"Nice to meet you Mina and I would like to know where I am if you don’t mind."
“Coal Hill. Shoreditch. London.”
"Well I heard you were the only Underworlder in London I could trust. I’m not exactly from around here."
“Underworlder. It’s been a while since someone had called me this way. Anyway— I will help you. What do you need, exactly?”
"Well, you can’t be her seeing as she’s de— I mean, she left, ages ago. Well, sorry for bothering you."
“ Oh, I’m sorry. And you didn’t bother— I’m Mina, by the way. ”
She felt like she was drifting. No… falling. (Or both, perhaps?) Through time. She half-believed she’d wake up—come out of a dream, like she did in her youth—and find herself standing atop a windowsill. A cliff, maybe. But then, all at once, she felt a pair of arms pull her back, and a warmth filled her chest, and the world around her became clear once more. Shaky hands quickly found their way around the woman’s back, and Lucy squeezed their bodies together with as much force as she could muster. As if doing so would meld them together.
"Oh, my darling, Mina… is it really you…?"
This was hard for Lucy to swallow. Mina, her sister, the absolute love and light of her long life, standing before her. Holding her. Alive. But… not alive as she had been. As they both were. She was overcome with joy, of course, but sorrow too. For she knew, in that moment, that the fate she suffered had befallen her friend. Something she regarded as worse than death. It was Lucy’s dying wish that her dearest friend have the life that God hadn’t allowed her. A long, happy life—with Johnathan, and children, and everything she knew Mina deserved.
Lucy couldn’t help but feel betrayed.
The girl kneaded her cheek beside that of Mina’s, fingers cradling the back of her head. Her lips pressed gently, and then a little harder, against her forehead. She pulled away, just slightly, and cupped Mina’s face in her hands. Getting a proper look at the woman she hadn’t seen in over a century, trying to mask inevitable tears with a smile.
“——Christ… I can’t believe that you’re- oh, Mina… my Mina… how did this happen? How are you here…”
Mina felt how emotional that moment was. The reunion had finally overcome and she was finding hard to believe that her Lucy was, flesh and bones, there. In her mind, there was still the slight thought that she could be hugging the air, giving it a volume and a consistency. But she felt Lucy between her arms. She was properly real.
All of a sudden, she felt sad, though: they had to live separated for so long when the two of them were alive— that was unbearable to believe. Mina knew how sad her life had been for that reason, and thinking that Lucy had to share the same loneliness and desperation… A dry tear, or maybe two, digged a groove on her cheeks. I’m so sorry, were the words she wanted to say.
“I’m real, Lucy. It’s me.”
Now the moment was near: the moment when Mina had to explain what happened. In the last years, she stopped telling herself her story. She refused what happened, as she tried to live again a life, to start all over despite her condition. But you can’t tell yourself stories, when you are a vampire. How can you start a life, a normal life, when you have needs that proper human would categorise as ‘monstrous’? There was no way for her to move on. There was no way for Lucy as well.
“The Count. He— he changed me, as he did with you. We’ve tried to track him down and kill him, once for all, but he es— escaped.”
Every word was a rock, not easy to pronounce, and the lump in Mina’s throat didn’t simplify the process. “I left Johnathan right after the Count ran away. I couldn’t bare the only thought of hurting him.”
"Narnia. It is… Quite different. Less humans, for a start. More trees, more lush green life. It is a place of peace and of adventure, and", he added, disgruntled, "far fewer people scream when I wander into a room."
“Narnia?” Mina was confused by what that mouse was saying. But, after all, she was talking to an animal, against all logics, so what could she expect? “You’re very far from home, I’m afraid. And I don’t know how in the world you could come back to Narnia.”
“ Oh, please, serve yourself. ”
Lucy often sought comfort in studying faces—the way a crinkle of the forehead or purse of the lips was indicative of emotion. It was something she had, quite purposefully, picked up in her days at school with Mina. An attempt to imitate the girl, no less. For Mina had been eloquent and wise and… perfect. That was how Lucy viewed her, anyway. But, maybe it was just that Mina had been a little bit older. A little more experienced. She was not only a friend, but a surrogate sister. One Lucy looked to, above all, for guidance.
(Much to the dismay of her mother, no doubt.)
Now, as she walked, Lucy took to surveying the faces of those she passed. She noted many pairs of lovers, a girl with bright eyes who seemed perfectly comfortable with crying in public (something Lucy envied), and—
In the many years following her mortal death, Lucy had encountered more faces than she could have ever wished to see. And, on occasion, some of them bore resemblance to one another… But this was different. This was more than a similar eye-shape or haircut. Lucy stopped, quite abruptly. A woman pacing behind her was forced against the back of her shoulder, but she paid no attention. Her eyes were locked on the opposite side of the street. A figure. The back of a head.
She began pushing her way through the small group of people on the sidewalk—hurried, at first, but growing more frantic with each step and each body she crashed into.
Mina… Mina… Mina…
Lucy repeated the name under her breath. Tears, or what she thought were tears, filled her eyes and blurred her vision. She fell into the street, nearly landing herself under the hood of a car, but that didn’t stop her pursuit. She ignored the angry horns and yells. And the ringing that began to swell inside her ears. The world fell away around her. Everything took on a hue of gray.
Life became… muffled.
Her legs buckled. More bodies began to flood the sidewalk. Fearful of losing the one she was following, Lucy decided to open her mouth… and scream.
Had she even made a sound? She wasn’t sure. What felt like a wet, broken cry could have been no more than a whimper. But Lucy stood still… afraid of who would turn around, had they heard her. Afraid… that she had been chasing a ghost.
When Mina saw that face, she couldn’t believe of what her eyes had pictured. Many times she had seen, all of a sudden, images of her past, imposed on the present as it was just happening in front of her. Features of people she once knew and — everytime this happened — her cold, non-beating heart seemed to rush again. But, then again, it was just some evil trick created by her own mind.
That’s why even that night she turned away, keeping on walking as nothing happened, when she saw someone resembling (
or better, she thought was resembling) of Lucy.
Oh, Lucy. A sister, to Mina, that’s what she was. So young and beautiful in the glory of her figure. Young and beautiful in the moment of death as well. Oh, Lucy. Mina remembered every moment lived the best friend of a lifetime, her eyes still clear to recall, even though the decades that had been. Oh, Lucy…
Hope you forgive me, sister mine. Mina thought, a tear rolling down her cheek, quickly followed by another and then another. She was grateful of the fact that no one was interested in her cries. But, after all, people usually don’t pay much care on things they’re not involved into.
While having these thoughts, she heard the voice. Her name didn’t sound so clear between the busy walkings of the surrounding people, but the voice— oh, the voice! She could recognize it among millions. “Lucy?” she asked to herself, slowly turning to face the person who shouted her name.
Mina felt lots of emotions all together, too many to be described or even counted. It was her… This time, it was really her. The long lost friend she had loved. The sister she had always wanted.
A bright smile forming on her lips, Mina couldn’t help but feel a bit of fright: what if she was mistaken? What if she had only heard the voice in her head? What if that girl wasn’t her Lucy? Nonetheless, she couldn’t also fight the impulse to run towards her and throw her arms around her neck, pulling the girl into a loving hug.
"I guess not, eh?" Jonathan froze when she started crying, but realized she was just… happy. He moved forward and took her into his arms, one hand tangling in her hair and his lips against her forehead.
She simply clinged onto him, still believing that she could wake up in any moment, that he could just dissolve in the air soon. But he didn’t and that’s all that mattered. Suddenly, Mina let his arms go, taking a few steps back. “I— I don’t want to hurt you.”
London had become a stranger to Lucy. Each visit felt different from the one before—those visits being few and far between. She kept her distance. She had to. For the sake of what little sanity she had left. There wasn’t a future for Lucy in London. Hillingham had long since crumbled into its surroundings, and she couldn’t stomach seeing Whitby. Still, in moments of silence, when the world was hushed and she was left alone with her thoughts, the memory of home came flooding back. And she knew she’d have to return, if only for a day.
This time around, the city smelled cold. Indifferent. Dirty, but mostly of smoke. It’s charm only lingered, barely reminiscent of the place it once was—at least, Lucy figured it that way. Of course, in her youth (and, arguably, naivety), she had looked at the world through rose-colored glasses. From a position of privilege, and wealth, and happiness. The former two became luxuries she wasn’t allotted. And the latter? … well, the latter was something she couldn’t afford.
The West End was where Lucy most often ventured when she found herself unable to resist the appeal of the past. She’d turn herself into a tourist—seeing shows, walking through galleries and museums, taking part in things that kept her busy. The night would usually pass quickly, and she thanked it for doing so. Daylight was time used for rest, and she’d take flight once more when darkness returned. This time around, however, the night seemed endless. Lucy was restless. Her body itched for something, though what, exactly, seemed to elude her.
So… she walked. And walked. Hoping the night air would soothe her.
She didn’t know for how long she had walked. It could have been merely minutes or whole hours, and still Mina wouldn’t have felt any sort of fatigue. There were nights that she just kept walking down the streets of London— her London. She still had the city in her now cold heart, no matter how everything had changed or how many bad events those buildings had seen. No matter how much blood was poured on the sidewalks. It was still her home.
Mina also thought that London was the only connection to her past, to the woman she once was. To the people she once loved and that had been taken away from her by the Count. Like Johnathan. Like Lucy. Her long time best friend, turned into a vampire— and then got staked to eternal death. She hated to think that Lucy had been killed, while she — who was also a vampire — had the chance to stay alive. To Mina, it wasn’t fair, and she felt like she betrayed her friend.
The night was still long, when the woman reached the West End. A sense of thrill, in the form of a shiver flowed down her back. Something was going to happen. She wasn’t scared, not anymore. It took her a few years, after her transformation, to gain that type of safety: she could tear apart a man, if only wanted, so why being afraid of the people of the night? She was a creature of the night, more dangerous than appearance could let see.
Mina examined all the faces of the wandering people, not entirely sure of what she was looking for.