Zea circa 1980s

By LightAVampireSY

email: lightavampiresy@gmail.com
twitter: LightAVampireSY

Author’s Note: Original short story starring one of the protagonists of Light: A Vampire Story. Does contain some spoilers ot Light: A Vampire Story.

Synopsis: The vampire known as Zea has decided it’s time to get herself re-educated in the 1980s. However, things aren’t simply trying to pass a math class as she soon discovers there is something sinister happening on campus….


Zea had awoken. The woman next to her stirred in the blankets. Slowly and gently, she moved the silk blanket off of her and got off of the bed.

            The bedroom Zea was in had plush, pink carpet with walls covered with geometric, pastel colored patterns. The elaborate floral, curvy furnitures that were accentuated with ferns and vines were the only thing she liked about this current decade’s taste. That and also the music. From one of the bedroom’s open windows, she could hear the faint tunes of a synth-pop, dance song from up and coming artist, Madonna.

            Across from her was a large borderless mirror hanging on the wall. Zea could see her naked body, the fresh bruises that ran down her neck and muscular shoulders on the silvery, reflective surface. Her skin was still flushed having fed on blood the night before. Her long white hair was tousled and her light-blue colored eyes searched for her clothes.

            “Hmm, leaving already?” The woman turned to Zea in the bed with the silk blanket wrapped around her shoulders.

            Zea found her undergarments and started to put them on. “Yeah,” she said before clearing her throat. Time for business. “After tonight, can I count on the West Coast Coven to keep peace with House Eagle?”

            The woman’s dark eyes gleamed with a green twinkle. She sat up on the bed and let the silk blanket slide off of her. With her breasts and curves exposed, she flashed a mischievous smile at Zea. “Of course. I am the High Priestess, vampire. Perhaps I was a bit too much that you forgot that?”

            Zea nearly tripped over the cd rack that was next to her pants. “It certainly was memorable,” she said quickly. She picked up and put on her pants. Then she started going after the  rest of her clothes that had been thrown a little farther. “I do apologize for leaving so soon after... completing our deal.”

            The High Priestess pouted and then fell back onto her pillows with a heavy sigh. “Must you go? I can tell your master that I need you a little longer to advise me.” She let out a small chuckle.

            “I don’t think she’ll find that a good enough reason and, besides, this is a personal matter for me,” said Zea. She had finished putting on the rest of her clothes. There were two more items missing and she recalled that right before she was taken to bed, she had left a pair of thick glasses and a set of pens with a pocket protector on the dresser.

            “Well, now, I am not a vampire expert, but I wouldn’t think you need to go to class?” said the High Priestess skeptically.

            “I do have to keep up with the times once every few decades,” explained Zea as she picked up her glasses and put them on. She then proceeded to put on the pens in the front most pocket of her collared shirt. “And I don’t think I would be qualified to give advice, Talia.”

            “Well, I tried and I was actually sincere about it,” said Talia as she curled a strand of her dark thick hair. “As you must keep up with the times as you say, I need to keep up with the future. If you were me, who would you pick as your successor? Your daughter or an up and coming, very talented witch?”

            Zea looked out the window. She could see the moon and the stars. Far off and against the horizon was the campus she will soon attend a class there. “I would pick whomever who would put the coven’s best interest before themselves. That is what I would do.”

            “Hmm, I suppose. Please give Elizabeth my warmest regards,” said Talia.

            Zea bowed. “Yes, I will. Thank you.” Then she was gone in a blur of shadows.


            Zea was walking across the campus in the night.  She went under a blue-green structure that had “Sather Gate” emblazoned in bronze across the top. In her arms were a few heavy books and a binder and she regretted not bringing a backpack.

Now where is that class,” she thought. She had stopped and attempted to take out the map of the campus she had in her pockets, when a bump from behind sent her books flying out of her hands.

            “Watch it,” she snarled. She bit back showing her fangs when she bent down to pick up one of her books. Who had the nerve to run into her considering how open the area was and the lack of people?

            “Uh, a thank you?” drawled the woman. She picked up one of the books and handed it to Zea.

            The woman came up to Zea’s eyes and had long dreadlocks that were pulled to one side of her head with a vibrant purple scrunchie. Her striking golden eyes stood out of her dark skin and the rainbow gradient eyeshadow made them so much more unforgettable. Hot pink lipstick graced her curled lips. She wore a Greek letterman  jacket which told Zea that the woman was in a sorority.

            Zea glared at the woman as she snatched the book and then picked up the last one. “I was expecting an apology,” she responded.

            The woman lifted a dark eyebrow and pursed her lips. “I was trying to help you.” She then slapped the books out of Zeas’ hands.

            “Hey,” started Zea.

            “Pick it up yourself, nerd,” said the woman.

            Zea grinded her teeth as she watched her walk away, having decided that the woman was not worth going after. She picked up her books and continued with her journey.

            Upon arriving, her class was in an auditorium with the seats inclining down to the center where there was a podium and a projector. Zea slipped into the back most seats that were the nearest to the exit. She wanted to be inconspicuous and leave as soon as she could. The fewer people asking her questions, the less chance any humans would discover that she was a vampire.

            Not that she had many incidents before in her past. There were only a handful of humans, allies and friends, who knew of her true nature currently. Though she wondered if they were ever bothered by it?

There was sort of unspoken rule or maybe pure convenience that the supernaturals like her kept to themselves from the regular humans if they could. Other vampires, especially those seating on the councils and those high in the hierarchy, kept a few humans as pets, companions or made deals with them to do business on their behalf in the daylight in exchange to being turned. Despite all of that, somehow they’ve managed to  keep vampires in the midst of legends and myths.

 Even the hunters who, despite being human too, kept to this code of secrecy. She had hypothesized for them it was so that idiotic vigilante humans not get themselves killed. Still, maybe it was fear or was there something else for this secrecy?

Zea’s thoughts were cut short when a shy woman with short bob hair with thin streaks of gray hair, sat a few seats from her. She did not like that as she was hoping she’d be alone in her row. A few more people arrived before the professor appeared with a book and a manila folder under his armpit.  After a few minutes the professor started a roll call and spoke into the mic that was on the podium.

            “Zea Hiltebrant?” called out the professor.

            “Here,” Zea said and quickly raised her hand.

            The professor called a few more names. Zea’s seat neighbor was called toward the end with the professor horribly mangling the woman’s last name. The now not-so-shy woman was quick to correct the professor.

            “Corrine Marie Vitali,” repeated the professor tiredly. “Was that correct?”

            “Yes and I am here,” said Corrine.

            Zea observed the woman’s crows feet at the corner of her eyes. If she had to guess, the woman was in her forties. Now she was not a person to judge as she was over two hundred years old, but it wasn’t common to see a human of that age attend an undergraduate class from her experience of having been a professor once before.

            The professor continued with the roll call. At the end, there were two people who were not accounted for: Selene Leon and Roberta Langley. The professor called them again before grunting.

            “Well, I guess if they don’t show up tonight, I will have two spots open for drop ins,” said the professor. “Alright, the TAs will hand out the syllabus. I’ll give a few minutes for everyone to read through it before I go over. Please save your questions at the end.” The professor was so tired.

            When Zea got the syllabus and scanned it, she frowned. Most of the topics to be covered she already knew. Technically she did teach a similar class a few decades ago in Stanford but, assuming her latest identity, she was a sophomore transfer student majoring in aerospace engineering. For her to take the more advanced classes, she needed to take this class.

            She had gotten her notepad from her binder and started to write her name and date, when she felt someone had taken a seat right next to her.

            “Well,  nice to see you again,” said the newcomer.

            Zea nearly snapped her pen into two. She recognized the voice. She looked up to see the newcomer was the sorority she had bumped into earlier! She wanted to move but the professor spoke.

            “Ah, young lady that just came in. What’s your name so I can mark you here?” called out the professor.

            “Selene Leon,” the sorority answered.

            “Please look at your neighbor's syllabus and after I am done going over it, come meet me so I can give you a copy,” said the professor. “Alright, let’s begin. My name is David Anderson. I will be your professor for the next few weeks....” The professor droned on.

            “Hey,” whispered Selene to Zea.

Zea ignored Selene as best she could.

“Hey,” repeated Selene.

Zea crossed her legs and turned away. She pretended to take notes, but a tap on the shoulder, a chuckle and what Selene spoke next the vampire could no longer ignore.

“Hickies,” smirked Selene. “I am surprised. I did not think a nerd like you, well, would have some.”

Zea pulled up her collar and tried her best to cover her heck. She had thought she had covered them up. She could feel heat moving from her cheeks to the tip of her ears.

“Shhh, Professor still talking!” Corrine hushed.

Selene rolled her eyes. She tapped her pen lightly on Zea’s syllabus. “You good with this stuff?” she whispered.

“If I answered, would you stop talking to me?” Zea whispered back.

“Depends,” said Selene. She craned her neck to read the top of the vampire’s notebook. “Zea, would you like me to say please? Also, it’s kind of weird to write your name on top of your own paper.”

“It’s in case I lose it,” Zea said. She ran the many outcomes and the many reasons why this woman continues to bother her. The most likely situation was that Selene was looking at her to help with homework and tests. “If you have trouble with this, there are tutoring services on campus,” she advised. She looked over to Corrine and noticed that the no-so-shy woman had a cross gold chain. “Or ask other classmates.”

“Shhhh!” Corrine glared at them but this time her voice carried down to the podium.

The professor, mid-speech, used his manila folder to point at Corrine. “Is there something you wanted us to know, Ms. Vitali?”

“Oh, sorry. No, professor!” answered Corrine. She slunk back into her seat.

The professor continued.

Zea was glad that for the rest of the hour, Selene kept to herself. The moment the class ended, Zea quickly slipped away. She looked back momentarily and was relieved that Selene had gone down to meet the professor. She didn’t want that woman, who seem the type, to follow her and ask her more stupid questions.

The vampire headed for the botanical gardens. Aside from attending the first day of class, she was also here on campus to check on her secret garden that she had made many decades ago. There was something there she had been growing for eighty years.

Chattering from the campus dormitories had perked her ears. Zea slowed herself as she listened in, extending her hearing to vampiric range. Her black eyebrows knitted. A body was found.

She turned to the dormitories and watched the police roll out yellow caution tape. Many students in their pajamas stood by and some of them were crying. One of them uttered a name she recognized.

Roberta Langley had been murdered.

Now the murder rate in the city, despite supernatural beings such as herself have nestled into human society for so long, was mostly caused by humans to themselves. Her own vampire house has many strict rules whom they can kill and not kill for various reasons. They had to have these rules or risk the Order, a group of supernatural exterminators, deciding to meddle in the city and that would give her a giant headache.

            Zea continued listening to the police gossiping. She heard many words like “freshman,” “throat slit” and “jewelries gone.” The police had concluded that it was a robbery gone wrong somehow.

            “Poor girl,” Zea said under her breath. Such a young thing and she can only imagine how excited Roberta Langley was for today. However, this was life and it goes on. She wished Roberta that in her next life, that she’d be born and allowed to live out her life.

Zea walked on, taking her time strolling to her destination.

            When she arrived at the botanical garden, the old gardener was there. The old gardener was just about to lock up the gates when he saw her. He smiled warmly at her and outreached his leathery hand for her to shake.

            “It’s been a really long time,” said the old gardener.

            “I believe the last time we met was 1934?” said Zea as she grasped the old gardener’s hand, shook and let go. “You don’t look a day older,” she joked.

            The old gardener laughed. “Oh, you,” he crackled. “Fifty years is but a wink for you. Also comes in handy when you want to see a flower that blooms once every eighty years.”

            Zea nodded. “Indeed.” At one point of her everlasting life, she had drifted into a bout of restlessness that was so typical of her kind. After getting advice from her sire on how to deal with the restlessness, she took on this hobby, growing rare plants with ridiculously long blooming cycles.

Zea let her smile show her fangs. “I am going to check on my flower,” she said.

            The old gardener nodded but his eyes had gone stony.  “About that,” he said. “A  lady earlier today asked about it.”

            The vampire raised an eyebrow. Other than the old gardener, no one knew of her flower, let alone it’s secret place in the botanical garden. “It could be a coincidence,” she started. Afterall, the botanical garden was open to the public. Maybe someone found her flower by accident?

            “Well, she was quite persistent to know who it belonged to,” said the gardener. “I didn’t tell her.”

            Zea pursed her lips. “I see. Did she say why she wanted to know?”

“No, she left quickly before I could,” answered the gardener, but he quickly added. “I just got that feeling about her....”

            “Maybe she is also interested in the Queen of the Andes,” she chuckled. “Get some rest. You look tired and maybe it’s getting to you.” The last part she said it as gently as she could. She had lived long enough to see family and friends grow old and sometimes their minds aged too.

            The old gardener let out a sigh and nodded. “Perhaps, you are right.” He patted Zea on the shoulder. “Take care. It’s going to bloom in two days.” Then he pressed a set of keys into Zea’s hand. “You can leave them on my desk in my office.”

            Zea watched the old gardener leave her. When he went out of her view, she used the keys and entered the garden. Once inside, she went straight to a hidden greenhouse.
In the greenhouse, she marveled at what started as a little seed from a plant known as the Queen of the Andes. It had grown to a seven feet behemoth and resembled a cross between a hairless cactus and a venus flytrap.

            She approached and touched her flower fondly. Soon, she will finally see it bloom. She wondered if she should use her polaroid instant camera that she was gifted to by Talia and take pictures to capture the moment. Better, yet, if she can use a video camera she has gotten from a good friend. She was about to decide, when she heard the sound.

            At first Zea had thought it was a small rodent that sometimes came from the side of the hill where the garden was located, but the next sound, a sharp inhale, told her it was a human. Quickly she took one of her pens from her front pocket, twisted off the cap to reveal it was a knife, and threw it through a glass pane of the green house.  The throw was perfect, the pen punched through the pane without shattering it.

            Then she rushed out. Her eyes glowed red as she used her vampiric night vision to see only her pen was embedded on the door of the tool shed nearby. She went over to the shed and retrieved it.

            There was a knick of blood on the blade of the pen and her nostrils burned from its holy tainted scent. “Hunter,” she snarled as a glint of a golden cross necklace on the ground caught her attention. This wasn’t the first time she had seen the necklace.


            The next night Zea had planned it out. She was going to sit by Corrine and asked the not-so-shy woman to meet her privately outside and, bam, she will take her out! Hunters were bad news. She had some run-ins with those hunters and had tangled with a few of them in New York City a few weeks ago. She hated to admit it, but the hunters nearly took her head off.

            The vampire entered the math class with a gym bag slung over her shoulders. She saw that Corrine had sat in exactly the same seat as last time. Quietly, she sat right next to Corrine.

            “How are you?” Zea asked, leaning toward Corrine.

            The professor was at the podium getting ready. More students entered. The sounds of backpacks zipping open, papers rustling and small talk among students filled the auditorium.

            “Thank you for asking. I am fine. How about you?” asked Corrine like she was reciting a script. She then awkwardly twisted her body away from the vampire.

            Zea took note of that. “I am enjoying the night,” she said monotonically. “Do you want to meet after class and exchange notes?”

            “Can I join the party?” asked Selene as she plopped into the seat right next to Zea. “I am going to need some help with this class.”

            Zea’s nose flared and she grinded her teeth. The annoying sorority girl had returned and was wearing a strong perfume. She had turned her head when she saw Selene take her gym bag and tried lifting it up.

            “What is in here? A machine gun?” cried out Selene.

            Zea snapped her gym bag back from Selene and placed it between her feet. Her gym bag held her sword in case Corrine decided to attack her. “Don’t touch my stuff,” she barked.

            “Take a chill pill, nerd, it was in my foot space,” said Selene. She leaned back into her chair and then kicked up her feet onto the seat ahead of her.

            “I don’t think I can. I am leaving class early,” said Corrine who dogged Zea sharply. “Perhaps, you and Selene can exchange notes.”

            “No,” said Zea. “I very much prefer we do it today, after class and just the two of us.” She side eyed Selene with a warning to back off.

            Then she frowned when she saw that Selene's cheek had a cut. The cut would be the right height where her pen knife had landed on the tool shed of the garden if Selene were there. What is she thinking? There’s no way because she had Corrine’s gold necklace she found on the ground...Zea eyed the golden cross necklace around Corrines neck. Did this hunter replace her own necklace? Thought Zea

            “I have to go,” said Corrine suddenly. She stood up and hurriedly left the row.

Zea’s eyes followed Corrine exit the class quietly.  She started to reach for her gym bag and go after Corrine, but Selene tapped her knee with a notepad. She pulled back and pursed her lips. Selene was increasingly annoying and getting in her way.

 The thought of using her vampiric speed to get away crossed her mind, but doing so may set off suspicions and she didn’t want to give Selene one more reason to keep pestering her. She ignored a voice from her past that spoke in her mind: “You could be faster.”

            “I am not sure that’s how you make friends,” smirked Selene.

            “I wasn’t. I just needed to compare notes,” said Zea, frustrated. Her window of opportunity was passing. Who knows where Corrine, so obviously a hunter, has gone and if she will bring back up. Hunters usually don’t work alone.

            “How about we compare notes?” asked Selene while batting her eyelashes seductively.

            Zea eyebrows shot up. It can’t be that Selene was hitting on her? She watched Selene move her feet off from the seat ahead.

            “Ah, I see, I have finally gotten your attention,” chuckled Selene. “How about it? A kiss for,” she placed her notebook on Zea’s lap, “say tonight’s homework?”

            Zea narrowed her eyes and shoved the notepad back onto Selene’s lap. “No. Do your own homework,” she said. She made sure Selene heard the disgust in her voice. She stood up and scooped up her gym bag. “I suggest again that you go to the many tutoring services if you’re having trouble.”  Then she left the row and ultimately the classroom.

            Once outside, Zea tried to pick up Corrine’s trail. She spent an hour searching for Corrine or clues of her, but it was to no avail. Corrine, like all good hunters, had covered her tracks. She finally gave up when she found herself at the dormitories. She contemplated returning to class to look for possible more clues, but Selene was there and she certainly didn’t want to deal with her at the moment.

She had passed a dorm building when her nose picked up blood. Fresh blood. She reeled around, following the blood scent. She slowly walked to the side of the dorm building she had just passed. The dorm was next to a brick building and formed a pseudo alley way.

            There was a fence or more accurately there had been a fence that covered this pseudo alley way. Someone had cut and pulled the wires of the fence apart. Zea noted how clean of a cut.

            Zea was already anticipating a dead body from the sheer amount of blood she was smelling as she entered through the opened fence. The pseudo alley way was darker than the current night, so she used her vampiric night vision to see. Not many things in her everlasting life so far could take her breath away, but she inhaled sharply upon seeing the line of human entrails and blood on the hard ground that lead to a naked body. Eyeballs hang out of the sockets, soullessly staring at her.

            The victim was a young man. He had his nails plucked, slashes that ran up and down his body, hair torn from his scalp and, unfortunately, had his manhood ripped out. Whoever did this wanted the young man to suffer before being killed.

            Zea’s jaw hardened when she noticed in a pile of the victim’s clothes between her and the body was an opened backpack. A partially crumbled paper poked out of the backpack. Blood had spattered on the top page but she could recognize the picture of Professor David Anderson. Afterall, that picture was of her math professor and he had put his image in all of the syllabus he handed out yesterday.

            This young man was Zea’s classmate.

            Something was up and Zea recalled yesterday that another classmate, Roberta Langley, had also died in these dormitories. Two deaths from her class in a span of two days. That can’t be a coincidence.

Carefully, Zea searched the victim’s belongings but could not find anything that would identify the victim. She needed to know who he was and see if he has a connection to the student who died yesterday. She looked at her watch. Math class had ended but perhaps she could figure out who this man was from the professor.

Zea returned to her math class.

 When she entered the auditorium there were only a few stragglers of students conversing with each other. She didn’t see Selene and was thankful as she made her way to Professor Anderson who was in the process of shoveling thick packets of paper into his briefcase at the podium.

            The professor was your typical old, white haired, beanstalkd framed and vest wearing doctorate. He looked up at her upon seeing her approach and pushed back his glasses back on the bridge of his hawkish nose. “Ah, I saw you leave class earlier. Are you here to get the homework assignment?” he asked. He then squinted his eyes at her. “Ms. Hiltebrant?” He took out a sheet of paper and handed it to Zea who stopped in front of the podium.

            Zea took the paper and forced a smile. “Yes and also could I get another one for, sorry, I keep forgetting his name.” She faked a chuckle. “I just met him yesterday in the dorms, but we made an agreement to be study buddies. He’s a young man, brown hair, freckles, about this height--”

            “His name is John Ackerman. Has to be because he was the only one to not show up at all today. Please tell him I need him to show up next class,” said Professor Anderson, annoyed. He handed Zea another sheet of paper. “I would hate to have to drop another student for a no show.” He eyed Zea to indicate that also meant her as well. Technically, even though she was there in class, she had left before the lecture actually started.

            Zea nodded. “I will tell him that, Professor. Thank you.” Obviously,  she couldn’t because Mr. Ackerman was dead but the professor had given the information she needed.

            She was walking out of class but, as she passed by the row where she sat a few hours ago, a smell had frozen her for a moment. Selene’s strong perfume had dissipated enough for Zea to pick up the scent of blood. A blood she had smelled not too recently. She walked down the row of seats, pretending to be looking for something she had left behind, and stopped by the seat where Selene earlier had put her foot on.

            On the top of the seat was partially a footprint made from John Ackerman’s blood.

Zea sat in the last row. She had one hand on her gym bag that contained her sword and the other hand held the finished homework assignment as she waited for Selene. She looked back to the entrance and watched another student enter.

            In between her discoveries last night and now, she had found out that here was another murder near the university prior to the start of the semester. Equally as gruesome as John’s. She also found out that Roberta Langley’s vocal cord had been ripped out, but that information was left out from the police reports. She had to find that by visiting the city’s morgue an hour before coming to class.

            With this new information, Zea had concluded that Selene was gathering parts. In all three murders, the victims were missing a body part and the killer unknown. Selene was either a messed up serial killer or a cultist dabbling in dark magic. She leaned on the cultist as she also found in Roberta’s inner left thigh someone had etched a pentagram with blood that contained traces of Selene’s perfume.

            Zea turned and made a sweep of the students in the classroom. Corrine wasn’t here and she didn’t expect her to be. Upon informing High Priestess Talia of the West Coast Coven that hunters were in the city, the priestess went after them right away. If the hunters were smart, they’d leave before Talia gets to them.

            However, Zea didn’t tell Thalia about Selene. That was something she wanted to deal with personally and the West Coast Coven can’t take all the credit for protecting the city from trouble makers. Her vampire house also had an equal share in that and she didn’t want to lose face especially since they had, uh, made a deal with them recently.

            Professor Anderson cleared his throat. “I wanted to say that people shouldn’t leave class alone. As you all may have known by now, there has been--sorry, if I am being direct here but the recent murders on campus and a possible serial killer.” He touched the bridge of his glasses. “Anyways, Officer Brown of the campus police is outside of this class and making sure everyone is safe. You can ask him to escort you to your car. I do ask that you wait here to be escorted if you don’t have a buddy.”

            A student raised their hands.

            “Ah, Mr. Micam, yes?” asked Professor Anderson.

            “Why doesn’t campus just close?” asked the student, concerningly.

            Professor Anderson shuffled his papers. “I don’t know, to be honest. If I had that power, I would. You have legit concerns. I suggest that you write a complaint to the dean.” He then addressed the entire class. “Now soon I am going to start roll call and collect homework that is due right afterward!”

            There was a long groan and opening of backpacks as students readied their homework. Some were actually furiously trying to finish it while others chit-chatted with their neighbors or friends. In the midst of this, Selene finally entered the classroom.

            Selene smiled at Zea at first and then rolled her eyes when she realized that Zea was mad dogging her. She plopped right next to Zea and kicked her feet on the top of the chair ahead of her. She leaned back into her seat. “C’mon, nerd, don’t give me that look. I am sorry I even asked yesterday--”

            “I finished your homework,” Zea said coldly. She noted that Selene was wearing that same perfume again.

            “Really? Wow, thank you,” said Selene as she eyed the paper in Zea’s hand. She reached for it but stopped. She licked her lips. “You still want that kiss?”

            Zea was in no mood to play games. “We leave now,” she said as she shoved the papers into Selene’s hands, crumpling them in the process. She intended to capture the cultist, force a confession and turn her to the authorities. It was the only thing she could do. She may be a vampire, but she’s no monster.

            Selene was taken aback. “Okay, nerd,” she nodded. “A little aggressive and very weird.”

            “I know what you did. You will come with me lest you wish to forfeit your life,” threaten Zea.

            “Oh, you’re the batshit crazy ones! I am going to move,” said Selene, getting out of her seat abruptly and also taking the crumpled paper with her.

            This had everyone stare at Zea and Selene. Even the professor heard it and he pointed his manila folder at them.

            “Is there a problem, Ms. Hiltebrant?” asked Professor Anderson.

            “Nothing. She’s just moving seats,” answered Zea, turning her head like an owl as she watched Selene move to the seat in front of the professor.

            Zea narrowed her eyes and cracked her neck. Does the cultist think she can get away from her? Class has to end after all.

The professor began and finished the roll call. Afterwards, homework was asked to be turned in. Irritatedly, Zea watched Selene place the crumpled completed homework assignment that she worked on the podium. She regretted that she actually finished it for her.

 Class went on as usual. Zea saw Selene look back at her worriedly from time to time. When the lecture was done and the professor gave out the next assignments, Selene managed to get a few people to walk with her out of the class. They looked at her suspiciously as they passed and she was not amused, via her vampiric hearing, that Selene had told them that she could be the serial killer targeting the students. Obvious lie.

Zea got out of her seat and was about to follow them when the professor called out her name.

“Can you come down and talk with me?” asked Professor Anderson.

At first, Zea ignored the professor but he called out her name again and sternly. She pursed her lips, decided that she should get over whatever the professor wanted to talk to her about and then go after Selene. She walked down to the podium with her gym back slung over her shoulder.

“What do you want to talk to me about?” Zea snapped at the professor. “I am a little busy.”

The professor was not amused. He handed Zea a folded paper. “Ms. Leon has informed me that you’ve been harassing her. I won’t stand for that in my classroom.”

Zea barely contained her growl. It wasn’t so much the professor's words that were pissing her off. It was what she read in the note and tempted her to just kill the cultist instead.

“Have you no shame in trying to take Ms. Leon’s hard work and in the classroom? Just writing your name on a blank piece of paper and turning that in for homework would be hell of a lot better! What do you have to say for yourself?” demanded Professor Anderson. “You apologize to me and then also to Ms. Leon next class! If it weren’t for the craziness going on right now, I would have written to the dean to have you expelled!

            Zea tore the note in half and dropped it. “Not that it matters at all but the handwriting, which is mine, won’t match hers. Now you are going to let me leave,” she seethed. She started to turn, but the professor pulled her back and  got into her face.

            “Expulsion it is!” Professor Anderson fired back.

            “Fuck it,” said Zea as she grabbed the professor by his vest and lifted him up with one arm.

            “Oh my god!” Professor Anderson tried to squirm out of Zea’s grip.

            “I don’t want to hurt you, but you will not get in my way!” Zea threatened.

            Just then, Officer Brown entered the classroom with a student pointing a finger at her.

            Zea dropped the professor who backed away from her and vigorously adjusted his glasses. “No trouble, officer, I am leaving,” she said.

            The officer opened his mouth to say something, but Zea's death glared at him and he instead went to check on the professor.

Zea left the class not caring for the eyes and whispering. She had a cultist to capture.


            Selene would regret ever wearing that perfume, a sweet lilac scent. The perfume was so strong and fresh, Zea easily tracked Selene to an old lab building. The building was in a secluded spot on campus that if a fight broke out, which she was counting on, no one would notice.

            The dilapidated building was in the midst of being renovated as Zea entered. The roof had pockets of holes that let in some of the moonlight so Zea stuck to the shadows as she made her way down the halls as soundless as possible. She didn’t want Selene to see her coming.

Selene’s perfume led Zea to a large room that had a mix of construction equipment covered in tarps and abandoned, broken desks. In the back of the room, leaning on a large dust covered desk that was missing one leg, was Selene. She had her arms crossed and she didn’t look all too surprised to see Zea approached her with a drawn sword.

“A cultist witch,” snarled Zea, showing her fangs.

“The witch part is true but not the cultist,” said Selene. “However,  you’re a vampire nerd. Both are very true.”

“You should've run instead of waiting for me,” said Zea. “Now surrender.” She took a deep breath.

Suddenly, Zea disappeared and then reappeared with her sword at Selene’s throat. “You won’t be fast enough to cast a spell,” she said.

“Yeah, I know. I am counting on it,” grinned Selene.

Arms made from the building’s titled floors shot up underneath Zea and enveloped her in a tight grip. “You think this will stop me?” she barked. She still held her sword and only her arm was trapped between two giant tiled fingers.

“I know you can throw that by a snap of your wrist and probably take my head off. After all, you nearly did,” said Selene who then faded away and only her voice could be heard. “By the way, that flower you’ve been growing for eighty years is ugly.”

“So it was you at the gardens.” Zea’s eyes glowed red and she by sheer strength of her sword arm broke one of the tiled fingers. The golden necklace she found was a ruse planted by Selene, but to what end?  “Was I going to be your next victim?” she asked. She looked around for Selene as she broke the other tiled finger to set herself free.

Selene’s voice echoed. “I was going to ask you the same.”

The construction equipment flew off from their places and formed into a creature with sawed arms and sledgehammer legs. The creature launched itself at Zea with sawed arms swinging in circles like a mad man.

Zea dodged and blocked the creature’s attack. She ducked a side way kick from the creature that instead took out a pile of broken desks. “I am giving you one more chance to come out and surrender,” she said. Her vampiric senses started to heighten as she tried to pinpoint where Selene really was.

The creature slammed down it’s saw-blades limbs in a fury of blows on Zea. Cement and wood dust kicked up into the room.

“No, you surrender, nerd,” Selene’s voice sounded very close to Zea.

Then the creature stopped suddenly. It was still for a few seconds before each piece of construction equipment fell to the ground one by one. When the dust settled, standing in front of the pile of equipment, was Selene being held by Zea with a sword at her neck and arms twisted behind her back.

“Damn, I didn’t know you can be that fast,” said Selene.

Zea controlled her breathing. She didn’t want to show that moving that fast had actually made her out of breath and her limbs felt they were on fire. She felt a little embarrassed, that after all these years since she had left the monastery that had taught her to move at the speed of sound, she had yet to master it.

“But it seems you have a limit,” commented Selene.

 “It doesn’t matter. You shouldn’t have put on that perfume. Makes it so easy to track you,” snarled Zea into Selene’s ear. Her fangs were out in full and she was tempted to bite into Selene’s sweet delicate neck and drink her dry.

“Did you like it? It’s not a perfume,” said Selene. “And judging how much you have been sniffing me, it should be kicking in right now.”

Zea’s arms suddenly let go. Selene quickly moved away. What’s going on? Her sword dropped out of her hand. She stumbled backward until she hit a pillar. She slid down until she sat on the floor like a broken doll.

“What did you do to me?” barked Zea.  Her limbs were not obeying her.

            “Isn’t it obvious? My perfume was your undoing.” Selene approached Zea. She knelt down and lifted Zea's chin. “And given that you are a fodder, this should last for the whole night,” she smiled widely.

            Zea glared at her.

“Oh, I know because that hickey was a dead give away,” chuckled Selene. “The average vampire doesn't have bruises like those lasting for more than an hour.” She winked. “You still had your hickey when class was over.”

Zea was not amused, but she was impressed how much Selene gleaned from that small detail. She made a note to cover her hickies better in the future and, should they meet again, be more careful around the witch.

Then Selene became serious. “Before I turned you into the East Coast Coven, the one thing I couldn’t solve was why you were collecting body parts. You don’t seem to be the type to collect trophies of your victims.”

            Zea knitted her eyebrows. “What are you talking about? I am not the murderer. You are!”

            “Hmm.” Selene pursed her lips. “You were in New York City a few weeks ago. So that puts you at the time and place of Samuel Wicker’s murder. Considering you had just made,” she cleared her throat, “a pact with the West Coast Coven, you also have a motive. It is a known fact that Talia has no love for Thomas Wicker.”

            “I didn’t kill the son of the High Priest of the East Coast Coven,” countered Zea. She remembered Talia mentioning her disdain for Thomas Wicker in the past but that was it. The high priestess didn’t dislike him enough to want to kill his only son. However, it is a big concern that there was another victim.

“Then why were you in New York City?” asked Selene. Her voice tilted like she already knew the answer.

“I was visiting,” Zea said slowly.

            “Correction, you were visiting your old home in Boston and were passing through New York City,” said Selene.

            Zea was surprised Selene saw through that. Despite her current situation, she was impressed with Selene. “How much do you know of me?” she curiously asked. She had covered her past to the point no one in the vampire council in Europe knew who she really was except for that one bloodling of her sire. Despite that blooding strong dislike of her, they wouldn’t tell out of pure embarrassment it would be to them and their sire. Afterall, she was Dracula’s shame.

            “Enough to know that Zea isn’t your real name,” said Selene. She studied Zea’s face by turning the vampire’s head side to side by the chin.

Zea arched an eyebrow as Selene gently brushed her thumb over the bottom of her lips. Why was Selene examining her? What is she looking for? More importantly, what was she going to do next?

Selene then adjusted Zea so that the vampire could look at her without her help.  She then stood up and crossed her arms. “Hmmm.” She started tapping the tip of her shoes on the ground a few times rapidly before she spoke again. “I think for the first time in my life I might have gotten the wrong person.”

“I am beginning to think that maybe you aren’t the killer, let alone a cultist,” said Zea.

            “If I am the killer, then why are you alive right now?” chuckled Selene. “Use that big brain of yours, nerd.”

            Zea could help but crack a smile. “Yes, it’s highly unlikely you are the killer but you drew that pentagram on Roberta Langley in blood.”

            “I was attempting to get the dead to speak. Needless to say, I am not that great with necromancy,” said Selene, slightly annoyed. “Damn, I am back to square one. I was so sure too. The clues tracked to the university. If it’s not you, who could it be then, hmm?”

            Zea heard the footstep and then the click of a crossbow getting ready to shoot. “Get down!” she shouted.

            “What?” Selene only had time to turn around.

            Multiple arrows flew across the air but they all hit a wall made from tiled floor.

            “Who still uses a crossbow in this time and age?” squeaked Selene as she moved to Zea. She squatted down and took one of Zea’s arms.

            “A hunter. Leave me. I don’t think you can fare well against her,” said Zea. She had used her vampiric night vision and was confused to see the hunter who was just beyond the entrance. “It’s Corrine….”

            “She’s a hunter?” said Selene in surprise. “Ugh, it all makes sense.” Selene slung Zea’s arm across her shoulder. “I thought she just had a massive crush on you.”

            “Surrender both of you and I may spare the witch!” threaten Corrine.

            Zea watched Selene struggling to lift her up. “Just undo what you have done to me. I will fight the hunter if only my body can move again.”

“And you shall but I need to position you first,” said Selene. She grunted as she managed to move Zea to a cracked section of the floor from their earlier battle. “You don’t look like it, but you’re heavy as fuck!” she cursed.

“Just leave me,” repeated Zea. She saw Corrine stepped into the room, cocking a bolt into the crossbow.

“I would but I need a bait,” said Selene as she took out a vial of pink liquid.

Zea eyed the vial. “What is that?” she asked as she watched Selene pop out the cork top of the vial and took a sniff.

“Malcrium Magee’s Surreptitious Miraculous,” said Selene out loud.

Zea frowned. “That’s just a string of nonsensical words,” she said.

“Tincture. It’s the name, nerd,” said Selene as she rolled her eyes.

Zea who felt really stupid. “Oh, sorry,” she apologized.

            Selene suddenly leaned forward and kissed Zea on the lips. Zea’s eyes opened wide, but closed as she settled into the kiss. She wasn’t sure if this was some new trend among college students, but she felt awkward as Selene’s tongue glided over the roof of her mouth a few times.

            At that moment Selene pulled back from Zea, a thick, thorned vine slammed into the tiled wall like a baseball bat. Pieces of the tiles pelted Selene and Zea. Corrine stood in their view, a hand on a crossbow and the other hand holding the thorned vine.

            Corrine pointed her crossbow at Selene. “Drop it,” she said.

            “As you wish,” said Selene. She lifted her arms up as if to surrender but let the pink vial drop from her hands.

            The vial crashed into the ground, breaking apart and letting the pink liquid spill out and into the cracked floor. Corrine’s vine then moved by itself and wrapped around Zea’s body. Zea ignored the pain as the thrones bit into her arms and legs.

            “Ah, you’re a grace. That’s rare for your type to be outside of the Vatican’s City,” commented Selene. She watched the vines contract and pulled Zea to Corrine. “That wasn’t necessary, y’know. I immobilized her already.”

            “I don’t trust you, Selene,” said Corrine. “For all I know you and her have been working together to summon Pazuzu.”

“From The Exorcist?” asked Selene, trying to hide her inappropriate giggle.

            “No, Pazuzu the ancient Summerian demon,” corrected Zea. She had read it in passing in a book from an ancient vampire library in France.

            “Wow, you are still a nerd even at this moment,” said Selene under her breath.

Zea didn’t respond and instead couldn’t help but stare at Selene. Why was the witch so...beautiful? She always thought Selene was before, but at this moment, the witch was more noticeable. Like making her heart race noticeable.

            “I swear that movie got it all wrong how actual exorcism works,” sighed Corrine as she placed the tip of her crossbow next to Zea’s head. “But enough! Return what you have stolen or I will take out your lover’s head. My bolts are blessed.”

            Zea eyes widen. She wanted to say she was not Selene’s lover but her mouth refused to obey. Instead, she blushed. What is going on with her? She hadn’t felt like an idiot, young, lovestruck fool for over two hundred years.

            “I don’t know what you are talking about,” said Selene. She winked at Zea, but was still addressing Corrine. “However, I can see you won’t believe me so I might as well ask what did I steal?”

            “The pages from the Grand Grimoire that are locked in the Vatican's vault,” said Corrine. She pressed the tip of her cocked bolt in her crossbow against Zea’s temple.

            Zea flinched away as her skin smoked from the bolt tip.

            “I am not joking,” said Corrine gravely at Selene.

            “Whoa, that's something I don’t do,” said Selene. “Every witch knows not to use a grimoire made of human flesh. Especially the Grand Grimoire, which by the way has printed copies that anybody can get since the early nineteenth century. Isn’t that right, Zea?”

            Zea found herself again not responding and still staring at Selene. For the eternal life of her, she couldn’t peel her eyes away from the witch.

            “Those have been sanitized,” answered Corrine as if it was so obvious. She lifted an eyebrow and curiously looked at Zea. “You’re acting weird. Really weird.”

            “She can’t help but be impress by me,” smiled Selene.

            Zea felt the back of her neck heat up.

Corrine narrowed her eyes at Zea. “You’re charmed? Why?”

“Zea, honey, kill the hunter for me,” commanded Selene.

Corrine had only blinked before the vines that had wrapped around Zea split apart in an explosion of green and red. She flung backward by a force she didn’t even register until she hit the ground. Her crossbow flung away and she felt all the air in her lungs expelled out in one giant oof.

Despite that, Corrine was still able to maintain her consciousness. She took a big breath and out of instinct she uttered one word: opsero.

Zea’s fang sunk into the flesh of something green. She looked down to see there was a vine that had sprouted out from under the hunter’s clothes and blocked her from sinking her fangs into the hunter’s neck. Her light blue eyes then met with Corrine’s hazel eyes that were both surprised and horrified looking at her.

Then came the taste. A very bitter taste. Zea retracted her fangs and spitted out the disgusting plant juice coating her mouth.

“What is that?” Zea retched.

Corrine couldn’t move with Zea on top of her and the vampire held her arms down. So she did the next best thing. She uttered another word and her new vine thickened and hardened all the while slapping Zea away with a mighty whack!

The hunter only saw Zea for a split second in the air about to hit the floor before the vampire disappeared.

“Damn, you’re fast--,” Corrine felt a rush of air before her vision finally caught up. Her vines reacted much faster than her and had blocked a punch from Zea. She could see pieces of her vines fly away but she knew they would grow and re-harden quickly.

Once again, Zea disappeared.

Corrine, through gritted teeth, uttered another word. Her vines wrapped her body in a kind of pseudo armor. Where the vines weren’t touching her skin, razor sharp thorns popped out. If she couldn’t hurt Zea because of the vampire's ridiculous speed, she would let the vampire come to her.

            The hunter looked wildly around for Zea before her eyes caught Selene finishing up a rune drawn in the air.

            “She makes a really good bait,” winked Selene.

            Corrine's eyes went wide at the realization. She looked down and she was standing where Selene had dropped that potion earlier. She desperately moved to write a counter rune, but she could already feel it from her feet.  Her legs petrified. Then her body. Then her arms and finally, squeezing her eyes for the final petrification that would make her a statue permanently--

            Zea suddenly appeared and dropped next to Corrine, landing forward with her head to the side.

The hunter opened her eyes to find that the vampire had also been petrified save for her neck and head.

            “Drat, only had enough for three fourths of the body for both of you,” said Selene.

Zea, facing the witch, lifted her head using her neck muscles to watch Selene swaggered to them while dusting her hands like she did a job well done.

            “Was this necessary?” growled Zea.

            Selene tapped Zea’s mostly stoned body with her foot.  “The petrification?”

“I said I needed bait. Unfortunately that means you get caught up too,” shrugged Selene.

“And the charm?” spat Zea. She realized what Selene did during their kiss was not a trend. The witch had traced a rune under the roof of her mouth! That seemed unnecessary. “I  am not going to kill you at all. You didn’t need to charm me if that was what stopped you from undoing whatever you did to me.”

            “I was not intending to but I needed your body to obey me, okay? If you recall, nerd, we were under attack and I had paralyzed you.” said Selene as she rubbed the bridge of her nose. Then she spoke to herself but Zea could still hear. “By the Moon Goddess, why did you lead me to her?”

            “So you two aren’t a couple?” asked Corrine, who had been observing.

            “No. We are unfortunately not a couple,” smiled Selene.

            Zea felt herself blush again. “How long does this charm last?” she asked.

            “Uh, should have worn off by now. Why?” asked Selene.

            “Nothing,” said Zea. She let her head rest on the floor, finally feeling the toil of her charmed body having forced her to move that fast. She then heard a gutteral sound that she was sure was coming from the hunter.

            “I see,” said Corrine. “Intelligent of you to lace that tincture to mute me. My tongue refuses to move to say an incantation.”

            “Thank you,” said Selene. Then she tapped her chin. “Now that we are all not trying to kill each other,” she nudged her chin at Zea, “can we all agree that none of us have been murdering people for body parts?” Then she turned to Corrine,  “And also not summoning an ancient demon?”

            Zea nodded as well as Corrine.

            Selene took a deep breath. “I am pretty sure that whoever is collecting these body parts is using it to summon this Pazuzu.” She eyerolled. “It’s pretty obvious, granted if you, Corrine, is speaking the truth.”

            “I am but, “ Corrine looked past Selene and to a shattered window. The moon was full. “Damn. It's beginning.”

            Zea watched, puzzled seeing Selene whipped around and looked at the moon wide eyed. Then Selene rushed to a corner of the room. “What’s beginning? What’s going on, Selene?” she asked. “It’s just the moon.”

            “It’s not supposed to be full. Not at this time,” said Corrine gravely. “Pazuzu summoning is imminent. If we do not stop this, the world will end!”

            Selene sprinted back with a few vials in her hands. She knelt beside Zea. She poured one of the vials over Zea before following it up with another vial. The petrification had started to disappear but Zea could still not move.

“I don’t know how much time we have left and I have a feeling we will need you to stop this. Will you help us?“ asked Selene. 

She bit one of her fingers hard. “This should restore you.”

            Zea suppressed her instinct to latch onto Selene’s finger that hovered over her lips. Blood started appearing out from the wounded finger, but not enough to drip down yet.  “Only if you promise me to never charm me again,” she said.

            Selene hesitated but nodded. “I can’t again anyways. It's one time only that particular potion.”

            Zea couldn’t tell if that was a lie but she was in no position to say no. She lifted her head up and sucked the blood off of Selene’s finger. The blood gave her life. It also gave her the needed energy for her to pull the witch down and sunk her fangs into that bare neck.

            Selene gasped.

            Zea pulled away from the witch’s neck, wiping blood from her lips. “I call that even for telling Professor Anderson that I copied my own homework,” she said.

            Selene, pressing her neck wound from Zea’s bite, narrowed her eyes. “Letting you know,  what I gave you makes you bald. So yes, we are even, nerd.”

            “What?” Now it was Zea’s turn to gasp.

            Corrine cleared her throat. “Hi, I am still here. Are you two done flirting in what is possibly the beginning of the end of the world?”  A thorned vine had slithered away from the pair.

            Zea saw that Corrine’s petrification had disappeared and she didn’t recall Selene giving the hunter anything. How did the hunter free herself?

            “You’re smart too. You’re vines can do runes,” said Selene, impressed. She pursed her lips.

            Corrine nodded. “Thank you.”

            A piercing  howl followed by a chorus of howls.

            “Wolves?” Selene observed.

            Zea growled. “No, werewolves. Hide!”

            Four werewolves came crashing into the room. Zea bared her fangs as she rushed at the fastest one breaking away from his pack. She twirled around a slash from his claw.

            The shirt had been shredded but the few strands that clung off the werewolf black furred chest still had his officer’s badge. She read the name. The werewolf was Officer Brown.

            Officer Brown lurched at Zea, trying to get her but she twirled around again only to face another werewolf but this one was red furred. She was trapped between two werewolves.

            “Zea!” Selene shouted at her. “Catch!”

            Somersaulting across the room was Zea’s sword. Timing it perfectly, Zea exploded from the balls of her feet to plant a foot on the red werewolf’s chest. Carrying her momentum, she pushed off into a backflip, caught her sword and twisted in such a way that her arm made an arc through Officer Brown’s neck.

            She landed at the same time Officer’s Brown’s head landed on the ground. She faced the red werewolf again. They held each other’s gaze but it won’t be for long.

For the span of time of an eyeblink, Zea disappeared.  The red werewolf then heard a swish of metal cutting through flesh before they suddenly gurgled and blood spurted from their neck. They fell backward in a heavy thud when Zea reappeared.

            Zea was huffing and her sword bloody.  She didn’t drink enough of Selene’s blood to do that again, but she couldn’t let up. She quickly turned her attention to the remaining two werewolves, but where were they?

Near the entrance was Corrine. She held an end to a thorny vine that unwrapped to expose a grey werewolf filled with softball sized puncture wounds. The grey werewolf with their tongue sticking out and eyeballs rolled back, fell forward. The hunter pointed behind Zea.

Zea turned around to see a dead white werewolf, it’s head sizzling from the bolt sticking out of its head. Selene still had the hunter’s crossbow aimed. “I know who’s the murderer,” she grinned at Selene.

            “So do I,” winked Selene. She pointed her crossbow at the head of Officer Brown that had returned back to a human. “That bitch wanted to give me a ticket for ditching class early today.” She then nudged her chin at Corrine. “Do you have more bolts? We have to kill our math professor.”


            They had a plan.

            Zea, Selene and Corrine bursted into the dark auditorium.

            The plan was to kill whomever got in the way.

            Where the podium had been was instead replaced by a small table covered with a simple red cloth. On the table was a single lit candle. The flames that flickered in the dark room gave enough light to show the different body parts that surrounded it: A heart, a hand, a vocal cord, an eye and, well, a piece of John Ackerman.

            Their main objective was to stop the summoning and Professor David Anderson at all cost.

            Zea was the first to reach the table, kicking it over. She hoped that if that was the summoning, she had stopped in time.

            Then the light in the auditorium turned on.

            Werewolves and cloaked cultists with daggers peeled from the sides of the auditorium and converged on Selene and Corrine.

            Selene and Corrine, more than capable, started to dispatch them with ease. Corrine wiped and battered them with her vines. Selene lobbed potions at them while also planting silver bolts into the heads of werewolves from the hunter’s crossbow.

Zea was alone to face Professor Anderson who, in a dark velvet clock, sat on a throne chair a few feet away behind the knocked over table. She noticed smeared blood that trailed from where the table had been to him. He adjusted his glass with a bloody hand that was badly bandaged.

            She could have killed him, having already smelled the blood the moment she entered the auditorium,  but she wanted to know. She wanted to know why John Ackerman, Roberta Langley and Samuel Wicker were murdered just to summon a demon to end the world? Professor Anderson didn’t strike her as someone so filled with hate to do that.

            “Last sacrifice,” said Professor Anderson tiredly. “I couldn’t wait any longer once I realized, vampire, you would have figured it out.”

            “You’re a sick asshole,” Zea said. She approached him with her sword in her hands. “Why?” she snapped. “You can’t have killed all those people just to summon a demon that will destroy the world. Did you know that?”

            Professor Anderson waved his hand. “If it meant I could see my wife again, yes,” he said sadly.

            Zea blinked. She couldn’t believe this asshole killed so many innocents and was going to sacrifice the world for his dead wife. “Your wife will not be happy.” She raised her sword to cut down her professor.

            “Well, I will ask her then,” said Professor Anderson. His glasses reflected the unnatural full moon.

            Zea brought her sword down on him only to realize she cleaved the throne seat in half instead. Then she felt something sharp piercing her side. From across the auditorium, she could hear Selene and Corrine shout out, “He’s beside you!”

            Professor Anderson smiled wickedly. “Last sacrifice. The blood of a noble individual. I just didn’t think it would have been from a vampire.”

            A bolt hit him in the head but he merely faded away.

            “Fuck!” Selene came running down to Zea.

            Corrine followed Selene, having killed the last cultist. “Shit,” she said under her breath. “This is all an illusion.”

            Zea pulled the dagger out of her side. “What do you mean illusion?” She put a hand on her wound. She waved off Selene who arrived and had taken out a vial of something.

            “Stop being macho about it. You’re a fodder,” said Selene. “Let me at least stop the bleeding.”

            Corrine drew a rune in the air. The air crackled before an invisible force peeled away all that they saw to reveal that the auditorium had been stripped of the chairs and the walls were painted with blood pentagrams. Off to the side was the summoning table intact with Professor Anderson standing by.

Professor Anderson clapped heartedly. “That was something you should have realized, hunter,” he bellowed. “Afterall, it was what I used to steal those pages in the Vatican’s vault.”           

“You bastard,” shouted Corrine.

“I wouldn’t do that. Pazuzu is here. The summoning is complete,” warned Professor Anderson.

Zea looked at Corrine and mouthed, “What the fuck?”

Corrine’s face was grim. “I hope you’re up to fighting a demon king.”

“Fucking hell,” said Selene as she popped the vial in her hand and poured it on Zea’s wound. “Not a peep. I need you,” she said to the vampire. She threw the now empty vial and loaded a bolt into the crossbow.

Zea nodded and placed herself in front of Selene, her sword ready.

“What a bunch of brave souls that have no chance of winning,” said Professor Anderson before a column of light shot through the ceiling of the auditorium and into the summoning table. “Hail, Pazuzu! Demon King of Storm!”

Zea squinted. She had seen drawings of Pazuzu. The demon had spanning wings, a canine face and talons as feet. What she saw instead come floating down was a cherub-like creature with wings too small to actually be responsible for its flight. The creature's lower body was like that of a goat. In fact, this so-called demon king had horns like a goat too. If anything, this was a satyr. A small, cutesy satyr.

Professor Anderson shook his head. “This can’t be right? I did everything correctly!”

The satyr’s hooves touched the ground. It looked around, at Anderson and then the summoning table. “You really didn’t need to do any of that. Fruits, molded clay and a good red wine would have done just the same,” the satyr pointed out.

“You are supposed to be Pazuzu, Demon King of Storm!” shouted Professor Anderson.

The satyr grimaced. “Yeah, well things get lost in translations, but hey, here I am.” The satyr smiled. “You may call me Paz by the way.”

“So you won’t destroy the world?” asked Selene.

Paz shrugged. “Not so sure about that. Depends on what this guy wishes.” The satyr nudged Professor Anderson. “What is your wish?”

“I wished for my dead wife back! This is why I did all of this!” Professor Anderson was getting teary.

            Paz stroked their goatee. “Did you consult with, I think you mortals call them, a medium?”

            “What? Of course not,” said Professor Anderson hysterically. “Why would I need to? Just bring my wife back! That’s my goddamn wish!”

            Paz sighed. “Amateur. Give me a moment. I need to check something.” The satyr made a hang loose sign with his right hand and put it up against their ear. They mumbled. “Uh, huh. Yes, I want to check in on this guy's wife. Uh, huh. Okay, thank you.”

Paz turned to Professor Anderson with a grim face.

            “Well, I can’t do that. I could’ve but, after consulting, your wife’s soul has been reborn already. Don’t worry, since she did so much good, she is going to have a really good life,” said Paz.

Professor Anderson shook his head. “Reborn? Does that mean I can meet her again?” he asked excitedly.

“Well, you’ll be sixty something  but that’s not going to happen, chap. Unfortunately, for you, you’re going to be locked away for the rest of your life,” said Paz.

Professor Anderson broke down, tears streaming.

Zea couldn’t tell if that was joy or sadness. “Is that it?” she asked Paz.

Paz nodded. “Yup. Should have wished for riches or something. Word of advice to you all, if you’re going to bring someone back from the dead you need two things. One, have their body intact and two, have consulted with a medium to check to see if the person hasn’t been reborn. No soul, no resurrection! Now, I will go away now. Ta-da!”

And Paz was gone.

Zea flashed to Professor Anderson and knocked him unconscious with a quick chop with her hand to the side of his head. She looked over to a grinning Selene and very relieved Corrine.

“Not what I envisioned, but I take it,” said Corrine. She turned to Zea. “Not exactly what I expected from a vampire, but I thank you for helping me.”

Selene coughed. “And me,” she said.

Corrine chuckled. “You too, Selene. Thank you.” She looked between Zea and Selene. “We make a pretty good team.” She let out a hand for a handshake.

“I don’t really do teams with a hunter,” Zea said before shaking Corrine’s hand. “But you’re not too bad. Just don’t try to kill me again.”

“Well, if you hire me for finding someone or pets, I don’t mind teaming up if the price is right. Though, I think, I want to keep away from world ending shenanigans for a while,” said Selene as she clasped the hunter’s hand.

“Seriously?” said Zea to Selene.

“I have thought of joining the Order a few times before,” said Selene.

Corrine’s eyes perked up. “Do you want our brochure--”

“Not right now,” said Selene. She wavered to the unconscious Professor Anderson. “I think you need to take care of him and all of this.” She winked at Zea. “Zea and I have a blooming flower event to go to.”

Zea, catching on, smiled and nodded. “Yes, we do.”

Zea’s lips were locked over Selene’s. She felt Selene's hands moved from underneath her tank top. Her jean jacket and shirt was thrown somewhere in her hidden greenhouse. She pulled away just enough to see if her Queen of Andes had bloomed.

“You sure it’s going to bloom? My gardener said in two days and, well, this is the second day,” said Zea before Selene pulled her down and their lips locked.

In between kisses, Selene spoke. “It’s. So. Ugly. Why. Does. It. Matter?”

Zea stopped her. “I’ve waited eighty years for this,” she said. “I will not miss this.” She pulled away again and sat up.

The two of them were on a flowering bed that had been covered with a tarp.

“Ugh, okay, nerd,” said Selene as she sat up. She rested her head on Zea’s shoulder.

Zea chuckled. “Promise, after it blooms, we can go somewhere much more comfortable.”

“Fine,” sighed Selene.

They stared at the Queen of Andes.

“Can I ask you something?” said Selene as she played with Zea’s hair.

“Yeah?” Zea wrapped an arm around Selene’s waist and pulled the witch closer to her.

“Paz didn’t tell the whole story. When people come back from the dead, something always comes back with them,” said Selene. “Should something happen to me, promise to not bring me back?”

Zea scoff. “That is creepy to know, but nothing is going to happen to you. I’ll be here unless...are you dying?”

There was an awkwardness that hung in the air. Zea wondered if Selene wanted her to make her a vampire. Depending on what terminal illness Selene has, the witch would have to live with it for all of eternity. However, more than that, turning a witch was a big no-no and should Selene get caught by the EC’s cabal, a fate worse than death awaits her.

Selene planted a kiss on Zea’s cheek. “Too cute,” she whispered. “No, I am not dying. Just something my mother told me.”

Just then the Queen of Andes bloomed it’s white flowers.

“Huh, that’s it,” said Zea, a bit disappointed.

“Yup, and still ugly. Now what about that place....” Selene watched a clump of Zea’s hair fall out. “Crap! I need to get you the cure now!”

A few days had passed since Professor Anderson was arrested for the series of murders. It was all the rage and had dominated the news. Selene  glanced at the newspaper, folded neatly on the nightstand, and read the headline, “Serial Killer Linked to Another Murder, East Coast.” It would seem what the demon king, Paz, had said would come to pass.

Selene then turned her attention to a naked Zea who was sleeping peacefully on the bed next to her. Even in this state, bald, the vampire was still beautiful. She thanked the Moon Goddess for leading her to such a kind being for she hadn’t expected Zea to ever talk to her again for causing the vampire to lose all of her hair.

The vampire laughed it off even though she was near tears. Selene had assured Zea that this was just temporary, an unfortunate side effect because they waited too long to administer the solution after the vampire’s ugly flower bloomed. She had assured the vampire the hair would grow back and until then, the vampire could wear a wig. That made it a little better.

Selene grinned, barely containing her laughter with these memories she would cherish to the grave. However, she let out a quiet sigh. The Moon Goddess didn’t just lead her to the vampire.

The witch quietly got out of bed and moved to the window, pretending to adjust the sun blocking curtains. She wanted to test if Zea was truly asleep and also to see out the window. Under the city lights, a white raven had perched itself on the window still. The raven’s red eyes looked at Selene as if accusing her of something.

            Selene pursed her lips before backing away from the window. She looked over to the bald, sleeping Zea. Next to Zea, under a white cloak with an obscure face, was a spirit of sorts placing a translucent hand on the vampire’s head.

            Selene nodded at the spirit, acknowledging what it had done. Zea would not be waking to see her gone for a short moment. She exited the room, taking Zea’s denim jacket that was draped over a couch in the living room and put it on as she headed out of the house.

            Once outside of the house, Selene only had to walk a couple of feet before she was viewing a boardwalk where a yacht was docked at the end. Also at the end of the boardwalk, was someone waiting for her.

            Selene went to the boardwalk and walked along it. As she got closer, she could make out the person more clearly. It was an elderly woman with rings of white braids wrapped around her head. Her dark skin matched Selene’s but her eyes were grey. She wore a purple tunic robe and had golden bangles.

            “Hello, daughter,” said the elderly woman. She smiled warmly at Selene.

            “Mother Aylin,” nodded Selene in acknowledgement. “I have it. The hunter did not suspect that I made a copy of those stolen pages from the Grand Grimoire.” She started to draw a rune in the air. Right after she finished, ancient writings floated from where she had drawn in the air and floated to Aylin’s open palms.

            Aylin nodded in approval. “Those rotten Order have held what is rightfully ours for far too long.”

            Selene sighed. “The Key of Solomon but this is only a few pages. What’s the point?” She purposely left out that she had seen the result of the summoning and she was not impressed.

            Aylin rubbed her hands, the ancient writings sucked away into the bangles she wore. “We only needed these parts.” She observed Selene. “When you’re done playing with that vampire, come home.”

            Selene didn’t get to say a response as Aylin faded away. She looked up at the moon for a few moments before turning around and headed back to the house.

            Once inside, Selene draped Zea’s jacket in the same places she took it from and went back into the bedroom. The spirit was gone which was no surprise to her. She smiled. Zea was still peacefully asleep.

            Selene got into bed and placed an arm over Zea. She nuzzled the vampire’s neck. A melodic voice whispered across the room. She was not alarmed as she knew only she could hear it and it said:

            You cannot change her fate.


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