Tag: Dark Fantasy

  • Leather and Lipstick – Part III

    Julia was not precisely sure on the where, once she came to. There was no music playing, no pool balls colliding, glass being smashed, or any other sounds associated with her pack. The familiar scent still lingered in the air, even the odour that clung to the walls, tagged to warn off other packs. Although there was something else… something new.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    A squeak generated by metal rubbing against metal came to her ears, followed, but the sound of running water. In a room this quiet, her mind had no choice but to dwell on any stray sound. She tried her best to focus, but fragments from before clouded her thoughts.

    “How long was I out?” Julia asked, and was silently relieved there were no telltale signs of humidity clinging to her bottom.

    She opened her eyes, and light flooded her retinas which forced her to squint. The bright light was painful, and brought on a powerful headache that was sure to make this situation worse.

    When she attempted to cover her eyes, bindings resisted the movement, and in her degraded state it took a while for her to realise she was tied up. Another series of jerks informed her that these knots were done by an expert, so they would not be getting out of them without help. So to stem the tide of her headache, Julia went limp.

    “Horsefeathers,” Clara said. “I don’t remember getting blood out of hair being so difficult!”

    “The woman,” Julia said under her breath.

    They had been ordered to stay inside, and even the daughter of the alpha could not countermand such a directive. Julia had not been worried, her father had killed hundreds of times before without a scratch. So how had things gone so wrong?

    Her eyes eventually adjusted to the harsh light, which allowed her to focus on details in the background. The bar looked like a bad impressionist painting, and was unable to make out the details, including the time on the clock. However, Julia did have a great view of her nipples. Wait! What?

    “Bitch!” Julia yelled and immediately regretted doing so, since her headache worsened.

    The faucet was turned off to strangle the flow. Now the bar was dead quiet, and it made her even more aware of just how vulnerable she was. Tied up, naked, and to top it all, she had the precursor of a wicked migraine to deal with. Was there a worse way to spend an evening?

    The wooden floor creaked with every step. Clara approached with a firm and measured pace, the type associated with someone who was fully in control of the situation.

    “Did you just call out my name?” Clara asked.

    Julia could barely focus on that bitch. In a way, she imagined this aggressor to be a giantess, muscular, and riddled with scars. Someone over two-hundred pounds of flesh and muscle, not some skinny bitch who could lend her something nice to wear for a hot date!

    “You cunt,” Julia mumbled.

    She tried to spit at her father’s murderer, but she was too dehydrated to create an effective loogie. Instead, she succeeded only in drooling over herself.

    Clara giggled, before saying, “Your one of his aren’t you?”

    “How—How did—,” Julia attempted to ask.

    “You look like him,” Clara replied honestly.

    Clara turned and looked into a mirror to adjust the black leather bustier. It fit like a glove, although it took a bit of effort to put on, because she was half-a-size bigger in the chest than the donor. Over the bustier, she wore a leather coat fitted with heavy industrial zippers, one big enough to accommodate her wings, or at least when tucked-in close to her back.

    “Hopefully I won’t need to fly on short notice,” Clara mused.

    Her new pants were a bit short, which fit more like a pair of black leather capris. Still they would have to do, just like the boots, a small miracle, seeing as most were wearing snowshoes these days. A shame that everything had a distinct scent of dog fur, and wondered if that smell would ever fade.

    “Why?” Julia asked.

    Even in her weakened state, the venom pouring out from her mouth was obvious. Clara remained stoic, instead, she smiled warmly as Julia’s world faded to black. The impact to the head had been an open invitation for the Sandman to pay her a visit.

    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!

  • Leather and Lipstick – Part II

    Despite the cold, or perhaps because of it, Clara had no interest in playing shadow games. The cold wore her down, poisoning her normally good mood. She wondered how long it would take, for a woman in all her glory, to get the right type of attention in this town.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    After about twenty minutes of wandering around the back alleys and desolate streets, she heard a dull, and repetitive thumping. In her time, that would have meant a live band playing at some clip joint, but judging by the odours of stale urine and beer, that prospect seemed unlikely.

    “Oh just ducky,” Clara said while approaching.

    In the distance, she spotted some cheap neon signs that spasmed in and out of existence. As Clara walked out of the shadows, she immediately got the attention of everyone standing near the back door. A group of men who were busy enjoying some rather foul smelling cigarettes. Momentarily, the group questioned the apparition, as though their deepest, and most perverted dreams had come true.

    “Dude that bitch naked,” a random man from the peanut gallery said.

    As the rest of drunks chuckled, Clara said, “Strike one,” under her breath.

    Finally a lone male came forward and said, “Come on guys.”

    This was a tall, and muscular man. Although, his face was not acquainted with a straight razor. Dressed in leather, and covered in tattoos, this one looked mean, and pegged him as the alpha of the group. While his words had a sobering effect on the rabble, Clara knew from his shit-eating grin, that he was about to excrete some smart-assed comment from that orifice he called a mouth.

    “I’m sure we can all share,” the alpha added.

    “Strike two,” Clara muttered. To give him a chance to diffuse the situation, she said “Banks closed boys.”

    The alpha burst out laughing at a euphemism that went out of favour with his great-grandmother. While they all joined in, Clara failed to see the humour, instead she cocked her brow, tilted her head, and smirked. She embraced her cockiness, certain of her position, even amongst a numerically superior group of assailants.

    “I doubt any of you louts could keep it up long enough to get me warmed up,” Clara said with crossed arms.

    One of the men from the peanut gallery managed a cough, but the others were afraid to speak out of turn. One did not need a soothsayer to figure out that she just declared war on a half-dozen bikers. Some were likely armed, but Clara’s patience was running thin. Besides, she was in the mood for a bit of fun.

    “Did you hear that boys,” the head biker said. “This whore thinks she has a say in the matter.”

    “Are you man enough to try?” Clara taunted.

    For some reason, challenging a man’s ego, never failed to get a rise. The alpha covered the distance between them in seconds. Clearly he had no reservations about hitting a girl, since the punch connected and hard. Clara absorbed the impact as though she were a heavyweight boxer.

    Clara looked up at the man who was at least a good foot taller than her. She moved her jaw from side to side, then cracked her neck to feel all of vertebrae pop.

    “It’s great to be back,” Clara said.

    Her entire body felt alive, something she missed dearly in Heaven. Life was more than pleasure, doses of pain were needed to truly appreciate its fruit. Gabriel had mentioned that her powers would be limited, but did not specify how. Her decision to engage this group was a gamble, but there was a need to get an idea on where she stood.

    “Strike three,” Clara said as the world slowed down to a crawl.

    The alpha’s eyes went wide, while his jaw dropped an inch before going slack. This man could not fathom how anyone her size, let alone a woman, was still standing.

    In the background, she observed a cigarette hanging precariously from a burly man’s lips. The cigarette teetered momentarily and eventually fell to the ground. Once that cigarette became suspended in mid-air, Clara made her move.

    Clara backed away until her tush touched the brick wall of a neighbouring building. She then sprinted towards the alpha, and aligned her body so her shoulder would make contact first. When she ran into his chest, she used a combination of momentum, and strength to launch him into the air.

    The effect was spectacular in normal time. Before that cigarette reached the floor, the alpha had crashed into the wall hard enough to crack the cinder blocks. Meanwhile the interloper stood there nude, her eyes so full of fury, that no sane man would dare approach. At least, that was the theory, one she had yet to put to the test.

    By this point, Clara’s reaction times were back to normal. Those who had been brought into the fold could not remain accelerated. She was thankful, unable to imagine the torture of having a conversation with someone with a thick Southern drawl. From her point of view, it would take hours to say howdy, and that concept made her cringe.

    Even at normal speed, she had no problem seeing the alpha shake off the impact. That in itself was as a bit of a surprise, or at least for a human. Alas, the reason soon became apparent once he grew in size considerably. It all began when joints detached from the host to allow for rapid growth before reconnecting. His torn clothes fell off, while clumps of human flesh puddled around him, and that made her skin crawl. No one else was surprised by this change, which was telling.

    All of Clara’s training pointed out how this type of encounter was not possible. Their kind were social outcasts, pariahs who preferred to stay as far away from civilisation as possible. As far as she knew, they were not capable of transformation outside of a full moon…

    “Unless they are ancient,” Clara whispered while silvery fur dominated the colour of its pelt.

    When the werewolf turned to face her; a psychotic towering mass of muscle, claws, and fangs Clara giggled. She then pointed a finger at his midsection, and teared up.

    “Looks like I got the runt of the litter!” Clara blurted out.

    Clara had not been sure if their kind could emote in this form, but found out there and then. The eyes gave it away, the shock of having its status as an alpha questioned was as plain as its snout.

    “Of all the times to wish for a camera,” Clara whispered.

    Clara was not a fool, she knew there were risks infuriating a werewolf, and yet with risks came the promise of rewards. No creature was capable of thinking clearly when blinded by rage, so that would give her a chance to outwit that thing.

    Still she knew this creature was deadly beyond comprehension. That jab across her jaw was a tender lover’s nibble compared to what it could inflict now. As predicted, its eyes narrowed and began to pant, while the alpha adapted to this new physiology.

    “I wonder why that wasn’t mentioned in class,” Clara wondered.

    While the alpha flexed its muscles, poised for a strike, Clara was also getting ready. Within the dim lighting of this alley her wings unfurled, the low light concealed most of the movement. It was fortunate that no one else was paying attention to that particular detail, although Clara really did not care.

    “This is going to be fun,” Clara said with a grin.

    The creature roared before it propelled itself straight into a dead run. This beast was so large, that each step sent vibrations straight up through her toes.

    “Ole!” Clara exclaimed and effortlessly evaded this attack.

    The alpha ran head first into the opposing building, and she watched as steel and concrete deformed. He seemed unaware of the impact, and that worried her, but she was warm for the first time this evening. A bit of physical activity went a long way to warm the cockles of her heart. For good measure, it circled back around by collapsing another series of walls. Despite a piece of rebar protruding from its forearm, this creature was no worse for wear.

    With more sea room, it barreled down on her like a freight train. So Clara tensed up, and when the time was right, launched herself into the air. Her wings provided that additional lift which brought her safely above his reach.

    Clara looked over the scene. The alpha was entirely surprised that a woman in the nude could jump that high. Evidently, tonight was full of surprises for the both of them.

    “How do you like the view?” Clara taunted.

    Nearer to the entrance the peanut gallery watched in astonishment. A quick scan of the area revealed that this group was well-armed, which would have little or no effect on her if prepared. On the other side, near the mouth of the alley there was a row of motorcycles. Big engines, chrome, and leather, so no different than motorcycles of her time.

    “Now I just need—,” Clara thought.

    While werewolves were not blessed with feline grace, they were still capable of surprising her. That alpha landed on both his feet, and used the spring of its legs to leap backwards. One of the back paws struck Clara right in the chest, which drove her into the second story wall of the opposing building.

    While the impact had been expected, it was the rapid deceleration that knocked the wind out of her. Now embedded into the concrete, her mind momentarily struggled to regain control over her faculties.

    “That’s going to bruise,” Clara whined as a way lessen her blunder.

    The alpha howled in celebration, which would simply not do. Clara needed the alpha to remain enraged, to keep it on the offensive.

    “Is that really all you got?” Clara shouted loud enough to be heard over its howl. “I’ve been hit harder by an eight year old girl!”

    Sure that eight year old had been a centuries old vampire. One who was easily triggered by anyone who called her adorable, but Clara did not need to share that little tidbit.

    “Here we go!” Clara thought.

    The alpha scrapped one foot along the pavement, while fog blew out of its snout, a scene reminiscent of a bull charging a matador. This bull headed straight for the bullfighter, and thanked God that her prayers were answered.

    As it approached, Clara centred her thoughts, and watched the alpha’s charge slowed with every step until it was nearly frozen time. Her muscles tensed up, and lunged at him with assistance from her wings. As she neared him, she positioned her arm to provide cover for her face, and absorb some of the shock.

    The end effect was spectacular, the impact sent them flying in opposing directions. Prepared, Clara landed on her feet, while the alpha did not fare so well. While the point of impact had been the head, that did nothing to slow him down.

    Clara did not hesitate, she made her mad dash towards the bikes. It was only a matter of time before his natural speed would overtake her, but all she needed was a bit of a head start. Once it regained a solid footing, the alpha spotted her and began another bull run. Clara kept her focus on one bike in particular. While this was going to be a close one, Clara believed that she had the upper hand.

    Moments before Clara reached the bike, the alpha began ploughing through the machines. Bikes, parts and gear exploded, flying through the air like shrapnel, but Clara paid it no heed.

    Her arm reached out and grabbed double-barrelled shotgun. The weapon fell naturally into a proper grip, she then twirled around to face the alpha while continuing on her perpendicular trajectory. Clara had no appetite to get caught in its destructive path.

    The alpha did not fully appreciate the gravity of her latest play, so when it opened its jaw wide to take a bite out of her. Clara rammed the barrel down its throat, and pulled both triggers.

    The weapon roared to life and changed her flight path. It was fortunate that she managed to fall into a controlled roll. Meanwhile she hoped that her landing was far enough away to get out from the eye of the storm. It was, although barely.

    When she regained her footing, she saw the gaping hole torn out of alpha’s neck. Werewolves were a lot like Cape buffalo, armoured skin, and were blessed with two layers of ribs to protect the internal organs. Despite how tough their hides were, they had weak spots, especially if the trauma originated from within.

    Before Clara could make a witty remark, a member of the pack pulled out his pistol and fired off a clip. She never even looked in his direction, instead the wings reacted by instinct to provide an invisible barrier.

    While the death of the alpha had been devastating to the pack’s morale, they were not above the equivalent of a sucker punch. Fortunately, this failed attempt sent them into a wild retreat. Without their bikes, they had no choice but to escape on foot.

    Clara considered hunting down this filth to finish them off. That would have been a pleasant diversion, but one nonetheless, and she felt compelled to move on. Since there was a mission to complete, Clara decided that a change of clothes was in order, something better suited outside of the boudoir.

    A pack member sounded the alarm for those inside to withdraw, so Clara approached the exit and slowed time just a bit. She watched the wild eyed stares of the drunken patrons while they poured out in a panic.

    “Too tall… too big… to small… not my style,” Clara rhymed off as women ran out. “Just right!”

    When Clara spotted a patron who roughly matched her dimensions, she followed through with a pile driver. The impact sent the leather clad gal to the ground, and it was lights out for 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!

  • Leather and Lipstick – Part I

    A gust of wind blew in from the mouth of the courtyard and turned Clara’s skin turn to gooseflesh. Her training in life taught her how to ignore extremes of heat or cold, all to achieve success. Clara thought back to that time when she was stark naked in the freshly fallen snow. That had been a cold and brutal night, but she nonetheless managed to approach, entice, and dispatch one of them in the process. That dumb bastard was too busy focusing on her tits to wonder why a woman was out in the middle of a battlefield.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    This situation was different, ninety-years spent in paradise brought about some skills fade. Clara responded by biting the inside of her cheek and was pleasantly surprised by the taste of her iron-rich blood.

    “At least some things haven’t changed,” Clara muttered.

    From out of the corner of her eye, Clara caught something unexpected. She turned to investigate, and noticed that one of those boarded up doors from earlier, was not anymore.

    As a precaution she stopped, closed her eyes and opened her mouth. While sound carried well at night, doing this honed her senses. Despite her caution, there were no sounds that gave her cause for concern.

    “Curiouser and curiouser,” Clara said under her breath.

    She headed towards the door, to examine the heavy steel frame, and broken lock before she let herself in. Since her eyes were already adjusted to low light conditions, it was a trivial matter to figure out this store was empty.

    This place did have rows of empty racks and shelves that would have been home to garments, shoes, and accessories. Surely a real treasure trove, if it were still open to the public.

    “What a shame,” Clara said and paused to see if those words got some attention.

    “Size twelve?” Edith asked. “How… possibly be a size twelve… two of me.”

    Clara blinked several times in rapid order, all in some misguided attempt to refresh her view. Alas, the place remained deserted, and as judged by a thick layer of dust, it had been for years.

    From the opposing corner of the disturbance, a hanger struck the floor, which resounded throughout the room. She focused all of her senses on that spot, but there were no hangers to be found. There were no other sounds, visual cues, changes in temperature, nor did a chill run down her spine.

    “Edith?” Clara called out.

    Moments later, the sound of foot stomps traversed the room until they came up to the skeleton of an empty change room. Clara then caught the sound of a curtain being drawn, despite there being nothing to move. By now, Clara knew that something was up, although she had to admit the nuances surrounding this situation were entirely new.

    This was not the case of an apparition, and the voice was unmistakably Edith’s, at least that much was certain. Along with her witnessing a friend drop to the mortal realm, a theory coalesced within the depths of her mind.

    By that time, the sounds were gone, and heard nothing more than her breathing. While Clara was not aware of the mechanics that made this possible, she nonetheless accepted this moment as being grounded in reality.

    Of course, that did little to resolve her most pressing problem. A shame there were no curtains left, at least those could have been fashioned into some sort of makeshift robe.

    “No rest for the wicked,” Clara said with a sigh.

    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!

  • Morpheus’ Embrace – Part III

    Victoria’s eyes fluttered open, but felt there was resistance with every motion. Her senses were numbed, as though she were under constant pressure. For a moment, her mind conjured the image of being cocooned in bundles of warm and thick blankets. While the thought was nice, she quickly dismissed the idea as being far too hopeful.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    “If only life were that simple,” Victoria thought.

    Her mind quickly focused on the complete absence of light, which corrupted that thought until she imagined herself being buried alive. Victoria wondered if that explained the humidity clinging to her skin, but that analogy did not align either. Her experience was more akin to being immersed.

    “Hello?” Victoria tried to ask, but no sound came out.

    Victoria sat up as fast as she could, and learned how this viscous liquid also hindered her rate of motion. Since there was nothing to see, she swept her arms all around, but came up empty. Although, she did find out that the floor had the consistency of sand, but wondered how that tidbit of information would prove useful.

    “Why are my lungs not burning?” Victoria thought.

    That idea opened a crack in her mind, enough for a panic to seep in, she hyperventilated which in turn filled her lungs with more fluid. Wait! What? How? Her mind struggled to come to terms with this new reality. Whatever the gravity of her situation, breathing was no longer a concern for her, or at least for now.

    With renewed conviction, she got onto her knees and confirmed there was clearance before standing upright. When another search came up empty, she ventured up ahead.

    Eventually, she encountered a flat surface, so her hands ran over the rough texture, to find gaps between the quarried stones. Victoria followed the surface, and realised this wall formed a circle, one filled with something thicker than water. It did not take much after that to hazard a guess. So that meant she was at the bottom of that well?

    If that’s where she was, then that scene with Evelyn had been nothing more than a dream. Either way, that insight did nothing to explain her predicament.

    “Unless—,” Victoria attempted to say once again, but to no avail.

    The viscosity of the fluid made it impossible for her vocal cords to resonate. Hence the silence, which left her to wonder what would happen to her if she remained down here in absolute solitude.

    To confirm her whereabouts, Victoria looked up. Sure enough, there was a faint source of light, and from this vantage point, it looked like a single red star lighting up the dim sky. Again, how would this help her get out of this mess.

    “How long—How do I—Can I climb—” Victoria’s chaotic mind wondered.

    Such questions were cycling through her mind so fast, that it prevented her from focusing on a single task. Once again panic took hold, and invaded every corner of her being, until it consumed her.

    Victoria screamed, her noiseless act of defiance somehow created a protective barrier that kept the conflicting voices in her mind at bay. As she let out all of that frustration, fear and doubt melted away, until all that remained, was raw untapped determination.

    She poked and prodded the walls of her cell, and found the spaces were wide enough to get a good grip. It may not have been enough to climb a steep cliff, but when supported by a liquid that imbued her with some additional buoyancy, the conditions for an ascent were suddenly favourable.

    Her first attempt caused her fingers to radiate in pain. Victoria had forgotten how her failed attempt to arrest that descent had torn off her fingernails.

    It was ultimately that maelstrom of thoughts and emotions that permitted her pain to return, which in turn caused her to tumble down. The slow descent into the soft sand may have left her no worse for wear, but in her mind, the pain brought on was on par with running into a wall. With a silent grunt she got off her rump and attempted another ascent.

    With every attempt, the damage to her fingers grew worse, until it blinded all other stimulus. The pain served to focus her, to drive her, but she was also motivated by fear of losing her sanity, if she stayed down here for long. How could anyone keep it together, when under the exclusive company of their thoughts?

    Writers were normally content to be left alone. Free to find inspiration in mundane occurrences, like a sunrise, moments that the bulk of humanity took for granted. But to remain alone in the dark, summarily deprived of the bulk of her senses? There were limits to creativity, times when the wellspring of inspiration would run dry, and left behind a world bereft of ideas.

    Condemned to suffer like that for all of eternity, Victoria could think of only one word that fit, “Hell.”

    After countless attempts and hours wasted, Victoria’s hand pierced the pool’s surface. The cool air made her skin tingle, the first positive sensation she experienced since her awakening.

    Excitement welled inside her, and that grew in intensity once she dragged her tired body out from the pool. While there were no mirrors in this perverted chapel, Victoria imagined herself looking very much like Carrie did during her graduation ceremony.

    It took all of her strength to lift her remaining leg from out of the pool. Victoria had the strangest feeling that the pool was holding her. So much so, that she needed to expend what was left of her sheer force of will to tear herself from it.

    “Well—,” Victoria tried to say, but only managed to spew out fluid from her lungs.

    Victoria got on her hands and knees just in time to convulse. Every muscle in her core contracted and relaxed at a fantastical rate. With every wave, a stream of fluid was evacuated until she was able to take her first deep breath.

    She looked up towards the stunning fresco that covered the ceiling as tears streamed down her cheeks from all that pain and exertion. For a second, she saw a crescent moon overlooking the crucified body of Christ. Her mind, instead focused on the stale humid air filled with death instead, despite the poor air quality, the pleasure of breathing air once more was nothing short of rapturous.

    Alas, with her first deep breath came a coughing fit, all in an effort to clear out any remaining pockets of fluid. These coughs were so violent, that her vision was marred by streaks, and every fit sapped her strength until she was no longer able to move.

    In tears, and beyond the point of exhaustion her body gave up. Before her vision blurred, and faded to black, she caught sight of a passage etched at the edges of the ceiling.

    “Fides dominaretur super oram chlamydis Saul,” Victoria whispered.

    The words meant nothing to her, but once unconscious, her lips moved to the following phrase, “Faith shall dominate the usurper.”

    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!

  • Morpheus’ Embrace – Part II

    “All done!” Victoria exclaimed

    She ripped the page from the drum of her antique typewriter, and placed it neatly upon the fresh stack. Her muse was back, and this new material would keep her creative juices flowing for the foreseeable future.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    Victoria leaned back, and heard the familiar creak from the chair. She looked into the fire as it crackled happily while its flames danced, and left her momentarily entranced. Victoria thought about the hours spent looking at the beauty of those flames and found it hard to imagine how all of that was about to change.

    A lot of things had changed in short order, with more to deal with in the upcoming years. This time there was a guide; someone to lead her, and Victoria hoped their relationship would grow like it had for Evelyn and Marc. It was her wish that she would not only call Evelyn a friend, but consider her to be a sister, albeit a deceptively older one.

    A smile appeared on her face, once she heard a knock at the door. She excitedly, jumped over the corpse of the building’s doorman to answer it. How unfortunate that he needed to be dealt with in such a manner. Unfortunately, he had been far too inquisitive about her return, and his bothersome insistence on calling the authorities only sealed his fate.

    At least he was delicious, and still remembered the ecstasy experienced from draining the life from him. The essence of his life now flowed through her veins, it invigorated her, but that now came with the faint smell of his decomposing corpse. When she opened the door, Evelyn greeted her and kissed Victoria tenderly.

    “You have been naughty, non?” Evelyn asked with a giggle, and licked the last of his blood from Victoria’s lips.

    Victoria blushed, but Evelyn said nothing more on this matter. One’s first kill was a personal matter, as were the emotional and psychological repercussions. That had been the way for Evelyn, and that would be the same for any of Victoria’s progeny. Corpses did pose a problem, but there were ways to make people disappear. One did not live long in this day and age without having a few tricks up their sleeve.

    Victoria turned her attention to the fire before noticing that Evelyn was different somehow. There was something about her attire, which was better suited to a formal New Year’s ball. Her suspicions were confirmed when Evelyn slipped her hand into a bag, and pulled a beautiful porcelain mask. At first, she imagined this mask to represent some wild beast, just like those described in her writings. Instead, it turned out to be the perfect porcelain reproduction of Evelyn’s face.

    “Sometimes the truth is far more monstrous than fiction ma chère,” Evelyn said.

    To that, Victoria agreed. Predators did not hide their true intentions, their motives were plainly governed by their genetics. While a growl and teeth could elicit primal fear, people were in far greater danger when such traits were hidden by the thin veneer of civility.

    “Now come!” Evelyn shouted, while she glided over the uniformed corpse. “We have to introduce you to the family, and I assure you that their masks will not be as obvious as mine.”

    With a smile, her mentor walked into the hallway and left Victoria to clean up before following suit. On her way out, Victoria left the fire a well-deserved gift for being her kindest critic, and biggest fan. She was certain the flames would happily consume this final token of her appreciation. Just as she closed the door, never to return, the flames spread over the cover page and left only the line The Portrait visible.

    In the hallway, she heard Evelyn say in those musical tones, “In case you are wondering. Marc will be the one wearing a mask representing a dire wolf… Though he will be doing so grudgingly!”

    All the while, Victoria thought back to what she wrote long ago, and said, “Remember, what lies underneath, is by far more frightening.”

    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!

  • Morpheus’ Embrace – Part I

    It was a couple of hours since the incident, and the lab was still in complete disarray. Half of the false flooring was gone, removed to access the fusion generators below. Test equipment and tools littered what little was left of the floor space, which confined Breanna to her station. Fortunately, she kept busy by running system diagnostics while keeping an eye on their remaining power reserves.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    The North wall, farthest away from the exit, had been scorched black after a fire broke out at one of the associated workstations. Fortunately, emergency power had been restored by that time, so the integrated fire suppression systems dealt with the threat before the lab turned into a crematorium.

    “I told you to check the polarity!” Mason yelled.

    Brett just glared at the team leader, and avoided making eye contact with Breanna who was snickering at the outburst. These generators were his pride and joy, and knew their designs intimately, he should not have been second guessed.

    “I’ve maintained these generators for the past twenty-five years,” Brett said.

    “So?” Mason asked.

    “So I’m sure the power bypass is compatible with our systems,” Brett said in all honesty.

    For now they were at an impasse. Mason was also aware that the polarity, phase, and the voltage at the tap was compatible. The generators alternate feed was designed to provide long-term auxiliary power, that was their primary function. So why did they nearly blow out the power grid in the attempt? They needed auxiliary power to restart the generators, only then would they have stable power.

    Breanna cleared her throat to get the men’s attention. Both of them looked up from the mess of wires and circuits to focus on their counterpart. Brett was clearly annoyed by the distraction, while Mason seemed relieved for the opportunity to focus on something else.

    “This service manual for the Mister Fusion Mark Twelve Bravo says…” Breanna said, before she paused to decipher the schematics. “That you should have tapped after the converter to get the correct polarity.”

    The men turned to one another, and collectively shrugged. Now that was downright odd, since what she reported did not match what either knew to be true.

    “We have a Mark Twelve Alpha,” Mason finally said as a way to avoid escalating tensions.

    “Yeah,” Brett said. “Bravo’s are fitted on interstellar craft, not ground installations.”

    Breanna shrugged and quickly tapped on her dimly lit console. The systems were scaling back their processing power as reserves dwindled. This trend would continue until they established auxiliary power.

    “Wait one,” Breanna said while the query ran in the foreground. “The system’s firmware pings back as a Bravo.”

    “No way!” Brett yelled.

    Breanna turned around so fast that the men flinched. Her eyes darted in their direction, sized them up before looking away slowly and sighed. She then rubbed her temples in an effort to calm down. Breanna may not have been born a redhead, but she clearly embraced that particular stereotype.

    “You want to come up here and check?” Breanna challenged.

    Mason cringed and thought it best to say, “Why don’t you check the tally plates, Brett.”

    The request coming from Mason managed to diffuse the situation. Brett disappeared from sight, since getting to those plates required him to squeeze by two industrial capacitors, followed by hugging the outer casing to avoid making contact with exposed circuits.

    “Fuck!” Brett yelled, although the sound was muffled by the surrounding equipment.

    “Everything good?” Mason asked.

    “No!” Brett exclaimed just as he lit a red filtered torch. “I just ran into a high capacity power conduit.”

    For a man who insisted he knew these generators intimately, that certainly raised a slew of questions. One did not just forget the location of power transmission lines, because inadvertent contact when the system was operational meant disintegration.

    Minutes later, the red light bled out into the room followed by Brett. It gave the man a certain demonic look, despite the wide eyes and soft features that were trademarks of those humbled.

    “Mister Fusion Mark Twelve…” Brett said. “Bravo,” he whispered.

    Mason cocked an eyebrow once that information hit him. His memories were clearly aligned with Brett’s. In fact, he would have bet his life on it. No matter, his bruised ego could be addressed at a later time, and for now they needed power.

    “How long will it take you to establish a power bypass?” Mason asked.

    Brett sighed, then looked up towards Breanna. His shoulders were slumped and his face was crestfallen. It was clear that he did not take well to being proved wrong.

    “I don’t know,” Brett replied. “I’ll have to consult the technical manuals to provide an assessment.”

    “So safe to say that you’ll need at least four hours?” Mason asked.

    “Safe to say,” Brett responded. “Yes.”

    Mason turned to Breanna and said, “Does that phone of yours still work?”

    Breanna withdrew the device from the depths of her lab coat. She tapped on the surface, and on command the screen came to life, so she nodded.

    “We are going to be here a while—,” Mason said.

    “On it,” Breanna said in haste, seeing how she could stand to eat as well.

    Breanna flew past the apps and menus until she neared the entry she sought. At least, that had been her intent, but the Chinese restaurant she sought was not listed. Odd, since she passed it just this morning, and the memory of that fried rice wafting from out of their exhaust, was enough to make her salivate.

    “It’s not there?” Breanna asked.

    “What do you mean?” Mason queried in return.

    “General Chang’s Lucky Wok,” Breanna said. “Doesn’t show on Scroogle or even on Street Peeper.”

    “I loved that place!” Brett whined.

    Mason stepped back, and immediately latched onto a solid object, to avoid falling in between the equipment. Distractions in this current situation were ill advised, but these disconnects from reality were making it more likely.

    Was the group’s collective memory faulty? Not only once, but twice now? Or was there something else at play they had yet to consider?

    “What’s there now?” Mason asked.

    Breanna spread her fingers over the screen to zoom in on the sign and answered, “King of Donair.”

    “What’s a donair?” the men asked.

    Mason was tired of this, so he hopped skipped and jumped through the gaps, until he reached the exit. Once he pressed the button, he expected to hear the airlock equalise pressure. Instead, the door slid open to reveal a storage closet.

    “What the fuck!” Mason swore.

    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!

  • Bleed Through – Part IV

    “I love you!” Edith shouted before she closed her eyes and fell to earth.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    Angela had trouble focusing on the scene. Her vision marred by tears that streamed off her burning cheeks. Even her nose ran like a sieve, and normally that annoyed her, but this time she was too distraught to care.

    “How could she?” Angela wondered even though the answer was obvious.

    Edith wasn’t the kind of person to stand back and let others risk their lives. Even if doing so risked her own life on several occasions. That was Edith’s greatest strength, one shared by many saints.

    “How can I hate her for that?” Angela asked herself.

    She closed her eyes and then used some of her limited training from the Tower to focus. As her self-control began to reassert itself, the wave of anguish and anxiety began to wane.

    “I’m good now” Angela said as her eyes opened.

    Edith was no longer visible by then, gone along with that shockwave originating from the mortal realm. Her heart sank to the bottom of her stomach, but she did her best to remain centred. What good was she to anyone as an emotional wreck?

    From the corner of her eye, Angela caught the glimpse of a pale brunette hovering over the mortal realm. Despite the woman being roughly thirty years older than she remembered, Angela knew exactly who this was.

    “Clara!” Angela exclaimed.

    The woman did not respond, instead she closed her eyes, and just like Edith before her, dropped like a rock.

    “What’s going on?” Angela yelled out.

    “Is there a problem, child?” Gabriel asked.

    Angela turned around to find the archangel Gabriel facing her, which immediately explained why he referred to her as a child. Only those who came into existence as angels were capable of seeing a soul’s true form.

    “Did you come back for something?” Angela asked while dispensing with any civility.

    “Child?” Gabriel asked.

    “You left the moment Edith dropped to Earth,” Angela replied.

    Gabriel was like an immutable statue, a trait that was common among the natives. It was so frustrating to bare your soul, and see no empathy reflected in the recipient. Her frustration with their kind provided an unexpected reprieve, so Angela channelled this emotion to gain some focus.

    “Edith?” Gabriel asked. “Edith was never here.”

    That statement almost threw Angela for a loop, but a part of her was expecting to hear such a response. The appearance of Clara from out of the ether did much to lay the groundwork for a working theory. Clearly there was something wrong, but she had no way of proving it.

    “Apologies,” Angela said. “I meant to say Clara.”

    Gabriel did not respond, although a hiccup in his movement caught her eye. For a fraction of a second, Gabriel had been facing away from her. The movement had been so fast that any ill-timed blink would have meant missing the clue.

    “Edith will… shortly… I’m sure,” Gabriel said, even though his lips never moved.

    The words appeared to have reverberated from off of some invisible structure. While uncertain of the source, she knew it did not originate from the depths of her mind. Angels were not known to have that ability, besides that sort of communication was experienced differently.

    After the hiccup ended Gabriel said, “Clara will be back shortly.”

    “I’m sure,” they said in unison.

    While Gabriel remained unperturbed by her guess, it did little to help Angela’s state of mind. At this very moment, her heart was migrating from the pit of her stomach to the very tips of her toes. Perhaps she should have been more studious back at the Tower. If only Edith had not been so beautiful.

    “Please come back to me,” Angela pleaded before rhyming off a quick prayer that she hoped was heard.

    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!

  • Bleed Through – Part III

    “I love you,” Edith said as her thoughts faded back into reality.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    “I’ve always known,” Angela replied. “How else could you summon me from beyond the grave to warn a friend?”

    “I could have joined you that day,” Edith said. She took Angela’s hand and pressed it against her chest, “We could have been in each other’s arms far sooner.”

    “It wasn’t your time,” Angela said just as reality began to reassert itself.

    Angela giggled before she grabbed Edith by the hand, and dragged her through the park until they reached a series of steps.

    “Why are you taking me here?” Edith asked.

    Angela turned back for a moment, careful with her steps to avoid tripping and said, “I know you love it there.”

    “Why would you think that?” Edith asked out of curiosity.

    Angela did not say another word until they reached the top of the steps. From there, it opened up to an observation deck, where someone could see the mortal realm.

    “I’ve seen you here before,” Angela said.

    Edith looked around, and saw that they were alone. That in itself was not unusual, there was something to be said about seeing the world that contained both the beauty, and pain of life. It was simultaneously a reminder on how sweet the fruit of life had been, and that one would never again partake. Very few chose to go through that torment, although she often felt compelled to do so.

    “I know that you come here,” Angela added.

    “You’ve been following me?” Edith asked with a smile.

    “Of course!” Angela exclaimed before she kissed her lovers cheek.

    “Good girl,” Edith replied with reddened cheeks.

    Edith did come here on a regular basis to stare down at the world. At first, she did not know what compelled her, but in time she came to understand the reasons. While Angela had been her first love, there were others who had awoken similar affections, including another hunter of great renown.

    “Clara Grey was it?” Angela asked.

    That name brought a smile to her lips, the mere mention of that name was like casting a spell that let loose, all those cherished memories. Edith would have gone through hell and back for her, and to this day had no clue what had happened to her.

    “How—How did you—,” Edith tried to ask.

    “Know?” Angela asked. “She was the one you summoned me to find. The one who saved your life that day.”

    “I’m impressed,” Edith repeated with a grin.

    Edith kissed Angela with such passion that her lover’s legs nearly gave out. For a moment, nothing else in existence mattered, save those lips. Oh how she longed to stop time, and make this moment last an eternity.

    Alas even in this realm, time moved at a predictable rate. When she opened her eyes, Edith gazed inadvertently towards the mortal realm. There was a certain beauty to God’s creation, even though atrocities happened daily. That notion alone was enough to make someone wonder if free will had been a good idea.

    At this moment, the North-American continent featured prominently. In her search for Clara, she would peer down through the clouds, searching for clues on her friend’s passage. Every attempt proved fruitless, Clara would have been over one-hundred-and-twenty years old by now. There was no chance that she was still alive at that age. Or was there?

    Then from the Eastern seaboard, she witnessed a shockwave that expanded outward until it enveloped the Earth. The disturbance caught her eye, and broke from the kiss to focus on the event.

    Confused, Edith said, “That’s odd.”

    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!

  • Bleed Through – Part II

    Clara Grey was perched on the railing at the edge of the observation deck. A gust of wind pushed her hair back, and showed off her pointed ears, sharp facial features, and steel-grey eyes that gave her an elfin look. Clara had been blessed with the body of a prima ballerina with the exception of a larger pair of breasts. This trade off suited her just fine, enabling her to turn some heads, while remaining deadly with a sword.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    She loved this particular vantage point, the one place that gave her a pristine view of the mortal realm below. Even from this distance, she was able to make out landmarks, and even individuals going about their lives.

    From here, she had no trouble witnessing the chaos that reigned on the mortal plain. People continued to be born, grow up, fight wars, and die. The only difference were advancements in technology and medicine. Funny how that only served to make 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 had been born in the twenty-first century. All of that knowledge available at her fingertips, which appeared to be a blessing for those curious like her. Still, would she have made use of it?

    Everyone here could access the knowledge of creation, but many remained blissfully ignorant. Would she do any better without her educational foundation? Or would she employ this knowledge to achieve her goal of committing the perfect crime?

    Sure there were many who avoided this place, for fear of being reminded of what was lost. Clara did not share their views, as one of God’s soldiers, her interactions with other souls were to be kept to a minimum. From here, she dreamed of the good she could do, if only they loosened her leash.

    Instead of answering her questions, she kept on observing the world. Wait! What was that? Were her eyes deceiving her? Clara could have sworn there was a shockwave emanating from North America’s Eastern seaboard.

    “I thought you’d be here,” Gabriel said.

    Clara did not turn around to look, but smirked before she said, “The easiest way to be found is to stay in one place. What brings you here Gabriel?”

    This was a tall man who was also built like a Da Vinci’s David, a perfect rendition, except for the lack of flaws. 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 this the angel Gabriel from scripture and lore? Clara did not know, and never bothered to ask. Curious how that particular question never came to mind until now?

    “There’s been a violation,” Gabriel said flatly.

    Clara raised an eyebrow. Any violations on the mortal plain people were not playing by the rules. Free will was an aspect respected by both sides. So a violation meant that someone was denied the opportunity to choose.

    With her curiosity sufficiently piqued, Clara looked over to Gabriel. Before her eyes settled on him, she saw something behind him that made her question reality.

    “That’s impossible,” Clara said under her breath.

    In the background, she saw two women, a stunning ginger caught in the embrace of an older woman. It was the latter that caught her eye, since the details of that face were burned into her mind. That was Edith, her best friend, and she looked exactly like she remembered.

    They last crossed paths in Mexico, after an attack on the Tower left it isolated from the rest of the world. An ideal time for those remaining to regroup, to forge alliances, build a base of operations, and launch an offensive against those responsible.

    Plans changed when Edith’s lover was caught up in the crossfire, killed by Drusilla, their long-time foe. Edith, the steadiest ship of the fleet, even in the heaviest of seas, finally broke her keel. That much became clear, when the grief stricken Edith made one last request.

    “Kill that bitch,” Edith ordered.

    That was exactly what happened two weeks later at some luxurious railway hotel. There, Clara had managed to put down that thing, using deception, holy water, a well-placed stab along with some divine intervention. The latter came at the cost of her life, but that was forfeit the moment she stepped through the front-doors of the Grand

    “Clara,” Gabriel asked.

    “Sounds serious,” Clara said absentmindedly in hopes of getting more information.

    Gabriel looked behind him, but saw nothing. He did note that Clara had the appearance of someone who had seen a ghost. Despite years of experience Clara had in concealing every genuine emotion, a great shock always managed to slip through that cool and calm exterior.

    Unsure on what to do, Gabriel chuckled before responding, “You look down all the time and yet you cannot see.”

    “And miss out on the opportunity to learn from your wisdom?” Clara asked.

    For a moment, there was silence, which permitted Clara’s discomfort to grow. The image of Edith haunted her, and Gabriel’s silence only made things worse. Did she manage to get under his skin?

    For a moment, it looked as though Gabriel was facing in two directions. That behaviour was common when dealing with them, the creatures known as homo striga, or colloquially referred to as vampires. So why was she seeing this type of behaviour in an angel now?

    When the illusion settled, Gabriel smirked before breaking the silence, “A soul was torn away from the light of God.”

    Clara wondered if Gabriel was toying with her in some way. Either way, it was clear that there was much to learn. Death did not make her an expert in all matters, much to her disappointment. She knew that many chose to forfeit their souls in exchange for everlasting life in the mortal realm. Their baptism of sorts, meant they turned their backs on God and his divine light. Such bargains had been struck with humanity since time began.

    “So what am I missing?” Clara asked.

    Gabriel resumed his disconcerting silence from earlier. Since they were both immortal, there was no reason to hurry things along, and yet there was something unnatural about the experience. For her vantage point, it seemed that Gabriel was having another conversation, but was not privy to the other half.

    In the background, her eyes caught something, but could not explain the phenomenon. Edith and the ginger were visible again, as though Clara were looking at an echo in time. She caught another glimpse of their passionate embrace, one intense enough for Clara to feel a twinge of jealousy.

    “Clara?” Gabriel queried.

    She kept her eyes focused on that general area, and refused to look Gabriel in the eyes. There was nothing, until Edith reappeared in another location with her wings tucked in. Moments before she dove towards the mortal plane.

    “It was not voluntary,” Clara guessed to keep the conversation going.

    It was an educated guess of course, if their kind could banish anyone they wished, then that would alter the balance. All of their actions were guided by the need to maintain an equilibrium, so a deliberate disruption meant a correction was due.

    “What are the ramifications?” Clara queried.

    “Our agreement is 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 answered.

    Clara knew very little about this wager. Many, mused about a game of chance being played for supremacy over all outstanding souls. Some aspects of these stories were likely true, while others were nothing more than details added to dress up the truth. All Clara knew for certain was that no one talked about it.

    “So the Council decided to send an agent,” Gabriel said.

    “Me?” Clara guessed. “Why me?”

    “Can’t send one of the seven,” Gabriel said. “That would be tantamount to going nuclear.”

    “So why choose your most junior conscript?” Clara asked.

    The ability to experience life once again, set her heart aflutter. It would likely not be permanent, but nothing down there was.

    “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, and that varies from person to person.”

    “So act and behave as though I were mortal and everything will be fine?” Clara asked.

    “That would be a safe bet,” Gabriel said. “Ready?”

    “Always,” Clara said.

    Without hesitation, Clara looked down and leapt from the railing. At first, she floated in mid-air while she freed her mind. On command, Clara dropped like a stone, reaching higher and higher speeds until she glowed in the atmosphere.

    “What a rush!” Clara shouted while tearing through the atmosphere like a meteor.

    The world before her grew in detail. While she had no idea 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 against the night sky.

    “Will a little girl wish upon me?” Clara asked with a giggle.

    Clara made out her destination, a nondescript courtyard nestled between multi-story structures. There would be no one around to witness her arrival once she made contact.

    “Three… two… one…” Clara said.

    Right on cue, her feet hit the ground and absorbed some of the impact. Unfortunately, that had not been enough, so the concrete beneath her deformed, cracked, and was scorched by the heat.

    She took a moment to adjust, stood up, and then straighten out her back. While no longer visible, a set of majestic wings could be seen folding in the shadows. How fortunate, since her wings would have drawn a few errant stares had they remained visible.

    “Just as much as not wearing a stitch of clothing,” Clara muttered while eyeing her bare body. “At least I’m no worse for wear.”

    Gabriel should have mentioned how her clothes would burn away as 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.

    Clara looked over her landing site, in the hopes of finding a lavish clothing store. On first glance that seemed unlikely, since all of the doors were boarded up.

    “Just ducky!” Clara said aloud.

    Just then, she noticed something nearer to the corner. Clara walked over the cool pavement, while the evening air clung to her skin and gave her a chill.

    “That means it’s going to get really cold soon,” Clara said.

    Upon closer inspection, Clara found a second set of scorch marks and indentations that looked similar to those she left behind. The surface of this landing site was still warm, so this damage had been recent.

    “So that echo was real?” Clara wondered, but dared not consider it a possibility.

    She was pretty sure that Gabriel would have sent only one champion to fulfil the mission. That man was not known for hedging his bets, or risk escalation.

    “Besides,” Clara said. “Why not tell us ahead of time, to coordinate our search?”

    When the wind picked up, Clara shivered. Reminded of her nudity, she made up her mind to solve the most pressing matter. It was going to get cold tonight, and she would need to find some warm clothes.

    “Wonder if I’ll be able to charm someone into giving me their coat?” Clara asked while sauntering down towards the courtyard’s exit.

    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!

  • Bleed Through – Part I

    Edith Stone stood near a bench that overlooked a park that seemed to stretch out forever. This area was a popular place to spot some of the greatest minds in history. They would often congregate here, in a meeting of the minds, one that attracted a slew of onlookers.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    She was a woman in her early forties, and had this shine in her hazelnut eyes that never dulled. Her raven black hair and sunburned skin gave her an exotic look, but that was a byproduct of where she lived for the last years of her life.

    Her feminine curves, fit physique and the sharp features served only to enhance her beauty. Unlike many who frequented this place, she opted to maintain her true form, flaws and all. Because, in her mind, it made her all the more human, even if she was anything but.

    She was even proud of those deep scars that ran down her back. These were reminders of the hard life she endured, just like any hunter of her calibre.

    While many of the patrons loved nothing more than to find Einstein and Newton indulging in their love of mathematics, Edith had no such interests. There was one person, and one person only she sought in this bazaar of human history’s finest.

    “Did you know that you keep better time than a clock?” Angela asked from a distance.

    Edith turned around and beamed a warm smile. Before her, stood that red headed child, she fell in love with over a century ago. Her pale skin, red hair and green eyes were ever-present, no matter what age she chose to appear as.

    “You know, I prefer it when you come as you are,” Edith said.

    This version of Angela was a young woman of immense beauty. At this age, her freckles had paled, while her figure had fully formed into the sultry body of a dancer. She had lips that beckoned, forever moist, and yearned for that intimate touch only her true love could provide.

    Edith let a soft gasp escape her lips, the shock of seeing Angela in this form never failed to stir intense desire. Although to hear this one talk, one would think that her nose was her only redeeming feature. An opinion that Edith contested every time that subject came up.

    The radiant redhead closed the distance between them, and embraced Edith who was both older and taller. For a second they stared longingly into each other’s eyes, while Angela traced her lover’s lips with a finger.

    She then nibbled on her lower lip, feeling parts of her grow moist, compelling her to move closer, until their lips made contact. It was as though the ground trembled whenever they kissed, every time, a moment of pure bliss.

    The immaculate park and its patrons faded into a fog, until only they remained. Their passion, this act of intimacy, did not need to be shared with every soul in proximity. Besides, their love for one another was never meant to be shared with the public. Even here, they were taboos that were not meant to be broken.

    “Alone at last,” Edith said with a contented sigh.

    “That’s why I chose this age,” Angela said. “How can I indulge in the sweet lips of an angel as a child?”

    “True,” Edit answered while she subconsciously ruffled her white feathered wings.

    Angela, despite her name, did not have a pair of her own. Her death may have been slow and excruciating at the hands of a ghoul, one that sensed the cancer consuming her from within, that had not been enough to warrant ascension.

    Edith on the other hand, had dedicated the bulk of her life to hunting things that preyed on humanity. Or at least that was true, until she found a better cause to fight for.

    She joined a band of women who were fighting for the right to practice their faith. A group that was being systematically hunted down by the government. Her original intent had been to gather intelligence, trying to root out the cause of this aggression. Was this nothing more than a tug of war between church and state? Or was there someone, or something pulling the strings in the background?

    What she found was a sense of belonging that never materialised at the Tower, a secret order of hunters loosely aligned with the Church. The fact that she met a breathtakingly beautiful soul while infiltrating the group sealed the deal. Of course, as with most cases of love during a war, tragedy struck and took her away. Killed by a creature she had sworn to eradicate from the face of the earth.

    That death had not only been traumatic, but it set something within the depths of her psyche. Edith had never been known for risk taking. She was the source of strength for the girls; a trait many rallied to in times of crisis, but that was also her greatest weakness.

    Her heart torn, she ventured out to recover her lover’s body, but ended up getting captured by the local militia. Edith put up one hell of a fight, but what could a lone woman do against the combined force of an army? She did what many of her compatriots had done in her situation, pray for strength, even as they raped and tortured her. Despite weeks of brutal interrogation she held firm, and kept her wits about her, waiting for an opportunity to present itself.

    One of her captors had taken a liking to Edith’s body, and often claimed dominion over it. Since she was known to put up a fight, they normally secured her to a table as a precaution, forced to adopt a position that made her more cooperative. That time, he forgot to check the knots.

    She choked the life out of him with the ropes used to bind her. For a moment Edith stared at this so-called man, whose trousers were puddled around his legs, and spat on his corpse in disgust. That man somehow managed to ejaculate just as his life became forfeit, effectively being rewarded for all of those sick and depraved acts carried out in life.

    That night, Edith showed the world just how brutal a hunter could be, when pushed beyond the breaking point. A platoon of men were based at the compound where Edith had been held. Once the sun shone on her for the first time in months, there was not a single man left breathing. Those killed in their sleep, were the lucky few. Others had been hung, shot, electrocuted, burned, skinned alive, or disembowelled.

    When reinforcements arrived later that week, most chose to drop their weapons and run, while others chose the cowards way out. After all, being charged with desertion was preferable to the chance encounter with an avenging spirit, or as she became known, the Ángel de la muerte.

    These atrocities did little satiate her bloodlust. While these men wholeheartedly deserved their fate, there was someone else equally deserving, the one who masterminded the attack that killed her love. That thing, a traitor to the Tower, was a powerful vampire hell bent on destroying all those who opposed her.

    It took weeks, but the vampire named Drusilla was found at a place called the Grand. A luxury hotel nestled in the mountains that turned out to be a haven for their kind.

    Fortunately, this hotel was a couple of hours away from an army training base. It took little more than charm to get access to their munitions cache, and take what she needed to exact her revenge. Once at the hotel she found her target, lured Drusilla to her room, and set off a series of charges. The fiery inferno she unleashed in that explosion claimed a lot of lives that night.

    That’s how Edith ended up at the Pearly gates. She soon learned that her self-sacrifice had earned her a set of wings. While Edith did not see her elevation as a blessing, she nonetheless embraced the opportunity to cross the threshold and be reunited with her first love.

    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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