Cat and Mouse | v

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For days, she watched Eve as she fed on the family. The father lost in a fog did not know what was happening. His mind bent to serve his new mistress. His wife and child screamed for him as Eve fed on their blood with little care or finesse. Nerina knew she was especially brutal because of her. She wanted Nerina to know that all the pain they felt was because of her.

Nerina needed to get to Eve. One way or another. Then it came to her. With no house, there would be no protection. Eve would have to face her. However, there would be casualties. She calculated it all and it broke her heart. It devastated her, the only option she had left. It was the best option. Eve would not suspect it because it went against all Nerina believed in. With tears streaming down her face, she went about setting the house on fire. She doused the house in tar and oil covering the entire structure. The house would be surrounded by fire before it itself was burnt down. Either they would all die there that night or there would be a survivor.

As the fire formed a thick ring around the outside of the house, Eve came to the door. On the porch, Nerina held a torch.

"What do you think you're doing?"

Nerina looked passed the red-headed devil to the woman who was cradling her child. The little girl's skin was pale and her heart labored. Her life was ebbing away. The woman too was barely keeping her eyes open.

"I am sorry." Nerina's regret had her voice cracking.

"Do it," the woman said weakly. "Burn it all down." The woman held her daughter closer, acceptance of their death clear in the set of her jaw. She nodded her assurance when Nerina stood torn between what she had to do. She racked her brain for another solution but there was none. Eve needed to die. The woman would never leave her to live her life otherwise and she would never go back willing. More people would die as punishment for her rebellion and Nerina had had enough.

"Please forgive me," she asked of the woman.

The woman gave her a watery smile. "There is nothing to forgive."

With that, Nerina touched the torch to the side of the house. The fire spread uninhibited, fed by tar, oil, and the lumber that made the house. It ate at the house its teeth crackling wood as Eve's deranged screams rang out from inside the crumbling walls. Nerina stepped back as parts of the house started to cave in on itself.

Eve ran out of the house slapping at the fire that had latched onto the fabric of her clothes. Behind her in the burning frame of the house, they heard the gunshots. Nerina closed her eyes against what she knew was inevitable. The woman was the harbinger of death. It was going to end. One way or another it was going to end.

"Do you really think you can take me?"

Nerina threw off her jacket and stood before Eve in fitted pants, boots and a buttoned down shirt. Eve laughed ripping at the folds of her skirt throwing the cumbersome fabric aside. In the ring of fire, they came together like gnashing teeth. Nerina drew first blood and Eve stood shocked, wiping the blood from the side of her mouth. She had not expected her little mouse to be able to land a blow.

"Seems you've grown a backbone," Eve taunted.

Nerina smirked. "Seems you're getting old."

"A vampire only gets better with age," Eve smirked back. With the confidence of her age, she came at Nerina repeatedly. And repeatedly Nerina held her own. Eve, surprised by the fight in her little charge used the only wild card she had up her sleeve. "Stop."

Nerina stopped. Against the wall of her mind, she felt the familiar push of her sire's will but the compulsion was a low hum. She did not feel driven to stop though the pounding was loud in her ear. A smile played over her lips as she took a step towards Eve. The amulet the witch had given her warmed against her skin on the inside of her shirt.

"I said stop," Eve said again throwing everything she had into the command. Nerina kept coming towards her.

"I don't think I will."

Caught off guard Eve could not prepare for the onslaught of vicious blows Nerina landed at preternatural speed. There was a skill to her fighting. She was not simply flailing around getting lucky with each shot she landed. They were precise. Placed for maximum effect. There in Nerina's eyes, she saw a glimmer she had never seen before and it terrified her—strength. A quiet confidence and determination. She saw power.

Nerina had Eve's mass of fiery red hair wrapped around her wrists and the woman's neck like a noose as she pulled her to the edge of the fire. Thrashing to get free Eve willed Nerina continually each attempt stronger than the last. She could not understand what was happening.

"How does it feel to be powerless?" Nerina asked pushing Eve's face close to the burning breath of the fire. "How does it feel to no longer be in control?" She pushed Eve's face closer, the heat singeing her hair, tingling against her skin.

"I am going to kill you."

Nerina moved her closer still the proximity to the flames causing blisters to form on her sire's face. Eve screamed, fought.

"Kill me?" Nerina scoffed taking a bottle from her pocket. Using her teeth, she opened it spitting the cover aside. She splashed the content over Eve's body. As close as they were to the fire they were both in danger. Nerina did not care. Eve was going to die even if she had to drag her into the fires of hell herself.

With all the strength she had, she threw Eve into the waiting arms of the greedy flames. Screams ripped through the night as the flames engulfed her. Eve floundered around scratching at her own skin as if to peel the fire away. Her screams of pain were like jagged edges slashing at Nerina's ear. She had taken a piece of herself back that night and she felt... free.

Turning her back Nerina walked leaving her past to go up in flames.



Author's Note:

Nerina closes a major chapter in her life with the death of her sire. What does she do now with her new found freedom? Has she already paid the price?

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