Monday, May 4, 2009

Blood is Thicker than Water: Abby in Peril

As some of you know, vampires cannot enter the homes of the living uninvited. I discovered this rather aggravating fact by finding my way to my niece's room barred by some force or other I had no clue how to countermand. I had grown rather quickly in my first few days as a vampire, but there were several things I did not understand. Entry was not one of them. I could locate where Abby was with little problem, but various holy relics about her window kept me away. There was one alternative I arrived at after some thought, and I found where Dalia was in the building. She read in the study. I pounded the window and she smiled brilliantly at me.

“You may enter, Pauline. This is my school as well as Abby's, and I give you permission. Enter freely.”

“I must see Abby.”

“I’d rather you didn’t. You see, I’d like Shalimar to make her one of us. I don’t want you biting her, and making her into one of the plebian vampires. Come upstairs with me.”

We tiptoed up the stairs so silently it seemed as if we were ethereal. Dalia opened the door. “Miss Armstrong’s room. Miss Armstrong is with them in the parlor. Your old friends. See how Abby sleeps so peacefully?”

“Yes.” I tried to sound disinterested. I couldn’t help looking at Abby. I was drawn to her as a moth to a flame. Her life burned in her so brightly, her skin so rosy. To touch her, I felt I would burn myself. “Dalia, I don’t think you should take Abby tomorrow.” Dalia did seem concerned about Abby. Maybe when she found out the truth she would help me. “Shalimar doesn’t have what you think she has planned for Abby.”

“What do you mean?”

“Abby is a virgin. She is Shalimar’s sacrifice. She won’t even get to be one of the ordinary vampires.”

Dalia grew quiet. Then her reaction made me feel foolish that I’d ever judged my Abigail to be selfish. “How could Shalimar do this to me?” she fumed. “I so wanted a playmate! Not you! You’re a cold fish!” She stamped. “I never get what I want!”

Abby began to stir in bed.

“Well,” Dalia said, “I’ll just show them all. If anyone spills Abby’s blood, it will be me!”

Needless to say, I did not expect this reaction. I had to do something. But what could I do against someone who had been a vampire much longer than I had? Dalia was familiar with all the tricks in the vampire’s tome. I was barely convinced that I was in this new body. And how many of my vampire talents could I use without becoming a bloodthirsty hunter?

Not much was needed to trigger these instincts. Teeth and claws, I launched myself at Dalia. She was taken aback momentarily, and I scratched a ragged gash across her chin. “The only spilled here tonight will be yours!” I growled.

“She smiled sweetly, then screamed. “Oh my goodness! It’s one of them! Help! A vampire!”

Abby bolted upright, bewildered. “Dolly, what is it?” Then Abby saw me. I desperately tried to fight the animal in me back into submission. I was determined to be in control.

“Abby,” Dalia ordered in a voice like her brother’s. “Look at me.”

“No, Abby!” Of course I had experienced what looking into the eyes of a vampire could do. “Don’t!”

Abby’s eyes were terrified as she looked at me. “Aunt Polly? That isn’t you, is it?” She looked away from me, and right at Dalia. She stiffened. Dalia put her arms around her.

“Game, set, and match, Pauline. Never cross swords with a vampire who has centuries on you. I’ll find another virgin for Shalimar. One’s as good as another. Or maybe it’s time for a new queen of the vampires. Maybe Abby and I will destroy her. We’ll take care of Shalimar tomorrow night. As for you, you have visitors coming.” Dalia and Abby went out the window. I rushed to it. They had disappeared.

The door thumped open. Ford and Hyland were there. Their eyes took in the unmade bed, the missing Abby, and myself, the fiend from Hell. The scenario was not in my favor, even if the evidence was circumstantial.

“She got her!” Ford said angrily.

“That’s Aunt Polly!” Hyland pointed.

“No, that’s dead undead!”

Ford blasted. The beam from his apparatus barely missed me.

I hissed at them, then clamped my hand over my mouth. It wasn’t good manners to hiss in front of gentlemen. I tried speaking again. “Dalia took her. Not me. She’ll try and change her. You must act quickly.”

Ford fired again. I dived toward the window, but crosses stopped me from going through. Why hadn’t they stopped Dalia. I ducked, narrowly avoiding Ford’s attack. I was stuck in the room unless I could get past the two men.

Like a net, something tangled me. Father Stewart, behind Ford and Hyland, read words from the Bible. Broadstead was behind him, and Juliet, her face in her hands.

“Pauline Raintree,” Father Stewart said grimly. “Don’t be in a hurry to go. There is a great deal we must discuss.”

No comments: