An unlikely hero saves the day

Read Part One of Today’s Double Bill Here

Hastings – 1844

Veronica stared at me, her hands still tight on the pole.

I wiped ash from my face and coughed, trying not to think about the bits of Marly up my nose and in my mouth. ‘Nicely done.’

‘I killed him.’ She jumped away from the pole as if it had caught fire.

I eased myself up into a sitting position. ‘You rescued me.’ I touched my side, the energy had healed my wound but everything hurt.

‘Charlotte?’ Josef shouted.

‘You’re late,’ I called and shook my head, it snowed bits of dead vampire around me.

Veronica sat down, staring at the spot where Marly had been.

Josef put Jax down at an entrance opposite in the one I’d come in by, ran to Veronica and engulfed her in a hug. ‘You’re safe, Ronni.’

‘Papa.’ Veronica bunched his wet coat in her hands and held him tight, sobbing. ‘I didn’t think you’d come for me.’

He kissed the top of her head. ‘I wouldn’t leave my baby.’

The room was lit by roots of light and it took my sluggish brain a moment to realise it was Jax doing it. She leaned against her staff and examined the scorch marks on the ground around me. ‘You shouldn’t have taken your regulator off.’

I got to my feet, shedding more dust. ‘And if something happened to me a piece of your magic would be the easiest way to find Veronica.’

She shook her head whether she thought it was silly, unbelievable, or didn’t want to admit I was right I wasn’t sure, maybe a bit of all of each. She tilted towards me and whispered, ‘I didn’t know she was his daughter. Your family is really confusing.’

I pull the spike out of the ground and examined it, skin sizzling, the point must’ve been sharp as a spear for Veronica to shove it through Marly. ‘Have you looked at yours from the outside?’

She tipped her head to the side. ‘Fair point.’

I tossed the spike onto a pile of metal poles with a rattle. ‘We need to get home. Bran might’ve sensed that, he’ll be worried.’

Veronica caught me with one arm and pulled me into a hug with her and Josef. ‘Thank you, Lot.’

I squeezed her, my head was at the level of her chest. ‘I told you, you’re my daughter too.’

‘Nope, I’m lost.’ Jax lowered herself to the ground. ‘When your done I need a lift, we had to leave my chair at the entrance.’

‘Thank you, Miss Jax,’ Veronica said.

Jax sighed and shook her head. ‘You’re welcome.’ She added under her breath, ‘You had to be all sweet and vulnerable, just my type.’

Veronica passed me my pendant. I tied it around my neck, the weariness ebbed away and the world steadied.

I crouched down beside Jax and patted my shoulder. ‘She’s spoken for.’

‘Always my luck.’ She put her arm around my shoulders and held her staff in the other hand.

I lifted her in arms.

‘Ooo, sweep me off my feet, why don’t you?’ Jax said and her staff glared me.

I eyed the twisted wood. ‘You don’t need to tell anyone whose daughter you are.’

‘You’d be surprised.’ Given that Jax was all warm smiles and her mother was all cold eyes I doubted it. I’d seen Freyja Deacon smile plenty but her eyes were never warmer than an ice house in winter.

With that thought it seemed politic to change the subject. ‘When we get back to London I happen to know a group of ladies who take tea and like a romantic dalliance.’

‘Count me in.’ She gave me a wink.

I laughed but I was knackered.

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Published by Jesse

I'm a writer and academic specialising in fantasy fiction and creative writing theory. I'm allergic to pretentiously talking about fiction and aim to be unashamedly ‘commercial’. Surely all fiction is commercial anyway, or what’s the point in publishing it?

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