As the tent begins to collapse around me to let the chaotic beasts outside of its cloth walls inside, I feel the last of my strength return.
I don’t think I can fight them again.
Bat, I think. Turn into a bat.
My body stays the same.
I really wish Dracula had taught me how to change into one. It’s something all vampires can do, but most of them have no idea that they can, so they write it off as a myth.
The top of the tent falls down on me, the pulleys and the bars hitting me hard. I rip my way through with my claws as monkey-people trample over me. I can feel myself breaking again, but I’m not going to let it happen. They aren’t going to win.
I feel my claws dig into an ankle, blood trickling down my hand. I throw the body out of my way and I have room to stand up.
As soon as I do, five monkeys are on me at once. My feet are tangled in the fabric, but I manage to dispose of three of them. The other two are biting away at my shoulder and my calf.
Suddenly I feel my calf detach from my body.
I cry out in pain and hit the ground. The monkey that took the muscle puts some distance between us and pulls it apart hungrily.
I feel my body losing blood and poison from the gaping wound, and I can feel it trying to mend itself.
My venom is poison to whoever ingests it.
I stand through the pain and shove the monkey-man off of me, knocking over three more of them.
I turn around just as the monkey-girl who took my calf finishes and turns back towards me hungrily.
She starts to crawl toward me, and then her body lurches into a spasm. She pukes up blood then her eyes roll to the back of her head as she falls into a seizure.
Then she’s dead.
Vampire venom reacts differently from being in your bloodstream and changing you when it’s ingested.
I smile as the monkey-man who had been biting me—who had been swallowing my blood—does the same as the girl.
My calf mends itself and the monkey-people step away from me, eyeing me suspiciously. I stand with my cockiness level to the max.
“What did you do to them?” A girl hisses, rocking back and forth on the balls of her feet as her tail twitches madly.
“You can’t eat me,” I smirk. “My blood will kill you.”
She hisses and the others follow suit. A few of them look like they still want to attack, but they keep glancing questionably over to the girl that had spoken.
“But we can try,” she smiles and the monkey-people around her explode into monkey squeals and calls, lifting this hands into the air.
I smirk. All of my power has returned to me.
A few come forward and I close my eyes, picturing a place to transport them to.
I see the dungeon and Adam lying there on the ground, watching me change. I see the ogre and the club.
But I mostly see the place we were held captive, where the Ring Leader disappeared right in front of my eyes.
There. I want them there.
I open my eyes and thrust my hand onto the first monkey half-breed and it disappears. Another comes to me and I touch it too.
I feel a little weaker.
I throw another off the ground and into a tree, her back snapping.
The human inside of me cries, but the vampire is in a frenzy.
I touch another and it disappears.
A bigger monkey-man charges at me and I throw him to the ground with one hand in one swift move. I pick him back up and bite into his neck.
The blood makes me stronger.
Two more disappear at my touch. Another one. One more.
One by one they disappear or fall to the ground as I refill and destroy all in my path.
I am indestructible.
“STOP!” I hear.
A bat swoops down low as the monkeys halt. Black clouds of smoke start to float off of its wings as it grows and lands on the ground with human feet.
I expected it to be the Ring Leader.
My second guess was Adam.
I was right neither time.
“Hello, Vanessa,” the middle-aged looking man smiles.
“What are you doing here?” I ask him, taking a step back. “How did you…?”
“I did what everyone else seemed to be doing,” he chuckles, his fangs gleaming. “I made a wish.”
“How did you know?” I ask, staring into his dull, red eyes.
“Your little fairy friend told me everything that had happened and I decided to come see what all the fuss was all about.”
“Well you’re here now,” I say, looking around at the monkey-people. “Are you going to go all father on me like usual? How I’m giving you a ‘bad reputation’, Dracula?”
He chuckles as I say his name.
“You can’t give me one if you don’t exist anymore,” he smiles.
“What are you talking about?” I ask, forgetting about the hunger-driven half-human-half-monkey people around me. “Of course I exist. I’m a vampire now. Vampires live forever.”
Dracula shakes his head.
“In the future, there is no you,” Dracula says—the most powerful and well-known vampire that walks across this Earth, and who just so happens to be who I used to call ‘dad’—holds out his hand to me.
I know what he’s doing, as he’s only done it once before when I was young, and the experience stuck with me. I never forgot what he could do.
I take his hand cautiously and the world around us changes. I see myself standing alone in the Underground City. The walkways are empty and the fairy magic is slowly losing its brightness. My flaming hair is disheveled and covering half of my face. My red irises are glowing in the dimming light and my body is standing as if it’s ready to spring. I’m breathing heavily and staring off in the distance, past Dracula and myself, my fangs starting to drip.
“Well, Rochelle, Vanessa, whoever you are,” I hear a voice behind me. “Now you die.”
The other me sprints forward, but I don’t get too far before a flaming stake crushes through my rib cage and into my heart. I scream as I watch myself fall to my knees, and I look at Dracula, who is looking away. He can’t watch.
The flames engulf me in the matter of seconds. Vampire venom is extremely flammable, which is why you can kill us with fire, and not much else. The stake to the heart just slows us down.
I watch as I pull out the stake and stare into the distance where it had come from. That me wasn’t going to let whoever impaled her get the pleasure of watching her suffer.
I watch as the skin starts to melt away and burn. I sob, watching my own death. I can’t just die! Vampires aren’t supposed to die!
But I will.
And there’s nothing I can do about it.
I see myself smile through the flames.
“At least that boy is saved,” I hear her say.
She drops to the ground, charred, and her body disappears from view as I release my father’s hand. The monkeys are still here, but I can barely see them through the tears.
I’m going to die.
“Thank you,” I tell Dracula as I wipe the burning tears from my face. “Thank you for that.”
He nods sadly and takes a few steps backwards.
“It was a pleasure getting to remember you, Vanessa.”
I nod, remembering he’s from the future, that he doesn’t remember—won’t remember me. I was only something of his past after the wish had been made, and now I’m a sliver of a memory that will soon fade away.
A tear falls down his cheek as he disappears in a blue light, a red streak following it. Harold appears where Dracula faded from. My father.
The monkey-people stand around oohing and aahing.
“You work for the Ring Leader, do you not?” I ask the monkey-girl who had challenged me, after clearing my throat and collecting my composure.
“What’s it to ya?” she growls.
“It’s a yes or a no question,” I spit as Harold flutters to me and hovers over my shoulder.
“Yes,” she said over the squawking of her people.
“And your people are hungry, right?”
She shakes her head, licking her lips.
“Then take me to him. He can turn me human, and then you may have your dinner.”