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She sat in her beat up pick-up truck for what felt like ages, simply staring ahead at the old abandoned warehouse. Every brain cell left in her head told her that she should wait until dawn. They'd be weakest at dawn, and this was a nest. Not just a nest, but a nest with a master. She was one girl with a hammer. It didn't matter that she was the heavy, they would kill her. No, her brain told her this was stupid.
The blood of her sister however, still drying on her face and shirt, said something different. Her gut, still churning from smashing in her sister's dead skull, said to attack. What clenched it was the memory of her sister's eyes. The pleading, helpless eyes that had looked to Whizza for answers. The eyes that held no clue as to what she had become. She had begged, pleaded for help. Whizza had been forced to give her the only help she knew how to give to one of the undead.
That memory was the deciding factor. She reached to the seat next to her, her meaty fingers wrapping around the cold steel shaft of her hammer. Forged by her own hand, a weapon designed for no purpose other than destruction. It was the last thing she'd ever made before the hunt had stripped away her will for art. The last thing she'd designed before she had no more creativity left. By then, her world was death and monsters, and now, that world had taken the last thing she'd had. She would pay it back in kind.
She hefted the hammer, her thick blacksmith's arms barely bulging at the effort. It easily weighed ten pounds, but the physicality of working and bending metal for years as an artist had made Whizza's body thick with muscle. She slid from her truck, and took a moment to adjust her skirt before she made her way down the sidewalk. If any of the crackheads or prostitutes that stood out on the street cared about a stocky woman carrying a warhammer, they said nothing. Whizza paid them no mind.
She thought, briefly, about trying to sneak in, but that idea fell to the wayside quickly. She'd never been the planner. She'd been the heavy. The tank. The one they called when they needed a meat shield and a face pounder. But when she'd needed them, they'd been gone. Well fuck them. She didn't need them anymore.
No fancy tricks. No bringing the building down around her. Alan would have told her that she needed to set the place on fire. That would set them scared, he'd say, and make them panic. And when they panicked, they'd be easier to pick off. But she didn't want that. She didn't want them scared of the fire. She wanted them scared of her.
She didn't stop to check if the heavy steel door that would give her entrance to the warehouse was locked. She instead lifted her hammer, and swung it against the door handle. Blacksmith's arms bulged with the effort, and she felt as much as heard the crunch of the door handle and lock smashing inward. A well placed kick finished the job, and the door swung open. It slammed against the wall from the force of her kick, but by the time the crash registered she was already inside.
The entry hall was dark, and she worried for a moment that an ambush might be waiting. Her emerald eyes peered from behind pink bangs, looking left and right in preparation for an attack. None came by the time the hallway funneled her into the main storage area.
The room was lit by flashlights and lanterns, and Whizza could see the couch from her position at the door. The place was empty save for the broken shelves and discarded boxes that the company hadn't cleaned up when they'd abandoned the place, and the couch, clearly scavenged from a nearby alleyway. Lounging on the couch, resting back as though enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon, was her target. His long blond hair reflected the torchlight, and she could just make out his blue eyes, his smug smirk, gazing forward at her casually.
“Hmm. The big sister. But tell me...” he sniffed the air elaborately, heavily, almost mockingly. “Where is your little sister? I smell her, but I don't see her.” He gasped lightly, still mocking. “Oh my! Is that blood all over you, big sister? Why, however did that happen?”
Whizza's jaw clenched, and her fingers very nearly dented the steel shaft of her hammer from how tightly she gripped it. If looks could kill, the man...no, the monster would be dead already. She took a step forward, leaving the doorway and stepping fully into the storage area.
“Sic yer fuckin' dogs on me, assranger, so I can smash their heads in an' get ta yer faggoty ass.” Her voice came out as more of a growl than she'd expected. The creature's response was to laugh.
“My, how politically incorrect. Very well. Minions, attack.”
Her body was moving before her mind fully registered the motion on her right side. Years of roller derby had developed her reflexes, and over a year of fighting monsters had fine tuned them. By the time she realized she was moving, she had already thrust her hammer forward, smashing it into the face of the creature who'd dropped invisibility right beside her. The crunch of bone echoed in her ears, but the sound was too familiar by now to cause her any upset.
Instinct made her bend forward, and that instinct gave her just enough time to throw the creature coming from behind. Had she known a creature was coming from behind? She wasn't sure what she knew anymore. Her body fought with almost no signal from her mind, and the whole situation was a blur to her. She righted herself, swinging her hammer in a circle around her body. The heavy hammer head smashed into the body of one last, previously invisible minion, and she felt his ribs crunch under the assault.
Dealing with the last vampire had given the first time to recover, and Whizza discovered this fact as she felt a hard fist against her jaw. She stumbled, and that opening gave her opponent the chance to tackle her to the ground. Her grip on her hammer slipped, and she heard the steel weapon clatter to the concrete floor. Her body was already in motion, however, and she was rolling even as she hit the ground. The force of the impact made her skid, and she felt her shoulder rub against rough hardness. Had her shirt ripped? The thought floated surreally through her mind even as she twisted her opponent around. It probably had, her mind realized as her body moved to straddle the vampire. Her brain consoled itself with the knowledge that the shirt had long since been ruined as she sat her weight on the vampire's chest, and then it was done with that line of thought.
The vampire hissed, and part of her wanted to knock his teeth down his throat. But the fighting, the instincts, they made her reach her thumbs for his eyes and not stop until she couldn't push them down any further.
She was given no chance to savor his screams of pain. She felt a hand grab her hair and haul her up one handed. No easy feat, as she was over two hundred pounds of muscle. Arms much stronger than they had any right to be wrapped around her, and she felt moister drip on her neck as the creature moved to bite her.
A heavy workboot slammed down onto the creatures foot, and she felt bone crunch. The creature howled in pain, and Whizza turned, leading with a left. As she felt her fist hit the vampire's face, she shoved a right into his gut, and then jammed her elbow downward into the back of his neck. The vampire fell, sprawling to the ground. The flurry of blows would have knocked any human unconscious, but this was no human. Whizza lifted a boot to slam down on the creature's neck, but was stymied in her attempt by a heavy weight slamming into her side.
She flew back, falling with a thud and a grunt. Her side was on fire, and she was fairly sure she had at least one broken rib. Her eyes focused, and she saw the third vampire holding her hammer. Her weapon. Her weapon forged by her own hands, created for the sole purpose of destroying his kind.
“You don't get ta use my hammer, fucknugget.” The words were spit from her mouth, but served only to make the vampire attack more quickly. He swung the hammer downward, hoping to smash her face in, but she rolled to the side. He tried again, but this time she swung a kick at the back of his knee. It connected, and he stumbled.
The stumble gave her just enough time to get up to one knee. From there, she grabbed his ankles and pulled, yanking him forward and making him fall on his back. In moments she was on top of him, and three punches later she felt face bones crunching. She grabbed his hair, picking up his head roughly before smashing it downward, not stopping until she felt his head crack.
That threat dealt with, she moved to her hammer before standing to her feet. Her eyeless opponent was stumbling, flailing about, while the other vampire was just beginning to get to his feet. The first would be easy pickings, the second was her target. As he stood, she swung her hammer against his head. Bone shattered, viscera flew, and his now headless body slumped to the ground. One last, well-placed swing downed her third opponent, and then she turned to face the master.
She was breathing heavily, and her side burned from where she'd been hit. But she stood victorious, and now she could meet her target. Her target who sat lounging on the couch, clapping lightly.
“Well done, big sister. You really are the killer they say you are. Hammer to the head...tell me. Is that how you killed Katie?” His voice was calm, but Whizza could still hear the mocking tone.
“I didn't kill her, you fuckass, an' you fuckin' know it.”
“Oh, I think we both know that's not true, Elizabeth. When you came and took her from this warehouse, she was quite clearly ambulatory. Talking, walking, making sense...”
“You turned her inta a fuckin' vampire!” Whizza's scream echoed about the place, and caused anger to crease the face of the vampiric master she now faced.
“And then you killed her!” He yelled right back, rising to his feet. “Just like you killed my sire! Just like you've killed dozens of my kind! How does it feel, Elizabeth? How does it feel to watch one whom you love be destroyed?!”
Whizza stood there, hammer in hand, scowl on her face, her eyes burning fire into the vampire. Then, just like that, she was attacking. No witty dialogue. No clever back and forth. Just pure, unadulterated violence. She charged forward, swinging her hammer as viciously as possible, trying to smash the master's head in. Anger and adrenaline shoved more strength into her blow than she wanted, and it was no surprise that the vampire moved out of the way. Her hammer came crashing down on the concrete floor, and sparks and dust flew into the air from the impact.
Before she could right herself, she felt a sharp pain across her jaw. She tried to move, to counter, but the creature grabbed her shirt and she felt herself leave her feet. She landed some distance away, hitting the ground hard and skidding along the rough floor. Instinct caused her to bring her legs up, and she just barely managed to put her feet into the vampire's chest as he tried to jump atop her. Muscles bulged as she kicked him away, and adrenaline let her ignore the pain as she rolled to her feet.
As she felt herself rise, she realized she'd dropped her hammer. Her eyes darted about for it, but the hesitation didn't serve to help her. She looked up just in time to see the vampire moving at her more quickly than she could respond. She felt herself fall again, this time with him atop her. Her head hit the ground hard, a fuzziness moving across her vision as the vampire's hand clenched her neck. She reached up, gripping at his hand in an attempt to pry him off, but his fingers were like steel bands around her throat. He leaned in close, a wicked smile on his face.
“Let me ask you something, Elizabeth. You see, I've been watching you since you and your friends killed my sire a year ago.” He spoke calmly, as if he hadn't even broken a sweat from their short fight. His voice sounded as if it came from the end of a tunnel, and experience told her she was concussed. Whizza's eyes darted around, looking for some way to get loose from his grip. Nothing came to sight. Her hammer laid too far away to reach, and nothing else easily came to hand.
“You've lost everything. Your friends left you as you began ignoring them so you could pay more attention to killing my kind. Your lover left you when you decided you must be God's weapon, your sanity left you and you forged a warhammer.” His grip on her neck tightened, and she gurgled in an attempt to draw a breath. Her feet kicked as she struggled, but his grip stayed strong. “Who does that, Elizabeth? In what way did you take leave of your senses to come at me with weapons from the dark ages?” He sounded almost sincere in his question, as if her actions truly made no sense to him. “And more upsetting, how driven must you have been to have succeeded as long as you did?” His last line sounded angry. As if to accent his point, he squeezed harder, clamping down any hope of breath with his icy hands.
Whizza tried to reply, but it came out as a strangled grunt. The vampire shrugged absently, keeping his grip tight.
“No matter. I think I made my point when I took your sister. And now? Now that you sit at the absolute lowest point you can sit? Now that you have reached the bottom end of your spiral?” He leaned in closer, relishing her weakness. Her struggle. Everything was going hazy for her, and she longed to simply take a good, deep breath. “Now I will take your life. And for all your strength, for all that your God may have touched you, there's nothing you can do about it.”
She saw her one chance as he leaned close. Summoning up every last ounce of strength she had, she swung her fist around before he could pull away. Her fist caught the vampire square in the temple, and the power behind the blow stunned the vampire enough to cause him to loosen his grip. Whizza gasped for as much air as she could, and swung another blow. This time she aimed for his face, and she felt the the rewarding crunch of bone as her punch struck home.
His grip left her throat, but she took no time to relish the sweet feeling of air in her lungs. She reached up with both hands, shoving the vampire away before rolling up to her feet. Her world seemed hazy, and she felt unsure of each step she took. Time seemed to blur, and whether she took seconds or hours to reach her hammer, she had no clue.
Nor did it matter. As she bent down to pick up the heavy steel weapon, she felt a sharp tug on her hair. Her reactions were becoming sluggish, so much so that she hadn't registered that she was being shoved forward until her face smashed against the ground. She saw a world of red, and she felt a warm liquid begin to run over her mouth.
“Now, Elizabeth. I'm going to kill you. There's really nothing you can do about that. The only question is, how? I could snap your neck. I could stab you repeatedly. Or could even....yes.”
Before she knew what was happening, she felt herself being forcefully hauled up to her feet. Then she was staring into his face. His mouth was open, his fangs were bared, and even in her pained, fuzzy state she could deduce his plan.
Once more, instinct kicked in. She swung her head forward, pain erupting as her forehead smashed into the vampire's nose. She dropped to the ground in a heap as his grip loosened in surprise, and moved to reach her hammer. Her arm stretched, her fingers grasped, and she finally felt them wrap around the hardened steel shaft.
She struggled to her feet, her hammer in hand, her attention focused. She knew what she would do. She knew her plan, she had the means to carry it out. But the moment she stood to her feet, a burning pain shot through her gut, spreading outwards throughout her body. Her face twisted in shock, and she stumbled back, trying to deduce the source of the pain.
The vampire's face registered first, a cruel, wicked smile spreading across it. His hand was next, covered in sticky red blood. She looked downward, and found herself wondering why a knife handle was floating in mid-air. It took her another moment to realize that it was doing no such thing.
“Fine, Elizabeth. Have it your way. Die, pained and alone, knowing you accomplished nothing.” The words were spit at her, venomous and hateful. Her knees threatened to buckle, and she began to feel cold as the blood poured from the wound in her stomach.
It wouldn't end like this. It couldn't. Her hands moved to grip her hammer one last time, and strength she never knew she had filled her body as she hefted it once more.
“You first, bitchnuts.”
The master's eyes went wide, but her onslaught came too fast. Once, twice, three times her hammer swung against his head, until it finally split and splattered across the floor. Whizza felt the knife rip into her even more with every swing, but she didn't stop until her enemy was headless, already smoldering as his long dead body began to rot as it long ago should have.
She fell back, her legs no longer having the strength to support her heavy frame. Her hammer slid from her grasp, and she felt herself hit the floor. In her last moments of consciousness, she felt as though she should apologize. Apologize to her friends for abandoning them. To her sister, for failing to protect her. Strangely, even to the vampire, for never having discovered a better way.
Then her world drifted into black, and she didn't feel anything anymore.
|Outrunning the Storm|
|The Tooth Fairy War and Other Tales|