Sisters of Night

By:  Mark J. Hadley

*          *            *


            It's not much, Buttercup thought, but it's better than nothing.  She looked over the items she had collected…not everything she was looking for, unfortunately, and she hoped it would be enough.  She scooped up the two metal tent stakes that she found in garage…perfect for Ginela, she reasoned.  Tucking them away in her belt, she lifted the next item, tying it around her neck: a small string of garlic cloves.  She figured this should pretty well protect her.

            At least she hoped it would.  She was only going off of legends and movies now, not actual fact.  However, it was all she had to go on, so she put her faith in it.  She couldn't find anything as good as holy water, though…she couldn't even find a cross, the professor being a man of science and all.  Still, she just decided that if it came to it, she could hold two of the stakes out together.

            She also had found a nice little UV lamp in the professor's laboratory.  Not as strong as sunlight, but it'd at least drive them back, she hoped.  Packing up everything, she picked up the last item on her list, examining it: a sharp, dagger-sized shard of Duranium she found in the lab as well.  The iron stakes would work on Ginela, but she needed this for the girls, just in case.  Taking a deep breath, she said aloud, "Only if there's no other way…" and tucked it into her belt next to the others.

            Buttercup glanced at the clock…fifteen minutes left.  Well, it's now or never, she thought.  Heading for the back door to sneak out, she prepared the rescue operation, hoping her determination would be enough to safely carry her through this…

*          *            *

            The night was deathly quiet as Buttercup made her way around to the back of Ginela's house.  She allowed a small smirk as she entered the backyard.  Great, she thought, they haven't seen me.  Maybe this is gonna work…  She darted quickly from tree to tree in the back, until she finally made it up against the rear wall of the house.  Quickly, she gave a listen with her ultrasonic hearing to see if she could locate where they were inside.

            At first, she didn't hear anything, but then Buttercup caught the sound of the professor's voice, "She won't give up, not to you."  Great, she thought.  He's not far…

            Ginela's voice followed, "She had better, if she expects to ever see you again…at least, as a member of the living."

            "You won't get away with it!"

            "But I already am, so what's the difference?"

            Buttercup narrowed her eyes.  Well, I know where the two of them are, but what about Blossom and Bubbles?  Where are they?  I don't hear them…well, it doesn't matter, I have a window of opportunity and…

            A stream of water suddenly sprayed into her from the side.  Buttercup was startled by it, holding up her arms in front of her face, sputtering, "Wha…??"  That's when she noticed Bubbles nearby…she had snuck up around the side of the house and was armed with a hose.  After spraying for a few more seconds, she shut it off.

            "There," she said, watching the soaked and thoroughly-confused Buttercup.  "That fixes things."

            "What do you…" Buttercup began, and then noticed something was missing: her makeshift necklace of garlic cloves had fallen apart under the torrent of water, lying in puddles on the ground.  Buttercup barely had time to realize this before Bubbles crossed the distance between them, slamming an elbow into her chin and sending her skidding back across the lawn.

            As Buttercup recovered, she thought, Not good, not good!  She quickly rolled to the side as Bubbles slammed feet-first into the ground next to her.  Just use your instincts, she told herself.  They may be stronger, but you're still a better fighter!  That's what counts!  She got back to her feet and did a quick leap up into the air to avoid a punch from Bubbles, following up the leap with a strong kick to her head.

            It didn't do much more than send her off balance.  Buttercup took advantage of this anyway and flew past her on one side, swinging a fist to her back.  It knocked Bubbles off her feet, and she landed face-first on the ground.  Before she could get up, Buttercup dropped down and held her in place.  Even though it was a good grip that kept her from moving, Bubbles' immense strength nonetheless made it difficult to hold her there for long.  Acting fast, she slid a free hand to her belt, grasping the Duranium spike…

            Wait, what are you doing?! Buttercup thought.  That's a last resort, remember?  Ginela first, and if that doesn't work, then you have no choice…  She replaced the spike and grabbed the back of Bubbles' head, pushing hard and ramming it into the ground.  It worked…it looked like she knocked her cold.  At least for now, she reminded herself.  She'll probably recover in a minute or t—…

            Something hit her on the side of the head, hard.  The Duranium spike fell out of her hands as she tumbled out of control, right through the side of the house, crashing and skidding a few feet across the carpet before coming to a rest.  Groggily, she looked up and saw where she was, in one of the back bedrooms of the house.  As she started to get up, Blossom appeared at the hole she had just made in the side of the house.  "I should've known you try something like this," she said.  "No way would you just give in, or leave the professor in danger."

            Blossom drifted forward a couple of feet, and that's when Buttercup quickly pulled the UV light off her belt, switching in on and shining it at her.  Blossom yelped, averting her eyes from it and shrinking back.  It started to burn her skin just a little, and she quickly retreated back outside.  Buttercup let out a sigh of relief and switched the light off, heading in the opposite direction further into the house.  Gotta get the professor, she thought, before one of them warns Ginela I'm coming…

            She slipped down the hallway, which lead to the living room.  Peeking around the corner, she saw that the professor was there, in the center of the room, tied to a chair.  Ginela was nowhere to be seen.  Careful, it's got to be a trap, she thought.  She's probably nearby, and when you head out there, you're caught.  Before she moved from her hiding place, she glanced around the room with her x-ray vision.  No sign of her, she thought.  Guess it's safe…I'd better move, then!  Without any further hesitation, she dashed into the room to free the Professor…

            Something grabbed her by the neck before she was halfway across the room.  As she struggled in surprise, Ginela materialized from out of nowhere, smiling evilly.  "Surprised?" she asked as Buttercup continued to struggle.  "I have lived for over a thousand years, little one.  In that long I've learned more than a few things, including that it doesn't matter how strong any mortal is…it cannot compare to my own power."

            Buttercup didn't wait for more…instead, she fired a point-blank blast of her eyebeams.  The attack, though it didn't hurt Ginela, startled her enough that her grip slackened, and Buttercup broke free.  Not wasting a moment, she grabbed the UV flashlight and switched it on.  Ginela cried out, covering her face, and ran to one side.  As she did, she faded from view, becoming invisible once again.

            Gritting her teeth, Buttercup tightened her grip on the flashlight, shining it around to all corners of the room.  Where'd she go? she thought.  C'mon, show yourself!  She got more and more nervous as silence descended across the room again…the only sound she heard was her own breathing.  The light in her hands darted from place to place…she knew she was still out there, she had to be.  Unless, she retreated…but she knew better than that.

            As she slowly started to back up, Ginela suddenly materialized above her, clinging to the ceiling.  In a quick swipe of her hands, bared in a claw-like fashion, the UV light was knocked from her grasp and struck the ground.  The casing broke, and the light shattered from the impact.  Buttercup flew back quickly as Ginela dropped from the ceiling, landing on her feet.

            Buttercup was starting to run out of options as she backed up against the nearest wall, and Ginela started to stride towards her slowly.  Buttercup reached onto her belt, taking a couple of her iron spikes out, holding them up in front of her like a cross.  "Back!" she shouted forcefully.

            Ginela just laughed, reaching out and grabbing the spikes from her hands.  As Buttercup stared back in shock, she tossed them aside and said, "You're a fool, Buttercup.  Even if that were a real cross, it wouldn't have worked.  It's the bearer's faith that drives back a vampire, not the holy symbol itself."  Noting the look on her face, she added, "Yes, it is hopeless for you.  Are you ready to surrender?"

            "N…no…" Buttercup said, slowly raising her fists.  She spoke with forced courage, "No, I'm not going down without a fight…"

            Sighing, Ginela said, "As you wish…"  Faster than Buttercup could even see, Ginela crossed the room, slamming a fist into her gut…she doubled over in pain and tried to back up, but Ginela had already grabbed hold of her arm and swung her overhead, throwing her into the far upper wall.  Buttercup snapped out of it just before she hit the wall and kicked off of it, launching herself back at Ginela instantly.  The move took her by surprise, but she still managed to avoid the tackle, with a quick hop to one side.

            Buttercup took this opportunity to angle directly towards her and unleash a flurry of punches and kicks.  Though Ginela managed to block a number of the incoming blows, one good punch connected, knocking her off her feet and into a nearby couch.  As she paused to catch her breath, she thought, What good is this gonna do?  You can't stop a vampire by fighting it!  She glanced over to where her iron stakes had been tossed, and made a break for them, but Ginela was back on her feet and rushing for her again, ramming into her with her shoulder.

            The blow knocked Buttercup off-track, into the chair the professor was tied up on.  The chair fell over, smashing to pieces against the ground.  Buttercup was dazed from the fall, but when she noticed that the professor was now free of the chair, she quickly called out, "Professor, run!  Hurr—…"  That was as much as she got, before Ginela was on her again…slashing like claws, she raked her nails across Buttercup, who cringed as they struck her, leaving small cuts.  She wasn't invulnerable to her, and part of her knew that it was probably due to her being supernatural.  Probably why her fangs worked on Bubbles in the first place…but Buttercup didn't have time to think about it; she had her survival to worry about.

            She might not have to worry for long, though, because Ginela continued pummeling her relentlessly.  She was so strong that Buttercup had a hard time putting up any kind of defense.  With a loud cry, Buttercup kicked both of her feet out, pushing Ginela away.  The kick sent her completely through the next wall…even though Buttercup was weak, and a little tired from the effort, she smiled.  As she tried to get her bearings, to find the iron spikes, she noticed the Professor had gotten away.  Good, she thought.  Maybe I can just go now…come back when it's daylight, and she'll have a harder time fighting me then…

            As she started to get back to her feet, though, someone grabbed her from behind…actually, two people did.  Looking in fear, she suddenly realized that Blossom and Bubbles had both recovered, and now each had a hold of one of her arms.  She tried to break their grasp, but they held her in place.  Both of them smiled, and looked back at the hole in the wall…Ginela re-entered the room, still looking completely undamaged.

            "No, lemme go!!" Buttercup yelled, even though it wouldn't do any good.  The girls weren't listening to her.  Ginela took hold of both of her arms, and the girls flew back by her shoulders on each side, to watch.  Keeping Buttercup's arms pinned, Ginela turned her around, getting her into position to bite.

            "Don't worry, Buttercup," Bubbles said.  "You'll thank us when this is over."

            "Yes," Blossom nodded.  "The three of us will be together forever, at Ginela's side."

            Buttercup shook, and said, "I'd rather die!"

            "But I'm not giving you that choice," Ginela told her.  "Don't you see?  It's pointless for any one mortal to resist me, even if they are strong, like you…"  She slowly tilted Buttercup's neck and bore her fangs.

            "Yeah…well…" Buttercup said, scared, but trying to force confidence in her voice, "…y-you forgot one thing…"

            "What?" Ginela said, hesitating just before biting.

            Buttercup smiled a little, "I'm not the only mortal here…"  As Ginela blinked at the last statement, she suddenly jerked upright, as an iron stake pierced her through the back, emerging from her chest.  The girls turned to look in shock…the professor was behind her, having picked up one of the dropped stakes and snuck up on her while she was distracted.  Ginela let out a screech, clutching at the stake, but it was too late.  She fell to her back, and the girls each collapsed as well.

            The professor looked up at Buttercup and explained, "I thought you might need some help…"

            Buttercup, now free from her grasp, hovered over, looking at the professor, still slightly shaken by the close timing.  "Thanks, Professor…not a moment too soon, too…whew!"

            They both looked down at Ginela as she hissed, "Nooo…it can't…beeee…"  Her skin became mottled and gray, taking on the texture of charcoal for a moment, before her entire body crumbled away to dust.  The stake clanked to the ground, since it no longer had anything to hold it up.  Blossom and Bubbles both sprawled out on the ground as well, become still.  Buttercup bit her lip for a moment, afraid for a moment that maybe they wouldn't turn back to normal like she had hoped…but then, she saw the pallor fading from their skin and their eyes slowly starting to reopen.

            "Girls!" she exclaimed, scooping both of them up in her tired arms and giving them a hug.  "You're okay!"

            "We're…we're fine…" Blossom managed, but Buttercup thought she saw tears in her eyes.  "But I…I couldn't control…"

            "Me either…" Bubbles said, sadly.  "C-can you…forgive me…?"

            Hugging them tighter, Buttercup said, "Of course, I can…"  She had another thought, and added, "But…what about those people you…"

            "They'll be fine," Blossom told her.  "If they became vampires, they should be turned back to normal right about now, also."

             "Whew," Buttercup breathed, wiping off her forehead.  "That's good, 'cause I've had enough vampires for one night."  She winced, putting a hand over the cuts she received.

            "Let's get you home," the professor said, picking all three of them up.  As he headed for the door, he remarked, "Buttercup, I'm proud of you…having to face both of your sisters and a powerful vampire by yourself."

            "Couldn't have done it without you," Buttercup reminded him.  "But yeah…I guess I did do pretty well, didn't I?  It's funny what you can do when you hafta do it."  She took one last glance at the pile of dust, all that was left of Ginela, and said, "I guess we'll be getting new neighbors soon, then.  Hope they don't mind a little dust…"

            "I'll just be glad if they come out in the sun every once and a while," Blossom said.

            Bubbles looked out through the window and said, "Y'know…there's one good thing that happened…"

            "What's that?" Blossom asked.

            "I don't think I'm scared of the dark anymore," Bubbles answered, then added, "Well, as long as there are lights, anyway…"  She smiled as the professor finished carrying them out of the house.

            And the night was saved, thanks to the Powerpuff Girls…but mostly thanks to Buttercup!