The woman was lying on her back. She wore a white chemise, a black bodice gave her an hour glass shape, allowed quite a view of cleavage. I determined the dress style might be somewhere in the late 18oo's, someone might have worn on our world. The material of her dress was blue and shiny—I guessed satin—and it had a lot of frilly lace at the hem, which came up to about mid-calf, and on the sleeves. I wanted to guess she worked in a bar of some sort. Her auburn hair was in long and curled. Her jewelery suggested that she was a bit more than just a saloon slut. fancy feathered hat was askew, but still on her head. I knew almost right away she was quite dead. Possibly it was the flitting images coming to me, as well.
But then I don't trip over dead people a lot. Clumsily I tried to gain my feet without touching the dead woman.
“Jett?” a man said somewhere out of sight. “Decent of you to show up so quickly.”
“Skrlock! I got your message. Where is she?” Recognition hit me. I knew that voice, and I wanted to get the hell out of there. Quick. But I'd really took a tumble, and I couldn't get up fast enough, grimacing as I bared the pain in my knees, and my hands. I was certain I cut my palm on a stone or something, and the bumpy surface of the cobblestone street was a bit slick because of the rain. But my vision, as usual, pulled me down. I felt like I was climbing around in quicksand trying to gain my equilibrium.
“It's just up this way. Come,” the man's voice urged.
I heard their steps tapping along on the cobblestone. Before I could decide which way to move, two men in capes swept into the narrow street. Their dark shadows loomed before me and darkening the space around me. If I moved to leave, I feared I might be mistaken for the murderer. I might be anyway, I reminded myself miserably. But why was he here? And more to the point, where was here?
“Do you know how long she's been dead?” the one asked the other.
“Possibly a few hours. Someone called on me, but it was too late. There was nothing to do, and so I sent for you.”
Their footsteps halted as I struggled from my kneeling position near the body, assessing my bumps and bruises. I was not wearing gloves, and I'd thought I was bleeding, but I couldn't feel any wetness, but my palm was really bruised. I shook the numbness out, and hoped the pain would simply vanish.
“Hello. Who are you?” the man who had a slightly different accent from the other asked as he halted at the end of the alleyway, holding up the lantern.
“It's you!” The shorter, stockier one said. This was Jett, the young man who I had appeared in front of earlier by mysterious ways. But this, I didn't expect. I mean, how many times would our paths cross?
“Yep, it's me. Name's Sabrina.” I didn't offer my hand, and stepped back some, wondering if by the same magic I could return home, like I had the last time. Nothing happened. What a time to not be able to vanish.
“So, again we meet,” he said. “This is my friend, Skrlock.” The two men strode up to me and stopped just short of five feet from me and the body.
“Do you know this Dame?” Skrlock turned to eye Jett.
“We only just met. I'll tell you about it later.” He then eyed me critically. “I liked the dress better.”
“I'll bet,” I quipped. “This is my evening attire.” I held out my arms as if to show it off.
“Whose Dame is she?” Skrlock's interest in me sounded peaked.
“I never had the chance to find out. She disappeared on me.” The prince regarded me a tad suspiciously.
Skrlock chuckled, and leaned upon his cane. “How interesting.”
I found myself at a disadvantage. I had no idea what they were talking about.
“Agreed,” Jett said to his older friend. I could see from the lantern light he held how much older his friend was. I guessed possibly in his forties. “You wouldn't mind sharing how you were able to vanish, would you?”
“A witch?” Skrlock's voice was drenched in disbelief.
“I'm not a witch.” I wanted that to be understood right away. “I don't know why, or even how I've gotten here. Before, or now.” Although a few ideas were coming to mind. Portals could send anyone to another place as well as another world. However, I had been told that only a supernatural could enter them and use them so as to get to and from a place without going off course. But, then, I reminded myself, I'd become a supernatural practically over night. I had come to the conclusion that Lindee may have fallen into this portal that simply opened up where she stood in that park at that exact moment. My only other concern was why hadn't Tremayne followed me? Possibly he wasn't close enough when it had opened.
The woman on the ground was not Lindee. I could tell for sure in the lamplight Jett held. Besides, Lindee would never have dressed like this. This woman's hair was a brownish- bronze color. Not jet black.
It had been a while since I'd ever seen a ghost. I'd learned that the Astral Shell—ghost—didn't usually last all that long. Possibly this woman had been dead for several hours. Long enough to wait until dark to dump her body. I wasn't surprised to see the figure of the young lady form in front of me. She looked pretty much like the woman at my feet, only a bit thinner, and a bit sad.
Who are you? I asked.
I am Eveline.
Who did this to you?
Arabella, and Alucard.
In the space it took to blink, the vision of how Eveline was killed filled my head, and made me light headed. I didn't like to see needles and blood.
“Sabrina? Sabrina?” Jett had his hands on my upper arms, shaking me saying my name like I'd been zoned out. I'd just had a vision and didn't even know it.
“Le' go. I'm okay,” I slurred, wavering slightly, enough to have to lean against him. Jett was a solid guy. Towering over me, he held me up gallantly as I gathered myself. His aura, I must say, was very strong—as strong as any vampire I knew. And just because I was in his space, and now touching him, I had a quick vision of a lavish palace, servants, and someone older, and quite dark and scary. Possibly his father. His fierce face burned onto my mind's eye. I was quite certain I would be meeting him eventually. I knew Jett wasn't a vampire—but there was something more about him that I couldn't quite riddle out, and he was very rich. No. He was actually royalty.
“But, you were into a swoon.” Jett's worried look told me that he'd probably been trying to get through to me for a few moments. It was surprising that he didn't tell me I was talking nonsense. After all I'd just carried on a conversation with a ghost.
“Perhaps we should loosen something?” Jett suggested.
“Seems unlikely she'd go into a swoon because of her apparel,” Skrlock said, taking in my attire. “But, if you feel the urge—”
“I'm fine. Just give me a moment.” I held one hand out to stall him from touching me further, and my other hand to my forehead, blinking away the wooziness. I looked around. Eveline's Astral Shell had vanished. I hoped that she'd gone on, as all souls should, to the next stage of death.
Jett stood back. Then his attention went to the dead woman and Skrlock who had knelt beside her.
“No bite marks. You'd think there would be, if she's a Blood Dame.”
“Check the inside of her arms,” I suggested, knowing what they would find.
Jett's startled gaze darted to me, and then he dipped down with the lantern. They examined her arms.
“There, you see that?” Skrlock said, fingers pressing on the inside of the woman's elbow. “A needle mark.”
“Yes. On both arms it seems,” Jett said. “What do you make of it?”
“Donor. But, she's been drained, that means it was on purpose. This isn't good.”
The two men straightened to their full height. “No. Whoever did this either didn't do it right or—”
“They've killed a human, my boy!” Skrlock said, jabbing his cane on the stone to make his point.
“Yes, I know!” I got an emotional up-surge from him. He seemed a little frightened, I thought.
“Obviously they dumped her body here, hoping no one would find her until dawn.”
“Do you blame them?” Jett said finally. “If it was an oversight, perhaps there'd be leniency, but I doubt there could be now.” He pointed down at her. “Not with the way this looks, as if they wanted her to be found this way.”
“It is a bit flamboyant, isn't it?”
“Do either of you know who Arabella or Alucard is?” I interrupted, hoping this was enough to point them wherever they needed to go.
“Arabella?” Jett said and looked down. “This isn't Arabella. How would you know to ask about her?”
“I just spoke to her ghost,” I said, flippant.
“A clairvoyant?” Skrlock said sounding absolutely intrigued.
“Well, who is Arabella?” I wondered.
“She owns Arabella's Saloon,” Skrlock said, leaning once again on his cane. “Maybe she was one of the Blood Dames there?”
“You ever see her before?” Jett asked.
“As if I would,” he scoffed. A moment of silence between them grew and Skrlock seemed to amend, “Well, I've imbibed there once or twice, but I don't remember her.”
“Who is Alucard?” I pressed. The name seemed oddly dark to me. I didn't know why, but I felt I should fear him for some reason, and wanted to know why.
“The blood broker of Arabella's.”
“Blood broker?” I said.
“He provides blood to the patrons.”
“Why doesn't that surprise me?” I said trying not to sigh, but I did. “What's a blood dame?”
“Blood Dame?” Jett said, looking over to his companion. Skrlock thrust his hand out and gave a slight bow.
“Blood Dames or Dons are humans who willingly give their blood to a vampire.”
“But that's not what happened here,” I said.
“No. This was a blood donor who's been drained,” Jett said. “That's not supposed to happen.”
“Not even by accident?”
“No, my dear,” Skrlock said. “Killing a human is quite serious.”
“Really?” I said.
“Well, it is where I come from too, but why is it so serious here?”
“Because, there are so few of them.”
“What do you think? Arabella's? Ask a few questions?” Jett proposed to his friend.
“Yes,” Skrlock said. “I haven't been there in probably a moon's time.”
© Lorelei Bell 2011