, I'm pretty sure the one who's brain is on the wall over there would have something to say about it." Seth untied the bat, and gave it to Kate. "The least I can do is make sure I don't have dumbasses backing me up."

As if on cue, a number of thuds from above caught everyone's attention. Catching a worm midair, Frost looked up, and noticed he was underneath an air vent. Before he could process exactly what was about to happen, two of the monsters broke through the vent, one of them pinning him down. Seth and Kate looked for an opening to shoot, while Jacob and Sex Machine occupied themselves with distracting the second monster.

Frost's experience in CQC made wrangling with the vampires a breeze, although the talons of the monsters would catch in the occasional scratch. Pushing off one of them, Frost punched straight into its chest, pulling out a still beating heart. The monster went stiff, and fell to the floor for a second. Frost, still clutching the discolored organ, noticed a swarm of worms emerging from it and digging into his arm, already having breached his flesh. Dropping it, and trying to pull out the parasites, the Strigoi on the floor, still alive, took advantage of the opening to eject its stinger.

The monster threw out most of its respiratory system, which clutched tightly around Frost's neck. It began to suck him dry, with each contraction taking in liters of blood. Frost dropped to the floor, stone dead. Red

Now that the two fighters had separated, Kate took the first shot at the monster's head, the arrow going straight through the brain, splattering blood against the wall behind it. It fell on top of Frost's corpse, leaking worms all over the floor.Black

The second monster, struggling against Sex Machine's whip, already had a number of shotgun rounds punched through its chest, although it wasn't deterred. While its neck was being torn by the barbed leather of the whip, it helplessly attempted to deploy its stinger, the clutch of the whip too tight to allow the space. Seth calmly walked up to the monster, cocked his Terminator and fired it, scattering more blood across the room. Black

"That was for Richie."

Everyone went silent, catching their breath after it had all cleared up. The night was halfway through, and Seth knew that his acquaintance would still be there in the morning. Sex Machine spoke up once everyone had settled down.

"I know you all need some rest, but let's take a breather outside the room full of killer worms."

"Good idea." Seth replied emotionlessly.

Kate seemed the least disheveled, surprisingly, still under the influence of the adrenaline rush the combat gave her. She reloaded her crossbow outside of the room, while Seth and Jacob looked for another area to take cover in. Sex Machine pulled on a pair of matching leather gloves, and decided to pile together some of the bodies away from the entrance.

"We're looking at three more of those bastards left in this place, if what I remember what I saw outside was right, and the man in spandex is telling the truth."

Sex Machine was chugging a cold one, stopping for a second. "Leather." He proceeded to drink the rest of it.

"And, we've got four of our own. Running out of here is going to do bullshit, since the car is dead, so we need to stick it until the morning, or kill what's left of the bastards."

The man in 'leather' stood up, looked at Seth, and chuckled a bit. "Standing here and talking ain't gonna solve anything."

"What do you mean?"

"The monsters got us through the vents, right?" He gestured towards the open vent with worms falling out of it, and turned towards Seth with a grimace. "They sniffed us out, like dogs. We didn't make a large enough fuss for anything human to pick us out from there."

Kate looked nervous, still loading the second bolt onto her crossbow. The thought of abandoning the group and making a run for it himself wasn't looking like such a bad idea until the man with a stripper's nickname gave him a hell of a reason to rely on his own captives for help. It was a new one for him, despite dozens of operations in the past just like this.

Minus the bloodsucking monsters, Seth thought.

Seth decided to speak up. "So, our best chances are to draw the rest of them in, and kill them before they can surprise us." He thought for a second, then looked at the pool of pale, worm-filled blood surrounding his brother's head. "Let's give them hell."

Out in the center of the building, the rest of Seth's group formed a circle, each of the members getting their weapons ready, and each of them ready to enter the adrenaline rush of combat. "You there, priest."


"I can't have you running out, pissing your pants on me. I need your word under whatever bearded man in the sky you believe in that you'll be a mean servant of God and exorcise these freaks."

"I -"

"Tell me, what are you?"


"What are you?!"

"I'm - I'm a mean servant of God." Jacob had a determined look on his face, cocked his shotgun, and fired it above him with a splinteringly loud BANG. There were signs of shuffled movement, and quick footsteps.

"Get ready..." Seth tried to calm the rest of his team.

On cue, three of the monsters ran out from rooms outside of them, one of them with its stinger already dragging against the floor, spreading the putrid smell of saliva and blood as it ran. Jacob fired his shotgun again, punching a clear hole in one of the monsters, staggering it. The other two continued their advance, going straight for Seth.

Seth fired his pistol, yet the monster sidestepped the bullet, something he had hardly expected of the monsters. As it approached him, he heard a voice behind him, whispering "Duck".

Seth went to the floor, and the whiz of two crossbow bolts flew over him, barely hitting his hair. The monster tried to dodge one of them, yet the other bolt lodged itself into its head as a result. It flew backwards, hitting the ground with a wet thump, its partner barely even registering the death of it. Black

Sex Machine stepped forward to grapple with it, expecting it to shoot out the stinger out of its mouth the moment he got close. As the tongue shot out, he cracked his whip, wrapping it around the tongue, before pulling fast enough to rip it straight out of the monster's face. He smiled, watching the vampire wretch as most of its former internal organs were now external organs. "Heh."

However, before he could react, it bolted forward, slashing at him with its claws. He barely registered the attack, and Seth heard a tearing noise as his throat was cut open. He fell onto the floor, choking as his lungs filled with blood. The monster above him seemed to be attempting to shoot out its nonexistent stinger and feed on him, which gave Seth the perfect opportunity to blast it straight through the head.RedBlack

"Damn it." Seth muttered. However, all went still. It seemed like all of the vampires were dealt with, leaving himself and his two hostages alive by some amazing chance. He sighed a breath of relief, before stepping on another worm that was trying to crawl it's way up his boot.

Jacob turned towards him, looking even more exhausted. "I - I think it's over."


Jacob gave an out of character chuckle, likely to relieve the stress he had just experienced. "Think I was a mean servant of God there?"

Seth smiled back. "Can't say you weren't a certified badass out there, priest. I think my friend that'll show up come Dawn'll have enough space for two, y'know."

Jacob approached him, still apprehensive of his captor, and patted Seth's back. "Well, the first step to absolving your sins is confession, son."

Before Seth could give a witty retort back, he heard movement. "Kate, you -" 

It was too fast. Jacob had a stinger protruding from his neck, his veins popping out of his body as all the blood in them suddenly went in the wrong direction. He was convulsing, but still conscious. Kate gasped, and Seth froze, as Jacob himself lost nearly all the color in his body. Somehow, the priest opened his mouth and spoke. "The pain... just.... shoot..."

Seth understood before he could finish it, but his gun had run out of ammunition. He knew he had barely enough time to kill the two before it finished him off, but -

Two arrows plowed through both Jacob's head and the vampires, killing them both, with Seth narrowly avoiding the bloodspray .BlackRed

Kate looked at Seth with a cold stare, before speaking up. "Now it's over."

The sun twinkled through the windows. It was Dawn.


Expert's Opinion[]

While the Strigoi would eventually infect or murder many of the close ranged fighters of the Survivors, as well as take out vulnerable targets such as Richie, the marksmanship of the remaining group members and Seth's own ability to keep himself from playing hero would both allow them to overcome the physically superior Strigoi. Both Seth and Kate consistently landed headshots with their weapons, which would kill Strigoi, making them the two most likely survivors of this encounter. However, for the majority of the Survivors group, they either relied too much on close combat, or couldn't deal with the physical abilities of the Strigoi.

To see the original battle, votes, and weapons, click here.