This story is a direct companion to The Undead Life of Harlow Kaine (1)
Harlow returned to the mansion later than she had planned. As she exited the car she threw her keys to the valet and stopped to address him; “Open the back door please or she’ll throw another shoe at me.”
The valet was startled by not only being addressed by the powerful vampiress but also for the unusual request. Like most of the mansion staff, he was a mundane mortal, upon opening the door he saw nothing exit the backseat. “You can shut the door and your mouth now,” Harlow snapped, before entering the opulent mansion where she and other upper members of the coven lived.
Her mother glided beside her, reduced to silent fuming after scolding her daughter the entire 30-minute drive to the mansion. Harlow hoped she’d run out of things to say because the situation was going to get worse before it got better. The eldest daughter had had almost 70 years to think about the heartache her mother must have suffered in the losses of her four eldest children. Wanda would have watched helplessly as illness took two of her children before they’d even begun to live, and again when another son died fighting a war on the other side of the world. Losing Harlow a few years after that must have been devastating. How much had it hurt? She could never begin to understand.
“Where are we going?” her mother finally asked, voice as icy as her ghostly touch.
“I’m going to introduce you to the man who saved my life. I promise I’ll explain and you don’t have to like him but please be civil for 5 minutes,” Harlow pleaded as she stopped in front of a set of double doors before knocking.
“Enter!” a pleasant male voice called from inside. Harlow opened the door and allowed Wanda to go in first. She always knew her mother was quick, but she didn’t expect death to make her quicker. Before Harlow could say anything in warning, Wanda hurled a shoe straight at the vampire sitting behind the desk.
“MAMA?! What do they just materialize in your hand now?!” she shouted in astonishment as the man she owed her life to stared agape at the vengeful spirit that had assaulted him with what had once been a size seven and a half walking shoe.
“Harlow?” Olivier’s voice quivered with fear and unasked questions.
“Good afternoon Olivier, this is my mother Wanda, she’s upset.”
“Young lady do NOT trivialize my fury I WILL punish you!” snapped her mother. Despite being a 69-year-old vampire Harlow felt the cold fingers of fear skip up her spine. Wanda turned back to Olivier and stuck a ghostly finger in his face. “What did my daughter mean when she said you “saved her life”? Because she’s OBVIOUSLY NOT ALIVE! SPEAK!” she roared when Olivier simply gaped and looked cross-eyed at the aggressive digit.
“MA do you remember Henry Winslow?” Harlow snapped as she shut the heavy study doors behind her.
“That man from the bank you fancied? The one that the police thought killed you?”
“Yes, he did almost kill me actually when he realized that I was spying on him for the bank manager Mr. Jacobs.”
“…What? What do you mean spying?” Wanda demanded, turning her full attention towards her daughter, much to Olivier’s obvious relief.
Harlow suddenly appeared apprehensive as if she were sharing a very personal secret…in fact she was. “Mr. Jacobs noticed some weird figures in Henry’s books and asked me to look into it discreetly. You know I’ve always had a head for figures and he promised me a promotion so I agreed. Eventually I had the proof I was asked to find and presented that evidence to Mr. Jacobs. I’m not sure how Henry found out because I was always so careful, but that night, after offering to walk me home, he pulled me off the path and almost murdered me via a vigorous stabbing. If Olivier hadn’t been passing by at that moment Henry would have succeeded. Olivier offered me a choice as I lay bleeding out onto the grass: Life or death. Obviously I chose life, and my first order of business was to hunt Henry down and reduce him to a spread out pile of unrecognizable fleshy bits and now here we are.”
Wanda stared at Harlow for several seconds. “So…the reason why the police thought your killer “got away with it” because they couldn’t find any trace of Henry Winslow…was because you ripped him to shreds?”
“Drained him of all his blood first and then yes, ripped him to shreds.”
Her mother pursed her lips and tapped a transparent toe. She turned to Olivier first. “YOU. I still won’t forgive you for what you did, manipulating my daughter into your undead army! Secondly,” Wanda continued, looking at her daughter with pride and admiration, “of course you used your newfound powers to exact revenge on your murderer, I’m so proud of you,” her mother squealed as she leaned in to give her daughter a few icy pecks on the cheek.
“Ma?” Harlow questioned.
“Of course I was devastated when the police said you’d been murdered and your body was gone. I wondered how I could put you to rest properly when you and your killer were still missing. I was sick with fury! I vowed to find your murder and bring him to justice, barring that I was going to find him in death and harass him for all eternity.” she turned to glare at Olivier. “I suppose the great news is that your technical murderer is your undead vampiric overlord and you’re still alive so we can make up for lost time.” Wanda looked genuinely happy. “Now, I know where you live and there are some things I’d like to do before I settle in as it were, I’ll be back before you know it darling, I love you!” her mother smiled before fading away.
“I love you too Mama…” Harlow chuckled to air. She and Olivier stood there awkwardly for a few moments. “You know, I’d apologize but it won’t stop her from throwing her shoes at you whenever she comes to visit.”
“I think as long as she doesn’t graduate to books or heavy objects I can live with that. As long as you’re happy…you are happy?” Olivier asked gently.
Harlow was silent for a moment as a small smile graced her lips. “I’m gonna need a few days to process the fact that my mother is a ghost hell bent on haunting my boss for eternity but yeah, I think I’m going to be okay.”
*Prompt generated from this list of 120 One Word Writing Prompts and the use of Google’s Random Number Generator. Number & Coordinated Theme Generated: 74 – Heartache.