Al and Jo sensed that the spell had ended. As did James, who floated over to Al and Jo, on to whose backs he traced confirmation of his safety, with his ghostly fingers. Due to his actions, the two of them were compelled to shiver. As James floated back towards his own body, Al and Jo – having been reassured as to James’s safety – ran into the garage, to aid Di. When they reached her, Di was knelt crying over the body of vampire, so Jo knelt down next to the vampire’s body, on the opposite side of it to Di, and Al knelt next to Di.
“Di? Are you…” Jo fell silent as se caught sight of Di’s face.
Distractedly, Al opened the tool bag and hunted through its contents. At which point, Di’s head slowly rose, from looking at the face of the vampire’s cadaver – whose leathery hand she held – and Di’s eyen locked onto Al’s, “No! You even try it and…” Di fell silent and made a show of licking her teeth, as James was in the habit of doing, when he made threats.
“Why protect it, we came here to put an end to it?” Al’s face showed her surprise, that their most eager hunter had become a defender, of the undead.
“It!” Di slowly rose to her feet, once she was standing, her right hand shot, to her pouch. Fear and confusion raced across her face, as she started to open the pouch. Something was wrong, very wrong, so She turned and ran, towards the small doorway and the security of the natural world. Al went to follow her, but Jo held Al back, then sprinted off, after Di, hirself. Less than a foot from the doorway, Di came to a sudden halt and turned and raised her hand towards Jo, who was approaching her. As she approached, Jo could see anger, fear and confusion struggling, for supremacy, upon
Di’s preternaturally youthful face.
“What is it?” Jo slowed her approach.
“I’m… Not…” Di took several deep breaths before continuing, “Branwen’s Stars tried to burn me. Where am I? Is James alive? Where is he?”
“He’s safe,” Jo reached out a hand towards her; “You did not kill him.”
In reaction to Jo’s comment, Di drew back her left hand to strike Jo, “What the hell do you mean?” The anger slowly drained from her face, leaving only confusion and fear, “Why are we… am I so terrified of sunlight?” Jo slowly guided her back, to where Al awaited them. As they walked Jo started to tell Di what had happened, to her. Once, Di had a vague idea, of what had happened, she demanded, “Who are Eleanor and Simon? Who cast that spell on me? The one…”
“You tried to kill me with it.” Jo smiled, “You cast it at me. What on earth was it?”
Di shrugged, she then noticed Al, as well as what she was up to, in her peripheral vision, “No Al! Please! Do not do that to El… me again. I…”
“Stop messing around!” Al lowered the stake and mallet, Al looked up and saw Di’s face, “Di!” Then after a pause, to allow Di to respond, Al continued, “Your serious? Di! That was no joke? Di! Well? Di! Was it?” After a short pause, during which no answer came from Di, Al continued, “It’s only its memories, that is it. You took its memories, that’s why you…”
Di looked down at the body, “Eleanor… I… am… sorry… please…” Di went, to kneel down next, to the cadaver again.
In response, Al dropped the stake and mallet, after which she reached out and grabbed Di; forcing Di to remain standing, “Di! What’s the matter with you, Ice Heart. You know we have to kill it, after everything it has done!”
Di brought her arms up, to break Al’s grip, “Why did you not just… kill us, to stop me?”
Al shook her head, and allowed Di to break her grip, “You were not resp…”
“Your changeling knew what it was doing,” Di moved between Al and the body, “how many… Should I? Maybe you want me to do James as well, yes James; he can’t even recall how many he killed.”
“That was in the war.” The blades in Al’s hands twitched, in their fleshy sheaves, “His guilt getting to you, as well?”
“You wouldn’t kill me…” Di’s foot located the stake, “because I wasn’t responsible, for what I was doing, so why kill Eleanor, she is even less responsible…”
“Come off it, Di. She must be much older than me, or even Harriet, and yet we learnt self-control, ages ago.” Jo tapped Di’s pouched, “They are really what…”
Di reached down and grabbed the stake; on standing again she challenged, “Shall we see, how much self-control, you have after a century, with this pining you, down, to the earth?” Di drew back the stake, as if it where a gladius and she was about to thrust with it.
“No! Di! No!” Al grabbed for the stake, “Do not be stupid. You’ll kill…” Di surprised all three of them, herself included, by managing to move with nearly the same lightning reactions as Al and so insuring that Al failed, to the grab the stake, when she went to snatch it, from Di.
Di looked horrified, at what she had managed to do; “We… I’m not going to…” She threw the stake away, “What the hell have I become. Al, please tell me, you only…”
Al shook her head, “Sorry Di,” and stepped from between Di and Jo, “it was a protective reflex. I…” Di’s arms moved to shield her stomach and her face became one racked by terrible agony; Al offered a hand to support her, “What is it?”
Di’s posture became an aggressive one, directed towards Al, and Di’s voice dropped at least an octave, “You fucking bitch, why the hell did ya rip out our heart…” Di’s posture relaxed, “How, in all the hells, did we survive it?”
“What is all this we and our, Di?” Jo laughed, “Al never…”
“Lock their memories away, they’re not your own.” Al’s face showed dawning realisation, “You are integrating the memories, of those vamps, that you drained. Treat their memories like those that you pick up through a link or when James passes them, to you.”
Di stared at Al, “I didn’t get any memories, from them. I…” Di’s voice rose in pitch and her delivery slowed, “She did this to me without your help? Did she do it to Simon as… we… Al please it is too crowed… we get lost… I don’t just have our memories in here it is all… of them… us in here.” Di’s voice became deeper again, “Why take my heart and let her… us… Me, whatever, do this to us… Me… er… Simon.”
Jo released a blade; “We could enter and…”
Al laughed; “I’m not letting you try that again. When you messed with mine, you turned me into some little White Chapel hunk. We would be killed if…” Al slowly turned back to Di, “Which of you is in control?”
“We are.” Was their answer; “We all hear, if…”
Al presented the backs of her hands, blades retracted, to Di; “Jo, you get out of here and go, to Jay.” Jo stood there uncertain, of what would be the right thing to do. “Go on! James needs someone with him. Go!” Jo slowly withdrew, once Jo had left Al sat down next to Eleanor’s body, “It was Simon, from whom I took the heart?”
Huskily, at first, then at the base end of her range, Di answered; “Yes, er… I’m… er… er… him, what is it?
“Simon, have you learnt what happened to the others? They were destroyed, in toto; we just took your heart, to immobilise you. We could not stop Di from…”
Di nodded and sat down, opposite Al, her voice slowly rose through her range, “What is going to happen to one? Can we be returned, to our own bodies?”
Al pulled a thick black body bag out of the tool bag, “We will do whatever we can to help, Di, and if it is possible we will put you back. What happens afterwards, is for you to…”
Di helped put Eleanor, into the body bag; “One decides one’s own fate?”
Al zipped up the body bag and nodded, “We intended, to just immobilise those you created, but there were too many, once they animated, en mass. You, we intended to destroy, with the stars. From the evidence, of all those savage fatal assaults, we considered you to be a rogue and far too powerful, for us, to immobilise. Were you really staked, for more than a century?”
“Yes, Augustus, the De…” Di’s voice dropped back to her normal range; “We have more important worries now, dead stories can…” Di’s voice rose back up to the high-end of her range; “No! We… Our hope was to use the shroud, to restore them, but it’s lost again. One hid it here, before Bishop betrayed One. It must be recovered, once again.” With inhuman grace, Di Stood and turned from Al, “Alice, I… We must prepare for the burning, a walk, in the perfervidly, blazing sunlight. I are going to put our arm into the maw of hell.” “Have a fire blanket ready.”
“Di is it your idea?” Al arose to follow Di, who just glanced back and frowned; “Your not going to…”
As Al continued to speak, she received her answer, Di strode off to wards the inferno of sunlight, that was the garage’s side door, “Yes! We have to get back to the house and ‘Ol’ Fangs’.”
At the doorway, Di sheltered in the shadows, clear of the dreadful, searing light; recklessly she thrust her forearm into the fire, only to immediately withdraw it again, as fast as she possibly could; «That did not hurt too much.» Rigor passed over, the whole of, Di’s body, «Want to see the sun again, dark sister?»
Eleanor replied; “Let us goeth into the light, whate’er befall us, ’twill be for our lady’s delectation.”
Al moved between her and the doorway, “Wait! Let’s be sensible about this. A shadow cloak might make it easier for all of us. Ice Heart, is it that you, are so eager to kill, that you would kill yourself as well?”
“Girl, how is it that thou, a drinker, canst be an enchantress? Doest thy work, for I would not have your Ice Heart’s eagerness to be with Ol’ Fangs, as she calls him, kill us all.”
Elegantly, Al gestured with her hands and began reciting the same words, that Di had employed when they first arrived. Whilst continuing the recitation, Al laid her left hand upon Di’s shoulder, then the duo (quartet) as one marched out into the raging fires of June daylight. Screams erupted from the second storey of the house and Jay ordered Jo to go and assist them.