Ruxandra cel Rău and the All Seeing Eye

By Alex O'Connell

Horror

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784
6 mins

Welcome England’s Rose

The year was 1997 and the term of Ruxandra’s indenture was rapidly drawing to its close. To her it had been the merest blinking of any eye but even an old soul as timeless as our vampire was amazed by the extent of the changes the century had wrought. She had never known one like it. She sat in Pindar’s white office now, playing the client to his patron for the last time. The Illuminatus seemed to leer at her. He too was mulling over the end of their contact and wondering what that held in store for his inter-species breeding programme. He wiped away a recalcitrant dribble of saliva that was lasciviously edging toward his chin and he reluctantly dragged himself back to the business at hand.

‘You will know this young lady, I’m sure. She has, of late, been causing no little embarrassment to a minor branch of my bloodline and that really cannot be tolerated.’ He handed Ruxandra a photograph. She knew who it was instantly, of course. It was the most famous woman in the world. Diana, Princess of Wales.

‘Is she a reptilian as well?’ she asked.

‘Good Lord no. That’s the in-laws. She’s just breeding stock and she’s served her purpose as that well enough, I’ll admit. One of my great successes.’ He began to salivate once more in a distinctly un-reptilian sort of way. ‘She’s been washing too much dirty linen in public of late. We prefer to keep any local difficulties in house, as you know. If it were up to me, I’d just take her to one side and have one of Pagondas’ quiet words in her shell-like ear. But there’s a certain Duke, I owe a favour too and, if nothing else, at least this way I’ll keep the old fool quiet.’

‘So a trip to London then? I wonder if Whitechapel has changed much since the last time I was there.’

‘I’m sure it has but I’m afraid you will be sent to Paris not London. You’ve heard the expression about not shitting on your own doorstep? Well so have the Family. This one is going to be a bitch to clean up. I tried to persuade them to wait until she was on the next of her landmine jollies. That would have been so much easier. There wouldn’t be much left to clean up. All Pagondas here would need would be a dust pan and brush. I think she’d like to go out that way too.’

‘But a landmine is not easy to arrange in Paris.’ Ruxandra thought for a moment. ‘I could do it though. But it would be expensive.’

Just for a moment he considered the offer. ‘No. There would be just too many questions.’

‘So, what is it you want?’

‘Something rather more prosaic, I’m afraid. An automobile accident.’ He passed her the dossier and she skimmed through it.

‘Should be fun’ she said. ‘I can do that.’

‘Time is rather tight, I’m afraid. If you are ready?’

‘Pindar’ she said more out of form than any desire to boast, ‘I am always ready.’

The flashes of thirty professional paparazzi illuminated the night sky in the Rue Cambon at the back of the Ritz Hotel in the heart of Paris. The tall blonde woman, looking extremely stressed and anxious, kept her head down shyly as she was ushered into the rear passenger seat of the black Mercedes Benz S280 sedan by her bodyguard, a tall ex-military man, a tough guy and a real pro. He got into the front of vehicle, his eyes alive and constantly surveying the surrounding crowd for signs of trouble.

They were followed out by the Princess’ latest beau, an Egyptian multi-millionaire who also just happened to be the son of hotel’s owner. He climbed in the car and sat beside Diana. Another man, their driver, the bespectacled deputy head of hotel security stumbled as he headed out of the door and wiped a few beads of sweat from his brow, despite the chill of the night air. He climbed in behind the wheel and sped off past the Tuileries Gardens towards the Place de la Concorde without even checking his mirrors.

The paparazzi stood transfixed as if compelled by an unseen force. That’s because they were. Only one of them, who interestingly was the only paparazzo who did not have a camera, made a move. It was a tall dark haired woman clad in a tight fighting leather biker jacket. She hopped onto an Austrian KTM 620 Duke motorcycle, the ideal machine for manoeuvring through crowded city streets at pace.

She was on the tail of the Mercedes in an instant and its driver put his foot hard down on a word from the bodyguard who had taken control of the rear view mirror. As they cruised along the north bank of the Seine, on the ironically named Cours la Reine, the Queensway, the black car veered noticeably within its lane. He’s either drunk or very nervous, thought the vampire. Either way, he shouldn’t be driving.

Their eyes adjusted as they entered the illuminated tunnel that led up to the Place de l’Alma and Ruxandra made her move. She twisted the throttle and pulled alongside the Merc. They were going sixty miles an hour now; now sixty five. Apart from the bodyguard, its passengers looked away to avoid the expected flash from a camera. Instead Ruxandra leant to her right and slashed through the rear tyre with her claw. She braked hard as the rim of the Mercedes’ wheel ground into the asphalt. The car swerved violently to the left and the driver lost control. It smashed into one of the reinforced concrete pillars supporting the roof. It spun off and tail ended the stone wall before coming to a standstill.

Traffic was sparse at that time of night but she knew she had to work quickly. In France, anyone failing to render assistance to a personne en danger is in breach of the criminal code and can face five years in gaol and a fine of up to a hundred thousand dollars. She ran to the Mercedes and as she opened the rear door on the driver’s side she was hit by the acrid smell of death. Not one of the passengers had been wearing a seatbelt and the driver and the Egyptian had both been killed outright.

Blood was oozing from the Egyptians forehead and was dripping onto his scarlet Chemise Lacoste polo shirt.

‘I had one of those once’ she told his lifeless corpse. ‘But the tiny crocodile bit my nipple off.’

Both the bodyguard and the Princess were clearly badly injured. The ex-soldier was unconscious, the woman was fighting it.

‘Help me, please’ she mouthed barely audibly as Ruxandra went to her side.

‘This is your lucky day, lady’ the vampire said. ‘I am about to fuck over Pindar and not doing what he wants to you might just piss him off right royally. I’m just sorry that I can’t let you live.’ She wasn’t really.

With that, she bit into Diana’s neck and drank. As she reached the very nexus of life and death and her soul passed through the dark veil, the vampire bit into her own wrist and fed her blood to Diana.

‘Drink, my sweet one. Drink.’ And, my, was she a greedy girl. As strength flowed from the vampire deep into the Princess and her broken body began to heal, she took more and more.
Suddenly there was a screech of brakes. A little white Fiat Uno came to stop and a tall man got out.

‘Oh fuck. Perfect timing’ said Ruxandra and then stopped as she recognised the scent and touched the man psychically.

The man walked slowly towards her. He was perhaps in his mid-thirties, lean and muscular, dressed all in black in the plain woven cotton that the British call calico. Over one eye he wore an eye patch giving him a distinctly piratical air as did the deep scar on his cheek. He too was vampire.

‘Well. You are a sight for sore eyes’ she said. ‘Of all the people who might have been Pindar’s assassin in waiting, I did not suspect it would be you. I’ve never seen you in black before. It suits you. Much better than all those gaudy colours. Never liked them. But what has happened to your eye. The last time we met you had two as I recall.’

The man flashed her a smile which, surprisingly enough, seemed to have genuine warmth.
‘I still do, Mistress’ he said and lifted the patch onto his forehead to reveal a perfectly functioning, intensely brown eye that twinkled as it looked at her under the stark electric illumination of the tunnel. ‘This is just for the ladies. They love it.’

‘You always were one for the girls, Captain Rackham’ she said.

He all but ran towards her at pace. She did not move, weakened slightly as she was as Diane continued to drink.

He fell on her, arms extended, in a manner not unlike that employed by Christopher Lee in the old Hammer Horror movies.

And he hugged her.

‘My God. How I have missed you, Ruxandra’ he said. ‘My dear, sweet mother in darkness.’
‘And did Pindar really think that you would kill me? You. The best beloved of my get.’
‘I think that’s why the dinosaurs died out. They were too bloody stupid.’ They both laughed. ‘You have always been my inspiration and my battle cry. Some things can never change.’
‘Were you behind me on all my assignments?’

‘Most’ he admitted. ‘I drew the line at following you into Hell on Pindar’s say so. If you’d asked me yourself, I would have come.’

‘I know that. Weren’t you worried about me?’

‘Not for a moment. What was it you used to say? “Not even eternity can hold the great Ruxandra.” By the way, I love the cel Rău but wasn’t that your father’s title?’
‘He bequeathed it to me when he died, yet again, a few years ago. It does have a certain ring to it, doesn’t it?’

‘That it does, Mistress. What’s the old reprobate up to now?’

‘No idea’ she admitted and returned to more pressing matters. ‘I’m sure he’s up to no good though. But why did you agree to helping Pindar? What hold has he got over you?’

‘Nothing. Apart from you. I’ll admit the cash was useful too. It’s much easier having a numbered Swiss account than digging up treasure chests under painted Xs marking spots on desert islands.’ Ruxandra smiled. She had always liked Rackham’s sense of humour.

‘But really, if I hadn’t agreed, he would only have recruited another of our kind. And I can think of quite a few who wouldn’t have had your back the way I have.’

‘Indeed. There are more than a handful who would have just looked on it as an opportunity to kill me again.’

‘They would have had to go through me first, Mistress. And I still have my cutlass.’

‘It always was a very big one. I am so happy to see you again, my dearest boy. Now help me get her out of here. I’m very glad you have a car. I didn’t much fancy her riding pillion in this state.’

‘Where to?’ the Captain asked. ‘Pindar thinks you’re staying at the Hotel George V. I know you checked in but you haven’t been seen there since.’

‘What can I say, I’m a creature on impulse’ she said and gave him the address of her bohemian apartment in Montmartre. Then she addressed Diana. ‘That’s enough now my dear. I have a new friend for you to meet. I think you’ll like him.’

The pair cajoled the weak and confused new-born Diana into the passenger seat of the Fiat.
‘Make sure you put the seat belt on her. We don’t want another accident, do we? And Captain Rackham, try not to seduce her. Not until you’re in the apartment at least.’

‘I’ll try. But she looks up for it.’ And, as the effects of her new powers and heightened sensations washed over her, indeed she did. Well up for it.

‘There are certain things that we need to discuss. I take it that you will be willing to assist me in cutting the lizards down to size.’

‘As always, Mistress, I will stand at your side.’

She kissed him on the cheek.

‘It is so good to see you. But come, let’s go.’

And as the first sounds of sirens grew in the distance they made their way sedately into the summer night of the city.


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