Evelyn Chartres Author
Clara Grey

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!

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!