Evelyn Chartres Author
Short Story – Page 2

Omega

Incense hung in the air, the burned particles irritated her nose, and the smell grew more pronounced as Victoria came to. There was something peculiar about this odour; something that made her think of death and decay. In fact, the link was so strong, that it evoked images of an ancient crypt hidden away under a city forgotten by time.

The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

She struggled to open her eyes, as though they were glued together. Was this just a case of fatigue? How long had she been unconscious? Was she even alive? Perhaps this was a dream? No, this felt far too real. Besides people rarely experienced pain or discomfort in dreams.

Something brushed up against her lips, it was cool at first, like water trickling out from a frozen waterfall. Victoria struggled to open her eyes, but saw nothing more than an impenetrable darkness that filled her with dread. This sensation of cold spread, pushed past her numbed lips then probed the inside of her mouth. She considered biting down, but feared there would be repercussions.

Only when the tongue withdrew, did Victoria gasp for air, and found her sight restored. The images that flashed before her eyes were blurred at first, confined to a world that moved with a mind of its own. Her sight eventually settled, but what she saw only confirmed her fears; this was in fact, not a dream.

Before her stood Evelyn, her character, her inspiration, and role model. This time, she was dressed in a long flowing gown of white satin. Her face was adorned by a warm smile, and there were locks of long flowing hair that hung around her shoulders. This complemented Victoria’s image of an idyllic angelic figure, and was without a doubt, the same woman she met on that beach twenty years ago.

This was the woman who blessed her as a child, using some sort of prayer. Was that the reason why their minds were linked? Did that mark the moment when Evelyn established a connection between them? Did this imply that Victoria had been nothing more than a bit player in Evelyn’s play?

Evelyn licked her lips as though relishing the echoes of that kiss, and said, “Welcome to the world of the living ma chère. Have you gotten your affairs in order? Indulged in your last meal perhaps?”

Her characters musical highlights in her voice were so familiar. It was eerie how much she knew this person, in spite of this being the first time they ever spoke.

Victoria did not say a word. She was far too lethargic to formulate a proper answer.

“Is there a proper response?” Victoria whispered.

She knew that either decision would end in death, only the method of her death would differ. Would her death be quick and merciless, or would her character’s sadistic nature come to the surface?

Evelyn’s smile changed, one that stripped away her angelic traits, and replaced them with a cruel harshness. Her character was truly skilled at human emotions, an expert on how to leverage them against others. How else could she convey so much based on the shape of her smile? Would Victoria be able to manipulate others just as easily?

Before the question was answered, Victoria found herself being dragged from the altar. The world swirled nauseatingly as vertigo muddled her mind. Would she have the strength to stop herself from vomiting all over the floor?

Once the world settled, Victoria noticed the pool of dark liquid. The surface was so dark, that it reflected back her image. Tired and weak, Victoria lost her balance, dropped to her knees, and instantly became mesmerised over the reflection. She seemed to be looking at an ideal version of herself, one immune to the ravages of time. Did she ever have such a youthful glow about her?

Victoria reached for her chest, to check for a heartbeat, and sighed once the familiar rhythm registered. She was still alive, and yet her reflection implied that she had already crossed the threshold between life and death.

“How can my reflection seem that much more confident and full of life,” Victoria muttered to herself while the shadow of death approached.

As it had been with the Apostle Thomas, doubt reigned supreme in her mind. How was it possible to reflect back an image that differed from reality? At a snail’s pace, Victoria probed her face, seeking those familiar features, and was soon astounded by the gravity of the changes. Her cheeks were sunken, features sharper, with noticeably unhealthy skin. When was the last time she had a bite to heat?

“It has been a week love,” Evelyn said, knowing that in Victoria’s current state, the full depth of those words would have no effect.

Victoria turned around to look upon her character, her eyes brimming with fear. She then turned back to look into the radiant pool, and noticed an unnatural red hue surrounding her reflection.

“Blood,” Victoria stuttered out as her reflection winked back in response.

Why was her doppelgänger mocking her? The same way that her parents would when she did something innocent or amusing. The kind of mocking that was invariably accompanied by that dreadful laugh which simultaneously managed to dismiss and ridicule the child. Innocence? Once more that concept was brought to the surface. Was this an element her character sought? To what end? To destroy in another, what had been denied in life?

“We are perversions of life, we exist counter to what the Church and the laws of science dictate. We are the embodiment of those who turned away from the light of God in exchange for perpetual existence,” Evelyn rhymed off as though in a prayer.

Evelyn circled around the pool, and despite her light step, the motion nonetheless caused the pool to ripple. For a moment, her taunting reflection was disrupted, which gave Victoria a few moments of peace.

Evelyn soon broke out into a fit of laughter and added, “I’m just fucking with you. That was way too melodramatic!”

She approached the altar then grabbed the chalice upon it. Evelyn then lifted it to the full extension of her arms while staring up at the stained glass works above. After the imp uttered some sort of incantation, she brought the chalice to her lips and drank greedily, permitting any excess to spill onto the gown.

With Evelyn’s satin robe stained in blood, she licked her lips then tossed the chalice aside. Now that her little spectacle was done and over with, she looked over to Victoria, the one who would soon be joining her in the afterlife. While Victoria was being judged, anxiety swelled from within, just like those awaiting the Emperor’s thumb.

In the back of her mind, Victoria wondered if her character had a change of heart. Uncertainty would reign supreme until the end, never knowing if she were destined to live, or suffer at the hands of her executioner.

Evelyn was attuned to Victoria’s mind, and had not been surprised about the growing conflict within. Not only had she been the source of that woman’s inspiration for the better part of her life, but Evelyn also had a view to the thoughts, and emotions that most kept bottled up inside.

“Are you having a change of faith ma chère?” Evelyn asked.

Victoria looked up, bewildered that this question had come up. Was she being tossed a life line? How foolish would it be to even consider it? Let alone acknowledge it?

“I am not sure,” Victoria said in such a way that every single word uttered became a self-contained sentence.

“The door is right behind me,” Evelyn said nonchalantly. “Only you can decide how to live your life.”

Victoria’s eyes widened upon hearing those words, and that did much to betray her state of mind. As a glow of hope began to rise, her character rendered her verdict.

The imp leaned in closer, so close that the cool breeze from her whisper sent shiver running down Victoria’s spine. In that moment, she believed there was a path to freedom, one that led away from this crazy woman.

“Crazy?” Evelyn asked.

Before Victoria could say another word, Evelyn grabbed the woman’s throat, and with one brutal motion tore it away from her neck. A streak of blood followed, which covered the immaculate floor in a splatter of crimson.

“A shame,” Evelyn added before she licked the fresh blood from Victoria’s windpipe. “In the end, you turned out to be such a disappointment.”

At first, Victoria was unsure of what happened. Her body and mind were so disjointed from the prolonged trauma that this fresh wound did not immediately register. At first she felt moisture against her skin, but before she was able to investigate the source, Victoria was greeted by sweet oblivion.

“All that time and effort you put into that girl,” Marc commented from the shadows.

Evelyn was tempted to betray her composure and lash out. However, that would be tantamount to her confirming that her sire was right.

Instead, she glided over to her man, her every step a display of sensuality, she then folded into him as though they were one. The movement was fluid, sensual, and capable of evoking an emotional response in nearly everyone, well except for this lone specimen. Either way, she did not care, with all the grace of a lady, she slipped out two wedding bands from her pocket.

These rings were unique, a pair that represented night and day, and commissioned to celebrate their twentieth wedding anniversary of Victoria’s parents. Without it a second look, she crushed them with her bare hands, and tossed them onto Victoria’s corpse. By now, the author’s skin was pale, her eyes glassy, while what was left of her blood flowed gingerly into the pool.

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!

The Van Helsing Paradox – Part VIII

The sound of applause got Clara’s attention. When she turned to look, a portion of the mob was gone, which gave her a clear view of the bar. Clara saw three women sitting on individual barstools. From this distance, they appeared to be triplets, albeit there were clear differences between them.

The middle sister wore a locket shaped like a key and was imbued with a silvery aura. The sister to the left had a brooch shaped like a lantern (on her left lapel) that glowed like a spark gap transmitter. Last but not least, was a sister who also had a lantern adorning her lapel (this time on her right) but appeared to have just stepped out of her grave. The single most disturbing aspect was her ethereal translucency.

“Bravo,” the silvery sister said in a jovial and uplifting tone. After all, she had gone through today, any words of encouragement were welcome!

“I’ve seen better,” the ethereal sister said.

This comment left Clara feeling as though she had been bludgeoned. Peculiar how those words had no emotion, no warmth and how they sucked the life out of her.

“Leave her alone!” Sparky exclaimed.

As a good measure, Sparky sent a jolt of electricity through to her ethereal sister. The recipient just glared at the others before she gave it her all in a Bronx cheer.

Should she laugh or get ready for another attack? There was something vaguely familiar about this whole affair, but for the life of her, Clara could not remember why.

“Thank you,” Clara said but remained unsure of herself.

“She’s stalling,” the ethereal sister said without a hint of emotion.

The silvery sister had nothing to say. Instead, she slipped off her barstool. With her first step, the other two merged into a single body, but every so often they would morph from one persona to another.

“You’ll have to excuse her,” the silvery woman said while extending her hand.

“Spirits and necromancy have a tendency to drag a girl down,” Sparky added.

The moment they shook hands, Clara felt the current flowing through her.

“Like anyone believes in magic anymore,” said the Ethereal sister who pulled her hand away.

“Clearly, not the life of the party,” Clara whispered.

“I will get you for this,” Drusilla said.

Up to that point, Clara had forgotten about that irritation. The triplet’s reaction was humorous. One by one, they glared at Drusilla and snapped their fingers. After the third sister completed this motion, Clara saw Drusilla’s eyes glaze over like an aged photograph. A quick glance around the room confirmed that the rest had been frozen in the same way.

The word bizarre fit this scene to a tee. There were clues leading Clara to believe that this situation had been manufactured by the sisters. Was it necessary? Clara had no doubts that her fate would have been unpleasant had they chosen not to intervene. So why the show?

Clearly, this remnant found her amusing, even one powerful enough to distort reality. The Georgians were unable to manipulate space and time to this degree. Since she was not getting any headway with this one, Clara decided to play a gambit.

“I am sorry,” Clara said followed by a pause to seem natural. “Have we met before?”

All three versions rolled their eyes in succession, but the transitions slowed until they settled on one version. This variant was nothing special to look at and could easily blend into a crowd. For now, it seemed like she was done with her parlour tricks.

“No,” the goddess said while moving back to the bar.

Once the goddess sat down, two full glasses materialised at her fingertips. She raised her glass in salute, then emptied it in one hit. She then pointed to an empty stool. Subtlety was not one of her hallmarks.

With no perception of choice, Clara sat down. She picked up the glass, staring deeply into swirling liquid. Nothing appeared to be familiar about the elixir. Heck, it even glowed, although it did smell divine. All it took was a drop of the elixir on her tongue to make all of her senses come alive. It was hard to describe, but it easily put the most intense orgasm she ever had to shame.

“Ambrosia,” Clara said absentmindedly while waiting for her body to stop tingling.

“Very good!” the other exclaimed.

The goddess grabbed the glass from Clara’s hand and finished it just like the other. Good thing it had only been a drop!

“That makes you a goddess?” Clara managed to ask.

“Right again,” the other said trailing off.

The change in her voice would have been hard to catch to the inexperienced ear. Clara focused on that change while forcing her mind to recover from the effects of the ambrosia. This was important, and she needed her wits to stay alive. Clara blinked a few moments and wondered why the world seemed so dismal and grey now.

“Something wrong?” Clara asked.

“Oh,” the other replied distractedly. “It’s nothing, really,” the goddess sighed.

Clara hesitated. Playing a motherly figure to something that was well over three-thousand years old was suicide. The elderly did not take their advice from newborn babes, a comparison Clara expected to hear from self-professed gods.

She mulled over the situation. First, there was the fight which brought her out of the woodwork, then her powers faded over time. Greek gods were renowned for their need of worship. Like Drusilla, they craved to be the centre of attention, be it on Olympus or the mortal realm.

Could it be that the wholesale abandonment of their followers had weakened them? Just how bored and lonely were they? How much would they give to feel alive? Even for a moment? How long would such emotions last when they were awash in several millennia of experiences?

“Clara,” she said to break the silence.

“Hecate,” the other said with a half-smile.

So that explained the three distinct personas! A goddess represented by holding two lanterns and a key, or sculpted as Siamese triplets. The goddess of magic, crossroads, moon, ghosts and necromancy. A fitting entity for the hallowed grounds of the Grand.

With a snap of Hecate’s fingers, an amphora appeared which permitted her to pour liberal doses of ambrosia. What effect did ambrosia have on the Gods of old?

“Thank you for intervening,” Clara said.

Clara reached over the bar and grabbed that bottle of coffin varnish. She opted to leave her derringer on the counter, doubtful that a firearm would be of any use given her situation. A shame, she rather liked that weapon.

Unlike the Goddess, Clara decided to forego a bit of class and drank straight from the bottle. Compared to ambrosia, this stuff tasted like molten brimstone. Why did that feel so right?

The goddess smiled, it must have been a while since she had last revealed herself. Clara still wondered what made her so special to deserve such an honour.

“Fun to watch,” Hecate said. “They wholeheartedly believe they control every facet of your society. Nice to see them knocked down a peg.”

For the moment, Clara kept quiet but saw where she was headed. She turned to glance at Drusilla, crumpled onto the ground. A shame that she had been unable to land that fatal blow, a problem she needed to address.

“You have a choice,” the goddess said.

Since Hecate did not elaborate, it forced Clara to ask what her choices were. Before that happened, Clara sent another dose of fire down her belly to calm her nerves.

“What choice would that be?” Clara asked.

“For a minute, you managed to shake a few cobwebs loose,” Hecate replied.

So Clara’s assumptions had been correct. The goddess was hoping to regain her former glory, regain even a sliver of her former powers. There were probably some followers to be found, scattered about by the winds of time.

How many still prayed to Athena or Ares? How many damned people to Hades anymore? These were vestiges of a time long past. Who could fault them for wanting to regain even one iota of their power?

“You mentioned a choice?” Clara asked, but could guess where this was heading.

Hecate smirked and pointed over to the mob of people who by all rights should have torn her to shreds by now. That would have been a quick death, perhaps, but also gruesome. Would such a death have made her worthy of canonization?

The hunter swallowed two large mouthfuls of that swill. Clara began to feel close to the edge, and if she were careless, might end up spifflicated. Then what?

“What about that one?” Clara asked while pointing towards Drusilla.

“What about her,” the other replied with a yawn.

“She’s still a threat, even in her current state,” Clara said hinting to the importance of this task.

“Not really your problem,” Hecate said.

There was truth to that statement. Had the goddess not interfered, Clara would not have lived to care. Drusilla would live to see another night, although scarred from their encounter but nonetheless free to continue her pattern of violence. Clara wondered if stories of her sucker punching Drusilla would become legend.

Hecate’s yawn had been the definitive clue Clara needed. She would live to fight another day, but at the expense of becoming a diversion. Once bored, would Hecate toss her away like trash?

“You would leave her to exact her revenge on the innocent?” Clara asked.

Time for her to start poking the bear, she thought. For a moment, all three versions of her appeared to break away from the unified form but were quickly drawn back together.

“Innocent,” the goddess laughed. “No one in this room is innocent.”

“God forgives all sins,” Clara said.

What were her chances of being killed for simply throwing down that name? Hecate glared at Clara, a sore point to their kind, given how Christianity had usurped their dominance long ago.

She walked away and made sure to have the bottle of coffin varnish with her. Clara stopped by Victor then giggled at the look on his face. He may have believed he was going to get lucky tonight, but that was a deal forged entirely in his mind.

“What can you offer me that God cannot?” Clara asked.

Clara’s demeanour was that of a woman who was drunk. The emotional upheaval, stress, and booze created the perfect conditions for Clara to lose control. To pull off a convincing lie, she needed some effects to seem authentic.

As expected, the goddess’ reaction was more violent this time. The goddess split back to her three distinct entities and this time, the ethereal entity took the lead.

“This one is trying to rile us up,” the ethereal sister said.

For once, the ethereal one was right. Sparky began to channel her powers which mimicked a tesla coil as surges of energy flowed along her length. Clara giggled. A goddess that was unable to conceal her temper was silly.

“Now why would I do that,” Clara said while playing the role of a dumb dora.

Clara pulled at her last pearl earring, then crushed it over the mouth of the bottle. The sleight of hand had been quick and expertly done, appearing as though she had been fumbling with the bottle prior to taking another swig.

“See! See! She just did something,” the ethereal sister said.

“What did you see?” the silvery sister asked.

Clara saw how Sparky’s eyes were set aglow in a bright blue hue. This was the first time Clara had observed this behaviour, so perhaps her capacitors were fully charged?

This was the perfect time for her to pretend to be scared. Her heart rate rose, and she backed away from the sisters until she tripped over Drusilla. Clara’s fall caused the bottle to fly through the air like some slapstick comedy. To think that all that time spent watching Charlie Chaplin movies would come in handy someday?

When she landed hard on Drusilla, the bottle crashed on top of that monster’s head, drenching both of them in alcohol. God she hoped the bitch could still feel that. The odour of alcohol invaded every one of her senses. It even made her eyes water.

“Bravo!” the silvery sister goddess exclaimed.

“All part of the act,” the ethereal sister added to keep the other two focused.

Based on the hysterical laughter, the ethereal sister’s words were having no effect. Clara needed them to unleash their wrath for her plan to work. That meant it was time to up the ante.

Clara grabbed onto the hilt of her blade buried into Drusilla’s spine. As expected, the blade would not budge, nonetheless, she hoped this act would force the goddess to play her hand.

“She’s going to attack,” said the decidedly paranoid ethereal sister.

“Now wait—,” the silvery sister managed to say just as a long and powerful bolt of blue energy made the air crackle.

The beam struck Clara dead centre in her chest, spreading over her body then passed through the blade and into Drusilla’s spine which made them both convulse. Whatever prevented Clara from affecting others in the room was easily sidestepped by the goddesses’ power.

The other two sisters turned to look at Sparky. The look matched precisely what was etched on the bimbo’s face. Of all the times to wish for a camera!

The look on their faces soon dissipated when a bright yellow light filled the room. That bolt of energy had been enough to ignite the alcohol which engulfed both women in an inferno.

“In nómine Patris et Fílii et Spíritus Sancti,” Clara said while making the sign of a cross.

In a final act of faith, Clara closed her eyes, understanding that time was not on her side. This would be a painful and unpleasant death. So where were the effects? Her skin should have been burning, her flesh drawing tight while pain flooded her mind.

Surprised, she opened her eyes and expected to see Hecate taunting her. Instead, she was greeted with a wall of flame growing in intensity.

When Clara glanced at Drusilla, she saw how the flames licked her corpse with zeal. Soon enough, Drusilla would be nothing more than a collection of charred bones. That idea put a smile on her face, succeeding in her mission despite interference from a higher power. Drusilla would never again be a threat to anyone.

So where was the sense of accomplishment? If her life revolved around revenge, then her goal had been met. To die doing God’s work was a good way to go, and certainly better than Drusilla’s pot-roast welcome to hell.

Then it dawned on her. Revenge had consumed her life because she was furious with these creatures for robbing her of a mundane life. Until that moment, she never stopped to think about her desires to find a good man, fall in love, and become a mother. The idea of existing like a normal person and carrying on in a world oblivious to what lurked in the shadows had been her idea of paradise.

Clara felt some form of energy from within which was hard to describe. She humbly accepted her fate, even while this power kept the flames at bay. Despite this divine intervention, Clara knew she had moments before being overwhelmed.

Clara finished off by saying, “Amen.”

Her final word was followed by an intense shock wave of blinding light that knocked down the column of fire.

“That bastard,” the ethereal sister said before spitting on the floor.

For the first time tonight, her voice carried a depth of emotion.

“Ab-so-lute-ly,” the silvery sister said before she turned to look at Sparky. “Someone just had to go and stir up enough shit so that egomaniac would save the day,” she added with a hint of disdain.

“What did I do,” Sparky said while feigning ignorance.

Tired of this party, Sparky casually strolled towards the exit. However, that did nothing to diffuse the situation.

“You know full well what you did,” the silvery sister said following suit.

“You always fuck things up,” the ethereal sister threw in to get one last dig in.

“Me?” Sparky asked while her eyes were aglow.

“Just ducky,” the silvery sister said.

The latter knew this would take a while to resolve. The last fight that broke out between those two had taken the better part of a century to resolve!

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!