Elizabeth vs the Undead by Valerie Christie

It was Halloween 1585, and Elizabeth was getting ready for a long night of vampire hunting. The last thing she felt like doing was spending a whole night chasing the undead, but these things had to be done.

She had been a vampire slayer for about twenty years now. She managed her double life quite well. Of course, there was the odd slip up, like the time she’d almost staked the French Ambassador, but she’d managed to explain that away by saying it was an April Fool. She wasn’t sure the man had quite understood, and relations with the French had never been the same since. Elizabeth didn’t really mind. She hadn’t wanted to marry the Duke of Anjou anyway, not since she and her ladies in waiting had found him dressed up as a pantomime horse on more than one occasion.

Elizabeth had been introduced to slaying by none other than Francis Walsingham. It was a little known fact that Mary of Guise hadn’t died of dropsy but had been killed by Francis. It was an even lesser known fact that he’d had to kill her because she was a vampire, and her incursions into the North of England had decimated the population. Her daughter, Mary Queen of Scots had not inherited her vampirism but was a pain in the neck in her own way. The most annoying thing about her, Elizabeth found, was that she spoke with a different accent every time she and Elizabeth met. Possibly it amused her. It did nothing but irritate Elizabeth, who thought that speaking with a French accent was fine when you were brought up at the French court, but that speaking like a Turkish princess when you’d never been anywhere near Istanbul was taking it a bit too far.

Elizabeth’s thoughts turned, as they always did on these occasions, to the night ahead of her. She thought about her children, all sixteen of them, tucked up in bed. She thought about her beloved Robert, the father of her sixteen children, tucked up in bed with Lettice Knollys. If anything happened to her at the hands of the undead, Robert would make sure her children would get safely to Spain, where they would let everyone know that they were her offspring.

Checking that she had all her weaponry ready, Elizabeth let her thoughts drift back to last year. The last thing she had expected to encounter was the undead Thomas Cromwell in all his gory glory. Francis had told her if someone was decapitated it meant they couldn’t be a vampire. In light of last year’s events, this was clearly a lot of rubbish. Cromwell had been an incredibly frightening spectacle. Most of this was due to the fact that he was able to make his head spin round and round and round and round while the rest of his body stayed still. It had made Elizabeth feel quite seasick. She had had to use every trick in the book, and some that weren’t there, to get rid of him. As well as dealing with Cromwell last year, Elizabeth had had to contend with the vampire Catherine Howard. She had been nowhere near as hard to kill as Cromwell, Elizabeth mused. Her habit of spending most of her time giggling had been her undoing. She had even been giggling when Elizabeth staked her. Elizabeth wondered what the powers that be would have in store for her this year.

She made a final check on her weaponry before walking out of Hampton Court Palace into the night. As she made her way round the grounds, she heard someone saying ‘George’ in an extremely spooky fashion. She ignored it and walked on. Probably one of her ladies in waiting playing a trick on an unsuspecting courtier. It was, after all, the spookiest night of the year. But wait, there it was again. ‘Geeeeoooorrrgggggeeee.’ Spookier than before, but louder as well. Elizabeth turned round to face her nemesis.

The undead Lady Jane Rochford stood before her. The woman who was responsible for every bad thing that had befallen England since the dawn of time. For a second Elizabeth forgot that she was meant to be fighting this monster, and instead thought about her mother and her beloved uncle George. She must avenge their deaths.

She looked at Jane, trying to work out the best way to kill her. It wasn’t easy. Noxious black smoke was pouring from her mouth. Elizabeth could barely see. It was a good thing Francis had made her do all that training while wearing a blindfold, it came in handy on occasions like this. Elizabeth raised her leg and kicked out at her opponent. She was alarmed to feel something give way. These decapitated vampires were really starting to irritate her. The things they could do with their heads! It didn’t make a slayer’s job easy.

Jane picked up her head and put it back on. ‘I will destroy you!’ she shrieked.

She hurled herself at Elizabeth, aiming a well placed kick at Elizabeth’s ribs. Elizabeth dodged just in time. She parried blow after blow from Jane, and defended herself as well as she could, but she felt that she was fighting a losing battle. There was just one more thing she could try.

‘Look, there’s George!’ she shouted ‘Over there!’

Jane turned to look. Elizabeth seized her chance, removing the stake she’d hidden up her sleeve and aiming it at Jane’s heart.

The stake hit home. Jane turned towards Elizabeth. ‘Nooooo’ she shouted as she crumbled to dust.

Elizabeth mentally gave herself a high-five. She had killed the scariest vampire ever! Now all she had to do was teach Mary Queen of Scots to speak with a perfect English accent and all would be well.