Evelyn Chartres Author
Evelyn Chartres – Page 2

Bleed Through – Part II

Clara Grey was perched on the railing at the edge of the observation deck. A gust of wind pushed her hair back, and showed off her pointed ears, sharp facial features, and steel-grey eyes that gave her an elfin look. Clara had been blessed with the body of a prima ballerina with the exception of a larger pair of breasts. This trade off suited her just fine, enabling her to turn some heads, while remaining deadly with a sword.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

She loved this particular vantage point, the one place that gave her a pristine view of the mortal realm below. Even from this distance, she was able to make out landmarks, and even individuals going about their lives.

From here, she had no trouble witnessing the chaos that reigned on the mortal plain. People continued to be born, grow up, fight wars, and die. The only difference were advancements in technology and medicine. Funny how that only served to make life more complex.

That curiosity and drive to understand the world is what interested Clara. She often wondered how life would have turned out if she had been born in the twenty-first century. All of that knowledge available at her fingertips, which appeared to be a blessing for those curious like her. Still, would she have made use of it?

Everyone here could access the knowledge of creation, but many remained blissfully ignorant. Would she do any better without her educational foundation? Or would she employ this knowledge to achieve her goal of committing the perfect crime?

Sure there were many who avoided this place, for fear of being reminded of what was lost. Clara did not share their views, as one of God’s soldiers, her interactions with other souls were to be kept to a minimum. From here, she dreamed of the good she could do, if only they loosened her leash.

Instead of answering her questions, she kept on observing the world. Wait! What was that? Were her eyes deceiving her? Clara could have sworn there was a shockwave emanating from North America’s Eastern seaboard.

“I thought you’d be here,” Gabriel said.

Clara did not turn around to look, but smirked before she said, “The easiest way to be found is to stay in one place. What brings you here Gabriel?”

This was a tall man who was also built like a Da Vinci’s David, a perfect rendition, except for the lack of flaws. His hair was always perfectly trimmed, his muscles developed and cut. Even his wings were flawless, white, and without a single feather out of place. Was this the angel Gabriel from scripture and lore? Clara did not know, and never bothered to ask. Curious how that particular question never came to mind until now?

“There’s been a violation,” Gabriel said flatly.

Clara raised an eyebrow. Any violations on the mortal plain people were not playing by the rules. Free will was an aspect respected by both sides. So a violation meant that someone was denied the opportunity to choose.

With her curiosity sufficiently piqued, Clara looked over to Gabriel. Before her eyes settled on him, she saw something behind him that made her question reality.

“That’s impossible,” Clara said under her breath.

In the background, she saw two women, a stunning ginger caught in the embrace of an older woman. It was the latter that caught her eye, since the details of that face were burned into her mind. That was Edith, her best friend, and she looked exactly like she remembered.

They last crossed paths in Mexico, after an attack on the Tower left it isolated from the rest of the world. An ideal time for those remaining to regroup, to forge alliances, build a base of operations, and launch an offensive against those responsible.

Plans changed when Edith’s lover was caught up in the crossfire, killed by Drusilla, their long-time foe. Edith, the steadiest ship of the fleet, even in the heaviest of seas, finally broke her keel. That much became clear, when the grief stricken Edith made one last request.

“Kill that bitch,” Edith ordered.

That was exactly what happened two weeks later at some luxurious railway hotel. There, Clara had managed to put down that thing, using deception, holy water, a well-placed stab along with some divine intervention. The latter came at the cost of her life, but that was forfeit the moment she stepped through the front-doors of the Grand

“Clara,” Gabriel asked.

“Sounds serious,” Clara said absentmindedly in hopes of getting more information.

Gabriel looked behind him, but saw nothing. He did note that Clara had the appearance of someone who had seen a ghost. Despite years of experience Clara had in concealing every genuine emotion, a great shock always managed to slip through that cool and calm exterior.

Unsure on what to do, Gabriel chuckled before responding, “You look down all the time and yet you cannot see.”

“And miss out on the opportunity to learn from your wisdom?” Clara asked.

For a moment, there was silence, which permitted Clara’s discomfort to grow. The image of Edith haunted her, and Gabriel’s silence only made things worse. Did she manage to get under his skin?

For a moment, it looked as though Gabriel was facing in two directions. That behaviour was common when dealing with them, the creatures known as homo striga, or colloquially referred to as vampires. So why was she seeing this type of behaviour in an angel now?

When the illusion settled, Gabriel smirked before breaking the silence, “A soul was torn away from the light of God.”

Clara wondered if Gabriel was toying with her in some way. Either way, it was clear that there was much to learn. Death did not make her an expert in all matters, much to her disappointment. She knew that many chose to forfeit their souls in exchange for everlasting life in the mortal realm. Their baptism of sorts, meant they turned their backs on God and his divine light. Such bargains had been struck with humanity since time began.

“So what am I missing?” Clara asked.

Gabriel resumed his disconcerting silence from earlier. Since they were both immortal, there was no reason to hurry things along, and yet there was something unnatural about the experience. For her vantage point, it seemed that Gabriel was having another conversation, but was not privy to the other half.

In the background, her eyes caught something, but could not explain the phenomenon. Edith and the ginger were visible again, as though Clara were looking at an echo in time. She caught another glimpse of their passionate embrace, one intense enough for Clara to feel a twinge of jealousy.

“Clara?” Gabriel queried.

She kept her eyes focused on that general area, and refused to look Gabriel in the eyes. There was nothing, until Edith reappeared in another location with her wings tucked in. Moments before she dove towards the mortal plane.

“It was not voluntary,” Clara guessed to keep the conversation going.

It was an educated guess of course, if their kind could banish anyone they wished, then that would alter the balance. All of their actions were guided by the need to maintain an equilibrium, so a deliberate disruption meant a correction was due.

“What are the ramifications?” Clara queried.

“Our agreement is null and void,” Gabriel said. “We can wage war if we so choose.”

“I sense a but in your statement,” Clara said.

“It would forfeit the wager,” Gabriel answered.

Clara knew very little about this wager. Many, mused about a game of chance being played for supremacy over all outstanding souls. Some aspects of these stories were likely true, while others were nothing more than details added to dress up the truth. All Clara knew for certain was that no one talked about it.

“So the Council decided to send an agent,” Gabriel said.

“Me?” Clara guessed. “Why me?”

“Can’t send one of the seven,” Gabriel said. “That would be tantamount to going nuclear.”

“So why choose your most junior conscript?” Clara asked.

The ability to experience life once again, set her heart aflutter. It would likely not be permanent, but nothing down there was.

“You were mortal, you knew how to fight them,” Gabriel said. “Besides, we knew you’d be willing.”

“Can’t hide anything from you can I? And to think I once believed that nuns were unsurpassed at mind reading!” Clara exclaimed. “I’m in. So what do I do?”

“Fall,” Gabriel said.

“That’s it?” Clara asked.

“That’s it,” Gabriel replied.

“Anything I should know?” Clara asked.

“Keep your true nature concealed as much as possible,” Gabriel said. “Your powers will be limited, and that varies from person to person.”

“So act and behave as though I were mortal and everything will be fine?” Clara asked.

“That would be a safe bet,” Gabriel said. “Ready?”

“Always,” Clara said.

Without hesitation, Clara looked down and leapt from the railing. At first, she floated in mid-air while she freed her mind. On command, Clara dropped like a stone, reaching higher and higher speeds until she glowed in the atmosphere.

“What a rush!” Clara shouted while tearing through the atmosphere like a meteor.

The world before her grew in detail. While she had no idea where she was headed, that did not bother her. Clara sensed that her drop was guided.

Smudges of grey against the terrain became cities, followed by streets, buildings, and finally, people. No one seemed to be aware of her descent, even though she must have looked like a shooting star against the night sky.

“Will a little girl wish upon me?” Clara asked with a giggle.

Clara made out her destination, a nondescript courtyard nestled between multi-story structures. There would be no one around to witness her arrival once she made contact.

“Three… two… one…” Clara said.

Right on cue, her feet hit the ground and absorbed some of the impact. Unfortunately, that had not been enough, so the concrete beneath her deformed, cracked, and was scorched by the heat.

She took a moment to adjust, stood up, and then straighten out her back. While no longer visible, a set of majestic wings could be seen folding in the shadows. How fortunate, since her wings would have drawn a few errant stares had they remained visible.

“Just as much as not wearing a stitch of clothing,” Clara muttered while eyeing her bare body. “At least I’m no worse for wear.”

Gabriel should have mentioned how her clothes would burn away as she fell to Earth. Then again, life on Earth was not without its challenges, and this was bound to get a few laughs back home.

Clara looked over her landing site, in the hopes of finding a lavish clothing store. On first glance that seemed unlikely, since all of the doors were boarded up.

“Just ducky!” Clara said aloud.

Just then, she noticed something nearer to the corner. Clara walked over the cool pavement, while the evening air clung to her skin and gave her a chill.

“That means it’s going to get really cold soon,” Clara said.

Upon closer inspection, Clara found a second set of scorch marks and indentations that looked similar to those she left behind. The surface of this landing site was still warm, so this damage had been recent.

“So that echo was real?” Clara wondered, but dared not consider it a possibility.

She was pretty sure that Gabriel would have sent only one champion to fulfil the mission. That man was not known for hedging his bets, or risk escalation.

“Besides,” Clara said. “Why not tell us ahead of time, to coordinate our search?”

When the wind picked up, Clara shivered. Reminded of her nudity, she made up her mind to solve the most pressing matter. It was going to get cold tonight, and she would need to find some warm clothes.

“Wonder if I’ll be able to charm someone into giving me their coat?” Clara asked while sauntering down towards the courtyard’s exit.

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

Elena Hartford Reviews The Van Helsing Paradox

Here is a lovely 4🌟 review for The Van Helsing Paradox from Elena Hartford! This is my latest dark fantasy release that tells the tale of Clara Grey, a young child who grows learns that monsters are real, and grows up to hunt things that go bump in the night!

I found that her review reads beautifully, and has a near poetic feel to it. Here is my favourite quote:

Throughout, Chartres dazzles with her ability to build interesting characters and throw them into intriguing situations…

Thank you Elena Hartford for the kind words! I’m am so happy that you liked my novel! 🥳

Bleed Through – Part I

Edith Stone stood near a bench that overlooked a park that seemed to stretch out forever. This area was a popular place to spot some of the greatest minds in history. They would often congregate here, in a meeting of the minds, one that attracted a slew of onlookers.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

She was a woman in her early forties, and had this shine in her hazelnut eyes that never dulled. Her raven black hair and sunburned skin gave her an exotic look, but that was a byproduct of where she lived for the last years of her life.

Her feminine curves, fit physique and the sharp features served only to enhance her beauty. Unlike many who frequented this place, she opted to maintain her true form, flaws and all. Because, in her mind, it made her all the more human, even if she was anything but.

She was even proud of those deep scars that ran down her back. These were reminders of the hard life she endured, just like any hunter of her calibre.

While many of the patrons loved nothing more than to find Einstein and Newton indulging in their love of mathematics, Edith had no such interests. There was one person, and one person only she sought in this bazaar of human history’s finest.

“Did you know that you keep better time than a clock?” Angela asked from a distance.

Edith turned around and beamed a warm smile. Before her, stood that red headed child, she fell in love with over a century ago. Her pale skin, red hair and green eyes were ever-present, no matter what age she chose to appear as.

“You know, I prefer it when you come as you are,” Edith said.

This version of Angela was a young woman of immense beauty. At this age, her freckles had paled, while her figure had fully formed into the sultry body of a dancer. She had lips that beckoned, forever moist, and yearned for that intimate touch only her true love could provide.

Edith let a soft gasp escape her lips, the shock of seeing Angela in this form never failed to stir intense desire. Although to hear this one talk, one would think that her nose was her only redeeming feature. An opinion that Edith contested every time that subject came up.

The radiant redhead closed the distance between them, and embraced Edith who was both older and taller. For a second they stared longingly into each other’s eyes, while Angela traced her lover’s lips with a finger.

She then nibbled on her lower lip, feeling parts of her grow moist, compelling her to move closer, until their lips made contact. It was as though the ground trembled whenever they kissed, every time, a moment of pure bliss.

The immaculate park and its patrons faded into a fog, until only they remained. Their passion, this act of intimacy, did not need to be shared with every soul in proximity. Besides, their love for one another was never meant to be shared with the public. Even here, they were taboos that were not meant to be broken.

“Alone at last,” Edith said with a contented sigh.

“That’s why I chose this age,” Angela said. “How can I indulge in the sweet lips of an angel as a child?”

“True,” Edit answered while she subconsciously ruffled her white feathered wings.

Angela, despite her name, did not have a pair of her own. Her death may have been slow and excruciating at the hands of a ghoul, one that sensed the cancer consuming her from within, that had not been enough to warrant ascension.

Edith on the other hand, had dedicated the bulk of her life to hunting things that preyed on humanity. Or at least that was true, until she found a better cause to fight for.

She joined a band of women who were fighting for the right to practice their faith. A group that was being systematically hunted down by the government. Her original intent had been to gather intelligence, trying to root out the cause of this aggression. Was this nothing more than a tug of war between church and state? Or was there someone, or something pulling the strings in the background?

What she found was a sense of belonging that never materialised at the Tower, a secret order of hunters loosely aligned with the Church. The fact that she met a breathtakingly beautiful soul while infiltrating the group sealed the deal. Of course, as with most cases of love during a war, tragedy struck and took her away. Killed by a creature she had sworn to eradicate from the face of the earth.

That death had not only been traumatic, but it set something within the depths of her psyche. Edith had never been known for risk taking. She was the source of strength for the girls; a trait many rallied to in times of crisis, but that was also her greatest weakness.

Her heart torn, she ventured out to recover her lover’s body, but ended up getting captured by the local militia. Edith put up one hell of a fight, but what could a lone woman do against the combined force of an army? She did what many of her compatriots had done in her situation, pray for strength, even as they raped and tortured her. Despite weeks of brutal interrogation she held firm, and kept her wits about her, waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

One of her captors had taken a liking to Edith’s body, and often claimed dominion over it. Since she was known to put up a fight, they normally secured her to a table as a precaution, forced to adopt a position that made her more cooperative. That time, he forgot to check the knots.

She choked the life out of him with the ropes used to bind her. For a moment Edith stared at this so-called man, whose trousers were puddled around his legs, and spat on his corpse in disgust. That man somehow managed to ejaculate just as his life became forfeit, effectively being rewarded for all of those sick and depraved acts carried out in life.

That night, Edith showed the world just how brutal a hunter could be, when pushed beyond the breaking point. A platoon of men were based at the compound where Edith had been held. Once the sun shone on her for the first time in months, there was not a single man left breathing. Those killed in their sleep, were the lucky few. Others had been hung, shot, electrocuted, burned, skinned alive, or disembowelled.

When reinforcements arrived later that week, most chose to drop their weapons and run, while others chose the cowards way out. After all, being charged with desertion was preferable to the chance encounter with an avenging spirit, or as she became known, the Ángel de la muerte.

These atrocities did little satiate her bloodlust. While these men wholeheartedly deserved their fate, there was someone else equally deserving, the one who masterminded the attack that killed her love. That thing, a traitor to the Tower, was a powerful vampire hell bent on destroying all those who opposed her.

It took weeks, but the vampire named Drusilla was found at a place called the Grand. A luxury hotel nestled in the mountains that turned out to be a haven for their kind.

Fortunately, this hotel was a couple of hours away from an army training base. It took little more than charm to get access to their munitions cache, and take what she needed to exact her revenge. Once at the hotel she found her target, lured Drusilla to her room, and set off a series of charges. The fiery inferno she unleashed in that explosion claimed a lot of lives that night.

That’s how Edith ended up at the Pearly gates. She soon learned that her self-sacrifice had earned her a set of wings. While Edith did not see her elevation as a blessing, she nonetheless embraced the opportunity to cross the threshold and be reunited with her first love.

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

Cause and Effect – Part V

Breanna heard a series of hurried steps down adjoining corridors. People were scrambling to evacuate the building, so naturally she wondered why. Her curiosity was further piqued when her mobile vibrated, the sound it made was deafening in this quiet room.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

While their technology was far superior to such a crude device, nothing of theirs was currently operational. Since Mason and Brett were busy removing panels from the false floor in an attempt to access the generators, she used her fingerprint to unlock the device.

It took a moment for the men to realise what Breanna was up to. How was this possible? Their technology were designed to survive the rigours of interstellar travel, and yet a toy designed by these apes worked fine.

“What are you doing with that?” Mason asked.

“As in doing with a mobile? Or what am I busy doing with it?” Breanna asked absentmindedly.

Mason had to think about it before answering, “Let’s start with the first part.”

“People think those who don’t have these things as though they are from Mars,” Breanna said in all seriousness.

The men looked at one another and smirked. It seemed that their female cohort spent far more time amongst the apes then they assumed. It also spoke volumes on how much attention they paid her.

“Besides,” Breanna added. “It’s a great way to get out of any unwanted small talk, or get some creep off my back.”

That concept was alien to them, sure they looked like Greek gods, but women tended not to force themselves upon them. This was their first real insight they had on the plight of human females.

“Glad I was selected to be a male,” Brett said with a smirk.

Breanna gave Brett a dirty look before saying, “I got tired of disintegrating aggressors.” Her eyes narrowed on the last part, just to drive home the point that this was a less than subtle threat, before adding, “That tends to bring up a lot of unpleasant questions, not to mention the need for an alibi when someone is last seen alive with you.”

“So what about the latter?” Mason asked in an attempt to change the subject.

Breanna looked up at the boys for a few moments before she answered, “According to Bealzabook and some of the major news services. There are several reports of a shockwave that circumnavigated the globe.”

“Global?” Mason asked.

“Since McMurdo station in Antarctica reported the disturbance,” Breanna said. “I think it’s safe to say that it is.”

Mason paused for a moment, his mind going over the hundreds of variables in his head. All in an attempt to figure out what was required to generate this kind of event? None of the permutations he could think of would permit it, at least not with the precise application of frequency and power.

“Did you confirm all of the settings prior to triggering the tachyon discharge?” Breanna asked before giggling at some random meme on her timeline.

Mason turned to look at Brett, because that was the one variable he had yet to consider. There was no way that someone in this room was capable of making such a simple mistake.

“Oops,” Brett said.

Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!

Harvard Beets

Beets were a frequent side at large family gatherings. Their distinctive red colouring and juice made them easy to spot. This recipe adds sugar, vinegar, and cornstarch to transform this side into something akin to a dessert.If you were on the fence between love and hate for beets, this recipe may very well have you embracing this treat!

Ingredients

  • ⅓ cup (80 ml) of water
  • 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of cornstarch
  • 14 fluid ounces (400 ml) of canned beets (drained)
  • ½ cup (120 ml) of white vinegar
  • 1 cup (235 ml) of white sugar

Preparation

  1. In a small bowl mix water and cornstarch. Set aside.
  2. In a medium saucepan on high heat, add vinegar and sugar.  Bring to a simmer. Stir frequently until sugar dissolves.
  3. Set heat to medium Add beets. Heat for approximately 5 to 10 minutes to allow for the beats to warm throughout. Stir occasionally.
  4. Add cornstarch mixture to the beets. Continue to heat stirring until sauce thickens.
  5. Remove from heat, beets are ready-to-serve.