A macabre teaser of what waits for Al, ever patient and eternally vengeful.
The running continued, desperate and agonising. How long had she been going for? How long did she have left? She shook herself and shuffled onwards with her hurting, bleeding legs. Oh God, make it stop! The black-clad girl paused to sweep her hair out of her eyes and caught sight of something...
Hope fluttered deep within her stomach, forcing her onward faster. The silhouette seemed to turn to look at her, and paused. Al opened her dry mouth wide and screamed to the mysterious shadow. It was remaining where it was, perfectly still and stiff. This should've made her hesitate, but her madness drove her to what she urgently wished was her deliverance. It was getting closer! Her lips parted to speak His name. She opened her arms and laughed in glee.
And hugged the corpse that hung from the bare tree, covered in blood.
She noticed something was wrong, when she felt something cold and metallic under her cracking fingertips. And the once-warm, now glacial liquid quietly and slowly oozing out of it. She pulled back in horror, to capture the face of the body.
Don't let it be Him. God no, not Him...
It was the face of a stranger [but someone still so familiar], hanging limply from a neck slit open, its face horribly twisted in anguish. Hands bound and mouth gagged. Dried blood caked through its ears. Al clapped at hand over her mouth.
A macabre teaser of what was waiting for her, ever patient and eternally vengeful.
Miss Bishop had had a long day. Her eyes would barely stay open, but she had to get home. The Earth needed her. Some say that saving the Earth is too much for one pair of shoulders, but Bishop's were considerably large, and were often padded by her red suits, so she could deal. However, the exhaustion was beginning to claw deep into her brain, so that it chanted endlessly for sleep. Her eyes were constantly drifting closed and the shadows under them were now like a vast valley of bruises. Well, sorry Brain, but this was one protest that would get no results.
After helping herself to a coffee, she sat down in the staff room. The flowery mug melted into her hands. She rested it against her forehead. No. She needed something cold. Bishop sat the mug down clumsily, so the brown liquid slopped onto her sleeve. Her high-heeled feet clacked towards the fridge in search of someone's cold lunch. She shot a glance around the room. No one was there. No one would know.
/"Ah, Bishop, you sly dog! Why is no one here, anyway? No matter. All the better for me!" /the Commerce teacher giggled silently to herself.
She singled out a sandwich that had been in there for at least a day or two and pressed it to her forehead to ease her headache. A piece of egg slid down her nose, which she caught with a painted nail and shoved into her mouth. Ah ...bliss...the twinge vanished and was relaced with a cool sensation that passed through her whole body. Bishop smiled drowsily and sank into the chair.
"Excuse me." A smooth voice called from the doorway. A teenager, with extremely attractive features and a slightly pale complexion, crossed the staff-only threshold with a minor limping step. He showed no guilt for this punishable-by-detention offence. His mouth, stabbed through with a small ring, arched up slightly. Tattoos ran up his arms like gloves. He smiled, but something about his smile wasn't quite right; it didn't reach his eyes.
"Ugh." /She muttered in her head. He obviously scored low on the Bish-o-meter. "Has he ever heard of colour? Or sunlight, for that matter?" /Aloud, she said in her fake-accent, "Can I help you, young man?" she emphasised the word 'young' with a thickening of her voice.
The boy tipped his head back, allowing his fringe to fall over his face a little. It hid an eyebrow piercing that looked recent. Slowly, he made his way to the teacher, holding the pose of someone confident, someone strong...someone with an antique soul. Bishop shifted in her chair, growing uncomfortable. In her discomfort, she absorbed countless fine points of the teenager. A chilling red stain on his shirt, right in the centre. Scars on his knuckles. A strange look in his gorgeous eyes. Bloodlust? Hunger? Thirst?
Bishop's heart beat harder, sending dread pulsing through her body. The boy was unarmed, but looked very strong. One twist of her neck and she would be done. Would the trees save her? It seemed unlikely. Ironic really, that if she were to die here, she'd have wasted her life on something that didn't matter in the end. The shivering woman offered him the sandwich with a half-smile. He shook his head, sending the fringe whipping around his eyes.
"I prefer my meals fresh, thanks." He breathed quietly, waving his hand. He exposed beautiful, razor-sharp, lethal teeth. They sparkled slightly, like a model on a toothpaste commercial. "I never really had much of an appetite for food, anyway."
One word shot into Bishop's mind. It echoed in her ears like a scream in an empty canyon. /"Vampire!" /Her mind slapped itself. That was a stupid conclusion to come to! Of all the paranormal creatures she could have picked. Werewolves! Unicorns! Ha! A vampire was just as unlikely...and ludicrous! As if sensing her uncertainty, the boy exposed a few white, sharp canines with his pale pink ribbon of a smile.
"I have to go, young man. I apologize! Maybe someone else could help you with your...enquiries..." she stuttered, making her way to the door slowly.
In an instant, the boy vanished. Bishop spun around, wielding the sandwich as some kind of protection. She held it crucifix-style before her. Panicking now, she ran for the door, gasping in clean, pure, perfect terror. The vampire was there, leaning heavily on the doorframe. He laughed softly and took the sandwich from her hands. It turned to ash before her. His face changed, the shadows under his eyes became more severe and his mouth curled down. With a dark voice, which certainly didn't belong to an adolescent, he demanded, "Your necklace. Hand it over."
She could feel him prodding inside her mind, melting her defences. "Go on." /His voice was like a beautiful song. "Give Lincoln the damn necklace!" His voice grew harsher and coarser as she tried hard to struggle out of its grip. "Fuck you, you insignificant pawn! Hand it over...now!"/
Bishop fiddled reluctantly with the clasp around her wrinkled, dry throat and threw it at him. She pulled her body into a small ball and rocked back and forth, muttering some kind of mantra. The vampire touched the jewellery delicately with his finger, paused for a moment, and scowled. He tightened his fist and, with a slight crunch, the necklace crumpled like foil. He spat on the floor and grunted.
"It isn't it! But I can feel it here somewhere..." he said very slowly.
He turned to leave, muttering darkly to himself in a strange language. Bishop rose and collected her crushed jewellery in her trembling fingers. Her old, fragile hands pushed her entire torso off the floor...then her legs and onto her feet...she stood unsteadily and pointed at the man, giggling like a maniac. The vampire looked at her, the ragged mess left behind of a once decent woman. He chuckled lightly. Bishop tilted her head in confusion, and then chose to laugh with him.
"You'll pay for threatening me! I've seen you!" she giggled some more until she had to double over to stop the strain of her stomach. "You'll pay!"
The man considered this for a few moments and released the doorhandle. A bigger smile now played on his delectable features, as one might smile at a private joke. He rolled up his sleeves. Bishop dropped the necklace. It fell with a small 'chink' to the floor. "You know, you are absolutely right!"
Bishop's face fell, assessing the angel of death that slowly approached her. She wasn't going to hang around just for those teeth to tear into her neck. "No!" she shrieked, making desperately for the exit. It now seemed so far away. With ease, the boy grabbed her by the throat and hoisted her off the blue carpet. His lips brushed her throat, feeling for her pulse. Bishop's hands gripped his, trying to release herself. It was a hopeless cause. Full realization set in. She began whimpering softly "No, no, no, no, no..." as he exposed his flawless teeth and lightly exhaled the last word she'd ever hear.
Al made her way to the staffroom with Flick, ready to talk to Doran about her missing hat...again. She pushed her way through the flood of students. Somewhere in the crowd she lost her friend, but waded on. "Excuse me. Pardon me. Hey! Watch where you're going! Excuse m-"
A tall, gorgeous boy ran urgently through the streaming mass, leaving a rush of profanities and vows of payback in his wake. As he approached, his shoulder lightly touched hers and a huge jolt of some unknown power shot through both their spines. He spun around. Al caught his eyes; they were filled with malice and confusion. The whites showed as the striking eyelids lifted with the shock of recognition and comprehension, but only for a moment. He composed himself, spun around, and muttered "Sorry." Then the deliciously-attractive boy moved on through the press of red blazers and navy jumpers. Flick appeared behind her and grinned. "Damn, he's hot!" she paused, sensed her confusion and touched her shoulder. "You okay?"
Al shrugged, steadied herself and made her way to the staffroom, singing under her breath. Flick left for the Wearhouse. The door was slightly ajar. Hmm. Odd. Her icy fingers pushed on the opening. Then they raced past her stomach, her chest, her collar, and then firmly locked against her mouth in disgust. Her green eyes grew impossibly large as she fixed them on the grisly, blood-soaked corpse of her Commerce teacher.
The body was frozen stiff in a twisted scream, its arms thrown out desperately to protect itself. It obviously failed. Al's ears twitched, recognizing some kind of muffled echo. At last, something that felt real. The sound of screaming...her own screaming. She let the cry tear through her body, and clutched at the doorframe as she slid to the floor.
It was just like her nightmare...
But it wasn't going away...