Ursula Wilkins

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The internet was good for many things, but local history that stretched back before the days of computers was a weak point. None of his googling had turned up the right results and Hubert had been forced to spend a morning in the library looking at old newspapers on microfiche before he got what he wanted.

Raising a vampire was both complicated and dangerous. Unlike his previous undead, it involved returning the soul to the animated body in order to provide independent thought and intelligence. Hubert had seen and read so much that gave him pause – short of romantic glowing teenagers and gypsy-cursed heroes, vampires tended to be evil and self-serving. Even with his increased power and understanding, he feared that he'd not be able to maintain control.

He had picked the best though. His research had led him to Ursula Wilkins. Born 1903, and dying midway through the second world war before her fortieth birthday, she had been a bit of a local legend.

Ursula had been a schoolteacher, but the kind who was universally loved and respected. Her lessons had stretched beyond English literature that had been her professional edge, and into the sciences and – importantly for Huu – the study of magic.

She was kind and passionate and, if Huu guessed right, secretly a witch.

The good kind.

The right kind.

He reached his hands forward, twisted the necromantic field to his will and poured power into the grave. Edgar took a step back, awed by the power and then returned to his position to perform his own orders, tipping the liquid prepared that morning onto the ground.

Hubert felt the magic work. He knitted together Ursula's form, rebuilt from its decayed remains into the woman she once was and reached across the mystical planes to find her soul in its heaven, gently tugging and coaxing before violently ripping it back to where it had once resided.

The ground tore open, dirt thrown into the air as the vampire came forth. For a long moment, Ursula Wilkins and Hubert Grange looked at each other.

You will do as I command, Huu ordered.

Always, Ursula bowed.

He didn't believe it was that easy.

* * *

He is tied to the magic, Ursula communicated. She had been examining Dan for over twenty minutes, silently hovering around him while she mentally and magically probed him.

What does that mean? Huu asked.

It means that he did something beyond his ken and was unable to complete the task. Or that something he did has caught him and holds itself to him.

Which do you suspect?

I don't know. I can break it, I think, but it means cleaving him from the source. The consequences could be unwanted.


He could die. He could live and yet be gone. If there is another being involved, we might set it lose without a tether.

Hubert thought about her words. "This is a fuck up," he said aloud. Ursula spun to look at him, obviously displeased with his swearing. He muttered an apology and turned back to look at Dan.

We cannot leave him like this any longer. He thought at her.

We can. Do not let emotion guide you. In this way he is safe. He is sustained by the magic – by your necromantic field. We can leave him like this for years.

Hubert looked at Edgar. The skeleton was holding the D20 he had claimed as a prize weeks before, twirling it between forefinger and thumb as he had done many times recently. Hubert mused on it, his mind wandering. Why do you do that? He asked the skeleton.

Edgar looked at him but said nothing. He stopped his fiddling.

No, it's OK. It doesn't bother me.

The skeleton continued. Ursula floated above the floor, her tattered rags suddenly bothering Hubert. For the first time since raising her, he realised he was in the presence of a beautiful practically naked woman. Her breasts were perfectly visible through the slim remains of clothing that had done their best to reform with the magic.

We need to get you clothes, he thought at her, today.

I cannot go out in the sun. Purchasing apparel will have to wait until the evening, if it is possible, or you must go alone.

We have online shopping. Hubert grinned. And same-day couriers.

Neither of those concepts meant anything to the vampire, but she seemed to accept his word. Huu stood up and walked upstairs to grab his laptop.

* * *

Huu resisted dressing his new creation in provocative purple and black to mimic the ridiculous fantasy outfit Liliana wore on his playing card, despite the fleeting thought that it might be fun. First, it was cliched; second it was demeaning to her; and third he really didn't want to find himself dreamily masturbating about the monster in the next room.

She had been pleasant and helpful to him, it was true, but he was under no illusions that Ursula represented the most deadly undead nightmare. It wouldn't be long before she decided to feed, and though he might be able to forcefully restrain her to animals at first, she'd be resistant and it would put a strain between them.

They had chosen some plain dresses, a few tops and some jeans as well as underwear. She had been particularly interested in wearing the trousers and Huu was privately amused by the thought of a vampire finding a sense of personal power in her right to wear what chose.

He paid the extra £20 to get it delivered in a few hours, and went to sleep – worried about everything,

Ursula shook him awake. It was dark outside, meaning he'd slept longer than he wanted to, and the sight of the vampire hovering over him made him shriek.

Do not worry, I will never hurt you. She assured him.

Why are you waking me up? What's happened? He asked. He opened his eyes and noted that she was wearing a simple loose top with an abstract pattern in blue above some black jeans. You look nice, he added.

She ignored his compliment. Dan has gone. It is nothing of my making, though I believe my presence may have sped up a sequence. He didn't get up and walk off; he has been taken. There is another involved in this. We have an enemy.

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