The Final Reckoning

Elysia and her son stood on the balcony overlooking the city. The Moon hung low in the sky, a pale ghostly orb that bathed them in a silver glow. They clasped each other's hands. "I'll be ready to take you out of here if the worst comes to the worst," Elysia told her son. "I cannot be sure of ever beating an enemy as relentless as the death-worshipping vampire. It has such a rage, such an egotism... Only just less robust than that of the dark forces themselves. If the city is no longer safe for you then it is no place for us to live. But I still have one more idea that could work against the fiend. Plasteel has the property of insulating undead spirits. If there were only some way I could contrive of getting him into the coffin of plasteel I built long ago. The ashes of my terrible uncle – Count Darkholm - are in a plasteel urn. He at least will never rise again."

Leif hugged her close. The black cascade of her hair came tumbling over his breast and he kissed its soft waves in the moonlight. "For what it's worth I wish more than anything I was strong and quick enough to help you," he said. "In a way, this new horror is like Count Darkholm back again. I would so like to be able to exact retribution on him..." Leif bit his lip. There had been an uncharacteristically hard look in his blue eyes for a moment.

Elysia gave a sad smile. "You have your humanity Leif. Be content. It is worth so much more than speed or strength."

Scene: The Justice department lab:

Much to his horror, Marshall Carver had found himself propelled against his will by the evil spirit, towards the Justice department laboratory. He could feel it, heavy in his mind, as second presence that he could not shake off. It squirmed and writhed in his head, as though his mind were filled with snakes and scorpions. He was aware of a foul, rotting smell clinging to him. "If you are looking for your burned bones you are too late," he managed to say, between gritted teeth. "The vampiress gave the order that they be incinerated straight away."

"Oh it mattersssss not, I can acquire a new body," the terrible hiss of the monster echoed in his mind. "But we sstill have to pick up my helmet. The bungling guardsss may think to keep it as a trophy otherwisse. Your helmet iss not ssuitable for my robesss of officcce."

Carver tried again to push the fiend out of his mind, but to no avail. It forced his legs to move in a stiff jerky motion into the laboratory where the vampire's helmet had been placed on a table. He picked it up and felt his other arm seized by the compulsion to remove his own helmet and discard it. He jammed the vampire's helmet over his own head. The portcullis visor obscured his vision. A member of the justice lab staff was watching.

"Good evening Marshall, has the order been given to remove the evidence?" He asked.

"Keep away from me," groaned Carver. "I'm possessed."

"Possessed? By what? I don't catch on," said the technician in bewilderment.

"Doussse yoursself in steak sauccce and remain here, for I'll be back!" The low hiss of the evil vampire issued from the Marshall's throat.

"Sir!" Said the lab technician in astonishment. He watched as Carver moved stiffly away. Really the Marshall could be most sour tempered at times.

"We are both going to have our revenge againsst that she-devil who would stand in the way of jusssticce," the awful voice sounded in Carver's mind once more. "Don't pretend you wish anything elsse. She hass humiliated you asss well."

"You couldn't stand up to her in a fight when you were at your peak," taunted Carver. Although the hope seemed futile, he hoped he could play on the fiend's huge conceit, to make him act rashly...

"Ha! I'll ssshow you," it hissed in his ear. "We'll exxact justicce on her together. Do not sssupposse I am unprepared for whatever tricksss she may have in sstore. I have a gift from the dark forcces that is currently hidden underground. A pssychic wave generator. It will disrupt any wardsss she hass in place. The harridan will not know of uss until it iss too late."

As the vampire mother stood with her human son on their balcony, there was a sudden chill wind. Black clouds shaped like a pair of hideous claws drifted across the Moon. Leif shivered. "We'll go back inside dearest," said Elysia putting an arm around him. They left the balcony. Suddenly Elysia could sense something terribly wrong. Instinctively she moved in front of Leif so as to shield him. There was a presence of terrible evil that just now uncloaked itself. Marshall Carver stood there dressed in the outlandish helmet that the evil vampire had worn. A sinister black pall clung to him. In one hand he held an orb of a black metal that glimmered with a dull red light. Elysia could tell in an instant that he was possessed by the spirit of the monster that she had dispatched.

"There's nowhere you can hide Darkholm! For sstanding in the way of jussticce you will pay!" Came the unearthly hiss. A black shade rose from Carver who collapsed to the floor. The dark form rushed for Elysia and enveloped her. She could feel a loathsome presence force itself into her mind. As though from a great distance she could hear Leif shouting. "Now I will crussssh your mind. I will sssqueezzze your ssoul till it bleedss." The evil spirit told her. Apparitions from the past formed in front of her. One of them took the form of her uncle, Count Darkholm. His face was ashen and his terrible eyes were red rimmed. His teeth were terribly sharp and dripping with her blood. Once again she could feel the searing pain in the side of her throat. "This burning desire for you turned me to sin," he gloated. Her insides churned as she realised he was confessing to incestuous desire for her that he had kept concealed for so long.

"What elsse can I torture you with before I desstroy your mind," came the loathsome hiss once again. "What really incorporatesss your fearssss?"

The vision of Hakan swam into focus. "You may have killed me, but I will always live in your nightmares." It said. "Let old Hakan warm his hands under Leif's shirt. Ah he is fourteen now. A little too old for my tastes."

"What? You fear for the safety of a human? What usse could you have for that worthless human boy if he iss not your next meal?" Asked the evil spirit in astonishment. Elysia could feel her son's hands clasping her face. She felt a warm glow inside her. A powerful sense of joy. The evil vampire felt it too. He shrieked as it seemed to burn him. A silvery flare that burned away the spiteful shadows. Elysia's resolve rose up within her. Exerting her mental faculties she gripped on the evil spirit. "Feel that, feel the love," she intoned. The evil spirit let out a silent shriek as it writhed in the vice like grip she now had on it. Her dark eyes snapped open. She looked straight into Leif's blue ones. "Leif, fetch the bottle for this creep, hurry!" she told him.

Later that night, the foul spirit was sealed in a coffin of the toughest plasteel and Elysia took it to the very lowest of the crypts. This was the one place in her residence she only very rarely entered. She pushed aside the stone door and dumped the coffin on the earthy ground beside a plasteel urn. This room smelled musty and damp for she had never cleaned it out. She had brought a torch with her which was the only light the place had seen for a long time. The coffin held the evil spirit which was an indistinct black, shapeless form swirling around the confines of its prison. The urn held a pile of cold ashes. Beside the urn a portrait of a sinister old man lay, its frame cracked and charred. "Hello uncle," said Elysia. "I know I say this every century, but look where your dreams of eternal youth, power over this world and over me, have got you now."