She had fond memories of her leaping between rocks to get on the island, while wearing a cute dress, and a pair of rubber boots. This was her kingdom, a refuge from reality that it was time to grow up. It was sobering that she could cross the pond in one step now.
Edith had no idea what to expect once she crossed the threshold. That echo she experienced moments ago did a lot to fan the flames of her imagination. Surely, such an armed force would come as a response to an illegal operation?
So, imagine her surprise when she walked into a normal and mundane apartment, at least for someone who lived and breathed during Edith’s heyday. The living room contained a few pieces of tasteful art, and while expensive, they evoked no emotional reaction. On the other hand, an entire wall had been dedicated to a collection of books which impressed her, at least until a brief perusal revealed the truth: a lawyer lived here.
Next to the fireplace, she noticed a simple wooden desk. On top, there was a typewriter, something she learned to use early on at the Tower. Women of the Tower were expected to blend in, and back then, secretary was a common profession for women.
“That thing is older than I am,” Edith said while her fingers glided over the keys.
Edith noted there was a distinct lack of technology here. She saw people walking around with tiny devices. There were storefronts that showcased bigger screens filled with vivid imagery. It all seemed to be universally available.
“So why is none of that here?” Edith asked.
That question slipped from her mind once she set eyes on a manuscript. She read the title, The Portrait, and made a note to investigate it later. At that moment, it seemed more prudent to finish searching this apartment.
The kitchen was easy to clear, and as a bonus, Edith was able to secure a series of well-balanced knives, suitable for throwing. These were quickly secured around her thighs using sponges as sheaths and keep them in place.
Since her dress flowed freely around her generous hips, their presence was nearly invisible. Sure if someone was paying a great deal of attention to her legs, they might notice them, but most would focus on her bust or behind.
She also managed to acquire a few larger knives. Those were stashed away in her purse, enabling her to be more effective at hand to hand combat.
While the master bedroom was straight ahead, Edith first stopped by a guest room. This room had been converted for use as a studio and reeked of paint. There were also other tools lying about, that she recognised for use in stone carving. All around, there were ample works to be found, and while some were quite good, others were better suited for the garbage chute.
An easel stood in the corner, one covered by a white sheet. It appeared to be staged, even a bit contrived, so Edith became suspicious. None of her senses uncovered any hidden mechanisms connected to the easel, nor anything embedded in the walls. Given how low key the rest of this home was, she half-expected it to be a tableau mort. Edith learned long ago to never underestimate the ability of the quiet ones to unleash hell on earth.
A portrait of a gruesome murder or the dismemberment of a corpse would have been easier to deal with. In the foreground, there was a woman of unimaginable beauty: long hair that was black as onyx, intense green eyes, sharp facial features, and a body that could have been sculpted by a master artist. The curves of her body were still there despite an attire designed to make her look boyish, just like any other self-respecting flapper of her day.
There was also something suggestive about that girl’s smile, an invitation to take her hand and enter a world of pleasures people only dreamed of. Edith had always been drawn to women, desired them, and found it hard to resist the call.
“Obviously,” Edith said. “She was more successful with you than I ever was…”
In the lady’s wake, stood a woman she knew well. She was taller, sported a bobbed dark-brown coiffure, elfin ears and steel-grey eyes. Edith had spent many an hour committing every detail of that face and body to memory. She even recognised her trademark smile, the one used to advertise just how cocky she really was.
Edith touched the canvas longingly, while a lone tear ran down her cheek before whispering, “Clara.”
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!
“There are consequences to hiring disinterested staff,” Edith said while walking out of the store.
The clerk never looked up from her phone, let alone to intervene. Edith harboured no guilt for leaving the store with an ample supply of munitions, toiletries, and a purse. Everything fit nicely within the latter, which simplified the matter of leaving through the doors unmolested.
The cab was waiting, so she opened the door and boarded the yellow car. When the driver looked up at her through his mirror, Edith relayed the destination and they soon pulled out into traffic.
This driver also had a demonic lust for his phone, or at least for whoever was on the other end of the blower. Edith did not mind this time; she had an opportunity to observe her surroundings in peace.
The deeper they ventured into the city, the more built-up it became. Even at this time of night, there were herds of people waiting at the lights. While the city had been teeming with people at night in her time, the scale was unmatched.
The gravity of changes to this city was clear once the cab crested over the bridge. At night, the city was awash in electric light, enough to make the cloud cover glow.
The city had grown a great deal since her time. Sure, there were skyscrapers on the horizon when she lived, but they did not dominate the skyline as they did now. Edith imagined that she was looking at a multi-coloured mountain range. It made sense. The city needed to grow, and islands were boundaries that were hard to ignore.
The closer they got to her park, the more certain she became that this was indeed the right call. Edith had always believed in the chain of command and put faith before reason. Those beliefs, for the most part, had only been strengthened in death, a by-product of having lived to see the truth.
Eventually, the cab cut through a dense urban neighbourhood and drove into the park. Until then, the call of the piper had been so powerful, but it was nothing more than a faint whisper now. All she knew for sure was that the deeper this cab ventured into the park, the more the sensation of being pulled waned.
Without saying a word, Edith closed her eyes and focused until the world came to a crawl. Every word the driver uttered over the phone grew deeper and more exaggerated, like a record being played at unusually low speeds. At that moment, Edith left the cab, cruising through the landscape in an accelerated state.
As a precaution, she remained in that state until there was ample cover. From the driver’s point of view, Edith had simply vanished. She observed the driver’s eyes bulge and how he stared aimlessly into his mirror in an attempt to find his fare. Fortunately, he was paying just enough attention to the traffic, to avoid running into the cab ahead.
Edith chuckled as she waited for the driver to disappear from sight. Now it was time to wander about. So she scanned the buildings built along the periphery, those that were located just beyond the wall. At first, she had no idea what she sought but soon realised that faith was directing her once more. Without any more to go on, Edith followed a random path until she crossed one of the gates.
“There,” Edith said while looking at a building.
It wasn’t the tallest in the block, but there was a certain charm associated with buildings dating back from the early part of the last century. The familiarity of the architecture and style evoked a strong sense of nostalgia, so much so that she nearly shed a tear when memories of that era came flooding back. Edith hated getting emotional on missions and would have been severely reprimanded for her inability to suppress these manifestations of humanity.
Most of the girls from her group had looked up to Edith before the Great War. Most sought to emulate her, especially the ability to right herself in the worst of storms. Despite all of that strength in life, Edith found there was little left to draw from now. All she wanted, desired and sought was to find her way back to her Angela. This mission would never be done and over with fast enough.
A doorman exited the building to greet a cab, and moments later, a tenant stumbled out and was assisted inside. Since the doorman was sure to be otherwise occupied, Edith was left with an opportunity. With clenched jaw, and resolve steeled, Edith crossed the street.
Ingress was child’s play since Edith had no trouble forcing the lock to access the main foyer. From there, she was faced with a bird cage, one that featured a wraparound stairwell.
A century ago, they would have indoor aviators on staff, someone in uniform who handled the elevator’s controls with a smile. Now, people did it themselves, unless they were too inebriated to do so.
While the car climbed towards the upper levels, Edith was nudged to a stairwell that led up to a mezzanine. She shrugged and headed up those stairs just as the birdcage stopped at the top floor.
The halls were wide freshly painted looking more like a high end hotel than a residential block. It even featured a thick red carpet to cut down on the sounds of pedestrian traffic. Edith found it hard not to feel humbled when surrounded by all this opulence.
As she turned a corner, Edith stopped cold. Her eyes fixed on the scene, committing every detail to memory, just like she was trained to do. Ahead, there was a bullet riddled area, which brought back memories of the bombed out buildings she had encountered during the war.
Extensive and sustained gunfire had left the wall riddled with craters. Blood splatter was everywhere she looked, a clear indication that these bullets hit their mark prior to impacting the wall.
“Run,” Evelyn said.
Edith heard the sound of a trigger being pulled followed by the roar of a shotgun. Before any other sounds were heard, she was already low to the ground, poised to strike.
She opened her eyes, looked up, and noticed that the walls were pristine. Gone were all traces of bullet holes, cracked plaster, or blood. The carpet even looked like it had been recently vacuumed.
“So why am I still hearing gunfire?” Edith wondered.
An all-around search revealed no signs of activity. The sounds and visual stimuli were completely disconnected from one another, like watching an out of sync talkie. So with no other signs of danger, Edith got back on her feet.
Edith approached the wall and ran a hand over the surface. It was smooth, even with inconsistencies expected of a wood slat and plaster combination. She knew that this type of construction was difficult to repair on short notice and fixing it with modern materials required replacing the entire wall.
What she witnessed might have been real. Her years of experience as a hunter taught her that there were phenomena throughout God’s creation that could not be explained. For all she knew, some old god had created this elaborate illusion simply to get off on her reaction.
Satisfied that she was not in the middle of a warzone, Edith turned the corner and found a door at the end. Given the peep hole and brass number adorning this heavy oak door, she figured this had to be one of the units.
All of her instincts urged her to move forward. Just beyond that door was her reason for being. Cautiously, she approached, listened intently, and then put her ear against the door.
“Nothing,” Edith whispered.
She focused until the hum of overhead lights dropped in pitch, then drove her shoulder into the door. The impact sent a shower of splinters in every direction but fortunately, did not draw any unneeded attention.
While Edith was not armed, when properly motivated, any woman could be a weapon powerful enough to change the tides of war. This time, she had the element of surprise.
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!
Clara left the bathroom while Elizabeth was in the shower. Her friend was humming to some nineteen-nineties tune that Clara never heard of and given the length of her hiatus, that was hardly surprising.
Clara paused when a draught of cold air ran up her towel. Her freshly shaved berry patch was more sensitive than normal which caused her to shiver, an unexpected although pleasant reaction.
She walked deeper into the living room and let the towel drop into the floor. She immediately reached for her bustier and slipped it back on. The cool leather felt great against her soft skin and it invigorated her senses. Odd how these experiences made her miss these small pleasures of life.
Paradise lacked all those elements in life that made people uncomfortable. Heaven was never too hot, too cold, too humid, or too windy. In return, the joys of kissing warm lips in the cold rain or running across the crinkly grass after a morning frost were absent. Until now, Clara had not realised just how much of that she missed.
After Clara finished slipping on her leather pants, there came an applause from behind the kitchen island. As the clapping hands echoed throughout the apartment, the sound of running water abruptly stopped, along with all other sources of white noise.
Clara had experienced this situation before, and was not looking forward to this particular reunion. She considered reaching out for the sawed-off shotgun, but figured she ought to be polite for now.
“It’s been a while,” Clara said.
She turned around slowly to avoid an early confrontation. The last time, these sisters had fed off one another’s delusions, which resulted in Clara taking a bolt of energy to the chest. Still, despite losing her life in that attack, Clara had managed to rid the world of a long-time foe. Not a bad way to buy earn her passage into Heaven.
Sure enough, the sisters were sitting at the kitchen island. Just like last time, they wore contemporary attire, more feminine than what Clara was wearing. They all wore a long skirt that flowed down to their ankles, a lightweight, sheer, gauzy blouse, and jewellery to compliment the entire affair. In effect, the sisters were dressed to blend in.
The silvery sister who wore a locket adorned with a key, marking her as the goddess of the moon, sat in the middle. Her face and aura reminded Clara of the moonglade and she doubted that effect was coincidental.
The one on Silver’s right glowed blue as current flowed through her entire body. Sparky, so named because she glowed like a spark gap transmitter, wore a locket that bore the imprint of a lantern. This was the goddess of magic and judging from those glowing eyes, she was poised to strike.
“Odd, they don’t seem to think I’ll play nice,” Clara said under her breath.
The last one was the Ethereal sister, the one who looked as though she had one foot in the grave, the one graced with a translucent complexion. This one also had a lantern themed locket, but was a mirror image of Sparky’s. This was the goddess of necromancy and of the dead, forever the paranoid killjoy.
“Well. Well!” Clara said. “Someone has been to the hen coop.”
How fortunate for her that the Ethereal sister would not have much to say tonight, seeing how her sisters sewed her mouth shut. That in itself was both a blessing and a curse. After all, her over-reaction last time had been the linchpin of Clara’s plan.
The look of hate on Ethereal’s face was priceless. If looks could kill, Clara would have dropped dead on the spot. Although Clara had to admit, that one time was more than enough.
“Not surprised to see us?” Silver asked.
Clara shrugged before replying, “No. You used the same parlour tricks the last time we met.”
The hunter walked slowly, and deliberately towards the kitchen. The sisters had obviously witnessed her getting dressed, so they knew she was unarmed. Still, it was unwise to force a response this early in the game.
“You thought you’d seen the last of us?” Silver asked.
“To be honest, I never planned on returning,” Clara said with a smile.
Sparky’s glowing eyes followed her every movement but she did not engage. Without Ethereal’s poisoned tongue, Silver had effective control over the group. Clara did not care for this new dynamic, since it worked in their favour. That meant she would need to sow some discord.
From the island, Clara got a better view of the kitchen and the chaos unleashed prior to her exiting the bathroom. Right next to the stove, there were bodies, doppelgängers, one for each sister. Clara’s eyes quickly scanned the kitchen and saw how the fridge door was dented leaving a mess of blood, milk, and condiments pooled around the base. The stove itself looked as though it were singed, indicating that Sparky had a bit of fun earlier.
The kitchen was covered in blood splatter, and Clara found it surprising how none of that was visible from the living room. Then again, it was also curious that she missed the odour of burnt metal and cooked flesh.
“Friends of yours?” Clara asked.
Silver scoffed, then snapped her fingers, which caused an amphora with four glasses to appear. The goblets had a golden hue and Clara recognised this as being ambrosia, a drink she had a passing familiarity with. She even remembered how just one drop of that giggle water was enough to diminish the most intense orgasm she ever had.
“Not really,” Hecate said. “Abominations that were never meant to exist.”
“Really?” Clara asked with curiosity.
“We may have ruled this world as gods thousands of years ago, but that doesn’t preclude us from understanding the mechanics of space and time,” Hecate said before a brief pause. “One of your own once said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”
“I must have missed that particular quote,” Clara said, as she grabbed a drink. “Being dead does tend to leave one disconnected from popular culture.”
The three sisters emulated Clara but kept their eyes focused on her even while they brought the drink to their lips and took a sip. All except for the frustrated Ethereal, who once realizing there was no way to partake, she smashed her goblet against the floor in protest.
This time, the flavour and associated sensations were subdued, almost mundane. Was this related to her ascension as an angel? Was her new physiology better able to handle ambrosia? That idea left her distinctly disappointed. However, it did give her an idea of where she stood in relation to the sisters. Clara was no longer the helpless human and hoped to play that to her advantage.
Clara finished off the rest of the ambrosia in one shot and replaced the goblet before saying, “Similar to the Georgian’s ability to manipulate time, I suppose.”
Sparky let out a giggle which led her to accidentally send out a jolt of energy, one that burned a hole in the couch. Clara looked at the damage and smirked just as the goddess of magic covered her mouth in embarrassment.
“Funny that you mention them,” Silver said.
“We suspect they caused this whole mess,” Sparky added.
“What mess?” Clara asked.
“You haven’t noticed anything odd since yesterday?” Silver asked.
“Like a shockwave?” Sparky threw in.
Ethereal sister tried to say something, but her words were muffled. She glared at her sisters then stomped her feet like a child having a fit. Clara bit the inside of her cheek to keep from laughing and despite the pain, she almost lost control.
“Now that you mention it,” Clara said. “I did see a shockwave propagating over the Eastern seaboard before I fell. I also saw Edith…”
The goddesses smiled before merging into one body. Unlike their last encounter, she did not cycle from one persona to another. Instead, she adopted her nondescript form, the one that permitted her to move freely amongst humans.
Meanwhile, Clara shifted away from the counter and noted a knife block that held a few knives. Hopefully, Elizabeth was picky about the quality of her blades, and was keen to keep them sharp.
“We are attuned to variations in space and time,” Hecate said. “We can discern elements that are not from this reality, failed paths that should have atrophied long ago.”
“You’re talking about probabilities?” Clara confirmed.
That question had a profound effect on the goddess; she broke apart so Sparky could ask, “How does she know?”
The silvery sister grabbed her sisters’ arms in an attempt to draw them back. It was clear that none of this had been scripted and that it could escalate into another situation.
Frustrated, Silver said, “Fools, she obviously met the Gatekeeper.”
Clara had never heard of the Gatekeeper, although it did not take much to figure out that Hecate was speaking of Saint Peter, the one who kept a vigil over the gates of Heaven taking on the appearance of whatever form the soul was most comfortable with. Clara had hoped to meet Freya for what she assumed would be an awe inspiring opportunity to meet one of the Norse gods in full armour.
When Hecate succeeded in dragging her selves back into a singular shape, she answered, “Alternate choices create a separate branch of existence. Normally, the paths not chosen will wither away over time while this reality forges on.”
“Saint Peter told me that the ability to choose tended to wreak havoc on determining outcomes,” Clara said.
Hecate nodded before she said, “We are more attuned to such disturbances because of our inherent ability to manipulate space and time.”
“Obviously, and something drew you here,” Clara said.
“Of course, the signs are everywhere. People going about their business, unaware that they died years back. Duplicates, like that rubbish, and structures that were torn down are now standing tall again, or fused in with a new construction,” Hecate said.
The goddess took the amphora, refilled the intact goblets, and downed the precious ambrosia in a straight set. Clara was impressed, there was no time to come up for air.
“So why would you suspect the Georgians?” Clara asked, even though several reasons ran through her own mind.
“Who else?” Hecate asked. “The combined power output of humanity is insufficient to achieve this level of distortion.”
Clara mulled things over: the abandoned boutique where she heard signs of Edith rifling through clothing and finding that abandoned truck. Could these occurrences have been the result of reality being shattered? This meant the effect had not been confined exclusively to the mortal realm.
“So what brought you ladies here?” Clara repeated.
A sickly grin spread from the edge of Hecate’s lips, one eerie enough to send a chill down Clara’s spine. This one was planning something and that meant it would assuredly be unpleasant. As a precaution, she slowed down time, just enough to heighten her reaction times and, with a bit of luck, the change would remain undetected.
Clara watched as Hecate’s lips moved slowly, her voice now lower in pitch and stretched. So far, the goddess was not aware of the change.
“We were curious,” Hecate said. “These three caught you on the news fighting that undead whore and became furious that their high priestess exposed herself to the world.”
Clara nodded when appropriate her mind wandering as it often did when starving for information. Every movement needed to be planned, and executed with precision. At this speed, even an errant blink could appear unnatural, something vampires often failed to compensate for.
“So, we followed them here and disposed of them while you were in the shower,” Hecate said. “Now we have all the time in the world to exact our revenge.”
Clara’s eyes focused on the goddess’s hand. When her fingers moved to form a snap, Clara further accelerated her reaction time so that the motion was nearly arrested.
She grabbed the knife with the largest handle. As the stainless steel chef’s knife exited the block, she noticed the fingers moving faster. This meant Hecate figured it out and was trying to compensate. Clara gripped the handle with her dominant hand and used her wings to provide her with a bit of a boost. With every passing second, Hecate’s movements accelerated.
It was close but Clara managed to drive the blade though Hecate’s fingers until it reached bone. Normally the knife would have stopped there, but given her momentum, the steel deformed as it cut through until it broke apart, leaving a finger and thumb hanging by a thin layer of skin. Clara continued on past the goddess just as the blade exploded into a shower of shrapnel.
Hecate’s muscles spasmed from the pain but her eyes continued to track Clara’s flight path. The shock and anger left a fiery inferno glowing in those eyes. The pain had been so overwhelming that all three goddesses mirrored the wince as they tore themselves from the whole.
“What a shame that Sparky’s eyes are already aglow,” Clara thought.
Unable to keep this up for long, Clara returned to normal speed and her timing could not have been worse. It left her with no time to react to the blue beam of magical energy that arced through the air and struck her right in the chest.
Initially, her muscles contracted and relaxed at a ridiculous rate while the magical energy coursed through her veins. She should have been in a lot of pain, so much so, that her mind would shut itself off before going mad. Instead, the surge left her invigorated, all powerful, and feeling distinctly aroused.
This surge of energy forced her wings to expand. As they swept through the room, they struck the side lamp and caused it to shatter against the floor. All the while, her feathers darkened, leaving her to wonder if they would burst into flame. Instead, they turned jet black.
As her body and mind adjusted to this surge of power, she determined that it was not being channelled as much as stored. Clara opened her steel-grey eyes which were themselves aglow. While Clara did not fully comprehend what was going on, she thirsted for more.
The closer she was to Sparky, the more she felt alive, even a bit randy. With her free hand, she grabbed Sparky’s arm to feed directly from the source.
The effect was immediate. Sparky’s eyes began to dim but Clara did not care. Instead, she leaned in until their lips brushed lightly against one another. The electric charge that flowed over the surface of their skin made Clara yearn for more.
When Clara pressed their lips together, a shockwave knocked down knick knacks, plates, and whatever was not secured within a radius of several feet. Clara moaned and with that, discovered that her partner had also surrendered to the passion.
Their tongues intertwined and danced together in this exchange of passion. The act of gaining strength while the other weakened, made her feel invulnerable. This moment left her overwhelmed and Clara experienced an orgasm for the first time in ninety years.
As Clara sensed that last stray volt leave Sparky’s body, she plunged what remained of the knife into her partner’s chest and pierced the heart. The metal may have been weakened, but with enough brute force, even a rock could penetrate armour.
Sparky gasped. Her eyes grew wide in shock before they went out. Clara watched as Sparky coughed up golden blood which slowly transformed into a dark red, the same colour as a human’s.
Clara turned around and let the corpse fall to the floor without care. The glow from her eyes illuminated the room, bathing the sisters in a ghastly light. The look of horror etched on their faces was plain as day and that only emboldened her.
“I’m the avenging angel,” Clara said.
Ethereal tried to reach for a knife but Clara reached out with her wings and pulled this remnant towards her. In a flash, the wings surrounded the translucent creature and before Ethereal reacted, Clara channelled all of that stored energy through her wings straight into her victim.
Clara immediately caught the odour of burning meat, but her training made it a snap to block it out of her mind. With her lips sewn shut, Ethereal was unable to scream, nonetheless, the muffled cries of agony were horrifying. These pleas for mercy were ignored by the executioner, which served only to terrorise what remained of Hecate.
The angel discarded the charred corpse just as easily as the last. By the time the body impacted the floor, all that remained were scorched bones.
“A fitting end for that mustard plaster,” Clara said with a wry smile. “Now where were we?”
Once those words soaked in, what was left of Hecate tried to bolt. Clara was ready for that eventuality. She simply swatted the woman with a wing and sent her on a collision course with the kitchen island. Hecate collided face first into the tile top, bounced off, landed on her ass, and slumped onto the floor.
Clara walked over casually to the counter and picked up the amphora. Based on her last encounter, the amphora never emptied. She looked at the glowing liquid with glee and hovered it over Hecate. Without hesitation, she poured the fluid over the goddess’ mouth and nose.
It took a few moments, but Hecate’s eyes shot open before she tried to sit up. Clara held Hecate down using her knees and kept the arms pinned down with her wings. She continued to pour while the goddess struggled and stopped only once the other was significantly weakened. Hecate gasped for air but that was followed by a coughing fit. Still, she never took her eyes off of that amphora.
“Ready to talk?” Clara pressed.
“You’ll pay—,” Hecate tried to say.
Clara was not about to show leniency— not for her— and poured even more onto Hecate’s face. This one showed no mercy in the past, nor shared Clara’s concern for the carnage that Drusilla was capable of. She was an aberration, a crime against nature, and deserved to be culled. Clara was only fulfilling her role as a hunter but first, she needed answers.
“Ready?” Clara asked.
Hecate saw the amphora hovering above. Instead of actively fighting Clara, she opted for a passive aggressive response by nodding.
Clara was not about to stand for that, she poured more ambrosia over the goddess for good measure. This time the goddess was more cooperative, effectively broken, and would do anything to stop further torment.
“Yes!” Hecate pleaded.
“Oh good!” Clara exclaimed in an overly cheerful voice.
“What do you want?” Hecate asked faintly.
“Simple,” Clara said. “You mentioned Georgians earlier.”
“What about them?” Hecate hissed.
The mere threat of sending down more ambrosia made Hecate cringe. Clara’s steel-grey eyes narrowed, serving as a warning that there would be no leniency.
“Where are they?” Clara questioned.
“Here…” Hecate answered.
“As in, this city?” Clara pressed.
“Y-Yes,” Hecate stuttered.
Clara smiled. That was the first bit of good news yet. Seeing how someone owed her a favour, this might just be the way to collect.
“Where are they precisely?” Clara asked letting a drop fall onto the goddess’ forehead as a reminder.
Tears streamed down Hecate’s face, her eyes puffy and red from the emotional turmoil. Clearly these gods were not accustomed to being treated so harshly. Humans had been both tormented and tormentors of others for generations. Clearly they had outgrown their former masters in this regard.
“I—I—” Hecate faulted.
“You don’t know?” Clara prodded.
Hecate nodded vigorously, erroneously filled with a sense of relief, one that followed when a captive believed their pain was about to come to an end. However, Clara was not quite done.
“What use are you to me then?” Clara asked and followed through with a sick grin. “Unless you have insight into what happened to the Tower?”
“Th-The T-Tower?” Hecate asked.
“The order also known as the Tower,” Clara said. “The one I belonged to before you decided to interfere with my hunt.”
The goddess broke down entirely, wailing as though she had suddenly grown a conscience. It was obvious that this creature knew nothing more but Clara was an instrument for God and would not show compassion. Without a second thought, Clara used her free hand to block Hecate’s nose and shoved the mouth of the amphora down her throat. At first, the goddess convulsed, tears streamed down those swollen cheeks, and guttural pleas filtered through those overflowing lips.
It must have taken a good five minutes before the liquid poured freely out of Hecate’s mouth. Clara did not look at the body, nor at the sight of the bulging stomach. Instead, she closed her eyes and concentrated. The goddess’ heartbeat had been steady until now, but it was faltering, and worsened until Clara was met with a deafening silence.
Clara sighed before she used the island counter to help herself up. She ignored the existing corpses while avoiding the worst of the gore in the kitchen to make her way to the sink. When sounds of the waking world returned, she began to vomit into the stainless steel receptacle. Her stomach may have been empty but brought up bile nonetheless.
Clara had been a hunter all of her life and never experienced this type of reaction before. She set vampires aflame, decapitated her foes, shot them in the head, and even condemned a soldier to his fate on the battlefield. In those cases, she never felt a morsel of remorse. And yet?
In the last moments of that creature’s life, she seemed so hurt, so… so human. Clara had made an oath to never directly kill or maim humans. Those who were guilty of collaboration were to be condemned by society itself, not members of her order. Somehow that brief glimpse of humanity evoked an overwhelming sense of empathy.
She wiped the bile from her lips and washed away whatever lingered using the sink’s spout. Clara needed to overcome this turmoil since she had done the world a great service by killing Hecate. Eventually, these memories would fade, just like the trauma induced by witnessing Father Michael’s neck being torn open by a vampire. His death was the reason she became a hunter, and yet, she no longer remembered that they shared the same eye colour.
Clara sighed, turned to face the bathroom, and marched right in. She needed to prepare Elizabeth for what would be witnessed once she walked through that door.
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!
Elizabeth woke up with a start. She snapped straight into a sitting position which caused the sheets to slide off those generous breasts and pool around her hips. The cool chill of the air immediately hardened her nipples and marked the moment she noticed her nudity.
The memories of last night had dulled like they would for nightmares. Elizabeth ran a hand through her hair, fighting through the knots caused by cold sweats, tossing and turning. With every knot unravelled, she winced which further banished memories of that nightmare from her conscious mind.
“A dream,” Elizabeth whispered.
The sound of her voice was reassuring but her words rang with false hope. Surely, meeting a former lover who turned out to be a creature of the night was nothing more than a scene featured in a straight to video horror flick. The plot alone would rank amongst the worst in Victoria’s collection.
The morning chill made her shiver, so she brought the duvet up to her chest. The warmth had yet to dissipate and for a moment she was at ease, scanning the room for anything out of place. Everything was exactly where it should be except for her clothes, an oddity, since they were neatly folded at the foot of the bed.
“What?” Elizabeth asked herself.
Elizabeth had always been a bit of a slob. It was her wife who kept order amongst Elizabeth’s chaos. At first, they had disagreements about their living arrangements but that soon passed when both seceded certain habits in the name of marital bliss. Hope began to swell from within that her wife was back, that is, until she looked into her overflowing closet and saw that Mary’s suitcases were still gone.
“Mary is still on tour,” Elizabeth said under her breath.
Sensing that her mind was playing tricks on her, Elizabeth closed her eyes. Paranoia took hold and every sound further fuelled her uncertainty. Fortunately, the fact that her tongue felt like the hair of a stray dog sleeping in a dumpster behind some seedy strip club, did much to bring her back to reality.
“Oh right,” Elizabeth said just as her head began to throb.
She must have had a lot more to drink than she believed, given how memories of that chat were a mangled mess. Elizabeth had more clarity when viewing an impressionist painting than she did from her own memories at the moment.
The attempt to remember what happened only worsened the dull throbbing in her head. The young woman sighed and with one quick movement, cleared the sheets from her body. The cold air invariably made her shiver which motivated her to leap from the bed.
“Cold!” Elizabeth yelped.
She hurriedly made her way to the bathroom, passing by the darkened living room. The sun had not yet peeked over the cityscape, so only the dull orange street lights filtered through the windows.
Without a thought, she sat down to pee and absentmindedly went for a drawer within arms reach to rummage for some acetaminophen. Elizabeth shook the bottle. No sound. Since it was empty, she did a thorough search until another bottle was found and this one was almost full.
“Dammit!” Elizabeth muttered while she fussed with the child proof lid.
Eventually, the cap popped off and flew through the air. Elizabeth made a note to fetch the cap later. With her head feeling as though it were in a vice, she popped three pills into her mouth and swallowed them dry. For once, she was thankful for not having a gag reflex.
With relief delivered on both fronts, she left the bathroom, on the mend. Her eyes had adjusted to the reduced lighting, and she was able to traverse the obstacle course she called a living room.
She was thirsty and wondered what there was in the fridge to quench it. Her sense of logic urged her to grab some orange juice to hydrate and provide her with a quick boost of energy. Then again, another equally powerful voice was tempting her to start this day with a shot of Jack.
Alas, she never made it to the kitchen. Her peripheral vision caught something white against the dark pleather couch. Elizabeth stopped cold and turned to have a better look. From this vantage point, she perceived the outline of ten toes shared between two feet.
Her breathing grew short and shallow while a growing sense of panic overtook her senses. Still, she remained fixated on those feet, committing every detail to memory, namely how they were smaller, narrower, and decidedly more feminine than expected.
“Did I hook-up last night?” Elizabeth asked in a whisper.
She looked down at her ring as guilt overshadowed her desire to panic. Determined to dispel any such thoughts, she approached the couch from behind and leaned over the top until more bare skin came into focus.
Her anxiety increased with every inch uncovered, at least until she saw that the sleeper’s chest and midsection were covered with a leather bustier. Her eyes drifted down to her rather dark haired muff and further down to her silky smooth legs. Every visible part of the woman was feminine, sensual and nearly perfect.
While the sight of that great figure evoked no memories, that all changed when she gazed down the woman’s slender neck and sharp facial features. In her current pose, she looked more like a nude rendition of sleeping beauty than her guardian angel from last night.
Those suggestive lips brought to the forefront all the memories of what happened last night. The face before her dispelled any notion that this had been a nightmare. A shame, since nightmares were easier to deal with than memories of actual trauma.
Elizabeth moved to the front of the couch and watched as Clara breathed lightly. Her breasts, trapped within the confines of her bustier, rose and contracted with every breath. For the life of her, she could not figure out how this woman was still asleep.
The idea that a warrior such as this could ever be at peace made Elizabeth question several pre-existing notions. Clara ran down that man last night, then smacked around her vampire ex-girlfriend as though it were child’s play.
The cool air made her skin prickle. Clara did not seem to be bothered at all, in fact, the warm pink flesh implied that she was quite cosy and warm on the couch.
Envious, she reached down to shake her guest but confusion set in once her fingers ran over the soft texture of feathers. They were warm and airy just like her childhood pet parakeet’s feathers.
“Feathers,” Elizabeth whispered.
“Mmhmm,” Clara said before letting out a soft sigh.
Elizabeth snapped her arm back, “You’re awake?”
“Since you woke up,” Clara said calmly. “I figured that my greeting you would be more upsetting.”
“Feathers?” Elizabeth asked.
Clara nodded and said, “Would you mind stepping back a foot or two?”
Elizabeth was confused, but the smile on Clara’s face convinced her that the request was serious. When she complied, Clara sat up slowly while the sound of feathers rubbing against pleather filled the room. This time Elizabeth did not react when something brushed against her knees.
“There,” Clara said. “I miss sleeping all cocooned in warm sheets, but my wings do keep me nice and toasty warm.”
“Wings?” Elizabeth asked.
Clara nodded while shifting into a sitting position. Even with her legs crossed, the dark curls between remained visible. Elizabeth eventually noticed how the other kept a distance away from the back cushions, just like she did the night before.
“Ab-so-lutely,” Clara said. “They are normally quiet spectacular, but when I fell to Earth, they turned invisible, fortunately.”
Clara turned to her left, and fiddled with the base of the lamp until it lit up the room. This time, when she stretched, her wings cast a shadow onto the floor.
“Neat! That will probably be real popular at parties,” Clara said with a chuckle.
“No kidding,” Elizabeth said flatly as her eyes shifted back to the shadow between Clara’s legs.
Clara quickly ascertained the amazon’s focal point and said, “Is that common now?”
“Is what common?” Elizabeth replied, a bit confused.
“Sorry. A crotch smooth as the day you were born?” Clara asked, smirking as she focused on Elizabeth’s hairless berry patch.
Elizabeth’s face went bright red and she no longer felt the effects of the chilled morning air. Although, she did shift her legs to conceal obscure her light chocolate coloured flower.
“That probably explains why those guys at the bar looked at me funny,” Clara mused.
“Bar?” Elizabeth asked. She thought it best to not wait for an answer, so she replied, “It’s far more popular now, but some women do buck the trend.”
Clara smiled and stood up. For the first time, Elizabeth noticed that her angel was not all that tall. Last night, she appeared to be about the same height or smidge taller. Now that Clara had lost a bit of her lustre, she noticed there was a nine inch difference between them.
Clara clearly liked the view she had at eye level and said, “Are those common now too?”
Elizabeth looked down at her breasts which easily filled a double-D cup and specifically focused on the areola that matched her berry patch. She then noticed the grin on Clara’s face which implied that the question was made in jest rather than as a serious inquiry. Still, she also sensed that Clara was genuinely impressed by their size, shape and firmness.
“Well, I’m about the average these days,” Elizabeth replied, in awe of how forthcoming she was.
Clara looked down at her girls and while partially concealed by the bustier, they were closer to a C cup. Elizabeth watched as her saviour smiled but was not a party to this inside joke.
“I can still handle a sword though,” Clara said before looking to her left and out the window. “Sun is about to rise. We should get washed up and grab a bite to eat,” she continued after tossing a casual glance at Elizabeth’s ring finger.
The tone of those words had a devastating effect on the tension, and rightfully so. Either way, Clara was right, it was time to get up and start their search.
“Do you want to go first?” Clara asked.
Elizabeth was about to ask something, but changed her mind and said, “You go first.”
“Great,” Clara said. She took a few steps, stopped, then pivoted towards Elizabeth before asking, “Do you have a razor that I can use?”
“What! Why?” Elizabeth asked.
Clara grinned, pointing towards her bush which put the problem on display, “A gal has to blend in, you know?”
“Sure,” Elizabeth said, but immediately mulled over some random detail that she picked up from a late night documentary on the television. “Do you know what a safety razor is?”
“Does it involve a leather strap and straight blade?” Clara asked.
Elizabeth bit the bottom of her lip and said, “While I have a strap in my closet, I don’t use it for that… purpose.” Elizabeth sighed before adding, “Come on, you’ll need a towel, and scissors anyhow.”
Clara nodded and unhooked the back of her bustier. If anything, this woman was not shy about showing off her figure. She then placed the bustier neatly atop her other items, which solved the mystery surrounding her own neatly stacked attire.
“I guess it’s a bit of a jungle down there,” Clara said nonchalantly.
Elizabeth was flushed, and uncomfortable but was pretty sure that Clara would not let this progress beyond the point of no return.
“I’m spoken for,” Elizabeth whispered and for the first time in her life, was disappointed by those words.
“Do you have a lot of shampoo?” Clara asked before falling behind to follow Elizabeth.
“What—,” Elizabeth was about to ask, but once she felt the warm feathers run down her back, she got the clue.
“There should be enough,” Elizabeth said keeping eyes focused on the bathroom door.