(Elle’s attack on the Sanctum.)
On the way back from the Marble Dome I had the first bad dream that I’ve had in a long time. Ryan was with me in our house. He was holding my hand and telling me how much he loved me. Then he walked out of the door. I chased after him and expected to find his bloody corpse laying in the street like it would have after he was killed. Only once I got outside I saw Ryan staring at me with Troy’s eyes telling me that I was loved more than all, yet unwanted. He turned to walk away from me and as I felt the cold blade of a knife slowly piercing my heart I awoke stunned and startled.
I decided to try and sleep again. It was that or turn the airplane into the buffet bar of a stress drinker. In my next dream, I needed to meet Ryan at a store so we could fade away into the dark night because he had somehow escaped Primus’ grasp. Only his straight strawberry blonde hair turned black and curly and Troy’s voice began telling me how happy he was with someone else and how great their nights had been.
I woke up determined to jump off of the plane from the landing gear and swim back to America. How in the world did Belle’s reality become my nightmare when my husband has been dead for nearly two hundred years? He wasn’t Troy. Not at all. Ryan never made me feel disposable and unwanted.
I ventured back to the restrooms and caught a glimpse of familiar eyes. They were watching me and curious yet worried. His soft brown eyes instantly lifted my spirits and I decided that as long as Paul was also on the plane I would not jump.
At the airport, we gathered our bags and stood whispering to each other the many things we wished we had said and done and accomplished in life and as friends. We whispered so low that humans could not detect us of course. I felt like a decade of friendship had been exchanged between us and I think he knew that I yearned for that companionship. That I would have won his heart if I could have. He hugged me unexpectedly and kissed my cheek. I watched him walk away and made the real resolve of getting a boyfriend after this was all over with.
I walked to the Vampire Sanctum still feeling the same misery I had felt on the plane. It was nightfall by the time I got there. Ryan was stuck in my head, but at every turn he was leaving and every next thought was of him living our life with some other woman while I was forced to watch. Rogue tears filled my eyes and all of the regret I felt for not trying harder to love and be loved in return because of my guilt over Ryan’s sacrifice for me started to weigh heavily upon me.
I watched the Sanctum vampires for a while as I stalked the outskirts of the building looking for the best entrance. I decided that the best attack was head on and tried to re-center my focus on the task at hand and off of Ryan’s betrayal in my own mind. I knew he would never betray me or make me feel unwanted. But, Belle at some point thought the same thing about Troy and she was in the building somewhere.
Maybe in some weird way I was empathizing with her and trying to convince myself that there is pain worse enough to let your mind be taken over by a demon. I felt closer to her this way. Like if I could relate to her pain them I could also fight on her behalf. Then something inside of me clicked. Like I had reached my own personal emotional pain threshold and I was numb. I prayed anyway asking God to help me pull this off. I may be numb but if I fail… being dismembered by Primus is going to hurt… a lot.
* * *
Walking into the Sanctum’s front lobby I was greeted as a sister and curious newcomer. I unsheathed my silver sword and chased every last one of the five vampires who had been in the lobby down as they ran from me. I cut of a limb. Be it a hand, finger, foot, whatever. Losing a limb equals a temporary coma to a vampire. I very carefully dragged each one back to the lobby and situated them so that they looked as though they were unconsciously drugged or something, but sitting poised and as though I was putting dolls into place on a stage.
I proceeded to the elevator and decided that it was probably a better idea to start on the upper levels and then work my way down so I wouldn’t be ambushed on the way out. The second floor was that of the Ancients. If they don’t know I’m here then there is no need to alert them.
Onto the third floor. There was a party. I think the full room of vampires was under the impression that I had gone on a killing spree and decimated a small town of humans. They drunkenly cheered and went on partying when they saw the fresh blood on my clothes. I very slyly started in on the outer parameter of the room, disabling vampires but cutting off an arm here and a foot there until the rest of them realized what I was doing. Some jumped out of windows and others tried to overpower me. They were of course unsuccessful. I went after as many as I could find who had jumped for it. I think three got away, but I doubt they’d return to raise the alarm.
Again, I arranged all of the mangled bodies as though they had decided to take a collective nap and were lying on furniture perfectly still. I ventured up to the upper levels but they were empty. I was just amazed that no one had figured out what I was doing.
I turned to get back onto the elevator. As the bell dinged and the doors opened I saw a terrifying sight. It was an angel. He was clapping his hands slowly and exiting the elevator towards me. I felt helpless as I’m sure my sword wouldn’t do me any good.
“You are awfully determined aren’t you?” he said and expanded his wings.
“I have to help Paul.” I weakly managed.
“I know, that’s why I’ve been helping you. Elle, you don’t really think you could have subdued an entire party of vampires without God’s help do you?” he continued.
“How did you help and who exactly are you?” I asked lowering my sword and walking closer to him.
“I am Gabriel. And I fogged their minds to give you your chance because if they’d all have had their wits about them you would be dead. Come with me. Our work is not over.” he said and turned walking back into the elevator.
“I didn’t kill anyone. That counts right?” I asked guilty as I followed him and pressed the button to the lower levels. I was just happy God had heard my prayers for success and sent me proof that was doing the right thing by helping Paul.
“You came in here bold as a lion, praying before you entered the building for God to grant you grace. You put them all to sleep instead of sending them to their fated end. That counts for more than you think.” he said.
The elevator began to shift and adjust to open again.
“Why did God send you to help me if I was doing a good job?” I muddled.
“Because there are worse things than vampires for you to face today and it wouldn’t be fair to let you go all by yourself. God is ever with you and supporting you on all sides. Grace told you that lower levels existed, but not what was in them.” Gabriel explained as the elevator doors opened.
This has brought new meaning to the prayer Paul taught me that says ‘Who shall I fear with the Lord on my side?’ And yet, the pouring heat and heaviness in the air filled my little heart with fear. I looked into Gabriel’s eyes and he seemed to know what I was thinking.
Ryan may be in hell and today I get to see what he deals with daily.