Category: Saturday Scenes

  • Adventures in Wonderland – Part IV

    Clara set down near Edith, close enough to lend support but far enough to react if there was any lingering resentment. She loved these types of situations, yearning to fight against all odds while laughing in the face of the unknown.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    “Finally decided to make your entrance, I see,” Edith said flatly.

    Clara smirked before responding, “Figured I’d be the finale hopper and arrive just in time to claim all the glory.”

    While Edith chuckled, Clara sensed there was still tension between them. One did not stab her best friend through the chest without a reason. Since they needed to cooperate, Clara tossed her a loaded pistol. While Edith appreciated the gesture of trust, she nonetheless checked the chamber and magazine.

    “I’ll never forget what they taught us back at the Tower,” Edith said.

    “Not even in death,” Clara said while pulling out the police issued shotgun.

    “Quick recovery?” Edith said, although it was more of an observation than a question.

    “Ambrosia does wonders for the body,” Clara replied.

    “Ambrosia?” Edith asked. “That stuff only works on the old gods.”

    “I know,” Clara said. “Kinda makes you think—”

    “What is that?” Edith asked to get back on track.

    Clara did not need to look at it because this was not the first time they had crossed paths. She last set eyes on one of these things inside an abandoned temple they had built under a ziggurat. Memories of the desert and that infernal heat returned to her. She had sworn to never return, and yet, a piece of that cursed place found its way here.

    “We’ve met,” Clara said flatly. “Although that’s a new twist.”

    Clara was referring to the corpse the creature had used as a vessel. The victim’s skin was ashen grey and blue based solely on what was not covered in blood. Her clothes were torn, and what remained left little to the imagination. That poor woman’s fingers were literally worn to the bone.

    The face had lost all signs of humanity since the eyes, nose and ears were missing. Tentacles protruded from these orifices, and bone had been shattered to accommodate their size. This mutilation further distorted the face, an act of indignity that really bothered Clara.

    Some of the tentacles were probing the area, gliding over every surface in search of threats, just like the last time. However, there was another group of appendages that controlled the corpse, manipulating the victim like a marionette.

    It used the woman’s arms to caress a whimpering little girl. Clara sympathised with this child; she too had been exposed to such horrors early in life. She prayed that this one be spared the life of a hunter.

    “Where did you come across that thing?” Edith asked.

    Clara focused on the words, steeled her resolve, and said, “The assignment that got Father Allen killed.”

    Edith did not turn to face Clara, but it was clear from the shiver that ran down Edith’s spine that she was familiar with the details of that mission. One important question remained: what could they do to counter this threat?

    “A Mills Bomb only managed to annoy it,” Clara said. “Small arms fire had no effect.”

    A tactical squad came thundering out from the woods, and Clara hoped that Elizabeth simply missed their approach. The creature’s reaction was fast and brutal. The first wave of tentacles flew out like javelins and pierced their armoured vests. The lead men never fired a shot, instead, the tentacles lifted them up in the air while their torsos bulged.

    Clara heard fabric and Kevlar strain. She knew what was about to happen, so she pushed her wings forward just in time to block erupting blood and viscera. Fortunately, Edith had done the same and, since hers were invisible, the effect was far more gruesome.

    As bits of men rained all around them, one from the group must have gotten a shot off. The bang thundered through the area and left a gaping hole in the corpse’s back.

    “Bad idea,” Clara said.

    Her instincts had been bang on. The damage to the body provided this creature with a new orifice, and a whole slew of tentacles poured out. The attack from these quickly decimated what was left of the team.

    As that creature unleashed a wave of chaos, the child progressed from soft whimpers to wailing and tears. The victim’s arms continued to rock the child, but the carnage wrought was enough to upset even a veteran hunter. What chance did this child have?

    There, there, child,” Victoria said.

    “Did you hear that?” Edith asked.

    Clara closed her eyes and concentrated. There was nothing else other than the panicked child.

    “What are you talking about?” Clara asked.

    Please calm down. You’re safe here,” Victoria added.

    “She is trying to comfort the child,” Edith said.

    Clara furrowed her brow, a rare lapse in composure. In this case, Edith needed to see that her confusion was genuine.

    “She? That thing hasn’t made a sound yet,” Clara said bluntly.

    Your parents will be back shortly,” Victoria said. “Then you can be in your mother’s arms.

    “Someone left the child behind,” Edith said.

    Clara’s eyes went blank and, for a split second, there was nobody home. For as long as they knew each other, it had been Clara who trusted her instincts. Edith was in contrast the diligent follower of rules. For her partner to take this leap of faith, it meant this was really happening.

    “You can sense its thoughts? Can’t you?” Clara asked.

    Edith closed her eyes before she let down her wings and sent all of that viscera flying off into the distance. She sensed that pull, that feeling that every action taken before now had been to prepare her for this moment. Seeing that Clara was right, she simply nodded.

    Clara also brushed off her wings before heading towards Edith. She walked slowly, the sway of her hips moving like a pendulum, her face glowing with a suggestive smile.

    Please stop crying, child,” Victoria said, the words resonating within Edith’s mind.

    “You’re lucky that I love you,” Clara said, while ensuring that her movements remained slow and deliberate, just in case.

    Edith did not move back or try to stop Clara. She simply focused on that smile, and found it infectious. Her friend had always been mischievous but, for the first time in a long time, she was seeing Clara without her mask, nor any of that bravado.

    “You probably won’t survive,” Clara said. She stopped once they were close enough to feel one another’s body heat and stretched her neck out enough to whisper into Edith’s ear, “We may never see each other again.”

    Edith had no words to offer. Instead, she closed her eyes as the soft tremble of those lips sent a shiver right down to her soul. She bit her lower lip in anticipation of something that would never be.

    “But,” Clara said as she pulled away just enough to lick Edith’s lips on her way. “This time, God has blessed us with the opportunity to say goodbye.”

    Clara smiled, winked and pressed forward until their lips made contact. The effect on them was immediate. Clara’s inhibitions melted away, while Edith struggled to keep her knees from buckling. Their tongues met, and their breathing quickened in excitement.

    Please dear,” Victoria said.

    That voice dragged Edith back into reality. Clara understood what had happened and would not beg or plead for Edith to stay. They were hunters. This was part of the job and, sometimes, friends did not come home from a mission.

    “Go,” Clara urged. “If God is willing, we will meet again.”

    Edith was once more faced with this constant in her life: ever the faithful follower of rules, despite God taking her Angela away from her but, would she have opened her heart to Clara otherwise?

    Edith handed the pistol back, smiled, closed her eyes, and focused. She thought about all of the good things in her life, and how faith had carried her this far. Faith was her weapon, one she wielded in battle against Evil.

    Clara watched from a distance as Edith marched forward. There was no sensuality in the motions, instead, there was that same dogged determination from earlier. Just like those men who climbed over the trench walls during the Great War, Edith was a soldier of God and willingly served as his instrument.

    When Edith approached, the tentacles did not react. The absolute calm she exuded prevented her from being seen as a threat. Still, Clara kept the shotgun at the ready just in case.

    Once a set of tentacles came into contact with Edith, every limb backed away. Clearly, this thing had not been aware of her presence and reacted like any startled animal would.

    Eventually, curiosity drove it to resume probing the area and found that Edith was still there. The contact did not cause this creature to burn like Clara had hoped. While these things were integral to the creation of the vampires, it did not share their weaknesses.

    The tentacles became emboldened and began to wind around Edith’s body. They slid over every inch of exposed skin, looking for something. Ultimately, their goal remained unclear.

    Edith gasped as one tentacle slithered beneath her knee duster. It sensed that warm crevice between her legs. Without any notice, it rammed itself home and did so with shocking speed. Edith did not fight back. Her faith remained unbroken. In her mind, and she was fulfilling God’s will.

    Soon, other tentacles joined the first under the skirt, but this time, and they found an alternate path. Clara watched from where she was, aghast, but would not interfere.

    Even when a tentacle exited Edith’s mouth, Clara did not move. She remained stoic, unmoved, a pillar of strength for her friend. Despite the outward appearance, she prayed for God to intervene.

    Like falling into a pit of pythons, the tentacles writhed, coiled, and tightened around her friend’s chest. Again, nothing happened, and Edith was entirely under its control. The only thing that gave Clara strength was the defiance shining through Edith’s eyes.

    When two of the tentacles slithered up to Edith’s head, Clara knew it was now or never. If God chose to sit this one out, Clara would take action, even if it meant scorching the Earth.

    Ultimately, Clara’s involvement was not needed. Before the tentacles’ tips transformed into flechettes, a bright light surrounded Edith. Despite her friend being no longer able to speak, she imagined the word amen had been uttered.

    It was one thing to be inside that circle of light and wake up as a soul on the other side of the veil. It was another matter entirely to witness the ascendance first hand.

    Clara shifted her wings to block most of the direct light. She backed away slowly while ensuring she had solid footing. In the background, she heard the wind pick up, one so potent that it became her world.

    What caught her off guard was the shockwave that followed. Powerful enough to whisk her off feet, it sent her flying into a tree.

    “Horsefeathers!” Clara exclaimed.

    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!


  • Adventures in Wonderland – Part III

    Given that all hell was breaking loose, Clara had no qualms about flying over the park. Since Edith had been in a foul mood, she expected to see signs of a fight. Oddly enough, it was all quiet on the western front, although there were still a lot of people fleeing. Those who lingered were further motivated to evacuate once they caught sight of a creature large enough to snatch a grown woman.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    Eventually, all that remained were constabulary moving forward in teams, unsure of what was going on. That meant itchy trigger fingers which would make the earlier bunch look like mimes.

    Clara purposefully chose to overshoot the scene and made sure to fly high enough to have a bird’s eye view. From up here, she made out Edith circling some sort of creature. She was not able to discern any details? Nor did she want to approach that thing either.

    Elizabeth was beginning to show signs of fatigue, namely a rising heart rate. Despite Elizabeth’s legs being wrapped around her own, there were limits to endurance. Either way, Clara had no plans of dragging her friend into the fray.

    Clara noticed a tall building near the periphery which was ideal as a lookout. Once they landed, Elizabeth took a while to steady herself; it seemed that her inner ear needed time to adjust.

    “If you see any of the constabulary approach,” Clara said lightly, “Call me.”

    Elizabeth was puzzled by the mix of terminology. Still, this request was impossible to comply with at this moment.

    “Your phone’s battery gave out,” Elizabeth said.

    “Horsefeathers,” Clara said. “Smoke signals?”

    Elizabeth chuckled at the thought, but in all seriousness, they needed a workable solution. Nothing obvious came to mind, but while smoke signals were possible, they were hardly practical. Besides, she had no desire to attract the fire department since they might first run across whatever caused this mess.

    “Your pistol—” Clara said.

    “My gun—” Elizabeth said at the same time.

    The girls giggled, and Clara took the opportunity to confirm that the rooftop exit was unlocked. The last thing either of them needed was for Elizabeth to end up stranded on the roof after discharging a firearm.

    “Use it only if necessary. If you do, ditch the piece, then hightail it out of here,” Clara said.

    As Clara took flight, Elizabeth scanned the area from behind the lip of the roof. From here, she had ample cover and a good view of most of the immediate area, a great place to keep track of the trouble going on in Wonderland.

    “Just need to remember that I should act normal once I get off this roof,” Elizabeth 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!


  • Adventures in Wonderland – Part II

    “Pull over right there,” Elizabeth said.

    The cabby pulled over, confused about why they were back here. When he set the transmission to park and stopped the metre, the driver looked into his rear-view mirror and found a stack of twenties on the seat with the door wide open. He caught sight of her hightailing it down the sidewalk while holding onto an old piece of pottery.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    After closing the door, he shifted into drive in time to watch a series of squad cars screaming in from around the corner with their sirens blazing. He slammed his fists against the wheel and shoved the transmission back into park. He would be going nowhere soon, considering how they cut him off at both ends.

    “This is going to take a while,” he muttered.

    * * * *

    “I’m here!” Elizabeth yelled while running down the alley.

    She saw a little girl dressed up like a nun standing in front of Clara. She ran to within a few yards, slowed, then dropped to her knees at Clara’s side.

    Elizabeth was out of breath. Adrenaline coursed through her veins and clouded her thoughts. Why did this child seem so familiar? Perhaps she was a fragment from some long forgotten dream or a faded memory?

    “Good,” Angela said. “Get ready.”

    “For?” Elizabeth asked.

    Angela smiled warmly, and reached for the handle of the knife buried in Clara’s chest. Meanwhile, she placed her free hand against Clara’s chest to get more leverage.

    “This is not going to be pretty,” Angela thought.

    “It will be alright,” Angela said to Clara. “Now I’m going to pull the knife out, and this nice lady will pour some ambrosia into the wound.”

    Elizabeth was gripping the amphora with all her might. Clara coughed violently in response, which startled Elizabeth, who jerked out of the way. Doing so caused the glowing liquid to spill everywhere. Fortunately, after some adjustment, a large quantity of the fluid managed to seep into the open wound.

    “Not very graceful,” Angela said with a giggle. “But it seems to be working.”

    When smoke rose out from Clara’s wound, the damaged tissue began to heal. Her coughing transitioned to a light rattle, and before they knew it, her breathing was back to normal.

    Clara’s eyes did not open. Instead, she slumped further onto the pavement. When her wing made contact with the hard surface, she grimaced in discomfort but did not wake. Angela took Clara’s hand, smiled, and watched her elder sleep.

    “Those wounds were pretty severe,” Angela said. “So it may take a while for her to recover.”

    Of course, fate had other plans for them. A police car stopped at the mouth of the alley, and two officers jumped out.

    “Freeze!” One of the officers ordered.

    “Just what we needed,” Angela said grimly, but a grin soon made her face shine. “I’ll go deal with the bulls. You wake her up.”

    Before Elizabeth could object, the young one turned around, smiled, and faded out of existence. All that remained was her grin, an eerie homage to the Cheshire Cat.

    “She was probably dying to do a bit of haunting,” Elizabeth said and was immediately filled with guilt for using the world dying in front of a spirit.

    Despite their distance, Elizabeth noticed a measure of confusion on the officer’s face. A shame that it faded away so fast once his training kicked in. Meanwhile, his partner noticed the hesitation and approached. Since this one was armed with a tactical shotgun, the situation was not progressing as well as she hoped.

    “Come on, Clara,” Elizabeth said.

    When she tapped Clara on the cheeks, the officer trained the pistol in her direction. Apparently, the application of first aid to the wounded did not comply with this man’s definition of freeze.

    “Freeze,” the officer repeated. “Hands where I can see them.”

    Elizabeth thought about complying, but the commotion in the park was getting worse. That meant Clara was needed out there.

    She slapped Clara harder, ignoring the armed men as best she could. Clara did not react, so Elizabeth wondered just how far this needed to go.

    “Last war—,” The officer said.

    Angela materialised just ahead of the officers and did so with the flair of an artist. At first, her bones faded into existence followed by sinew, muscles, fat, and skin. She remained partially translucent throughout, which had a profound effect on the nearest officer. He stopped breathing, his heart rate rose, and his hands began to shake.

    “We heard you bulls the first time,” Angela said.

    His partner, however, was not fazed by the show and brought his weapon to bear. He was about to bark out an order, but Angela turned to face him.

    “You really don’t want to do that,” Angela said while her skin dried up, and shrank until she looked more like a mummified corpse.

    When she smiled, the sound of that leathery hide crackling echoed throughout the alley. That would have been more than enough to scare the shit out of the average moviegoer, but it was her cackle that really sold it. Despite the special effects, the man remained steady and focused. He pumped the weapon one time to eject the buckshot and chambered a slug that would wreak havoc at this range.

    “Come on, Clara,” Elizabeth said, now visibly shaking Clara.

    Other than a brief interruption in Clara’s breathing, she appeared to be blissfully unperturbed by the impending storm. Elizabeth began to panic. She knew that the situation would only worsen and doubted the cops would understand her non-compliance once Angela ran out of tricks.

    The first officer snapped out of it. Emboldened by his partner, he pointed the pistol at Angela who showed no concerns.

    “Really boys,” Angela said. “Am I going to have to give you the high hat?”

    Angela’s features morphed into that of a youthful child. Her hair then defied gravity, resembling that of someone submerged in water. While the effect did not phase the cops, the world surrounding them certainly reacted.

    The air grew cold, and while it was autumn, the drop in temperature was sudden, and dramatic. Frost permeated from under the child’s feet, causing the pavement to freeze while it spread. Once the phenomenon reached the first cop, his breath turned to ice which forced him to back away.

    “Clara!” Elizabeth exclaimed, and this time she followed through with a slap loud enough to echo.

    The weather disturbance was starting to get the attention of other officers in the area. Some looked on in awe, while others radioed in the sighting, sure to bring in some reinforcements.

    While the frost continued to spread, it also became more focused. When the second officer moved his finger onto the trigger, the weapon itself iced over. The metal became so cold that it forced him to drop his weapon.

    “Come on,” Elizabeth pleaded.

    Elizabeth knew this situation was about to blow. She sighed, which oddly enough alleviated her panic and was momentarily thankful for the small miracle. Without any better ideas, she leaned in and kissed Clara on the lips, unsure of its effectiveness or where that particular idea came from.

    Angela began to laugh maniacally, which corresponded with an exponential growth in the disturbance. Anyone near the expanse was now actively trying to keep away from it, while those caught in its wake regretted their decision.

    Meanwhile, Elizabeth’s kiss lingered on those lips until her partner reacted. Before she opened her eyes, Clara moulded her willing body against Elizabeth’s. The passion they shared grew in intensity, and for a moment, there was no one else in the world.

    That’s when a frantic officer decided that brute force would solve this once and for all. He emptied a clip into the young girl, and while every shot hit home, her laughter only intensified.

    Clara did not react. Such sounds were like old friends to her now. Alas, Elizabeth, fearing that the shots were meant for her, jerked back and in doing so, caused the broken wing to shift.

    “Ouch,” Clara said before she smirked.

    That reaction showcased how Clara and that girl were cut from the same cloth. From that, it was easy to figure out how Edith could have fallen for both. She also realised that Clara had been milking this…

    “Milking this situation to get a kiss?” Elizabeth asked. “You’re an incorrigible flirt.”

    Clara adopted an impish grin, then looked towards the spectacle. While the frost approached their position, she was not concerned nor worried. Once Clara spotted the amphora, she smiled, grabbed the vessel, and swallowed several mouthfuls of its golden contents.

    “You know,” Clara said when she stopped drinking to get some air. “I’ve always liked men, but when I’m around you, I really have to wonder why I haven’t given the fairer sex a try.”

    Elizabeth should have been concerned, but Clara’s demeanour had a calming effect. Those smart ass words disguised as flirting succeeded in getting Elizabeth to smile. Even though it was fall, she felt warm, desired, and certain that she could survive anything, including a nuclear winter. All she needed was this lady to watch her back.

    “Watch this,” Clara said.

    Angela’s eyes began to glow, while her voice rose in pitch until it shattered nearby windows. The banshee’s intense scream forced people to cover their ears. All the while, a solid wave of cold air pushed forward, enveloping vehicles and men alike. Once the wave dissipated, she was gone.

    The immediate aftermath was a sight to behold. The ground was covered in a thick layer of snow, while more fell lazily from the sky. Anyone far enough away, would have seen something akin to a life-sized snow globe.

    While those caught inside were less than appreciative, at least they were alive. Their skin and uniforms had turned white from the frost and appeared to be nothing more than breathing snow sculptures. Meanwhile those outside of the globe were left wondering what they should do next. Should they assist their peers or avoid drawing out that girl for another round of games?

    “Carrots must have attended the same lectures I did,” Clara said.

    Elizabeth stood up, while looking over the spectacle and gasped. By now, she was nearly numb to such acts of wonder. As judged by Clara’s demeanour, it would take a hell of a lot more than that to phase her.

    She then grabbed Clara’s hand and helped her up. The other immediately brushed herself off and spread out her wings to their full size. Despite having seen them before, the sight of those magistic feathered wings.

    “They taught you about ghosts?” Elizabeth asked.

    Clara nodded, smiled, and said, “Professor Stephens taught us this subject as part of his second year lectures. I figured there was an awful lot of detail for something that was not supposed to exist.”

    “But—,” Elizabeth tried to ask.

    Clara anticipated the question and added, “He taught us about the creatures of myth and legend. Ghosts were noteworthy because of the depth of knowledge shown, along with the steadfast denial of their existence.”

    That had been the professor’s way of toeing the line, while providing his students with valuable insights. Angela, just like Clara, had paid attention. It did not take much to figure out that a soul called down from the heavens was a ghost in all aspects but in name.

    “She used up all her power with that stunt,” Clara said. “She will wake up in her own world in a couple of months once she’s had the chance to regenerate.”

    Elizabeth wanted to ask a few more questions but thought better of it. Sometimes ignorance was bliss, and this was the perfect example.

    Clara was surprised to see the conflict growing within and proud of how well Elizabeth was doing. Instead of saying something, she winked out of existence and reappeared holding a shotgun and a couple of police issued pistols.

    She then proceeded to hand a weapon over to Elizabeth and chuckled when the other recoiled from the cold. The recipient briefly glared at Clara and stuck out her tongue in an effort to diffuse the situation.

    “You ready?” Clara asked, extending an arm.

    “What about the amphora?” Elizabeth asked, but then noticed it was already gone.

    Instead of retracting her question, Elizabeth moved in and held on to Clara. With one swoop of Clara’s wings, they were airborne, heading towards the park. They did make an effort to avoid the snow globe, and despite their being witnesses, no one made an attempt to stop them. An angry ghost was more than enough for one day.

    “Gabriel is not going to like this,” Clara muttered.

    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!


  • Adventures in Wonderland – Part I

    Just as Edith was about to strike, a shot rang out in the alley, but the round flew low and ricocheted off the sidewalk. Elizabeth stood at the mouth of the alley, her hands shaking, eyes wide. Clearly, this woman was shocked that the shot had gone off.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    When Edith turned back towards Clara, Elizabeth sensed someone brush up against her. She looked up at the voluptuous woman and during this tense time? When Elizabeth’s eyes moved up, they grew in size.

    “Shhhh,” Edith said. “It’s a long story and we don’t have time to explain.”

    Elizabeth’s mouth hung open, her mind unable to deal with conflicting truths. Edith smiled warmly and tore the weapon from her stiff fingers. The cool chill of the grave that Elizabeth felt from that brief exchange was enough to turn her skin to gooseflesh.

    “You with me?” Edith asked.

    “Uhhh?” Elizabeth managed to vocalise.

    How could there be two of the same person? Although, this one appeared to be about a decade older as judged by the silver streaks running through her hair. Elizabeth wondered if this one also had a pair of wings.

    “Close enough,” Edith said. She then trained the weapon on her alternate self and said, “You need to head home now. Fast as you can and get that amphora!”

    “Wha…” Elizabeth asked.

    Edith fired one round that rang out loud and clear. She then looked over to Elizabeth. Her eyes widened and her head motions to the street to indicate the arrival of an oncoming traxi.

    When Elizabeth didn’t move, Edith sighed and said, “Go! Be sure to bring it back here—and hurry.”

    This time when the shots rang out, Elizabeth was already waving down the cab. Edith fired every round to the best of her abilities, adjusting the angle of the shots as they struck until one flew true.

    When she expended the clip, Edith turned around and melted into the crowd before her alter-ego could spot her. They needed a diversion and now that was over and done with, it was time for Angela to step up.

    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!


  • Collision Course – Part VIII

    Without delay, Edith headed to the source of those panicked people. Despite being in high heels, she had no trouble at all in maintaining a decent pace. Edith could run for miles, but she needed to keep strength in reserve, just in case.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    Since the gates were crowded, Edith let her wings unfold and leapt over the stone fence. This park was a massive affair. There were roadways, hard paths, and trails that crisscrossed every which way. At this time of year, the park was a sight to behold, since trees mimicked the colours of a stunning sunset. Vibrant yellows, reds, and oranges covered the foliage, while pockets of fallen leaves contrasted the still green grass.

    Edith followed the stream of fleeing people, until she was able to determine the source of this disturbance. She spotted a parallel path, one that provided cover, and settled on a spot to land. Her senses were heightened and energised. To think that she almost forgot about the thrill of running into danger.

    Eventually, the number of evacuees thinned out. Despite the sounds of panic, Edith could hear a whimpering child up ahead. The crying and sniffling were muted, and in the background, there was something else, something she could not identify.

    To further her advance, she slowed down and slipped off her shoes. Armed with knives, Edith navigated her way through this park and did so in the utmost silence. Trudging around like a bull elephant would not only give away her position, but was sure to make her a target.

    After a few minutes, she came upon a series of bushes. On the other side, the little girl was crying softly. She got down on all fours and crawled underneath the lower branches to get closer, but remained concealed. The first thing she noted was a statue that came out of Lewis Carroll’s imagination.

    At first, nothing appeared to be out of place. In fact, it appeared to be deserted. Under normal circumstances, that would have been an anomaly, considering the number of people fleeing the park. Fortunately, the girl sniffled, which helped Edith narrow her search.

    Right behind the statue, she saw a little blonde girl, or that was her guess. Other than a patch of untouched hair, this poor creature was covered in blood. Still, the source of that blood really upped the ante. Edith was immediately filled with regret, namely cursing herself for bringing knives to this fight, when the situation called for heavy artillery.

    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!


  • Collision Course – Part VII

    Edith lunged forward, poised to plunge the blade straight into Clara’s heart. Her eyes focused on the precise spot to strike at the expense of anything else. That is, until a blur of blazing orange materialised from out of the ether.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    “What the—” Edith said, questioning her eyes.

    The apparition gained definition in both shape and form, but the girl maintained a modicum of transparency. The red hair, freckles, and acolyte’s uniform were all clues to this interloper’s identity.

    “Carrots,” Clara tried to say, inducing a coughing fit that sprayed liberal amounts of blood over the pavement.

    Edith questioned her next step, and the why of this situation was her first thought on the matter. She had not summoned this child, nor was there a reason that she could think of. Doubt set in and infested her thoughts, much to Clara’s relief. Sadly, that coughing fit had been severe enough to render her unconscious.

    Angela’s lips moved, but she was unable to vocalise. Frustrated, the apparition closed her eyes, calmed down, and materialised fully into this world.

    “What in heaven’s name are you doing?” Angela questioned.

    “I’m fulfilling my mission,” Edith said bluntly. Her features then softened before adding, “So I can get back to you.”

    Angela smiled before wrapping her arms around her lover’s mid-section. Given their age difference, this looked more like a mother being reunited with her long lost daughter. Edith dropped the blade and lifted the child. That single moment of intimacy was enough to feel whole, wanted, and alive.

    “So,” Angela said. “You think that killing the greatest love of your life will bring you back to me?”

    Edith jerked her head back and blushed. She never thought it possible that Angela would defend Clara, let alone show a mastery of insight on matters that Edith had yet to admit to herself.

    Angela giggled and gave Edith a quick peck on the lips, “You really thought I knew nothing of this, or even suspected?”

    “How did you?” Edith asked.

    “For one, you summoned me from the grave to fetch Clara. You could have chosen anyone else, like say the Reverend Mother,” Angela replied.

    “And?” Edith urged the other to go on.

    “I saw you two during the war,” Angela said. “That woman saved your life and endangered her own when she left behind her great coat to keep you warm in the dead of winter.”

    Edith always figured that Angela had stayed within the confines of her own world. She never once questioned why Angela was able to recognise her after aging twenty-years. For this to make sense, Angela would have had to visit the overlook and keep an eye out for Edith.

    Angela knew the thoughts running through Edith’s mind and said, “Yes, I saw that.” She then giggled before adding, “I wanted you to be happy. So why complicate matters?”

    “That… I was aware, yes,” Edith replied.

    “Just like I knew that your vigils over the mortal realm were for more than sightseeing,” Angela countered.

    Angela squeezed Edith’s neck and kissed her cheek. The senior of the two did not notice any waning in affection or emotion. In fact, the opposite was true.

    “Besides, I saw Clara fall to the mortal realm around the same time you did,” Angela said with a nod. “Happened right after that shockwave hit us.”

    “You mean?” Edith asked.

    “That she was telling you the truth?” Angela asked to confirm. “Yes, Gabriel confirmed it for me. Although that wasn’t the biggest surprise.”

    “Oh?” Edith asked.

    Angela kissed Edith passionately before pushing herself away and landed on the pavement. She then walked over to Clara, placed her wrist against the wounded woman’s forehead, and shook her head. She then turned to look out towards the alley’s entrance. In the distance, there were signs of panic building in the park and that meant their time was growing short.

    “You were waiting for me when I got home,” Angela said with a straight face.

    “I was home?” Edith queried.

    Angela nodded, “The incarnation of you who never became an angel. The one who finally managed to find release from all of that duty and honour that haunted you in life.”

    There was another Edith out there which meant there could be two Claras as well. That did a lot to explain the remnant she found back in the apartment.

    “I know you don’t really get what’s going on,” Angela said.

    The sounds of people in a panic were growing more pronounced. Edith turned her head to investigate and saw streams of people fleeing the park.

    “Your destiny awaits,” Angela said while she pointed to the commotion in the park. “I’ll take care of Clara, just like I did for you. Remember? Now go!”

    Angela’s smile was warm and compelling. She remembered seeing that beautiful child, even through the delirium induced by a near fatal infection. All the while, the sense of panic out there continued to grow.

    “I love you!” Edith said before running into the chaos.

    “I love you too!” Angela said with a smile.

    In the back of her mind, Angela hoped that Elizabeth would get back here soon. Otherwise, Clara would not have long in this world.

    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!


  • Collision Course – Part VI

    “Stop. Wonderland Station,” the automated train chimed.

    Victoria opened her eyes for the second time. This time, she was comfortably seated on the padded leather seats of the train. The bright overhead lighting brought on a headache, an unfortunate side effect of waking up from a deep sleep.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    As pain radiated out from her temples and spiked through her corneas, Victoria closed her eyes to soften the blow. Alas, there would be no getting a pass; she would just need to get on with it.

    “It was all a dream then?” Victoria wondered.

    That scene with Evelyn had been so visceral, so real, that she would have bet her life on it being genuine. Evidence spoke to the contrary; this train and the memories of crawling out of that pit were just as tangible.

    “I need to tone down my imagination,” Victoria said.

    The notice came as the train began to slow down. Victoria saw the world come into focus as they slowed, and just ahead, there was a station.

    “Just like the one I left behind?” Victoria pondered while avoiding the difficult question lingering in the air.

    Victoria did not know how long she had been unconscious. Without that detail, there was no way of knowing how far they had travelled, nor how many stations, if any, they bypassed before now.

    “Wonderland,” Victoria questioned the name of the stop.

    After pulling up along a shiny terminal, the train came to a full stop. This time, Victoria had less trouble getting back on her feet.

    “Perhaps exhaustion would do me the favour of taking a back seat for now,” Victoria mumbled.

    She gave the train one last look before transitioning to the platform. If the name had not been announced, Victoria would have guessed they were back where she had left off. Every aspect of this station matched that of the chapel station: dimensions, colour, and building materials. Even the elevator door was the same, right down to the size and location.

    “This doesn’t help me figure out if any of this was real,” Victoria said, with a deep sigh.

    Victoria dragged her feet over to the elevator and pressed the golden button. While the button glowed softly, there were no whirrs or hums associated with an elevator coming to life.

    “What is this?” Victoria asked.

    The doors slid open noiselessly. Instead of an elevator car, Victoria had a direct view of the outside world. Admittedly, she found that hard to digest. How was it that the station’s structural elements were not visible?

    Just beyond the golden doors was an artist’s representation of Wonderland. Several notable characters were congregated around a mushroom. Alice sat atop the oversized fungus, which served as a table for the other characters. This landmark was the clue, an important point of reference to explain where she was.

    “But how?” Victoria asked.

    There were no buildings or structures near that landmark, nor anything above ground. Even though the sun hung low in the eastern sky, children were crawling all over the statue while parents watched. Meanwhile, tourists spent their time taking snapshots of the scene, all to create the illusion of a memorable trip.

    A couple was facing the doorway as they posed for a selfie. Victoria rolled her eyes at the spectacle, complete with fake smiles and choreographed pose. Now she found it hard not to add nausea to her list of ailments.

    “To appear happy and content for a fraction of a second,” Victoria said.

    The smiles momentarily disappeared from the couple’s faces. Their brows dropped and they looked at each other as though questioning their reality.

    “They heard me?” Victoria whispered. “They must have.”

    Excitement seeped into her weary bones. For the first time in recent memory, she was seeing an end to this ordeal.

    During her deliberations, the couple picked up from where they left off. They looked so artificially happy, their smiles large and inviting. They remained in that pose until Victoria walked through the gateway, appearing out of thin air.

    Their smiles evaporated, replaced by gaping mouths and glassy eyes. Victoria had seen this many times before in her horror movies. This was the look of dread, one which would be invariably followed by a blood curdling scream.

    Before Victoria had a chance to calm the couple, the phone was already plunging towards the ground. Just then, a child caught sight of Victoria and immediately began to shower the lawn with tears. The child’s mother turned to investigate and, upon setting eyes on her child and what stood in the background, shrieked in horror. The sound was so powerful that it rang out into the park.

    “That’s going to draw unnecessary attention,” Victoria muttered.

    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!


  • Collision Course – Part IV

    Clara had been expecting trouble, so when someone yelled from above, her reaction was imperceptible although immediate. She sensed time slow down. The yelling morphed until the voice was deep and slow, more fitting of an opera hall than a dingy alleyway.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    She turned around at what would appear to be a normal speed. Her eyes darted over every aspect of the alleyway, searching for ingress points and any object that could aid or hinder her.

    Clara could have sworn that it was Edith who uttered those words, yet she had never known Edith to unload that kind of vitriol towards anyone. This woman was always cool as ice, not a swirling maelstrom of hate.

    After the poisoned words faded, Clara was almost fully in line with the alley. From out of her peripheral vision, she spotted a window shatter which sent glass shards flying in every direction, just like a grenade going off. However, that was the least of her worries, since there was an angel of fury descending on her.

    Edith’s trajectory was in line to impact both Clara and Elizabeth. While Clara could weather such a blow, her friend, no matter how imposing, was ill equipped to do so. That meant Clara would need to deflect the attack, and so far, her accelerated reaction times would help to stack the odds in her favour. Clara pivoted towards the street using her wings to back off a couple of feet before adopting a runners starting position. She kept her eyes fixed on Edith who was just beginning to realise what was going on.

    “Too late,” Clara said while using her wings to jump start into a run.

    The two women made contact half-way through the alley. Clara managed to deflect Edith enough to send her into a dumpster. The metal deformed on impact and drove the refuse bin into the wall.

    On the other hand, Clara was not so lucky. She aimed a bit low, so the force of the deflection sent her straight into the sidewalk. The impact scraped her bare arms and left a golden streak on the sidewalk. Later on, the full force of that pain would make itself known, but for now, there were other priorities.

    After several bounces on the sidewalk, Clara regained her footing and said, “Di mi! Have you been kicking the gong around?”

    The altercation caught the attention of a passer-by who noticed the wings in addition to the carnage. Sensing his fifteen minutes of fame, he pulled out his phone and began to stream the altercation online.

    Edith pulled herself away from her crater. She ignored Elizabeth, focusing all of that pent up anger on Clara who was standing twenty yards down the line.

    “I don’t talk to traitors,” Edith said while her wings brushed off the dust from her dress.

    “Traitor, now?” Clara queried with a smirk.

    Clara had used up her abilities for now. Edith, however, had yet to use that skill. Clara saw the other angel shift unnaturally, and just reacted.

    Before she knew it, two throwing knives whizzed by her chest. It turned out there were advantages to having breasts that were not as bountiful as Elizabeth’s. Anything bigger would have left a visible mark and slowed her down, in more ways than one. While pain could be ignored, it reduced her effectiveness bit by bit.

    Clara reached toward her back, grabbed the shotgun, and brought it forward. While she had no desire to pull the trigger, still, it paid to make a show of force. A gal had to look out for herself after all.

    Edith remained accelerated and kicked the shotgun barrel up in the air. That shot managed to draw in a larger crowd of spectators. Clara had kept a solid grasp of the weapon until this happened, but at that speed, it was difficult to compensate. The price of holding on meant spraining her dominant wrist.

    “Horsefeathers!” Clara yelled as she backed away.

    Somehow, her opponent could remain accelerated for longer periods than Clara. To compensate, Clara slowed down time just a smidge, but even that was pushing her limits. Still, it made anticipating her opponent’s movements easier.

    Now, when Edith attacked, Clara’s boot made solid contact with the former’s chest. The reaction was immediate and forced Edith to return to normal speed. The hit struck her in the sternum and left her winded, although temporarily.

    Clara had a mild advantage, but that would not last. On instinct, Clara sent the spent shells through the air and used the opportunity to insert fresh ammunition. Once more, she trained the weapon on Edith and remained calm even as the barrel drifted, a side effect of steadying the weapon with a weakened wrist.

    “Not going to answer my question?” Clara asked.

    Edith looked up, her eyes burning with hate. There was nothing left of the woman Clara knew reflected in those eyes. No matter what was said, those words would never reach a reasoned mind.

    “Or would it be better for me to ask why?” Clara asked. “I am starting to understand why men hate getting that line,” she added before adopting a wide grin.

    Edith was a formidable sparring partner at the best of times. Her cold and calculating nature meant that every strike and parry were part of a grand plan. Most were able to think a move or two ahead, but Edith was more like a grandmaster when it came to hand to hand combat.

    Clara did not stand a chance in a fair fight, but her impulsive behaviour often served to add some spice to the chaos. That tactic might end up being her ticket out of this.

    “Elizabeth,” Clara said. “It’s time for you to leave.”

    Elizabeth’s head popped out from one of the dumpsters. When she saw what looked to be a standoff, she figured it was best to follow directions. Clara opened up her wings to their full size in an effort to conceal the escape. While ineffective, it did serve as a distraction.

    When Edith twitched, Clara rested her fingers on both triggers. The sound of the trigger mechanism being engaged, even lightly, was enough to change her opponents mind. Alas, Clara knew this détente would not hold for long.

    “Thank you,” Elizabeth said as she slipped away.

    Clara did not respond and instead kept her eyes focused on the other, the one who had been called down from Heaven in some alternate decision path, a reality where Clara had not been there at a critical junction for Edith.

    “How did you get your wings?” Clara asked, showing genuine curiosity.

    Edith flinched for a moment, conflicted on her course of action. Still, she chose to play along and replied, “I killed Drusilla.”

    Clara quirked a brow before replying, “You too, eh?”

    “Liar!” Edith yelled.

    “How do you think I got these?” Clara said, wiggling her wings.

    “By fucking that vampire,” Edith said.

    “One of them with wings?” Clara asked while cocking her head to the side. “Really?”

    Reason and logic were known to have some sway with the rational version of Edith. The latter took one look at those wings and chose to make a play for the weapon.

    Clara kept her grip on the weapon, but the sprain made her wince. She should have fired a shot, but could not bring herself to pull the trigger. Instead, Edith gripped the weapon from both sides and, through brute force, sheared off the barrel assembly.

    Clara backed away and made sure to block the alley entrance. She wanted to make sure that no one else got in the way of Edith’s wrath.

    “I loved you,” Edith said faintly.

    Clara’s eyes widened. In truth, she had known for years but never expected to hear those words. The effect of that revelation might have been weakened by this tempest of dark emotions, but it did much to lift Clara’s spirits.

    “I know,” Clara said in a cocky tone.

    That quip hit a raw nerve. Edith literally snarled and in a burst of speed, sent Clara flying into one of the dumpsters. The impact was hard, but it was the steel lid that slammed onto her left wing that really hurt.

    Clara realised that she had fractures to deal with. Her wing drooped unnaturally at the midway point, and every time she shifted, pain travelled down all the way to her toes.

    “What?” Clara asked. “How are you even surprised?”

    “You never said anything,” Edith replied.

    “Do you think I was blind to how you looked at me when we were together?” Clara asked. “I fell in love with you the day Sister Beatrice did that strip tease in class!”

    “Then why?” Edith trailed off, her eyes softened.

    “Because they would have kept us apart, and they would have assigned me another partner,” Clara said while forcing her wing closed and wincing at the excruciating pain.

    “You left me,” Edith said.

    Clara knew that was not the whole truth. It was the Reverend Mother who assigned Clara a new mission and left Edith behind as a reprimand for nearly getting them killed. How could she broach that subject without unearthing any uncomfortable truths?

    “The Reverend Mother made that call,” Clara said while massaging her wing back into shape.

    “You never came back,” Edith said.

    “True,” Clara said. “Did you bother to tell me that you left the order?”

    “How do you know about that?” Edith asked while wiping tears from her face.

    “I met you right before heading off to the Grand,” Clara said. “You’d just lost your… lover… and were devastated.”

    “You were never there!” Edith yelled out of disbelief.

    “And yet here we are, sent to Earth on a mission by Gab—,” Clara said.

    “Gabriel,” Edith finished.

    Clara nodded and smiled, hoping that Edith was letting down the wall she had built up over the decades. Despite that, Clara kept her pistol at the ready, knowing that she could not afford to hesitate. A broken wing could heal, but a well-placed strike would end her.

    “Did you land in all of your glory?” Clara asked. “Or did you come to Earth looking as though you just rolled off the red carpet?”

    Edith snickered and a weak smile appeared on her lips. Perhaps things were about to settle? So why was Clara still uneasy about the situation?

    Clara thought back to the last time she saw laid eyes on that smile. Her friend had been an emotional mess back then too. She must have spent hours consoling a distraught Edith that day and another week in Mexico to make sure she pulled through.

    In Edith’s reality, they never crossed paths after being separated at the Tower. Did that mean there was a vampiric doppelgänger on the loose? The thought led Clara to wonder how that reunion would end up.

    “I’m sorry,” Clara said. “I really should have made an attempt to stay in touch.”

    Edith looked at her friend while streams of tears ran over her red cheeks. In the background, they heard a collective disappointment. Now that the worst appeared over, people were expressing their displeasure at reaching a peaceful resolution.

    “So, you didn’t betray me?” Edith asked.

    Clara smiled and opened up her arms, “Of course not. Why would I do that to you?”

    Edith seemed to hesitate while her mind struggled to come to terms with these revelations. Hunters were trained to deal with the unknown, but this was pushing it.

    Eventually Edith moved in closer, opened her arms, and embraced the other in a hug. Even through the leather, Clara was warm, welcoming and enticing.

    Play with your berry patch,” Clara had said.

    Edith’s grip tightened. She reached out and grabbed the wounded wing to grind bone against bone. As waves of pain washed over Clara, she broke free and recoiled in agony. That move left her exposed, so Edith exploited the opportunity by plunging her blade into Clara’s chest.

    “Your days of manipulating me are over,” Edith spat.

    Clara crumpled to the ground. A lung had collapsed and the cavity began to fill with blood. To hold on, she kept her breathing shallow, but it would not take long for her condition to worsen. When she tried to speak, all that came out was golden blood.

    Edith towered over the wounded Clara, all the while wearing a sick smile. In her mind, Clara had been her mission all along, and severing all ties with this traitor would get her back home. Right now, all she could think of was how much she needed that to happen.

    Edith grabbed another knife; her knuckles went white around the handle. For a moment, doubt crept into her mind, but that voice was quickly drowned out. She raised her hand, ready to strike, believing this blade would be her coup de grâce.

    “No!” Elizabeth exclaimed.

    Edith ignored the woman. In a way, this was an act of charity. Clara would be denied the chance to use that tramp as a sex toy.

    “How dare you try to shift the blame!” Edith shouted.

    Just as Edith was about to strike, a shot rang out, but the round flew low and ricocheted off the pavement. Elizabeth stood at the mouth of the alley, her hands shaking, eyes wide. Clearly, this woman was shocked that the shot had gone off.

    Edith didn’t particularly care. Given the range and the shooter’s experience, there was little to no chance of getting a hit. She ignored a second shot that rang out, sure of her invincibility.

    Again, she went in for a strike, just as another series of shots rang out. This time, one of the projectiles flew true. The bullet, however, did not hit home since a wing shifted on instinct to deflect the shot.

    Edith turned to glare down the alley entrance. Her narrow eyes, tense jaw, and white lips were clear signs that she was fuming. She watched the crowd melt away until all that was left was the original passer-by and his phone.

    When this man came to the realisation that he was the only one left to contend with her wrath, he smiled uncomfortably and disappeared around the corner. In the meantime, Elizabeth sped off into the unknown, a passenger of some nondescript cab.

    Clara was nearly unresponsive by then. The golden blood that pooled around the blade was turning a dull red over time. By that point, she was not in any shape to put up much of a fight.

    Edith turned back to face her former friend, the fire in her eyes rekindled, looking more like windows into the seventh layer of hell. Clara struggled to keep her eyes open. She wanted to face her death, show a bit of dignity, but not all wishes were meant to be.

    “Teach you to play with her nethers,” Edith said, and this time, there was no earthly force that would distract her.

    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!


  • Collision Course – Part III

    “Light,” Edith murmured, and opened her eyes.

    The world was marred by a haze as it often is when waking up from a deep sleep. When she looked up, the crater caused by her impact came into focus. The visible internal structure of the wall, followed by cracked brick, made her shudder.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    The room was bathed in a dull light which provided more detail but did nothing to convince her there was something important here. Nothing that required her—

    A loud moan caused Edith’s ears to perk up. She sat up straight without trouble and flexed her wings to confirm that everything was healed. Certain that she was back to full fighting force, Edith stood up. Her eyes lingered on the sight of the hallway and adjoining living room, just to make sure that this spectre was not going to interfere.

    When satisfied, she navigated around the ejecta and bed. Before walking up to the window, Edith noticed that a pane was broken. However, the hole was much smaller than expected, and the lack of debris implied it had been cleaned up well before she showed up.

    From the corner of her eye, Edith spotted some movement. Her eyes immediately focused on a tall woman of mixed ethnicity. Even from this distance, the traits that made her a knockout were easily discerned. The fact that this woman had an imposing height, only made her all the more attractive, since that was a trait Edith found alluring.

    As her eyes lingered on the details of those lips, Edith noticed someone moving below. Even though the other gal was on her knees, the silhouette was unmistakable. Edith had spent far too many hours running over the details of that toned figure, petite stature, and elfin-ears, to mistake Clara for anyone else. Although, she did have to admit the black wings were new.

    “You bitch!” Edith exclaimed. “How could you betray me like that?”

    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!


  • Collision Course – Part II

    Play with your berry patch,” Clara said from out of the shadows.

    Edith unsuccessfully sought out the source of those words. The world before her was pale and grey, an existence devoid of detail. She associated this place with a poorly drawn out sketch and wondered if this was all part of a dream.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    That would not have been the first time she woke up in a dream state. Most of the hunters she knew were able to manipulate their dreamworlds as they saw fit, so Edith was deeply disappointed that this was the best she could come up with.

    To test her hypothesis, Edith focused her thoughts and observed the world transition from a pale imitation, to a place filled with vivid colour and detail, confirming that she was the master of this domain. Not bad for a gal who had not slept in almost a century.

    “So why am I dreaming?” Edith asked herself.

    The world morphed in response to her query. She was faced with a scene devoid of light, a dark room that lacked any details. The scene was distinctly familiar, but her conscious mind was not fully in control.

    Up ahead, there was another version of herself, the well-dressed flapper who looked like she had just come out of the hen coop. Edith walked around her avatar, taking in the scene, and noted that her copy was observing something down the hallway. Seeing that spectre made her flinch, just in time to witness the powerful transfer of energy that launched her copy into the wall.

    The sight of that impact brought back a dull memory of the pain, none of which was reflected in her current state of being. Edith had never thought about this incarnation’s ability to heal, let alone if it happened at an accelerated rate.

    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!


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