Amy C at Romance Book Wyrm and Dottie atTink’s Place have come up with the idea for a Monday Morning Flash Fiction challenge. Each Monday a new picture prompt will be posted and if you choose to participate – you publish your Fiction Flash on Friday – 350 words, give or take. Here is the picture posted this Monday:
And here is the continuation of my story:
Lilian was never as happy as when the library door opened with a creak and her father entered the room. She ran to him and hugged him tightly, almost crying with joy. Lord Dreane kissed her on the cheek and led out of the library.
“I am so sorry, dad, I know I shouldn’t have done it but…”
“That’s ok Lilian darling but say no more at the moment. As pleased as I am to see you unharmed I must interrupt your apology. We are at war with one old nasty vampiress and we must prepare our defence.”
Lilian gasped. She expected some reproach, more or less bitter, even some punishment, but never a war of any kind. Her actions didn’t deserve a war, did they?
“Dad, what’s happening?”
“Nothing unusual my dear, taking everything into consideration, nothing unusual. To put it bluntly you’ve just triggered a whole chain of quite unpredictable events, as always when the supernatural world is involved; right now, though, we must bear the brunt of it and, I am sorry to say, you will have to participate, no matter whether you like it or not.”
“Dad, could you speak a bit clearer, please? What chain of events? What exactly happened after my disappearance in that book?”
“All in good time, my dear, you will know everything and much more but you must wait a bit. We must let poor Mark sleep for some hours to recover from his encounter, we must find a willing donor for poor Henri and then…”
“What happened to Mark? Who is Henri?”
“Not now, Lilian dear, please. Go to your room, find yourself a nice, serviceable dress which you are not sorry to soil or destroy altogether and eat something, maybe even have a nap. You will need a clear head and all your wits about you when the worst comes to the worst. I must secure the house and deal with legal matters, send some messages and such – the sooner the better. Let’s meet in my study as soon as you are ready.”
Lord Dreane didn’t wait for his daughter’s “buts” any longer – he ran to the stairs and disappeared, shouting “sorry darling, no time for that!”.
Lilian was left perplexed and slightly reproachful. Her father has never treated her in such a way. However, keeping in mind her latest ordeal, she decided to follow his advice and be angry later. She went to her room, called a maid and started looking for a serviceable dress. Then she went to the kitchen, officially to order some cold meat but in fact to find out more about Mark’s misadventures.
As usual, the kitchen was a communication hub and the cook – an elderly woman called Jenkins – the biggest gossip so the best informed person around. Of course Mark’s story, a real scoop, was being told to all and sundry.
“…that horrible monster, a woman as ugly as a devil himself and as high as a mountain troll, dressed in black, stinky rags, knocked him unconscious, bit him and then dragged him inside by his neck. You see, he was too weak to defend himself, poor boy, although he did try to break her jaw and her arm but she was too strong and he lost so much blood so he was no match for her…”
Lilian didn’t say a word – she accepted silently polite nods of a butler and a stable boy and hurried curtsies of two scullery maids. She didn’t want to disturb Jenkins and it was obvious she walked in right in the middle of the story.
“…then our Master fired his silver gun and she had to flee, blood and spit dripping from her nasty, big jaws, but, unfortunately, he didn’t kill her because it was too dark to aim properly. Good morning to you, Miss Lilian my dear, I am retelling what happened to Mark when he went to look for our Master in order to help you.”
Lilian coloured abruptly – the cook’s version of events sent shivers down her spine but there was a new piece of information, quite unexpected and disturbing.
“Mark was attacked because he was trying to fetch my father and…help me?” she asked.
“Yes, Miss, he went on a mission nobody wanted to go because everybody knew there were these ungodly vampires involved and small wonder he returned barely alive with his throat mauled and his face scarred rather badly. He is lucky to be alive at all, I can tell you that much!”
Lilian didn’t need to hear the rest anymore – she ran out of the kitchen, her meal ignored, and stopped only to close the door of her own room. She was very sorry. So far, because of her sheer stupidity, she has endangered Mark’s life, health and reputation; she felt she owed something to him but she didn’t know how to approach the matter. Totally confused, her face so red and hot as if it was on fire, she opened the window to cool down. She looked at the park and saw a translucent ghost flying past the family chapel. A skimpily clad ghost of a girl. Lilian froze. She has never seen any ghosts in her house before. She didn’t believe they existed at all. What was happening?