Authors: Rosette Bolter
He wasn’t answering her calls.
Ignoring her texts and voice messages. She didn’t even need to speak to him.
One of his minions would do fine enough. The problem was that someone needed to
get down here, and they needed to get down here fast. Nadine couldn’t handle
this whole mess by herself.
bravo,” Nadine cried putting her hands together. “I’m the traitor. That’s
really original, pointing the finger in my direction. Like I haven’t been
accused before. Let’s not forget who was seen coming out of Jason’s house.”
“Who were you
planning on killing next, I wonder?” the Count continued. “You did well enough
shopping around the list, with each of the team’s addresses on it. What was
your ultimate goal? To see everyone dead? Or just to torture the living hell out
of them all?”
“Oh come on,
you guys aren’t believing this are you? Jason – Jason, I’ve been with Jason the
whole time. You can vouch for me.”
were with me up until I fainted. And I was with Riley when Luna was attacked,
believe this,” Nadine said, the smile hurting her face. “You’re actually
accusing me –”
“Do you have
any proof Nadine was behind any of the murders?” Dino asked the Count. “Or are
you just stalling for time?”
“Why do I
need proof, when I have the true story,” the Count said. “Where shall we start
from Nadine? When you started supplying my agency with information about the
paranormal police? When you reached out to Madame Nightshade? Or shall we go
further back? When you went undercover into my dating agency in hopes of
unmasking the killer…”
She’d been stalking me for weeks. Oh
sure, I’d seen her about the place. I’d seen her looking at me. And I wasn’t
fooled by the fake golden hair. Or the huge sunglasses to block her eyes. I
didn’t know her true identity, or that she was after me, the killer, rather
than me, the lover –
I thought I’d
take her out. There wasn’t anyone else to my taste that evening, and I found
her completely bothersome. It was later I learned it wasn’t only her appearance
that was superficial. Without looking behind those dazzling blue eyes, I never
knew her true motives.
she said to me as I squeezed her neck. “Keep going. Make it hurt.”
My grip was
so strong, she should have been close to choking.
at the very least.
Even as the
blood poured down my arms and her neck became bloodier and bloodier, still she
egged me on.
“I want it,”
she said. “Kill me…”
see what was going on inside her head.
really wish to die? I was happy to oblige.
her in the garden a short time later. I saw her bend over and try and help her
from where I standing. It was strange in a way, the old victim interacting with
the new. Then Madame Nightshade came along and broke things up.
I turned away
thought it was the end of the matter.
learned that Madame Nightshade had spared her life. Brought her over to the
dark side with the rest of us. Nadine had already been working the paranormal
police from the inside anyway. She wanted to get out of it. She wanted it
destroyed. Looking back, I wonder if she’d done it for me. And so I began to
write to her while she was in prison. It was there I found out all sorts of
dark things about her past and what had happened to her inside the paranormal
police. It was there I too, allowed myself to become somewhat infatuated.
me,” she’d said. “Wait for me before you strike again.”
And so I had
Until it was
time for Haley to open the door…
The lights weren’t working properly.
They kept buzzing and going out every few seconds or so. The ground was a
pattern of concrete slabs. They were all wet. Especially between each of their
The room was
long. The walls were yellow. There was a wooden table towards the end of it, a
laptop computer facing away from her. A small chair rested at the wall
adjacent. Haley walked along the tiles, avoiding the dripping pipes overhead.
chosen the right door?
Was he even
You found me.”
Out from the
shadows a giant raven swooped forth, landing on top of the table. His beak
twitched. His neck spasmed.
The green eye
She had seen
him before. She remembered now. It was in the middle of her fight with Edmond
Rance that this creature had swooped in between them.
shadow crept across the table, until its darkened pool had entrenched itself to
the floor and then the adjacent wall. A cloud of purple smog began to hiss in
the depths of the shadow. The raven dissolved before her eyes.
And then at
the foot of the shadow, he appeared.
surprised,” Cyrus said. “I thought you were going to take the blue door.”
“I was going
to,” Haley admitted. “For so long I thought it was Brock. I wasn’t … sure of
course … but I didn’t know who else it could be. How was it that he phoned me?”
tricks, I’m afraid,” Cyrus said. “Magnus and Avril paid him a visit on my
behalf. They made sure he understood that if he didn’t comply the room would be
filled with gas, and you’d be killed.”
watching me then?”
watching you, Haley.”
waiting for her emotions to kick in. Her rage, anger. Disgust. She knew what
he’d done to her. To the people she loved. And yet inside, there was somehow
know what to say.
saying?” Cyrus said. “You were going to take the blue door, but…”
“It was too
easy. Too simple. I didn’t want it to be him.”
“But why not
take the red door then? Why did you choose the green?”
“I think the
green was the one I was more afraid of. Besides you’d already said you weren’t
the Count outright. It would be rather unfair of you to go back on your word
I did want to play fair with you. For once.”
obviously, I saw you die. Your body was in the water. A pole in your head…”
“Yes, it was
a rather interesting anomaly. I’d half killed Edmond in our fight together and
when I returned outside he took his revenge. When I realized I was in serious
danger, I managed to escape my human form to that of the nearby bird. For a
brief period I was terrified that I’d been trapped in the raven’s body, but
later, after they had their way with you – I discovered that my body was indeed
eternal. I looked over my former body, like a snake that had shed its skin, and
I kicked the head off it just to be sure. I have other forms, it’s true –
otherworldly forms. But I quite like Cyrus’s physique. It’s been fun to live
saying you can’t die?”
everyone has a chance to live beyond this world. It is but a temporary place…”
now?” Haley asked.
his jacket. He took out a pair of gloves and put them on.
“I wish I
could say that I’ve been thinking about you all these years,” Cyrus said. “That
the love I had for you in one night would carry on for an eternity. Alas, you
are nothing special to me. Live or die, it makes no difference now. I have
killed hundreds of girls who look like you between our first night, and our
proud of that.”
proud,” Cyrus said. “I’m merely relaying your insignificance to me.”
“Have you no
decency? No remorse? Only … this … hate…”
lion hate the antelope? I don’t believe so. It’s nothing personal. You’re just
a food source.”
personal,” Haley muttered. “You are so full of shit.”
into his jacket.
He pulled out
two small metal rods. One he rolled across the floor to Haley.
The other he
for?” Haley asked putting her foot to the rod to stop it from rolling.
afraid, are you?” Cyrus asked. “I thought you’d be happy to get a chance to
over, and one of us is dead, will it make any difference? Will there be any
peace left for anyone?”
there might be peace for both of us.”
It was hard to find. Hard to unlock.
The violence inside, the training, the action and movement. Haley didn’t
necessarily feel weak, rather … paralyzed. Cyrus was taking his time too. He seemed
to be waiting for her to make the first move.
then,” he beckoned. “Don’t be shy.”
“Do you want
me to go easy on you? Afraid I’ll bust up your pretty little face, is that it?”
clenched. She put a foot forward.
“You know I
used to beat off to that tape that my cousin and sister made with you. I must
have watched it a thousand times.”
the other foot.
think about your Mom too, when I’m lonely.”
screamed and ran at him blindly. Before reaching him, she jumped three feet
into the air and steered the rod towards his face to land the first blow.
missed. And missed again.
dodging her swings.
“I’m not even
going to start until you hit me, how about that?” he chuckled.
the pole to its circular end and went to jab him in the chest with it.
hitting him, she again hit the air. And this time he was gone.
clouded the ceiling, as his shadow became the bird once again. He flew across
the ceiling to the room’s end, and burst through making a hole in the door.
after him and ripped the door open.
She was now
in a corridor. A corridor she didn’t recognize.
Did he go
left or right?
She wanted it
now. She’d acquired a taste for it.
his taunts were empty, still they yielded feelings long forgotten. She could
feel him taunting her, taunting her the night he’d killed her family. The
sickness of him. The filth. The pure, absolute evil.
There was a
time, when she knew how to stand up for herself.
When she knew
how to really fight.
“Oh Haley …
around to the left, only to see the shadow creeping around the distant corner.
quickly towards the end, soon breaking out into a steady jog, before outright
running. She turned the corner at high speed, continuing to run until she
reached a section of double doors at the end. She forced them open and then
found herself back in the middle of the dome area where she arrived.
Haley came to
a stop, panting. Out of breath.
The crowd in
front of her was as thick and full as it ever had been.
So this was it. The last moment. The
final stand. I could already see how it was going to end.
Gentlemen, could I have your attention please?” I said cheerfully. “Thank you.
I’d like to first start by saying what wonderful hosts we have here tonight –
you know who you are! Come on, everyone put your hands together.”
A flutter of
clapping erupted amongst the room.
raised their glasses from where they were dinning.
I scanned the
room for Haley.
“Now I’m sure
everyone has heard of Count Ferns. Unfortunately, the Count got tied up – yes –
and he won’t be making it tonight. But thankfully we still have his lovely
bride with us here. Where is she? Come on, Haley. Show yourself.”
Now I was not
alone in my search.
to those beside them. They looked over their shoulders.
felt a chill down my neck.
here,” Haley whispered in my ear behind me.
struck. Her first blow hit me square in the back, radiating painful alarm
across my entire body.
I pounced up
into the air and caught hold of one of the dangling chandeliers, swinging
myself up across to an upper ledge. Disconcertment rushed throughout the crowd.
into the parting centre, pointing the rod up into the air towards me.
you bleeding coward,” she roared.
I sat down on
the ledge, my legs over the side of it, my arms folded.
teased. “You come up here.”
lowered the rod.
I peered down
at her, grinning.
She looked to
either side of her, the crowd parting further. She backed up and steadied
I jumped back
to my feet in anticipating.
Haley took a
short run up and then sprang several feet into air.
later, she landed on her knees on the other side of the circle.
cried down at her. “Try again!”
up at me. She was getting really pissed now.
taking another run up, she grabbed hold of the nearest vampire, climbed up his
back and spring-boarded herself back into the air.
I watched in
amazement as she climbed several feet higher this time, the top of her rod
glancing the dangling pieces of the chandelier.
But she was
losing ground again.
her. She was about to fall.
enough,” I decided.
I leapt from my
perch and crashed back down to meet with her halfway in the air. Her nails
immediately sunk into my neck as she belted me with the rod in a frenzy. When
we hit the ground I hadn’t even managed to get one hit in.
with, I wasn’t trying properly, but now I was. And nothing was getting in
Before I even
had a chance to gain my composure again, Haley had belted me so hard across the
face I had fallen to my knees.
from my forehead.
I sat there
dazed as she marched over.
now?” she scolded.
She struck me
the neck, chest and forehead.
I fell onto
my back and she climbed on top of me.
whispered to her.
I offered her
“It was a
pleasure to have met you,” I said. “Though I’m sure the pleasure was all mine.”
trying, were you?” she asked. “Do you want to die?”
“I don’t want
to die, so much as I want you to kill me. There’s a whole new adventure waiting
for you on the other side of this. You’ll see.”
“Can I ask
you one last thing?”
“Anything for you, Haley.”
lying when you said you could bring my family back to life?”
Perhaps I was…”
it isn’t me who does it. Perhaps it’s you.”
up over my body.
And I could
remember it too. I could remember…
What it was
like to be human…