She’s grieving my corporeal vagina, because she’s actually expecting the new-and-unimproved ghost me to rise, no doubt.
It’s fortunately a welcome distraction, which brings me to step three.
Step three is to never panic, because I’m not entirely sure what I am at this point, given the fact there are apparently an abundance of monsters in existence, but I do know I’m incredibly terrifying when I panic.
There’s a moment where my brain shuts down, and the only thing on my mind is survival. Which is odd, since I can’t actually seem to die. Maybe that’s why that true panic is very rare, thankfully.
Most people don’t simply wake up after having their throat slashed.
The healing ribbon that is still painfully threading itself through my throat means I’ve woken too soon.
My fingers and toes are numb. I really lost too much blood.
Did they have to overkill me? Was the throat slashing not enough, for fuck’s sake?
Since I can hear the patter of feet outside the door, I have to bite through the pain and hold my silence, because I need that satin tied off real tight before I go trying to escape this place. My pain tolerance is my second secret weapon.
With any luck, there’s just the two men who blindsided me earlier. Should be simple enough, if so.
As the final drag of the satin pulls into place and tugs the skin tightly over my heart, the room mostly stops spinning. I think we’re actually in a dark closet.
More light spills under the door, like there’s a second door beyond it that’s opening.
“Get her. She’s not a Portocale. Whatever was supposed to happen didn’t happen, so your fucking source was wrong,” a man is saying in an exhausted tone.
“You smelled her blood too, and it was—”
“It was sweet. Sometimes, sweet blood is just sweet blood. Doesn’t have to be gypsy blood, and certainly doesn’t have to be Portocale blood, you stupid shit. We don’t have the special talent to sniff it out, unlike some,” the man adds, saying the last part a little bitterly. “Just get her out of here.”
There’s some cursing, and a few sounds that resemble the noise made by presumably a fist hitting the wall.
“What now?” one of them says.
“Damien fucking Morpheous just went to Georgina’s home, asking about the dead girl we have in our closet. She’s called a meeting with the covens to investigate.”
“Why? Everyone knows the Portocale gypsies handle their own, no matter what. Why does he suspect vampires in the foul play?”
“We killed something they wanted to play with, and it was all for fucking nothing. I told him this was a stupid idea. We could have found another Portocale. But he’s such an arrogant…”
The words trail off like the man is walking away and lowering his tone at the same time.
This is why I woke up too soon. They’re not quiet, and my mind only likes to slink into unconsciousness for so long. The inside of my head is actually scarier than the world I’ve seen so far, so I can’t blame my mind for wanting to run back into the safety net of reality at the first opportunity it can find.
“I bet as a ghost,” Anna says on a sniffle, “you’d be so much less boring. I’ll bet you’d miss your vagina as much as I do.”
My eyes shut just as the door opens, and I remain perfectly still as someone’s hands clasp over my ankles.
“What the actual hell is she wearing?” another voice asks, as I’m dragged out of the closet.
“Looks like bad curtains. Some gypsies, man...they’ll wear anything.”
A few good-spirited chuckles over my dead body at the expense of my terrible wardrobe sets the tone for the types of guys I’m dealing with. I was really hoping for hysterical, guilt-ridden first-timers who are prone to panic attacks.
The chuckling dies off, and I hear the spinning of thread somewhere in the room…the very subtle whirring of it they surely don’t notice.
“I can’t wait until her spirit jumps out. She’s so going to explode the two of you. I bet gypsies ghosts are badass,” Anna states before she starts actually barking.
I imagine she’s bouncing around, since the barking is coming from all sorts of directions. If she were a dog, she’d be a damn miniature schnauzer.
“What the hell is that?”
Shit. How the hell did they notice the thread? Who pays attention to any fabric in the room ever?
I remain still, deciding it’s still the only trick in my pony’s saddlebag.
“I don’t know. Looks like…soft pink stitches or some shit,” the other voice says as though he’s truly puzzled.
If I wasn’t playing the role of a stiff corpse, I’d totally relax.
“Someone sewed her up?”
“With satin?” another man asks as the scrape of calloused fingers touch my cold body.
The hardest thing in the world to do is lie still and not panic when two men, who have already tried to kill you once, touch the still painful wounds they’ve left you with.
The gentle whirring of the threads continues, as the subtle tugging sound of it across hardwood only finds my ears because they’re so close to the floor.
“So that’s not just in my head then. That’s really there,” Anna says as though she’s impressed. “Maybe I’m not crazy after all.”
The most gratifying thing in the world is hearing two shocked yelps erupt as those calloused fingers are ripped away, and that crawling sensation I have vanishes with the arrival of the upper hand.
I hear the telling sound of two bodies crashing on either side of the room. I jackknife to the seated position, eyes flying open as I do, and Anna’s wide, horrified eyes meet mine just inches in front of my face.
For a second, we just stare at each other as the two men strangle against either wall and struggle in vain.
Then Anna’s face falls, her mouth opens, and she releases an ear-splitting scream that seems endless.
Grinning, I leap up to my feet, glance over, and…try not to piss myself as my grin turns to a shocked, gaping-distorted-mouth sort of thing.
Those black eyes I barely glimpsed before they slit my throat are there. Fully black eyes, in fact. That wasn’t a loss-of-blood hallucination.
My head moves from man to man, watching as their fangs—freaking fangs—elongate. Well, this day officially sucks worse than it already did.
Anna continues screaming like she’s in the seedy backseat of a car at the start of a horror flick.
“That…is so not normal,” I say under my breath as the…vampires begin struggling really damn hard against the threads, making the only sound they can—bone-chilling, feral hisses.
Freaking vampires are real. This is really happening.
Later, Violet. Now’s not the time to go into shock.
The threads are a cool trick, but they don’t actually stay so strong for very long, and those vampires should totally be dead by now. But vampires don’t die by strangling in the movies.
As paranoid and delusional as the concept of vampires makes me feel, my they-won’t-fall-for-it-twice dread kicks in and I spring into action. Sort of.
Swallowing thickly, I glance around the room, spotting a wooden table.
Anna comes right in front of me as I sweep the lamp off it, and she grabs—or tries to grab, rather—my shoulders. Then she screams even louder.
I’d say it’s almost like she’s seen a ghost, but I hate a bad pun.
“Oh, horror movie obsession, don’t fail me now,” I say as I slam the table onto the ground like they do in all the movies when they’re hurting for a good wooden stake.
The table hits, vibrates really hard through my arms, and I fall down on top of it, feeling pain shoot up my leg when my knee bangs a hard angle all wrong.
This is my mother’s fault. Because my mother wouldn’t let me become a badass. I stupidly let her dictate my life to make up for the fact she had a monster for a daughter.
“What are you doing?” Anna shouts, still partially screaming.
“Trying not to panic because panicking is very bad!” I shout as I struggle to kick at the legs of the table.
All that happens is that my hip is jolted. The sturdy table remains unfazed. At this rate, I’m well on my way to doing more damage to myself than the vampires did to me.
“Did they feed off me?” I bite out, kicking a little more aggressively, to no avail.
“Yes. They fed a lot. You lost a lot of blood and they all orgied and took turns sucking your neck,” Anna says, pacing back and forth.
“I really hope that’s a lie,” I gripe as I release a frustrated sound, unsuccessfully still kicking the shit out of the unrelenting table leg.
“You look ridiculous and they’re going to kill you again!” Anna shouts.
“What the hell? Is this the best piece of furniture ever made or what?” I snap as I push to my feet, sliding across the slippery surface of the hardwood.
My stomach gets a little queasy. I’m pretty sure that’s my blood making the floor slippery.
Spotting a fireplace poker thingy, I grab it and run back over to the table before whacking the hell out of the table leg closest to me.
“Buffy would so kick your ass,” Anna informs me like it’s her duty to do so.
“I lost a lot of blood. It’s a little weakening,” I grunt at her in between my failed whacks.
“Excuses won’t save your life, and I suck at saving your life!”
“Well aware,” I bite out just as pieces of wood finally splinter off the damn incredibly well-crafted table.
I grab two chunks that look nothing like the pretty stakes in the movies, and I run to the man who is nearest.
He snaps those fangs at me, eyes still black and red veins bulging on his face, as he strangles but finds himself unable to die. Been there. Sucks.
He should learn to properly faint.
Fortunately, he’s restrained enough for me to slam the stake into his heart. Apparently, I miss.
So I stab him again. And again. And—
Fourth time’s the charm, because his veins start quickly filling in black as his struggle ceases. That’s extremely anticlimactic after all that work.
The other one starts panicking and struggles in a frenzy to escape when he sees his comrade dead.
“They’re supposed to turn into dust! You did it wrong!” Anna shouts, causing me to hesitate, but I don’t have time to overthink things.
The threads strangling them fortunately silence their screams for help.
But…the racket I stirred by making stakes probably did enough damage in the noise department.
“Never mind! He’s dead enough!” Anna gasps as she examines the first dead body.
Racing over to the other, I stab as hard as I can this time, really driving it deep. I don’t miss on my second vampire of the day.
“I really hate the sight of blood,” I groan as it drizzles from his wound.