23 Mar
2015

The Vampire Strikes Back

Last year, I tried out Alphabot, the story word generator from the 500 Words children’s writing competition. Michaeline Duskova, my friend and fellow blogger at Eight Ladies Writing, said she’d have a go if I did, so the bet was on. My words were butterfly, vampire, witch, invaluable, tender. Here’s what I came up with.

If James had still been human, he wouldn’t have lasted five minutes out there. The vampire stood immobile on the tiny ledge, impervious to the screaming wind and spray from the waves breaking around the base of the tower.

Far below a door opened and the witch emerged, arms aloft, drinking in the tempest. Then she was gone, riding the storm towards the distant cliffs.

James popped open the latticed window and slid inside. So far, so good. His heart wasn’t thumping, but he knuckled the spot on his stake-proof vest all the same. Kevlar had proved surprisingly useful in the afterlife.

“Excuse me, sir?”

The voice was feminine and faintly Spanish. It sounded harmless, but he wasn’t stupid enough to fall for that. He scoped the room again. The floor was a glassy lake, and at the fulcrum stood a crystal column of contained chaos, swirling blood-red and bruised purple and deathly black, punctuated by dazzling lightening flashes. Without doubt he’d found the living heartbeat of the witch’s deadly power. Now he just had to work out how to defuse or destroy it.

“Up here.”

There was a jeweled filigree cage above the column. He took a risk and floated close enough to look inside. Empty. Then he saw it, hanging upside down from the highest bar: a small, drab-looking butterfly, wings folded.

“Why do you wait?” the voice continued. “She’ll be back soon, and then things will become very bad.”

“Not as bad as they’ll be if I blow this thing apart,” he said. “I have to figure out what’s powering it.”

“Ah.” The butterfly turned, watching, as he floated around the column. “I’m afraid that would be me.”

“Really?” Time was short and he was only half-listening.

“I’m sorry,” she said. “It’s cold. It’s dark and I’m lonely. I want to go home.” Her voice quavered, and there was a flicker of movement followed by a ripple in the atmosphere. Dark energy boiled and hammered against the crystal, and he finally paid attention. Odd that someone so invaluable should look so nondescript.

“Don’t be sad,” he said experimentally. “I’ll take you home.”

“Home?” There was a shocked silence. “Truly?”

He sneaked a look down, and sure enough the rolling boil had subsided to a simmer.

“I swear,” he said formally. Whatever happened, he wouldn’t leave her to the witch’s tender mercy. “Tell me about your home while I get you out of there.”

“The sun shines every day,” she said, unfurling her wings gently.

“Go on.” James secured the explosive charges, squinting as the column began to shimmer golden.

“The flowers are bright and so beautiful.”

Whump!

The column shattered into a million fragments, and a wave of sparkling light spread through the room, out of the windows and over the sea. The wind died away and with it the echo of the witch’s scream.

He extended a black-gloved hand to where she perched on top of the cage, turquoise wings glowing.

“Vámonos, señorita.”

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