Tag: Two Ships Passing in the Night

  • Two Ships Passing in the Night – Part V

    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!

    Clara sat at a table by her favourite café. She observed the morning crowd flow while they made their way to work or school. There was a certain sense of satisfaction for not being bound by the clock.

    Busy sipping on a latté, Clara closed her eyes and relaxed. While she was not bound by time, she knew someone whose time was about to come at an abrupt end.

    The first break in flow started with a few hushed voices. With every passing second, the crowd grew larger until people began to panic.

    “Fire! Fire,” a man exclaimed marking it as the first coherent statement yet.

    Hurried footsteps passed by, close enough that clara felt the rush of air pass by. Within five minutes she heard sirens approaching in the distance.

    Clara opened her eyes and saw a mob surrounding the bistro. She feigned curiosity but knew exactly that was going on.

    “Sir,” Clara asked in an alarmed voice. “What is going on,” she asked.

    “The Cabaret down the street is on fire,” the man replied without taking his eyes off the carnage.

    “A shame,” Clara thought, seeing how that would delay breakfast.
    “Is anyone hurt,” Clara asked, but was ignored.

    For the next several hours the crowd grew and contracted like the tide. Men fought hard to save the building but the fire ultimately claimed its prize. Eventually the stone structure was reduced to a smouldering heap of broken brick and stone.

    “That should take care of all evidence nicely,” Clara thought.

    She got up from the table, paid her tab with a generous tip and melted into the crowd. Today was a new day and seeing that traitorous bastard burn made things right as rain.

    She thought back over one of Professor Stephen’s lectures. Many of the students had chosen to ignore his wisdom, discounting it as a work of fantasy.

    Clara had known better and paid close attention to the lecture on the effects of daylight for these creatures. Direct light could sear flesh or during longer exposures cause the body to erupt in a fiery inferno. In that moment, she knew that their bodies could easily be disposed of.

    All she needed was a clear head and a little forethought. That knowledge had certainly done the trick this morning.

  • Two Ships Passing in the Night – Part IV

    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!

    Clara remember little after he took her hand. A distant voice in the back of her mind tried to protest her leaving before the show, but it had been drowned by her desires. In that moment she would have gladly held the weight of the world, all Jack had to do was ask.

    She did not remember shedding her clothes when they entered his room. Clara had followed his lead and hurried their way towards the inviting bed. She even went so far as to hop on one foot to shed her stockings.

    When he directed her to get on the bed and Clara did so without saying a word. Naked and vulnerable, her heart was racing and she and desperately sought to feel every inch of him.

    Jack watched from a distance before he joined her. He glided over the bed, moving between her inviting legs then hovered over her. It felt like a cool breeze was running over her skin and covered her in gooseflesh. Everything he did made her want him more, so much so that her nipples were hard and her body ached.

    When his lips were no more than an inch from hers, he gripped her wrists with monstrous strength. That earlier voice spoke up again in the hopes of raising the call to arms, but she was hopelessly at his mercy.

    Her lack of response made him smile. This was precisely where he wanted her to be.

    “So typical,” Jack said. “Hungry for a bit of freedom from that wretched place. You all claim to be ladies; above that base desire for sex, but I know better. In the end you all end up on this bed desperate to be defiled,” Jack added with disdain.

    There was no one home, Clara did nothing more than stare into his eyes. Jack could have rhymed off the box scores of a baseball game and Clara would have yearned for him all the same.

    “All the other girls died in agony because they did not tell me what I wanted to know,” Jack said.

    He moved in closer and closer until his lips almost brushed against hers.

    “You’re stronger than they were aren’t you Clara,” Jack said. “You going to tell me everything I want to know after this kiss,” he added.

    Jack pushed his lips against hers, forcing her lips open with his tongue. For a moment time slowed down as her mind struggled to break through all defences.

    Still, he was in complete control of her body, there was little she could do to counteract that raw strength. That is until his eyes opened wide, jerked away then released his grip.

    “You bitch” he exclaimed.

    With the fog lifted from Clara’s mind, the part of her cognizant of his intent asserted itself with a vengeance. She used forearm to push against his neck to force him off.

    Without a thought her hands glided over the features of his face until they found two soft mounds. Clara pressed in with her thumbs, pushing into the soft flesh until she felt the base of his eye sockets.

    He screamed in pain, creating a sound inhuman in origin. To prevent any unwanted guests, Clara pulled away the crucifix and exposed the blade.
    Jack flailed in pain was flailing around like a fish on the water, while covering his eyes as though there was something left to protect. With Clara’s faculties fully her own, she danced around the bed until she faced his back.

    Her attacks were vicious and bloody. Her first strike was aimed at his spine and severed his nerves. Jack went limp but her she never stopped, stabbing him over and over.

    Blood splattered throughout and the room was soon covered in gore. Nothing could dissuade her, not until she had landed a killing blow, accomplished only once his head dropped onto the floor.

    Clara stopped cold, her breathing heavy and jagged. On the verge of exhaustion, her hands trembled so much she was barely able hold onto her weapon. Her vision was blurred but a quick wipe against her forearm permitted her to see clearly again.

    “That bastard,” Clara exclaimed while tears streamed down her bloody cheeks.

    She should have trusted her instincts and reached out for some reinforcements. Perhaps they could have captured him and found out how many girls he killed?

    “Pull yourself together,” Clara said to harden herself.

    Her eyes scanned the room and found it to be nondescript. At least until she looked closer the bed and the imagery of a slaughterhouse it conjured.

    There was a steamer trunk in the corner when she got up from the bed just as the viscous blood began to bead and flow down her body. Clara did her best to ignore the discomfort.

    The trunk was not locked, and soon discovered that it contained art supplies. This was a part of Jack that Clara had never previously observed. Never had this man shown any interest in the arts, let alone charcoals or paints.

    “Stop it,” Clara said.

    She needed to stop thinking about that headless corpse as anything more than a monster. One who would have killed her without hesitation. Still it was difficult to separate the two entities.

    Clara bit the inside of her cheek until she tasted blood. In that moment the pain focused her thoughts long enough to push away all emotion. She still had things to do, and they would not wait idly by until she got her act together.

    She rummaged through the artwork and found a series of disturbing charcoaled drawings. Each work featured a different model in all their macabre detail. The first had been drawn and quartered, but Clara recognised Blanche’s soft features despite the ample viscera.

    “Nettie, Ruth, Alma, Della, Lizzie, Sadie, Sallie,” Clara said once she recognised the victims from the portraits.

    Had Clara not been suspicious of his actions she would have ended up in another one of his tableaus. Another notch on his bed and potentially he would have gotten that information he needed to exact his revenge.

    As she flipped through his works, she came across a painting. She momentarily stopped breathing while her mind processed the image.

    Before her was the face of a woman that Clara had seen both in life and in her nightmares. To think that she once believed that angels would look like her, a beauty beyond compare. Too bad these sensual and feminine features concealed a brutality that would make Jack the Ripper or Elizabeth Báthory cringe.

    “That bitch,” Clara said.

    So that thing had recruited Jack and used him to do her dirty work? It explained how he found those like Clara when they were away unsupervised. The older and more powerful ones of their kind had spies and agents to do their dirty work. Jack was able to borrow this intelligence to strike at when they were most vulnerable.

    Now Clara was mad. She moved back towards the bed to have a better look at the severed head. There were signs that his eyes had begun to heal, one of the eyes had reinflated although the iris remained cloudy.

    There was a testament to their healing powers and served as a powerful reminder on how quickly the tables could have turned. Clara would have made it less than a hundred feet before he caught up to her had she run away.

    At least the holy water had proven to be effective, his lips looked as though they had been burned by fire. Clara would have to remember that trick in the future.

    She would also need to redouble her efforts to strengthen her faith. Jack should have found it difficult to approach her. At least if she were half as faithful as she believed.

    Truth be told she enjoyed the freedom because it allowed her to get some distance away from her faith. It was a big sacrifice for young women to give their lives for a cause, to give up on ever having a normal life.

    A couple of hours ago Jack could have realistically drawn her away from that world. The temptation to fall into his arms and have a regular life was powerful.

    For most of their lives, they had been two ships passing in the night. For years they had flown the same flags and paid their respects. This time he had flown under the flag of truce with all his cannons run out. His crime was unforgivable and she would make sure that he was erased from the history books.

    The voice of reason and logic whispered in the back of her mind. Clara would need to prove what had happened today, otherwise agents of the Tower may blame her all that had happened.

    Since her hands had steadied themselves, Clara picked up her crucifix and returned to Jack’s severed head. She then began the unpleasant task of cutting into its flesh until she pulled his fangs loose.

    Their fangs were able to retract, but they were longer and sharper than hers. She looked them over for a moment, since these were her first set, even if Clara had no interest in starting up a collection.

    Done with her grisly task, Clara found a nearby mirror to get a better look. Despite the gore there was something different about her. That twinkle in her eyes had been replaced by a burning flame and would remain aflame until she could calm down.

    “I wonder if that’s what they call a smoldering looks,” Clara asked with a grin.

    Her round cheeks and baby fat had gone, given way to a sharp chin and jaw and prominent cheekbones. It seemed that the elfin look that had been commented on years ago had come to fruition. It have her a distinguished yet feminine look which would be sure to pay dividends later in life.

    Her body had hollowed out in some areas and expanded in others. Clara had yet to notice how drastic the change had been, since her arrival at the Tower. Sometimes change was good.

    Clara had the body and grace of a dancer, although her chest was a bit more defined than the average prima ballerina. It was a fair compromise, she had the ability to turn heads but was still nimble enough to handle a sword.

    “That mime would so have talked,” Clara thought.
    Clara wiped off any blood using a clean set of Jack’s clothes. She noticed that it made the scene look more gruesome, but that would matter little in a moment.

    After a last check in the mirror she got dressed and gave the room one last run through. Clara considered taking the paintings back to the Tower, many would want some closure, but no one should be remembered for how they died.

    Instead, she took the portrait of that vampire and wrote the names of her victims clearly on the back. After a brief pause Clara added Jack’s name as well.

    Before leaving, Clara slid open the thick curtains which allowed the moonlight inside. She then pushed the chest against the door even as music filtered through from below.

    Next she opened the window then slid down a water spout. Fortunately, the ancient fixture creaked but held up to her weight.

    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!

    Copyright © 2018 by Evelyn Chartres (Nom de Plume)
    All rights reserved.

  • Two Ships Passing in the Night – Part III

    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 Cabaret was much smaller and discreet than anticipated. Jack was waiting by the entrance and beamed a smile as soon as he saw her. The sight of that smile made Clara’s heart go a flutter and that left her confused.

    “Glad you could make it,” Jack said before he kissed both cheeks.

    “It was the least I could do,” Clara replied.

    Jack took her hand and escorted her inside. There were tables that surrounded a central stage and for the most part the place was quiet. That seemed surprising since the street just outside was teeming with life. Why did this place have so few patrons?

    “Good evening Jack,” the host said. “Your usual table,” the man asked.

    Jack nodded and were escorted to a table against the wall that offered a great view of the stage. Clara was impressed, the table provided sight lines of the stage and all entry points. This location was an excellent choice for a hunter, given how it prevented anyone from approaching unnoticed.

    Jack held the chair out for her and Clara sat down. She saw the musicians getting ready in the mezzanine and wondered what kind of show this would be. Some of these cabarets offered it all, but she felt this one catered to a specific audience.

    “You look lovely,” Jack said.

    Clara’s face reddened even as she put on a shy smile. That had to be a lie since she did not have the chance to change. Clara was more appropriately dressed for a convent, not a Cabaret.

    “Liar,” Clara said.

    “It’s not the clothes nor the jewellery that makes a woman,” Jack said. He then took her hand and added, “It’s her eyes, the gentle curves of her chassis and smile.”

    Clara looked at her hand while all of her inhibitions melted away. This man was good, interesting given how seduction techniques were not generally taught to male students.

    “Flattery will get you nowhere,” Clara said with a wink.

    Jack looked right into her eyes and Clara lost herself in that gaze. This had to be some form of witchcraft?

    “Did I tell you that I rent a room in the loft,” he said. “Let me show you the way,” he added before he took her hand.

    “So this was a trap after all,” Clara thought.

  • Two Ships Passing in the Night – Part II

    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!

    Clara did not hear most of the sermon, her mind was busy attempting to consolidate the myriad of feelings and thoughts swirling around in her head. The fact that the church was warm and stuffy did not help matters.

    So what did she know? Jack’s sudden appearance from out of the ether was just plain odd. Yet it still could have been dumb luck.

    Would that explain his aversion to food and drink? What about her attraction to him? She could barely take her eyes off of him, and that was out of character. Clara had never felt so drawn to anyone before.

    “The males of the kind were known to form an intense attraction with their prey. This often proved to be fatal to the prey though not always,” Professor Stephen’s once said.

    Was that the pull, the draw she experienced just now? She had been chosen to fight their kind, trained by some of the best to fulfil that mission. Certainly her training would enable her resist the temptation?

    Or could she? Their primary weapon of a hunter centred on their faith. Did Clara have faith in God or at least enough to imbue her with ability to fight off such creatures? Or was it simply that she knew that these creatures existed, so faith had never played a part in the equation or at least until now.

    Even now she had no problems rhyming off in Latin the necessary replies and prompt to the evening mass. What colour was the priest’s hair? How many other parishioners were in attendance? How old was that child fussing just behind her?

    These were all things she should know. Members of her order survived by maintaining faith and vigilance; right now both were deficient. So what was she to do?

    Clara closed her eyes and focused. It was time to rely on her training, push away all of these emotions and think her way out of this. At worst Jack would turn out to be like she remembered him and might end up naked, out of breath and completely satiated. Not a bad way to end the evening?

    More than likely she needed a weapon and plan. This church had no cache of weapons and even if it did, they were probably ceremonial.

    She did carry Father Michael’s crucifix. It made up part of her rosary and remained unnoticed during gatherings; even those at the Tower never questioned its existence.

    As for defence, armour was out of the question. Clara sighed but was determined to keep her wits about her. Instead of panicking, she instead walked over to the pool holy water. She dipped her fingers in and did the sign of the cross while reciting a quick prayer.

    This time she varied the ritual by wetting her lips. With any luck it would make her lips appear glossy; at least temporarily. She was going to a cabaret after all and clearly did not the time to prepare.

    “No matter,” Clara said. “Women have been able to conquer the hearts of men with far less,” she added before heading out into the night.

  • Two Ships Passing in the Night – Part I

    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!

    Clara never realised the utter ecstasy experienced by having her blinders removed. For years Clara had been cooped up at the Tower learning the tricks of her craft, oblivious to the world beyond.

    Now they had set her free, capable of coming and going as her heart desired. Clara had used the Terminus to reach Paris and was intent on playing the part of a tourist. Previous to her reigns being loosened outings had been tightly controlled and with good reason. It was said that students would often walk away from this life.

    Clara sat at a cafe sipping on a cappuccino while waiting for her meal. All around her there was life unmarked by what lurked in the shadows. For a moment she too could feel the allure; that powerful draw that seduced others to defect.

    If Clara were not certain that there were things out there that used her kin as a food source then she may have heeded to the call of the piper. Instead she took another sip and felt that brief surge of energy the caffeine gave her even if that was only imagined.

    In the distance she heard an accordion player serenade passers-by with his music. In the opposing corner of this intersection a mime performed his trade. Clara was impressed by his soldier’s resolve as he maintained silence no matter how hard the children tormented him. Clara wondered what it would take to break that discipline.

    “A pair of tits,” Clara thought.

    Although this was Europe, a society far more practical about matters of the flesh.That was not the case with America, a country that still toiled under their Puritan values, it was a shame that so much fun was also considered taboo. The Puritans down South had made the body and the pleasures it could provide taboo. Just thinking about ways of getting that mine’s attention br breaking taboo was exhilarating. If that was the feeling one got from breaking social norms, then Clara was not surprised people were not more easily seduced by a life of sin.

    “You’re wondering what it would take to make him talk aren’t you,” Jack said from behind.

    Clara had been aware that someone was there, his steps on the cobblestone surface had warned her of his approach. Clara was not happy about this man’s attempt at reading her mind.

    “Among other things,” Clara said with a perfect Parisian accent while she turned to see who it was.

    “Hello Clara,” Jack said.

    Clara looked at the young man who was still a boy the last time they had met. It took all she had to maintain her composure and hide that schoolgirl giddiness she felt by the mere sight of him.

    “Well… Well… Look what the cat dragged in,” Clara said calmly before taking a sip of her cappuccino.

    “Your best wine,” Jack said once the waiter came out from the cafe. “It’s been too long,” Jack added before he sat at the table.

    Clara tried to remember the last time they had crossed paths. He had been a year ahead of her but had vanished three or four years ago. There were rumours that a mission had gone wrong and that Jack was to blame. That meant the students were exiled unless there were mitigating circumstances. If a member of the order had betrayed their kin, even Dante’s imagination would be insufficient to describe the punishment they deserved.
    However, those were only rumours, nothing proven or reliably sourced. Still Jack looked good, a real lady-killer, she found it hard to turn away that is until the bottle of wine was brought to the table.

    “Yes it is,” Clara said in a calm voice struggling to conceal her excitement.

    Jack waited for the waiter to pour him a bit of wine. He glanced at the glass for a moment before he swirled the contents. Clara observed how he took in the aroma before taking a sip.

    “Very good,” Jack said which prompted the waiter to fill both glasses. “So what method did you settle on,” he asked.

    Clara was momentarily confused, but her face turned a bright red once she realised the topic at hand. She glanced at the waiter who was busy serving another table and caught his eye. He too was momentarily confused until he realised that her order of Moules Marinières was still waiting out back.

    “Good. That would help cool things down a bit,” Clara thought.

    “A lady is entitled to her secrets,” Clara said.

    “I don’t think your bare breasts. No matter how perky would have done the trick,” Jack said.

    “Why not,” Clara asked without betraying her annoyance at the accuracy of his guess.

    “His eyes have focused on every well-dressed man who passed by,” Jack said. “He also ignored that particularly scrumptious baby vamp who just walked by,” he added.

    Clara felt a slight sting to her ego. How could Jack comment on another woman while she was at the table? For the life of her she could not figure out where that particular emotion came from. This man was muddying the waters and Clara did not appreciate the experience.

    “Mine would get his attention,” Clara said bluntly.

    “That stunning are they,” Jack asked.

    “Yes,” Clara answered.

    “Then prove it,” Jack said with a smirk.

    “Not going to happen,” Clara tossed back.

    “Why not,” Jack asked.

    “Not that kind of woman,” Clara replied even if she were tempted to tease him with a little peek.

    “Then how would I know,” Jack asked.

    “You’ll have to take my word for it,” Clara said.

    Before Jack could continue with the back and forth, the waiter dropped a plate of steamed mussels on the table. Two plates and cutlery followed suit.

    “Bonne appetite,” the waiter said.

    “Thank you,” Clara said before the waiter left.

    Clara used this opportunity to take her mind off of Jack. She eyed the steamed mussels hungrily and selected the most accessible one. They never had this sort of dish back at the Tower, such delicacies were seen as wasteful indulgences. Odd how sin and indulgence seemed to Be on a similar path to the divine.

    “Do you want some,” Clara asked even though she had no desire to share.

    “I’ve already eaten,” Jack said. “But thank you,” he added.

    Clara thoroughly enjoyed the mussels and the wine. She was on her second glass when she noticed how his glass was still full.

    Now Jack had been away for far longer than Clara and might be less inclined to indulge. Clara was certain that her own appetites would evolve over time. So why order the wine?

    “Sorry,” Clara said. “I am being gluttonous and impolite by ignoring my company,” she added.

    “It’s quite alright. We are all the same when we came face-to-face with real world,” Jack said.

    “What was your first foray into worldly cuisine,” Clara asked just before she grabbed another mussel.

    “Spaghetti Bolognese outside of Rome,” Jack said.

    What were the chances of her meeting Jack on her first real outing from the Tower? Surely the odds were astronomical and yet here they were. Clara should have been suspicious and kept her distance and yet she desired nothing more than to run to him.

    Clara raised her glass and said, “To freedom and the food it brings.”

    Jack raised his glass and said, “Cheers.”

    They both brought the glass to their lips but Clara had been paying attention this time. This while time he had been wetting his lips instead of drinking the wine. Now that was enough of a revelation to get her mind off of his rugged good looks.

    Salvation came once she heard the bells from the nearby church. Clara looked up and feigned a frown, disappointed that it was time to attend evening mass.

    “Time to go,” Clara said just before she got up.

    Just before she opened her purse to pay Jack said, “No. My treat. This brought back some good memories from my first time outside.”

    “Oh I can’t do that,” Clara said. “How would I ever be able to repay you,” she asked although his answer was obvious.

    “Meet me at the cabaret around the corner from the church after service,” Jack asked and in that moment appeared to be the most gorgeous man she had ever seen.

    The bells forced her mind to stay focused. In her heart she was so very close to accepting his offer. However, she had a golden opportunity to test the waters.

    Clara got her rapid breathing under control before saying, “Why don’t you join me?”

    “I have a matter to attend to before we meet again,” Jack said.

    Clara simply nodded and began her slow deliberate walk towards the church. Once she saw the priest she smiled faintly, a Herculean effort considering her mind was somewhere else.