Rating: PG-13 for violence
Summary: A little background for the mob that "killed" poor Dru.
Notes: My people were defenestrating before it was cool.
The first one in saw something he had not expected. A woman in white had a child in her arms, cradling it, kissing it, but the kiss was oozing a red stream over the child’s pajamas, and a man stood nearby holding another woman, his hand clamped over her mouth to hold in her screams. She had been the one they had heard from downstairs - Pomoc, moje dcera, moje dcera - but the newcomer couldn’t understand the words that her captor was saying now to his companion: “Finish up, Dru, there’s more of them coming.” Nor did he understand when the man looked at him, kicking in the door and panting, and said, “Oh, bloody hell, you couldn’t give us a hot minute of privacy?”
The first one in was the first one to die, but there were more of them coming, and they saw what he had, and they saw how he threw himself at the blond Englishman without regard for his own safety. They saw the strange woman drop a dead child on the floor, blood on her lips. They saw the child’s mother get one more piercing scream out before the blond man snapped her neck and reached out to perform the same trick on the doomed hero that was rushing him.
But there were more of them coming. Soon they were streaming in the door. The woman sang nursery rhymes in heavily accented Czech as they attacked her; the man made sarcastic comments in English. Neither seemed concerned, at first, though they no longer had time to kill each opponent before the next came, and were simply knocking them out of the way. The little flat was reaching its maximum capacity as more and more residents of the complex found their way to the battle. In the corridors and on the stairs they asked each other what was happening. Some spoke of murderers. Some knew nothing except that a woman had cried out for her daughter. Some believed in vampires, and for the first time in their lives, could admit it out loud.
A crowd to mirror the one inside was gathering below the window. Although it was five stories up and little could be seen aside from a general commotion, someone must have known, for vampires were being invoked here, too, and fingers were pointing up, accusations being thrown, a trail of recent deaths being traced to their source. Police sirens were blaring, but officers who were nearest had to phone back to headquarters and say that the backup needed to prepare for a riot, not a suspected homicide.
Up in the flat, the deadly couple had been overwhelmed by sheer numbers. The woman wailed as the residents pressed her against the wall, a heart-rending sound. “Time to go, ducks,” the man said urgently, but he himself was grappling with three big men, and the only path to the only door was through a wall of enemies. “Sod it,” he snarled, “I’ll kill everyone in this rotten city! I’ll give nightmares to your empty streets! Come on! Come on! Come on!”
He might have cleaved through them and escaped, but at that moment, someone got the woman to the window and shoved. Her fall didn’t come immediately; she twisted and kicked herself free twice, but finally they had her half outside and held by her ankles, and there was nothing for her to grab when they let go.
“DRUSILLA!” howled her paramour. Nobody could restrain him - one moment he was surrounded, and the next, he was perched in the window, braced against its frame and looking down at the knot of bodies beneath him. “Run hard, love! I’ll find you!”
When asked about it later, nobody could describe exactly what happened next. The Englishman didn’t fall or jump out the window, and he didn’t vanish before their eyes, but he was no longer in the room with them. Surely he couldn’t have made it to the roof from that window, but there were a few who said they were sure they had seen him go up, his boots hanging down in front of them for a bare second before he was lost to everyone’s view.
Those on the ground had questions of their own. The woman had survived her fall. The woman could not have survived her fall. She was standing up. She could not be standing up.
Some who had been ready to attack whatever came out of the building stepped back, suddenly uncertain. Some who had tried to catch her, imagining her innocent, turned and escaped into the night. For a moment she had a clear circle around her, untouched by the press of the crowd, and their breath sounded heavy in the stillness of anticipation. Footsteps thundered through the building behind her, the army from the flat coming down as reinforcements.
The spell broke like a tidal wave. “D’abel je!” someone screamed, and the message echoed over a hundred panicked tongues: devil, devil, it’s a devil. The chase began. She was fast, but they were many.
Nobody who was there at the end had been there at the beginning. It was a miracle, in a way, that enough comprehension of the evening’s events remained that the last ones chasing her through the alleys still had demons and vampires on their minds. A few of them might have known all the truth there was to know - soulless, deadly, stakes, fire - but such practical wisdom has a way of getting lost in excitement, and the stampede only aspired to tear her apart with their bare hands.
Twice their fury was stoked to raving, first when they saw her take three bullets to the chest without slowing, and second when she was struck by a police car, rolled up its hood, and regained her feet on top of it. As if it had all been part of her design, she took off with a ballet dancer’s leap, and the chase went on.
Perhaps the greatest mystery was the sword. Whoever used it knew what it was, which was extraordinary in and of itself, but that knowledge didn’t come from the owner. As far as anyone could see, there was no owner. The sword, an ancient and gleaming piece of steel passed down through the ages from Saint Wenceslas himself, seemed to have joined the battle of its own accord, and at the vital moment, it was in the hands of one who could use it to full effect. Where it had been kept for so many centuries, how it was still so sharp, what kind of enchantment had blessed it, and even what happened to it afterward, all remained unknown.
She moaned as it pierced her heart. So she was not invincible, they saw, and again the hush fell over them. Within seconds, her eyes were closed, her body lay still, and the sword was withdrawn. The life drained out of her, she looked like any beautiful woman, tragically murdered in her white dressed spattered with red. Nobody could bear it. They took their sword, took their fear, and left her.
Not a minute had passed before a dark shape dropped from a rooftop and padded softly toward her mangled form. Pale fingers with chipped black nail polish touched her face. Her eyes opened. “Spike,” she said, lips curving into a smile. “Shhh. It’s hide-and-seek. Count to a hundred, and we’ll find them.”
“That we will, love,” he murmured, lifting her into his arms. “That we will.”