Chapter 38: Hunted

WARNING: Contains violence, guns, and blood.

Amelia stared at her phone. Dewey and Mimosa exchanged glances, but Amelia didn’t even notice it.

“We heard,” Dewey said, “I don’t know the whole story behind that phone call, but I can tell this is bad.”

Amelia was still frozen. What could she do? Call the police? What if Jay was lying? And what if he was not, but the police would be faced with angry vampires or worse? What if it was already too late? Or what if it was some kind of trap? What could she do? What should she do?

“The ‘witch-woman’,” Dewey said slowly, “They’re probably talking about Vanja Leifsdóttir. She’s the only female witch in town.”

“She can’t die!” Amelia blurted out as at least one clear thought managed to get through the fog of fear and panic, “No one should die… if Jay was telling the truth… we have to do something! We have to… call the police. Yeah, police. And then… oh, gosh, this really is bad!”

“Yeah,” Dewey let out a deep, weary sigh, “Okay, Mimi. Scouting time. We check if Leifsdóttir is okay and try to figure out what’s really going on. And Amelia needs to call her folks.”

Amelia tried to keep her breathing steady. She needed to focus. Or at least not panic.

“Okay… I… yeah. That sounds… yeah.”

She hated that she couldn’t even form complete sentences. At least Dewey seemed to have a grasp on the situation.

“Now, Amelia. Please.”

Amelia nodded and called her mum with shaky hands. It took several agonising beeps before her mum answered.

“Hi, Amelia!”

Amelia could have fallen to her knees out of relief. Mum sounded perfectly fine.

“Mum, hi!” Amelia said and tried her best to sound nonchalant, “I just wanted to make sure everything’s okay. I heard some… weird news that some- wait, you sound like you’re outside. Where are you?“

Philippe and I decided to take a walk since everyone else was out too. The weather is so lovely and the trees won’t be this gorgeous for long anymore.”

Amelia let out a breath she’d been holding.

“So you’re not at home?”

“That’s what I just said. Is something wrong?”

“I… just…” Amelia thought quickly. If nothing bad was happening, she shouldn’t worry mum for no reason. She smiled, even though mum couldn’t see it, “Everything’s fine. I heard that there might be some unsavoury people running around, but I’m with a couple of friends. But uh… don’t go back home yet. Maybe we should meet up somewhere? Near the river?”

“Oh… we’re not planning on going back yet anyway. The river is so romantique! But unsavoury people, huh? Is it the Bagley gang again? Those hoodlums act up from time to time, but they’re mostly harmless.”

“Just keep your eyes open, mum. Maybe you and Philippe should go to a café or something for a while until this dies down.”

“Oooh, a moment in a café late at night sounds parfait! I’ll call you later Amelia, take care!”

She hung up, still sounding happily unconcerned about news of possible gang activity in their quaint, peaceful hometown. Amelia wasn’t sure whether to be worried or happy about her mum’s ability to block out worries.

“Well, at least she’s okay,” Dewey said, “I think we should get Bridge here, and then get Amelia to a safe place while I check if Leifsdóttir is okay. Mimi, call Bridge.”

Mimosa did as she was told, and Dewey steered them all towards Vanja’s home without actually getting too close to it. Mimosa hung up after a few quiet thank yous and smiled weakly.

“They’ll be here soon.”

“Good,” Dewey nodded, “Okay, so… Amelia, what exactly is going on here? I didn’t think you’d be the type to attract the attention of people who like to hire hitmen.”

Amelia rubbed her arms even though she wasn’t even that cold.

“There was an incident in Sunset Valley,” she said, “We got… we got attacked by some criminals, but it all went fine and they were arrested and… well, I guess they’re free now.”

“Wow. Well, that’s-”

Dewey quieted when Mimosa suddenly stopped walking. Mimosa’s violet eyes glowed fearfully in the dark.

“I’m smelling them nearby!” she whispered, “They’re headed this way.”

Dewey didn’t seem very fazed by any of it.

“Okay. Mimi, you and Amelia get out of sight and then keep moving. I’ll get a jump on them if necessary.”

Mimosa nodded, and Amelia felt Mimosa grab her by the arm and pull her off the road with surprising strength. Or maybe not so surprising, considering she was a vampire. Amelia followed her because she didn’t really trust herself to be able to do… well, anything. This wasn’t a situation for her. Then again, a lot of the situations she had been in lately weren’t.

Amelia looked around and realised that Dewey was nowhere to be seen. Mimosa had dragged Amelia behind one of the nearby houses and was now staring intently at the road they had left behind.

“Those vampires’ll know I’m here,” she said in a very small voice, “They’ll smell me just like I smelled them. But… you stay quiet and it should be fine. This way they may not know you’re here because they’ll be focused on me.”

She said it all as if it was easy. Maybe she too had experience in this sort of thing. Though if Amelia had been a bit more alert and able to study Mimosa’s body language better, she would have noticed how tense Mimosa was, and how the wideness of her eyes wasn’t just for watching the surroundings. Mimosa nervously licked her lips and bared her fangs.

“There’s humans too,” she whispered so quietly that Amelia barely heard it, “I didn’t think they were with them… but I guess they are after all…”

Her eyes followed something Amelia couldn’t see from her position. Not that she wanted to see, really. Mimosa ushered Amelia further across the house’s yard and towards the town centre. Riverview was so quiet at this time of day and year. Not many people wanted to brave the darkness of late autumn that felt especially dark before the snow started falling. In the distance, some late-evening café and pub goers were probably chatting and having a good time, but none of that could be heard all the way to where Amelia and Mimosa were. Amelia wasn’t sure whether the mostly empty streets were a good thing or not. On one hand, if these vampires were really after them, innocent bystanders shouldn’t get involved in it, but on the other hand, having people around would probably deter the hostile people from attacking. Amelia tried her best to keep up with Mimosa and ignore the foreboding silence of the streets.

Mimosa moved from the very centre of town and towards the police station. Dewey was still out of sight, and Amelia couldn’t even begin to guess if he was anywhere near them anymore or not. He was either already far away or very sneaky. Amelia almost jumped when she heard a car turning in an intersection a bit farther away, but Mimosa sniffed the air and smiled at the sound.

“It’s Brigitte’s car. Soon everything will be okay.”

As soon as she had said that, she halted again and stared at the shape that flitted between two buildings before stopping at the street and sharpening into a woman. She looked innocent enough in her sporty jacket and fedora hat, but Mimosa let out a small hiss of fear and yanked Amelia across the street and behind a tree so quickly that Amelia barely realised they had moved.

Mimosa didn’t need to say anything for Amelia to know that it was one of the people who were after them. Mimosa nodded towards where they had heard the car, and they started running, staying low and on the smaller paths. Before this, Amelia couldn’t have imagined that she’d one day know what it felt like to be hunted, but here she was now. She didn’t really like the experience. It made her feel small and easily breakable. A tiny, helpless person in the midst of monsters. Her only comforts were Mimosa and Dewey – though he was still nowhere to be seen – and the promise of them soon reaching Brigitte. She tried to keep her breathing and even her heartbeat quiet and tried not to wonder how good a vampire’s senses were.

She also tried not to have a heart attack when Dewey suddenly walked out of the shadows and fell into step with them.

“I’m counting five people,” he said very quietly, “Three vampires, two humans. And from what I could see, Leifsdóttir had some kind of shield around her house. Let’s hope she was quick enough to put it up.”

Mimosa nodded but didn’t say anything. Amelia stared worriedly at the shadows as if something could jump out at any minute. A perfectly valid concern, all things considered.

When they approached the bigger streets again, Brigitte was there with Basil in tow. Mimosa quickened her pace and Brigitte met them with open arms. Amelia hastened her steps to reach the others before she could feel too unsafe. Brigitte smiled at her.

“Hi. I called the authorities. Supernatural ones. We need to get the vampires dealt with before normal police can be called here. The guys I called won’t be here in a while, though. Small towns like this don’t have a very active watch on supernatural crimes. So it’ll be up to us to keep things in check before the cavalry arrives. So what exactly is going on?”

Amelia tried to calm herself in order to answer properly. It took a while, but she managed, and Mimosa and Dewey were there to help her explain. Brigitte listened with a look of growing concern on her face.

“Oh, this won’t do at all,” she said, “Mimosa, take Amelia and Basil to the police station. Then Dewey and I can-“

“Uh… mum?” Basil said in a fearful voice.

Brigitte’s eyes narrowed when a man stepped into view behind her. One look at his glowing eyes told Amelia enough.

“Hello there,” the man said, “What’s this, a local gathering?”

Amelia tensed and Mimosa clenched her hands into fists, but otherwise they managed to keep impressively calm. Brigitte stepped forward. Dewey bent his knees. The vampire didn’t seem to pay much attention on anyone who wasn’t Amelia, though. A horribly triumphant smile revealed his fangs.

“Some things at least have the decency to go smoothly. Hello, Miss Sprigg.”

He said Amelia’s name as if it was something funny. A playful insult. Amelia and the others backed away, but the vampire followed them without a care in the world.

“What’s going on?” Amelia asked, as if playing dumb would somehow help her.

“Me and my friends just want to talk to you,” the man said.

“We have a reason to expect that you’re up to no good,” Brigitte said in a surprisingly stern tone and pushed Basil behind her, “Please, I need to ask you to stop scaring these people and either act peacefully or leave.”

The man rolled his eyes and kept smiling. And suddenly Amelia realised that they had been surrounded. There were more shapes in the darkness, some with glowing eyes and most with glowing guns. Amelia could count about five people, just like Dewey had said, but even that seemed more than enough when they were armed and dangerous. She felt the circle of people pressing down on her and the others. It was definitely not good.

“Aw, man, I thought we would avoid collateral damage,” a gunman complained.

“Well, at least this way it’ll be more fun,” said a woman who looked quite out of place in her floral top and curly hair. The image was wrecked by the fact that the woman’s eyes were shining with something murderous – not to mention vampirism – and that she had an unnerving smile on her face.

Dewey snarled quietly but very dangerously:

“Last chance to get out of here and leave these people alone.”

“Oh, sure,” the woman in the floral top giggled, “I think we should do as the big guy says.”

“Shut up and let’s get this over with,” the fedora-woman growled, “I hate interrogating people. Messes up the stealth. We’re way too much in the open here anyway.”

“Well it was pretty obvious that they were expecting us, so this is the best we get now,” the floral woman said.

“Shut up, Kitty! Okay, Sprigg. Where’s that thief you were with in Sunset Valley?”

All the criminals’ eyes were on Amelia all of a sudden, and Amelia felt her breathing become much more difficult.

“I… I don’t know.”

“Sure you don’t.”

Something clicked in the darkness. The people surrounding Amelia and the Nexus stepped a bit closer, and Amelia backed up, feeling Dewey brush her shoulder as he positioned himself slightly between Amelia and some of the gunmen.

The tension grew, and then-

“Hi there!”

-everyone turned to look at Novak Sanguine, who was standing next to Tad, only a few steps away from the circle of threats and guns. A shocked silence fell, and Amelia had to take several seconds to realise that she was not hallucinating.

What the-?

“You were looking for me, right?” Novak said cheerfully, “I’m flattered. And you’ve got a circle and all set up just for me. Aww, you guys shouldn’t have. But hey, I’m here, so let’s talk.”

One of the gunmen was the first to regain his composure.

“What the fuck?”

Well, sort of.

Novak walked around the circle until he was standing in front of two of the vampires. A whole bunch of guns was immediately aimed at him. Novak raised his hand and stepped back a bit.

“Oh, okay. Fine. Let’s not talk, then. I’ll just talk to the guys in the middle. Does any of you know any good shields?”

No one answered, but Basil looked at Novak with a mixture of disbelief and understanding. Amelia saw his hand move experimentally as if testing if he was allowed to reach for his wand. One of the vampires near them glanced venomously at Basil, who stopped moving immediately. Meanwhile, the others were still focused on Novak.

“Since you’re here, we’ve got nothing to talk about,” the nearest gunman said and clicked his safety off.

Novak didn’t smile or speak anymore. He started backing away, letting the people shift slightly so that they weren’t packed quite so tightly around Amelia and the others anymore. Then Novak raised his other hand, but as he did, he let something fall from it.

Amelia didn’t see what it was, but it hit the ground and detonated with a burst of sunlight.

In the defence of the people working under Mr. Beagle, they were actually quite competent. It was just that, as people working for a somewhat large criminal organisation specialising in non-magical crimes, they didn’t have that much experience with the supernatural side of things. Sure, guns could kill even an experienced witch, but werewolves and vampires were another matter. That had been partly why – after finding out that there were indeed such things out there – Beagle had made sure he had some vampires on his payroll. Vampire communities in larger cities were more open about their existence than the other supernatural groups, and some of them had already embraced the life of a criminal, so hiring vampire hitmen was quite easy. Beagle’s men – both mortal and undead – had completed many successful assignments and arranged many even quite dangerous people six feet under. However, all of them had precious little experience with the workings of beings older than gods. And even ignoring that, the people who had been sent to invade the home of one Amelia Sprigg hadn’t quite been prepared for the small, sleepy countryside town to fight back with such ferocity.

Sure, they had expected resistance when they had been sent to kill the witch. Witches often protected their property with sometimes nasty spells. They had even requested Mr. Beagle to hire a witch or two, who could specialise in cracking spell-based locks and getting through protective shields. But Beagle hadn’t managed to get into contact with any competent witches yet. So not getting to see Leifsdóttir die of her wounds had been a necessary loss. But they hadn’t expected things to get any more difficult from there.

They didn’t expect to run into their other target on the streets. Some of the vampires had got curious about the scent of an unfamiliar vampire, and had soon realised that the vampire was there to protect one of their targets, and had reacted accordingly without worrying about it too much. Sure, the situation could have more easily been turned into their advantage had Sprigg not been with some other supernaturals, but even that could have been handled without causing too much of a mess.

However, they definitely hadn’t expected Novak Sanguine to be stupid enough to just walk right up to them even though he clearly knew what they were in Riverview for. That small moment of confusion was enough for Novak to detonate his remaining sunlight flashbang and then take cover behind the nearest bulletproof thing – which in this case was Tad Dustpine. Tad didn’t seem to be very concerned with being hit by bullets – which thankfully didn’t seem to do any damage to him this time, as he had promised. He did seem quite surprised to be used as a human shield, though. Novak pulled out a gun of his own and watched chaos erupt in front of them.

The people belonging to the local supernatural commune seemed to work quite well in a stressful, threatening situation. Sure, the vampire woman screamed and curled up to try to escape from Novak’s sunlight flashbang –

Yeah, sorry about that.

– but the teenaged witch boy quickly pulled out a wand and cast some kind of protective shield around all the people surrounded by Beagle’s hitmen. And at that time, both the werewolf woman and the guy who seemed to have fairy blood in him were moving. The woman howled, sounding immediately more animalistic and less pleasant, and the vampires immediately turned to defend themselves when the threat of being mauled by a werewolf became more pressing than the threat of Novak shooting them in self-defence. Meanwhile the fairy-man started moving like a very well-trained hurricane, pulling out a dagger and attacking seemingly all of the hitmen at once. Novak had to blink. He had to remember not to get that guy angry.

If any of them even survived this, that is.

So far it looked surprisingly good. Novak had counted on the hitmen being at least a bit surprised to see him right there on Riverview’s streets. And at least the witch boy had interpreted his clumsy request for a shield correctly. But other than that, it was still a mess. Claws, teeth, and guns, with a civilian in the middle and with one of the vampires – the creepy woman who always wore pink and as far as Novak knew took some sick pleasure in killing – and one gunman – Jeff-something, who had tried to catch Novak on Beagle’s previous planned attack on him – doing their best to get through the fighting and towards Novak. Novak raised his gun and – despite not being a fan of shooting people – had no problem with shattering Jeff’s kneecap.

Jeff went down, yelling and swearing, and Novak’s mood went up at least a little bit.

The pink vampire – from his days working for Beagle, Novak could remember that her name was Kitty – was still advancing, though, and Novak was out of flashbangs.

I knew I should have stocked up on them…

Well, at least he had grabbed a few sharp objects that could be used as improvised stakes as soon as he had heard that Beagle had sent people. He reached for a tent stake in his pocket, but Kitty was faster. She swatted Tad aside, or at least tried to. Her arm hit Tad, and Novak heard Tad mutter something along the lines of:

“Please, do not hit me.”

Then Kitty went flying, hitting the ground in a position that would have broken a mortal human’s neck.

If Tad had moved, Novak hadn’t had time to see it. From what Novak could see, Tad looked vaguely apologetic. Then he seemed to lose interest in his own self-preservation again and his focus dispersed around the battlefield.

The witch boy was tackled by a vampire, and his shield shattered. Amelia moved frantically when the fairy-man yelled at her to move. An enraged howl drowned out all other possible commands, though, as the vampire who had by now bitten down on the witch boy’s neck was attacked by the werewolf woman. Vampires may have natural speed that exceeded that of werewolves, but this particular vampire didn’t have the enhanced strength and reflexes of an enraged mother.

The werewolf caught the vampire by the back of his neck and tore him away from her son. The vampire resisted, but the witch boy reached into his jacket and threw something that made the vampire hiss and back away before the werewolf woman attacked again. It wasn’t pretty and lacked finesse, but it seemed to do the job, and the vampire would definitely stay down.

One of the gunmen was already down as well, probably unconscious. Novak hadn’t even realised when that had happened. But the only friendly vampire in the scene, who now skulked away from the downed gunman, probably had something to do with it.

The fairy-man elbowed the fedora-wearing vampire to the ground and twisted her arm behind her back into a professional hold. He looked around, ready to act if someone needed him, but the others had the situation quite well under control. Novak found his rarely used optimistic side waking up before being silenced again by the pessimism.

Hey, we might actually survive this.

…don’t jinx it now, stupid.

Novak focused his attention again on Kitty, who was getting up after the initial shock of being thrown like a ragdoll by a kid who was built like a stick figure. Novak raised his gun, but then his attention was grabbed by an elderly couple who was hurrying towards them.

Oh, you have got to be kidding me.

He should have seen it coming, really. When one walked into fire with a plan this flimsy, the universe was bound to kick one in the head eventually as a lesson to not be so frickin’ stupid!

But Novak had really hoped that the universe wouldn’t at least direct its kicks at some passers-by. Especially the people who were clearly Amelia’s annoying but still perfectly decent mother and her mild-mannered boyfriend.

Julia Sprigg considered herself a cheerful, friendly person, who didn’t let the little things in life get her down. Sure, Alex’s passing had hit her hard – harder than she could handle, in many ways – but she still managed to stay mostly positive. And she also considered herself a believer in things turning out alright. As long as she just stayed happy, she would also stay on track with life and the world.

So things like Amelia’s worried call or odd noisy behaviour on the streets of the normally peaceful Riverview didn’t bother her that much. She simply told Philippe that they should check it out from a safe distance. When the noise turned out to be fighting, Julia had immediately called the police and been prepared to let things sort themselves out.

But then she spotted Amelia’s red jacket in the distance, and no amount of positive thinking could drown out the sheer, primal fear of losing a child.

That was why Julia hurried into the scene where what seemed to be a gang of people was harassing not only Amelia, Tad, and Mr. Sanguine, but a bunch of nice local people that Julia had seen once or twice but never really interacted with as well. It made Julia more than a little distressed. And Julia didn’t deal with distress very well.

“What is the meaning of this?!” she said in a commanding tone, “I’ve called the police, now STOP THAT!”

It took a while for the people to realise that she was yelling at them. Philippe was telling her that they should back away, but Julia wasn’t listening. She put her hands on her hips and glared at the few people who still remained standing.

“Mum?” Amelia blurted out and looked terrified. Julia would have wanted to run to her and comfort her right away, but she had at least enough sense not to walk to a battlefield without a clear sign that people had actually stopped fighting.

“What do you think you’re doing?” she said instead, addressing the whole group, “Brawling on the street like some hooligans? The police will be here soon, and they’ll stop this kind of nonsense! This is a peaceful town, and this kind of behaviour isn’t accepted here! And why are you attacking my daughter? I’ll have you know that everyone who started this fight is in serious trouble!”

The people looked at each other, and Julia felt quite proud of herself. Amelia was staring at her, eyes wide, and Julia tried to comfort her with just a look. It didn’t seem to work. Amelia seemed so scared. The poor thing. Julia took a careful step forward.

“I’m glad you’ve calmed down,” she said, “Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just pick up my daughter.”

She could already hear the police sirens. Good. Soon this would all be over. She took another step, and the nearest person – a nice-looking young woman in pink and flowers – was… suddenly right next to her.

Julia’s eyes widened when a surprisingly strong pair of hands grabbed a hold of her and violently hurled her through the air.

Amelia had already thought that she had seen the worst this day had to offer. But then her mum walked into the scene and the vampire woman in pink grabbed and threw her at them, shouting something about not getting caught because of a few dumb hillbillies. The vampire fired a gun at someone – probably Novak – who yelped and hit the ground, but Amelia didn’t really register that. She was moving without even thinking about it that much.

She practically threw herself at mum, trying to do something – anything – to cushion her fall. She didn’t care how many more of their attackers were still up. Her vision had tunnelled and all she saw was mum’s shocked expression. All she heard was the frantic I can’t lose mum! NoIcan’tlosehernoIcan’t… in her mind. All she felt was terror.

Mum almost bowled Amelia over when she hit her with unexpectedly harsh momentum. Amelia was thrown to the ground, and mum crashed against the tree behind Amelia, slumping to the ground in a boneless heap.

Amelia didn’t see the temporarily frozen people burst into action. She didn’t see Philippe grabbing a tree branch and hitting the running vampire woman in the throat with it, sending her sprawled to the ground. Nor did she see Dewey get up and run to the pink vampire in order to bring her down more permanently. Amelia lay still and stared at mum’s unmoving form until something caught her eye. Tad sat down next to Julia and let his hand hover above her as if waiting for something. It took Amelia several seconds to realise why the sight horrified her so much.

Don’t touch her!” she snapped before she could stop herself. Tad flinched and pulled his hand away, and Amelia pushed herself up and crawled next to mum.

“Mum?” she whispered, “Mum?”

She didn’t reply, but at least she was still breathing. Amelia noticed to her horror that there was a bit of blood running from mum’s mouth.

“Call an ambulance!” she said to no one, and everyone.

Behind her, the authorities were already in action. Brigitte kept saying soothing words to someone in the background. Whoever they were directed at, they weren’t working nearly as well as they should.

Amelia slowly took in all the bodies around her, and hoped with all her might that this nightmare would have a happy ending.

Author’s Note: This chapter contained my most ambitious photoshoot so far, at least in terms of sheer number of Sims. It was quite the hassle, but it was also a fun challenge. Also this used to be a lot different, with the thugs actually invading Amelia’s house and them having to fight there. But I felt like it would be a bit too repetitive, as it would have boiled down to a hostage situation, which was what the previous scene involving the Beagle-plot did as well. Of course this time the tone would have been much darker. But I figured this would work better, so here we are.

Also I hadn’t originally intended for the fight to happen so close to a cemetery, but it was the place in Riverview that made the most sense considering the story. I mean… it was of course a well thought-out symbolic choice and a call-back to the previous actiony scene happening at a cemetery. Yeah. The diminishing amount of leaves on the trees was symbolic as well and not just the result of this photoshoot taking several in-game days. Totally.

I hope you guys enjoyed, and have a lovely time!

PREVIOUS Chapter:  Champions and Pawns

NEXT Chapter: From Bad to Worse


6 thoughts on “Chapter 38: Hunted

  1. This chapter is the best possible illustration of Murphy’s Law. Of all the times Julia Sprigg could’ve ended up there! I really hope she makes it, but something makes me think she won’t. I hope I’m wrong though.
    Those vampires certainly bit off more than they expected. Who knew that the folks of a small sleepy town could fight back so well?

    Liked by 2 people

    • 😀 Yup. And this time the horrible coincidences weren’t even caused by Fate (as far as I know). These people just have the worst luck sometimes.

      We’ll see what happens to Julia… at some point. The next chapters will probably be mostly so hectic that we won’t get to know for sure if she survives or not. But uh… at least she’s still alive for now. Just kinda broken. 😦

      If those criminals make it through this, they will probably background check EVERYONE in the town they’re sent to on their next missions just to be sure. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

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