The routine- the same, blasted routine, after days and days of doing it- was dancing on one of Chloe's last nerves.
Each day since the visit from Moriarty and Renfield, Chloe put her imagination to good use, trying to imagine herself into Carrie's mind. Carrie, like Chloe, repeated herself every day. She sat at her vanity, staring at her sad, sorry face in the mirror, and, if Chloe wasn't looking too hard, watched her master's prisoner in the tower above her.
But Chloe was doing something different. She watched Carrie, but not so much with contempt, like the telekinetic girl did to her. She watched in stone-hard concentration, attempting to imagine her thoughts into the mind opposite hers. It wasn't supposed to be difficult, and it wasn't at first. But eventually, Carrie looked up at Chloe, and, fixing her with another flex of her powerful mind, Chloe would be tossed from her mind like a bad cat onto a front doorstep.
Chloe's task was clear from the beginning. One way or another, she wanted to force the truth into Carrie- that the bloody prank she had undergone on her prom night, was nothing more than an immature joke, pulled off by even more childish novices. She forced it through her own imagination with all that she had, and multiple times, she almost got through to poor Carrie. But, having been molded so cruelly by that event and what had followed, no success came through.
To accomplish this, Chloe was willing to even try changing the course of the book, so that Carrie could have survived prom night- that is, by not staying onstage long enough to accept her crown as Prom Queen. And even if Carrie was ultimately humiliated, it also would have been good enough to escape her town, and start out fresh again.
But, no. Revenge had to be carried out, and from all that had happened to her, revenge was the only way.
And frankly, from what Chloe was learning, perhaps Carrie's telekinesis was stronger than Chloe's own magical imagination. For no matter how she struggled to beak the wall in Carrie's mind, it got much more strenuous every time. It took a long time before Chloe could convince herself that her plans were useless; it would take lots more than just breaking the telekinesis to get through to Carrie. But still, Chloe was starting to believe that not even psychiatric assistance with the world's best doctor could cure Carrie of her mental pessimism.
But worst of all, it seemed a possibility for Chloe to be developing a bit of the same attitude. Trying day in and day out for her to accomplish something so straining and impossible, it wore her thin at the end of each day. Particularly when Renfield or Moriarty would pay her a visit, to either "check up on her". She was never too angry or tightly wound, necessarily- she was just tired, like those days where she burned the midnight oil on homework, and would afterwards be dying to get to sleep while snugly tucked in bed. That feeling carried throughout her days, becoming groggier and groggier as time went on.
Not only that, but visits from Renfield were becoming as often as Chloe's failures at reaching Carrie's mind. And, quite surprisingly, Chloe actually began to wish she could slaughter the madman with the bow and arrows she imagined, or at least just slap some sense into him. Although she already knew such a tactic wouldn't work, it would still feel good. Very good.
On a dreary day, Chloe found herself once more slumped on the sill of her window. She felt so exhausted that she was falling asleep right there, and it was only just sunset. It was amazing how she was losing so much energy, but she hoped she wouldn't lose herself altogether while she was still here.
Chloe sprang backwards when Renfield's head popped into her face. She even caught a nasty whiff of Renfield's scent; the man hadn't bathed perhaps since the day he was diagnosed a madman. Add that with the fact that he was even here, and it was enough to make an already-grouchy Chloe nauseous.
"Go away, Renfield" was Chloe's response to this intrusion.
"The Master does not wish for his lady to be sad," Renfield said, leaping over the sill and into the room. "He sends me here to see that you were still up and alive."
"And so I am," Chloe said, a little snidely. "Now get out! You know what will happen if you don't." Power flared through Chloe, and she reveled in the idea of using it.
"I tell him you get prettier every time I come here," Renfield said, starting to breathe lustily. "Truly, you'll find it much more fitting to be his maiden than the other Proverb."
Chloe took in a sharp breath, her power flaring stronger or a fraction of a second. "Any person would be a better match for me than him! He may look like a gentleman, but it's about time you all realized that inside, his heart stopped beating centuries ago. No beating heart, no such chance for me to go to him!"
"Your choosing him is important to your survival here," he stated, rushing up to Chloe to take her power-hot hands. "If you don't ever choose to comply with us, your time here could be limited."
"Then I'll just get out soon enough," Chloe said, taking her hands back to her side and out of Renfield's reach.
"Your days here are numbered," Renfield clarified. "In this world, and on this earth."
These words clicked fast in Chloe's mind, but she couldn't believe them. "No," she said, shaking her head. "He wouldn't try to kill me. I'm too useful to get rid of."
"Master wouldn't harm you at his hands. He'll let you rot up here in this tower forever if it'll make you be his, and part of our side. He and I- we comprehend the power you have, and we shall do what we will to bring it out of you."
Something- she didn't know what- flashed through Chloe, and the magic in her hands flared hotly, while her angry arm swung through the air to meet Renfield's face. The force of her blow knocked him to the ground, and the relief at having done it surged with even greater force. About time too, for if Renfield visited her again, continuously repeating those exact words, perhaps she would kill him! It would feel wonderful to do something for herself here!
Renfield glanced up at her with shock in his eyes, the mad glint having been left behind in the slap. He scrambled back up again, an immense pleading replacing the insanity.
"You must escape," he said anxiously, "while you can. The Master has the strength of the devil. But the professor- he's could be all the more lethal. His criminal mind is beyond even my capacity and the Master's combined. At the end of this nasty war, he plans to rid himself of your soul- in the bloodiest way he can."
Chloe gulped. She always read the stories of Moriarty's crimes, and of course she knew that he was a murderer. But, still, the idea of him coming after her after all this was extremely unthinkable. Dying at the hands of a literary villain was even more terrifying now than she imagined.
She wouldn't go through with it. Somehow or other, she would escape. She was done with babysitting Carrie, and trying to get her mind on straight again. She was finished attempting to avoid the Count's inevitable visits, as well as Renfield's and Moriarty's. Escape and getting back to Richard was going to be, until she returned home, her goal. If anything tried to stop her, or even dared stand in her way, she would not hesitate to blast them, from now on!
"Fine then," Chloe said. "I'm getting out of here within the next few days. Whatever it takes to get out, I won't be afraid to do it. Not anymore!"
"You're a spirited woman," Renfield said admirably. "Do it before he comes."
"Shush!" Renfield commanded sharply, putting his finger to his lips. He turned slowly around, his eyes seeming to scan every corner of the room.
Chloe couldn't understand why he was so tense right now, but she got it when she heard a gentle hushing of wind nearby.
In through the window, there came a mist, so thick that someone could cut it with a sword. It spread throughout the tower, and Renfield backed Chloe into the wall next to the dark fireplace protectively.
"It's him!" Renfield said breathlessly. "It…it…is him! He's coming!"
Chloe didn't know how to react all of a sudden. What could be said was that she was trembling in her shoes.
The Count materialized just inches from Renfield and Chloe. He had nothing to show, save for a neutral line his lips made. It looked safe, and yet it hid a glowering malice, just like what always boiled beneath his courtly demeanor.
"Renfield," he purred. "You have betrayed me."
"No, no Master!" Renfield pleaded, getting on his knees before Dracula. "I never meant to plague your lady with horrid thoughts of the future. I only did what you said."
"Indeed," Dracula said, "and then some. The lady now knows everything. And you told her it all."
"I would do no such thing! You're the only one I want to give in to. I have worshipped you always, now and forever!"
The Count was still, before his hand was instantly at Renfield's throat! Renfield gasped a loud, hollow breath, his eyes turning wholly white.
"For you, Lady Chloe," Dracula said, with a sneer Chloe's way. She backed against the wall, going to the floor while Dracula carried Renfield at a savage height off the floor. The man was writhing and yelping, but he made no loud noises without any breath. He turned his head back to Chloe, and help was screaming out through that one expression, but Chloe was too petrified to move. She'd said she wasn't afraid of Dracula, but she didn't know what to do, watching Renfield being carried off to some unknown fate. She didn't know if Renfield was one to trust in his moment of sanity, but she did know that he wasn't in for forgiveness now.
The Count, however, did not go to the window, like Chloe thought he would. Instead, he walked to the wall beside it, halting there with Renfield still wriggling in his iron fist. Then he reared back his servant, and then smashed him into the wall with a sickening crack, while Renfield screamed!
Chloe covered her ears in hearing Renfield's cry. It was like he was calling out for help, and she was like some helpless, hopeless kid who didn't know the next step in what to do.
The Count pushed Renfield against the wall once, then twice, and finally four times, before quite instantly, a breathless gasp and an even louder snap shook the air. Chloe shot her gaze upwards, and slapped her hand to her mouth.
Dracula stood over Renfield, who didn't move whilst he lay in a growing pool of red. He shouted no more.
Dracula didn't move at first, but in a blink of an eye, Chloe was shocked at seeing him step up to her from across the room. She jumped up, and put her hands behind her back against the wall, now even more frightened.
In looking at her, Dracula raised his hand quickly, and Chloe looked away, shielding her face just in case. But the Count sighed and brought his hand back down to his side.
"The vermin spoke wrongly," he intoned. "I will not wait for you to change your mind forever. The time is upon us, and while the weary world now grows stronger in preparation of this great battle, so shall we."
Chloe shook her head, only allowing for her magic to churn inside of her silently.
"You shall be punished for this injustice to me," he said, his words boiling with angry contempt. "Professor Moriarty and I shall not ever take our eyes away from your tower until we are given the proper time to go to battle. Until then, you are to stay up here, and not to look outdoors! And if you dare open that window, this shall happen!"
He pointed to Chloe's feet, and a burning blaze shot up from the floor. Heat blasted into her shoes, and Chloe cried out, jumping off the floor to escape the fire. But wherever she jumped, the fire followed her, nipping at her toes and almost seeming to eat her skin!
Thinking on her burning feet, Chloe conjured a bucket of water, and she jumped inside.
The fire sizzled and boiled in the water, but her feet still burned in the invincible flames. A scream rose in her throat, and it escaped through her lips without much effort.
Dracula watched on, grinning both seductively and wickedly. But finally, he lifted his hand, and the fire hissed and burned out in the water. Chloe glanced down at her burned feet, and stepped out, singed but overall okay.
"Therefore, I should think you would be careful the next time you act upon selfish impulse," Dracula said, fixing his trademark glare on his lips. "Or the days you spend here actually could be numbered. I'll see to it that you'll be my companion, once you have come in useful."
"Never," Chloe managed to say, despite the lingering pain in her feet.
"Perhaps without my hapless assistant, Mr. Renfield, to help you, you'll think otherwise." The Count then turned on his heel and transformed into a bat, flapping noisily out into the night.
Chloe remained placid in her spot for a while. All she did was gape and stare at Renfield, in his horribly stained clothes, with his blood spilled all around him.
Inside, her emotions were a swirling twister. Having once hated Renfield, Chloe now couldn't help but feel just a mite sorry for the man. It felt like it was mostly her fault that this happened, because if she had just controlled her emotions, she wouldn't have literally snapped sanity back into him.
But then, if she hadn't, she wouldn't have known what Dracula and Moriarty were planning for her. It only gave her further motivation to escape much sooner from the tower, and somewhere in her mind, she was grateful to Renfield. It wasn't, after all, his fault in the end that he went mad. Dracula had merely possessed him over time, and forced him to do his bidding to the death.
Chloe stepped towards Renfield, looking him over with a heaviness forming in her stomach. Maybe at this point, it was Renfield's place to die, because he always said he would die to serve his master, as well as Chloe. And today, he did actually do her some good, in warning her of what was coming. That could possibly be the noblest thing any sane man would do for a girl in dire trouble.
"Thank you, Renfield," Chloe whispered, imagining an animated mop to clean up the blood blemishing the shiny wood. "I'm sorry." She paused before going on again. "But I guarantee you- one of these days, I'll get out, like you told me to. I won't wait around anymore doing nothing."
She looked at the newly locked windows, now chained in place by Dracula's magic. She couldn't look outside, but could still picture the sky, with the moon and the beaming stars.
"I'll get out of here," she said, "or die trying!"