Sara's Awakening Ch. 03byHelenofTroy©
Sara stepped over the corpse of a guard and stood in front of the door to Merton's cell. He was giving her a hopeful grin, while she considered whether to let him out. It occurred to her that she had no idea who he was. Was he locked up for a good reason? For that matter, was she locked up for a good reason? Considering that two minutes ago she stabbed a man through the throat with a scalpel and drank his blood as it spurted out, it seemed pretty likely that there was a good reason for her to be in here.
Were these people actually doing the world a favour?
"Hello? Letting our friend Merton out now?"
No... no, that couldn't be it. Even if she was a terrible person, even if she did deserve imprisonment, there was no way that she or any of the people in the morgue back there deserved to be... experimented on. And, one by one, they'd died. Leaving only her and Merton alive. And only Merton with any memories of what happened.
"Any time now..."
"Hold on." Sara set her palms in the middle of the door, shoulder-width apart, and summoned a slow, easy strength. Last time she tried to get him out, she only succeeded in making his window larger. "You might want to back up..."
"What?" Merton pressed his face through the small space between the bars of his door, watching her. "Oh!" When he realized what she was doing, he jumped backward and scrambled to the far edge of his cell.
Sara pushed. The door gave way easily. Metal shrieked in protest as it twisted and bent. Within moments she'd torn the door right out of its frame. Being careful paid off; she didn't accidentally send the door flying into Merton's fragile body.
With the door off, she tossed it to one side and started to step into the room, to examine it for any clues that Merton might not otherwise reveal.
"Whoah! Stop!" He shouted in alarm as he saw her moving to enter, and charged forward. Sara was sufficiently surprised by his outburst that she stopped moving long enough for him to put two warm hands on her shoulders. "What the Hell? This is a cell meant to hold a necromancer, you can't just walk into it... it'll play havoc with all that power bouncing around inside of you."
"What?" Sara knew what all the words he said meant. When he put them all together... "What?"
"It blocks ma-... oh right." Merton laughed, shaking his head. "The amnesia."
"Right. The amnesia." Sara glared at him. The defining characteristic of her last hour was that she couldn't remember anything beyond it. "So what the Hell are you talking about? You're a necromancer?"
"Short version? Because we only have time for the short version before more Dragon Knights show up."
"Shit... shit shit shit. Look, I'll explain later. For now, let's... gear up." He gave her an appraising look up and down. Sara didn't even think to be embarrassed by the fact that he was seeing her naked, but being covered in blood made her blush. "I'm on your side, trust me."
"Right." Sara stared at him for a long moment. He stared back, fidgeting and hopping from foot to foot. "Fine, come on out."
She still wanted to investigate the cell, but he was right. Between the gunfire and the dead guards, someone would have to come down here and investigate. If the guards' chatter was accurate, then it was possible everyone upstairs was busy packing up to go. They would come looking for their buddies eventually...
Sara surprised herself with how efficiently she stripped the first guard of his equipment. He was the one closest to Merton's cell. The one whose skull she'd crushed with a single blow.
She found her hands immediately knew where the buckles and catches on his armour and fatigues would be. She knew what would be in each pocket before she opened it, and she knew where he would keep all his weapons. She even found that she knew how to check the weapons, breaking them down enough to verify they were in working order and then putting them back together.
It took less than five minutes and she was dressed in combat fatigues which were far too baggy for her, a Kevlar vest she'd done some hasty tailoring to make fit snugly. She also stowed about her person three pistols, two knives and the guard's submachine gun.
"Who gives guards uzis?" She mused to herself as she moved to the next guard.
"One of the better ways to kill a vampire."
"Oh... oh, so that shit about me being invincible earlier?" Sara crouched down next to the body of Connor, the one whose blood she'd gulped hungrily, and reached out to start inspecting him for any extra gear. "That was only a pep talk to keep morale up?"
"No, it was mostly true. Two regular guys with guns, they didn't have much of a chance."
Sara looked up, and noticed that while she'd been busy stripping the body, Merton was busy... doing something. His hands were moving in intricate patterns through the air, and occasionally he shuffled his feet like he was doing a dance.
"So, right, all that healing you do has a price. Get enough guys with enough guns putting enough bullets in you, and you'll eventually run out of steam. Then they can catch you, kill you, whatever."
"It should be. Do you know how many bullets I can survive?"
"Usually somewhere between zero and one..."
Sara tried for another moment to figure out what Merton was up to with his hands, then shrugged and turned back to Connor.
She reached out to take the glasses he'd been wearing since the other guard's were not in good condition. Her fingers stopped as she pulled them off and Connor's eyes stared up at her.
Like a freight train, memories slammed into her mind. A woman's face, beautiful and delicate, framed by blonde hair. A dog, happy to see her when she came home... no... no no no, not her. Connor!
Then, as fast as they'd come, the memories disappeared. Sara sucked in a gasping sob and rocked back on her heels, leaning against a table for support.
Mary was Connor's... girlfriend? Wife? She didn't know, it was the name attached to the beautiful woman in the vision.
"Oh god..." Tears burned their way down her cheeks, and Sara sucked in desperate gulps of air. When she couldn't hold it in, a low keen escaped from her throat, and she started to rock back and forth.
Connor... Connor was a family man. There was a dog, a partner...
"Hey, Sara, what's wrong?" Merton's voice was right beside her, and a warm hand placed itself on her shoulder.
"Don't touch me!" She screamed and brushed his hand away. She leapt to her feet and backed away from the necromancer, who seemed to be done whatever he'd been up to. "Don't touch me!"
"Okay... okay..." Merton put his hands up in a defensive posture, and was taking care not to approach her. "Look, I'm here. I'll listen."
"I... I... I remember his life!" She pointed at Connor's blood-soaked corpse. "Not all of it... not... but enough! He had a wife! Mary! Her name was Mary!"
"Alright..." Merton took a tentative step forward. "I know it hurts, but he was going to kill you if he found you... and then he was going to kill me, too."
"No... no... what am I? What have I done!?" She was screaming hysterically and didn't care. "And why do I remember his life so much better than my own!"
"I don't even remember my name, Merton! I don't even think its Sara..." She stopped moving when she bumped into one of the tables with a vampire's corpse on it, then sank to her knees. The sobs came back. She swiped a hand under her nose to wipe away the runny mucus leaking out of it. "Why can I see his wife's face?"
"Look, like I said, I'll explain all of this later..."
"Explain it now!"
"Alright, when you drank his blood, you took some of his... energy. Gareth said that sometimes it can have latent memories in it. You drank a lot, so this might go on for a while."
"I... God, that's almost worse." Sara scrubbed the back of her hand over her eyes, and wondered what she must look like with tear streaks running down the dried blood which covered her face. "You make it sound like I... drank his soul?"
"No, no, it's nothing like that. Look can we talk about this later?"
"I need to talk about it now..."
"They're like, you know, echoes. Echoes of his life, his memories, his powerful experiences are etched into his energy."
"It's complicated, and we don't have time for a Thaumaturgical lecture right now. Look, get cleaned up while I talk, okay?"
"Sure..." Sara sucked in a shuddering breath to steady herself, then stood and walked to a basin on the wall of the morgue. She'd been considering using it before the guards showed up.
"Alright, where were we? Echoes, right. There are echoes of his life, of Connor, in his energy. As you metabolize that energy, you're going to experience those echoes yourself. I'm told that this is the worst for vampire larva."
Sara was in the middle of splashing water on her face. She spluttered with laughter when he said that. She turned to look at him, one eyebrow raised sarcastically.
"I dunno, newborn sounds so... Hollywood."
"Right." Sara rolled her eyes and went back to scrubbing her exposed face and arms. She kept her eyes closed while doing it, not wanting to see the water run pink with the evidence of her savagery. Too bad there wasn't time for a shower...
"Hatchling?" She was done and toweling off now. The towel mostly didn't turn red anymore.
"Fine, newborn. I'm told its worst in newborns... as you get older, you get more control over it. You can turn it off, or, turn it up."
"Who told you this, by the way?" She tossed the towel aside, then put on the sunglasses Connor'd been wearing. With a sardonic smile, she looked straight at Merton. "How do I look?"
"Gareth told me, and you look like a sexy, badass vampire with a big fucking gun. Ready yet?"
"Yes." Her smile widened briefly, then she remembered the circumstances they were in and focused. "How did you know Gareth?"
She followed him out of the morgue grumpily, then shouted in surprise as they turned to look down the corridor and saw two guards standing in front of the elevator door. Sara jumped sideways, rolling behind one of the tables, and braced for the sound of gunfire.
It didn't come.
"What's up? Oh, shit, right... amnesia again."
"What?" Sara replayed the last few moments in her mind, and realized there was something odd about the two guards by the door. One was wearing nothing but his skivvies, and the other was covered in blood... "Zombies!? Really?"
"Necromancer." He said it like that was reason in itself.
"Another thing you have to explain." Sara stood back up and dusted herself off, feeling chagrined that she hadn't noticed the two standing guards were the same ones she'd killed. She also felt annoyed that there were so many things she didn't remember.
"Later." Merton shrugged and walked towards the elevator. "Okay, plan... this thing goes all the way up to the top. Once there, we'll be in a hallway that goes two ways. Umm... right, I think, goes to the lobby, and left to the garage."
"I was hog tied, gagged and drugged at the time..."
"Oh..." Sara approached the elevator door, and considered his information. If they were to escape, then the garage was their best bet to get some wheels and disappear... "Wait. Top floor?"
"It's a bunker."
"Ya. We could jump out of a skyscraper."
"I... oh, ya, I guess so." Sara was still finding it strange to adjust to all of these new realities. She could tear doors of hinges, and apparently fall hundreds of feet, with almost no problem... but it was not second-nature to do any of that yet. She suspected Merton was right, she hadn't been a vampire very long. She was a newborn...
"So, we send Connor and... shit, do you remember what his name was?"
"No. I don't think he said it." Sara shrugged.
"Connor and Bob, then, head to the lobby. They'll cause confusion, then they'll draw some gunfire, and we can kill everyone and go out the front door. Easy." Merton's smile looked wan; clearly he wasn't convinced that "easy" was the right descriptor.
"Okay, what do we do when we're out the door?" Sara didn't feel like calling him an idiot to his face...
"We're free? We run."
"..." Sara raised an eyebrow pointedly.
"Then they get in a car and chase us down like dogs..."
"Right. Here's plan B: Bob," she pointed at the nearly-naked zombie with a staved in head, "will head to the lobby and cause a distraction. Connor will cover us while we head to the garage and commandeer a vehicle." Sara nodded. Stopped. What was she saying? Connor was a mindless corpse. "Can Connor cover us?"
"Probably." Merton shrugged. "They can follow simple commands, and they're somewhat proficient with activities they used to do in life."
"Connor goes in front, then." Sara wasn't thrilled about any part of the plan. Still, it seemed like the most reasonable one. "Before we go: any ideas about back ways into the garage? I'm not a big fan of this 'go to the main floor' thing..." Sara could feel plans, counter-plans and assault patterns swirling in her head as they talked. It was clear she'd done this sort of thing before, just as it was clear Merton hadn't. So far she'd been dumbing things down so it was simple and easy and he wouldn't mess it up.
"I was not at my best when they dragged me in here..."
"Right." Sara sighed. "Ready?"
Sara stood, clicked the safety off her uzi, and headed for the elevator. Bob reached out and fumbled at the wall for a moment before he, it, succeeded in pressing the call button. Not encouraging. Connor pulled out its own uzi and fumbled with the safety a few times before successfully releasing it. Sara tried not to grimace as she fell into an easy parade rest behind the two zombies and they all waited for the elevator.
As they heard the rhythmic 'ding' of the elevator going down floors, Sara giggled.
"What's funny?" Merton was standing behind her holding a pistol. She hoped he knew how to use it...
"Isn't this ridiculous? Two zombies, a vampire and a necromancer, waiting for the elevator..."
Merton laughed. Sara reflected that it was the first time she'd seen him do that; it brought a lot of life to his features, which were otherwise gaunt and scruffy from his time in captivity. How long was he in there? He didn't have much of a beard. It was possible he was baby-faced...
"Months." Merton shrugged. "Maybe more? They never turned out the lights; days sort of blended together, you know?"
"Great." Sara wondered if she had family waiting for her. Would they be searching for her still? Had someone told them what happened? Had the people who took her killed them? It was hard to summon feelings for people she'd never met, and then Mary's face swam behind Sara's vision. Mary, who might never know what happened to Connor...
The last ding was the loudest, followed by the clank and grumble of elevator doors opening. Sara was distracted by her thoughts, and reflexes took over when there was enough space between the huge metal doors to see through.
She squeezed the trigger of the uzi; the hallway erupted in noise. Merton yelled in surprise and jumped back, covering his head with his hands. The two zombies dodged clumsily out of the way and Connor pointed its weapon at the place where Sara was sending her bullets.
Fortunately, as the doors finished banging open, there was no one there. All she could see was a wood-paneled elevator car, now filled with bullet holes. Nodding to herself, Sara slapped the half-empty clip out of her weapon and reloaded while walking into the elevator.
"What the hell!?" Merton peaked out from under his upraised arms to see Sara calmly standing in the elevator, an eyebrow raised at him.
"You know, if it helps, you were nicer before you lost your memory..." Merton brushed his clothes off, trying to regain his dignity, then gestured the zombies forward. He followed them into the elevator, then pushed between them so he could stand beside Sara. She jabbed the first floor button, and as the elevator doors swished closed again, he took a step to the left so that Connor was entirely between him and the doors.
"Well then you'd better hope I get my memory back." Sara winked. She'd managed to keep a level head for several minutes now; maybe it was the anxiety of the upcoming battle that was helping her focus? Whatever it was, she hoped it stuck around, at least until they were out.
The elevator ride took forever. The Girl from Ipanema came on over the speakers, Sara started to hum to herself. 'The Girl from Ipanema goes walking... hum hum hum...'
"Wait! How the Hell can I remember random pop culture references when I can't even remember my damn name!" Sara turned an angry glare on Merton. So much for focus...
"I know half the lyrics to stupid elevator music, but if you asked me who my mother was I couldn't tell you?"
"I have no idea." Merton backed up a step, and would have gone further except the wall of the elevator stopped him. "Maybe it's a subconscious thing? You know, like things that you don't even know you know are still there, and things you have to think ab-..."
"It was rhetorical." Sara interrupted him and tried to think calming thoughts. "Men..."
"You don't have to fix everything..."
"Okay... what?" Merton slowly returned to his position, giving the angry vampire a wary look.
"Later." Sara gave him a wicked grin. See how he liked it. "Nearly there, get ready."
The light was climbing up the display, getting closer and closer to the number one. Sara watched it intently now, tuning out distractions and leaving her world focused on the progression of lights up a wall...
The door opened. Sara pointed her uzi between the opening, ready to open fire if anyone was there... no one was.
The hallway beyond was more utilitarian than down where she and Merton were being held. There were concrete walls and exposed piping; wires and cords of a variety of types were strung along the roof, and bare bulbs lit up the entire thing. Strange...
Silently, the zombies staggered out of the elevator and proceeded in their intended directions. Unarmed and horrific, Bob shambled off to the right. Armed and almost alive-looking, except for the bloody hole in his neck, Connor went left.
Sara counted to two, and when there was no immediate shouts of alarm, she peaked her head out of the elevator. Look right. Duck in. Look left. Duck in.
"No one in sight..." She made a gesture with her hand that, even to her with amnesia, meant that it was time to move forward.
"Maybe they left?" Merton didn't move.
"Don't count on it... follow me."
Sara crouched as she exited the elevator, providing a smaller target for people to focus on, and looked for cover between here and the garage... there was none. Great. There was about one hundred feet of open hallway between her and the garage, with only a shuffling zombie to provide any cover. She glanced behind her... same thing that way, only the distance to the lobby was about half the distance to the garage. She didn't like what that would mean if the dealt with Bob quickly...
"Can Connor go any faster?" She hissed to Merton as he joined her in the hallway, both of them limited to the speed with which the zombie moved.
"He can't shoot while..."
"Just get him up there."
Connor lowered the tip of his weapon and stopped, as if considering something. Then he broke into a lurching run for the edge of the hallway. There was a small flight of stairs at the end, and a chain link gate after that, and Sara was worried about the zombie's ability to navigate them...