Evelyn Chartres Author
Dark Fantasy

Morpheus’ Embrace – Part II

“All done!” Victoria exclaimed

She ripped the page from the drum of her antique typewriter, and placed it neatly upon the fresh stack. Her muse was back, and this new material would keep her creative juices flowing for the foreseeable future.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

Victoria leaned back, and heard the familiar creak from the chair. She looked into the fire as it crackled happily while its flames danced, and left her momentarily entranced. Victoria thought about the hours spent looking at the beauty of those flames and found it hard to imagine how all of that was about to change.

A lot of things had changed in short order, with more to deal with in the upcoming years. This time there was a guide; someone to lead her, and Victoria hoped their relationship would grow like it had for Evelyn and Marc. It was her wish that she would not only call Evelyn a friend, but consider her to be a sister, albeit a deceptively older one.

A smile appeared on her face, once she heard a knock at the door. She excitedly, jumped over the corpse of the building’s doorman to answer it. How unfortunate that he needed to be dealt with in such a manner. Unfortunately, he had been far too inquisitive about her return, and his bothersome insistence on calling the authorities only sealed his fate.

At least he was delicious, and still remembered the ecstasy experienced from draining the life from him. The essence of his life now flowed through her veins, it invigorated her, but that now came with the faint smell of his decomposing corpse. When she opened the door, Evelyn greeted her and kissed Victoria tenderly.

“You have been naughty, non?” Evelyn asked with a giggle, and licked the last of his blood from Victoria’s lips.

Victoria blushed, but Evelyn said nothing more on this matter. One’s first kill was a personal matter, as were the emotional and psychological repercussions. That had been the way for Evelyn, and that would be the same for any of Victoria’s progeny. Corpses did pose a problem, but there were ways to make people disappear. One did not live long in this day and age without having a few tricks up their sleeve.

Victoria turned her attention to the fire before noticing that Evelyn was different somehow. There was something about her attire, which was better suited to a formal New Year’s ball. Her suspicions were confirmed when Evelyn slipped her hand into a bag, and pulled a beautiful porcelain mask. At first, she imagined this mask to represent some wild beast, just like those described in her writings. Instead, it turned out to be the perfect porcelain reproduction of Evelyn’s face.

“Sometimes the truth is far more monstrous than fiction ma chère,” Evelyn said.

To that, Victoria agreed. Predators did not hide their true intentions, their motives were plainly governed by their genetics. While a growl and teeth could elicit primal fear, people were in far greater danger when such traits were hidden by the thin veneer of civility.

“Now come!” Evelyn shouted, while she glided over the uniformed corpse. “We have to introduce you to the family, and I assure you that their masks will not be as obvious as mine.”

With a smile, her mentor walked into the hallway and left Victoria to clean up before following suit. On her way out, Victoria left the fire a well-deserved gift for being her kindest critic, and biggest fan. She was certain the flames would happily consume this final token of her appreciation. Just as she closed the door, never to return, the flames spread over the cover page and left only the line The Portrait visible.

In the hallway, she heard Evelyn say in those musical tones, “In case you are wondering. Marc will be the one wearing a mask representing a dire wolf… Though he will be doing so grudgingly!”

All the while, Victoria thought back to what she wrote long ago, and said, “Remember, what lies underneath, is by far more frightening.”

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!

Morpheus’ Embrace – Part I

It was a couple of hours since the incident, and the lab was still in complete disarray. Half of the false flooring was gone, removed to access the fusion generators below. Test equipment and tools littered what little was left of the floor space, which confined Breanna to her station. Fortunately, she kept busy by running system diagnostics while keeping an eye on their remaining power reserves.

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The North wall, farthest away from the exit, had been scorched black after a fire broke out at one of the associated workstations. Fortunately, emergency power had been restored by that time, so the integrated fire suppression systems dealt with the threat before the lab turned into a crematorium.

“I told you to check the polarity!” Mason yelled.

Brett just glared at the team leader, and avoided making eye contact with Breanna who was snickering at the outburst. These generators were his pride and joy, and knew their designs intimately, he should not have been second guessed.

“I’ve maintained these generators for the past twenty-five years,” Brett said.

“So?” Mason asked.

“So I’m sure the power bypass is compatible with our systems,” Brett said in all honesty.

For now they were at an impasse. Mason was also aware that the polarity, phase, and the voltage at the tap was compatible. The generators alternate feed was designed to provide long-term auxiliary power, that was their primary function. So why did they nearly blow out the power grid in the attempt? They needed auxiliary power to restart the generators, only then would they have stable power.

Breanna cleared her throat to get the men’s attention. Both of them looked up from the mess of wires and circuits to focus on their counterpart. Brett was clearly annoyed by the distraction, while Mason seemed relieved for the opportunity to focus on something else.

“This service manual for the Mister Fusion Mark Twelve Bravo says…” Breanna said, before she paused to decipher the schematics. “That you should have tapped after the converter to get the correct polarity.”

The men turned to one another, and collectively shrugged. Now that was downright odd, since what she reported did not match what either knew to be true.

“We have a Mark Twelve Alpha,” Mason finally said as a way to avoid escalating tensions.

“Yeah,” Brett said. “Bravo’s are fitted on interstellar craft, not ground installations.”

Breanna shrugged and quickly tapped on her dimly lit console. The systems were scaling back their processing power as reserves dwindled. This trend would continue until they established auxiliary power.

“Wait one,” Breanna said while the query ran in the foreground. “The system’s firmware pings back as a Bravo.”

“No way!” Brett yelled.

Breanna turned around so fast that the men flinched. Her eyes darted in their direction, sized them up before looking away slowly and sighed. She then rubbed her temples in an effort to calm down. Breanna may not have been born a redhead, but she clearly embraced that particular stereotype.

“You want to come up here and check?” Breanna challenged.

Mason cringed and thought it best to say, “Why don’t you check the tally plates, Brett.”

The request coming from Mason managed to diffuse the situation. Brett disappeared from sight, since getting to those plates required him to squeeze by two industrial capacitors, followed by hugging the outer casing to avoid making contact with exposed circuits.

“Fuck!” Brett yelled, although the sound was muffled by the surrounding equipment.

“Everything good?” Mason asked.

“No!” Brett exclaimed just as he lit a red filtered torch. “I just ran into a high capacity power conduit.”

For a man who insisted he knew these generators intimately, that certainly raised a slew of questions. One did not just forget the location of power transmission lines, because inadvertent contact when the system was operational meant disintegration.

Minutes later, the red light bled out into the room followed by Brett. It gave the man a certain demonic look, despite the wide eyes and soft features that were trademarks of those humbled.

“Mister Fusion Mark Twelve…” Brett said. “Bravo,” he whispered.

Mason cocked an eyebrow once that information hit him. His memories were clearly aligned with Brett’s. In fact, he would have bet his life on it. No matter, his bruised ego could be addressed at a later time, and for now they needed power.

“How long will it take you to establish a power bypass?” Mason asked.

Brett sighed, then looked up towards Breanna. His shoulders were slumped and his face was crestfallen. It was clear that he did not take well to being proved wrong.

“I don’t know,” Brett replied. “I’ll have to consult the technical manuals to provide an assessment.”

“So safe to say that you’ll need at least four hours?” Mason asked.

“Safe to say,” Brett responded. “Yes.”

Mason turned to Breanna and said, “Does that phone of yours still work?”

Breanna withdrew the device from the depths of her lab coat. She tapped on the surface, and on command the screen came to life, so she nodded.

“We are going to be here a while—,” Mason said.

“On it,” Breanna said in haste, seeing how she could stand to eat as well.

Breanna flew past the apps and menus until she neared the entry she sought. At least, that had been her intent, but the Chinese restaurant she sought was not listed. Odd, since she passed it just this morning, and the memory of that fried rice wafting from out of their exhaust, was enough to make her salivate.

“It’s not there?” Breanna asked.

“What do you mean?” Mason queried in return.

“General Chang’s Lucky Wok,” Breanna said. “Doesn’t show on Scroogle or even on Street Peeper.”

“I loved that place!” Brett whined.

Mason stepped back, and immediately latched onto a solid object, to avoid falling in between the equipment. Distractions in this current situation were ill advised, but these disconnects from reality were making it more likely.

Was the group’s collective memory faulty? Not only once, but twice now? Or was there something else at play they had yet to consider?

“What’s there now?” Mason asked.

Breanna spread her fingers over the screen to zoom in on the sign and answered, “King of Donair.”

“What’s a donair?” the men asked.

Mason was tired of this, so he hopped skipped and jumped through the gaps, until he reached the exit. Once he pressed the button, he expected to hear the airlock equalise pressure. Instead, the door slid open to reveal a storage closet.

“What the fuck!” Mason swore.

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 IV

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

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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 III

“I love you,” Edith said as her thoughts faded back into reality.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

“I’ve always known,” Angela replied. “How else could you summon me from beyond the grave to warn a friend?”

“I could have joined you that day,” Edith said. She took Angela’s hand and pressed it against her chest, “We could have been in each other’s arms far sooner.”

“It wasn’t your time,” Angela said just as reality began to reassert itself.

Angela giggled before she grabbed Edith by the hand, and dragged her through the park until they reached a series of steps.

“Why are you taking me here?” Edith asked.

Angela turned back for a moment, careful with her steps to avoid tripping and said, “I know you love it there.”

“Why would you think that?” Edith asked out of curiosity.

Angela did not say another word until they reached the top of the steps. From there, it opened up to an observation deck, where someone could see the mortal realm.

“I’ve seen you here before,” Angela said.

Edith looked around, and saw that they were alone. That in itself was not unusual, there was something to be said about seeing the world that contained both the beauty, and pain of life. It was simultaneously a reminder on how sweet the fruit of life had been, and that one would never again partake. Very few chose to go through that torment, although she often felt compelled to do so.

“I know that you come here,” Angela added.

“You’ve been following me?” Edith asked with a smile.

“Of course!” Angela exclaimed before she kissed her lovers cheek.

“Good girl,” Edith replied with reddened cheeks.

Edith did come here on a regular basis to stare down at the world. At first, she did not know what compelled her, but in time she came to understand the reasons. While Angela had been her first love, there were others who had awoken similar affections, including another hunter of great renown.

“Clara Grey was it?” Angela asked.

That name brought a smile to her lips, the mere mention of that name was like casting a spell that let loose, all those cherished memories. Edith would have gone through hell and back for her, and to this day had no clue what had happened to her.

“How—How did you—,” Edith tried to ask.

“Know?” Angela asked. “She was the one you summoned me to find. The one who saved your life that day.”

“I’m impressed,” Edith repeated with a grin.

Edith kissed Angela with such passion that her lover’s legs nearly gave out. For a moment, nothing else in existence mattered, save those lips. Oh how she longed to stop time, and make this moment last an eternity.

Alas even in this realm, time moved at a predictable rate. When she opened her eyes, Edith gazed inadvertently towards the mortal realm. There was a certain beauty to God’s creation, even though atrocities happened daily. That notion alone was enough to make someone wonder if free will had been a good idea.

At this moment, the North-American continent featured prominently. In her search for Clara, she would peer down through the clouds, searching for clues on her friend’s passage. Every attempt proved fruitless, Clara would have been over one-hundred-and-twenty years old by now. There was no chance that she was still alive at that age. Or was there?

Then from the Eastern seaboard, she witnessed a shockwave that expanded outward until it enveloped the Earth. The disturbance caught her eye, and broke from the kiss to focus on the event.

Confused, Edith said, “That’s odd.”

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!