Tag: Dark Fantasy

  • Shadows and Echoes – Part IV

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Freeze!” the team leader ordered.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    “Run!” Evelyn screamed.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!


  • Shadows and Echoes – Part III

    When Edith was done, she existed the bathroom feeling very much like herself. Sure, she was a bit of a flour lover, one too liberal with the powder, but that had always been her style.

    On the other side of the door, she saw a map of the city. At the periphery, she found her landing site, surrounded by this neighbourhood. It was a snap to find where she was, considering there was a gold star that served as a point of reference. However, that was not what caught her eye.

    For the first time tonight, she heard whispers, as though they were carried forth on the wind. In the middle of a city of concrete and steel, there was a large expanse of green that took up a huge swath of real estate. Something about that place beckoned and urged Edith to make her way there.

    “Finally,” Edith said.

    Now all that she needed to do was get there. Fortunately, the solution to that particular conundrum had also been solved. Beside the map, there was a phone wired directly to a cab company.

    “Perfect,” Edith 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!


  • Shadows and Echoes – Part II

    Edith wandered the city aimlessly. She felt so disconnected from this world. To top it all off, there was no guiding presence nor could she draw from experience to show her the way. Gabriel volunteered nothing that could have helped her to chart a course nor were there any clues offered when asked.

    At least she found some clothes from that shop adjacent to her landing site. It was a bit formal for her tastes, a long flowing evening gown and overcoat, but it was warm and fit in well with her surroundings.

    Edith had been pleasantly surprised by this neighbourhood, the home of a vibrant community nestled within a historical industrial park. She might have felt right at home in better times, but for now, all it did was remind of her absence from Angela and that weighed heavily on her heart.

    Her high heeled stilettos echoed in the empty streets. The shoe’s leather had not stretched so they pinched her toes, and in time, would make walking difficult. Odd how all of these quirks and annoyances were so easily forgotten in the afterlife. Pain, cold, discomfort and hunger had all been a thing of the past, but now she struggled to remember enough of her training to cope.

    It was one thing to think back over her countless lessons back at the Tower. Academic knowledge was easy to recollect, but that did little to remedy the problem at hand. She needed to bring forth all of that experience and push it to the forefront of her conscious mind. People said that one never forgets how to ride a bicycle, but Edith knew that was a gross oversimplification. The concepts remained, but muscle memory and the ability to balance faded over time.

    On her travels, Edith passed a couple of bulls handcuffing a man over the truck’s hood. Whatever his crimes, she wondered what would happen to the vehicle. Unfortunately, Edith missed the answer by turning away. Moments later, the truck slipped into the ether, which sent the driver to the ground with a heavy thump.

    Eventually, Edith came across a store and despite the crescent moon being high in the sky, it was still open. A quick look through the windows showed rows of items, ranging from confections to household goods.

    A wry smile came across her face, as this was exactly the type of distraction she sought. Edith opened the door and was greeted by an electronic chime. The sound was hollow and artificial, and she immediately disliked it.

    To her left, there was a young woman behind the till. The clerk, dressed in filthy oversized clothes, was furiously tapping away on a glass and metal device. The woman appeared mesmerised by this contraption, so much so that it took several attempts to rouse this woman from her stupor.

    “Yeah?” the clerk asked annoyed.

    Edith kept smiling, despite the urge to slap the girl. She could not put a finger on where that desire stemmed from, although it might have been related to the complete lack of civility.

    “Where can I find some munitions?” Edith asked.

    “Huh?” the clerk asked.

    The look this girl’s face was a combination of confusion mixed with the certainly that Edith was all kinds of idiot. The desire to slap some sense into this girl gained momentum, but Edith did her best to keep smiling. A shame that did nothing to disarm the other.

    “Powder, rouge, and lipstick?” Edith clarified.

    The clerk sighed as though she were being asked to give up her life for king and country. To be fair, she did point out an area in the far corner of the store.

    “Thank you,” Edith said.

    “Whatevs,” the clerk replied.

    By then, the temptation was very much front and centre, but a naughty little though brought forth an alternate solution. She headed towards the back of the store and found a cache of cosmetics. A quick glance at the glamour shots did a lot to point out how fashion changed, so much that it made finding the shade of lipstick she wanted difficult.

    “Why was carmine dye no longer a thing?” Edith wondered.

    Nonetheless, she picked up powder, rouge, and lipstick that suited her style. Perhaps she would look out of place with a cupid’s bow. So what? She swiped the items and moved farther back towards the rest rooms.

    “Figures,” Edith said upon discovering that the door was locked.

    She tightened her grip around the knob until her fingers deformed the metal and twisted with enough strength to shear the mechanism. With the door open, it was time to put her face on.

    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!


  • Shadows and Echoes – Part I

    Angela’s mind could not stay focused on a single thought. She re-examined every detail of what was witnessed, rearranging the scenes over and over to make sense of it all. Yet, she was no further ahead in understanding what happened. How could she? What she knew to be real was no longer so.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    The young redhead sighed while leaning against the railing. From this vantage point, she watched two angels fall from the heavens. So why was it that only Clara was visible? Her eyes naturally focused on the nude and confident woman and she enjoyed that fight. The battle featured a woman of grace and beauty against a creature that plagued humanity for millennia.

    “I thought we managed to contain them in our time?” Angela pondered.

    That fire and drive had been on display the day they saved Edith from the ghouls. It was not a stretch to see how the love of her life had roused her from the dead to warn that particular hunter. Nor was it difficult to see how Edith could fall for her alluring and daring protégé.

    “Where are you?” Angela asked while a wave of emotions overwhelmed her.

    It felt as though she were underwater, trapped under the unforgiving sea, starved for air while fresh air and freedom were just beyond reach. She could see the white caps of the waves and how their unforgiving size would put ships in peril. Was breaching the surface any more merciful than drowning beneath its fury?

    When a tear rolled down her cheek and onto an arm, she was roused from this storm of despair. Her training kicked in enabling her to realise how this was getting her nowhere and that she needed to focus.

    From her vantage point, she saw Clara leave the bar and head towards the epicentre of the disturbance. If Edith was down there, she would be doing the same, inexplicably drawn to her objective. These ladies were both devout and faithful, their senses finely attuned to the whispers from beyond.

    For now, it did her little good to linger here. Very few people did. To do so risked drawing the attention of a natural born angel. That group was probably already concerned over her last exchange with Gabriel.

    “Home for now,” Angela said.

    Once firmly within the grasp of familiarity and freed from the distractions of reality, would she be free to delve into the matter. The steps she needed to take were as yet unclear, although she did have allies.

    That brief recall to Earth had stirred other souls from their stupors. Gone was the idea that permanent detachment from the mortal realm was ideal. A few even voiced such opinions in her company, but no one dared risk it publicly. This may have been Heaven, but there were still guards lurking about, and that was a clue to the true nature of their existence.

    Perhaps some of them could be leveraged to help? She might even be able to rouse sentiment from the collective, although that would shatter their concept of reality. Most were not even aware that they were in Heaven, or that they could interact with other souls.

    “Choice and self-determination,” Angela muttered.

    The right to choose, wreaked havoc on the ability to predict the future. Not even Saint Peter knew the precise time and death of those who toiled below. The same applied here as well, so what did she witness earlier?

    “How and why?” Angela asked.

    For now, she needed to create the illusion of being an average citizen. What a shame that her stubborn mind had yet to accept her conclusion.

    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 V

    Victoria opened her eyes and saw the perfectly flat surface of the marble floor. Every part of her body ached and even her hair hurt. She struggled to come to terms with the mechanics of that concept.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence - Saturday Scenes

    Despite being in pain, she managed to peel herself from the floor. In that moment, every single muscle in her body screamed out in agony. Funny that when faced with a great deal of pain, concerns over her hair no longer mattered.

    “Where am I?” Victoria asked.

    Memories of her recent escape bled back into her conscious mind. With that came the realisation that she was still at the chapel of horrors.

    “Oh fuck me!” Victoria whined in desperation.

    With a bit more effort, Victoria managed to gain a solid footing. Her feet were unsure of themselves, which left her wobbling, but she persisted until her balance steadied.

    The first few steps were daunting, nonetheless she grew more confident. It was enough to grant her some freedom of movement, and look for an exit.

    Despite the atrocities depicted in the stained glass works commemorating sin and murder in frightening detail, this place was quite beautifully designed: marble walls, supported by Corinthian columns, all adorned with gold. This chapel had a decidedly Art Deco style, one that seemed more authentic than current facsimiles.

    Her eyes ran over every visible surface, and yet, she was no further ahead in finding an exit. Once she shifted her footing, her eyes caught a glimpse of a landmark behind one of the columns. Victoria strained her neck to spot golden doors, and approached carefully. It seemed appropriate to assume there were traps.

    “Come on Vicky,” Victoria said to calm herself. “Don’t let your imagination get the better of you.”

    There was a golden button located at the side of the door and she gasped when she got a better view. The door was meticulously engraved in solid gold; a relief depicting a scene from Dante’s Inferno gleamed in the artificial light.

    She pressed the button, half-expecting a trap door to drop out from beneath her. Instead, a pleasant chime rang throughout the chapel, as the doors parted.

    Without hesitation, she stepped inside, then searched for a control panel only to find there was none. Either this elevator was programmed based on the identity of the passenger, or there was only one stop.

    “Only one way to—,” Victoria said.

    Her knees nearly gave out when it began its high speed ascent. In a panic, Victoria grabbed onto a golden rail with enough strength, that her knuckles were white.

    There were no dials nor displays visible in the elevator car. It appeared that she was just expected to enjoy the ride. In her current state, this experience was anything but pleasant leaving her to wonder how long this moment would last. The answer came when the elevator came to a complete stop. Once the doors opened, Victoria was faced with a change of scenery.

    Had Victoria’s mind not been on the verge of exhaustion, she would have been enraptured by the beauty of it all. She knew of the existence of abandoned subway stations underneath the city, those left behind when new lines came into service or once stations no longer served a purpose.

    Never in her life did she expect to be standing in one, let alone one so beautifully maintained. Every tile was in place and the grout was an immaculate white, a miracle since the floor tiles had to see some foot traffic from time to time.

    As Victoria stepped away, the elevator’s doors slid shut. Dead ahead, there was a subway car of modern design, which lit up when she approached. Just her luck, the doors were open.

    Now she was curious because this all seemed to be far too convenient. Victoria walked up to the platform’s edge, looked down the line at both ends, and saw nothing suspicious. The steel tracks shone in the station’s light and from the looks of this car, this was operational line, although clarity on serviceability of the line at its destination and where that happened to be was a different matter.

    She turned around to look for clues. Victoria remembered that most stations had a map to direct visitors. Then again, elevators also had panels to indicate what the elevator was up to.

    “This is getting tedious,” Victoria said with an exasperated sigh.

    Unable to come up with another option, Victoria stepped through the open door of the car. This was her first time being in a subway car fitted with leather seats or one lined with mahogany and brass.

    “Not exactly what you’d find on the blue line,” Victoria remarked. “So what now?”

    As her question rang out into the train, the door closed behind her, and the car lunged forward. Victoria reached for one of the seats and sat down. It should not have been a surprise that this contraption was also automated.

    Out back, a series of lights appeared, a fresh car activated to replace this one. Victoria watched in awe, barely able to imagine the expenses associated with running such a system. As the train moved on, the somniferous clickety-clack of the tracks embraced her mind. Soon, Victoria was sound asleep. Meanwhile, back at the station, a slick trail of blood led directly to the platform’s edge.

    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 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!


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