Evelyn Chartres Author
Secrets – Page 2

Dinner with the Devil – Part II

Clara was perusing the newspaper while sitting at a booth. She noticed the article detailing the discovery of a burnt-out car near lover’s lane. It seemed that a young couple heading home from a petting party had spotted the wreck.

A coroner’s inquest was sure to follow, but Clara suspected they would find nothing. After all, their investigations into the deaths of those girls had turned up empty and their bodies left behind valuable clues, not ash.

A waiter passed by and placed a drink on her table before he said, “Compliments of the lady at the bar.”

Clara had been offered drinks before. It came with the territory. Doubly so when she was all dolled up, but until now only men had made such overtures.

Even from here, Clara saw the impeccably dressed flapper who could make jaws drop from a hundred paces. For a moment, she even felt a twinge of envy.

The lady’s green eyes simply enhanced the overall effect, enough to overshadow her expensive jewellery. Clara assumed that lady, in this case, was most likely the correct term to use with this one.

“Long haired brunette,” Clara said in a mumble.

They had crossed paths last night. She was the one who leered at her for having that tattoo. This had to be more than a coincidence.

Clara raised her glass in salute and the lady reciprocated. They both sipped on their drinks and kept their eyes locked on one another. Clara had an inkling that the lady enjoyed the attention.

A waiter dropped something at the corner of her table. When Clara turned to investigate, she felt a cool breeze. Some might assume it had been from an open door, but she knew better.

“Beautiful work you did last night, ma chère,” the lady said.

“What do you mean,” Clara responded nonchalantly.

Clara knew full well that she should be dead. That diversion alone would have given her ample opportunity to bury a blade in Clara’s chest and escape unnoticed.

When she turned to get a better look at her guest, she let out an involuntary gasp. It was hard to believe just how stunning the lady was up close.

“What’s wrong with me,” Clara wondered.

“I love this fashion trend,” the lady said. “My body type is finally starting to turn some heads.”

Clara had studied history extensively, but such anecdotes were usually left out of the books. It was unusual to hear such a statement from someone who lived through it. Although she kept wondering why she had not been relegated to a footnote in the history books by now.

“I’m Evelyn,” the lady said.

“Clara,” she replied. “We met last night.”

Evelyn giggled. Her voice had musical overtones that bordered on being hypnotic. Clara knew she was toning it down, likely to prevent anyone else from becoming entranced.

“Yes, we did, ma chère,” Evelyn said. “We were after the same man, you and I.”

“You hunt in packs,” Clara asked.

Evelyn giggled again before she said, “I was there to stop him.”

Clara had been sipping on her drink while the words sank in and coughed up its contents. Not exactly ladylike, that statement had thrown her for a loop.

“It hasn’t been my experience—,” Clara said before coughing again.

“You deal with the dredges, those we eventually put down, ma chère,” Evelyn said. “You think we need that kind of publicity?”

In a way, it was a relief to hear that the more dangerous elements of their kind were culled. However, that implied there were a great many more than they suspected, concealing their numbers by taking out the ones who got caught.

“I suppose not,” Clara said.

Just then, a series of plates were brought in by the waiter. While the man silently deposited the food, Evelyn winked at him.

“That waiter was with you last night,” Clara asked.

“Of course, ma chère,” Evelyn said. “He and I have travelled together for four centuries now.”

Evelyn broke a bun with her hands and dipped it into the bowl of soup. Clara eyed every movement, even when she brought food to those lipstick covered lips and took a bite. It was the first time she had witnessed their kind eating food.

As soup broth ran down Evelyn’s chin, she giggled. It was so disarming to watch her do these every day actions and for a moment Clara forgot who she was dealing with.

Clara looked at the various items placed before her and opted to grab a devilled egg with anchovies. She wanted something that required one hand to eat.

“So why are we having this pleasant chat,” Clara said.

“An excellent question, ma chère,” Evelyn said while she clapped her hands in excitement.

Evelyn really seemed to be an innocent and excitable young lady. There had to be a dark side to her. They all needed to feed after all. Besides, how could she have silenced that man without a predatory nature? No, Evelyn clearly had a dark side, and it was important to keep that in mind.

“I can honestly see how you might be confused,” Evelyn added just before she bit down on another piece of bread. “I’ve admitted to my advanced age, hinted that I was associated with your latest conquest, and I know you’re not a prostitute.”

“Sounds about right,” Clara said.

“You know, I was a courtesan before my partner found me. Though not nearly as famous or in demand as the Mata Hari,” Evelyn said. “I owe him a great deal for taking me in.”

“So you two are close,” Clara asked.

“Not physically,” Evelyn said dryly. “But yes, more so than many couples will ever be.”

“If I were a prost—,” Clara managed to say.

“It may have elicited some sympathy,” Evelyn said.

Clara nodded and grabbed another egg. Fortunately they were rather scrumptious, not a bad choice for a last meal.

“That’s not why you are here. After all, we normally strive to keep your order out of our business,” Evelyn said.

“You like my eyes,” Clara said facetiously.

Evelyn gave her a good long stare as though she were expecting to find her soul. It was the grin that followed that hinted how close to the mark Clara’s comment had been.

“The fun you and I could have,” Evelyn said. “The passion and ecstasy you’d experience. I could make you question your very existence.”

Every word she said became more hypnotic. Clara had trouble staying focused. She sensed that those words were not only meant to entice but also marked Evelyn’s own loss of control.

“Oh,” Clara murmured while blood flushed through her cheeks.

“You are a very beautiful woman, Clara,” Evelyn said. “It would be fun while it lasted, but eventually you’d realise that I was really the monster you originally envisioned.”

“The hunt would be half the fun,” Clara said with a grin.

“True, ma chère,” Evelyn said and winked. She brought up her glass and said, “To the endless possibilities of life.”

“That can follow you into death,” Clara countered and finished her drink.

“Now, I must get going,” Evelyn said while getting up.

“So soon,” Clara said honestly.

“The opportunity for trouble is far too great,” Evelyn said. “You did us a favour by ridding the world of that filth, so I can in good conscience spare your life.”

“How kind,” Clara said.

Evelyn did not seem to be bothered by the reply. That did not stop Clara from cringing. She had run off her mouth at precisely the wrong moment.

“However, I am obliged to inform you that you have two days to leave this city. Others in your order would do well to leave us be… For now,” Evelyn said.

Clara nodded, the seriousness in Evelyn’s tone made it clear that she meant business.

Evelyn then did something that completely took Clara by surprise. She leaned over and kissed Clara square on the lips. The passion of this act overwhelmed Clara, so much so that she felt her inhibitions melt away.

The lady then picked up a cloth napkin and wiped the combination of their lipstick from her lips. Clara was impressed, Evelyn was aware of her fail-safe.

“You owe me one,” Evelyn said.

She walked out with an elongated gait to show off that sensual sway of her hips. Clara loved to be with men, loved their bodies and how they felt inside of her. Despite all of these points, this imp had been able to negate that factor without breaking a sweat. Clara had learned an important lesson tonight, one that every hunter should learn early in their careers.

“I always repay my debts,” 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!

Dinner with the Devil – Part I

[Please note that sexually explicit elements of the scene were scrubbed]

“Two women were found dead last week,” Clara said.

Clara hopped lightly from one foot to the other so her toes would stay warm. Snow covered the ground, while more fell lazily from the sky in the form of large snowflakes. This could have been a romantic winter’s eve if she were not busy working.

A couple passed by on the opposite side of the street. While the gentleman paid her little heed, the well-dressed flapper at his side leered at her. Even from that distance the tattoo on Clara’s leg was visible and around here that was a symbol for women who were from the wrong side of the tracks.

Clara had been working this particular corner for the past three weeks. In that time there had been eight deaths involving prostitutes. All of them had been killed without a single witness coming forward. In itself that was odd since the deaths all occurred in heavily trafficked areas.

The city had done their best to keep things under wrap, namely by clamping down on the prostitutes. The local intelligencia also kept it out of the news, even that nagging tidbit about the women being drained of blood. Worse still, their fates did not lend any sympathy from the constabulary; around here an impure lifestyle meant they deserved a death to match.

Every victim had certain commonalities, all were ladies of the night, dark haired and young. Lastly every one of them had a tattoo on their leg although the latter might have been a red herring.

“Fortunately I can have it removed when I’m done,” Clara thought.

In the distance, she saw a set of glowing headlights coming down the street. Cars were getting to be more common now, especially in big cities. The snow today would make driving treacherous, these vehicles were tricky to control since there was no traction.

Fortunately this was a newer model, long hood with side mounted spare tyres, a hard top and running boards. There was a single occupant inside who sported leather gloves and a white scarf. Funny how some people were unable to break from tradition.

The car slowed as it approached, Clara saw how he was sizing her up. This was not the first time that she had been approached in this matter, so she opened up her coat to let him have a peek. While the cold air rushed in she shivered, an effect that somehow got his attention.

“The spider is checking its web for flies,” Clara thought.

The man obviously had money, how else could he own an imported car of this sophistication? That may have been a disarming trait for some, but Clara suspected the killer was wealthy. For the most part they were all affluent and drawn to power.

The man pulled up to the curb and rolled down his window. This was the part Clara dreaded, feeling like a piece of meat. She wore a simple dress that left little to the imagination and did much to draw the eyes to her ample bust, but he showed no interest. Instead, he focused on her eyes and then lingered on her tattooed leg.

“Hiya handsome,” Clara said mimicking the accent of the local street urchins.

“How much,” the man asked.

“Starts at two bits for a dry bob honey,” Clara said.

The man never batted an eye at the price, since he could easily afford the going rates at an exclusive brothel. While Clara was attractive, she was hardly unique in that aspect, so her prices had to be competitive to not arouse suspicion.

The man smiled before he said, “I’ll pull up over there.”

“Whatever ya say honey,” Clara said and winked.

While this gentleman drove off fifty feet, Clara made her way towards the alley and noticed how his car had no frost in the windows. Despite that clue, all she could think about was how cold her feet were, and how divine it was to start walking again.

From her purse she pulled out a lipstick applicator and applied a fresh coat. A moment later, she dabbed a bit of holy water on her lips, a trick that worked well in the past, but prayed it would not be needed.

Once she got to the alley, Clara saw the gentleman standing by a series of refuse bins. Inside she heard the band playing, which meant no one would notice errant moans, grunts or gunshots.

Clara played her part and placed the purse she carried within arm’s reach. She then sat on a bin and hiked up her dress to reveal that she had no knickers. For a moment his eyes glanced at her inviting muff before he licked his lips.

For all the pomp and circumstance this man had shown while driving that car, he displayed none of that now. The buttons to his trousers were undone in a flash which caused them to drop effortlessly around his patent leather shoes.

Clara would have helped him, but he was too fast for her. Before she knew it, his hands were on her thighs forcing her legs apart while his member hovered just an inch away.

“Take it easy handsome, we got all the time—,” Clara said.

Clearly this man was not in a mood to listen… …All the while her hand slid ever closer to her purse, and the derringer concealed within.

“This is a powerful one,” Clara thought.

He had to be, being oblivious to her aura of faith required nothing less. It also explained why he was still enjoying the ride…

…Clara opened her eyes just enough to watch him clench his jaw. The act should have been pure rapture…

Clara grabbed a hold of her derringer and drew it out… …she squeezed on the first trigger of her weapon.

The muted shot still echoed through the alley, but the music inside drowned out the noise. The man fell face first into the snow and gave her a view of that gaping hole through the back of his skull.

She sighed in relief that her precaution of applying holy water in all the right places had been an unmitigated success. With her weapon trained Clara got back on her feet and closed up her coat. She was chilled to the bone and looked forward to a warm bath at a reputable hotel. With this threat neutralised, she had no need to stay at the local dive.

“At least he has a car,” Clara said.

The hunter then fired another well-aimed shot at the base of his spine, which ensured he would stay down until morning. Now all she had to do was get him into the boot of his car.

“All work and no play,” 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!

Raiders and Tombs – Parts VIII, IIX and IX

Clara and Jonesy ran without pause, even when their lungs felt as though they were on fire they ran on. When they passed by the tomb, Jonesy tripped on the slippery surface and without missing a beat was dragged back onto his feet by Clara.

When they finally reached the light of day, they both dropped to their knees. After the experience they had, it was great to feel the warmth of the sun’s glow, a sure-fire sign they were safe.

“Well that explains the lack of traps,” Clara said.

“No kidding,” Jonesy said.

The locals were quick to notice that someone was missing. If the tables had been turned, Clara would have pressed them for information, but they already knew. There must have been local legends on what lurked below.

“Professor Jones,” Clara said. “I thought they had been instructed to set up camp,” she added.

Jonesy looked around and came to the same conclusion. His face was still flushed from the exertion and would need time to recover his mental faculties.

There was still a solid hour of daylight left. That meant they had time to get away from here and never return. Jonesy was certainly thinking the same thing, so he passed on new instructions.

While the locals quickly collected stray items before getting atop their mounts, Clara fetched a pack from hers. She casually walked towards the entrance, gave it another donation of blood and walked on through.

The locals looked at each other in awe. It was one thing to face the horrors below and come back alive. It was something else altogether to walk back inside willingly.

Fortunately Clara emerged quickly and within a minute there was a dull thump. The ground shook, the camels were spooked, but Clara never flinched.

“What did you do,” Jonesy asked.

Clara mounted her camel with a self-satisfied look on her face. Nothing was going to find its way down there without a lot of effort.

“I blew the entrance to the tunnel,” Clara said calmly. “Some things are better left buried by the sands of time,” she added.

* * * *

Clara sat by a fire looking through the contents of Father Allen’s bag. While Professor Jones wrote up his final report, it was up to her to sort through Father Allen’s belongings.

She never took the time to look at his sketches. They were really quite good, an excellent combination of speed and accuracy. She found a series of sketches dedicated to the city and inside the ziggurat.

She even found a sketch of Professor Jones interacting with the locals. Clara wondered if the professor had known he was being sketched.

She was certainly unaware that she had once inspired him. Clara had been reading a book on that particular evening, even now she found it bizarre to witness another’s perception of her. She was both flattered and worried, given her vocation she should have known what he was up to.

The sketches drawn underground revealed a great deal. Clara had taken pictures as directed, but she had not noticed a series of symbols found throughout the complex. For Clara they had been lost in the noise, like picking out minutia on a complex tapestry.

There were at least fifteen different instances of the half-crescent moon; over and above the one found at the entrance. Some symbols had been in plain sight, while others were concealed.

When Jonesy came by Clara said, “Did you notice these instances of the crescent?”

Professor Jones looked at every sketch. It was clear from the look on his face that he had missed these as well.

“Makes sense,” Jonesy said. “That step pyramid was built in his name,” he added.

“It’s a fitting symbol for those who fear the sun,” she added.

“What do you mean,” Jonesy asked.

“Well,” Clara said while trying to find her words. “Being exposed to the light of God will set them aflame,” she added.

Professor Jones looked at her sceptically. Only the clergy were expected to make that type of connection. Most professors saw these creatures from a pragmatic point of view, concepts based on faith rarely occurred to them.

“Go on,” Jonesy said.

“It would be sensible for them to worship a God that stood in opposition to the sun,” Clara said.

“Worship,” Jonesy asked.

His eyes were glassy as though years of indoctrination had been shattered. Clara was sure to hear about this back at the Tower, first she lost a priest and then breaks a professor on the same day. At least that would mean no more babysitting for her.

* * * *

Clara overlooked the top of a ridge and saw the sand swept and desolate land. Up ahead there was a crew busy pulling up a large globe from the back of a truck. The item was covered in spikes that would normally trigger a detonation, however those elements had been disabled as a precaution.

Besides the truck the river was being swallowed up whole. This was one of two access points for the river that ran under the ziggurat. The men continued pulling on with ropes until the sea mine splashed into the water.

In all, there were five other trucks similarly equipped. Clara had managed to convince the Reverend Mother to support this plan. A lot of strings had to be pulled to make this happen, but Clara knew this was the only way.

As the sea mine floated downstream, she looked at her watch and set the timer for twenty minutes. While the default triggers had been disabled, a timer had been wired into the detonator. Clara estimated it would take eighteen minutes to float down and make contact with those doors.

Clara sat down on the ridge with a sketchbook in hand. She began to sketch out the rough details of the landscape and would make touch-ups later. She found the process relaxing and thanked Father Allen for introducing her to it.

After the timer ran out Clara felt the ground shudder. The hunter began to smile once the water level dropped significantly. That meant the obstructions had been destroyed by the mine and the rest of her plan could continue.

A second mine was dropped with a forty-two minute timer. As it floated away, Clara continued on with her sketch. She fought for a few moments to capture the wind-swept ridges, but there was no need to rush.

The second mine detonated out in the open. As expected it overshot the complex by a hundred feet or so.

The third mine detonated after thirty-nine minutes causing the water levels to rise. Clara had detonated this one to damn the river’s exit, exactly as planned.

Before water levels rose over the river banks, the remaining mines were dropped into the water with a thirty minute timer. Clara kept busy by continuing her sketch.

This time the ground shook violently and prompted Clara to collect her things. By that point the trucks had already been evacuated to higher ground. Clara watched as the river flowed over its banks and began to form a lake.

It was impossible to imagine just how much damage had been done by the mines. However, Clara was certain that the water level would make any future pilgrimages impossible. For now, the threat was contained.

The water level would rise until a new path to the river was found. In time the tunnel would be filled with silt and harden like mortar and seal the complex shut.

“Rest in peace,” Clara said as she walked away from this dustbin, never to return.

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!

 

Les Filles de Jeanne D’Arc – Part IV

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!

Clara followed Edith while they made their way through the depths of the Tower, past the restricted section of the main library. Once they reached the North wall, Edith stopped dead in her tracks and turned to face Clara.

“Ever heard of Georgian’s,” Edith asked.

Clara suppressed her surprise before she replied, “Rumours, innuendos and whispers carried by the wind.”

“Good to know that we still have some secrets left,” Edith said. “We don’t know much about them , other than the fact that they have abilities and technology that outstrips our own,” she added.

Edith glided over the spines of the books until she found the right one, with a singular touch the book began to glow. Without any hesitation she walked right through the bookshelf.

When Clara attempted to do the same her head bounced off the books and landed straight on her rump. Another surprise for this week, but this time she suspected a key piece of information had been withheld. The theory was confirmed once Edith’s head popped out from the books and she giggled.

“You’ll need to touch On the Revolutions of the Celestial Spheres by Nicolaus Copernicus to pass through,” Edith said before she vanished.

This time Clara did as instructed and watched the book glow. She then pushed through the shelves easily as though they were an illusion, one that had stopped her cold in her tracks a moment ago.

Once she made it through Clara found herself in a high vaulted chamber. It reached out further than the eye could see although that might have had something to do with the poor lighting.

“Some believe the Georgians are mages, others see them as a secret order of scientists. A new theory circulating amongst the younger staff describe them as a species alien to this planet,” Edith said.

While they pushed deeper into the chamber Clara noted the series of alcoves built into the walls. Some were chock-full of weapons, while others contained armour, clothing and jewellery. Everything that a liberated femme fatale needed to wage war on the enemy.

Within the chamber, there were mats and targets spread throughout and intermixed with fashionable furniture. It seemed like a lounge dedicated to comfort, fashion and combat. Clara’s eyes glowed with excitement, there was so much fun to be had here.

“They are the reason why the Tower still exists. Without their direct involvement we would have been overrun by our enemies long ago,” Edith said.

Clara listened to every word, even when she came across a series of small pistols on a table. She ran her hand over the cool steel of the weapons, curious on the carnage she could unleash with these.

“What’s the catch,” Clara asked when she picked up a double barrelled derringer.

“Smart girl,” Edith said. “Payment varies based on the request. Sometimes they exchange intelligence and knowledge,” she added.

“Raw materials, precious gems and money,” Clara asked.

She pointed the derringer towards a target. There was no rear sight so that meant this was a close-in weapon.

“Sometimes,” Edith said without expanding on that.

What was left unsaid told Clara much. It was probably safe to assume that students disappeared from time to time so the Tower could make good on its payments. Sure it seemed cold, but they were at war.

Clara squeezed the first trigger until the hammer struck the primer. There was a great puff of smoke followed by a gaping hole in the target.

“What the—,” Clara exclaimed.

“Should have warned you,” Edith said. “Although it’s more entertaining to learn that lesson first hand,” she added.

Right before her eyes the target began to repair itself. Clara observed the gaping hole disappear then heard a slight thud when the projectile hit the floor.

“Georgian,” Clara asked.

Edith nodded and grabbed a big heavy metallic ball from another table. It was made of thick steel with pre-fragmented segments. At the top there was a brass fitting followed by a loop.

“German Kugelhandgranate,” Edith said.

The elder then attached the loop to a hook and tossed it at Clara’s feet. It smoked for a few seconds until it erupted into a ball of flame sending metal and burnt black powder in every direction.

Clara opened her eyes and saw that she was no worse for wear. However the furniture and targets within a couple of yards were shredded. At least initially and within moments everything was back to normal.

“Anti-personnel grenade, while heavy they are deadly when properly deployed,” Edith said.

“So we can play without consequence,” Clara asked.

“Correct,” Edith said. “Any questions,” she asked.

“Where are the other girls,” Clara asked.

“Most are training or in their quarters, although some are in this room as we speak,” Edith said. “This room can provide privacy when needed. Just like you and I are enjoying right now,” she added.

“Where can a girl get her hands on a machine gun,” Clara asked with a grin.

“Right over there,” Edith said, unfazed by the question.

They both smirked before heading towards the goodies. Was this the beginning of a great friendship?

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!

Copyright © 2018 by Evelyn Chartres (Nom de Plume)
All rights reserved.

Les Filles de Jeanne D’Arc – Part III

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!

The next day Clara returned to her classes. There was a renewed fire within her heart, especially when it came to matters of faith. Clara was very keen to ensure that creatures like Jack would have a natural aversion to her. If all it took was a little faith, then she would make sure to have plenty on hand. All she needed was to change her perspective, such as dismissing the will of God as blind luck; that in itself was starting to seem unlikely that luck was the only factor. After all this was her second encounter with one of them where she got away.

Once the sun had set, Edith came down the stairs and went straight for Clara. It was rare for Clara to come across the older students since they were often out on advanced training. Edith was especially difficult to keeps tabs on for reasons that she never knew.

“Clara,” Edith said to get her attention. “You’re being transferred,” she added.

“Where to,” Clara asked.

“Les Filles de Jeanne d’Arc,” Edith said.

Clara’s eyes brightened, but did not let any more than that betray her composure. She had heard of this group named after Joan of Arc. The only woman in history to have lead a nation’s armies into battle.

It was said that these were an elite group of girls who advanced quickly through the ranks. Their training was rigorous and secretive, in fact even publicly admitting to being a part of that group meant dismissal.

Clara often wondered just what could be learned as part of that group. Up until now she had no particular affiliation, even though she had progressed at a faster pace than her peers. Her youth was seen as a serious hindrance to joining such a group. That is until now.

“When,” Clara asked.

“Immediately,” Edith said with a smile.

This was an opportunity of a lifetime and Clara silently hoped to avoid the fate of their namesake. Tied to a stake and burned as a heretic for her faith, Clara could not think think of an outcome that was less desirable.

“Very well,” Clara said. “I suppose,” she added with a wink.

Fortunately her attempt at humour had been well received. Since Edith was directly involved with this group, it paid to have a friend within their ranks.