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Yesterday's Ashes

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This story is No. 2 in the series "December's Child". You may wish to read the series introduction and the preceeding stories first.

Summary: Anita Harris has left Sunnydale but has it left her? Hoping for normalcy, Anita must deal with both college and the reality that her dreams may just be dreams. Except, nothing is ever that simple.

Categories Author Rating Chapters Words Recs Reviews Hits Published Updated Complete
Anita Blake > GeneralEffieFR1577,8690185,65918 Aug 084 Jul 09No

Chapter 6

Anita ran towards them. She could feel them now even though she couldn’t see them. They were only a block ahead of her but a block was more than enough for the dead thing. Anita stumbled when she saw them from the mouth of an alley. They were against an old grimy wall and Anita couldn’t help but think that this was the last place she’d like to do anything intimate with someone, even with a one night stand.

All of her instincts were telling her to stop this. The dead thing was going to kill him, quickly if he was lucky. Anita had seen Judy’s dead body when she had been buried. It’d been an accident. She shuddered. Judy could not have an open casket funeral. She remembered the discolored skin, the pale lifeless face and the bite marks on her neck.

The thing and the man were concentrating on each other. She knew it was only a matter of minutes, seconds if the thing was desperate. Anita looked for anything to use as a weapon. There was a broken bottle, there were cigarette butts, roaches, and there was even a discarded condom on the ground. There was absolutely nothing she could use. Vainly she looked for trashcans but there were none in the alley unless you counted the dumpster on the other end. For a hysterical moment she had thought about beating the thing to death with a lid.

Time was trickling by. She had to do something! She saw the thing move. She ran towards it. It was concentrating so hard that it didn’t notice her until she tackled it. The man behind her yelled in surprise as they were flung a few feet away from the impact.

Anita yelled when the thing threw her into one of the walls. The alley was small enough and they were close enough for her to hit the wall. It hurt! Damn it. When it looked at her she froze. The thing’s face wasn’t human. Anita knew it wasn’t going to be. The man behind her yelled, this time in fear.

“You’re going to pay for that kid.” The vampire growled. Anita knew exactly what it was, the whispered words from classmates at school filtering in her mind. Anita didn’t have a crucifix or any religious symbol to ward off the demon. If they even worked at all.

Then time seemed to slow down and a Anita felt that she could handle this. Unlike that Halloween where Anita felt in danger at the cemetery where everything seemed too fast and she had no control over anything. Anita felt her heart beat slow down until it thumped steadily like a drumbeat. As corny as it was, she would think later, it was exactly like the slow motion events on TV. Anita could see herself outside of her body and she could feel the dead thing.

Anita could feel it just like with the dead at the cemeteries. It felt for like there was something there waiting for her like strings waiting to be grabbed. Anita grabbed them with her mind. The dead thing kept charging. Her heart beat again and Anita’s panic was nearly overwhelming.

“STOP!” She yelled, her heart beat twice and it was painful when time sped back up. Her heart thumped thrice after her mouth shut and the thing crashed into her.

Anita shoved it away. The strings in her mind were slipping out of her grasp. No, she couldn’t let that happened. She held tighter. The thing was struggling to move. Noise to her right caused her to look. The man was still there.

“RUN!” She screamed as she desperately tried to keep the strings from slipping out. She didn’t want to die. Not here, not in the alley alone. Not so far away from home. She wouldn’t see Xander again. She would die a virgin. Mom, Dad, Jesse, Willow… None of it mattered, she didn’t want to die!

She couldn’t out run the thing. It was fast and she wasn’t wearing running shoes. One fall, trip or misplaced step would be the end of her. Anita desperately looked around. Near the dumpster, there had to be something.

Anita tried to run toward the other end of the alley but God did her body hurt. The thing had thrown her into the wall with some force and when it crashed into her… Anita wasn’t used to taking that much damage in a single round. She could handle herself in a fight, even with men bigger than she was but she hadn’t ever been hit that hard before.

Another string slipped and the vampire growled. Anita looked wildly around. She couldn’t check the dumpster but there! A crate had been haphazardly thrown into the alley. Anita began to kick it, hoping for anything to break. Her foot went through the side. Her shoes, though not heels or showy, didn’t offer any protection. Wood dug into her leg and exposed foot.

Anita screamed. Anita felt a few strings escape her. The vampire began to move. Anita looked. It was crawling toward her. It was trying so hard. Rage and indecipherable fear, Anita shouldn’t be able to do that to it. She was prey, food. Food shouldn’t be able to fight back.

Anita whimpered as she pulled back her foot. Her hands grabbed at the wood and pulled. It was wet with her blood. Splinters dug into her hand and a stray nail nicked her arm and she tried to free it. A piece of wood came free, too small. Anita tried again. The next piece large enough and Anita turned.

The thing was closer. If she let go it would be over. Anita could feel the strings floating in the wind, wildly. She reached, desperate, and managed to grab one more. The crawling slowed and it swore.

“I’m going to kill you!”

Anita wanted to run but her foot hurt. She took a tentative step forward. Blood rushed to the surface and she left a bloody stain on the filthy ground.

It was almost comical.

Anita limped toward the vampire, leaving a bloody trail behind her. She was half-bruised, or she would be from the impacts, and the look on her face could be described as anxiety mixed with something akin to familiarity. The vampire crawled towards her, fangs barred. It was trying desperately to get free. By the time they reached each other Anita was certain she was going to pass out from blood loss.

Woozy, Anita screamed as she kicked the vampire over onto its back with her injured foot. She couldn’t do it without the weight on the good one. She whimpered as she straddled it. She ignored the look of horror on its face as her arms shot up and her went back down to impale it in the heart.

It screamed. She’d missed and with horror she realized she’d just gored it in the stomach. A string slipped. As she prepared to do it again one of the vampire’s left hand shot out to stop her but she moved faster. This time she didn’t miss. She felt the sternum crunch and the weight of her body helped slide it home.

She watched as it gave her a look of shock. Then its flesh turned to dust. Then it’s skeleton. Then all she was left was with ash and a bloodied stake in her hands. Anita dropped it and began walked out of the alley. She made it halfway to the dorm before she passed out.
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