Monday December 5th, 2016

The exercise:

Today we bring our yearlong tale about the House of Mercy to a conclusion. It's been quite a ride, and I would like to thank Morganna again for getting us started on the journey.

What's in store for next year's prompt? I haven't figured that out yet.

But for now... let's focus on finishing this one off, shall we?

Edit: blargh, sleep. Sorry for the late posting once again


Traditionally, there are four known ways to kill a vampire. Though they are well known, I shall list them for you anyway:

1. Sunlight.
2. Wooden stake through the heart.
3. Silver.
4. Beheading.

There you are. Nothing too complicated, yes? Have a vampire infestation, just pick something from the above list and problem solved. Right?

Well. Perhaps.

You see, there are some who believe this compilation of methods is not entirely... accurate. I count myself a member of this fraternity of doubters. I would suggest that you too, dear reader, have your suspicions.

Why else, then, would you be reading this copy of Real, True Facts About Vampires?

"Because I'm an idiot?" Julie muttered before turning to the next page. She was sitting on her bed, back in her apartment again. It was a cloudy, dark afternoon outside her window but she was paying little attention to the weather.

So, back to the list for the moment, for there our problems begin. Realistically, only the first two methods - sunlight and staking - will kill a vampire with any (apparent) certainty. The other two - silver and beheading - are even less trustworthy.

Silver acts more as a slowing, or weakening agent. One would need a lot of the stuff to finish a vampire off. Useful for keeping a monster in place - handcuffs made of silver come readily to mind - but something like, say, a silver bullet would merely serve to slow the beast's fearsome healing powers.

Speaking of those powers, you might be wondering if one could even recover from having its head removed from its body entirely. There is some evidence to suggest that is, indeed, the case.

"Of for crying out loud," Julie said with a shake of her head. "What is wrong with me? Six months later and I still can't let it go."

She continued reading anyway.

There is also some evidence that the best way to ensure a vampire is gone for good is to use a combination of all four methods. This is especially true when dealing with the most powerful members of this race, who are well known to have significant psychic abilities. It has been theorized that if they are damaged too severely, they will go into hiding until they have fully recovered. Where, precisely, they might go during this time is unknown.

The most troubling aspect of all of this, at least to myself, is that there is a strong possibility that the source of this widespread misinformation is the vampires themselves. They do not wish for us to know th-

Julie's head snapped up at the sound of the apartment door unlocking. She slammed the book shut and quickly shoved it under her pillow before picking up a pen and her journal from her bedside table. Flipping it open to a random blank page, she began to scribble mindlessly.

"Hello?" Anne called from the entrance way. "Julie? You home?"

"In here!"

"Still in your bedroom?" Anne said, leaning one hip against her door frame. "You need to get out more, girl. You've done enough therapy writing in that thing. It's safe beyond these walls now, trust me."

"Uh huh," Julie said, shrugging her shoulders and shifting her weight around on the bed. "I guess I'm just having trouble believing that Cecilie is really gone."

"She is. I killed her with my own two hands, remember?" Julie looked up, wanting to believe her friend's words. She searched Anne's eyes for some shred of proof that she wasn't lying but couldn't find it. "Can I come in?"

"Yeah," Julie said, frowning. "Why do you always ask? You know you're welcome."


Greg said...

Indeed, thank-you Morganna for giving us this tale and it's sinister hospital, strange doctors and disturbing patron! It's been fun writing about it all year, even if there were times when I had no idea where it was going or what was going to happen next, and it's always good to have other people on hand to help out with the story.
Well, I like that we've moved away from the hospital now, I think the scene change is perfect for an epilogue, which is what this feels like. The book that Julie is reading is dropping some interesting hints (as are you, Marc!) and I really like the notion that maybe, just maybe, Cecilie isn't as dead she ought to be....

[Sorry, this proves to be too long to post all in one post.]

Greg said...

"Well, it's polite, isn't it?" said Anne, stepping across the threshold. "I know you say I'm always welcome, but if you've got a headache say, or I've gone and left the toilet seat up once too often, you might change your mind."
They both smiled at the bad joke, and Julie thought briefly about laughing but her heart wasn't in it.
"How's the job hunt going?" Anne smiled, her teeth sparklingly white, and she picked washing off a chair and sat down.
"Meh," said Julie. "Slowly I suppose. I had an interview at the church yesterday afternoon, it's a part-time thing really though and I can't afford the rent if it's not a full-time job. And the office isn't that bad, I suppose."
"You deserve better," said Anne, her face pensive. "Is it the House of Mercy that's causing all the problems still?"
"I've managed to get my stay there cleaned up a bit," said Julie. Was she imagining a faint buzz behind Anne's words? "It took... well, it took a bribe, frankly, but I'm now down as having been in there for convalescence after a bad fall. Did you know it's still open?"
Anne's face didn't look surprised. "Really?" she said. "I had no idea! I wonder how it stayed open after Cecilie went. Do you think the doctors carried it on themselves?"
"Maybe. But according to the newspapers one of the doctors committed suicide last weekend. They found him hanged in his office."
"That's horrid," said Anne, still smiling. "He probably deserved it though."
TRAITOR flickered into Julie's mind, and she flinched. It was like hearing Cecilie's voice in her head again; just for a moment she remembered the foam from the fire extinguisher and the maddening commands to kill her friend.
"Oh, these are pretty curtains! Are they new?"
As the clouds outside parted briefly and a ray of sunlight broke through and illuminated the chair on which Anne had been sitting she had bounced up and was stood to the side of the window admiring curtains that had been hanging there since they'd moved in.
"Anne," said Julie, making her mind up. "Do you ever think that Cecilie might - might not be dead?"
SILLY THOUGHTS she thought immediately. She shook her head, the thoughts had to be hers, but they felt slightly off somehow.
"No," said Anne. The clouds closed over again, and she returned to the seat. "No, I killed her. I was there, I saw her dissolve or evaporate or deliquesce or whatever the right word is. She's gone, Julie. I'm absolutely certain."
"I am," said Julie softly, almost under her breath. There was something still odd about that thought, but it was right. She looked up, and Anne was smiling. "I'm pretty, Anne, aren't I?"
"You certainly are," said Anne. She stood up. "Too pretty to work in a church, you know. I know this might be a big step for you after everything, but I did hear the House of Mercy is hiring people. You could go and work there again, it could be therapy for you. And no-one there could object to you having spent time there already."
"That-" sound silly, she wanted to say, but THAT'S SUCH A GOOD IDEA filled her head instead. "That's a good idea," she said. She nodded. "Yes, that's a great idea. Thank-you Anne!"
"It's a pleasure," said Anne. GOOD GIRL said her thoughts.
Everybody smiled.

Marc said...

Greg - yes, there were times (at least three that I can remember) that I had no idea what I was going to write for the next month's entry. But I think it all worked out quite well in the end! Besides, that's half the fun of the yearlong prompts anyway :)

I love how you picked up where I left off with this final entry. The details are less subtle than in mine, but I think they needed to be, especially with Anne and Julie's conversation continuing.

I really liked the touch about the sunshine and curtains and that ending... ugh. Had a little shiver of horror when I realized Julie would be going back to House of Mercy.

Well done, and thank you for all of your excellent contributions to the story throughout the year :D