Harlow stood silently at one end of the alleyway. Opposite of her was a problem, and between them a frightened young man, looking one way and then another. “I, I don’t want,” he whispered. Terror made his voice give out and Harlow’s senses were assaulted by the stench of urine. He thought he was going to die a gruesome death tonight. The thing across from them snarled, took a step and then stopped again. It enjoyed playing with it’s food.
“You’re trespassing,” Harlow spoke, ignoring the mortal for now to focus on the Abomination. For weeks there had been reports that a fledgling from one of the other covens back east had gone mad and managed to escape. The thing was clever to have made it this far without being caught. Where was a member of the Knighthood when you needed one? Then again, if there was a Knight in the area, Harlow would be in danger too.
“Leave this boy now, he’s under the protection of my coven.” she ordered. It was a spell, not a strong one but one that could buy her a little time if the creature decided to attack him after all.
“Stupid bitch, I’ll rip you apart just because!” it barked at her. The Abomination didn’t move to keep that promise. A bluff or bluster, maybe both. Harlow wasn’t a pushover and the creature knew it. There was still a bit of the vampire in it if it could sense that she was more dangerous than she appeared in her cocktail dress and heels.
“Come and get me then,” Harlow challenged, taking a side step away from the young man in the alley.
The creature leapt for her as she’d hoped and reached to grab her. A mistake she was confident it would make. After being attacked by Henry all those years ago, she made a decision to dedicate a portion of her time to learning self defense. She was as close to mastery in a small variety of styles as one could get in almost 70 years of practice. She often didn’t need it, as a vampire she already possessed superior strength, durability and reflexes but martial arts had helped teach her how and when to use them best. She grabbed the Abominations wrist and used it’s momentum to circle behind it’s back and slam it into the ground as hard as she could. There was a small but meaty thump as it’s body cratered into the ground raising bits of asphalt and dirt into the air. She ran to the young man cowering in the alleyway and grabbed the back of his jacket as gently as she could, pushing him in front of her.
“Run,” she ordered as they raced together towards the opposite side of the alleyway. Harlow was forced to stop however when a hooded figure appeared from an upper floor to block their path.
“Halt monster,” ordered an annoyingly authoritative voice. The Knighthood had finally arrived.
“Your timing is either very good or very bad,” she commented, turning to look over her shoulder where the Abomination was beginning to stir. “Let him run,” she ordered, nodding towards the boy.
“You bespelled him!” the Knight accused.
“You’re a moron if you can’t tell it’s a standard vampire protection spell AND that there is something much worse behind me!” she shouted, pointing to the creature now limping rapidly towards them.
“Holy shit an Abomination,” the hooded figure gawked, pulling down his hood to reveal that he couldn’t be much further into his twenties than she was when she died. She noticed he also dropped his “high and mighty” tone of voice. “I don’t have backup,” he stuttered gripping his magical weapon desperately.
“These children are going to get me killed,” she thought with a mixture of annoyance, terror and adrenaline. “I’ll grab it, you kill it,” she ordered rushing to intercept the injured Abomination before it could get much closer. She’d really damaged it earlier, the arm she’d grabbed was dangling limply from a socket and bits of the face were now misshapen. Still, her brute force alone couldn’t kill it and the enchanted weapon the Knight held would certainly do the trick. As she wrestled the Abomination to the ground she desperately wished Olivier had been the one to find it, as a Coven Master he had access to certain powers no one else did, passed down from the Sire’s who created them all. She lost a shoe and part of her dress in the scuffle. Her irritation and fear turned to rage as she headbutted the Abomination away as it tried to angle for her throat.
She winced reflexively as the Knight’s sword plunged deep into the Abomination, letting it go quickly as the creature turned to dust in seconds, it’s existence extinguished by powerful magic. The two looked at the pile of ash for a moment before Harlow found the sword pointed at her. “Hey now, put that away before someone get’s hurt,” she smiled weakly. If she could placate him with the fact that she basically helped save his life, he MIGHT let her go. Not everyone in the Knighthood was strictly black and white morally…but even the “grayer ones” came pretty damn close.
“I’m sworn to kill you,” the Knight retorted, suddenly much braver now that he had her at a distinct disadvantage. She was a mess, certainly less intimidating now that she was down a shoe, holding up her dress and covered with filth and scratches. “At least you might have some redemption for your assistance. May God have-,” he never finished. The young man Harlow had saved came up silently from behind the Knight with a bottle and broke it over his head, knocking him out temporarily.
“Ahh, thank you,” Harlow said as the young man helped her up and politely averted his gaze as she fixed her dress the best she could. “Are you okay?”
“No. But I think I can be eventually, uh…yeah thanks, by the way you’re not gonna?’ he babbled with a gesture towards his neck and her mouth.
“Oh…oh no, well I mean, I can if you want but it’s not necessary I ate earlier.” she explained, fetching her lost shoe.
“Oh okay…no thank you. What was that thing?” he continued, motioning towards the pile of ash.
“It’s called an Abomination, it’s what happens when a new vampire reacts badly to the magic used to create us. Typically they’re killed immediately but this one escaped. It must have been quite clever when it was a mortal, such a shame.” Harlow fixed her hair and decided that shock and trauma could do amazing things to some people.
“What’s his problem?” the youth asked, looking at the unconscious Knight.
“He’s a member of the Knighthood. Hunters usually, he definitely would have killed me if you hadn’t knocked him out.”
The boy shrugged. “You saved my life, I’ve saved yours, I don’t wanna owe nothing to a vampire…uh, speaking of which what did that Knight dude mean by spell?”
“Oh, it’s gone now. It’s literally the lowest level kind of protection spell, it would have held up for about thirty seconds had that thing attacked you. It was mostly just to buy me time to grab it if it went for you first,” she shrugged. “Now, look at me,” she caught his eyes and held them, the young man slipped into a trance easily. “You will go home and sleep, when you wake up you will remember this only as a dream. You will speak of it as a dream and you will not seek out trouble or the supernatural to the best of your ability,” she ordered. Once she was sure that her persuasion had settled into his consciousness she released him and sent him on his way.
Harlow quickly exited the alley in the opposite direction and headed home. When the Knight woke up he was going to have one hell of a headache. She wasn’t looking forward to reporting this to Olivier but at least if nothing else she was alive and the Abomination had been disposed of.
An amusing thought occurred to her some time later as she drove through the front gates of the mansion. She’d never been the lesser of two evils before, and certainly not twice in one day…”Maybe I should buy a lotto ticket…” she chuckled wryly to herself.
Prompt generated from this list of 120 One Word Writing Prompts and the use of Google’s Random Number Generator. Number & Coordinated Theme Generated: 35 – Two.