It was late when Glory returned to Aaron’s apartment. She ached everywhere and not just because she was bone tired. It barely registered on her that the door was unlocked, but she probably wouldn’t have cared if she had been more awake. She’d gone to great lengths to ensure that she would be safe, or at least safer, from here on out.
The apartment was dark as she entered, but that was to be expected. She hadn’t thought he’d wait up for her after all. She tossed her new backpack onto the sofa and went into the kitchen for a glass of water. She wasn’t about to go through Aaron’s bedroom to get to the bathroom to brush her teeth, but habit made it impossible to sleep without some pretense of a clean mouth. There was just enough light coming in from a streetlight outside the window for her to see what she was doing.
“Glory? Is that you?” Aaron was out of his room as soon as she ran the water, followed a moment later by a strange woman who was adjusting her clothes. Her obviously bleach-blond hair was sticking up at odd angles. Glory rolled her eyes, quite aware of Aaron’s proclivities. He hadn’t exactly made it a secret during her stay, though up until now he‘d entertained himself in the beds of the women he met rather than bringing them home. “It’s nearly dawn. Where have you…. What have you done to yourself?!” He yelped as he saw her. She’d let the hood of her sweatshirt fall back just as he turned on the light. If he thinks my head looks strange, he should see the rest of me, she thought wryly.
“Oh wow…” the woman exclaimed as she saw Glory. “Nice tats. Aaron’s got some interesting tastes in women.” She made a simpering tittering sound that Glory supposed some men found endearing. She was really in no mood to make nice with Aaron’s new conquest. In lieu of answering, she sipped her water. The woman put a hand on Aaron’s bare arm. Her long manicured nails glittered in the kitchen light. Though Glory gave no sign of her feelings one way or the other, he had the decency to wince with embarrassment. “I’ve heard so much about you! I’m particularly interested in your little notebook….”
“What did you… I never said…” Aaron spluttered. Even as he began to turn, she dug her nails into his shoulder. Blood gushed from the wounds. With her other hand, she reached around his waist, effortlessly tearing a gaping hole in his belly. Her fingers seemed to go through his flesh like butter. With a grunt of pain, he fell to his knees clutching at his stomach.
Even as she licked her bloodied fingers, the woman stepped around him, still smiling at Glory. “Hmmm, yummy! This is like… angelfood!” She dissolved into syrupy giggles that might have been infectious under different circumstances. Glory didn’t get the joke.
“Oh yeah, I can definitely tell you’re one of my sister’s goons. How many bottles of dye did you go through before you found exactly the right shade of stripper blond to complete your ensemble?”
“Oh no you did not!”
“Ah… and the Springer-esque outburst completes the persona.” Glory replied in a tired voice. Once upon a time, she might have held her tongue, hoping to end things through diplomacy. Really, she didn’t care enough any more to try.
Aaron groaned, his hand over the wound in his gut. He struggled to rise.
“Excuse me!” growled the woman and swiftly spun to kick Aaron in the head before turning back to Glory.
“Leave him alone!” Glory shouted furiously. He might be a complete letch, but that didn’t mean Glory was comfortable with someone kicking him in the head. Aaron wasn’t all bad.
“What’s the matter darlin’? Jealous?”
“Not hardly. I could happily die knowing I am not a member of that not-so-exclusive club,” Glory sneered.
Even as painful as Aaron’s wounds had to be, he made a grab for the woman’s legs as she took a step towards Glory. When turned to kick him again, Glory used the distraction to grab a salt shaker from the counter and twist the cap off. Glory tossed the contents in her face even as the woman finished kicking Aaron into submission.
Shrieking, the woman frantically brushed at the salt even as her skin began to turn red and peel away. At any other time, Glory would have been fascinated. Instead, she dashed into the living room looking for a weapon. Her mind was racing, alternating between demon, vampire, or bizarre sodium sensitivity. Really, vampire was probably the most realistic guess. The salt had been a long shot… she knew they used to mix salt into holy water. From other legends, she’d theorized that it might be the salt, not the blessings of a priest, which made the water holy. Funny how only a little while ago, the thought of using salt to fend off a bloodsucking fiend would have been academic at best.
“You know… I was gonna be nice, make it quick. Now I think I’ll have some fun.” The wounds on her face and throat were already healing as she stormed out the kitchen.
Glory only made it as far as the sofa. As she tried to vault over the back, the vampire caught her by the ankle. She expected to be hauled back and wondered if her new protections would do anything to a vampire. Instead, she landed hard enough on her chest to hear things creak and then was flung head over heels, coming down hard on the coffee table in front of the sofa. It splintered beneath her.
“It’s a pity I don’t have a video camera. I’m sure your sister would love to have a memento of what I’m going to do to you. Oh well, she’ll just have to settle for a piece of your heart. Maybe I’ll save her a bite or two.” What is this, a Snow White story? she wondered. The thing Lori had summoned into their mother’s body had also threatened to eat her heart. Maybe Lori had demanded it as proof of her death.
In an instant, the vampire was perched over Glory. She grabbed her by the head and began bending her backwards over the shattered remains of the table. Great… so the tattoos are useless against vampires, Glory thought in irritation. But an instant later, the vampire pushed away from her. She kept Glory pinned with one hand bunched in her shirt as she crouched, shaking her other hand with a puzzled expression on her face.
“What the hell…?” the woman demanded in an irritable voice, flexing her fingers as if they hurt.
Okay, Glory thought… next to useless. But she was under no illusions about how easy it would be for the vampire to snap her neck or otherwise kill her without actually touching her skin. At least it didn’t seem to be much stronger than a normal person, well a normal crazy person. Not like in the movies where vampires could lift cars and toss people through walls. Just the thought of a real vampire probably made most people freeze up.
Glory wasn’t most people though, and she wasn’t going to let a little fear paralyze her. Even pinned as she was, she cast about with her free hand and screamed with relief as she encountered a table leg. She thrust the improvised stake up and hoped she’d hit something vital.
to Book 1, part 2, page 5