Evelyn Chartres Author
Clara Grey

Bleed Through – Part IV

“I love you!” Edith shouted before she closed her eyes and fell to earth.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

Angela had trouble focusing on the scene. Her vision marred by tears that streamed off her burning cheeks. Even her nose ran like a sieve, and normally that annoyed her, but this time she was too distraught to care.

“How could she?” Angela wondered even though the answer was obvious.

Edith wasn’t the kind of person to stand back and let others risk their lives. Even if doing so risked her own life on several occasions. That was Edith’s greatest strength, one shared by many saints.

“How can I hate her for that?” Angela asked herself.

She closed her eyes and then used some of her limited training from the Tower to focus. As her self-control began to reassert itself, the wave of anguish and anxiety began to wane.

“I’m good now” Angela said as her eyes opened.

Edith was no longer visible by then, gone along with that shockwave originating from the mortal realm. Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach, but she did her best to remain centred. What good was she to anyone as an emotional wreck?

From the corner of her eye, Angela caught the glimpse of a pale brunette hovering over the mortal realm. Despite the woman being roughly thirty years older than she remembered, Angela knew exactly who this was.

“Clara!” Angela exclaimed.

The woman did not respond, instead she closed her eyes, and just like Edith before her, dropped like a rock.

“What’s going on?” Angela yelled out.

“Is there a problem, child?” Gabriel asked.

Angela turned around to find the archangel Gabriel facing her, which immediately explained why he referred to her as a child. Only those who came into existence as angels were capable of seeing a soul’s true form.

“Did you come back for something?” Angela asked while dispensing with any civility.

“Child?” Gabriel asked.

“You left the moment Edith dropped to Earth,” Angela replied.

Gabriel was like an immutable statue, a trait that was common among the natives. It was so frustrating to bare your soul, and see no empathy reflected in the recipient. Her frustration with their kind provided an unexpected reprieve, so Angela channelled this emotion to gain some focus.

“Edith?” Gabriel asked. “Edith was never here.”

That statement almost threw Angela for a loop, but a part of her was expecting to hear such a response. The appearance of Clara from out of the ether did much to lay the groundwork for a working theory. Clearly there was something wrong, but she had no way of proving it.

“Apologies,” Angela said. “I meant to say Clara.”

Gabriel did not respond, although a hiccup in his movement caught her eye. For a fraction of a second, Gabriel had been facing away from her. The movement had been so fast that any ill-timed blink would have meant missing the clue.

“Edith will… shortly… I’m sure,” Gabriel said, even though his lips never moved.

The words appeared to have reverberated from off of some invisible structure. While uncertain of the source, she knew it did not originate from the depths of her mind. Angels were not known to have that ability, besides that sort of communication was experienced differently.

After the hiccup ended Gabriel said, “Clara will be back shortly.”

“I’m sure,” they said in unison.

While Gabriel remained unperturbed by her guess, it did little to help Angela’s state of mind. At this very moment, her heart was migrating from the pit of her stomach to the very tips of her toes. Perhaps she should have been more studious back at the Tower. If only Edith had not been so beautiful.

“Please come back to me,” Angela pleaded before rhyming off a quick prayer that she hoped was heard.

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!

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!

Null and Void

“What happens when you die, Momma?” Clara once asked.

Her mother looked down at those big steel-grey eyes and paused. For a moment, the pain in her mother’s eyes was visible, perceptible even to someone so young.

“Well—,” her mother said before wiping her eyes. “People who pass away go to heaven.”

Clara continued to look into her mother’s eyes even as the predictable question came to her lips, “Heaven?”

What is heaven? Not the easiest concept to explain, especially when one’s husband had just been lowered into the cold hard ground. Questions were natural and to be expected, but this was a daunting task for a mother who could barely keep it together.

“Well—,” her mother said. “Paradise, a place where all your loved ones are waiting for you. Where you will wish for nothing as everything you desire will be there.”

* * * *

“Almost had it right,” Clara said in response to that faded memory.

Clara was perched at the edge of a balcony. This particular vantage point gave her a pristine view of the mortal realm below. Even from this distance, she could make out individual landmarks and people going about their lives.

This was her favourite hangout, enabling her to see how chaos still reigned on the mortal plain. People continued to be born, grow up, fight wars, and die. The only difference was advancements made in technology and medicine. Funny how those advances only made 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 were born in the twenty-first century. All of that knowledge available at her fingertips, but would she use it?

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

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

Clara did not turn around. Instead she continued observing the world. Wait! Were her eyes deceiving her? Clara could have sworn that she had just seen a shockwave emanating from North America’s Eastern seaboard.

“The easiest way to be found is to stay in one place,” Clara said with a smirk. “What brings you here Gabriel?”

The man was tall and built like a Greek god. There was not a single flaw to be found. 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 he the angel Gabriel from scripture and lore? Clara did not know and had never asked. Curious how that particular question had not come to her until now.

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

Clara raised an eyebrow. Any violations on the mortal plain meant that someone was not playing by the rules. Free will was an aspect respected by both sides. Violations meant that someone had not been given the opportunity to choose.

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

Gabriel chuckled before responding, “You look down all the time and yet you cannot see.”

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

For a moment, there was silence and Clara’s discomfort grew. Had she managed to get under his skin? That would certainly be one for the record books.

Alas, Gabriel smirked before he broke the silence, which meant he had been playing her. Truly there was much to learn, even after death.

“A soul was torn away from the light of God,” Gabriel said.

Many choose to forfeit their souls for everlasting life on Earth. Their baptism of sorts, meant they turned their backs on the light of God. This bargain had been going on since time began.

“So what am I missing?” Clara asked.

Gabriel returned to that disconcerting silence from earlier. Given they were both immortal, there was no reason to hurry things along. Before impatience could set in, a flash of insight provided her with the answer.

“It was not voluntary?” Clara asked.

If their kind could banish anyone they wished at will, then that would change the balance. Balance guided all of their actions and a disruption meant a correction was due.

“What are the ramifications to our code of conduct?” Clara asked.

“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 said.

Clara knew very little about this wager. Many on the mortal realm had mused about a game of chance being played for supremacy over the mortals. Some aspects of these stories were likely true while others were a work of fiction. All Clara knew for certain was that no one talked about it.

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

“Me,” Clara guessed. “Why me?” she asked.

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

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

Silently, her mind was racing. The ability to taste life once again filled her with excitement. It would likely not be permanent, but nothing was in the mortal realms.

“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. The degree varies from person to person.”

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

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

“Always,” Clara said.

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

“What a rush,” Clara thought while tearing through the atmosphere like a speeding bullet.

The world before her grew in detail. While she did not have an idea about 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.

“Will a little girl’s wish come true if she wishes upon me?” Clara wondered with a giggle.

Clara made out her destination, a nondescript back alley nestled behind tall buildings. There would be no witnesses in that area once she made contact.

“Three…. Two… One…” Clara said.

Right on cue, her feet hit the ground and absorbed some shock. Unfortunately, that had not been enough, so the concrete beneath her deformed, cracked and became scorched from the heat.

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

“Just as much as not wearing a stitch of clothing,” Clara said while eyeing her bare body. “At least I’m none the worse for wear.”

Gabriel should have mentioned that little detail before 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.

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!

Freyja’s Shieldmaiden – Part II

Time passed by and nothing changed, so Clara wavered between the presumption of madness and sanity. Each argument, when carried to its conclusion, could be used to prove either side.

Eventually, she gave up on this never-ending battle of wills, closed her eyes, and began to meditate. Given the lack of distraction, it was only fitting to relax her body and mind. Once her heart rate slowed, Clara began to recite a prayer.

“What’s the harm in meditating?” Clara asked. “None at all,” she answered.

“Quite correct,” a voice boomed.

Clara fought against her desire to confront the voice. If it waited this long to make its presence known, then she should not risk rolling back any gain.

“I’m Clara Grey,” she said.

A weak opening move, but she had no precedents on how to approach such a situation. How did people normally introduce themselves? They provided their identity and waited for a reply.

“Ah yes,” the man said. “Just as my register states.”

“Saint Peter?” Clara asked.

“Of course, child,” Saint Peter replied. “You can open your eyes now.”

When Clara complied, she found herself in a world of dreams. Clouds, angels frolicking in a bright blue sky, golden gates, and a wise old man behind a podium looking through a ledger. It was perfect, too perfect.

“Had I guessed Osiris, Aeacus, or Freyja, would you have replied accordingly?” Clara asked.

The old man quirked a brow while his deep blue eyes twinkled. Even now, she saw that he was concealing a slight smirk.

“Of course, child. That is, if you had been Egyptian, Greek or Norse,” Saint Peter said. “Freyja would have been proud of her latest shieldmaiden.”

“To ease my transition?” Clara asked.

“In a way,” Saint Peter replied. “Unlike your faith, death has always been a part of life.”

“Will I be judged?” Clara asked.

Saint Peter chuckled then said, “You were judged before you reached these gates.”

Clara’s eyes widened in surprise. While technically an answer, it did not address the how. Did that matter?

“You were expecting different surroundings?” Saint Peter asked.

Clara shrugged because she honestly had never thought about it. If one followed the tenets of a Franciscan monk, then Clara was far from immaculate. Her list of sins was rather extensive.

Saint Peter flipped a few pages. He appeared to be pensive as though he were absorbing a large amount of new information quickly.

“Projections indicate that you might have lived for thousands of years had you accepted Hecate’s proposal,” Saint Peter said.

Clara remained quiet. The idea that she could have lived a long life if she acquiesced to that goddess was astounding. She had been so certain in her convictions that she would end up as a chew toy to be tossed out once threadbare.

“You were given a sixty percent chance of ending up a goddess in your own right,” Saint Peter added.

“What happens in the other forty?” Clara asked.

Saint Peter cringed before he said, “Less than desirable.”

“Just ducky,” Clara said.

“Although, you did cut short Drusilla’s forecasted lifespan by two thousand years,” Saint Peter said. “I can also assure you that she won’t be passing by these gates.”

It was Clara’s turn to quirk a brow, even if the news did not come as a surprise. Although, it was still a point of pride that Drusilla’s reign of terror warranted a different locale.

“You only talk of probabilities,” Clara said. “Why is that?”

Saint Peter leaned in nice and close from his podium before he said, “Free will tends to wreak havoc on predicting the future.”

Until now, Clara had equated omnipotence with all knowing. Admittedly, it would be difficult to account for over a billion people on the planet. Accounting for every action and thought accurately over time meant there were no random elements to life. In hindsight, Clara thought that reality would turn out to be quite boring.

“Were those two choices the reason I am here?” Clara asked.

“You were judged on the whole of your life,” Saint Peter said. “Those were merely recent highlights.”

The gates opened, but Clara did not move. She was not quite finished with this conversation.

Sensing this, Saint Peter said, “Those highlights did not tip the balance of where you’d end up. However they did a great deal in determining your role in the afterlife.”

Clara looked puzzled when she said, “Role? What role?”

“All in due time,” Saint Peter said while directing her through the gates.

So Clara smiled, curtseyed smartly, and walked on through the gates. She wondered what she would find on the other side.

“All in due time,” Clara 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!

Freyja’s Shieldmaiden – Part I

Clara’s eyes opened in a flutter and revealed an immaculate world. Not only were the walls a pristine white, but so was the ceiling, floor and, alarmingly, so was her gown. Everything was imbued with a white so intense that she had trouble focusing.


“Just ducky,” Clara said although her voice did not echo back. “I’m in the nuthouse.”

Clara had been in sanatoriums before, places where colour and style were relentlessly shed away to avoid upsetting a patient’s fragile psyche. Of course this was the first time that Clara was there as the patient.

Occurrences were rare, but from time to time one of them would wind up in an institution. Normally they were newly turned, still clinging to their unravelling humanity. Hunters would pose as doctors or nurses to infiltrate the site and deal with the threat.

“Mister Jones,” Clara said. “The doctor feels that some fresh air would do you wonders,” she chuckled.

Sometimes these sanatoriums would suffer a devastating fire in the early morning, a side-effect of not reaching these patients on time. There were no official causes in the reports, but those from the order had their suspicions.

“Am I mad?” Clara asked.

That was an interesting question. Would someone suffering from a sickness of the mind be able to answer? Would they even be able to formulate the question?

After all, believing she was a well-travelled flapper who cleansed the world of the undead was bound to have people contact the nearest nuthouse. Clara could just as easily be suffering from a psychotic break. After all, she did remember being burnt to a crisp in a fiery inferno.

As the memory of Drusilla’s final moments filled her mind, she had to ask what was going on. Clara reached for her face and felt her smooth clean skin. She sighed in relief, thankful that while perhaps insane, she had not been mutilated in the fire.

“That still doesn’t mean that I’m sane,” Clara said.

In fact, her steady heartbeat, pristine skin, and surroundings did more to lend credence that this had been nothing more than a drug-addled dream.

Clara checked her arms for needle marks but found none. At least the staff did not have to inject her with drugs to keep her docile. However, that did not preclude a steady diet of mind altering pills.

For a moment, Clara seemed to find the idea of being institutionalised somewhat alluring. A world without a care, all thanks to a state sponsored high that she could never afford at an opium den.

While she had never tried to kick the gong around, the idea of being in a blissful drug induced haze did have some perks. But were the monsters encountered throughout her life brought on by her addictions? Did they not refer to it as chasing the dragon? Could it be that for the first time in her life she was actually seeing the world clearly?

The reasonable thing for her to do was to wait for an answer. A doctor or nurse would eventually come through that door to check up on her. Wait? What door?

Clara examined every surface of this room and found it free of seams or imperfections. For lack of a better term she was inside a geometric shape. Fortunately, it was too big to be a coffin.

“So where is this light coming from?” Clara asked.

There seemed to be no specific source. It was as though she were being immersed in pure light. It certainly explained how everything was a pristine colour of white.

Where was she now? Where to begin?

“First off,” Clara said. “Light.”

A pure white light, flawless in every way. True perfection was often used to describe art and architecture, but perfection was a myth. People were imperfect beings who subsequently passed down their flaws to their creations.

Some occasionally told her how she was beautiful and perfect in every way. Of course that was a lie, most men said such things to get a girl in bed. She had her flaws, everyone did, so to witness true perfection was almost…

“Like being touched by God,” Clara said.

Clara looked from side-to-side half-hoping that her current reality would change to reveal the truth of her situation. She supposed that simply invoking his name was not enough.

“Two,” Clara said. “Trapped in a perfect geometric shape.”

Again, the element of perfection implied the presence of God. Clara seriously doubted that Hecate could manage such a feat. Those three personalities would never be able to work together long enough to make such a construct possible.

“Construct?” Clara asked.

In this particular case, a blank slate. Clara was quite literally in a world without a basis in reality. She was not thirsty, hungry nor uncomfortable. How long had she been standing? Where was the fatigue? Her need to pee?

“Curiouser and curiouser,” Clara said.

Alice had the benefit of transitioning from one world to the next. As she fell through the rabbit hole, Alice knew that change was afoot and she was now in unfamiliar territory.

If this was a precursor to reality, then who controlled the settings? Now that was a question that deserved an answer.

If Clara were truly insane, then the control of this construct rested with her. That meant things would be getting rather interesting. To her, it might have appeared normal, but for some hapless witness it would be a rendition of Through the Looking Glass on Opium.

If she were sane and in control, then Clara hoped she could imagine something more entertaining than this sterile scene. A mind this empty spoke volumes on the personality that spawned it.

That meant someone else was pulling the strings. Who and why were questions that she could not easily discern. She needed to peer beyond this construct to gain insight.

“What a shame,” Clara said. “Yet another challenge,” she sighed.

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!