Hey folks! As promised, here is the showdown! Hope you enjoy it!
(Oh, and don't mind the title, I've just lost my mind!)
Amanda couldn’t remember getting to the roof; the last thing she recalled was François pushing her toward the door and Charlotte pulling her along through endless dark corridors. Amanda looked around now and her heart sank as she saw only the vast forest in which the compound was situated. They were alone out there.
Amanda’s fractured thoughts were interrupted by several crashes from below, inside the compound. “Oh God, François!” She started to run for the roof’s access door, her feet slipping on the loose gravel, only to be stopped by Charlotte’s voice.
“He can take care of himself. Besides, what could you do?” She said matter-of-factly. Charlotte was rummaging in a small rucksack she had grabbed before fleeing to the roof, although how she could see anything in it was beyond Amanda.
“That thing is here for me, and François could get hurt because of it.” Guilt was never something that Amanda handled well. More crashing from downstairs made her jump. Charlotte seemed unperturbed, though, as she began to draw a large circle in the middle of the roof with the metal spike she had been carrying. Amanda watched as Charlotte moved the spike out from the circle in tight and intricate patterns, all the while consulting the small book she had fastened around her wrist.
“What are you doing?” Amanda was having trouble focusing; the fear of the vampire and worrying for François was making her light headed. The fumes from whatever Charlotte was now pouring onto the symbol she had scratched into the roof were only adding to her dizziness.
“It’s a sigil and I hope that I don’t have to use it.” Charlotte glanced briefly over her shoulder at the access door. There was no emotion in her voice and it unsettled Amanda more than the commotion from below.
At that moment, the access door flew open. François leaned breathlessly on the door jamb, his hair was disheveled and his eyes were wild.
“’E got past Marguerite!” He shouted as both Charlotte and Amanda began to move toward him. “’E’s fast, ‘e…” His statement was cut short with a sickening cracking sound. François’ head rolled to side revealing the long, knotted fingers of the vampire around his neck. The creature loosened its grip and François collapsed to the floor like a rag doll.
Amanda started screaming, she didn’t know what else to do. She sank to her knees and stared at the still form of François, willing him to move. Charlotte, however, kept her bright green eyes on the vampire. He stood regarding them for several long and tense moments before stepping over François.
“I have come for what is mine.” His English was thick and garbled like he had only recently learned it. “Who are you to deny me?” The vampire’s eyes lingered on Charlotte, drinking in every detail. The terrible gaunt face snarled and the vampire spat, “Witch.”
“Witch hunter, technically.” Charlotte spoke calmly, like the vampire menacing her was something that she dealt with everyday. “But I’m not too picky about my prey.”
The vampire advanced slowly, confident in his power. Charlotte backed away, matching the pace the vampire set and never taking her eyes from him. The strange tango continued, Charlotte leading the vampire back towards the sigil she had drawn, until Charlotte tripped over Amanda. She landed hard, losing her grip on the spike. The fall only took a second but it was enough; when she opened her eyes she saw the vampire looming over her and Amanda. Something like a laugh escaped past his drawn lips but died when he saw that Amanda was not looking at him.
Charlotte let her gaze drift past the vampire to where Amanda was staring. For possibly the first time in her life, a chill ran down her spine. François’ body seemed to be standing, his head lolling at a weird angle and his arms hanging limply by his side.
The world fell silent as all they all took in the surreal sight, the sick puppet show. The vampire, intrigued, moved closer, searching for the hidden strings. He was close enough that he heard the faint grinding of bone against bone but he was startled all the same when François’ head suddenly snapped backwards with a resounding crack. François gasped raggedly, clutching at his neck frantically until he managed to slip it back into place.
“Mon Dieu,” he rasped, “I had forgotten how much it hurts to die.” François ran a hand over his messy hair, smoothing it down. Then a mischievous smile broke on his face. “Still, it was a good distraction, non?”
Charlotte slid the spike through the vampire with surprising ease. He stared in disbelief at the tip protruding through his chest. Still, he laughed. “This cannot end me.”
“No, iron only immobilizes your kind.” Charlotte spoke sweetly, almost playfully. “We need a fire to destroy you.” She motioned to François and together, each holding an end of the spike, they dragged the vampire into the center of the sigil and dropped him. Charlotte pulled a box of matches from her pocket and lit one.
“I should say a litany for your tortured soul, but quite frankly I don’t care.” Charlotte dropped the match and the sigil burst into light, the flames racing around the ancient pattern. The vampire screamed as the fire surrounded and engulfed him. Within seconds he was quiet, the body burning like kindling.
No one spoke. Amanda was still huddled on the ground shaking at what she had witnessed. François moved towards her, hoping to comfort her but she recoiled. She couldn’t look at him; she could only stare at the bright flames and the thick black smoke that roiled above them.
As the flames began to die, Amanda rose to her feet. “Why did you say that you hoped you didn’t have to use that sigil?” She had to say something or else she feared she might start screaming again.
“Why?” Charlotte looked puzzled. “Because it smells.” She turned from the fire and left.
François let his shoulders sag. “Will you leave now? Now that there is no danger to you?”
“I don’t know. I should, after what I’ve seen…” Amanda paused. She knew what she wanted to say, but couldn’t quite form the words.
“After what you’ve seen,” François’ voice dipped to a whisper, “how could you go?”
She hated to admit it, but he was right.