The Van Helsing Paradox – Part VII

Drusilla turned out to be a snap to find. All Clara had to do was stumble across the wildest party. Her target craved to be at the centre of attention and this baby vamp loved nothing more than to be treated like a goddess.

While this flaw made finding her opponent easy, it came at the expense of dealing with a wall of human flesh. People naturally congregated around Drusilla which made most ranged attacks messy.

Nonetheless, the hunter moved deeper into this clip-joint while heading towards the bar. This manoeuvre would give her time to familiarise herself with the surroundings and devise a plan.

From the corner of her eye, Clara saw Drusilla busily petting a young man. Chances were that this boy would end up as her late-night snack. She wondered if this situation could be leveraged to her advantage.

Clara found the bar, then plopped down onto a barstool while crying quietly. In a place this lively, she was bound to get some attention, which was precisely what she needed.

Right on cue, a tough looking bimbo sat down on the adjacent stool then ordered a drink. It took no time at all for him to home in on her. While not the youngest woman around, men knew how to spot an opportunity.

“You okay, miss?” the man inquired.

“Said it would last forever,” Clara said while her voice was on the edge of cracking.

She extended the last word to coincide with the beginning of a wail. Very childlike, but effective in manipulating those with an ounce of empathy. Clara was certain that this one would do fine.

“Excuse me?” the man replied.

She saw his entire demeanour change, then thought bingo! A positive sign that he was buying her load of baloney.

Clara broke into a shower of tears, sobbing uncontrollably while she fell into his arms. For a moment, the two were locked in an uncomfortable embrace until he realised there was no escape. Defeated, the bimbo wrapped his arms around her in an attempt to comfort her. Now it was his turn to make the next move.

“There now,” the bimbo said.

Clara toned down her crying and sobbed as though she were holding back biblical floodwaters. His hold softened once he accepted his fate.

“Now what were you saying?” the man finally asked.

“Came here with a friend,” Clara said with puffy red cheeks and a shaky voice. “Said he would always be there for me.”

Clara made sure the statements appeared to be somewhat incoherent and disjointed. Men rarely expected the lesser sex to handle such situations with a level head.

“Then what happened?” the man asked before throwing in, “My name is Victor.”

He was looking to establish a rapport even if it threw her off. Clara pulled away and wiped the tears from her face. To cry with that much intensity took a lot out of a girl, especially when forced!

“Clara,” she managed to say.

Clara then set her eyes on Drusilla’s little pet. Her eyes narrowed in a way that would impress upon Victor just how close he was to seeing Mount Vesuvius blow its top.

Victor looked in that direction and connected the dots. Since she had practically drawn him a map, this was hardly the demonstration of a razor sharp wit! Nonetheless, they were on the same page.

The bimbo turned around and ordered a stiff drink. Before Victor’s lips could touch the glass, Clara snatched it away then downed it in one shot. God, she needed that! Sure it was not very ladylike, and it tasted like coffin varnish, but it lent credibility to her being an emotional wreck.

To sweeten the deal Clara said, “That bastard!”

If the man felt offended in any way, he hid it well. Instead, he ordered another two shots. The bimbo downed one for the road and took a long hard look at Drusilla’s pet. He was clearly working up the courage to play his role in her plan.

“Is that him?” Victor asked.

“Yes,” Clara confirmed before a stream of tears started up again.

Now Victor was left with a choice: either face the emotional wreck named Clara or go after the patsy blamed for hurting her feelings. The latter offered a far greater payoff; so without much fanfare, the bimbo ventured out into the crowd. Clara feigned an attempt to stop him, but his resolve was steeled.

Now that her plan was set in motion, it was high-time she got in position. Clara rolled down the rosary, placing it around her hand and left the crucifix hanging freely.

For a moment, she gazed at Victor’s remaining shot then smiled. The hunter crushed one of her pearl earrings over the glass. She then reached into her purse and pulled out a small silvery object. With a drink in hand, Clara made her way through the crowd, following in Victor’s wake.

By the time she neared the scene, Victor had already arrived and confronted the patsy. The expressed confusion only served to infuriate Victor which quickly escalated matters.

Clara heard the familiar sound of a punch making contact, followed by the crowd’s inevitable reaction. In that moment, Clara learned that Victor was not one to fool around.

Perhaps he had been a palooka? Nothing like a former boxer to make things interesting!

For now, Drusilla remained at the centre of a gawking crowd who enjoyed this fresh bit of entertainment. This was her chance!

“Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum,” Clara recited in silence.

Clara entered the makeshift ring, ignoring the men while walking casually towards the creature. If people had not been aware of her presence a moment ago, they were about to be.

“Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus,” Clara recited the second verse.

The words rolled off her tongue, the effect of having spent hours reciting the prayer over her rosary. Bonus, there would be no kneeling tonight!

“Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus,” Clara said the third verse.

Clara then pounded back her drink and felt her tongue burn. When she was no more than a step away, Clara slipped the silvery object between her fingers then snapped it open. With a quick flick of her wrist, a bright flame came about.

“Nunc et in hora mortis nostrae,” Clara recited and could hear the verse reverberate in her mind.

The prayer was as yet incomplete since one word remained. Clara spat out the fluid, forming a slew of droplets, sailing effortlessly towards Drusilla. However, the real show began once the liquid came in contact with the naked flame. The candle-sized flame erupted into a fireball which enveloped the creature’s head.

Drusilla may have been unaware of the impending attack, but the zippo certainly got her attention. The timing had not been planned, but was nonetheless beneficial. In that moment when the flame flashed over, Drusilla had been facing Clara.

The creature screamed while flames enveloped her. The sound was hard to describe, but it reminded Clara of a child running her nails across slate. It had certainly been loud enough to stop the band cold.

Clara kept her distance while fire consumed Drusilla’s hair. The heat was so intense that she wondered if it had been fashioned with embalming fluid. When the time was right, Clara attacked with a quick and precise jab across Drusilla’s jaw.

“Amen!” Clara exclaimed, releasing that word for all the world to hear.

In that moment, Clara realised just how alone she was. Well not literally since the crowd was there, however everyone at the party seemed to be converging on her. As a distraction Clara grabbed her pearl necklace and tore it from her neck. While pearls went flying through the air, she exposed the blade of her crucifix.

Despite the distraction, it seemed likely that she would not have the time to land a killing blow.

“Fuck!” Clara exclaimed feeling robbed of her already hollow victory.

That is, until the world paused, literally; even the pearls were suspended in mid-air. Clara felt as though she were seeing the world through a stereoscope. Most disturbing was the absence of sound, Clara never realised how loud this party had been until it all stopped.

“That’s an interesting development,” Clara said and found the words reassuring.

Clara did not dare hesitate. She plunged the blade into Drusilla’s spine. The blade penetrated just below the base of Drusilla’s skull, effectively paralysing her lower body. With any luck, the damage might even be permanent. For now, her biggest threat had been neutralised.

Out from her purse came her derringer which she held close to her body to prevent her being disarmed early in the game. She looked about, able to take in this tapestry of horror and noticed that one-third of the room was made up of their kind. Did that mean the rest of the guests were food? The idea of a place with so many of those things made her skin crawl. How could there be so many?

“You Bitch,” Drusilla said from the depths of Clara’s mind.

Since there was not much left of Drusilla’s face, Clara would have been more surprised to hear her speak. The mixture of burning alcohol laced with holy water had somehow aggravated the damage. If Clara ever made it out alive, she would be sure to add that trick to her playbook.

Clara turned to face the thing, finding her crumpled on the floor. To her right, Victor and Drusilla’s pet were now bloodied from exchanging jabs. That paled in comparison to the look on their faces, a mix of shock and awe. Of all times, she wished for a camera!

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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