Through the Looking Glass, Part Sixteen

Crystal followed but not directly. She let the creature gain some ground as she diverted to the left. It was her job as a slayer to kill that thing; it wasn’t her job to be lured into a trap. Once was enough, thanks.

Jack pulled to the right as he sensed the creature slowing. Now, either these things got tired a lot faster than the books he’d read said they should, or it was slowing down to let Crystal catch up. That had to mean she wasn’t following as closely as she could. If she was veering to one side, it would be the left since she is right handed and would be more effective with a sword that way. Jack really didn’t have to think it all through; such things came instinctively to him when he was in battle, now more so than ever. He grinned briefly at the realization that Crystal did have a head for tactics after all.

Crystal sensed the slow down as well. She also immediately noticed a new vampire joining its friend. That clinched it – it was a trap. Great, so how to get them without exposing herself? She smiled grimly. If you can’t win, dump the board. Time for a reboot, she decided as she came to a complete halt. No sense in letting them pick the battle ground. They weren’t going to leave completely until they were sure – they’d have taken off full speed if so. Crystal looked around. No, not here, too little cover. She’d have to find a place. She at least knew where she was – the same area she’d played cat and mouse with that werewolf. Of course, she hadn’t been on the roof tops then but it did give her some options. She took off to her left.

Jack caught a glimpse of Crystal as she took off running in a new direction. He was gonna have a serious talk with her about teamwork when this was over, but he did like how she was thinking. That’s right, make them play by your rules, he thought. Jack waited impatiently but was soon rewarded – the vampires, now plural, had both back tracked. Much slower, he noticed. Evidently they weren’t as stupid as he’d thought. Well, he hadn’t yet learned concealment so he’d have to settle for misdirection. He took off to the right.

Bingo, both Jack and Crystal sensed the vampires splitting up. One after each slayer – mouse chases cat. Both slayers intended to make sure the outcome was just that predictable.

Crystal started hooking back toward home. She poured on the speed. This was one of the fun parts of being a slayer – the ability to run faster than any normal human had the right. She sensed the vampire slow down and increased her speed. After a moment, the vampire increased its speed exponentially. Crystal smiled triumphantly – it thought she was its prey. Perfect – come get me, she thought to herself.

Jack kept a more moderate pace – by a slayer’s standard. A normal human would have found it breakneck speed at best. The vampire began to close. Good, Jack thought to himself. A little dodging to make it convincing and suddenly Jack felt the vampire pull out all the stops. Jack grinned. That’s it, boy, you come to me.

Crystal unsheathed Gwen and dove down a fire escape. Her concealment wasn’t the greatest but at this speed it wouldn’t matter. She hid herself in the shadows. She couldn’t sense the vampire while concealed but she didn’t need to. It had evidently transformed and now she heard that sicking poof as it transformed back to its human likeness. It took a few steps. Crystal held her breath. Another step, then another, louder each time. One more step and there it was. Crystal moved like a flash, leaping back onto the rooftop and cutting the vampire in half with one swing. Gwen sang in triumph as the vampire turned to dust.

Jack ran behind a massive AC unit, stopping short just as the vampire closed. Too late, the creature realized its mistake as it turned the corner. Jack brought the ball bat down on the creature’s head with enough force to dent the AC’s cowling, which it did as the vampire’s head got caught between the two. The weapon doesn’t matter in the hands of a True Slayer, Ethan had said. Jack saw now why as the vampire turned to dust.

No time to lose, Jack took off in the direction he’d last seen Crystal. He lost the sensation of the other vampire a few seconds later – it had gone back toward their houses. Crystal must be that way, too, so Jack changed course. He didn’t like this at all. They might not have fallen victim to this trap, but what had happened while they were gone? They’d been lured out – why? Jack couldn’t think of a reason that didn’t turn his blood to ice water so he poured on the speed. First find Crystal and then get back!

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