DangerA Chapter by MoonAngel
The night had been amicable.
There had been no sign of Varjak, something that was highly unusual in itself.
They were seven minutes late in arriving back at the hotel, but this slight lateness was enough ammunition for a severely bored and disgruntled Varjak.
“You could have been back seven minutes ago and that would have saved me seven more minutes of boredom,” he squawked once Kate and James had stumbled into the room, tripping past Varjak and completely ignoring him.
“Hey! I'm talking to you two!” Varjak yelled, spinning round to the giggling pair. “I was back here early for you! And how do you repay me? By coming back la - Have you been drinking?”
“Check Mr Observant,” snorted Kate.
James burst out laughing, clutching onto Kate in waves of hysteria.
She clutched at him too, and the pair were then depending on the other to keep themselves upright, which resulted in them collapsing.
Kate's eyes swirled out of focus - as she looked up she could see a blurred yellow and green object with two thick black squares in the middle of it.
The object appeared to be upside-down and had two or three duplicates.
She giggled at it.
“Alright, that's it - bed. The pair of you. Now,” Varjak growled, plucking them from the ground and pushing palms into the napes of their necks, propelling them towards their own rooms.
They weren't exactly drunk enough to allow this, and simultaneously prised free of him before spinning out and running away from Varjak.
“Oi!” He protested, chasing after them as they held hands and started running round the sofa. “You're going to fall over again!”
But they kept going and going round the grey sofa, knocking over an expensive lamp or five en route.
They went round.
And round again, before Varjak thought of a genius way to capture the evasive children, and flew over the couch to stop the pair with an “Ah HA!”.
But instead of stopping, Kate and James careered straight into Varjak, who was bowled over before he could disappear.
The three landed in another heap on the floor, the giggling drunkards snorting and spluttering all over Varjak's face as they lay on his torso.
He wiped irritably at the droplets of saliva on his face, which were probably 99% alcohol alone.
“Sorry, Varj,” said James, then looked at Kate.
They both rolled off Varjak laughing.
“Yeah, sorry...Varj!” Kate repeated from the floor, and the two were almost inaudible in laughter.
Having had enough of the fools, Varjak disappeared, reappearing as a floating entity looming over them.
“Bed, time!” he said sternly, clocking their heads together and using the momentary distraction seize their clothes.
He pulled them up as he touched to the ground, then wheeled them off, chucking James in his bedroom and intending to do the same with Kate.
It didn't exactly work out as planned.
Kate's world swam again as she stumbled back onto an unsuspecting Varjak, who promptly, if by just, caught her.
He tutted, and her legs gave out from under her.
Varjak out of impatience lifted her up, and carted her to her room.
“You're so cool Varjak,” said Kate dreamily, as he turned to open her own door for her.
“Well that much I knew already,” he replied seriously, letting her down but keeping an arm out in case she collapsed again. “Now, just go through that big hole in the wall and fall on the bed.”
“But you're not just cool,” gurgled Kate, as though he hadn't spoken. “You're also rather...rather...”
“Put-out by your drunken behaviour?” he suggested dryly.
“Hot,” she giggled, before sliding down the door-frame.
Varjak had been too stunned by the comment to catch her, and so the cackling Kate fell to the floor, unable to feel the pain yet.
Why hadn't she seen it before? Of course Varjak was hot! He was utterly gorgeous! And funny and smart and witty and -
“That's going to really hurt in the morning,” she hiccupped from the floor, tongue lolling out of her mouth as she tried to reach her aching back.
“Wellthesooneryougettobedthesoonerthepainwillgoaway,” said Varjak in a panicked voice, before scooping up Kate into his arms again in one swift movement.
“Wow, we're married!” shouted Kate, as he carried her through and laid her down on the bed.
“You just keep telling yourself that,” said Varjak, patting her on the head before turning to leave.
“My husband is leaving?” she gasped behind him.
How could her husband leave her at such a time? There was plenty of space for him in the room!
She moved over and patted down the freshly vacated spot on the bed, then winked at Varjak.
“Yes, I am,” he said adamantly.
“Oh come on,” she giggled, patting the bed again, “There's a nice little spot for you here, my dearestly dear husband.”
“I'm reminding you tomorrow morning that you called me that,” Varjak smirked.
“But I'll love you forever! Not just tonight!” she cried. “Forever, and ever, and ever, and ever....and ever...and...”
There was snoring next, and, laughing to himself, a half grinning and half pensive Varjak swept out of the room.
Kate would have been out like a light on any other occasion when this drunk.
In this case, as soon as Varjak left, she was sharply woken up again by an earthquake.
In fact, it sounded like someone snoring.
Her brain sluggishly traced the sound to the room next door.
Hey, the walls were thin and James' snoring was damned loud. She released a long groan, then seized hold of a pillow and pelted it at the wall.
“Shut up,” she yelled, turning over sharply and closing her eyes, limbs wrapped up in the quilt.
Light spilled into the room and invaded her sleep a second later. Her eyes opened slowly, narrowing in advance.
“Something wrong, my wife?”
It was her husband!
She quickly turned in her quilt and sat up, causing a cocoon of sorts to form around her.
“You're back! You must help me, husband! There's a man in there snoring very loudly!”
Varjak blinked at her.
Even he was bemused by the request.
Then, a slow evil grin stretched across his angular face.
“I'm on it, baby. Don't you worry your little drunken silly head.”
Then, he disappeared.
He didn't just leave and close the door.
He had to disappear. That meant Kate had to heave herself up and close the door herself.
Slowly, she eased herself out of the covers, and pressed her feet into the carpet.
She stood up cautiously, feeling a sharp sickness, and started to walk to the door.
She got there, but not before veering off and crashing into the wall twice.
As she came to the door, she heard a peculiar gurgling sound coming from James's bedroom.
Just what was her husband doing in there? Whatever it was, so long as it clogged up the snoring, she didn't care.
Maybe he was tipping liquid medication down his throat? Kate wondered about this, very briefly, as sickness began to rise in her throat and she realised she really needed to sit down.
The next second she had fallen back on her bed, rolling around for a while whilst moaning and clutching her bubbling stomach.
When Varjak reappeared over her a second later, she screamed.
“Shh!” Varjak said sternly, craning over her and pressing a hand firmly on her mouth. She mumbled something inaudible under the hand, so he lifted it. “What did you say?”
“I said, so we're finally getting it on are we?”
“Simmer down,” he snorted. “I'm just coming to inform you that the problem in question has been sorted for the time being. Now you can sleep well, wifey.”
“I will sleep well, won't I?” she said, as Varjak flitted to the top of the bed and rolled down the quilt to Kate's lolling head.
“So long as you get in bed, I imagine so,” he replied, kneeling on the bed and dipping to slide his arms underneath her armpits, then dragging her quickly to the pillow.
He put the quilt over her and, with one awkward glance, then a feeble pat on her head, disappeared before she could respond.
“He's so sexy,” she murmured, flopping on her stomach and falling into a fitful sleep, her face in the pillow.
“You'd be too annoying to be married to anyway,” murmured an ill and dishevelled Kate at the kitchen table the next morning, once Varjak had told her the events of the night before.
“I'd imagine so,” he grinned. “Where's your actual husband anyway? Still sleeping it off?”
“I think so,” she yawned.
“Want me to go and wake him?”
“Is that really necessary?” she groaned, looking up at him and taking a sip of her coffee.
“Oh yeah, I forgot. You want to go wake him in your own special way,” he smirked, winking at her.
“You're lucky I'm too ill to beat you up for that comment,” she muttered over her steaming cup.
“I am lucky, actually,” said Varjak seriously.
Then he vanished.
“Oh, he's not is he - ?” grumbled Kate, before being cut off by a loud yelp and a bang.
“Rise and shine!” cried Varjak merrily from the other room.
There was a loud spluttering sound, and Kate growled and put down her empty cup, charging through to James's room despite her illness.
She arrived on the scene to find Varjak jumping up on down on the bed which James was desperately trying to scramble out of.
“Nice boxers ginger,” grinned Varjak, bouncing once on the bed and propelling himself upward, disappearing briefly on the way back down, and reappearing cross-legged on the end of the bed.
A boxer-clad James seized hold of a nearby pair of jeans and threw them on.
It was only when Kate began giggling that they both noticed her presence, which did little to ease James's embarrassment.
“D****t!” James squawked, his cheeks turning almost the same colour as his hair. Then he lofted a wet-looking sock into the air, and pointed at it. “Do you know what he did to me last night? Stuffed a sock in my mouth. I don't even know why!”
Kate pulled an appalled face at Varjak.
“A sock? You stemmed his snoring with his own sock? He could have choked in the night you idiot! And I hope it was clean!”
“I didn't check.” He turned back to the half-dressed James, who was equally staring at him in incredulity. “Gosh James, what's the point in getting dressed when Kate is here, of all people?”
He winked exaggeratedly at James, who turned an even brighter shade of red.
“Alright, I'm not letting that one go!” roared Kate, lunging at him despite knowing that it would be impossible to land a punch on him.
She was proven correct as Varjak flitted effortlessly to the other side of the room, a childish grin on his face.
“Hitting me doesn't work for a cutesy little human,” he preened, before disappearing completely.
“Do you think he was psychotic when he was alive?” asked an awed and bewildered James, staring after him.
“I think he‘s psychotic now,” said Kate, sighing.
There was a silence as the pair wondered about their strange blond-haired companion.
“Any idea where he's gone?” asked a topless James, turning to Kate.
Equally she turned to him, eyes flicking briefly to his chest before coming level.
“Do I ever have any idea where Varjak's gone?” She laughed shortly. “Anyway, you can go back to sleep again if you want to. I didn't tell him to do that.”
“No, I'm up now,” said James as he grabbed a blue shirt and carefully buttoned it on.
“Well alright,” said Kate, trying with medium difficulty not to watch him. “You have to admit, it was quite funny though.”
“I don‘t have to admit anything,” James growled. “He thinks just because he's undead and can disappear and move at high speeds that he's some sort of god that can do what he wants.”
Kate blinked at the unexpected outburst, then nodded slowly.
“Yeah, he is a bit like that.”
“A bit?” he repeated, appalled.
But Kate stood her ground.
“Yes - a bit. You might not really like him much but I do, despite the way he acts.” She sighed, knowing James probably wouldn't bother listening to her. “Anyway, I think you're mainly pissed with him because he barged in when you were sleeping.”
“And then jumped on my bed and start yelling about my boxers,” he muttered.
She laughed loudly.
After some more conversation about Varjak and his strange ways, Kate left to get ready herself.
They went out to breakfast, a café not far from the hotel.
“It was just insane,” said James, stirring his coffee, ”One minute I was just some college student training to be a Math teacher, and the next I'm being whisked off to the airport because there's a threat to my life.”
“Welcome to my world,” murmured Kate, sipping her sparkling water. “I'd only just moved to California when this whole thing started. Three weeks I was there! Then I was given a ticket to a party at the Swinton by some random and suddenly I ended up with Varjak in my room in the dead of night, acting like his usual stupid self.”
“Don't you think that was weird though?” He asked, a brow slightly raised.
“The little woman with the ticket. The fact you met both Varjak and I on the same night, in the same place.” He leaned forwards, as though discussing a conspiratorial matter. “Isn't it just a little too coincidental? Think about it - had you never received a ticket to that party, you would have never stepped foot in the Swinton voluntarily, right?”
“Therefore you would have never have met Varjak. And even if you had stepped foot in the Swinton, just not at the party, you wouldn't have met me.” He trailed off for a moment, pensive. “Although I'm still not sure what role I have to play in this whole mess - I've been nothing but a nuisance so far.”
“Don't be dumb,” said Kate, shaking her head. “You don't need a purpose in this. You're my friend and I wanted you safe, and that's why you're here.”
At this, James clamped a hand onto Kate's, as though he couldn't help himself.
“Thanks,” he said, slowly taking away his hand as though embarrassed.
Kate tried to act as though she hadn't noticed.
“So. What about your parents? What do they think about you being here?”
“My parents?” asked James. “Oh uh, I left them a note saying I was going on vacation with Eric and Delia.”
“And they'll buy that?”
“They'll have to,” said James with a small smile. “I just hope the undead don't come after them too.”
“I hope so too,” said Kate sadly, realising that she'd never even thought about James' parents.
The pair heard a man yelling behind them at a waiter.
Kate whipped round and James averted his gaze to view who was causing the problem.
And who they saw made both their jaws drop.
“Let's go,” said James, seizing hold of his jacket and standing up.
Kate did the same and the pair hotfooted to Ben.
“James! Kate! We need to get back to the room quickly!” he cried.
The waiter backed away from the situation slowly.
“What's happened Ben?” James asked urgently.
“They’re onto us! They left me a note this morning - I had to come here!”
“Let's talk outside,” said Kate, noticing the onlookers.
The pair bundled Ben outside, where his terror seemed to increase.
“I was gone all day and only found it half an hour ago!” He cried, throwing the note into Kate's hand. She read it aloud.
“'You know where the hunters are. Bring them to us in the forest surrounding your home by nightfall or we will kill you'.” She exchanged a nervous glance with James. “What do we do?”
“We need to find Varjak,” he said adamantly.
“Finding Varjak is like finding a needle in a haystack,” said Kate glumly.
“Let's try the hotel room,” he said.
“And what if he's not there?” asked Kate.
“Then we wait for him to come back.”
“What if he doesn't come back until later tonight?” she asked worriedly, stabbing a finger at the note to illustrate her point.
“Do I look like I know?” snapped James, grabbing the note, crumpling it into a little ball and stuffing it in his jean pocket. “Now as I said, let's try the hotel room - its the only place we have a chance of finding him.”
They turned and darted along the pavement.
The same feeling of dread Kate had experienced in the airport only a few days ago was creeping up on her again, threatening to swallow her up.
Wasn't there just one day when nothing happened?
The trio burst into the room to be met with a loud chorus of 'You Raise Me Up' erupting from the stereo, and a singing Varjak upside down on the ceiling and swishing his coat around.
Ben's mouth fell open.
James and Kate knew better, and were much quicker to recover from the shock.
They launched forward and tried to pull Varjak off the ceiling, crying 'Varjak! Get down! It's them!'
“Kate baby, you raise me up to stand on mountains!” he yelled over the blasting music, shrugging off the protesting children, while the freshly out-of-shock Ben hastily turned off the music.
Varjak swung round to him, eyes narrowed with annoyance.
“Hey! Put that on you French - Ben?” He paused in his swishing for a moment, before appearing right side up. “Oh hey, what‘s hanging? Ha, hanging - ”
“Look!” Kate cried, thrusting the crumpled off-yellow note into Varjak's cool palm.
Within a second Varjak seemed to have read and understood the message.
“What should we do?” asked Ben, his olive-toned pallor turning more and more yellow.
Varjak breathed slowly. “Give me a minute.”
“I think this means another move, right?” asked Kate, trying to sound as though it was a communal question but really directing it at Varjak.
“We can't keep running forever,” James put in.
“We will eventually have to fight,” said Ben, a nervous tremor in his large brown eyes.
“Fight, surrender, whatever seems to be the best option,” said Varjak.
“Surrender?” Kate said, and her gaze snapped to Varjak.
He shrugged. “As I just said, whatever seems to be the best option.”
“My father would not have surrendered,” said Ben nobly.
“And neither will we. Unless they've beat us all to the brink of death and our only hope of survival is to give in to them,” said Varjak with utter nonchalance, studying a dusty lampshade.
The group gave a sad, mute nod of realization at this.
“So what do we do?” Ben asked Varjak.
“Do what any undead-hunters worth their salt would do.”
“No you idiot. Run.”
“Varjak!” cried Kate, slapping a hand to her forehead. “Your stupidity is one of the last things we need right now!”
“Who says I'm being stupid? I mean it. Why stay and fight in such a vulnerable position? None of you know how to fend them off either. My best plan is to keep running until I can train you up on what you need to know about them.”
“Well you haven't made the most productive of starts, acting like a psycho,” muttered James from behind Kate and Ben.
“Well anyway, on with the show!” said Varjak, as though he hadn't heard him.
“So we're just to pack everything?” asked Kate.
Varjak, who was mid-striding across the room, stopped, and wheeled round.
“Ah. About that...”
“We're heading to the airport, but we have to take the first flight out of there and we need to do it now, with little luggage. It's the best way of keeping low key,” he added, when all three of their faces fell.
“I’ve only got essentials with me,” said Ben quietly. “I can’t go back for anything else, can I?”
“You should have watched enough bad B movies to know that once the enemy's made their presence known you don't go blundering into their territory,” said Varjak.
“All my sentimental things,” Ben said softly.
“Well you'll just have to get over it,” Varjak responded with an unfamiliar snappiness, rounding on him. “None of you seem to know how dangerous this really is. Your possessions will be the very, very least of your worries if we run into them. Seriously guys, get a clue. Bring essentials in a bag. Other than that, treat this as an emergency situation. They could be tracking us right now.”
“To be perfectly honest, I wouldn't give a s**t if they appeared right now. I'm stick of running away from them all the time,” James snarled, storming towards his own room.
“Well we'll know who to use as a human shield against them then,” Varjak replied with light annoyance.
James merely snorted before heading into his room and slamming the door.
Kate wondered why they didn't get along.
Obviously there was some sort of personality clash, but they had despised each other from the very beginning.
“And I for one am not clueless about them,” Ben said with light irritation. “Anyway, anything I can do to help?”
“You can help with packing a few clothes,” said Varjak. “Go grab yourself the spare black rug sack in Kate's room and stuff them in there. Toiletries would be useful too.”
It was then Kate discovered something profound, a thought that had popped into existence from nowhere.
A goofball ghost was virtually the only thing preventing the world ending.
She was seriously beginning to doubt their chances. No matter how well they hid.
James emerged quietly from his room.
Kate and Ben's eyes immediately fell on him silently - Varjak continued as though nothing had changed.
Ben lost interest in the sullen James quicker than Kate, who only tore away her curious stare at a barked order from an unusually tense Varjak.
Only a half hour passed before the group had packed absolutely everything.
“Everyone ready?” asked Varjak, looking around at the three as they stood like school children embarking on a hike.
“Where are we going exactly?” asked James.
“I don't even know,” replied Varjak. “The cheapest, soonest flight.”
James opened his mouth to say something, perhaps a sarcastic comment, but wisely kept his words to himself.
“Okay, good luck guys,” said Varjak, placing a hand forward to open the door and stabbing into a hard object instead.
Kate gasped - the men stared around them wildly.
A glow of orange tinted the room, making everything clearer.
Within a matter of seconds the room had developed a delicate layer of frost on every piece of furniture present.
The walls also were lightly coated in the glittery glass-like particles.
One of the signs of the undead.
Another was if they were encircling you and staring at you with wild, hungry eyes.
“Oh s**t,” said Varjak half-casually, as though it was somewhat of an inconvenience.
© 2012 MoonAngel
Added on April 24, 2012
Last Updated on April 24, 2012
Light After Fire
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
About“Kiss me and you'll know how important I am.” I'm a 19 year old English student. I'm quite dedicated to writing and I've been working on the Light After Fire series officially for ei.. more..