by Twinkledru J.
There was a vampire, she had once been a beautiful girl from
Stalingrad and Nedelya recognized her from childhood.
Nedelya didn't kill her.
Instead, she followed her silently and still like a rat, and
watched as the girl -- Jarena had been her name -- charged with
the soldiers and of course made it through to the German lines.
There, the vampire-girl began to slaughter the soldiers, and
laughed as they shot and shot and swore and screamed screamed
screamed until Jarena ripped their throats out and tore their
Nedelya could have run through and slain Jarena-the-vampire
easily. But she waited instead. She waited until Jarena had
wreaked her havoc and then followed her some more, back to the
Soviet lines and off through the ruins of the city.
Jarena finally reached a lair, a nest of vampires, and Nedelya
understood what they were.
They were Soviet children once, Soviet children who gave up
their lives for Comrade Stalin's victory and their souls for
their own revenge. There were too many of them in the nest that
night for Nedelya to take on, so she told Andrew that she would
follow them and destroy them one or two at a time.
She went out after a few hours of sleep (in the winters, of
course, there was no difference between night and day and it
didn't matter when she was out Slaying, because there were
always vampires somewhere), and followed a male vampire from the
nest around the city, watching from corners as he stole the
uniform of a dead Nazi, walked up to a small group of them, and
drained them all dry.
And when he returned to the nest, she returned to Andrew and
lied to him about having killed one of them.
Andrew hit her when she finally told him the truth, proud of her
defiance of tradition. He had hit her, and she had not hit back
because he had been well within his rights to do so.
"You," he told her calmly, "are bigger than any war and any
politics. You have disgraced the Slayers before you with your
disgusting human actions. You," he said, slapping her again,
"are not human. You are better than that and you will not
bother with humans."
"I didn't bother with humans," she sneered back. "I let the
vampires take care of them." He slapped her again.
"You allowed something as stupid as a war to blind you to your
Maybe she had been blinded to her duty but it had been so good.
Maybe she had given into nationalism and revenge but it had
been so beautiful.
Maybe she had been petty and emotional but it had been sweet.
She found his letter back to the Council on his body when she
woke up in the ruins after the air raid which killed him. The
letter was in English, of course, so she couldn't read much, but
she recognized her name -- he had taught her that much -- and
'vampire' and 'insane'. She kept the letter with her and burned
it, then scattered the ashes into the Volga.
Nedelya Ivanova sat alone, as always, in a ruined building,
surrounded by soldiers' bodies, and prayed that they would not
They could not, of course, for they were not vampires, but they
had other ways, and she did not know them, and she was a little
afraid. She had never learned to really fight soldiers, and she
was not allowed to take human lives herself.
Andrew had promised to take her out of Stalingrad, to England,
where he had come from. The Watchers could get them out, he
had said, because the Watchers were bigger than any war, and the
Soviet government knew this and would allow them to leave. But
Andrew was dead now, and the Watchers would not be able to find
her among thousands of other filthy, starving and frightened
She had no real choices, she knew -- without a Watcher to
explain to the authorities that she was not supposed to be a
soldier, she would be forced into the army, to the lines.
So that left her very little.
Pretending to be another body as the Nazis looked around for
some sign of life they could crush, she thought dully about how
she might die now. Probably as a soldier, or maybe she could
let herself die in a fight with a vampire.
It was an inglorious way to die, but who was she to think of
glory? Just one more Slayer who could die as anyone on the
street and they would simply call another.
The uncertainty was what frightened her. She would die, that
was a fact, and it would be bloody and messy, that too was a
fact, but how it would be she didn't know and that was what
frightened her, really.
The Slayer had no choice.
Despite everything Andrew had told her, she knew now that she
wasn't above humans. He had been a mere human, despite what he
believed about himself, but she was nothing, she was below human
and she got the strength as a compensation for having to live as
something lower than human.
She had no choice in anything. She had no choice in life, and
she had almost no choice in death.
Right now, though, maybe -- if she stood up and attacked the
Then she would have her choice, and she would die and they would
call the next one, and whoever she was had Nedelya's pity.
Nedelya knew it was a stupid thing to do and Andrew would have
slapped her for even considering it, but Andrew was dead and now
she would not have to turn a blind eye to her duty.
Before she could re-think it, the Slayer stood up, picked up her
crossbow, and fired it at one of the soldiers. The Slayer stood
tall as the other shouted, turned around, and shot her. The
Slayer took a weak step after the first bullet shattered one of
her shoulders but did not kill her.
The Slayer smiled grimly as she fell to the ground after the
other two soldiers shot her again and again and again.
The Slayer died. The next Slayer was called.
The world never noticed, nor did a large part of it it care.