by J. L. Henry
Week 7: Vignette Assignment 6 for EWW
Don’t you mean our daughter? Lee’s voice whispered in her head. It was the same voice he used in his attempts to seduce her. She shook her head in an effort to dislodge him from her mind.
Hold still up there or I’ll drop you. Liam’s voice warned.
He’s in my head. Stephanie replied. She didn’t want to encourage the telepathic communication, but the speed at which Liam ran prevented her from speaking aloud.
You should have ridden with Tomas and Alice. Liam chastised. Try to erect a burrier around your mind to filter him out. Focus on my voice.
Stephanie knew she should have stayed with Tomas. He was her husband now. Watching Lee whisk Nora from her crib clouded her mind with maternal desire to protect. As a vampire, Liam could keep up with Lee. Stephanie could not abide the idea of using a slower mode of transport when there was superspeed available. She would do her best to make it up to Tomas later. If we survive this.
Don’t think like that. Liam’s voice cut into her thoughts. You are much stronger now than you were when you first faced Osiris’s army. You knock me on my ass every time we spar and that is no easy feet. I’d imagine if you put your mind to it you could turn me to ash.
She felt him slow. The scenery around them cleared so she could see. They stood before the closed iron gates of a large cemetery. A building stood on top of a hill above the graveyard. All of the windows were lit.
“Does this strike you as a bit cliche?” Stephanie asked as Liam lowered her from his back to the ground.
“A bit,” Liam said. “However, if I were a Necromancer looking to get a quick undead army together this is where I’d establish my base of operations.”
“Thought about it a lot have you?” A surge of negative energy made Stephanie shudder and pull her hand away from the gate. “It’s sealed by magic.”
“Then we’ll have to wait for Alice and Tomas,” Liam said.
“Could you jump the wall?” Stephanie asked.
“I could,” Liam said “but then you would be here alone. Tomas would burn me to ashes if I let anything happen to you. For a dragon shifter that’s no idle threat.”
“Please Liam?” Stephanie took one of his hands. “I need to know she’s alright.”
He studied her for a moment before sighing in resignation. When she released his hand he leapt into the air clearing the six foot fence and landed with a thud on the other side. All Stephanie could see was the rustle of leaves as he rushed up the hill to the house. The same gust of wind moved around the first floor before coming back to the wall. Liam’s dark form cleared the top again and landed beside her.
“Well?” She asked.
“There was no one on the first floor,” Liam said.
“This is not where I gave birth to her,” Stephanie said.
“No, that was a set of catacombs,” Liam said.
“You couldn’t check the second floor?” Stephanie asked.
“There was nothing for me to climb,” Liam said.
“You can’t just climb the wall?”
“I’m not Spiderman,” Liam said.
“So, climbing up and down castle walls was Dracula’s personal achievement?”
“He’s been a vampire longer than I,” Liam said. “And he’s not big into sharing his secrets with others.”
“Then I guess we have to wait until—” she cut off as Alice’s car pulled up. Tomas and Alice god out and approached. Stephanie avoided Tomas’s sharp blue gaze.
“Osiris must be getting desperate to come here,” Alice said.
“Wait!” Stephanie moved between her and the gate. “It’s cursed.”
“Of course it is,” Alice said. She took Stephanie’s hand and pulled her back to stand beside her. “Do as I do.”
Stephanie raised the hand Alice did not hold. Palm facing out just like Alice’s. White light shot from each of their palms and struck the center of the gate. It shuttered and creaked open. Liam and Tomas fell into step beside the two women. Stephanie looked up when Tomas’s large hand enveloped hers. She projected an aura of protection around him.
“I’m sorry I didn’t wait—” she began.
“Forget about it for now,” Tomas said. “We’ll discuss it once this is finished.”
They made it half way through the rows of headstones before Liam froze causing the rest of their line to stumble to a halt. His eyes were fixed on one of the second floor windows. Stephanie looked up, but all she could see was a dark figure.
“What is it, Liam?” Tomas asked.
“Osiris,” Liam said. “He sees us and he’s calling to me.”
“Stay with us, Liam.” Alice said.
Stephanie could feel the effort she exerted to keep Liam from falling under Osiris’s control. She added some of her own to take the pressure off the other woman. The dark figure stepped back as if an invisible force shoved it. Liam shook his head and bared his fangs.
“When I come you dark bastard it’ll be to sink these into you!” Liam released Alice’s hand and rushed forward.
“Liam! No!” Tomas called. He released Stephanie’s hand and rushed forward. Cutting Liam off he took hold of his brother and shook him hard enough to raddle his teeth. “We have to stay together!”
“Get out of my way!” Liam growled.
“He’s back at the window!” Stephanie announced.
Both men looked up as Osiris stepped back up to the open window. He leaned out and raised his arms. The ground shook. Mounds of dirt rose in front of the tomb stones. Pale, slender figures, with long nails and long tangled hair crawled out of the dirt. Moans and groans filled the air as the animated corpse shambled toward them. Tomas released his brother and turned to face one half of the on-coming horde. Alice moved to the other side.
“You two go on ahead,” Tomas said. “We’ll hold them off.”
His head turned into a dragon and he blew fire at his half of the corpses. Liam hoisted Stephanie onto his back and rushed toward the house. More corpses rose to block their way. As Liam tightened his grasp on her thighs, she raised her hands and fired waves of light over his shoulders. The corpses shriveled in the pure white heat. Liam wait for the light to fade before continuing forward. The door of the house opened as they reached it.
“Think they’re expecting us?” Liam asked as they enter. The door slammed closed as he lowered her to the floor.
“Indeed, we are,” Lee said from the top of a stair case. He held Nora in his arms. “Come join us, if you dare.”
He disappeared in a blur of speed. Liam grabbed Stephanie’s hand and pulled her up the stairs behind him. They turned a corner just in time to see Lee disappear through a door. Stephanie could hear Nora crying for her as she drew near. She turned the nob and pushed the door open. Her Cleric robes billowed as Liam rushed passed her.
“Welcome to our new home,” Osiris said.
Lee set Nora into a wooden make-shift crib. He moved to stand between Osiris and the other two.
“I’m here for my daughter,” Stephanie said. “Hand her over and we’ll be on our way.”
“Our daughter,” Lee said.
“I’d believe you want to be her father if you didn’t bring her here to him,” Stephanie said. “Lee he’s a bad guy.”
“How can you say that about the man who gave your friend a second chance at life?” Osiris asked. “I offered to give you the same chance at immortality and you rejected it. Liam, you took my gift and spat in my face.”
“Gift?” Liam scoffed. “You took the sun away from me. You turned me into a nearly immortal parasite who must feed on the blood of the living to survive!”
He advanced toward Osiris, but Lee stepped forward to protect his master.
“Stand down boy,” Liam said. “Or I’ll wipe the floor with you again.”
“Not this time old man!” Lee rushed at Liam and the two clashed in a blur of fangs and claws.
Nora’s frightened screams could be heard over the snarling and growling. Liam was able to direct the fight away from the child. Stephanie moved toward the crib to retrieve her daughter but Osiris materialized before her.
“Not so fast,” he said. “The child is half Lee’s which make her half mine as well.”
“She’s too young to be turned,” Stephanie said. “She is of no use to you.”
“She’s of great use to me,” Osiris said. “As long as I have her, you can’t touch me.”
“Coward!” Stephanie growled. “You hide behind a child?”
“You’re quite the one to be calling people cowards.” Osiris laughed. “You’ve been hiding from me your entire life.”
“Not anymore!” Stephanie cried. She drew positive light energy around her. “Face me fiend. Without your army of undead, or your body guard.”
“Very well.” Osiris stepped forward drawing an aura of dark energy around himself. “Let’s see what you can do.”
Stephanie pushed her hands forward driving the light energy toward Osiris. He matched her stance urging his darkness forward. The room shook as the two forces clashed. Stephanie could feel sweat beading on her forehead as she urged the positive energy toward the negative. I can do this! She urged herself. Reaching deep inside she pushed more energy toward Osiris.
Give up! Osiris’s voice whispered inside her head. You are no match for me. You are no cleric. You are just a scared little girl. You are weak, and you will lose!
No! Her inner voice cried. Hot rage built up inside and she pushed it toward him. A loud shrieking filled her ears. Blinding light obstructed her vision. She felt herself slip away. Nora, I’m sorry, I won’t be there to raise you.
Word Count: 1,431