The shahid lined up in front of the common area in the meat-packing plant. However, there was one noticeable absence. “Where is Chloe?” Kyrios said.
“I haven’t seen her since yesterday,” Amelie said.
“Me, neither,” Collins added.
“Not since last night,” the Spaniard, Cortez, said.
Mikhail stepped forward. “I believe albino girl has fled.”
“What makes you say that?” Kyrios asked.
Mikhail produced a piece of paper and handed it to him. It read simply:
You’re evil. Can’t take it anymore. Goodbye
Kyrios studied it for a moment without expression. Collins knew it was indeed Chloe’s handwriting since he had copied her form when he wrote it—and thus her handwriting as well.
“Very unfortunate,” Kyrios said at last. “We do not tolerate betrayal. Mikhail.”
“Find her and punish her.”
“Punishment will be rendered,” he confirmed.
Kyrios nodded. “Good. Collins, you will accompany him.”
“R-Right.” This made him nervous. Why was he being sent? Did Kyrios suspect something?”
Kyrios continued. “Now, then. The reason I have called this meeting is to announce that we have uncovered the arrival time of the target. He will arrive a week from today at midnight. He will land at Battery Park, where we will ambush and kill him. I will provide more details within the next few days. That is all.”
* * *
Kyrios left the common area. Amelie followed him. When they were out of earshot, she said, “I see you’ve chosen to play along with their betrayal.”
They were fools who had forgotten Chloe could communicate normally on paper. He replied, “Their doubts don’t surprise me, even if their brazenness does. I trust it does not extend to the rest of the manzil?”
“No. The others believe in the cause. And Chloe, while not a true believer, wouldn’t dare go against you. Even if it’s only Collins impersonating you, she will obey.”
Amelie’s Satanic Gift was the ability to read minds. It was such a potent weapon, Kyrios had chosen to intentionally conceal it from the others. Thus, she knew immediately when Mikhail began plotting against them. She was his true right hand.
“Good,” he said.
“But why let them try to kill the Falconer kid? Why not eliminate them before they can try anything?”
“This is a good test for him. He will become strong by facing them.”
“Unless he dies,” she pointed out.
“In which case, he was never suited to our needs. But I don’t believe he will lose. Surely, you saw it: the fire in his eyes. He will burn brightly as an enemy of God.”
“You mean, as an enemy of Christianity.”
“It is all the same.”
* * *
That night, Kyle was holed up in his room, which had a computer in it, writing a letter to his family in the mail program.
I know you’re all worried about me. There are so many things I need to tell you. It kills me to imagine what you would think of your son becoming a vampire. You were even more religious than me. Would you condemn me for something I couldn’t prevent?
I love each of you just as much as before I was turned. I would call you, but I can’t until this thing is settled. Rest assured, I’m being looked after. I was saved by this woman, Ursula. I don’t know exactly what her deal is, but I trust her. She’s been training me to take care of myself, although that hasn’t stopped me from doing stupid things. I guess I still have a lot to learn.
Sis, I miss you most of all. I haven’t even seen you since you left for your work study program in Rome. You were always the most pious of us, a shining example for me to follow. I don’t if you would abandon me if you knew what’s become of me, but the thought terrifies me. My hands tremble as I write this. If you forsook me, I wouldn’t be able to live with that. I know suicide is a sin, but I have a feeling I’ll have to commit some sins before this is over.
Your loving son/brother,
He didn’t press Send. He wanted to, but he was too scared. Scared of what could happen to his family.
And what could happen to him if they learned the truth.
* * *
Ursula prayed in front of the altar. Her prayers centered on Kyle and his immediate future. His trials were only going to get harder starting tonight. These past few days had been the easy part.
When finished, she opened her eyes. “You’re right on time.”
She turned around. The albino girl, Chloe, stood there, her hands cracking with blue energy. She had stopped mid-stride, probably by Ursula’s words.
“Kill you,” she said. “Orders.”
“I know,” Ursula said. “You’re the replacement.”
Confusion lined Chloe’s face. “Replacement? What… means?”
Ursula looked her over. “You poor thing. God has brought you here for a reason. I could explain, but you wouldn’t understand. Soon, though, you will.”
The electricity in Chloe’s hands intensified. “Enough! Die now.”
* * *
Kyle still stared at the email he had written but couldn’t send. However, a sudden scream brought him out of it. His first thought was that Redeemer had found them. Panic exploded through his body.
He rushed downstairs and found Chloe standing over the prone form of Ursula whose chest was riddled with holes although he could see no weapon. In addition, smoke was emanating from them. Blood ran down his savior’s mouth. “Get away from her!”
Chloe began walking back toward the front door. “Be up top,” she said.
He rushed past her and cradled her upper body in his arms. “Ursula.” The word was of a higher octave than he’d intended, but his emotions were running wild.
Her chest was rising and falling with labored breaths. “It’s okay, Kyle.”
Anguish overtook him. “You knew! You knew this would happen if I went out. You said you didn’t have time to teach me everything. This is what you meant, isn’t!?”
She coughed and smoke came out of her mouth. “This is for the best, Kyle. What life could you have had with me as your only friend?”
“So, now I have no friends!?”
She shook her head sluggishly. “No. You’re going to make more. They’ll be better for you than I ever was. They’re out there waiting for you to bring everyone together. G-Good… bye… Kyle.”
Her eyes went blank, and he was left with the crushing reality he had just lost another friend to vampires. He didn’t fight the sobs; he let them come freely.
When he was done, he headed outside. That bitch would pay for this. Murder is a sin. Yes, and sins needed to be punished. She said to be up top, so that had to mean on top of the church.
He had never been on top of the church and didn’t know how to get up there. However, he soon spotted a column of windows that went all the way up to the top on the front. The lowest one was too high for him to reach, so he decided he would just have to jump.
He took a running leap but was shocked by how high he actually went. He was a good half way up the building when he reached it. He grabbed onto the outer edge of the window and he managed to take hold, but he had a light grip and wasn’t sure he could make it all the way to the top.
Then he remembered he had super-human strength, so he clinched his hands to get a deeper grip. Glass bit into his hands but he accepted the pain.
Deciding to throw caution to the wind, he bound wildly the rest of the way up the church. He felt like a gorilla or Spider-Man. He would sink his hands and feet into the wall to get foot and hand-holds.
Before he knew it, he had reached the top. He scrambled to get onto it as he had run out of wall. He stumbled a bit, but he made it onto the roof.
He hadn’t realized just how big the church was until now. The roof spread out in front of for easily three hundred feet. Unfortunately, he also hadn’t realized how hard it would be to fight on. There was basically a thin line of tip with the rest of the roof sloping sharply down either side. Now he understood why Chloe had decided to face him up here instead of down below.
She currently stood about fifty feet away, somehow perfectly balanced, staring up at the sky. She had discarded her red robe. Now she wore simply over-sized gray T-shirt and matching sweatpants.
“What’s so interesting?” he said, his voice tinged with acidic malice.
“Beautiful,” she said simply.
He looked up and realized she was staring at the full moon. “You kill my only friend and still have the nerve to go sky-gazing?” he yelled.
“Moon. No... violence. No... killing. No... dying.”
“You don’t have the right to say that after killing Ursula.”
It was then that she lowered her head to look at him. Tears streamed down her face. “Didn’t... want to. Orders. Couldn’t... disobey. Would be... one killed.”
“I won’t go down so easily!” He was bluffing; he had no idea what she was capable of. He was also concerned about Ursula’s wounds. Why were they smoking?
As if to answer, Chloe raised her hands in front of her. Blue electricity began jolting into them, and within moments, knives of pure energy manifested. That must be her Satanic Gift. And he didn’t have his yet.
She launched a lightning knife from each hand. They hurled toward him—probably at the speed of actual lightning. He only had a split-second to act.
His reflexes kicked in and he dropped to his stomach. The arrows whizzed past him, crackling as they went.
He managed to get to his feet only to be startled by the boom of thunder. He fell to his knees. That really is lightning!
Chloe began running toward him, her feet seemingly dancing on the thin top of the roof. She was as graceful as Ursula. She raised her hand and flicked more knives at him.
In response, Kyle charged forward awkwardly and ran along the left slope of the roof. He managed to jump over the knives and they hit the roof resulting in a thunderous crash. Heat assaulted his body.
Fortunately, he was completely clear as he had jumped with everything he had. He sailed through the air and toward the back of the church. He was going to come down smoothly on it.
Or so he thought. But when he was a dozen or so feet away, he realized he would land on empty space and fall. His reflexes kicked in again and his body managed to contort itself in midair, turning around, his arms reaching back to the roof and precious solid matter.
His lower body went below the roof, but his arms managed to grab on. He frantically pulled himself back up only to find a knife whizzing past his head. It grazed his right cheek, but that alone sent a torrent of pain through him. As a kid, he had once touched an electric fence on a dare. This was what that felt like but twice as bad. And he had only been grazed. He barely noticed the boom it made behind him.
He staggered and almost fell off the church, but his reflexes acted and he lurched forward, his palms coming down on the roof.
Kyle huffed, his adrenaline working overtime. This wasn’t like his sparring sessions with Ursula. This time, his opponent was really trying to kill him. He had thought Kyrios wanted to keep him alive for his satanic army, but it looked like the manzil head had changed his mind. He had obviously sent Chloe to do away with his enemies.
Speaking of which, where was she? He didn’t see her anywhere.
A blue light above him gave him the answer: Chloe was in the air and diving at him fast. He scrambled forward, barely missing her. She came down with the utmost grace, swinging at him with an electric knife.
He had to fight back. He knew that. But it had never occurred to him he might be at a severe disadvantage. After all, Chloe had her Satanic Gift and who knew how many years of experience. She had even managed to overcome Ursula without suffering a scratch. He had thought his righteousness would give him the power to win, but was he even in the right? He was trying to break one of the Ten Commandments; didn’t that make him just as bad?
He found himself paralyzed with fear. This was the first time in his life that someone was trying to take it.
But he would never win if he didn’t actually attack her. He needed an opening.
A grunt behind him drew his attention. Chloe had stumbled upon falling and was now wobbling, trying to maintain her balance. This is my chance!
He came at her with his fist raised. However, in an instant, she stopped squirming and gracefully turned to face him. “Got you.”
She flicked a pair of knives at him. Still in mid-run, he couldn’t dodge them. They slammed into his chest and sent indescribable pain shooting through him. He had never been set on fire, but he imagined this what was it felt like. He tried to scream but he was paralyzed again, this time physically. He was somehow locked in place as the electricity seared him.
Chloe walked up to him. “Shouldn’t… resisted. Would have... made quick.” She raised her left hand which held four crackling knives. She positioned them between her fingers like Wolverine. “End now.”
You have to move! She’s going to kill you if you don’t!
She made a fist and pulled her left arm back in preparation to slam it—and the knives—into him. In response, he roared with everything he had. Her left came at him.
He managed to partially break free of the paralysis. With his left hand, he grabbed her bare wrist. He did the same with his other hand and began sucking as hard as he could. Her eyes went wide; she realized what he was doing. “Stop!”
“Fuck… you!” he managed to say.
Chloe struggled to get free of his grip, but the agonizing pain actually made his grip even stronger than it would normally have been. As it was, it had now become akin to a steel vice. She screamed—this was the most emotion he had seen her display.
He felt her blood coming into him. He was simultaneously repulsed and exhilarated.
But he also smelled smoke and realized the roof was on fire. He needed to finish this before he was engulfed (although, he couldn’t imagine that being much worse than the pain he was already in).
They continued to struggle. As the minutes went by, the smoke became more intense and the fire could be heard crackling along with the sound of wooden beams collapsing behind him.
Eventually, Chloe’s body went limp. Wasting no time, he shoved her off the roof. He had won, but there was no time to waste. The sound of sirens below doubled the urgency. Rescue crews would have questions he wasn’t prepared to answer.
Thankfully, Chloe’s blood had revitalized him. He took a flying leap onto the backyard of the church. He landed on a jungle gym, not that it broke his fall; they both crashed onto the ground.
Picking himself up, he ran off into the distance. He had no idea where he was going; he only knew he couldn’t stay here.
At least Ursula would be cremated.
About the Creator
I'm a science fiction and fantasy author living with Asperger's. I've published 10 novels and a few short stories thus far. I decided to join Vocal in order to share stories that are fiction and non-fiction.