Enchanted Forest- Years Ago
“Mirror, there must be a way to bring him back,” Regina said.
“There is perhaps one way, but there are no guarantees.”
“Show me.” She gazed at the mirror as a party scene formed at the court of King Midas. Lilting strains of strings and the occasional vocal or chime added to the sweet, festive sounds. Dancers spun and laughed, keeping time to the music and then changing partners. The mirror focused on one lovely dark haired lady of about sixteen. “Countess Carmilla? She’s a penniless teenager from the Iron Hills who hasn’t paid a tithe or taxes in years. How is she supposed to help me revive Daniel? She has nothing.”
“She has a secret. The Countess is a six-hundred year old vampire. The only one in this realm.”
Regina smiled, “Change him into a vampire and raise him!”
“There are dangers, my queen,” he intoned, a note of nervous worry, “Her magic is in her blood, and you must be very careful never to touch it yourself…”
“We can work out the tiresome details later. I’ve got a party to attend!” Turning to a full-length mirror, she changed her gown and hairstyle, and teleported herself to the court of King Midas, only to find the Countess no longer dancing but hiding in the shadows, whispering and giggling in the arms of another woman. “May I have a word with you?” Regina interrupted.
Carmilla looked over her shoulder and raised an eyebrow, “Now?”
“You are the Countess Carmilla from the Iron Hills?”
“No, sorry your Majesty. I’m Lady Mircalla, just a friend of Princess Abigail.”
“You’re lying. I know who you are and what you are.”
“What do you want from me?”
“Funny you should ask that,” Regina smiled, and as violet smoke encircled them with the sound of bells and heavy bedspreads being dragged across the floor, teleported the three of them to her secret room, where Daniel and the magic mirror were hidden away. She pointed at Daniel’s carefully preserved corpse. “Raise him. Make him what you are.”
The Countess shuddered and made a slightly disgusted noise, and then said, “What exactly do you want me to do? And be specific.”
“Bring him back! Make him what you are, a vampire!”
“And then what would happen? He would drink blood and prowl the night, embracing other women while you grow old and die?”
“Then change us both, and we’ll work out the relationship details later.”
“So you’re asking me to create two vampires?”
“Enough delaying!” Regina ripped out the heart of the young woman with Carmilla. The girl made a horrible, choking noise, falling against the wall as Regina ordered, “Bring him back now, or I crush your girlfriend’s heart.” She held it aloft and the soft beating was audible in the stone halls.
“I doubt King Midas will be overjoyed to discover you killed one of his daughter-in-laws.”
“But,” Regina smiled, giving the beating heart a sickening squeeze, causing an immediate gasp and groan from the stricken brown haired princess, “She was last seen with you.”
Carmilla said softly, “If you kill her, it’s for nothing. I cannot do what you ask.”
“Yes, you can! So do it! I know you can! The mirror said you could!”
“The mirror is sadly misinformed. Your friend here is dead. No magic can return him to true life. And if I give him my blood now, he will become a zombie, not a vampire. I don’t think that’s what you really want.”
“You’re lying!” Regina turned to the mirror. “Genie! She can bring Daniel back, can’t she?”
The mirror vibrated and thrummed with magic, “Yes, My Queen. The vampire lies.”
“You lie!” Carmilla accused the mirror, biting her lip and wiping the blood away with her forefinger, “And stop being an instigator! You’ve done enough!”
“Raise Daniel or she dies,” Regina decreed. “Choose now.”
Carmilla turned as if to speak to the other woman, as Regina crushed the young princess’ heart, smiling. She expected the vampire to weep and rush towards her lover, but she didn’t. Instead she jammed a bloody finger into the queen’s mouth. As she tasted the vampire’s blood, Regina felt faint, and lay down before she fell down. Then she closed her eyes.
“I need your help,” the genie said, sympathy and contrition in his voice. “I’m sorry about your friend…”
“No you’re not,” Carmilla snapped, her voice cracking, “Any more than you’re sorry you stole me from my mother’s arms to give a cruel man a plaything that could not die!”
“I granted the wishes of whoever found the lamp. I have no control over what they choose…”
“Then grant this wish, and send me home!”
“Alas, I cannot grant wishes any longer. But perhaps our interests align. Give the Queen but a single drop of your blood every month. It will halt her aging and make her more beautiful, as well as acting as a charm spell, bringing the Evil Queen under your, and our, control…”
“Our? This sounds like trickery or a task, and I desire neither. If you can’t send me back home, then stay trapped in that miserable mirror forever.”
“We can work together…”
“If I want wretched deals, I’ll go find Rumpelstiltskin.”
Storybrooke, The Savior Arrives
“Hey kid. I need to pee really bad,” Emma said, “Which one of these doors leads to a bathroom?”
Henry shushed her, “We have to go now and leave while she’s still busy!”
“Yeah, and I really need to pee first. That’s why I came inside instead of waiting in the car.”
“Okay, it’s down the hall and to the left. But be fast!”
Emma hurried down the hall and chose a likely-looking door on the left that wasn’t an obvious linen closet. Quickly knocking, she opened the door and saw a darkened room, and her first instinct was to feel around for the light switch, but her eyes adjusted, and she startled to see Regina standing there in the gloom, giving an injection to a pale teenage girl who had deep, dark circles under her eyes. “Excuse me! I’m so sorry!” Emma stammered, quickly looking around at the IV equipment and piles of books on the bed, next to a laptop and a pile of bandages. Something fell on the wooden floor with a metallic clatter.
“Miss Swan, what are you doing in here?”
“I’m so sorry for interrupting, I was looking for the bathroom…”
“It’s the next door over,” Regina said, putting down the needle and pressing gauze over the puncture.
“Emma! No!” Henry shouted from the doorway. “Get out of there! Don’t touch anything! She’s a vampire, even worse than the Evil Queen!”
“That’s a horrible thing to say, Henry!” Emma said.
“Emma! Quick!” Henry said, grabbing her hand and pulling her out. “If her blood touches you, you’ll become one of them!”
“Get out of my room, you little raving lunatic,” the girl said to Henry, “And stay out!”
“I’d like a word with you alone, Miss Swan,” Regina said.
“Of course,” Emma agreed, letting Henry pull her away. He was trying to drag her out the front door but she objected, and said she still had to use the bathroom. Alone, she composed her wild, noisy thoughts into tame, quiet motions while washing her hands. When she emerged, told Henry that she was going to wait and talk to Regina.
“We need to go now! Before she gets out of there!”
“No. I told your mom I’d talk to her. Who is that girl?”
“Her name here is Cara Mills, but in the stories she’s the vampire Carmilla, and worked for the Evil Queen. Since she’s undead, she has to have all those blood bags and drugs to not turn into dust…”
“Henry, don’t you think it’s a bit much to call your sister an evil vampire?”
“No it isn’t! And don’t ever let her blood touch you! Especially don’t let any of it get into your mouth!”
“Well, I normally try to observe sanitary precautions for bloodborne pathogens anyway.”
Henry opened up the storybook to a page displaying a dark-haired vampire embracing another girl, illustrated red blood flowing down the page. “See! This is who she really is! She’s never been outside in the daylight, only at night…”
“That’s enough,” Emma said, closing the book.
“Miss Swan? May we speak in private?”
Emma looked up to see Regina standing there, “Yeah, of course.”
“Don’t let her touch you! Her hands have vampire blood on them!”
Emma sighed as she followed Regina into her office. “I am really sorry about what he said. If there’s anything I can do to help, just let me know. What’s wrong with her?”
“My daughter Cara has a very rare blood disorder among other problems. She’s always been very sick, ever since she came into this world. Henry thinks I’m being secretive and somehow evil by keeping her in her room all day, but the truth is she’s on a variety of strong medications and is extremely photosensitive. That’s why we keep her bedroom curtains closed and the lights dimmed.”
“Is she going to be okay?”
“No,” Regina said softly, “It’s a terminal disease. She’s only survived this long with a lot of help.”
“Wow, that’s awful. If there’s anything I can do to help, I will.”
“Try to talk some sense into Henry. Cara has enough problems without a little brother accusing her of being a monster.”
“Okay, I’ll talk to him. Kids can be mean, and he’s got some pretty crazy ideas.”
In the car Henry asked, “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?”
“I think you’re a lonely ten year old with an active imagination whose sister is dying and your stressed-out mom is ready to snap.”
“She’s not dying. She’s already dead. Without lots of other people’s blood she’ll wither away into an ancient corpse.”
“Henry,” Emma sighed.
“It’s true! And if she gets her blood in your mouth she can try to control you! So don’t let her!”
“Change the subject.”
Henry paused and then said, “Can we stop and get something to eat? I don’t trust my mom’s cooking and I only eat at school.”
“Yeah, okay, but,” Emma said, pulling over.
“Why are we stopping at a flower shop?”
“I’m going to send your mom and sister flowers to apologize for that rude interruption.”
“Don’t feel sorry for them! They’re the Evil Queen Regina and Carmilla the Vampire. They want you to feel sorry for them, so they can manipulate you.”
“If you want dinner, kid, you’re going to have to pick a different subject to talk about.”
Upon dropping Henry off, as Regina met them at the door Emma gave her the bouquet and apologized again. To Emma’s surprise, Regina accepted her offer of help, and despite Henry’s protests, visited Cara several times, in her book-filled, tomb-like bedroom. Despite being only sixteen, she was strangely knowledgeable and mature. While in bed, she read books on a variety of subjects, from chemistry and physics to mythology and the Marvelous Land of Oz. She also had a violin and several antiquated musical instruments.
“Do you play any of those?”
“Only a little,” Cara answered, “Holding them up makes my arms tired.” She picked up an odd, wooden double flute and blew a brief, hauntingly beautiful melody. Then she sighed and stopped, “And I definitely don’t have the energy for that. Would you care to try?” She offered the flute to Emma.
“I don’t even know what that is, and I’m too klutzy to do anything like that anyway, but the song you played was pretty. How do you fill up your days?”
“Mostly I just listen to music and draw, when I’m tired of reading.” She showed Emma several portfolios of the drawings she made, including many unsettling and disturbing images of a woman being attacked by wolves. Occasionally the lady wasn’t being attacked, but was standing under a blood-red sky.
“Wow, kid,” Emma said, looking at her bookshelves and the current drawing she was working on, “How do you go from reading about ancient history and radio waves to drawing pictures like that?”
“The difference between the conscious and unconscious mind,” Cara answered.
“Well, why is your subconscious worried about wolves?”
“I haven’t figured that out yet, but it is very important.” She picked up the drawing and studied it, “Like something I need to remember.”
Emma felt a weird sensation, and on her way out of the house, said to Regina, “Have you looked carefully at Cara’s artwork?”
“Are you implying something?”
“Well, Henry thinks we’re all storybook people and Cara seems obsessed with blood and some lady being torn apart by wolves. These kids have problems…”
“Thank you Miss Swan, for your professional opinion. I’ll be certain to pass it on to Dr. Hopper. In the meantime, stay away from my children.” Then she shut the door in Emma’s face.
“Goodnight to you, too, bitch,” Emma said, “Your kids are completely freaking insane. They couldn’t be more fu…”
The door opened again and Regina asked, “What?”
“Did you just shut the door and keep listening?”
“Get off my doorstep!”
Enchanted Forest- Years Ago
“Go eat a prisoner or something,” Regina said.
“They’re all too hairy and ugly. Send me to another court for a while. I feel like embracing the loveliest of princesses.”
“Spare me the details. You’ve already killed several princesses, but not the one I want dead!”
“Snow White recognizes me and wants to thrust flaming torches in my face. Besides, I didn’t kill several princesses, only one, and that was an accident. My fair lady friends are much more useful alive.”
“Then shape change yourself, or cast a sleep spell on her!”
“I’m not going anywhere near her as long as her werewolf friends are there. They nearly tore me apart last time. Besides, Snow White’s blood is too sickly sweet and cloying. It makes me gag.”
“I don’t care what her blood tastes like! I want her heart in my hand!”
“I’m not fond of shouting. Lower your voice.”
“I’m the Queen, and you are the penniless countess who works for me. Now I’m telling you to get out there and go find Snow White!”
“And I’m even less fond of people giving me orders. I told you, the forest she hides in is full of werewolves!”
“I don’t care! If you can’t kill her than bring her here to me. Now!”
“Perhaps I should point out that it is sips of my blood that will keep you forever young and beautiful.”
“All magic comes with a price, and the cost of beauty is a sullen vampire who drags her feet on everything! You couldn’t be any lazier if you tried!”
“Oh, I think I could,” Carmilla smiled.
“Go find Snow White or I’ll lock you in a coffin.”
“I’ll get right on it,” the vampire answered, and vanished. She reappeared in Maleficent’s castle kitchen, and watched the sorceress stir something. “Pardon the interruption. What are you making?”
“A pleasant mixture. Something like elven wine but with a little more kick. Care to join me?”
“Absolutely. It won’t turn me green, will it?”
“No,” Maleficent answered, and they both burst into laughter. “I told her not to drink that much but she didn’t listen.”
“Both of Cora’s daughters have poor listening skills.”
Storybrooke- Magic Returns
The town was stirring with folk all suddenly remembering who they were. Many of them, recalling the Evil Queen, decided to storm her house and kill her. Anticipating that, Regina was locking her doors and closing up the windows.
Cara rarely awoke in the middle of the day, but the change startled her out of her sleep. She sat up in her dark bedroom, and looked at the equipment she was connected to. “I won’t be needing this anymore,” she smiled, removing the IV line. Then she rose out of bed, and playing a wonderful, celebratory overture followed by a waltz on the old laptop connected to speakers she used as a stereo, changed her nightgown for one of the dresses which had always hung in her closet but never been used. Singing along to the music, she styled her hair with ice cold hands, delighted to see that she had her beauty back. Instead of being weak and sickly, with deep dark circles under her eyes, she was her pale and lovely self. Smiling at her reflection in the mirror, she admired her teeth; incisors just a little on the long side, but very useful. They extended and injected a numbing poison when she pressed her tongue down hard on the back of one. She went down the stairs to find Regina practicing her magic.
“I feel much better!” Cara exclaimed, and embraced Regina, giving her a kiss on the cheek. “Thank you for taking care of me,” she smiled, “Mom.”
“Let’s get that straightened out right now,” Regina said, pushing Carmilla off of her and holding her at arm’s length. “I am not your mother. That was just a cover story so don’t be stupid! The townsfolk are gathering outside. Do you have your magic back?”
“I only have my vampiric powers, not my spells,” Carmilla answered sadly, “Magic works differently here. I suppose I’m lucky to exist.”
“Then be quiet and stay out of the way. What are you crying about?”
“I cannot go out in the daylight,” Carmilla said, wiping away a red tear.
“So stand over there in the hallway with the lights off and get ready to back me up. Those peasants are coming, probably with torches and pitchforks.”
“I can see your ability to charm the public is still in negative numbers.”
“I just spent twenty-eight years taking care of you, just when I thought that you couldn’t have possibly been any lazier! Yet, you found a way! So quit complaining and make yourself useful. You owe me.”
“All right then, quit your browbeating. Perhaps,” she said, listening to the angry crowd outside, “They shouldn’t even know I exist.”
“Excellent. Now stand back and watch this.”
Yes, Carmilla laughed silently to herself later that night as she walked the streets of the town. Wandering, she found her way to the waterfront, and to the end of a pier, where she sat down and stared into the dark water. Aside from the outsiders, everyone in town had two sets of memories, and two separate identities. Up until that afternoon, Carmilla had been Cara Mills, the sickly adolescent shut-in, always at death’s door. Now she was a vampire again, with all her long years once again upon her. In a way, being Cara had had been a delightful respite from the loneliness.
But it hadn’t lasted, nothing ever did, but the brief experience of family warmth had touched her. Being human and feeling something had been a truly unique experience, and she cherished the memory. However, Regina wasn’t going to continue being nice, since it no longer suited her purposes, and it would all be turned against her as a weapon. For that reason, Cara’s soul had to be carefully hidden. So she removed her heart; a crystalline blue cat’s eye with an ebony black center that radiated outward, the surface solid ice. It did not beat, or feel warm at all. She squeezed it, and then bounced it off the pier like a ball. “Nice,” she laughed, “Almost indestructible, but not quite. Goodbye, Cara, I’ll come back for you, when we can be alone and remember. But that time is not tonight. Sleep well.” Then she threw the cold blue stone out into the sea, and smiled. “Now, to find some lost storybook orphans.”
Wandering, she found the lost youth of the town. Every young pauper or maiden orphaned by fate had a tale to tell, and every night from then on, Carmilla listened, not only to what they said, but to what they didn’t say, and what their hearts were yearning for. Then, when they trusted her enough, she gave them the vampire’s kiss, and afterward made them forget. It took a long time to build up the sort of retinue she enjoyed, but to find a friend was her real goal; someone to give a taste of her blood to, halt their aging, and have a companion for a while. Evening after evening passed, and she still hadn’t found a suitable one yet. There certainly seemed to be a lot of ugly people in this town.
There was however, one social visit she wanted to make, and it was one she had coincidentally been ordered to. She made her way to Mary Margaret’s loft, where Snow White was living with Prince Charming, Emma, and Henry. She knocked on the door, and Emma answered.
“Don’t let her in!” Henry screamed from behind her. “She’s a vampire! You can see it now! Just look at her teeth! Don’t invite her in!”
“And hello to you too,” Carmilla snapped at him. “But I didn’t come to waste words with you or kill Snow White. I would like to speak with Emma for a moment.”
“Don’t trust her! Don’t invite her in!”
“I will remain here upon the stairwell,” Carmilla promised, “And you may all watch if you wish.”
“Uh, okay,” Emma said. “What did you want to talk about?”
“I just wanted to thank you for visiting me when I was sick. It was nice to talk to someone. Other than the doctors and Regina, you’re the only one who ever did. That’s all.”
“Yeah, you’re welcome. How are things going for you?”
“Could be better,” Carmilla smiled, “Could be a lot worse, too.” She spoke for a few more minutes with Emma. “I don’t want to take up any more of your time. Enjoy your evening.”
“Oh, uh, you too.”
“I will,” the vampire smiled, and left down the stairwell, out into the night. Several fairy tale ladies and peasants were waiting, including a girl who used to be the Handless Maiden. With the aid of some street drugs, they were going to descend into the underworld. Their harsh chemical combinations were intriguing, and their music was new to Carmilla, as well. It was strangely discordant and repetitive, often loud, but there was the occasional song that she truly enjoyed. One of the boys had a guitar, and let her try to play it. As she strummed, she thought that it was not so very different from the gitterns and citterns of old. The tunes were different, and she let her mind wander as she played. Then she looked up, to see them all staring at her.
“You’re a natural,” the boy said.
“Why, thank you. I might have to get one of my own.”
“What was that song you played?”
“Just a bit of classical music from my childhood.”
“Uh, do you like rock or hip hop?”
“I will try to learn,” Carmilla smiled. She was going to have to learn to tolerate whatever the youth of the day enjoyed, whether she actually liked it or not. So she let them play their favorite songs, and after a few hours, she couldn’t stand any more of it and went home. There she picked up her double flute, and played a lilting, light melody for fairies. It cleared her mind of the strange sounds from before. She closed her eyes and visualized a fairy circle, and the tiny floating lights for dancing to. Opening her eyes, she was pleased to discover the multicolored sparkling lights were still there, drifting along to her tune. Being non-magical Cara had left her unpracticed and rusty, but as she made and heard the music, it all started coming back to her. The dancing lights were elf magic, she thought, playing until the door banged open.
“Where have you been? Did you find anything?” Regina snapped, “You’ve been gone for days.”
“Snow White has no idea that her fluffy black cat is me. None of those people are really very smart. Rumpelstiltskin, however is, and so I only visit Belle when he’s busy. No one else besides the town’s teen runaways has spared a thought for me. Vampires always hide in the shadows.”
“Well keep hidden, and help me find a way to get my son back!”
“Perhaps,” Carmilla agreed, nodding politely while wondering why ever they would want him back. If Regina would just stop her pining they could get on with things. Watching Regina pine for Henry was boring, and being sent on spying missions was an equally unwelcome duty. “But I do need to hunt.”
“That is an unnecessary risk. Just drink from the blood bags and remain under cover.”
“Intravenously is the only way to take that stuff. In this town the biggest blood donors are the dwarves, and their blood tastes awful, like metallic slag.”
“I don’t care what dwarf blood tastes like. Just go over to Mary Margaret’s house, turn into a cat, and figure out a way for me to get my son back!”
“It’s better when you don’t talk. You have a comeliness of eighteen and a charisma of six.”
“Just get going!”
“Absolutely, My Queen,” she smiled, and went on about her way. For the time being, by placating the Evil Queen, Carmilla had a safe enough place to sleep during the day. Resuming cat form, she traveled through the town, hiding in the trees. Finding a very cozy spot, she rested, watching. When she returned, the Evil Queen was crying in her bed, presumably for her lost son. Taking some pity on her, Carmilla sat down beside her on the bed with her flute, and played fairy music until Regina fell asleep. Then she continued to practice magic, the music bringing it all back to her; as if each song was a spell waiting to be unlocked.
The werewolves came as a hideous surprise. The diner closed at ten, but the local youth hung around outside behind the store in the alleyway until late at night. Carmilla, calling herself Cara, would hang around with them, waiting for a chance to make out and feed. Killing wasn’t her goal, and that would have quickly decimated the population. Rather, building up a reliable herd of “friends,” was the thing to do, and as she and three other teens passed a joint around, she asked them about their stories. People love to talk about themselves, and so she was listening when the waitress opened the back door and sniffed. Carmilla’s nose twitched as well. Deep, dank and doggy, she recalled that awful scent and took off running. She had a head start, but the old woman appeared with a crossbow as the waitress transformed. She heard the bolts missing and hitting other things, and the snarl of a wolf behind her. She could hear it almost breathing down her neck as she reached the pier and dove into the water. There she remained, swimming underwater, until she was far away from the beast. Pulling herself up out of the water, she wondered why in hell nobody had bothered to tell her there were werewolves in this town. It would have been very useful information to have.
Returning to the house, still soaking wet with seawater, she found Regina in Henry’s room, sitting on his bed holding a pillow and crying. She gave an involuntary shudder of disgust and went to take a shower, hoping that noise would stop, so they could have a discussion about werewolves. Unfortunately, Regina was still crying when Carmilla returned, dry and wearing her nightgown, all set to sleep through the day. “Why are you crying?”
“Because I want my son back, you loveless, heartless vampire!”
“Loveless, heartless vampire,” Carmilla mused, “I actually like that.”
“Leave me alone!”
“We need to talk about werewolves.”
“I said leave me alone!” Regina threw a pillow at her.
“As you wish.” Carmilla returned to her room, the same books, lights and bedding as before, but without the medical equipment. She went through Cara’s art portfolio, the reason for her strange obsession with wolves and death now blatantly obvious. She selected a particularly gruesome scene, and taped it to the outside of the bedroom door before playing the violin and going to sleep.
Carmilla was awakened later with a pounding on the door. “Yes?”
“Why did you put that horrid picture up in my house?”
“I presume you mean the drawing of wolves tearing a woman apart? Yes, I put that up to remind you that we need to have a discussion about werewolves. Most importantly, why in the hell didn’t you tell me those things were out there?”
“I’ve been so distracted about Henry I forgot about the stupid werewolves.”
“Just fantastic. So, what other fairy tale monsters are lurking?”
“Other than the werewolves and Rumpelstiltskin, none that I know of.”
“Do we ever get back to having fun?”
“There are more important things than music and drugs.”
“No, there aren’t. Wait, maybe art and literature.”
The Evil Queen reclined on her favorite couch, dreaming while awake, listening to the vampire’s fairy music, played on the harp. Tiny lights drifted around, and if she wanted to, she could make them change shape before they faded or winked out of existence, but Carmilla was singing about butterflies in a magical garden, and so that’s what they became. Minutes turned to hours, and she stared out onto the darkened terrace where the conjured butterflies were disappearing off to, and felt like she was floating herself. She smiled, enjoying a beautiful moment, made slightly sweeter by thinking about Snow White sleeping in the dirt.
“Play something about the death of Snow White.”
Carmilla laughed, “Very well, My Queen,” and picked up the pace of her playing. The butterflies vanished, becoming windstorms and lightning. Ominous drums pounded far away in the distance, and the sounds made word-pictures and images of dungeons and despair.
Regina smiled, ordinary court musicians were nothing compared to someone who had magic and hundreds of years to practice.
Regina heard the harp as soon as she walked in the door, and followed the sound to find Carmilla playing it. “Where did this come from?”
“How thoroughly did you check your attic?”
“Not very,” Regina admitted, and sat down, removing her shoes.
“That’s where I found it,” Carmilla laughed, “Along with some other items.”
Regina paused, and closed her eyes, listening to the music, several of her old favorites that she hadn’t heard in so long she had forgotten about them. She smiled, meeting again some long lost friends. “This reminds me of the castle,” she said at last, “When you used to conjure pictures and dreams within the music, and I listened. Sometimes all night.”
“That’s what I meant, when I asked you if we would ever go back to having fun.”
“Yes,” Regina smiled, “And Henry is coming over to visit me.”
Carmilla’s hands slipped, making a rough aberration of sound, “That’s not fun.”
“What time is it?” Regina asked, the discordant noise waking her from the soothing musical spell. She looked at her phone and exclaimed, “How long did I just sit there? It’s been two hours! I’m late to pick up Henry!” She jumped up, and said, “I only came home to rest for a minute!”
“Should’ve been longer,” Carmilla said, picking back up the tune.
“I need to go get him,” she said, leaving.
Henry waited for Regina, his plan set. The werewolves weren’t going to help. They’d destroy Carmilla if they found her out at night, but they weren’t about to bust down the door of the mayor’s house and attack her there. So it was up to him. He’d already researched vampiric powers, and concluded that there was a way to be a hero and rid the town of a terrible evil before it spread; by killing the first one. The only effective ways to permanently destroy a vampire were to burn her to ashes, chop off her head, or be torn apart by werewolves. He knew he wasn’t strong enough to wield an axe like that, and the werewolves had already made their position clear. It might be years before Carmilla ventured near that side of town on a full moon, and she would definitely have converted Emma with her blood by then. But fire was accessible. So he told Regina he wanted to visit, and she quickly agreed, just as he knew she would.
Henry bided his time, waiting until the opportunity arose the next day, when Regina told him that she needed to run a quick errand, but would be right back. “That’s fine,” he told her. “I have some homework to do, anyway.” As soon as she left he moved quickly. Taking the gas can for the lawn mower from the garage, he entered Carmilla’s room. She was asleep in her bed, all the curtains drawn tight. He lit the candle first, and then set it aside on the dresser. Picking up the big, heavy gas can, he awkwardly poured it over Carmilla, and then accidentally knocked her in the head with it, waking her up.
“Ow!” She opened her eyes to see Henry, and said, “What the hell, you little freak…” Then drawing a breath to keep talking, she smelled gas and screamed, jumping out of bed, opposite the boy. He picked up the candle and tried to reach her, but Carmilla threw a vase of flowers on him, dowsing the flame. “You tried to set me on fire!” she screamed as he turned and ran, hurrying down the stairs as quickly as he could, and heading towards the front door. Carmilla saved time by leaping over the bannister and landing in front of him, blocking the exit. “I’ve got you now, you rotten little…”
Henry interrupted her by tipping over a side table and the glass artwork on it at the vampire, breaking all of the displayed items. She stared at it in disbelief for a moment, and then chased him, as he threw more tables and chairs over to block her way, but just as she was about to catch him, he ran around to the other side of the dining room table.
“You’re a villain!” Henry shouted, “And I won’t let you touch me! You’re an evil vampire who kills people and drinks their blood! I’m going to kill you before you can convert Emma, and be a hero! You need to die before you make more evil minions and control us all with your blood!”
“You’re not a hero, you’re an idiot!” she screamed, “And you’re making a mess!”
The front door opened, and Regina walked in and saw the condition of the house, “What is going on in here? Why do I smell gas?” She entered the dining room after following the trail of destruction down the hallway, stepping over shattered glass, broken ceramic, and chipped lacquered end tables, only to see Carmilla and Henry circling around the dining room table, eyeing each other. “I leave for twenty minutes and the furniture is destroyed and the house smells of gas! What is wrong with you two?”
“He only invited himself over here to try to set me on fire!”
“She’s an evil vampire who needs to be destroyed!”
“He doesn’t care about you, he only wanted to be a hero and kill a vampire…”
“Stop! Both of you two, stop! Carmilla, go take a shower. The stench of gas is overpowering. Henry, get a broom.”
“That’s it? He tries to destroy me and instead of punishing him you’re giving him the first chore of his life?”
“I will deal with this. Go take a shower.”
“I’m protecting other people, and I won’t stay in a house with a vampire in it,” Henry said.
“How am I supposed to sleep in a house with a murderous little freak in it?”
“We can find somewhere for you to sleep safely,” Regina told her.
“Oh! He tries to set me on fire, and you’re throwing me out?”
“That’s not what I meant…”
“Fine,” Carmilla said, “Fine. You sleep in the house with the murderous little hero, and I’ll just go rent a room from Gold or something…”
“Don’t you dare!”
“Oh, so you’ve noticed he doesn’t actually serve you in any way?”
“We will talk after you take a shower. Henry, who do you think you’re protecting?”
“Emma and Snow White. They’re heroes and you’re a villain.”
Carmilla laughed, and turned around. “Yes. I’m going to go take a shower now. Enjoy that.” Regina scowled at her as she left the dining room, and stepping over broken furniture, went back up the stairs.
“Henry, we don’t set people on fire in their beds…”
“You think that drinking her blood keeps you young and beautiful but it only makes you even more evil, and she controls you through it!”
“You think what?”
“You’re both evil, and…”
“That’s enough! Go to your room!” She watched as he darted away, and then she looked around at the mess. Cleaning it by magic was much faster than doing it all by hand, but she still had to walk from room to room, and feelings were not so easily mended as broken furniture. She erased the overpowering stench of gasoline from Carmilla’s room, and put the gas can back in the garage, the house looking and smelling much better by dusk, when Carmilla was on her way out; with boots, coat, and backpack. “What are you doing?”
“I’m going to find somewhere else to stay. I’m not going to risk sleeping in a place where someone might set me on fire. I’ll be back for the instruments once I find a place.”
“You don’t get to just walk out. I had to take care of you for the past twenty-eight years. You owe me.”
“Yeah. And I’m glad the thing you love the most is always a Henry,” Carmilla stepped past her, “Saves me a lot of grief.”
“Don’t you dare walk away!”
“I’m not the only one,” Carmilla smiled, and pointed at the open window in Henry’s room.
There was the sound of an engine behind the shrubbery. She saw headlights, and then taillights. “Henry!”
This was Emma’s fault.