This particular creature was making no attempts to conceal its escape. Given the clothes and his submissive nature, such behaviour was to be expected. Clara suspected that city dwellers knew little on tracking animals or how to avoid being tracked; these were not survival skills people needed in the land of steel, brick and mortar.
The path was random and confused. At first they were travelling towards the front and suddenly veered away from it. If this creature was disorientated, that would complicate matters.
After about an hour she saw a dark silhouette against the ridge. The gentleman’s dress and hat were a dead giveaway. Was he waiting for the female’s return? No matter, Clara looked at her watch and saw there was another twenty minutes to go before the crepuscular sky.
Clara knew that he would instinctively seek out shelter and was capable of burrowing into the ground to avoid exposure. A survival instinct which permitted them avoid their biggest natural threat.
She had her own share of risks if she remained on the hunt past sunrise. For one, she might be spotted by an observation balloon or a passing aircraft. They might report her presence then have her arrested, which would lead to an execution by firing squad for cowardice.
It was only about a hundred yards or so to her objective. Without cover that would be difficult, since he would bolt if anyone in uniform approached. This meant she needed to distract him and she was not looking forward to the rest of her plan.
Concealed by a small crater Clara removed her tunic, shirt, padding and wrapping. Already her skin was turning to gooseflesh, but she relied on her training to ignore the cold; at this point it was mind over matter.
Beneath all of those clothes she wore a slip, simple, and not too showy. With her trousers out of the way, Clara pulled down the fabric, grabbed a knife and cut the slip so he would get an eyeful.
Almost ready she hurriedly removed the pins from her hair to let it down in the hopes that it would make her appear more feminine. With any luck she would not rely on the holy water applied to her lips nor would he notice the bayonet held behind her back.
Ready, she headed up the ridge wearing the boots and little else. Clara even elongated her steps to make that sway in her hips more pronounced. This had to be a first, trying to seduce an enemy in a warzone.
The man turned to find Clara moving up the ridge, even in the moonlight she saw the fear melt away. The look of confusion set in, followed by a shit-eating-grin. Luckily for her, men seemed programmed (for the most part) to enjoy the sight of a woman, especially one in a state of undress.
“You’re not Gladys,” he said.
“So the female had a name, a modern one too,” Clara thought.
Now there were a few ways to answer the question. Either she ignored his question or reply no which might arouse suspicion. Although she could always act confused to see how gullible this man was; her instincts told her the latter would prove most effective.
“Gladys,” Clara asked.
The man’s smirk grew into a full-scale smile, so he was clearly not thinking with his head. What were the chances of a half-dressed girl showing up in the middle of No-Man’s-Land? Then again, most of them were like Jack and considered themselves to be direct descendants of Casanova.
“I could not resist,” Clara said in a distant tone.
“Of course not,” he said. “Come hither my sweet,” he added while adopting a smouldering look.
If Clara were not so cold she might have felt the effects of his charm. Hence the reason she applied a bit holy water to her lips. Instead, she fought the urge to roll her eyes while she continued on with her approach. This pose had the benefits of pushing her chest out front and centre. Given her hard nipples, she knew that she was giving him a show.
When she got within a few feet, she noticed him back away subconsciously. He must have been newly turned to be so affected by her presence. Faith was a potent weapon, but she needed him to overcome his aversion. In a few minutes the sky would begin to lighten and he would run for cover.
“I want you,” Clara said while pulling down on her slip to expose her bare breasts.
The appearance of willing flesh was all the motivation he needed. This time when she took a step and he did not move, enabling her to get within inches of him.
Clara ran a finger along the buttons of his jacket until they reached his trousers and said, “I need you.”
He leaned in, his lips gliding over her chest towards hers. Soon their lips would be locked in an embrace or so he hoped. In truth the burn from the holy water would send him into a tailspin, but Clara had a different plan in mind. Just before their lips made contact she drove the bayonet into his chest and pierced the heart.
She pulled away just before his body dropped to the ground. She covered up her breasts since there was no sense of exposing them to the elements now. Without a second’s hesitation she then pulled his smoking jacket away and wrapped it around her. It might have been too big, but at least it would help her stay warm.
The look on his face was priceless. Clara adopted that same smirk he wore when he first set eyes on her. Of course, he did not appear to be receptive to her brand of humour.
“What a shame,” Clara thought.
“How,” he asked.
“You let your ego lower your guard,” Clara said.
“Why,” he asked with a strained voice.
“You’re a perversion,” Clara replied. “An abomination that needs to be culled,” she added.
Clara broke eye contact with the man. She searched the area and began to gather any stray pieces of wood she found. Most had already been scorched, but that mattered little. Every time she recovered an armful she piled them over his paralysed body.
“What are you doing,” he asked.
Clara did not bother to reply, instead she fought her urge to shiver. Unfortunately, she could not afford to lose this opportunity to extract information.
As the sky turned from a deep blue to purples and pinks the man’s eyes nearly popped out of his head. He panicked as his survival instincts kicked in, he knew that his time was drawing to an end.
“Let me go,” he exclaimed.
Clara snickered before she dropped more wood onto the body. By this point in time he was partially covered in kindling. Unfortunately that meant more material was needed.
“She said no one would get hurt,” the man said.
Clara paused for a moment and said, “Who?”
“Gladys brought me here to meet that man,” he said. His voice was shaking when he added, “A simple transaction to get them to open some door.”
“Really,” Clara asked.
She dropped more wood by the body while the sky began to assume some yellow hues. She was cold and looked forward to what would come next.
Despite her joints being stiff from the cold, Clara knelt down by the man and grabbed the bayonets hilt. She nudged the blade deeper into the wound and watched while he screamed in agony. It was time to up the ante.
“So why were we there,” Clara asked.
The man sighed in relief once she stopped, but he knew that was only a temporary affair.
“Gladys never told me,” he answered.
That answer was not hard to believe, but Clara had nothing to lose. She grabbed the hilt of the blade and shifted it further motivate him.
“Are you sure,” Clara asked.
“Yes. Please don’t,” he pleaded.
“No mention of a name,” Clara asked while she wiggled the blade. “No mention of a contact,” She added.
The man seemed torn between enduring more pain and the thought of what Gladys would do when she got a hold of him. Meanwhile Clara saw how the sun was moments away from peering over the horizon.
Clara kissed him on the cheek. At first he seemed confused until the skin began to smoke and bubble. In that moment he learned just how dangerous Clara was.
“Drusilla,” he exclaimed in hopes that she would end his pain.
The pain was about to end, just as the sun’s rays reached the top of the ridge, the man’s skin began to blister and blacken. Clara backed away to a safe distance, watching as smoke rose from the body.
Just as he burst into flames the whoosh overcame his screams. Clara’s eyes began to water as the life giving heat made her feel warm for the first time tonight. God she needed that!
Clara now had a name to go on. In a couple of minutes she would run down to fetch her uniform. She would then head back to the church to find Edith.
That plan could wait, for now she would warm up by this bonfire. So far this was turning out to be a pretty great morning.
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!