Evelyn Chartres Author
In Flanders Field

In Flanders Field The Poppies Blow – Part V

With the heat of the morning sun came a renewed offensive that shifted the lines back to the west. It took thousands of men and millions of tons of munitions to advance even a mile and just like that their fortunes had been reversed.

Clara used the chaos of battle to make her way back to the church. The first thing she noted was that there were no traces of Gladys’s body. Fortunately, it looked like Edith had made it out on her own, so Clara went on to their rendezvous point.

Once she reached the remnants of the home, she heard a bird whistle. Clara replied by varying the chirp and saw Edith come out from the shadows wearing her nurses uniform. Clara’s partner looked very much worse for wear.

“You look like you had a rough go,” Edith said.

“I was about to say the same,” Clara replied.

The girls rarely showed affection, but the long night had heightened their emotions. They hugged one another and sought cover inside so Clara could be debriefed while she changed. With the battle raging on nearby, it was wise to not be seen as a combatant.

“I awoke with the sun in my eyes,” Edith said. “Took me a bit to remember what happened. Once I realised that I had your coat, I figured you put me there before pursuing your target,” she added.

Clara nodded and began to recite the entire tale about blowing several large holes in Gladys’ head followed by her chase of the male. Edith listened intently, committing every detail to memory in case they were summoned to substantiate their report.

“You think the name Drusilla is legitimate,” Edith asked.

“I don’t know of a Drusilla at the Tower but the name was its dying words,” Clara replied. “At the very least we should report it,” she added.

Edith nodded while helping Clara remove the hastily added wrapping and bandages. Bit by bit she turned back into a mature and sensual woman; the perfect weapon against any man who had an inkling for the feminine form.

“You took a big risk approaching him dressed like that,” Edith said as a friend.

“Gladys would never partner with someone who could challenge her authority. So that meant a low level neophyte,” Clara said.

“Still a big risk,” Edith said and this time it sounded like her superior officer.

“I know,” Clara said. “That’s why you are here to keep me in line,” she added.
Edith smirked since the mission would have gone sour had Clara not gone off half-cocked. It was her willingness to take risks that kept them alive.

“I will omit that from my report,” Edith said.

All the while Edith was watching Clara get dressed, long enough to feel a shiver and bite her lower lip to maintain control.

“Did you find anything near the fence,” Clara asked while she adorned her hat and cloak.

“Nothing but a few stains of blood,” Edith said.

That meant that Gladys had managed to heal up enough to escape. She must have gone on a rampage. In the back of her mind Clara wondered if the withdrawal had been caused by the actions of that enraged creature.

“She will not be so easily dealt with next time,” Clara said.

“No she won’t,” Edith said. She then smiled and pulled out a slip of paper, “Oh I almost forgot to mention that I came across this.”

Clara looked at the piece of paper and for a moment thought these were hieroglyphs. However the iconography was inconsistent with anything known from that period.

“What are these,” Clara asked.

Edith shrugged then said, “Not sure. I once came across a reference that mentioned scrolls that contained gate symbols on available destinations,” she added.

“So… A list of destinations and their sequence,” Clara asked.

“Possibly. Either way I will have to include it with my report,” Edith said.

That revelation explained a lot of their trouble in the region. While their portals had been shut down for security reasons, it seemed that these creatures had maintained the status quo. That meant they were able to pop in and out to sow discord just as Gladys had.

At least now she knew why they were dressed as like they were. No one could make that far in No-Man’s-Land without getting dirty.

“We need to hurry. Casualties will be pilling up by the time we get there,” Edith added.

“No rest for the wicked,” Clara said with a sly grin.

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!

In Flanders Field The Poppies Blow – Part IV

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!

In Flanders Field The Poppies Blow – Part III

The snow had stopped just as suddenly as it began. The higher atmospheric ceiling created the illusion that the shelling had moved off, but the timings remained the same.

Just as the last snowflake fell to the ground there was a bright flash of light that came out from the heavens. A column of light formed ahead of the couple and a new entity made an appearance.

Clara was temporarily blinded, but a breathtakingly beautiful man soon came into focus, a real sheik who wore a stylish tailor-made suit. Clara immediately suspected that they were dealing with a Georgian, no one’s appearance was that flawless.

“You’re late,” the female vampire said.

“Perhaps you were early,” the sheik said.

Clara observed how the female bared her fangs for a moment before backing down. Whoever this man was, he had enough sway to force her to play nice for now. It was odd to see someone like her so easily declawed.

The sheik smiled and said, “Is the delivery here?”

The female scanned the area and focused on the girl’s position. Both had been concealing their breathing, but it was already too late. Clara slowly and cautiously pulled out her pistol, there was no way she would go down without a fight.

“Seems our mole has drawn them here,” the female said.

“The deal was for one,” the sheik said.

Meanwhile the female’s partner seemed strangely nervous. This was starting to look like a setup and most in the group were just beginning to realise it.

“They sent in whoever they felt was necessary to complete the mission,” the female said nonchalantly. “I held my end of the bargain now you give me what I want,” she hissed.

“You’ve only held up part of the bargain,” the sheik said.

The sheik pulled something that looked like a spyglass from out of his coat pocket and instantly stretched out into a full-sized staff. Clara had heard of such things before and was now certain they were dealing with a Georgian.

When this sheik raised his staff into the air Clara took aim and fired seven rounds at him. Time appeared to slow down, the bullets came out with a puff of smoke then streaked through the night sky towards their target.

Once the first projectile reached her target, the sheik disappeared in a blast of shimmering light. In its place there was an ashen grey creature with long thin fingers and an oversized head. Its eyes were the most chilling element, large, black, and mirror like. There was no hint of emotion visible in those eyes, simply the dark reflection of one’s own image.

Clara instinctively pressed down on the ejector to release the clip. She then reached into her pocket to load a fresh magazine. Once the spent clip hit the ground, so did the Georgian’s body. The female’s partner looked over the scene in shock, but Clara assumed that would soon change.

“So where is she,” Edith asked.

“You,” the female shrieked.

Out from her peripheral vision, Clara picked up the sight of Edith being hurled through the air. She guessed what would come next, without looking she raised her pistol to the side of her right ear, pointed it at a forty-five degree angle and fired three rounds.

The blast left her temporarily deafened but did little to attenuate the shriek of pain that thing made. It seemed that two of the three rounds had reached their target, much to Clara’s good fortune.

Clara turned around while keeping her pistol trained on the woman and saw that distinctive blood pouring onto the snow. The thick red liquid did not melt the snow or steam in the cold, instead it coagulated and grew thicker. The blood was coalescing into a coherent mass in an attempt to return to its host.

Without a second thought Clara unloaded a full clip into that things head until the carrier remained fully to the rear. She stood there for a moment to observe but saw no movement, for now that was the best she could do.

Clara ran towards Edith and found her unconscious but no worse for the wear. She looked about and thought it best to move Edith somewhere safe. It would only get colder and she needed to make sure that some random patrol would not come across her while unconscious.

She lifted Edith onto her shoulders, then moved deeper into the church until she came across a small room. The door was still serviceable, and could be bolted from the inside, while permitting Clara to sneak out through the broken floorboards above.

Clara placed Edith down lightly and felt a chill run down her spine. Edith would probably get a lot colder if nothing were done to help her stay warm. Since lighting a fire was out of the question, Clara helped herself to one of Edith’s clips and left behind her greatcoat.

Even now the chill made her shiver, so that meant she had to keep moving to stay warm. Still it would be a challenge, especially if she had to use stealth.

She ventured out towards the scene of the altercation. The body of the Georgian was gone, in fact there was no indication that it had been here at all. Hopefully those bastards had learned a lesson about playing both sides.

At least the female’s body was still there. Clara then spotted a set of footsteps that led deeper into No-Man’s-Land. Given an active threat lurking about, Clara knew her primary objective; so without hesitation she began her pursuit.

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!

In Flanders Field The Poppies Blow – Part II

As expected the terrain was treacherous. For the first mile or so the ground was nothing but mud. Stepping through mud created suction which forced them to thread carefully or lose a boot. With every step they brought more and more of the battlefield with them; so much so that they had to use something to scrape off a few layers and bring some spring back to their steps.

Later on they reached a series of trenches which concealed their advance. The trenches were quickly beginning to deteriorate without constant care. Still it gave them ample cover, and they only had to keep an eye out for booby traps.

As they left the network of trenches, it began to snow. The type of snowfall that would have lit up a school child’s eyes; both Edith and Clara shivered as they ventured on towards their objective.

The snow would make it more difficult to conceal their tracks. Despite the risk they pushed on, and used a crater for cover while they surveilled the area. From the safety of a crater, the girls spotted the shattered spires of the church in the distance. From here the symbols of faith and sanctuary looked more like a jagged set of fangs.

The last five hundred yards or so were spent either on their knees or crawling across the terrain. It was eerily quiet, there was no gunfire, mortar or artillery fire to be heard. The wind was calm, so the snow fell lazily over the ground and transformed this burnt out landscape into a winter wonderland. It bothered Clara how all of that death and destruction could be so easily concealed.

Once they reached the outskirts of what had been the church courtyard, they found a piece of the property wall that was still standing. It would give them plenty of cover while they waited to find out why they had been summoned here.

A half an hour later Clara felt Edith press against her arm. To the east Clara saw two distinct shadows brake through the falling snow and in time turn into the defined silhouettes of a well-dressed couple.

The girls were confused, these were not the manicured gardens of Versailles. In the background an artillery barrage started anew and Clara guessed that Christmas was over and along with it one’s love for their fellow man. In the back of her mind she kept count on how long it took between the flashes of light and the bang to see how far the fighting was.

As the couple reached the church spire, they paused to scan the area. By this time the girls were covered in snow and thus well concealed behind the stone wall. They seemed unaware of the girls’ presence and the female grew increasingly impatient.

Edith passed the binoculars so Clara carefully pressed the cool brass against her eyelids. From this distance they seemed to be a normal genteel couple out for a stroll, which was clearly out of place for the setting.

For one there was no fog on their breath. Anyone out in this weather should have shown signs of breathing. One quick look at the woman’s uncovered face revealed a great deal more than a lack of breathing.

Clara would never forget that face, the woman of great beauty who rivalled that of angels. The sight of that creature brought back all those memories from that night. Had it been more than a decade already?

She reached for her pistol, and released the clasp. Edith caught the movement from the corner of her eye and motioned Clara to stop.

“What,” Edith asked noiselessly by moving her lips.

Clara handed back the binoculars and replied, “It’s her.”

At first the words did not elicit a response, but after a moment Edith’s eyes widened. She too had come to the same conclusion and knew why Clara had reached for her sidearm.

Two of them and one powerful enough to kill indiscriminately on consecrated ground. Even armed as they were, the girls were poorly equipped to deal with a threat of that magnitude.

“I doubt a sustained artillery barrage would work,” Clara thought.

The two observed from a distance and Clara kept tabs on what lay behind them. The last thing they needed was to end up surrounded.

After another twenty minutes of waiting the couple appeared to be at their wits end. The female scowled and lashed out at her male companion. The latter knew well-enough to cower, so clearly he was subordinate to the female.

Clara contemplated a course of action, one that would permit them to see another day. She also envisioned a scenario where that female ended up with a sunburn. Alas, Clara could not find a way to consolidate these disparate plans.

“Just ducky,” Clara thought.

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!

In Flanders Field The Poppies Blow – Part I

The powder keg that was Europe finally blew and plunged the region into chaos. War spread throughout the lands like a plague, bringing death to millions thanks to a new type of warfare. Trench warfare and the machine gun were responsible for the untold deaths, many of whom never got a proper burial, those poor souls were doomed to anonymity beneath the blood soaked mud.

It was no surprise that the abodimations were also drawn to the conflict. The scores of dead attracted ghouls by the hundreds while other menaces lurked in the shadows and preyed on unsuspecting soldiers. What better way to conceal wanton carnage than amongst the casualties of war?

In response to this epidemic hunters were sent out to assist in the war effort. Edith and Clara had joined up as nurses and served at a field hospital near the front. Day after a day, they were faced with a deluge of wounded and dying.

While tending to the living they kept a watchful eye for things that lurked in the shadows. The nurses had to pay particular attention to the wounds; it was not always obvious if shrapnel or fangs had caused the injury.

Clara felt like a bystander in the war that raged on just over the horizon. The flashes of bright light were always accompanied by a thunderous bang. Sometimes the shelling would get so close that the ground shook.

When the war entered one of its rare lulls, Clara often sought out the comfort of men. Even if the offers were plentiful, the services rendered was always poor. The hurried undressing, the awkward positions, heavy breathing and her partner’s quick crescendo meant she rarely got anywhere near the finish line.

Still it temporarily met her needs and distracted her from the horrors she witnessed. For Clara that seemed to be a better way of hiding from the world than restorting to drink or morphine. She needed to keep her reflexes sharp because her opponents would not give her the opportunity for her buzz to wear off.

This evening marked her second Christmas spent near No-man. When the war began, everyone had said that victory would be won by Christmas. This year had dredged up much of the same talk and Clara suspected they would bring up the same tired topic next year.

Despite the horrors witnessed, people still expected a quick end. Their hope spent waiting for that singular break in the enemy lines. The one which would permit them to push deep into their territory.

There were countless others from the Tower, some were even posted to the front lines. Snipers proved effective at culling any strays looking for a fresh meal. That tended to be dangerous work since the enemy liked to shoot back.

From time to time Edith and Clara were called in for a specific mission. They would set aside their blue uniforms adorned with brass and white aprons in favour of male uniforms. A bit of padding to conceal the hips, wrapping for the tits and cigarettes to harshen the voice did wonders to pass off as young officers. As an additional precaution, these missions were always conducted in the cover of night to further avoid detection.

The girls hid their change of clothes in an abandoned farmhouse near their camp. Clara often enjoyed the male uniform, which enabled her carry a pistol while hiding a few surprises under all that padding. As a precaution she opted to bring her derringer, a bayonet and some throwing knives.

They had been given little warning tonight, nor was there much intelligence as to the nature of their mission. Edith put on her uniform adorned with two pips, which was one more than Clara had. The selected ranks were senior enough to allow independent movement without arousing suspicion for their youthful appearance.

Edith examined the map with her compass in hand. She looked so different in an army officer’s uniform, so much so that Clara sometimes forgot who this dashing young officer was.

No matter how dirty or weary Edith was her eyes always shined brightly, a trait that Clara envied.

“Does Edith envy me in any way,” Clara wondered.

“Three miles bearing eleven mills,” Edith said while tracing out a line.

“Anything in the area,” Clara asked.

“Nothing but a bombed out church,” Edith said.

Clara scrutinised the map, stitching together the lay of the land. A week or so ago there had been heavy fighting in that area until the front lines shifted to the east. Clara remember it clearly because there had been a lot of casualties that week.

That meant they would have to traverse treacherous territory. They would be sure to come across networks of trenches, barbed wire, unexploded bombs, and gaping holes in the ground. They would have to move quickly and covertly while watching out for anything that posed a threat. Fortunately, little to no enemy activity was expected this far behind the lines.

Clara’s instincts told her there was something peculiar about that location. She glared at the map for a moment, but the reasons continued to elude her. Then just like photoflash powder going off, an idea popped into her head.

“Isn’t there a gate there,” Clara asked.

Edith furrowed her brow, “Not sure. Should have been deactivated when the fighting broke out.”

As with anything Georgian, there were very few guarantees. The Terminus’ gates provided travel to a single location, which made them safer for human use. Georgians and other less discerning clients used multi-destination gates, alas those were known to cause accidents.

“No matter,” Edith said to break the silence. “That’s our objective and we have no further detail. Full stealth, evade and if we get separated meet back here before sunrise,” she added.

Clara nodded then picked up her greatcoat from a charred chair. It was cold tonight and knew full well that it would get colder before sunrise.

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!