Sorry the update took so long. Life has been a little hectic lately :)
Mike knocked again on the apartment door. He could hear the muffled sounds of a television blaring within. Growing impatient he began pounding on the door with his fist. "I know you are in there! Open the goddamn door or I'll kick it in!" The soft sound of shuffling foot-steps approached the door, followed by the clicks of locks being turned. The door-knob twisted and it opened a crack – a chain prevented it from being opened any further.
A frail, elderly man peered through the gap. "What's all the fuss about eh?"
Mike punched the door, the chain-lock snapping like ribbon as he stormed his way in to the apartment. "Where are they?" Mike looked around the small, meager apartment. A prime time game show was airing on a small TV that sat on a table in one corner. The volume was deafening as the host announced an assortment of fabulous prizes that were up for grabs.
"Where is who?" the man asked in a shaky voice. His walking cane wobbled as he took a few fearful steps to retreat to the corner of the room.
"Where are you hiding them?" Mike closed his eyes and tried to listen beyond the noise of the TV for the heart beats of Henry and Vicki, but the apartment was otherwise quiet.
"There is no one here but me. Please," begged the old man, visibly frightened by Mike's intrusion, "take whatever you want."He cowered in the corner, his eyes submissively looking at the floor.
"She tricked me," Mike shouted loudly as he began to realise, "that bitch tricked me!" He growled and turned, speeding through the doorway and down the hall way.
As Mike approached the elevators doors, the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end, and a cold shiver ran down his spine. It felt like someone had just stepped on his grave. He flew down the fire stairs and raced back towards the magic shop.
Vicki had not even a moment to reach for the extensible asp from her belt buckle before Sinead had pounced and pinned her to the end of the bed - fangs sinking deep in to Vicki's neck. She winced with pain and gasped with shock. What the hell? When the fuck did she become a vampire? Did Mike turn her?
Struggling and kicking she grabbed a clutch of Sinead hair with her left fist and yanked but the parasite didn't budge. "Get off me bitch!" she screamed with rage as copious amounts of her blood drained though her neck. She could feel it being violently sucked from her body like muscle torn from bone.
It was never like this with Henry. Vicki's mind flashed back to that moment in the elevator months earlier, his lips so gentle, his teeth so delicate as they pressed in to her neck – a warm tingling sensation had flowed through her entire body. Now though, Vicki's body ached as Sinead sucked the life out of her – like a giant leech attached to her neck.
Sinead laughed though her nose, relishing in the delight of Vicki's distress.
Vicki flailed around, pulling out shreds of the witch's hair with her left hand. As her body begin to weaken she felt the sharp sting of the Iluminación Del Sol digging in to her pelvis. She'd almost forgotten she had it. Thank God for small miracles! Her head was starting to spin as she tried to discreetly shuffle her right hand down to her pocket. Her body was weakening as she managed to grasp her fingers around it.
Vicki was fighting the urge to close her eyes as she pulled it from her jeans. She slowly edged it up between her body and Sinead's - the vampire-witch too overcome by blood-lust to even notice the metal sun-shaped weapon in Vicki's hands. It was only when it grazed Sinead's left breast that she finally reacted. By the time she pulled away from Vicki's neck it was too late - the Iluminación Del Sol had found its mark - its metal thorns stabbing deep in to the witch's heart.
Sinead shrieked and staggered backwards, falling to her knees. "What did you do?" She dug her nails around the Iluminación Del Sol and tried to yank it from her flesh, only to scream in agony before snarling with her blood soaked lips. "What the hell did you do?"
Vicki's body slumped to the floor at the end of the bed, but a faint smile spread across her face. She wanted to say something witty, she wanted to say something vulgar but the effort of opening her mouth was more than she could bear. With all the strength she could muster she flicked out the middle finger on her right hand and thrust it in Sinead's direction.
Sinead was huffing, puffing and panting in pain as she crawled to the front door before reaching for the door knob and pulling herself to her feet.
Vicki's head grew heavy and fell to her chest. Stay awake, she told herself, damn it Vicki don't fall asleep, get to the phone. Damn it Henry where are you?
Her eyes closed as the blood loss took its toll.
Mike stormed through the front door of the magic shop, ready to ring Sinead's neck. "Sinead?" he yelled as he looked around the front room. Stepping through the red-beaded curtain and in to the back room he called out again. "Where the hell are you? Get the fuck out here! Now!" He hurried down in to the basement and growled loudly upon finding it empty. "Where did that bitch go?" he grumbled as he heard the front door open and close.
He quickly returned upstairs to find Sinead staggering through the front door, barely able to stand. He raced to her side, holding out his arms to catch her as she collapsed against him. As he laid her on the floor he was overwhelmed by the familiar scent of blood. As he leaned in to investigate he spotted the Iluminación Del Sol. It was hard to miss – it shone brightly against Sinead's bare flesh like a giant, golden first-place medal. Mike knew immediately that there were only two people who could have put it there, and that the blood on Sinead's lips most likely belonged to one of them. His immediate concern was for Vicki's well-being. Mike grabbed Sinead by the arms and shook her violently. "What have you done?"
Sinead groaned with pain. "Take this thing off me... please…." she begged as she slumped melodramatically in to his arms.
Mike clutched at her shoulders. "What did you do to her?"
"They… they were coming for you," stammered Sinead, "I had to stop them."
"So help me God," Mike growled as his fingernails began to dig in to her flesh. "If you hurt her… I'll… I'll…"
"I did what needed to be done," she stopped mid-sentence and winced with pain, "so we could be together."
"Tell me where she is Sinead."
"You don't need her Michael," she said softly as she reached out to stroke his face with her fingertips. "Please," she begged as she pushed her breasts toward him "just take this thing off me."
With fangs at the ready and eyes and black as night, Mike swept her up from the floor and slammed her against the nearest wall, his hand grasped around her neck. "Stop with the fucking bullshit and tell me where she is!"
"Just forget about her Michael!"
"I won't ask again Sinead. Where are they? Where is Vicki?" Latching his fingers around the rim of the Iluminación del SolMike tugged.
Sinead screamed out in pain then gasped for air, trying to recover from the pain that burned through her chest. "Michael, please, I only did it to protect you."
Mike dug his nails around the sun-shaped medallion and yanked one more time. It didn't break free from her chest, but Sinead's ear-piercing scream was sign enough that she was in agony. Her body was convulsing and quivering – tears began to stream down her cheeks. "I'll tell you! I'll tell you!" Sinead cried out. "Please just stop!" She took a moment to catch her breath. "She's at the Crown Hotel… down-town."
He studied her, looking in to her big brown eyes for a sign of sincerity. Mike couldn't really be sure. With a loud growl he released her from the wall and dropped her to the floor.
Sinead rubbed at her neck and ground her teeth as she glared at him. "Fine! Run to your precious Vicki," she spat. "Run to her fucking corpse."
Mike flung his entire body down at her, his hand returning to her neck, pinning her to the floor. "If she is dead, then I promise you… tonight will be your last."
"You could never kill me. You're not fucking man enough," she hissed. "It's why she never loved you. Even as a vampire, Henry was ten times the man that you'll ever be."
His fingers clenched more tightly around her windpipe - Mike wanted to tear her head from her neck. He could hear her wheezing for air as he watched her eyes bulge from their sockets. He pressed harder still and listened to her gurgle his name. He knew he couldn't kill her – at least not by strangulation anyway.
He stepped back and looked down at the vampire-witch. He fought every urge not to get down on the floor and screw her until that defiant smile was wiped from her face. He wanted to make her scream his name in ecstasy. He wanted to sink his fangs in to her neck.
He cursed the blood-bond that tied him to her.
"Go to hell Sinead" he growled, then turned his back and left.
A distant male voice called to Vicki but she was too far gone to pay it much attention. So tired, leave me alone. She willed the voice to leave her to her slumber.
"Ma'am," the voice said again, this time louder.
"Let me sleep" she mumbled quietly, her eyes still too heavy, her head too clouded with fog.
The owner of the voice became more insistent as he reached out and shook her by the shoulders. "Ma'am!"
Vicki lifted her eyelids and squinted through blurred vision. She blinked several times as she tried to focus. "What's going on?" she mumbled as she tried to move her head and look upwards. A young man – college age Vicki guessed, was leaning over her. He was Asian, but spoke with a clear Canadian accent. He was wearing a red coloured cap with matching polo shirt.
"Are you alright? Your neck. It's covered in blood," he told her.
With a heavy hand Vicki reached to her neck and winced as she was reminded of the incident with Sinead. That goddamn bitch. I'm gonna kill her. Vicki wiped away some of the still-wet blood with the palm of her hand - relieved to find only a small amount continuing to leak from the bite mark. She pressed her hand to her neck to stem any remaining flow, wincing again in pain.
"Did something happen?" asked polo-shirt boy. "Are you OK? Should I call someone?"
Her head was pounding with pain; her whole body ached despite feeling numb and lifeless. She closed her eyes again. "Who are you?"
"I'm from Bellini's. I brought your pizza and pasta." He gestured to the pizza box and brown paper bag on the nearby table. "The door was open when I got here and I saw you here on the floor by the bed. I really should call someone for you. You don't look so good."
Vicki groaned with pain and tried to get to her feet, rubbing her forehead with her free hand. "I'm fine. What time is it?"
"Uh.." the boy stuttered and looked at his watch. "It's a little after six. I'm sorry I'm so late. I got stuck with the roadblock downstairs and had to walk here."
"It's late." Vicki rubbed her head. "Where is Henry? Henry should be back by now."
"Uh.. I don't know Ma'am." The delivery boy shrugged, clearly confused on how to deal with the situation. "Maybe he got stuck in traffic like I did. It's a madhouse down there. The police have the whole street cordoned off. Something bad must have happened."
"Police?" Suddenly Vicki's heart was in her stomach. Her instincts were telling her something was very wrong. Willing herself to her feet she leaned on the bewildered delivery boy for support as she tried to stand. "I've got to go," she mumbled to him. Her legs felt as if they weighed a tonne as she took two steps towards the door – reaching out to the door frame to steady herself.
"Uh...do you still want the food?" asked the delivery boy.
"I need to find Henry!" she replied with an irritable tone as she walked out in to the hallway.
The delivery boy scratched his head with a perplexed expression, but he was of no concern to Vicki as she staggered towards the elevator, holding on to the wall for fear of collapsing. Her heart was pounding inside her chest. Gotta find Henry. Please be OK. Please be OK. Maybe he's just stuck behind the roadblock like the delivery boy said. I'm sure that's it.
She felt faint as she stepped in to the elevator and pressed the button to take her to the ground floor. Vicki squeezed her eyes shut as the downward motion of the lift made her want to vomit. She took a few deep breaths as finally the doors opened to the hotel foyer.
The bright lights of the hotel lobby hurt her eyes. She squinted and shielded her view as she continued past several concerned hotel employees, then out through the front doors and on to the street.
A mosaic of red and blue lights splashed upon the surrounding walls of office blocks and apartment buildings. There were several police cars parked at the end of the street and a mass of people blocked her view - preventing her from getting closer.
Vicki pushed her way in. Barely able to stand her body weight helped her advance through the tight-knit crowd. "Goddamn it let me through!" she begged the onlookers, who begrudgingly moved aside.
Vicki's jaw dropped as she made her way to the police barricade. Crime scene tape cordoned off the area – an ambulance and several squad cars were gathered around the entrance. It was a homicide - Vicki recognised the scene immediately. She was instantly scanning the crowd looking for Henry – looking for Mike. Damn it where is he! As she looked back toward the convenience store, several offices stepped aside, giving her a hint as to the dramatic events that had unfolded inside. A body was near the counter, covered by a white, blood-stained sheet. "What the hell happened here?" she muttered to herself.
It took her a moment to recognise Kate Lam stepping in to view inside the store. Kate was squatting down next to the body, lifting the sheet to peer at the face beneath. It was at the moment that both women let out a traumatic howl. "No!" Vicki screamed as she saw the side of Mike Celluci's lifeless face beneath the sheet – tufts of his sandy-blond hair soaked with blood. "Oh God no!"
Detective Dave Graham emerged from the convenience store and hurried over to her. Tears were welling in the detective's big brown eyes. He bit down on her bottom lip and took a deep breath before speaking. "Vicki...it's Mike."
"No, it's not Mike." Vicki shook her head violently. Henry. Oh God, she thought to herself. Maybe he's OK. Maybe he switched back before…maybe that's really Mike in there. Oh God what if it is Mike?
"Vicki. I'm sorry, there was an attempted robbery. Mike..." Dave trailed off. Unable to hold back the tears he was forced to look away.
"No!" she argued, attempting to push her way in to the store. A couple of uniformed officers stepped in to hold her back. "I'm telling you it's not Mike!"
"Vicki I'm sorry." Dave said once more.
Vicki began to crumple, her whole world feeling as it was on the brink of collapse. She let the weight of her body take her to the ground. She let the shock take over, and suddenly the world went black.
"Somebody get a medic over here!"
Mike was speeding to the hotel when he came across the commotion outside the convenience store. Curious as to what had occurred he moved his way through the crowd of on-lookers. He picked up on a familiar scent amongst the different odours that wafted around the street. Vicki. He found it strange that he recognised her smell. What is she doing here? He turned his head just in time to see her being carried on a gurney in to the back of an ambulance.
He barrelled through the crowd and over to Vicki's side. His heart sunk as he looked down at her. She was unconscious, pale and cold, but he could still hear her heart beating. She had gauze taped to her neck. He wondered what the hell she was doing here. Had Sinead lied about her being at the hotel? Mike turned to look at one of the paramedics as he trailed along side them. "What happened?" he asked. "Is she OK?"
"Are you family?" one asked in reply.
"I'm…her partner." It was all he could think to say.
"She collapsed" the paramedic told her. "She lost consciousness and she has an injury to her neck. You need to let us get her to a hospital."
Mike wanted to cry. This was his fault. "Please let me ride with her." He received a nod from the paramedic then clambered in to the back of the ambulance and took a seat beside Vicki. He reached out to squeeze her hand.
Vicki's eyes fluttered open briefly to look up at him. "Henry" she whispered softly.
"Vicki, I'm here," he replied, only to watch her eyes fall closed again. He felt a combination of guilt and jealousy. Where the hell is Fitzroy anyway? He squeezed her hand more tightly and began to wonder what had happened. The fan-fare had all the markings of a homicide yet Vicki wasn't dead. Why was she even here?
As the ambulance began to depart Mike finally looked back towards the convenience store. He noticed the coroner's van parked outside. He saw his colleagues Kate and Dave. He watched with wide eyes as someone lifted a blood-stained sheet from a body on the floor.
Sinead lay on the cold timber floor of her magic shop. With each movement shock waves of pain spiralled outward from the sun-shaped medallion on her chest. It was excruciating. It weakened her until she could crawl no more. The vampire-witch curled herself up in a ball and hugged her arms to her chest. She growled in anger. "I hope that bitch is dead" she muttered to herself. She sucked in her breath and tried once more to yank the medallion from her rib cage – only to scream as she felt it pull muscle, bone and flesh. She breathed raggedly through her nose - lying almost lifeless on the floor as she closed her eyes and willed Mike to return to her. He'll come back to me. He needs me. Sinead groaned and fought the urge to cry.
It was then that she heard heavy footsteps in the room upstairs. She didn't have the strength to turn or look up. The footsteps slowly thudded down the stairs and echoed along the timber floor of the shop. It only took a moment for a pair of men's black, patent-leather business shoes to come in to her view – shoes so shiny that she could almost see her reflection. She turned her head upward. "My Lord…" she called to him. "Please help me."
His hand swung down and delivered a brutal slap to her face, slamming her head against the hard floor. "You stupid little bitch!"
"Master,"she whimpered to him.
The figure of Astaroth loomed down over her with the face of Father Raymond Cascioli. He scowled down at her. "How dare you defy me!"
"I would never defy you. Please. I beg you!" Sinead stuck out her bosom. "Help me!"
"Vicki was not supposed to get hurt."
"I didn't hurt her!"
"Liar!" he slapped her again, the red mark of his palm-print now emblazoned on her cheek.
Sinead gasped then reached up to rub her face. She wiggled her jaw and waited for the sting to subside. She racked her brain for a variety of excuses but could think of none.
Astaroth ground his teeth and took a deep breath through his nose to compose himself. He folded his arms across his chest and paced back and forth in a short line.
"Please, I'm in so much pain," she cried helplessly as she rubbed the Iluminación Del Sol.
With a curious expression Astaroth leaned down to inspect the golden sun. "Ah yes, such a pretty little trinket." He reached out to touch it then laughed quietly with amusement. "A gift from my Vicki I presume? It's what I admire most about her – always so willing to put up a fight." His smile quickly turned to a scowl. "But she would not have needed to defend herself if you had obeyed me. She was not yours to take Sinead."
Sinead was writhing on the floor. "If you want her so badly," she mumbled through the waves of pain, "then why don't you just take her?"
"It does not work that way Sinead. Vicki must come to me willingly. There must be nothing left, no-one left, to keep her in this world. Unfortunately for me she's emotionally tied to a vampire and a man – both whom love her," he cringed, "so much that they would gladly die for her."
"So why don't you just kill them and be done with it?"
Astaroth rubbed his hands together with glee. "Ah but it is far more fun to watch their little trio self destruct. To take away all that Vicki holds dear until there is nothing left. I certainly never thought it would be so simple. Sure, when I gave the Detective those visions of that darling, little; kidnapped child I planted a few subliminal suggestions. He was so easy to manipulate. There was already so much bitterness and jealousy in him to work with. He sought you out just as I had suggested to him. You gave him the crystal to do the spell just as I had planned. He sought vengeance against Fitzroy. It all fell in to place perfectly, until you messed things up."
"I did what you asked. I just..."
"Just what Sinead? I gave you everything you asked for. Your demands were met. You had the opportunity to become immortal and you took it, but you failed to do as I asked. The Detective was supposed to kill Fitzroy. Vicki would lose the one she loves, and spurn the other that loves her. She was supposed to be alone, she was supposed to vulnerable, she was supposed to be mine. You're lucky she's still alive, but it doesn't change the fact that you disobeyed me Sinead. "
"Please. I'll make it up to you!" She reached up to clutch on the leg of his pants. "Take me. Let me be yours."
"Ah Sinead," he clucked disapprovingly. "You're so desperate to belong to someone, so afraid to be alone. Such petty emotional weaknesses. Don't you get it? You're just not good enough. Not refined enough for the vampire, not Vicki enough for the Detective, and you're so far beneath me Sinead, that I fear I'd need to sink beyond the levels of Hell just to tolerate you. Did you honestly think becoming immortal would do anything to enhance your mundane character? Clearly this little power trip I sent you on has gone to your head."
Sinead curled up in to the foetal position and began to weep. "I just wanted to please you!"
"Please me?" Astaroth scoffed. "Do you take me for a fool witch? Do you think I cannot see past your selfish little scheme? You wanted Fitzroy for yourself. Did you honestly think he'd even give you a second thought while Vicki was in this world? Hell I would have brought him back for you once she was mine, but you let your pathetic jealousies get the better of you. You disappoint me Sinead."
"Give me another chance!" she pleaded.
Astaroth put his hand out to interrupt her speech and stood quiet and motionless for a few minutes. He hummed quietly, closing his eyes and swinging his head gently side to side. "Oh my. Oh yes," he spoke finally. "Why did I not see this sooner? Ha! This is better than I could have ever imagined."
"What? What is it now?" she asked through gritted teeth while still writhing on the floor.
"You see Sinead…" Astaroth smiled and put his hands behind his back, "this universe is so full of potential. Even without my influence evil continues to thrive. It seems that a simple human being has achieved something that you or Detective Celluci could not, that is...to kill Henry Fitzroy."
Sinead's eyes grew wide – the news momentarily distracting her from her physical suffering. "Henry is...d-dead?"
"Well," he shrugged, "for all intents and purposes it's Mike Celluci that is dead, but it's Fitzroy's soul that is no longer on this plane of existence." He grinned and clapped his hands with joy. "Yes, this could work to my advantage after all. Now I must go and check on my dearest Vicki."
"Wait, please, don't go," she begged some more.
"Oh of course," he replied politely, "here, let me help you with that."
With one swift motion he latched his fingers around the Iluminación Del Sol and ripped it from Sinead's chest. Bone cracked. Sinew snapped. As the golden medallion came free it brought with it her heart. Astaroth tossed the bloodied chunk of muscle, listening to it squelch and splatter as it bounced across the polished timber floor.
He wiped his hand against his pants leg, stepped over her lifeless body and exited the magic shop.