by Bob'n Around
What manner of fate awaits a child's faint cry?
|Prompt: Your walking home one day when suddenly out of nowhere you hear a sound coming from an alleyway. You follow the sound and find a little girl lying in the snow...but is she really just a little girl?. 1100 word March entry for "Adaptive Writers Contest "
The wind howled like a tortured soul from hell. It bit at my face, shrieking so hard I stumbled in its grasp and fell to my knees in the alleyway. Home seemed far away. A whimper struggled into being between my ears. My knee struck something besides ice and snow. “What’s this?”
Half frozen hands brushed feverishly at what I’d thought to be a snowbank. Movement met my prodding, then resistance. “Leave me alone.”
“It is a bitter night to die in. Come on. Let’s not both become a snowman or Jack Frost.” My breath clung to me in ice crystals freezing against my beard.
Her hands clawed at me in a vain attempt to push me away. “None of that, little princess.”
I left the figure of what might once have been her mother buried below her. She was a small weight to lift as I regained my feet. “What do they call you, sweetheart?”
“They killed her.”
“They want me too. I won’t let them have you.” The wind knew no faster traveler than I. It was a matter of minutes before I heard them behind me. Their feasting on the woman kept them at bay long enough for me to hunt the far reaches of the ally. “I thought it was here.”
In the darkness, I saw better with my trembling hand than my eyes. The child clung to me as to life itself, sobbing against my chest, her arms wrapped around my neck. “There now. Let me close the door.”
I set her down beside me where she clung to my leg, her sobbing more fierce now as she eyed the shadowy presence of the coming devils hunting us down. The storm masked the noise of my forcing the solid, heavy door closed. I slid the lock in place and began to breathe freely once more, lungs gasping huge gulps of air. “We’re safe for the moment.”
I patted the silky fineness of her hair. “Your name, child?”
“Eloise of the first order.” She made the sign of the witch her mother had taught her and I knew who I had just saved.
The whining of the werewolves beyond the door grew louder as first one then more caught our scent from this relative warmth we had found. “I would kill them all.” The child spun her fingers into the twisting magic of an evil curse to throw their way.
“The door is iron, little lady. That ball of fire you are creating would only bounce back to boil our bones.”
“You know the faith?” I heard her mother’s voice in her smaller version of tone.
“That fiend, Alvinore caught me out as I lay sleeping in my coffin. He has no use for my kind of vengeance. He had thought me dead as one of the normals. The littered bodies of his kin swore otherwise. Their blood was mine.” I smacked my lips, revealing the fangs of a vampire.
“Am I to surrender one fate for another?” The child witch shrank before me.
A candle’s quickly lit flame showed her fear. The weaving hands and muttered curse were upon me. Only the power of the undead within me kept it at bay. “Your wisdom is not yet full grown, child. The usual force of your mother’s teachings needs refining to deal with me.”
She stopped her action to stand still before me, proud of who she was and ready for any fate. I laughed outright. “Good strength lives within you. As your current protector, I appreciate that.”
“We are friend, not foe?”
“Aye, for the nonce.” I pointed at the howling that was not wind at our door. “Alvinore is too much coward to be out beside them until the storm finishes weeping out its life.”
“What is this place?”
“It is where your mother wanted to take you. It is the cairn of Elwood, the grave of my ancestors.”
“There is no way out from here if it is but a tomb.” For a child, she had unseemly grown up sudden poise in facing death. A mere moment ago she had clung weakly to my hope.
“My kind knows better than that. If you are ready, I will show you the way.” I took a candle in one hand and her small grasp in the other. Shadows danced with us in my retreat from the door. Deeper the passage led us, down under into the jungle of passageways beneath the town proper.
“Do you know where your coven meets?” I queried my young charge.
“It is a thing burned into the soul of every witch, no matter their age. It is more secret than this passage and best kept to me. You can leave me now. I know the way.” Her hand dropped from mine as her nose sniffed out the smell of witcheries buried here with us.
“And what of revenge?” I snarled. Had she forgotten what lay behind so quickly?
“I have its name. Alvinore.” She simply replied. “I know my limits and that of my older sisters. Would you join us in its quest?”
“As servant to that cause, indeed I would.” We now walked together side by side, the echo of our steps surrounding us. The fading tumult of the werewolf’s call was left behind.
“I lost my nerve back there. My mother would shame me for it.” The strength in her hand had improved.
“You may call me Victor.” I bowed beneath an arch as she became leader along the path we took.
“And victor may you be.”
My laughter sounded hollow as it bounced from wall to wall. We were beaten badly and bruised by Alvinore’s secret divining. We had escaped but with our lives. I looked down upon my new helpmate, wondering how many more of her kind were left standing.
For me, I was alone in my plight. Our joined forces were pitiful compared with the might facing us. Still, we were better off now than when the day started. Where there is a chance, there may be a way. I might yet suck the demon’s blood of Alvinore.