She was still in town, determined to beat me in our game. The hubris of a vampire was in proportion with their reputation. Every night I tied my ankle to the bedstead, thrashed in uneasy sleep knowing that my family could be murdered. Jane and Simon were gone; there was no reason for Angela to hunt me until she was thirsty again – if draining me had been her plan. Her way of 'winning' this game.
More of Scone's horticulture continued to mysteriously die. The suspicion and fear was truly peaking. With my histrionics I left the house every day in search of her and no threat of punishment was enough to stop me. I had a map of town and circled all the hiding places appropriately dark and secret enough for a vampire to hide in. Break-and-enter became my thing. I carried around bolt-cutters and other invasive tools. The clock tower had been the first place I'd checked on the first day, but she wasn't there.
I found her in the cinema on day five of the searches.
The fact the little pot plants in their ceramic bowls were especially dead was the first thing that made me think I could be onto something. I went into their staff rooms, sneaking not too carefully, looking for a passage to a basement or attic.Theatre de Sconewas a classy work of renaissance paintings and stone pillars. Painted to cover up the fact it was essentially just bricks and clapboard. And yet it was the only movie place in town, everyone went there at least a few weekends a month, and so it was big enough. Five individual theatres, a broad enough dusty attic as it turned out.
The attic door was blocked by something on the other side. There was another push-opening in a cleaner's closet. I brushed through spiderwebs and dust motes, struggling up with all my upper-body strength to see a wide expanse of tarp-covered storage, the entire perimeter of the building. The roof was triangular, the floor was criss-crossing wooden beams over plaster, an old skeletal underside of the building.
I waded through stagnant air, stepping along to the grimy roof windows where a body-sized cupboard had been laid on its side. Reaching back to unzip my bag, pulling out the wooden stake.
Tommy Phelps tried to ambush me, which I'd expected. Charging with a roar to where I stood in the open, holding a metal fireplace poker, either to whack or spear me with the end. This time it was before midday, I had ample of time. And obviously Tommy's co-ordination wasn't what it used to be, he tripped on one of the beams mid-chase and speared his own shoulder. The ferocity of his snarling didn't hide the urgency - like Angela he hadn't believed I'd find them again. I clubbed him repeatedly with an old typewriter, the buttons pinging as I crushed his head. His zombified body lay in twitches, trying to crawl without eyes to see.
I staggered back at the splattering of congealed blood. Whimpering at the gore but making myself turn back to the toppled cupboard. No other zombie guards. Only the living zombies, like Tommy, were independent enough to move while their vampire slept. My friend Jane had been a victim of Angela's hunger. She was one of the dried-out puppets kept around in these boxes or wardrobes.
I kneeled by the cupboard, tears streaking down my face. Wooden spike raised in a quivering hand, I flung open one of the doors. Angela Preakers's body was contorted to fit inside. Her head and limbs were bunched in an unnatural way, there was enough sunlight from the windows above for me to make out those smooth, alien features. Her red eyes flicked open like a doll coming to life and she screamed in terror, squirming as she tried to bend herself away from the wooden point in the cramped space. With a flick I opened the other door.
"Don't-!" I speared her with all my might. My eyes were frenzied, her eyes bulged. Her scream became a gurgle and she continued to writhe, twisting and pattering against the wooden confines. I kept pushing on the stake with all my strength. She went slack, the whiteness of her skin faded. She became just Angela again, human and plain.
I fell back and hyperventilated for a while. Snotty sobbing and gasping chokes.
It was done. I'd saved myself and Scone in the process. Tommy's background wriggling had stopped. The Undead prom couple of our school destroyed. There was no sense of heroism. Under my shaking panic there was a mild relief. I'd need to get out of here before someone found me, but not until I could breathe again. That could take anytime up to an hour. It was done. It was done.
I didn't want to look for Jane, who was certainly dead in one of these surrounding hiding places. This upper level that smelt starkly of death. I didn't want to look for Simon, who may or may not be here. In one form or another. It didn't feel like he was here. The boy I had feelings for, the one who'd broken my heart, was still out there. Still at large.
I would have to leave all this behind me. It would be difficult to forget, or rather to actively choose not to think about it as I continued on day by day. But I would have to live my life as it were as soon as I got hold of my sanity again. In however many weeks, months...
Half-an-hour later I had enough hold on myself to do what needed to be done. That was what I'd done to get here and stop Angela. So I did what needed to be done – I got back up on my feet and made myself walk. To home. To a shower. To normality.
Thanks for reading! Thank you for the comments! Sorry this was kinda sad 😐 But I hope you enjoyed anyway! I have two more novellas and am not sure if I should start putting the next one up immediately or not 🤔 Thanks again!