I stared numbly at my bloody hand in astonishment. My emotions were spent, I couldn’t fully process that Scarlett was gone so I couldn’t even begin to deal with the fact that I was alive.
How could Scarlett be gone? We had been together for my entire long afterlife, she couldn’t leave me now.
Nick picked her up and said something to Amir. I wanted to stop him, why was he taking her away? Something kept me in place, a weird feeling that she was out of my reach. Maybe he could help her.
Our lives were filled with magic; surely it wasn’t unattainable to have one more miracle? But what if I had used it all up? It was impossible, but I could feel my heart beating.
A new fear entered my mind. Where did I go from here? Was this permanent, or would it wear off? What if I died again? Would it be like my first time, where I had to suffer terrible shock and pain? Or, what if I just faded away, and suddenly I found myself unable to feel and touch again? Somehow I wasn’t sure which one was worse. I felt a curious tightening in my chest.
Amir gripped my shoulders, I marvelled at how I could feel his grip. Deliberately I drew in a deep breath, clearing some of the fog in my mind. Despite everything, the relief of oxygen rushing into my system felt glorious.
“Lillian? Can you hear me?”
“What’s wrong with her?” Vanessa stood a few paces away, looking worried.
“I think she’s in shock. Lillian, everything will be ok.”
Something clicked in my mind and I started crying even harder.
“Everything is not ok, Scarlett is dead!”
I saw my sadness reflected in his expression. “I know, but Nick just took her. He’s taking her to a graveyard. Remember that thing with the draugr? Maybe… maybe there is hope.”
I recalled all of the research we had done and the information she had got from the reaper, Gabriel.
“But she’s not been infected,” I argued.
Amir looked troubled, “Well no… but we don’t know exactly how everything works. Look at you, you're actually breathing!” He pulled me into his arms and I hugged him back. It felt better than I had ever imagined.
“This is real.” I breathed, “I’m really alive.” It was crazy, heartbreak and joy at the same moment. My poor new heart couldn’t cope.
His medical training kicked in and he began taking my pulse.
Vanessa shuffled a few steps closer. “Guys, I know that this is an actual miracle and everything… but I think we should get out of here soon.”
I looked around, remembering the hideous creature that had assailed us earlier. The space was quiet now, nothing moved in the shadows.
“Do you think we killed them all?” I asked.
Amir looked uneasy. “Well, they don’t seem to be very intelligent. We’ve made a lot of noise here and no more have come to attack. I think we got them all before.”
“We should make sure,” Vanessa said.
“How?” He asked.
She pulled a package from her bag. It was similar to the one I had seen her use previously when she set the creatures on fire, only larger.
“Woah, hang on a minute. You want to burn it?” Amir looked alarmed.
Burning down the warehouse seemed like the best plan to me. It would remove the evidence of the numerous creatures we had killed, along with the headless vampire in the corner. Plus, I did not want any infected blood available for another repeat of Charlotte’s experiment.
“We should find the lab and start the fire there,” I said resolutely, getting to my feet. For a moment I was a little unsteady, unused to actually supporting my weight. A weird tingly feeling unsettled me for a moment before I realised that I was actually just… cold.
“Lillian! This is Scarlett’s building.”
I must have been channelling my long time roommate because his comment did not deter me.
“Scarlett… is not here right now. But if she was, I am sure she would be right by my side. The safety of the city takes priority over some stupid building.”
Vanessa weighed the thing in her hand. “This is a bit bigger than the one I used before. It’s probably going to do some serious damage.”
“Good,” I said.
The lab turned out to be in a small backroom. Most of the equipment had been broken and smashed, although we destroyed the rest just to be certain. We checked everywhere to be sure that nothing else was living in the area. I wouldn’t put it past Charlotte to have some more hostages around to snack on.
When we were sure the entire structure was empty, we poured a liberal amount of flammable oil over the bodies in the main room. It had been stored in a row of barrels outside, a relic from whenever the building was last in use. It was probably overkill, but I wanted to know for certain that nothing could be salvaged when the authorities inevitably arrived.
“You’re going to want to run,” Vanessa told us, preparing to release the spell. “Don’t look back; just get out of the building.”
Amir and I still hesitated, waiting for her.
“What are you waiting for, go now!” She yelled, throwing the thing with a string of words.
As soon as it hit a wall it burst into flames. They raced across the old bricks, looking almost alive. For a moment I thought I could see demonic-looking animals cavorting in the fire. The sight mesmerised me, making me forget that I was supposed to be running.
I had forgotten what it was like to be in real danger. As a ghost, only so much could happen to me. Now I had a body, I assumed I could be hurt the same as anyone else. The thought was both terrifying and strangely thrilling.
“Lillian, come on!” Amir grabbed my hand and pulled me forwards. My trance was broken and I ran as fast as I could, hindered slightly by my heavy skirt.
Vanessa was right behind us. “Go, go!”
Already smoke was filling the room, obscuring my vision. I had to remember that I couldn’t pass through things anymore- running into a wall would not help.
Vanessa stumbled but I caught her, pulling her up without stopping our momentum. We flew through the maze of shelves, gasping for air. The fire crackled and roared behind us, growing unnaturally fast. Just when I was starting to get desperate we flew through the doors and out into the heavy rain.
I laughed with relief, tilting my head up to the sky. The rain felt icy on my face, soaking me within seconds. I knew that it was cold, freezing even but I didn’t care. I hadn’t felt so good in centuries.
My elation was quickly tempered when I remembered that Scarlett was still dead. For a second I had half expected her to be right by my side, celebrating our victory. I didn’t have time to dwell on it.
“Damn I gave him my car keys! We have to go!” Vanessa called, already heading towards the gate. “We can’t get caught here, arson was still a crime last I checked!”
I suddenly realised that I was now perfectly capable of being caught and arrested by the police. I had no ID, not even an official address. How would I explain that? Not wanting to find out I hurried after Vanessa, Amir close behind.