When Beatrice slipped out the window, Jasmine was a minute behind her. When her sneakers hit the soft ground – and Beatrice hadn’t heard her – Jasmine knew she had guessed correctly. The older girl had to sneak out somehow to get cigarettes, and knew the adult’s routines.
Beatrice slipped out of sight as Jasmine ducked under the dewey leaves of the bushes. A stake, a cross, a small flimsy vial of holy water. That would be enough for tonight. She was simply going to follow Beatrice. How did she get back in, anyway? Jasmine started to pad her way across the darkened lawn.
The edge of the school grounds was marked in fluorescent tape, a sickly green in the moonlight. Jasmine could just hear the older girl ahead of her, outside the treatyline. She probably had someone else drop the cigarettes off, and she just retrieved them from the side of the road –
Beatrice’s scream echoed through the damp air. The cool mist made it hard to see, but even the crickets had stopped making noise. There was only soft inarticulate sobs from up ahead.
Jasmine did not think; she would not rationalize her way out of this. She ran towards where she had heard Beatrice scream.
The vampire took flight as she approached, flapping rustling sounding like a flag in a windstorm. Beatrice lay twisted and facedown, her neck ripped open and skin pale. A cigarette lay near her mouth, the smoke twisting upward. It rose, not distorted by any breath.
Jasmine had not realized how fast it could happen. It had been fast, so fast. She sank to her knees, the moistness wicking through her pants and feeling sick on her legs. Beatrice swam in and out of focus as the tears flooded into Jasmine’s eyes.
And then Beatrice started to move.
The fear struck Jasmine in the gut, her bladder emptying itself. She knew – knew – that Beatrice had been dead. For her to move meant that she had been Chosen. That she was a new one.
That she was not bound by the treaty.
Jasmine scrambled to her feet, stumbling backwards. The truceline was nearby, but safety was not. She turned and ran.
Mrs. Heydnshot’s voice rang in Jasmine’s head. “The new vampires are in shock for the first few moments. There is a struggle betweeen the vampire and the human selves. But then the vampire essence takes over, leaving the human consciousness trapped screaming as the vampire destroys everything they love.”
Jasmine glanced backward in time to see Beatrice – the thing that had been Beatrice – launch itself towards her. Jasmine spun, taking the impact on her left shoulder. Her cross skipped off a bit of sandstone, and Jasmine’s breath whoomphed out as she hit the ground.
Beatrice – it still looked like Beatrice – already had fangs. Fast. This was all too fast, and then she was flying backwards from the vampire’s throw. Jasmine’s body felt distant, sensations mere dispatches from a distant outpost. Jasmine felt her left arm twist and crack against a branch, her back slam into the tree trunk, her body flop against the ground. The cool grass tickled her cheek, moved as she gasped for breath. Beatrice bared her fangs again and walked, slowly, deliberately towards Jasmine.
Jasmine’s right hand fumbled upon the holy water, seized it, and threw. The bottle smashed on Beatrice’s skull and… did nothing. Even the vampire seemed surprised, but not as much as when Jasmine shoved herself forward, stake-first, at Beatrice.
Jasmine was surprised at the smoothness of the motion, how slickly the stake slid into Beatrice’s body. Her hand stopped at the vampire’s skin, still wrapped around the rough stake. The two toppled over, then Jasmine scrambled off the vampire’s immobilized body. She grimaced, and wiped her hands down her sides.
The stake hadn’t been enough. She didn’t know why, but it had not killed Beatrice, just paralyzed her. The flag-rustling sound came again. Jasmine looked up to see the vampire on the other side – his side – of the truceline, laughing.