CHAPTER 10

Amanda was fast asleep in the spare bedroom in Violeta's house when she heard Katherine's voice coming from outside.

"Amanda, come outside. Carmilla is dead. You're safe now. It's time to go home," Katherine said.

Amanda woke up and looked through the window behind her to see Katherine standing just underneath it. Katherine was looking up at her with a warm smile on her face.

"Come on, sweetheart. It's time to go home. We've imposed on poor Violeta enough as it is," Katherine said.

Amanda leapt for joy at the chance to go home because this place didn't feel like home to her. It was much more comfortable and was certainly much warmer than the crypt, but it didn't feel like home because Katherine wasn't here.

She started to race downstairs when she suddenly felt uneasy. It was like something was warning her. She felt like something was wrong, and she knew why that was. It was because Katherine wasn't acting like herself.

She looked down at Katherine once again and studied her. Katherine wasn't looking up in her direction now. She was looking at the door to the house in eager anticipation. Amanda saw with growing alarm that the smile was gone from Katherine's face and had been replaced with a look of hunger that she had never seen there but once. It was the look that she had briefly had on her face that day when she had torn the bandage off of her bleeding knee. Katherine was full of blood lust!

Amanda's heart broke into a million pieces as she realized that somehow Katherine had lost and had been completely changed into a vampire. She collapsed on the bed and began to cry. She didn't want to live anymore without her. She didn't care anymore what happened to her now.

She decided to go outside and just let the vampire Katherine have her. At least maybe she could finally find some peace at last. She doubted that she was here to turn her. She had been sent to kill her just like Carmilla had wanted.

She went out the back door and circled around the house to find Katherine there waiting for her. She hesitated for a moment before she walked up to her and stood in front of her as if she didn't know what was about to happen. Katherine walked closer to her, and Amanda stiffened as she waited for the attack that she knew was going to happen soon.

"You know, don't you? You always were the clever one," Ecaterina, as the vampire now called herself once again, said to her with a mocking grin.

"Just do it. If Katherine's gone, I don't care about anything anymore. End it!" Amanda screamed at her.

"Are you so eager to die then, little one? You have no more fight left in you than that?" Ecaterina asked in a hate filled sarcastic tone.

Amanda began to fall apart, and she shook with emotion as the voice of the woman who she had loved like a mother was being used to mock her now. Why couldn't she just get this over with and end it quickly?

"Did you think that I would end it quickly if you came outside? That's not going to happen. I'm going to enjoy myself first. I'm going to make you suffer," Ecaterina said with a look of pure pleasure on her face.

"Why are you doing this?" Amanda asked her in a pain-filled voice.

"Because she loved you so much, and I am the complete opposite of her. I am the shadow to her light, the hate to her love," Ecaterina said truthfully.

"So this is just some kind of way of proving to your new friends that you're not Katherine? Is that what this is?" Amanda guessed.

"That's part of it. It's also about proving it to myself. I am not your mother anymore, child. I am going to show you that before it's over," Ecaterina said ruthlessly.

Suddenly Amanda felt something toward her that she had never felt before. She felt a pure blinding hatred. She wasn't going to let her do this to her. She was going to end things her way.

Amanda started running from Ecaterina, and the vampire laughed as she watched her leave. She raced after her at the speed of the wind just like all vampires can do.

Amanda ran and ran until she came to the lake where the vampire sisters had fought Katherine, Ileana, and Abraham earlier that night. She had come here more by accident than design, but it suited her purpose. She stilled her nerves as she prepared to wake straight into the water and lose herself there.

She hesitated before she started into the water. Despite the pain that she felt, she really didn't want to die. She just wanted her mother back. This was now the only way that she knew of accomplishing that. She had the hope that she could be reunited with Katherine and her parents in the afterlife. Still she didn't really want to do this so she stopped and looked into the water in indecision.

"I knew that you wouldn't do it. You don't have the courage," Ecaterina taunted her from behind her.

"It looks like you don't know me as well as you thought then. Good bye, Katherine!" Amanda said as she looked back at her with tear-filled eyes one last time before she dived into the water and disappeared underneath it.

Ecaterina waited several minutes for her to reemerge, but she never did. She walked up to the edge of the lake and looked in to see if she could see her anywhere, but she saw nothing.

"Coward!" Ecaterina said with disgust as she started to walk away from the edge of the lake.

Then Ecaterina screamed with pain and sank to her knees as an internal battle took place inside of her. Katherine was not gone at all. She had only been hidden somewhere deep inside of Ecaterina's psyche. Katherine was still very much there, and the grief and pain that Amanda's death had caused her had made her reemerge with a vengeance.

The two sides of her were now waging war for control of her body, and Katherine was on the winning side. Katherine's rage and fury at Amanda's loss knew no bounds. She ripped through her vampire self's psyche like it was made of papier mache and expelled it forever from her consciousness.

"Amanda! My poor little child!" Katherine said in pain as she resumed control of herself.

She leapt into the lake and started searching all throughout it for her. She didn't need to breath and she could see in the dark so she was able to cover the entire area of the lake from top to bottom fairly quickly.

She discovered to her shock that Amanda wasn't there anywhere nor had she washed up on the shore anywhere either. Where was she? Had she swam back out somewhere out of her view and started running again? She fervently hoped that she had.

Katherine kept looking everywhere around the lake area, but she could not find her. She began to despair at ever finding her. She hoped that wherever she was that Amanda would find someone to take care of her. She hoped that she would find someone that would love her as much as she did.

She went back to her crypt in despair and sat there weeping over her lost child. She couldn't believe that this had happened to her. She just wanted her child back. This just proved to her that Dracula was evil incarnate and no longer the person that she had once known. He was the cause of all of this. He had taken her child from her, and now she would always hate him for that!

"Mum?" a soft voice said from behind her.

She whirled around to see Amanda standing there with a blonde woman that she had never seen before. Katherine immediately ran up to her little girl and began hugging her tightly.

"It wasn't me. It wasn't me. I'm so, so sorry!" Katherine apologized as she kissed Amanda on the cheek over and over.

"Is it really you this time or another trick?" Amanda asked warily.

"It's her this time, Amanda. She took back control of her body. I had hoped that Dracula would have kept her soul still around somewhere inside of her mind. I knew that he wouldn't be able to take her soul away from her completely. He actually did care about you in his own twisted way, Katherine. His latest spell was designed to only take your soul and bury it. He was planning on bringing it back later after the evil you had killed Amanda. He never even considered how that knowledge would have affected you afterwards. People's lives mean nothing to him. It impacted you so much when you thought that Amanda was dead that it forced your soul back into control without Dracula's help. I was counting on just this kind of thing happening. I'm sorry that I had to put both of you through all of that, but I had to in order to bring the real Katherine back," Daciana said.

"You saved her? How?" Katherine asked as she continued to hug Amanda tightly.

"I'm the good witch that Ileana told you about. You can call me Daciana. That's not my real name, but what's in a name? I was able to pull Amanda out of the water as soon as she disappeared out of your sight with my power. She's been with me ever since while we stood invisible nearby and watched you do battle with yourself. I waited until you came here in privacy to make sure that the real you had truly reemerged," Daciana said.

"Are you okay? I'm so sorry, baby!" Katherine apologized again to Amanda.

Amanda began to smile now as she realized that her mother was really back now. She hugged her back for the first time as she said, "I love you, mum!"

"I love you too, Amanda!" Katherine said as she continued to hug her tightly.

"You do realize that Dracula is hiding outside right now waiting to come in and finish Amanda off himself, don't you? He doesn't know that I saved Amanda and brought her here. He thinks that Amanda saved herself, and there's a chance that she will head back here to see you. He's never going to leave Amanda alone," Daciana said.

"Then we have to leave. I have to take her away from here and never come back," Katherine said.

"It doesn't matter where we go. It'll always be home as long as you're there," Amanda admitted.

"I'm glad that both of you feel that way. I'd like to propose that both of you follow me back to my world. You'll both be safe from Dracula there," Daciana said.

Katherine and Amanda looked at each other for a moment, and then both of them smiled and nodded at her in unison. Daciana took both of them by the hand, and the three of them left the tomb and reappeared back at Violeta's house where Ileana and Abraham were waiting for them. Katherine and Amanda then said good bye to their three friends.

"Thank you for helping them. I hope that they find happiness in your world," Ileana said to Daciana.

"They will. I'm sure of that. Maybe you'll see them again sometime you never know," Daciana said with an enigmatic smile.

Ileana knew her well enough to know that that smile meant that she would see them again somehow. It was just a matter of where and when. Daciana knew all about it already of course, but Ileana knew that she wouldn't tell her. Ileana would just have to wait and let time take its natural course like everyone else had to except for Daciana and her kind.

"Don't worry, Ileana. Tempus fugit, you know," Daciana joked.

"You should know, mea domina," Ileana said with a wink.

"Do you think that they'll be happy?" Daciana asked her seriously as she watched Katherine and Amanda smiling and talking to each other about their future plans off to the side.

"I know they will. As long as they have each other, that's all that they'll ever need," Ileana said confidently.

Daciana then took the two of them with her to her own world where their adventures together had only just begun.

THE END