Shadows and Echoes – Part IV

Victoria stepped over the doorman, before making her way to the front door. Just ahead, Evelyn’s footsteps echoed when her heels made contact with the hardwood floors.

In that moment, Victoria was happy, content with the world and the part she was to play in it. She had a guide, confidant, and friend in Evelyn, a woman that saw great potential in her, something that no one else had ever seen before.

“Could this moment get any better?” Victoria whispered.

As though the gods themselves decided to intervene, the scene’s mood changed for the worse. The power cut out, which plunged them into twilight and awoke a fresh set of senses.

As a mortal, she would have been blind as a bat, but now the world retained a level of detail. To the unaccustomed, her night vision was more like seeing the world represented in a series of blueprints. She saw the outlines of objects and structures, but none of the finer details were present.

Her hearing had also been enhanced. She heard the compressor in her refrigerator slowing down and had no trouble picking up a deluge of boots stomping up the stairs. At first, the sounds were distant, but they grew in intensity until they were just outside the door.

“Is that their heart—,” Victoria wondered before a loud thump flooded her senses.

The sound forced Victoria to cover her ears in response. To the uninitiated, it was comparable to an explosive charge going off nearby.

Evelyn had no such concerns. Her years of experience taught her to control these heightened senses. Victoria watched the vampire advance at a frightening pace. Her elder knew exactly what was going on, the extent of the incursion, and how much trouble they were in.

“Run!” Evelyn exclaimed just as a second impact struck the door.

The shock from the impact caused the door to splinter around the securing mechanism. As the door swung open, the elder ran past the opening with claws extended. Victoria was confused, unsure of what was going on. That second impact left her stunned, her mind muddled, and choices unclear in the midst of so much chaos.

“Freeze!” the team leader ordered.

The word hung in the air, like an opera singer holding a note for as long as possible. Victoria opened her eyes just in time to witness Evelyn take the offensive.

Ahead of the man who barked out orders, there were four others holding a battering ram. The lot of them were dressed in black, wearing night vision goggles, and their heads were adorned with combat helmets. Her night vision did not allow her to see the word SWAT printed on their tactical vests, but she could guess that much.

Evelyn reached out for the first man on her left. Her claws ripped through the light fabric around his neck and dug into the flesh around his larynx. She then used him as a pivot to propel her knee into the face of the man on her right. That impact drove the night vision goggles into the man’s forehead and tore out the larynx of her first victim.

With the grace of a dancer, Evelyn straddled the battering ram as it fell towards the floor. Since the last two men were still holding onto the heavy implement, she grabbed the forward handles and waited.

As soon as her feet touched the floor, she gave it her all. Her strength easily propelled the battering ram away from her and towards what remained of the unsuspecting team. The ram, now a missile, flew towards the team leader and broke the wrists of those who held on.

By then, Victoria had managed to regain a modicum of coherence, just in time to witness blood gushing out in spurts, while the other man just dropped to his knees and toppled forward like a log.

The battering ram impacted the team leader’s chest. Even from this distance, Victoria heard the aramid liner stretch and strain, followed by the sound of breaking bones. With her heightened hearing, each break sounded like a branch snapping under strain.

“Run!” Evelyn screamed.

The elder swung her clawed hand at the closest man’s leg and severed the femoral artery. Without time to watch her handiwork, she turned towards the fourth man. She sprinted towards him, buried her hands into his midsection and grabbed onto his ribs. The elder pushed through the wall, disappearing behind a cloud of plaster, dust, and splinters. Once she breached the wall, she sent her shield flying towards another team who had their guns at the ready. The sound of shattering bone and ruptured organs made Victoria sick to her stomach.

Evelyn turned around to face the next wave of assailants, but they anticipated her move. Before her chest was aligned with the group, there came a loud percussive bang. There were limits to maintaining her heightened speeds for long. Had she fed recently, she might have been able to dodge the attack. Instead, the bean bag struck her in the centre of mass, crumpling her midsection as her body absorbed the shock.

Undeterred, Evelyn bared her fangs. The remnants of this team were not about to lose the initiative, so a spent shell casing sprung through the air while another round was chambered.

Evelyn pushed away from the wall just in time to take a slug to the shoulder followed by small arms fire that perforated her chest. Even though the individual shots were having little effect, it was clear the combined trauma was slowing her down.

Victoria witnessed Evelyn hit the wall hard before slumping to the floor. While the team advanced, they maintained a steady stream of fire, never giving this predator the opportunity to renew her attack.

In that moment, Victoria decided to run. She began to walk backwards, then pivoted into a run while heading towards the master bedroom. From here, she saw the narrow alley and a neighbour’s window across the divide.

It happened so fast, that her mind barely registered what had happened. She only had a vague recollection of hearing glass breaking in quick succession followed by hitting a wall head first. Then, just like that, the world faded to black.

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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