Disclaimer: I own nothing that has anything to do with Van Helsing, its characters, or its setting. Thank you and have a wonderful day!
Van Helsing looked over himself in the mirror. Almost all the wounds he had sustained during his fight with the werewolf were healed. Now they were just rows of fresh, pink scar tissue. New additions to the collection, Van thought. Most of his chest was covered with scars of many sizes. And on his back…those weird triangular ones…
A knock on the door startled him out of his thoughts. Anna's voice accompanied the sound. "Van Helsing?"
Quickly, Van reached into his bag and pulled out one of the few shirts he had packed. Out of its folds fell the silver case that contained the piece of parchment that Valerious had left so long ago at the Vatican. In fact, Van had forgotten that the Cardinal had even given it to him. It fell harmlessly onto the bedspread and Van didn't spare an extra thought. He tugged the shirt over his head as he raised his voice to say, "Come in."
Anna opened the door just as Van got the shirt on, tugging the hem down past his waist. From the quick glimpse of his bare chest and from the sight of the discarded bandages on the bed, she gathered that he had healed. To confirm it, she asked.
"Enough," Van grunted.
The gypsy woman crossed the room and shifted the bandages to sit on the bed. Van remained standing, looking out the window to the early morning sky. An uneventful night. Both of them had finally been able to get enough sleep. Not a full night's sleep in Van's case—his worry wouldn't allow it—but enough to feel more alert than before.
"What is the plan today?" Anna asked.
"I was planning to keep studying the materials," he replied, adjusting the shirt over his shoulders. He was certain that the books and charts Carl had left out would lead him toward Dracula's liar and the friar himself. The problem was that Van was having a hard time making heads or tails out of it all.
Anna frowned. "I was hoping for a little more action toward killing Dracula."
The hunter suddenly lashed out, his fist hitting the mattress hard enough to make the bed squeak and the frame shake. "Damn it, I'm not doing this to get Dracula, I'm doing this for Carl!" Anna stared at him, her eyes wide and startled. The fire vanished from Van as he saw it. He looked at the floor, away from her, and said hastily, "I'm sorry. I am doing this to get Dracula too. I do care about your family, I just—"
"No, no, it's alright." Anna waved her hand, stopping his apology mid-sentence. "Of course you're worried about your partner. I was being thoughtless." She shifted her weight, causing the silver case to roll down the mattress and bump against her thigh. She picked it up and turned it back and forth as she examined it. "What's this?"
Van looked up. "Some piece of parchment your ancestor left with the church. Cardinal Jinette said it translates to 'In the name of God, open this door.'"
Taking hold of the small silver tab, Anna pulled out the scrap of parchment. Van got a small glimpse of it before the woman flipped it over to see it for herself. It looks familiar…Van shrugged—he probably just thought it looked familiar because he'd only seen it once two months ago.
"This…this looks just like the script of the map in the armory," Anna said softly, as if she had just run short of breath. "My father used to stare at it for hours…"
"That's it!" Van couldn't believe the answer had been in his bag the entire time. He snatched the parchment from Anna, only thinking briefly that it could tear after it was in his hand, and then ran out the door, not waiting or looking back for Anna.
Van flew into the armory, skidding to a stop before the great map that took up the wall of the alcove. From the shape of the parchment, he figured it had been ripped from one of the bottom corners. The right bottom corner was intact while the left was hidden behind a chair. He was shoving the chair out of the way when he heard Anna's footsteps behind him. She knelt beside him as he fit the piece into the frame.
"In the name of God…open this door."
There was a cracking sound, rather like that of heavy weight being dropped on ice and forcing it to break apart. In fact, something that looked like silver frost spread over the map, covering it completely. Within seconds, the entire surface had changed into a crystalline mirror.
"A mirror? Dracula has no reflection in the mirror," Van said, his brow furrowing. "So why a mirror?"
Anna looked at it before saying slowly, "Maybe…maybe to Dracula it's not a mirror."
Instinct drove Van Helsing to touch the icy glass. His eyes widened and Anna gasped as his hand slipped through it, vanishing. Suddenly, he let out a gasp himself and pulled his hand back. "It's cold…" His hand up to his wrist was covered with snowflakes. "And it's snowing."
Anna looked after the hunter as he suddenly turned and dashed toward the armory door. "Where are you going?" she called.
Van stopped and grinned at her. "To get properly dressed and armed. Looks like you'll finally get your action."
End of Chapter 14
Ok, I'm not even going to say "hopefully the next chapter will be up soon". We all know how that turns out. But I will say this…I'm guessing that this story will be ending probably within five chapters at the most. Review and tell me what you think!