01. "Great. I dress like a trollop."
January 17, 2016. 6:32AM.
It might have been scary for a rookie to wake up from a black-out migraine in a bed that wasn't theirs, in a room they did not recognise, in a body that felt foreign. Elsa Bloodstone was no rookie. She'd soon run out of fingers to count the times her mind had not been her own. Scared, she was not. Pissed off was a more apt term.
She'd learned a long time ago that her life was not hers to live. Her father had ensured she knew her duty from a very early age. Bloodstones were born to save the world. Talk about a fucking hero complex. Her blood was her curse. She'd relented to a life of chasing disgusting crawlies at night.
But she didn't have to like it.
Sometimes she hated it. But monsters she could deal with. Monsters she could shoot in the head and stomp on them to make sure they were triple dead. This kind of mind fuckery, where her memories weren't hers and her life was that of a puppet, this came from people. And that pissed her off.
It was a colossal waste of time to deal with this again. Last time, it had taken months to wash off the H.A.T.E. enhancements. Sometimes she still wasn't sure which memories were real. And now there were more.
Memories of a young girl living the kind of mundane life Elsa dared to wish for in a distant past. From a quick inspection of the room, she could tell this poor soul had no idea what she'd been thrust into. Neither did Elsa yet, but she would find out.
She lifted her body from the too-soft mattress and was surprised when a groan escaped her lips. "Ow." Muscles contracted in protest and Elsa slammed her fist into the soft pillow. Pain pierced past her eyes, through her brain. Fuck. On top of dealing with this codswallop, this silly girl had gone and gotten herself hungover.
First things first: clothes. She sat up once more in bed, successful now that she expected the pain. Ah, there it was, her old friend. Chest filled with air and deflated with an exhale. Looking down at her body resulted in a roll of her eyes. The little clothing she had on was...questionable.
Her lips quirked up as she went through the closet. Skirts, dresses, more skirts, high heels--nothing she'd worn in years, not since she'd given up on being normal. High heels could come in handy to dig through certain rotters' necks, but that was about it when it came to survival.
The pile of clothes grew on the floor as she searched for something--anything--appropriate for her plans. A few minutes later and a mess by her feet, she settled on an outfit. It wasn't perfect, but it would do for now.
Next up, her favorite: guns.
02. "Huh. I guess I'm a hippie trollop."
January 17, 2016. 7:16AM.
What kind of person didn't keep a single fire weapon at home? After only a few minutes of digging through every cupboard and memory, Elsa came to the conclusion that her new host was not the guns type. A let-down and eventual issue if her luck remained the same as it had been in the past. Extended periods of time without attempts on her life were kind of a novelty to her.
Looking around the room, her eyes settled on the computer by the bed. She should find out where and when she'd woken up this time. She needed armory.
The first screen that greeted her when she opened the laptop was that of a blog. Her lips curled into a slow grin as she read the description. Good girl, hunting monsters. But it didn't take long for the grin to morph into a scowl. A monster blog talking about hope and shitting rainbows. Elsa would deal with that later.
For now, she pulled up a new tab. Her teeth flashed as she read her location. Boston, perfect. Her old digs--she knew a guy. ...2016, huh. Maybe she'd need a new guy. But this was America. How hard could it be to buy some shotguns? Google, here she came.
03. "One way to find out."
January 17, 2016. 7:46AM.
As usual, Google had not failed her. Elsa printed out the list of legal nearby gun vendors. Hopefully this twit had a license already. It was convenient to have WiFi so readily available. All things considered, this was a rather quaint reality. There was shelter, heating and no one had tried to eat her brains out yet. Other than her host being a little silly, it wasn't like she'd landed in hell. Again.
Of course she didn't expect the peace to last. But she'd cleared the apartment of immediate threats and now set off to explore. Who was--well, who was she, she supposed. What kind of life did they have for her this time?
Elsa wasn't a woman for luxuries, but she smiled as she padded her way towards the kitchen. Undeterred source of food. Unfortunately, she had no way to test the meals for poison or drugs, but Elsa felt optimistic. And also, fucking hungover.
How many decades had it been since she'd been hungover? Not since the bloodgem had bitten her. Being a near-immortal had its perks. Which brought her to her next task. The absence of the bloodgem on her neck had not gone unnoticed. Combined with her pounding headache, Elsa needed to find out what that meant for her in upcoming battle.
She was a Bloodstone. There was always an upcoming battle.
And she'd survived them all by being prepared. For everything.
And okay, her old man might have been deranged, but he wasn't wrong. Suffering was par for the course when one faced off hell beasts for a living. The pain could be numbed, but hesitation would kill her. Fear was useless in her line of work.
She knew what she had to do. It was better for her to know her weaknesses beforehand than to be blindsided by them in the throes of battle. For lack of better options, the utility knife on the dinner table would be perfect for this purpose.
Shrugging the jacket off, Elsa exposed the soft skin of her inner arm, facing it towards herself. The plastic of the knife felt foreign in her hand--which was a foreign feeling in itself. She much preferred the hard steel of a barrel to the handle of a knife, but monsters didn't often afford her the luxury of choice. Power assessment was an imminent necessity.
The tip of the knife poised against her skin drew only a drop of blood before it was thrown carelessly across the table. Elsa startled. She clutched her head as pain seared through her temples. Through it, she laughed. Oh, they had company. Hello, Ellie.
Elsa picked up the knife once more, eyes narrowed. Her hand resisted the command, quivering in the air as her host attempted to take over. She groaned in frustration, blade hovering above her skin, muscles contracting to prevent her from slicing through flesh. Stop resisting, kid. This is for your own good.
Ellie was strong, but Elsa had experience. Squaring her jaw, she drew in a breath as she broke the resistance, metal meeting skin. The force of the push against Ellie's pull had the tip of the knife cut deeper than originally intended. Idiot, now look what you did. She bit her tongue, rolling her eyes skywards as she moved towards the kitchen to find something to stop the bleeding.
January 17, 2016. 7:55AM.
Elsa vaguely registered the trail of blood behind her as she dug through the cupboards. If I were a dish cloth, where would I be? Sharp needles shot through her temples again and Elsa groaned. Shut up, kid. Stay down.
She grabbed a handful of paper towels, placing her arm under the sink. As running water washed away the blood, Elsa bit her tongue again. Damn, fatty tissue in the gaping wound. If that didn't heal on its own, she'd need stitches. Ungh, she hated miscalculations.
She pressed the paper towels against her arm, but it was a losing battle. Finally finding the dish cloth, she wrapped it firmly around the cut. That's when she saw the polaroids on the fridge. She paused, head tilting to the side. Bloody fingertips brushed over the glossy paper, staining white with red.
He looked different, but she'd know him anywhere. Her stomach lurched to her throat and Elsa groaned again. The host was protective. Nice. The onslaught of nausea barely slowed her down. Her eyes were transfixed on the pictures. Each one told a story. With each new story, flashes of anger coursed through her body.
This selfish brat. There was a reason she'd cut ties with him in her universe. And now here they were again. Did this kid not realize that people like them didn't have friends? They had allies. Friends died. And they made it happen.
With a shake of her head, Elsa moved back towards the living room. Her healing factor was consistent, but it took a while. She'd have to wait it out.
05. "Jesus fuck, why so much sentiment?"
January 17, 2016. 8:12AM.
With a bottle of whiskey by her side, Elsa sprawled on the couch to wait. The bloodgem strengthened her powers considerably, but they coursed through her blood by birth. Being a near-immortal meant her regenerative factor was above human. It also kept her youthful. Her lips quirked up in bemusement. 25 was an interesting age to be. Especially when she hadn't been so for at least three decades.
For a moment, she allowed her mind to wander. What would it be like to live like this? What would it be like to be normal and spend her time off making silly playlists for people she cared about, instead of listening to the gooey interior of monsters being gutted?
She remembered wanting that when this had all started. But wanting, her father used to say, was the opiate of the weak. Duty drove the strong. There was no place for sentiment in war.
Tugging the dish cloth down, Elsa analysed the wound. It hadn't healed. She was mortal. She inhaled deeply, closing her eyes. In that brief moment, she envisioned a whole new life. There was something alluring about mortality. To picture an end to this life she'd been chosen for was almost...hopeful.
But hope, like all sentiment, had no place in war. And they were at war. They would always be at war. There would always be monsters to hunt. But she'd make sure she was the last in her bloodline to succumb to this fate.
"Ugh," Elsa groaned. The sting in her head now matched the sting on her arm. The host was getting rowdier and the alcohol hadn't helped. Huh, who'd have thought getting drunk wasn't a foolproof solution for hangovers?
Holding her stomach, she swallowed bile. Where the fuck was the aspirin?
January 17, 2016. 8:36AM.
By the time she reached the bathroom, the contents of her stomach were ready to say hello again. Jesus, what had she even eaten? Back on her feet, Elsa rinsed off her mouth and swallowed a handful of aspirin. Wiping her face with a hand towel, she stared at the image in the mirror.
The migraine she'd been dealing with only got worse as her host waded through what was happening. Her voice grew louder in her mind, but Elsa ignored her. Silly girl. But strong, Elsa noted. In the back of her head, another voice replied, She is you. The side of her mouth twitched imperceptibly.
As Ellie grew stronger, Elsa clutched her head again. Her knees buckled under the pain and her body met the floor. The dish cloth on her arm was soaked with blood by now. She really should find a needle and some thread. God damn it, this headache. Stop fighting me, you bloody idiot. I can help you.
Rolling onto her back, her chest rose and fell in shallow breaths. Her limbs sprawled limply by her sides and she squinted against the light in the ceiling.
It took every ounce of strength to push back, but Ellie was relentless. As she lay on the bathroom floor, tiles cold against her warm skin, her lips shaped the sound that vibrated within every fiber of her body. A single word, round around her tongue as Ellie's eyes fluttered shut. "Bitch."