Elizabeth was unconscious by the time Clara landed. Fortunately, the commotion down the block managed to lure away potential witnesses. So this left her the perfect opportunity to eventually ask a few questions.
Clara had no idea who this was, but sensed she was connected to the mission. Although, this felt more like finding a piece of the puzzle than getting the whole picture. Either way, if Evelyn wanted her dead, that was reason enough to make sure it did not happen.
Clara propped up the unconscious woman against the brick wall. Even in the back alley, the aroma of freshly ground coffee invaded her senses and brought a smile to her sweet lips.
“God,” Clara said. “I missed that smell.”
Elizabeth mumbled something in response, but was clearly still out of it. Clara was astounded that anyone in her early thirties could deal with what happened without experiencing a complete breakdown. It was her experience that adults rarely took the news that there were vampires well.
“Hey,” Clara said softly.
The other did not react. Even though she was standing, her conscious mind was in limbo.
“Hey lady,” Clara said sharply.
Still there was no reaction, so Clara used two fingers to push out a powerful whistle.
“Wha—,” Elizabeth mumbled.
After considering all her options, Clara smiled. There was one choice left, one that Gabriel would never approve of. Without a second thought, she slapped Elizabeth’s cheek, just enough to get the desired snap and yet would not leave a bruise.
“Wake up!” Clara barked.
That impact, combined with the loud noise forced Elizabeth’s mind out of the fog. Banished from a dream world, one far away from the horrors of the night, she remembered everything in frightening detail.
Clara knew that look well, the wild eyes darting from point to point. Her breathing was shallow and movements twitchy, just like she was about to pounce or make a break for it. The state of shock was natural, given the situation, but she needed to settle things down.
“It’s okay,” Clara whispered.
A soothing voice was called for, given Elizabeth’s heightened senses. Anything louder could push her into a flight or fight response and that meant nothing but trouble.
“Are you okay?” Clara asked, her voice nearly a whisper carried on by the breeze.
The other’s eyes shifted slowly towards Clara and focused on her inviting smile. Hopefully, that would do much to disarm the situation. Yet recognition might just as easily plunge Elizabeth back to the memory of that traumatising event.
Clara was trained to deal with situations like this. The ability to control her heart rate and appear to be perfectly at ease, even during an all-out war, were integral to a hunter’s state of being. It never paid to have an opponent guess one’s true state of mind and situation could sour if the woman panicked.
“Don’t worry,” Clara said. “That baby vamp and her billboard won’t be bothering you.”
While Clara spoke English, the context of that slang lost its significance long ago. Elizabeth’s mind struggled to decipher the words and, by chance, it managed to calm her down.
“Wha—,” Elizabeth said, although that’s all Clara understood with any clarity. Once her mind regained control, she said, “What are you talking about?”
“Evelyn and her beau,” Clara replied. “They are no longer a threat.”
“Are you my guardian angel?” Elizabeth asked.
Clara chuckled before she answered, “Can’t say that I am.”
“Oh,” Elizabeth said, disappointed. “I’m Elizabeth. My preferred pronouns are she and her. Yours?”
Now the ball was in Clara’s court. A lot had changed in the last decade, let alone the last century. While her disarming smile remained, she looked down at her bustier which showcased an ample amount of soft flesh and shrugged.
“Clara,” she replied. “The girls don’t seem to have a preference on pronouns, although in my time I preferred flapper over biscuit.”
“You’re not from around here are you?” Elizabeth queried.
“I was born north of here,” Clara said. “Although, you might say that I have been on an extended sabbatical.”
Elizabeth wanted to ask what she meant by that. When was the last time anyone used the term flapper outside of some era specific movie? Or on Halloween? What the hell was a biscuit?
As Elizabeth’s mind struggled to consolidate all of these loose ends into a coherent thread, her mind lapsed, wandered, and, in that moment, became aware of something more primal. This woman, dressed in leather, was not only badass, but was also smoking hot.
“Pretty hot for a grandma,” Elizabeth said absentmindedly.
Clara broke out in a deep laugh. In the background, her wings expanded instinctually, creating a very peculiar, and yet stunning, effect in the shadows. Elizabeth did not understand what was going on, so she focused on the leather clad babe instead.
“I was never a mother,” Clara said with a contented sigh. “Although, I might have run across an ancestor of yours at a petting party,” she added while nudging Elizabeth’s ribs.
“Petting party?” Elizabeth asked.
Clara cocked an eyebrow, then laced her fingers with Elizabeth’s before saying, “You don’t want to know.”
“Wha—,” Elizabeth tried to ask.
“Trust me,” Clara said while pulling the other along. “Now let’s get some coffee. Your treat!”
When they turned the corner, Elizabeth spotted something that made the hair on her neck stand up straight. She could not help but stare at the well-dressed couple who crossed their paths. In the back of her mind, she half-expected their skin to decompose and fall to the sidewalk in clumps. If it weren’t for their trademark wedding rings, one depicting night while the other represented the day, she would have assumed the resemblances were purely coincidental.
“Good evening, Elizabeth,” the man said, while the woman smiled politely as they crossed paths.
She stopped dead, dumbfounded, her mind once again at odds with what she knew to be true. Despite the certainty of the moment, all that disappeared into the ether when Clara tugged on her sleeve. This distraction forced her to look away long enough for the couple to disappear.
“Come on!” Clara urged as the aroma of fresh coffee wafted her way.
Elizabeth blinked several times to confirm that her eyes were not deceiving her. The couple was nowhere to be found and that seriously led her to question her sanity.
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!