Tag: Shattered Reality

  • Dinner With an Angel – Part II

    Elizabeth walked up the three flights of stairs leading to her unit. She was dog tired, so much so, that her bones ached with every step. The pace of work mixed with that chaos filled weekend did a lot to wear her down.

    “If there was ever a way of reminding me that I am no longer twenty-one,” Elizabeth mumbled.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    Once at her door, she reached into her pockets and froze. On the other side, she heard clanging, footsteps, and other unusual sounds. It was not until Clara’s humming filtered through the door that she began to calm down.

    Elizabeth exhaled, pulled out her keys, and let herself in. Immediately, she was greeted by a whole slew of smells. Some were more distinct, like seared scallops, sautéed mushrooms, onions and garlic. Others were more subtle in comparison, such as the white wine, steamed fresh peas, and melted butter.

    Clara was at the kitchen counter, busy cooking up a storm. She wore an apron, although Elizabeth could not fathom where that item originated from. Clara faced a myriad of pots and pans, some that bubbled while others crackled with the sounds of frying food. Each was the source of these aromas, which magically invigorated her senses.

    Of course, it was the fridge that got her attention, the old one from this morning was gone. In its place was a significant upgrade. Clearly, Clara had not been idle during her absence.

    “Hello,” Clara said while looking up. “Help yourself to some wine.”

    “How did you—,” Elizabeth said.

    “It’s a bit complicated,” Clara said. “Let’s just say that I looked into someone’s soul and found an ally.”

    Clara continued to cook while Elizabeth approached the counter. The bottle was old. It even sported a wax seal that had been cast aside when opened. When she looked at the label and saw the date, her eyes bulged, and she dropped the bottle.

    Before Elizabeth could gasp, Clara caught the bottle. She smirked, placed it gently on the counter and returned to her cooking.

    “Nineteen-twenty-one?” Elizabeth spat out.

    “That was a great year… a lot of memories,” Clara said. “That wine is almost as old as me.”

    Elizabeth sat down and chuckled nervously. One moment, all hell breaks loose, and now, she comes home to find a thousand dollar bottle of wine? This was a bit much for her to take in. Still, why worry over things that were outside of her control?

    She poured herself a glass until it nearly overflowed and took a sip.

    “Wow! Some things do get better with age,” Elizabeth said.

    “You know, when I was growing up, seafood like this marked us as being poor. Those with money and status did not come to school with seafood or, god forbid, lobster,” Clara said. “Now this was the most expensive item that I could find at the store. Well, apart from the wine.”

    For a moment, Clara appeared to be daydreaming, back in a world where monsters did not exist. Elizabeth wondered how precious such memories were for those who had been through so much.

    “You can sit down,” Clara said. “Supper will be ready soon enough.”

    “Why are you doing this?” Elizabeth asked, unable to play along.

    Clara kept on smiling while she turned over the lightly seared scallops. Clearly, she was applying the finishing touches for this meal, and it looked like it would be mouth-watering.

    “You were right earlier,” Clara said. “Honestly, I was relieved that you brought it up. Still, tonight I learned that the soul could be redeemed, and that gave me hope. It also reminded me that I have much to learn.”

    So far, Elizabeth had no trouble following along, but was unsure if the soul comment was literal or figurative. She assumed this had something to do with her Firecracker, and that was probably the reason they were home safe tonight.

    “For now, I’ll need a place to crash, spread my wings, and find my way,” Clara added while she poured the mushrooms and scallops into a serving bowl.

    “I did say you were—,” Elizabeth said.

    Clara cut her off on purpose, a reversal that turned out to be enjoyable. She carried the scallops to the table, then returned to drain the potatoes.

    “What we have might end up being nothing more than a fling spurred on by events outside our control,” Clara said. “It may be nothing more than our baser interests at play. So I don’t want to push that just yet. We both need to come to terms with what happened and figure out how to move forward.”

    Clara had a point, although Elizabeth wondered how easy it would be to avoid those awkward moments.

    “Or was that half the fun?” Elizabeth wondered.

    Clara mixed in butter, spices, and milk to mash the potatoes. While preparing the dish, she looked up.

    “At the very least, we need each other. I need you to help me traverse this alien land. Without you, I’ll end up getting lost,” Clara said.

    “What do you think I need?” Elizabeth asked.

    Clara finished mashing the potatoes before answering, “You need me to watch over you for the next little while. A task I’ll gladly take on so you can sleep soundly knowing that no one will fuck with you.”

    Elizabeth cocked a brow. A small part of her had yet to realise that fear was real. Would anyone be able to sleep once they knew that vampires did, in fact, exist?

    Clara dropped the potatoes at the table, followed by steamed peas. She then walked over to Elizabeth and looked up into her eyes.

    “Just to be clear,” Clara said. “If you ever kiss me like that again. You’d better be prepared to go all the way. Understood?”

    “Got it,” Elizabeth said with a gulp.

    “Great,” Clara said with a wide smile before pulling out Elizabeth’s chair. “Time to eat! You can give me an answer when we are done.”

    “You already know,” Elizabeth said while sitting down.

    Clara chuckled and said, “I only hoped. Oh! Before I forget. Do you know what cryptocurrency is?”

    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!

  • Dinner With an Angel – Part I

    Clara looked out over the restaurant from the comfort of her booth. Once she was satisfied there was no immediate threat, she looked down at a newspaper to pass the time. She was in awe of the number of ads, colour, and scores of anorexic articles that had a sensationalist bent. It appeared that not everything improved with age, and newspapers were a prime example.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    Clara heard the waiter approach, his footsteps muffled by the carpet, and without a glance, knew who this was. As expected, the man left a drink at her table, all without being prompted.

    “Compliments of the lady at the bar,” the waiter said before walking away.

    Clara looked at the drink, then up at the woman and was astounded by what she saw. There she sat in a form fitting black dress that hugged her body and left little to the imagination. Her left leg was bare, exposed by a slit, and even in this dull light, her silky gams glimmered.

    Clara smirked, since this was playing out exactly as it had the first time they met. The venue may have been different, but all of the key details were present.

    Sensing her part in this affair, Clara raised her glass in the air so they might toast one another in silence. While each sipped her drink, they kept their eyes locked on one another. Evelyn loved to be the centre of attention, and for now, it suited Clara to play along.

    Just like before, she felt a breeze, and with that, Evelyn appeared on the bench across from her. That woman knew how to wield smiles like a scalpel. She could chill the mood at an orgy to show her displeasure or hint at the lifetime of passion only she could offer. All that was needed was to give oneself willingly to her, and Clara was pretty sure people frequently made that choice.

    “You’re in a good mood,” Clara said while catching a glimpse of the woman’s soul.

    The last time Clara had seen Evelyn, her soul had been in an advanced state of decay, torn asunder through centuries of abuse, the soul one associated with a mass murder, a paedophile, or a tyrannical dictator. Now, it was clear that something had changed. While there was still decay, the soul was whole. This was Clara’s first glimpse at how pivotal a singular act of redemption could be.

    Evelyn sidestepped the comment and said, “I wanted to thank you.”

    “You did?” Clara questioned.

    Evelyn nodded, as plates of food arrived at the table. Clara noticed that Evelyn’s companion was pretty relaxed considering he had been run over by her truck a couple of nights ago.

    Evelyn looked at the plethora of food options and selected something that looked like baked camembert. She dipped some toasted bread into the cheese and brought it to her mouth. As a matter of course, she seductively licked the cheese from her piece before taking a bite.

    “Relax,” Evelyn said. “Marc holds no ill will towards you. That would require emotions which may cloud his judgement, and I’ve never known him to have any.”

    She looked up and smiled at Marc who did not return the gesture. Instead he bowed away and headed towards the kitchen.

    “Nevertheless,” Evelyn added. “He is here to make sure you play nice.”

    Clara mulled over those words. Their kind could not easily engage her now. Her speed and strength equalled their own. Besides, coming into direct contact with her was the equivalent of sunbathing at high noon. The only way Clara could be reined in is if they took extraordinary precautions.

    “Explosives?” Clara asked.

    Evelyn giggled and nodded, “Great minds, non? Marc tells me it’s a shaped charge focused on you. I may get caught up in the blast, but I’ll heal.”

    “Fair enough,” Clara said. “I’d have done the same.”

    Evelyn picked up another piece of bread and dipped it into the cheese. Clara looked around and settled on a bowl of French onion soup. She moved it towards herself, grabbed the oversized spoon, and broke through the baked cheese crust to reach the broth. The smell alone was enough to make her stomach growl.

    “There were three,” Evelyn said after another bite.

    Clara looked up, swallowed a spoonful of broth, and asked, “Georgians? In the city?”

    Evelyn nodded. The slight droop in her smile hinted there had been complications. Clara did not want to delve into the matter unless it was brought up. However, the use of past tense meant those three were dead, which was good news.

    “You were right. They were responsible for this mess,” Evelyn said while spreading pâté on a piece of fresh bread.

    “Did you find out why?” Clara asked before she scooped up a chunk of cheese and bread.

    “Playing the odds,” Evelyn said. “They wanted to trigger a war which would bring about the end of our kind, all in some attempt to alter the balance of power in their favour and simplify colonisation.”

    “The Tower never really knew what they were,” Clara said.

    “You know,” Evelyn said. “I haven’t heard that name since Drusilla had a party to celebrate the attack on their gate network…”

    Clara’s heart sank, but kept her emotions hidden by eating a few more bites. That was exactly what she feared: that the Tower was cut off and remained as such to this day.

    “Sounds like you miss them?” Clara asked to deflect.

    “Oh?” Evelyn said. “I suppose. They were most helpful to rid us of any undesirables and could be counted on to follow a strict set of rules.”

    “Unlike this new group?” Clara asked.

    Evelyn nodded and said, “You get around, don’t you?”

    Both took a few more bites in an effort to collect their thoughts. Clara was beginning to suspect that Evelyn was not aligned with those currently in power.

    “That ghoul interrogator was an interesting development,” Clara said. “I encountered that before the Great—”

    “The First World War,” Evelyn interrupted. “One of Drusilla’s great plans that you put on ice for a couple of decades.”

    So her hunch had been dead on. Drusilla must have spent centuries aligning the darker elements into a loose coalition. All in an effort to oppress humanity, but to what end?

    “Is that why I encountered werewolves in the city?” Clara asked.

    Evelyn’s eyes temporarily widened and she soon realised her faux pas. She smiled shyly and giggled.

    “You’ve really been around the block,” Evelyn said.

    Clara grinned and helped herself to some of that molten cheese dish that Evelyn had been sampling. To put it mildly, it was simply divine.

    “I feel like a one gal wrecking crew,” Clara said.

    “I’ve seen natural disasters that left behind less destruction,” Evelyn said with a giggle-snort. That clearly caught her off guard. She grinned and covered her mouth before saying, “Excusez-moi.”

    Clara smiled. It was great to see someone lower their guard. Especially when centuries of practice were used to keep up the pretence of being cultured.

    Evelyn’s face grew sombre. It seemed that the idle chit chat was over. Clara had been expecting this, but had no idea where this conversation would lead.

    “Whatever you have in mind,” Evelyn whispered. “We want in.”

    It was fortunate that Clara had enhanced hearing, since Evelyn’s whisper was exceptionally soft, practically background noise. Why all the theatrics? Clara was unsure, but knew for certain that this was not a game.

    “We?” Clara whispered.

    Evelyn nodded, “That’s why Marc and I destroyed the Georgian laboratory.”

    This was all beginning to make sense. Evelyn was no longer aligned with those in power and completely isolated. The more power her opponents gained, the tighter the noose around her neck became.

    “I want to revive the Tower,” Clara said.

    Evelyn giggled in surprise before replying, “Go on.”

    “Too much?” Clara asked before she cringed.

    Ma chère,” Evelyn said while she prepared another slice of bread with pâté.

    She then brought it over to Clara’s lips and held it there so the other could taste it. Clara bit into the cracker, tasting the pepper and meat mix, which brought a smile to her face.

    “You are about to set sail onto unfamiliar seas. Sure. Water is water. There are common elements between all oceans. It may even seem inviting from ashore, but you can only see so far. You have no understanding of the dangers that lurk beyond the horizon,” Evelyn said.

    Clara swallowed and bit off more pâté while avoiding contact. She was really enjoying this food. To think that the last time they met like this she had been so nervous, so much so that the only dish she sampled was the devilled eggs.

    “So get situated first?” Clara confirmed.

    Exactement, ma chère,” Evelyn said. “We have resources that we can offer you. Money, weapons, intelligence…”

    “Why?” Clara asked.

    “We believe that the flock is better off knowing that wolves are nothing more than a figment of their imagination. We have no desire to rule over them,” Evelyn said.

    “Where would be the fun in that?” Clara said.

    Exactement! Quel drame!” Evelyn said with a smirk.

    Indeed, such a tragedy, a bunch of immortals, bored and morally corrupt with power to run the world. They would treat humanity no better than livestock, so no art or new advances in technology. Soon enough, a war would break out between the more powerful players in an effort to gain a sliver of power. If hell was real, it might be preferable to that outcome.

    “On one condition,” Clara said.

    “Name it,” Evelyn said.

    “Elizabeth and her family stay out of this,” Clara said while narrowing her eyes.

    “Marc and I will make sure that she is looked after,” Evelyn said. “Does that satisfy your needs?”

    With a smile, Clara said, “Now. You were saying something about weapons…”

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

  • The Van Helsing Resurgence – Part VI

    By the time Clara was dry and changed, the smell of brewed coffee filled the air. Elizabeth was at the counter, wearing something less distracting, which managed to relieve and disappoint Clara.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    She approached the counter casually, wearing a jean skirt that went down to her knees and a thick white denim shirt. Clara was beginning to learn the joys of a sports bra. While a bit snug, it did much to support the girls without a lot of complexity.

    These clothes were decidedly not Elizabeth’s style. Even now, her friend looked ready for the office. There was an air of professionalism that surrounded her, and this outfit was anything but.

    Elizabeth tossed her two long, grey wool stockings. Clara would not have been caught dead in these during her time, but they suited the overall theme.

    “Here,” Elizabeth said. “You’ll need these.”

    Clara knew they would be itchy for a while, but at least they would keep her warm, even when soaking wet. She sat down and slipped them on sensibly, to avoid making this a sensual experience. In the background, her eyes discerned that Elizabeth was deep in thought.

    “Thank you,” Clara said with a smile. “That smells great.”

    “Anything is better than that diner’s coffee,” Elizabeth said flatly. “Although, not by much.”

    There was a pause as a moment of uncomfortable silence filled the space between them. Something was on their minds, but neither knew how to broach the subject.

    Fortunately, the coffee maker began to make loud noises as the last of the water cycled through the system. Elizabeth turned her attention to that while Clara finished slipping on the stockings. Unlike the rest of her outfit, these were a bit big as though they had been intended for someone much taller.

    On a hunch, Clara looked over towards Elizabeth and noticed that her gold band was gone. A white void was left in its place, a hint that this was not a simple case of guilt or infatuation.

    A cup of coffee, milk, and a five pound bag of sugar was placed on the counter. Elizabeth smirked, choosing to take hers black while Clara sweetened it mildly before taking a sip. They both sighed contentedly, wrapping their hands around the hot ceramic, and let the heat radiate into their hands.

    “That was one hell of a weekend,” Elizabeth said.

    Clara had not been aware of the date, time, or even the season. While the latter was easy enough to guess, weather could nonetheless deceive an outsider.

    “So today is Monday?” Clara asked.

    Elizabeth nodded, looked into the swirling pool of black elixir, and sighed.

    “This was probably the single-most fucked up weekend I’ve ever had,” Elizabeth said. “I can’t tell a soul can I?”

    “No.” Clara said. “How would you treat a patient who described what you went through?”

    “Point taken,” Elizabeth said. She took a sip as a distraction and said, “Saturday morning, I was happily married, looking to help a lost friend. Like most, I assumed that vampires—and angels—were works of fiction.”

    “And—,” Clara tried to say.

    Elizabeth raised her hand, fingers together and palm facing Clara. This was her way of telling the other to stop interrupting, so she could get this off her chest.

    “Today I know that my friend is dead, that these things do in fact exist, and that includes you…” Elizabeth trailed off. Another sip of her coffee imbued her with strength, even if only imagined, before she added, “I also learned that I was never married.”

    “What?” Clara asked, realising why Elizabeth had been pacing before her arrival.

    “She’s on tour,” Elizabeth said. “Those are her things in our—my bedroom. So imagine my surprise when I saw the announcement that she had recently tied the knot with her long-time friend and confidant.”

    “I’m sorry—” Clara tried to say.

    “Are you?” Elizabeth hissed. “I’ve seen how you’ve been eyeing me.”

    “I’m—” Clara said.

    “Sorry?” Elizabeth confirmed. “So that’s what you planned to tell me when you got in here?”

    Clara simply nodded. It was clear that Elizabeth had managed to tie up all of her emotions and thoughts into a coherent bundle. That clarity enabled her to channel it constructively, and spared Clara from having to do the same.

    Elizabeth finished off her coffee and poured herself another. She took a quick glance at Clara’s cup and topped it up for good measure. Clara smiled appreciatively and would not say another world until needed.

    “I thought about going with you, wherever you are headed,” Elizabeth said. “In the end, I realised that you didn’t need me slowing you down. Nor did you need me to muddy the waters with all of this tension.”

    Clara nodded once more and felt her heart grow lighter with every word. Elizabeth was pushing forward the exact same statements that Clara envisioned herself saying. Since these words were meant to soften the blow for Clara, it effectively made this a victory.

    “Either way,” Elizabeth said. “I still have a job to do, kids that need me. At least I can make a difference in their lives.”

    Elizabeth finished off her second cup of coffee, paused, and smiled before she went around the counter. She showed no signs of hesitation and placed her hands firmly on Clara’s shoulders before closing the distance between their lips.

    Clara just went with it, enjoying the fact that someone else knew how to take charge. When their lips touched, all of that tension and anxiety washed away, replaced by a passion that enveloped them.

    Clara parted her lips and found that Elizabeth was a step ahead. Their tongues touched, hesitating momentarily before diving into the dance. When Elizabeth pulled back, both of them were short of breath.

    “I needed that,” Elizabeth said. “In a couple of days, once this fucking shitstorm sinks in, I may realise that all of this was a result of you saving my life. Just like you may come to learn that what you needed was intimacy, and I just happened to be there.”

    She then tossed a phone on the counter, along with a charger and cable. It was the phone she lifted from that dive bar, and it seemed to be working fine.

    “You got some messages when I plugged it in,” Elizabeth said as she slid a pad towards her. “I wrote them down here for you and added my number to the phone.”

    Elizabeth walked over to the door and picked up her coat, purse, and keys. She was bundling up for the cold but, despite the journey ahead, she wore a smile.

    “You can grab a coat that fits from… her… closet,” Elizabeth said. “Now if you need a place to crash…”

    “That’s too—,” Clara said.

    Elizabeth cut her off and said, “My couch will always be available to you. Just make sure to use the window, so this door stays locked.”

    With nothing more to say, she left Clara alone in the apartment. Clara let the silence sink in, marking the first time in days that there was not something going wrong or her being driven towards an objective. She gulped a few mouthfuls of coffee. The bitterness reminded her that this was precisely where she needed to be. Heaven was too isolated, sterile, and constricting for her. Clara required the flavour and spice of life in order to be content.

    After her second cup, she sighed softly, grabbed the pad, and admired the woman’s beautiful handwriting. The message was good news but, given who she was dealing with, that situation could turn on her real fast.

    Clara looked at her phone and noted the time. With the better part of the day to herself and with nothing better to do, she began to experiment with the mobile phone. The messages were in there somewhere, and she was determined to find them.

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

  • The Van Helsing Resurgence – Part V

    Clara landed on the fire escape, folding in one wing while positioning the other over her head to get a good rain-free view of what was going on inside the unit. Elizabeth could have been asleep, but Clara suspected otherwise. Sure enough, Elizabeth was up, pacing back and forth while looking at her phone. At what precisely, she did not know, but Clara assumed it was related to what unfolded earlier in the day.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    She observed for a few moments, looking out for nervous tics or any other signs that would hint at her being compromised. So far there were none. Her heart rate remained steady and, while elevated, it was natural for someone who was anxious or under duress.

    Clara sighed, took a deep breath, and knocked on the window. It was time to see if her welcome was worn out; one way or the other, there were things she needed to get off her chest.

    Elizabeth was clearly nervous. Learning about the existence of vampires, tended to make people skittish. The amazon turned around so fast that it nearly startled Clara, and the fact she was armed filled her with a sense of pride. Guns were not effective against all foes, but at least Elizabeth was taking her well-being seriously.

    Clara remained in place—visible, smiling and most importantly non-threatening. This seemed like the best approach, and she wanted to avoid Elizabeth feeling threatened. Shoot first and ask questions later tended to be the mantra for anyone in Elizabeth’s state of mind.

    Elizabeth recognised who was at the window, exhaled in relief, and ran over to unlatch the casement. Clara did the rest, lifting the pane from out of its seat despite the wood swelling from exposure.

    “Where were you?” Elizabeth raced through the question.

    Her eyes were wild, running over every detail of the scene. It had the potential to develop into a thousand mile stare, something that Clara had seen hundreds of times before. She prayed that her friend would be spared.

    Clara did not immediately answer. Instead, she folded her remaining wing, hunched down, and stepped into the apartment. On the counter was the amphora, and Clara buried her desire to indulge in the sweet nectar. She may be a goddess or demi-goddess, but there could be side effects to prolonged use.

    “How did you manage to find that?” Clara asked.

    Elizabeth grunted and narrowed her eyes while saying, “Quit avoiding my question! Now where were you?”

    Clara shrugged but did not smirk since the latter was too dismissive. Elizabeth was not happy, and Clara would need to smooth things over before getting any answers.

    “I was captured. I then woke up in a secret interrogation room located in one of the city’s morgues,” Clara replied, having no clue if there were multiple morgues in the city.

    “How did you get out?” Elizabeth asked, alarmed.

    That question indicated that Elizabeth had followed the instructions to the letter. Hence, she ran off before the troops swarmed their position and captured her. Not knowing what happened easily explained her state of heightened anxiety.

    Clara delved into the situation: the rapid progression of the interrogation, the ghoul, and how she broke free. She also described the brief interaction with Jane and detailed her escape.

    Elizabeth listened intently, her eyes focused more on Clara as she calmed down. While news of a shadow group upset her, being in proximity to her guardian angel did much to smooth things over. That worried Clara, since it would make what she had to say a challenge.

    “I managed to circle back to the dumpsters through the building,” Elizabeth said once satisfied with Clara’s response. “The cops were not interested in the alley. They were focused on what that red-head unleashed.”

    “One hell of a distraction she put on,” Clara said with a grin.

    Elizabeth chuckled nervously. It was clear that these particular memories left her feeling uneasy.

    “Can anyone from your order even define the word subtle?” Elizabeth asked.

    Clara broke out in laughter, saying, “Most can, but I was always the bull in a China shop.”

    “You know they busted that?” Elizabeth asked. “Bulls run around the shelves, showing more grace than some dancers.”

    “Really?” Clara said. “I really need to get started learning all of this trivia and slang.”

    Despite the banter, Clara was acutely aware that Elizabeth was distracted by her chest. The white blouse was sticking to her clammy flesh and showed the perfect outline of her breasts. Fortunately, the bra provided enough padding to conceal her hardened nipples. After all, it was cold out there in the rain.

    “I need a—” Clara said.

    “You need a change of clothes,” Elizabeth said concurrently.

    “That would be lovely,” Clara said with a smile.

    Her eyes avoided the other’s outfit, or lack thereof. Elizabeth wore a bathrobe, and the longer she stood there without adjusting, the more her cleavage showed. Clara knew why she had these feelings. Unfortunately, that did not make this any easier to deal with.

    “Head into the bathroom, take a warm shower, and dry off,” Elizabeth said. “I’ll find you something to wear.”

    With that, Elizabeth made things easier for the both of them. She left Clara alone in the living room. She lingered long enough to shake any cobwebs loose from her mind before moving on to the next step.

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

  • The Van Helsing Resurgence – Part IV

    Her encounter with Freyja happened at a critical juncture. Her eyes had once more been opened to the true nature of this world, and she disliked what she saw.

    In her time, she had to contend with vampires, ghouls, werewolves, and all manner of things that went bump in the night. These creatures had always been there, existing in the edges of human awareness, and preyed on both mankind and their fears. Clara had lived through a renaissance of sorts. Ghouls had been dispatched en masse during the Great War, and werewolves were nothing more than an anomaly.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    This world showcased a new order that grew from the loss of the Tower. Drusilla may have been stopped before fulfilling her mission to rise above the fray to rule the world with an iron fist, but her legacy of terror lived on. Clara cursed herself for not having killed that bitch earlier.

    Clara needed allies, people she could rely on, those who were capable of indoctrinating her in the ways of the present day. Weapons may have remained largely the same, but other technologies advanced by leaps and bounds. She was a relic in fashion, language and know-how and, without assistance, would stick out like a sore thumb.

    She knew someone who might help, but that meant abusing her kind nature. For now, it seemed necessary to set aside such concerns. In return, Clara would be sure to shield this woman from harm and, in time, develop a symbiotic relationship.

    Clara stayed close to the rooftops in an attempt to avoid drawing unnecessary attention. Fortunately, the streets were deserted for the most part, and she could risk exposure by crossing them. She kept a sharp eye for anything that followed, but luck was on her side.

    “Allies,” Clara said.

    The Tower had been the nerve centre for their order, but they were also allies to any who fought the forces of evil. Drusilla’s mayhem had stripped the world of an important ally by isolating, but not destroying, the Tower. Clara needed to reconnect with and, hopefully, restore the relevance to her order.

    Now there was a conundrum. Without the Terminus, the nexus of gates that linked the Tower to sites around the world, the Tower would be near impossible to reach. Even if she could find a way to the Tower, what would she find once she got there? A tower of ivory that stretched out into the heavens filled with hundreds of hunters itching for a fight? Or a tomb?

    The absence of answers confirmed that this plan would be executed over the long term. She needed allies now. Perhaps her thinking was a bit circular, but that was a response to the gravity of the need.

    Elizabeth would be her first stop. From there, she did not know. However, Clara theorized that the line between friend and foe would blur, if not disappear altogether. That meant she needed to keep an open mind and sleep with an open eye.

    Clara landed on a rooftop, then leaned over the ledge to look down. On the other side, Elizabeth’s building loomed out beyond the curtain of driving rain. Most of the windows were dark, save for one.

    Clara closed her eyes and focused on her hearing. Eventually, the sound of applause caused by the rain was filtered out. She continued to focus, visualising the area in her mind, and heard one steady heartbeat within that unit.

    There were others in the building which accounted for the neighbours. So far, there were no sounds to indicate the presence of a platoon of soldiers waiting for her. Considering the day she had, that was a good sign.

    “Time to have a little faith,” Clara said. “In myself.”

    With that thought, Clara leapt from the rooftop and glided over to the emergency escape. Every plan needed objectives, and it was time to see how the foundations of her plan would unfold.

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

  • The Van Helsing Resurgence – Part III

    “Great”, Clara said. “What is it with me and nondescript hallways?”

    One end of the corridor finished near the interrogation room with a door that had been secured using the same mechanism. In the opposing direction there was an ascending circular staircase, made of dull steel.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    Clara walked casually to the stairs and noticed the lack of identifying features. There were no signs posted, no markings on the walls, and little to no variation in the consistency of the cement.

    There was also nothing that stood out as being surveillance equipment. She knew better; the video feeds in the surveillance room made that pretty clear. So equipment had to be there, but it was either camouflaged or so small that she could not spot them.

    Whoever was monitoring the situation was either unaware of her escape or did not care. Either way, this crossed a line and would alter this group’s behaviour. The next time they crossed paths, Clara would need to get dirty.

    At the top of the stairs, she came across a solid steel door. It was heavy with no visible locking mechanism. To her left there was a panel with a video feed. From this display, she saw the inside of a room: steel drawers, metal tables, sinks, weights, and various medical instruments. Clara had been around this type of room before. When dealing with ghouls, morgues were the first places to check.

    “Makes sense,” Clara said.

    Based on the dim lighting, it must have been after hours. That meant she had been unconscious most of the day, if not more. Without pause, Clara swiped the card which brought up a keypad on the display. She typed in the sequence Jane provided and heard the hermetic seals break.

    She pushed open the door and walked right into the morgue. The door closed behind her without being prompted and, upon closer look, she was unable to see any signs of the entrance. Deep down she envied the level of effort this organisation had taken to hide a dungeon. The fact that it was co-located with a morgue meant they had a convenient place to dispose of the bodies.

    Clara looked around casually and pocketed a few scalpels. She loved nothing more than a good blade, and these might come in handy. After a bit more rummaging, she came across a series of Allen keys used to fine-tune the scales which she pocketed along with a few picks. While crude, Clara hoped they would work.

    When satisfied, she walked through the double hinged doors and into a long and sterile corridor. She eyed the room names and saw an exit sign lit up in the distance. Clara continued to walk with confidence and determination, even if she had no clue where she was headed. Nothing caught a guard’s eye more than an unfamiliar face who looked lost.

    The door led to a stairwell and the flight of stairs going down led to another door. It had been fitted with an audible alarm and probably opened on the street level. Clara barely glanced at it while she ascended and flew past the floors without a care in the world.

    When the stairs ran out, she came across a door labelled Roof Access. She paused and examined the door which matched all others in the stairwell, except for the deadbolt. That gave her hope. A door that was secured against unauthorised access implied there was a chance at freedom on the other side.

    Clara knelt, pulled out the picks and Allen keys, and began to fiddle with the mechanism. In her time, Clara needed very little time to pick locks, but things had changed. So much so, that she decided it was best to go with plan B.

    She got back on her feet, slowed down time, and rammed the door. The door buckled under this initial effort, but the hinges and lock remained intact.

    “Aww nertz!” Clara exclaimed.

    This time, she moved away from the door to gain serious velocity and focused all of that momentum into her shoulder. In this attempt, the door gave way completely, torn from its hinges, and tumbled along the rooftop. It made an awful racket which was exactly what Clara wanted to avoid. Still, no alarms had been raised and all was quiet.

    “So is freedom at hand?” Clara wondered.

    She walked onto the roof and saw how the low cloud cover was lit up by the city lights. It was raining, and the cool dark rain instantly soaked her clothing. Invigorated, she dropped her light coat, and let her wings expand.

    Clara stood there. Staring at the glory before her. The neighbouring buildings were taller; a few even dated from her era, since they featured those iconic water towers. Other buildings were tall and imposing structures made of steel and glass.

    She turned around and, from here, noticed the darkened area that made up the park. Even through the thin slivers between streets, she caught flashes of blue and red lights. The police presence at the park was comforting because that meant she had not been out for more than a day.

    “I was right,” Freyja said. “You would have been one of my best shieldmaidens.”

    Clara kept her eyes on the park, choosing not to turn around just yet. The last time they met, Freya had been playing the role of Saint Peter. This evening, she had chosen an alternate persona for the confrontation. Clara flapped her wings for show. The black feathers were nearly invisible against the night sky.

    “One would think that my wings would make me a Valkyrie,” Clara said.

    “Never did care for them,” Freyja said with a hint of disdain.

    Clara turned around and saw exactly what she imagined Freyja to be: the armour, the shield and sword, blonde hair, and blue eyes, not to mention how she towered over her, enough to leave Clara feeling a twinge of anxiety. Of course, there was no real threat, otherwise she would have been dead by now.

    “So what brings you down to the mortal realm?” Clara asked.

    “I’ve come to deliver a message,” Freyja said.

    “And they sent down a god to tell me?” Clara guessed.

    “Caught on,” Freyja said, and soon realised that she inadvertently answered Clara’s guess. “Did you?”

    “The effect that ambrosia has on me and my golden blood? They were certainly eye openers,” Clara said. “You’re here because of Hecate, aren’t you?”

    “You were always a bright one,” Freyja said.

    “That’s why the Tower did not teach us about gods and goddesses,” Clara said. “They did not want Hunters getting involved in your affairs.”

    Freyja nodded but did not elaborate on the matter. Clara had managed to figure it out easily enough—the dirty little secret that even those in her order were never meant to know. The truth should have left her with a deep sense of betrayal, and still might once the dust settled. For now, she enjoyed the natural high that she got from being right.

    “She got in the way,” Clara said.

    “It was not up to you to judge her,” Freyja said.

    “So I can’t go back up then?” Clara asked. “Break some unwritten rule and I’m banned from the club?”

    Freyja did not seem to react, but Clara knew the words struck home. Pushing buttons, after all, was one trait she excelled at.

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

    “It’s that or kill you,” Freyja said in a tone that implied a preference for the latter.

    “Oh no!” Clara said sarcastically. “Don’t leave me here. Free to live, breath, fuck, and make mistakes.”

    “They will never accept you,” Freyja said.

    “Men tend to accept anything with a nice pair of tits,” Clara said while looking down at her wet blouse. “I’ll be fine and, unlike Edith, I want to be here.”

    “You are on your own then,” Freyja said.

    Clara smiled, crossed her arms, and remained as such until Freyja faded out of existence. It seemed that some of their kind were free to come and go as they pleased. Clara loved having limits. Flaws, when overcome, became a source of strength. Clara would not have it any other way.

    Clara felt a chill once the wind picked up and shook the excess water out of her hair. She bent her knees, flapped her wings, and unleashed a thick mist of water from her wings. As she cut through the mist to become airborne, Clara thought about being barred from Heaven and, in that moment, had never felt so free.

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

  • The Van Helsing Resurgence – Part II

    It took a good twenty minutes for Jane to come to, more than enough time for Clara to secure the unconscious guard, strip Jane naked, and secure her to a chair. As a precaution, Clara used this opportunity to disable any panic buttons found in the room.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    “What? Where am I?” Jane asked.

    Clara walked towards Jane while wearing her outfit, a challenge, since she had to make creative use of the belt and bra straps to make it all fit. Still, Clara floated in these clothes which stripped her of that femininity she often took for granted. Wearing Jane’s glasses only amplified the effect, making her look mousy, nondescript and harmless. In itself, that was not a bad thing and might allow her to remain invisible to most that way.

    “You tell me?” Clara asked in return.

    Jane was confused by the unfamiliar voice and struggled to open her eyes. Just ahead, there was a bright light, surrounded by a halo. She noted the presence of a silhouette against the light, focused on that spot, and eventually made out Clara’s smile.

    The sight of a prisoner looming over her drove Jane into a panic. She struggled against her bindings which only tightened their grip. Her breathing grew shallow, and that meant she would soon lose consciousness. For Clara, that was not a desirable outcome.

    Clara smiled, reached down for Jane’s hands, and interlocked their fingers. Now was not the time to appear vexed or indifferent. This situation called for a legitimate dose of compassion.

    “Shh. It’s okay. No one here is going to hurt you,” Clara said in a soft voice, the same she used to comfort dying patients during the war.

    Jane eventually calmed down and relaxed, preventing the bindings from digging into her wrists. The tension still hung in the air like a thick ocean fog. Who would blame her? Most would be leery of their captor’s intentions.

    “Better now?” Clara asked.

    “A bit,” Jane whispered.

    Clara chuckled before she said, “You know, I’ve had a really long couple of days. Setting aside all the shit I’ve dealt with, so far you’re the third woman I’ve seen naked.”

    “Really?” There was a hint of excitement in the voice, so Clara assumed this one was now fishing for information.

    “The first was a werewolf,” Clara said. “Feisty one, too.”

    “Those don’t exist,” Jane replied.

    Clara picked up on the change in respiration and heartbeat. She had been well trained, but not well enough to get a pass.

    “You know they do,” Clara said. “How long have you been employing ghouls as interrogators?”

    The woman stiffened at the mention of that word, causing her bindings to go taut once more. She winced in pain, paused, and calmed down.

    “What are you talking about?” Jane lied.

    Clara chuckled. She let go of Jane’s hands before sitting down. She opened up the woman’s purse, then poured its contents over the metal table. There was nothing of note, no identification cards, phone, or currency. Sure, there was makeup, which she applied to mimic Jane’s style. Besides that, there were tissues, a compact full of pills, and Trojan brand wrapped candy.

    “Whatever happened to Hershey bars?” Clara asked nonchalantly.

    Jane did not respond, but Clara was certain that this was no ordinary stockade. The fact this one knew about werewolves and ghouls meant that knowledge was no longer restricted to the few who were dedicated to eradicating them. For better, or for worse, this was the new reality.

    “Make sense,” Clara said. “A ghoul can beat the information out of a captive and erase all memories of the event.”

    Jane did not say a word, but her body language confirmed Clara’s suspicions. Of course, there was one question left, but she wanted to avoid asking it directly. That might establish her allegiances and give away her true intention.

    “The Tower would never resort to such measures,” Clara said.

    The mention of that name, did not alter Jane’s heart rate or elicit a physical response. Clara hid it well, but she was concerned. Ninety years is a long time to go dark. As a last minute thought, she searched the guard’s pockets. They were empty, save for a card, one that had an odd little hump in the middle while the other side was all black, except for the red border.

    “Curiouser, and curiouser,” Clara said and found a matching card in Jane’s clothing.

    That was the moment she noticed a panel near the door, one matching the hump’s colouring. It did not take much to figure out that these items might be related. She walked over to Jane and slid the cold card between her cleavage. Jane shivered and knew where this interrogation was headed.

    “So?” Clara asked.

    “Jane Jones, Alpha-One-Niner…” Jane rhymed off.

    Clara had seen this sort of behaviour before, a sign that the interrogator was getting too close. Still, Clara had a few tricks up her sleeve.

    “You know, it’s kinda funny. I had you pegged as a Jane,” Clara said. “However, I never thought you’d be a dumb dora…”

    Jane continued to rhyme off that line, sounding like a politician avoiding any questions related to a recent scandal. Clara chose to ignore this broken record strategy, and attacked on a new front.

    “So while you are here babbling like a baboon in heat, all bound, naked, and available,” Clara said. “You might want to consider what that ghoul will do to you when it wakes up?”

    Jane showed no reaction to that threat. There was something to be said about working with monsters. It had a tendency to blind them to that creature’s particular flavour of evil.

    “You know,” Clara said. “I have seen these things in action. Did you know that they love to peel back the face of their victim? They gingerly pull away at the fat, muscles, and veins. All so they can wear it like a mask… Do you suppose he’d feel sexy wearing your bloody—”

    “Stop,” Jane said. She then paused, closed her eyes, and sighed before adding, “030702.”

    “Thank you,” Clara said and walked away.

    “Wait,” Jane said. “You aren’t going to leave me—”

    Before Jane could finish that sentence, Clara was already out the door. Turns out she was right about that panel by the door.

    “She’ll hate me for this, but at least that ghoul won’t be bothering her,” Clara said.

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

  • The Van Helsing Resurgence – Part I

    The first of Clara’s senses to return was her hearing. Her mind swirled in a drug induced haze, which made it all the more challenging to concentrate. Every sound was distorted, clipped, and focused on the lower frequencies. At first, Clara was not sure what to make of it.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    Eventually, the reverberation lessened, and pitch increased enough so that words filtered through. Curious, she maintained her heart rate, measured her breathing, and kept her eyes closed. People had a tendency to loosen their tongues when they believed their prisoners were unconscious.

    “What do you have?” some man asked from the other side of the wall and, since no name was used, Clara settled on John.

    Clara’s ears perked up, so it was fortunate that her hair concealed the motion. She concentrated and found three distinct heart beats. The one who asked the question had just arrived, indicated by the footsteps and closing doors.

    “Female, Caucasian, in her early-thirties,” a woman replied and, this time, Clara christened her Jane.

    “Not what she seems?” John asked.

    “Well, fingerprints came up clean, although there were matches to partials lifted from crime scenes in the Twenties,” Jane answered. “A search through our main databases came up empty; she is squeaky clean. A bit too clean…”

    “What do you mean?” John queried.

    “Queries through all of our secondary sources also came up empty,” Jane replied. “She has never visited a hospital in any of the Five Eyes nations or even within a NATO nation. Her facial and retinal scans tells us that she never travelled by commercial air, was arrested, nor ever had a picture ID.”

    “Looks like she wouldn’t need to board a plane,” John said.

    There was a slight snicker from the third occupant but nothing else. Since that man’s resting heart rate was so low, she figured this was the sentry.

    “Noticed that, did you?” Jane asked. “A bit hard to miss, really.”

    “Are those real?” John wondered.

    Something slid across the table. At first Clara believed it to be a series of photographs, but this object was heavier and metallic. Nevertheless, when John gasped, she figured they caught on that her wings were not part of an elaborate Halloween costume.

    “That threw the doctors for a loop,” Jane said. “No signs of surgery, and the genetic sequencing of those wings matches her own.”

    “Mutation?” John asked.

    “Doubtful,” Jane said. “All tests indicate that she is human and within normal genetic variance. There is nothing in her genes that would account for them or her blood.”

    “What?” John pressed.

    “Temporary,” Jane said. “The blood we drew from her looked like liquid gold but turned red after a few minutes.”

    There was a pause in the conversation. Clara maintained her vitals steady in an attempt to keep up appearances. She even drooled a bit to put on a convincing show. Anyone from the Tower would have done the same. After all, subterfuge was an old friend to their kind.

    “Alright,” John said. “I’m going in.”

    Clara heard him grab something from the table. Judging from the sound of shifting ice, she guessed it was a water pitcher and with that, deduced the rest of his grand plan. A door opened and a set of soft soled shoes exited the adjacent room. Without surprise, his steps approached until a loud buzzer rang out and released the locking mechanism.

    Before she knew it, that same pair of shoes was circling her position. Clara remained indifferent, as though she were still unconscious, a hangover from the drugs. Deprived of sight, Clara focused on her remaining senses.

    That’s when she became aware of the fact that she was no longer wearing her black leather outfit. Whatever she had on, it was light, ill fitting, and airy enough for the occasional blast of cold air to run up her bare legs.

    The chair they secured her to was metallic, which did little to keep her warm. Her ankles were pressed against a set of bolts, indicating they were anchored to the concrete floor. Lastly, her arms and legs were bound by metal loops affixed to chains, most likely handcuffed.

    Her arms were bound behind her back, restricting her wings. To the uninitiated, a set of wings were harmless but, if a goose’s wing flap could break a grown man’s leg, then she was capable of inflicting far more damage. A shame that her wings were restricted, for now.

    The footsteps remained constant and precisely paced. She easily imagined him marching with a pace stick, although the shoes hinted that this was an officer and not a sergeant major. She knew he was observing her, watching for any signs of consciousness, since she would have done the same.

    John eventually came to a halt. If Clara wanted to end this charade, all she needed to do was wince in anticipation of what was about to happen. Still, there was no desire to prove his hunch correct, so she maintained the illusion of being comatose.

    As though on cue, cold water was poured over her head, which ran down both sides onto whatever covered her. The wet material immediately clung to her body and gave her goosebumps. Still, she waited, adding an appropriate amount of time to account for an individual under the influence of drugs to react.

    When she sprang into action, she made a spectacular show of it. Her head snapped up, which sent droplets of water flying everywhere. Her eyes opened wide in panic, and she gasped for air as though she were drowning.

    “Bravo!” John exclaimed. “But the rise in your core body temperature confirmed that you were awake before I walked in here.”

    Clara smirked, and settled down. While cold, she tucked away that discomfort in a distant corner of her mind. Meanwhile, the man appeared to be unfazed about her change in demeanour but did leer at her appearance in her wet attire. She focused on his heart and breathing. As suspected, both were rising, which was not surprising. This was a man after all.

    “Name,” John barked.

    Clara did not alter a single aspect of her face. If this man thought he could break her, he was about to be taught a lesson in humility.

    “I said his name!” John exclaimed, sounding just like a sergeant major on parade.

    Clara ignored him and focused on slowing down time. Doing so accelerated her metabolism and forced any remaining drugs to pass through her system. That would come in handy, since they wanted her drugged up to prevent an escape but coherent enough to extract information.

    When John’s eyelids began to close in a slow motion blink, Clara looked around. To her right, there was a large mirrored surface and, behind that glass was the source of the other two heart beats. The rest of this room was concrete, cold and desolate; a place designed to demoralise and break the undisciplined mind. There were also four vents that she could see, but they were too small to accommodate her.

    She was able to confirm that her chair was indeed bolted to the floor, locked in place with cotter pins. Her arms and legs were in turn secured to the chair using handcuffs. That meant she would need to get creative to break free. Not that this was her first time getting out of cuffs, either police issue or fur lined for an intimate setting.

    Right behind him, there was a small table. The empty water jug rested atop the plain metal surface. She wondered how long it would take for John to pull out the tools of his trade.

    Before his eyes were shut, she was already back in her initial position. Clara chose to hold onto this speed for as long as she could. That meant enduring another attempt to intimidate her, and this time, in slow motion.

    Out of boredom, Clara casually glanced at this man. He had all of the traits expected of a military man: the short hair, clean shave, hardened features, impeccable dress, and spit polished shoes. She half-expected him to have a waxed moustache, but figured this was an anachronism from her time.

    What she never expected was how fast this escalated. Interrogators tended to try to trick, threaten, or intimidate, all in an effort to dominate their subjects. This one was playing by a different rule book which was reason enough for Clara to be suspicious.

    John first approached her from the left and hit her square in the jaw. To mask the extent of her strength, she relaxed and permitted her head to move freely with the punch. Honestly, she barely felt it, but that would change over time.

    “Answer me!” John demanded.

    Clara smiled, cocked her head to both sides to stretch out her neck, and narrowed her eyes. She focused on his eyes, to give him a glimpse of the fire that burned within.

    “I’ve been hit harder by a nun,” Clara said casually. “Why don’t you reach down, grab whatever you have for balls, and make me feel it this time?”

    All the while, she toyed with the wrist-cuffs until the links were locked in place. The strength in her arms may have been weakened due to her position, but she possessed a whole other group of muscles they failed to account for.

    His impatience would cost him. The man actually twitched as though she hit a raw nerve. Had she been watching a cartoon, that man’s moustache would have straightened out. Wait? What moustache!

    “Well, why are you giving me the absent treatment?” Clara taunted. “Afraid to hit a g—”

    This time she expected the hit. While it came with more power, it was also grossly inaccurate. This punch landed nearer to her chin which sent her head snapping hard to the side. She used this opportunity to push against her cuffs and used those wings for an extra oomph.

    Alas, the first attempt had not been enough to break the links, but he did manage to split her lip. She gave him the same look as before, while licking her lips, and realised that it had a mild taste of ambrosia. She spit out the blood, not aiming for his face but for the shoes with the mirror shine.

    He looked down at the mess she made. The twitch on his face worsened, and his face flushed red with fury. Then he did something unusual. He went into a corner near the one way mirror.

    While he pretended to reach down to clean his shoes, he smeared the mix of spit and blood onto his fingers to taste the combination. That show may have avoided additional scrutiny from those in the observation room, but her hearing registered his true intent.

    When he turned around, she caught a red glow in his eyes. Unfazed, she let him see her big smug smile, pretending that ruining those shoes had been a victory. This time he did not dally. He made up the distance in two steps and unleashed a volley from both fists.

    Her face flew from one direction to the other. His blind rage provided just the type of distraction she needed to rearrange the cuffs. On the second volley, she really let her wings push against her arms, so much so that she wondered if her shoulders would pop out of their sockets. How fortunate that the bindings gave out first.

    He stopped after the volley, half-expecting for her to be unconscious. To his surprise, she again stretched her neck, feeling her muscles strain and vertebrae pop. Once more, she slowed down time as much as possible. With her hands freed from their bindings, she waited for an opportunity to remedy the remaining problem. Clara knew he was about to unleash another series of hits, but the blood on his gloves gave her an opening. When he sniffed her blood, she reached down to remove the cotter pins, then returned to normal.

    For a moment, she wondered if he spotted the movement. Oblivious, he licked the gloves, shivered, and went back for more. This punch came out from his right and, unlike the others, this would have been a solid hit. However, she lifted the chair out of its anchors and pushed against the chair’s back.

    This move yielded two results. One, she avoided this strike which left him unbalanced and ill prepared to defend against a counter attack. Two, the hollow tubes on the rear legs were pushed beyond their breaking point. The motion weakened the supporting welds, including those used to secure the outer cuffs. If the welds did not give out midway through her fall, they would after impact.

    Clara curved her back and reached out. Once more, she slowed things down a smidge to help with her reaction times. Once her fingers touched the concrete, she let her arms bend inwards and brought her legs onto the chair seat. Finally, moments away from her head making contact, she pushed back hard.

    The result was spectacular. Clara and her chair were rocketed towards the ghoul. She observed the impact and noted the dark stains appearing on its suit.

    That thing managed to squeal during the impact but Clara was like a freight train. She flew on past and hit the wall with enough momentum to disassemble the chair, everything except for a foot binding and associated bar.

    “Horsefeathers,” Clara said as she landed back onto her feet.

    For the most part, she was free to move but would remain ineffective as long as this ball and chain remained. The presence of such an item was sure to make even the most lethargic of guards suspicious.

    The ghoul stood tall nearby holding onto its side and, while hurt, it was not out of the game. So Clara got away from the wall, then twirled her restrained leg and jumped over the binding to get some speed. Oddly enough, it watched, mesmerised, even as the metal object was sent flying towards him with her leg in tow.

    Clara followed the projectile’s trajectory to prevent any loss of momentum and realised why ballet dancing had been a core subject at the Tower. The steel bar hit that thing right in the forehead, penetrated the skull, and lodged itself into its brain.

    Once she landed, Clara hesitated long enough to confirm if her restraint had been loosened or broken. Since it turned out to be the latter, she yanked hard to free the last handcuff, smiled, and made a dash for the table.

    In the background, Clara heard the guard reaching for his weapon. She slowed down time for a fraction of a second, long enough to hurl the table towards the window. The metal object shattered the glass and struck the guard in the chest just as the pitcher shattered against the floor.

    Fortunately, the man had been wearing body armour. While it helped to cushion the impact, Clara was sure he would wake up sore. The woman was not a concern. Jane sat there unaware, a side effect of staring into a ghoul’s glowing eyes too long.

    “Time to get some answers,” Clara said.

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

  • All’s Fair in Love and War – Part III

    Eventually, she grew tired of watching Breanna decay. Her body was beginning to cool, and the blood settled. If they delayed much longer, they would forfeit the keys to the Georgian fortress.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    “Can’t have that,” Evelyn said. “Can we, ma chère?”

    Evelyn slipped away from her partner and off the bed. Breanna’s legs remained momentarily in position but soon flopped onto the bed. She giggled at the sight while sauntering over to the bedroom door.

    She opened the door and found the silhouette of her impeccably dressed sire. He turned around, looked Evelyn straight in the eyes, but remained quiet. Despite Evelyn being naked, bloody, covered in someone else’s sweat, and sporting a large purple strap-on, he never made a peep.

    “If you actually used that penis of yours, I wouldn’t need toys so much,” Evelyn said.

    The tease had no effect, and never would. Yet either would be concerned if the other behaved out of character. Evelyn moved aside, letting Marc into the room to get started.

    Marc would drain the body of blood, adding in an anticoagulant to keep the supply viable. Fingerprints would be harvested along with those delicate green eyes. Anything less would deny them access to the Georgian stronghold.

    She sat down at the dressing table and stroked the purple appendage. Despite death being an old companion, Evelyn felt discomfort at the idea of witnessing what was about to happen.

    “I need to wash and grab a quick bite,” Evelyn said. “Please treat Breanna’s remains with respect.”

    Evelyn then walked out of the bedroom, her hips swaying alluringly. All the while, that purple phallus swung in the opposing direction. Marc never turned around to look. After all, there was work to be done.

    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!

  • Adventures in Wonderland – Part V

    Clara pushed herself against the outer edges of the tree trunk and stretched out her neck before opening her eyes. All around, there were signs of the carnage unleashed from Edith’s ascendance.

    The Van Helsing Resurgence by Evelyn Chartres

    The ground that surrounded Edith’s last location was scorched black. All the vegetation within that radius had been turned to ash. When a breeze picked up, the ash became airborne, which created the illusion of a heavy grey fog. Through this fog, she noted that the statue of Alice had been deformed from the heat, looking more like a collection of ant hills than a homage to one of her favourite childhood stories.

    “Curiouser and curiouser,” Clara said.

    Her eyes lingered on the molten slag before moving further towards the centre. How she managed to miss this before, Clara had no idea, but she felt guilt to have overlooked it. In haste, she sprinted over to the quivering mass and kneeled beside Victoria.

    What had once been a decaying corpse was now resurrected into the vessel of a mortally wounded woman. Gone were the signs of that parasitic creature. Still, the wounds were extensive. The temporal, frontal and zygomatic bones had all been shattered. Her jaw had been dislocated and her nose, eyes, and ears were little more than bloody craters.

    Clara had served as a nurse in a combat theatre. She treated men riddled with shrapnel, others torn apart by artillery, and some were so badly burned that they begged for death. This woman had no ability to consolidate all of that pain, nor come to terms with her inevitable death.

    Her fingers were bleeding profusely through what was left of her skin and muscle. Truthfully, if Victoria had been able to recover, what would that achieve? Condemned to a life of pain, but unable to find an outlet through which to express herself?

    Fortunately, where God had failed to show compassion, man tipped the scales towards mercy. The wound in her back would ensure a swift death. Not even a skilled trauma surgeon had any hope of repairing her shredded spine. With such a wound, Clara could do nothing more than comfort.

    She straddled Victoria’s head to steady her and caressed her hair. Clara then hummed a soft prayer, and while the words would never be heard, she hoped it would ease her transition. Victoria had been stripped of her right to choose eternal life for her soul; death was her only reward now.

    A single gunshot rang out over the park, but Clara did not break her concentration. Victoria’s heart was beating strong for now. This was a young and healthy woman. Still a body could only take so much.

    A helicopter swooped over the vicinity and pushed onwards to an open area big enough to accommodate its landing. Troops were sure to be headed her way, seasoned, and ready for war.

    Clara did not care; she continued to comfort the dying woman. Even as boots with rattling drums of ammunition approached, she stood fast. Victoria’s heart began to beat harder, faster, all in an attempt to compensate for the blood loss. Her respiration grew more pained with every breath. Clara hoped that this poor woman was unconscious by now.

    Before she knew it, the men had converged on the scene. They said nothing, yelled no orders, nor attempted to make contact. She guessed they had orders to neutralise any threats; after all, this was not her first dance with this breed of soldier. Besides, people feared the unknown, and Clara came with a very big question mark. Nonetheless, she was not about to abandon this woman.

    Finally, Victoria’s heart stopped, exhausted and spent. Had this all been a dream, she might have lived a century or more. Now, she lay dead in a park with no ability to make peace. Victoria let out a gentle sigh, but the damage to her body coerced the sound to create something unearthly. Still, Clara knew that Victoria’s fight was over and hoped that her soul would move on.

    Clara bowed her head in respect and said, “Amen—”

    Before Clara could finish her prayer, there was a blow to the back of her skull. An impact powerful enough to render her unconscious; she was out cold before she hit the ground.

    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!