V. Vampire Woman

Katia woke, entombed in snow. She clawed and kicked free, into moonlight and more falling snow. Her parched throat gave her voice a tortured, ragged edge. The stone circle around her and the mountains beyond echoed her scream.

She found herself alone.

Agony at first overwhelmed thought. She only knew how stiff and sore she felt. Despite the pain, awareness dawned on her that all her wounds had healed. Her skin was smooth and perfect now--a cool, dead, pale blue. She shifted to see herself better. Her muscles protested every inch, but she managed to sit up.

She racked her murky brain for memories. The image of the vampires with their Hellish eyes came back to her. She slowly forced a trembling hand up, almost covering one eye, and saw a faint red glare on it.

Her finger- and toenails had thickened, lengthened, sharpened, and turned black.

Her tongue lay dry and heavy in her mouth. She twitched it to the side, touching the fang she expected to find there. She hadn't swallowed yet. She decided to try, though she knew it would hurt terribly. She closed her eyes, and worked her mouth and throat.

The thirst! It welled up in her at once, an emptiness as if her insides were dissolving.

Wendoline rode into the circle.

Katia sensed no blood in horse or rider. She knew that already--they were specters--but something in her groped out in hunger, and raged with disappointment. She crawled to Wendoline. "Please . . . blood!"

Wendoline turned the horse, waved for her to follow, and galloped away.

"Wait!" Katia watched Wendoline vanish into the trees. She jumped up. Excruciating soreness made her hesitate. Thirst drove her to stumble a few steps. She flopped in the snow. Groaning, she pushed herself back to her feet. She staggered until her legs grew strong enough to jog. The horse sounded more distant, leaving her behind. She snarled, ignored punishing aches, and broke into a run.

As hoofbeats lured her down the mountain and around it, toward her first time drinking blood, she wondered in the back of her mind, whom would she attack? How would she do it? What would it be like? Behind it all burned the question, what had she become? The word vampire held little meaning for her yet. A dark road of discovery stretched out of sight before her.

She raced through woods and clearings, and scrambled over jagged rock. Her bare feet were at home on even the cruelest surfaces, to a degree that seemed inhuman. That delighted and disturbed her. It was, she understood, the merest first taste of her new toughness, strength, and power, bought so dearly from the grave. It raised one final question, the only one that mattered--would she be tough, strong, and powerful enough to kill Volfric?

The hoofbeats stopped.

Katia burst through a wintry thicket of evergreens.

There on the mountain, some way below the castle, stood a cottage. It looked cozy, built of stone. Warmth shone from the windows. Smoke rose from two chimneys. Snow covered the roof and eaves.

Katia saw neither horse nor rider anywhere. She assumed they were leading her to Plumj, but apparently Wendoline meant for her to feed here first instead.

And Katia did sense blood, vital and pulsing, in that cottage. Ravenous, she prowled around it.

Garlic hung in every window but one. She loped toward it, avoiding the soft cone of orange light it shed. She gnashed her fangs to discover the window barred her way, even without garlic. She couldn't enter, or so much as touch it, without an invitation.

As if in answer to her wish, a blond little boy came to the window and peeked out. When he saw Katia, his blue eyes lit up, and he smiled with pure excitement as only children can. He threw the window open.

She needed no further invitation, and indeed couldn't resist. Instantly, she sprang inside.

He smiled up at her, more shyly now.

A start of recognition gave her pause. God only knew how many half-brothers she had, but here was one of them.

He'd been pointed out to her once or twice in Plumj. Everyone knew the boy was Volfric's favorite bastard. Katia could certainly see why. Just looking at him stirred in her an instinct death hadn't totally obliterated, that made her want to kneel and hug him.

Everyone knew, as well, that Volfric kept the mother as a mistress. The villagers whispered she was the only woman who could ever spark true love in his wicked heart. The cottage kept mother and child near him on the mountain but, just as importantly, away from the castle.

Curious how her favored half-brother lived, Katia took the room in at a glance. It was spacious, clean, and comfy--luxuries she'd never known. The stone fireplace, in particular, would have made a charming home for Little Godmama.

Poor Godmama! Undeath muted Katia's first twinge of grief, but she embraced it, and let it remind her of everything else torn from her on her wedding night. The smouldering core of all her grief and rage reignited in her heart.

But when she looked again at this boy, with whom she shared a father, she couldn't bring herself to wish him any harm. Never mind that the father was Volfric. She didn't desire this kind of vengeance. It appalled her to think Wendoline did. She cursed the specter for manipulating her need and putting her in this horrible position. She strained not to succumb to her tormenting thirst. If she could have jumped back out the window, she would have, but her leap had carried her beyond the boy. He stood between her and the snowy night.

His smile had turned to open-mouth fascination with her nudity. Hints of dread crept into his eyes as they lingered on her claws, but then his gaze fixed on the flat sections of her stomach. His hand came up, as if he wanted to trace the lines between the muscles, or maybe poke his finger in her belly-button.

Katia was intensely aware of blood coursing through him. It startled her to realize where some of it coursed. His heart pounded. His little prick stiffened. It perked up under his nightgown. The physical reaction unsettled him and Katia alike. Confusion flashed over his face. He adjusted his gown. She wrenched herself around to face away from him.

"Why did you let me in?" she demanded.

She could hear his childish shrug. "The nice old woman said you'd visit me tonight."

Old woman? Surely Wendoline in sorcerous disguise. "Who did she say would visit you?"

"A nice fairy. Aren't you? What's your name? My name's--"

"Where's your cross?" Katia cut him off. She averted her eyes from a faded spot on the wall where one recently hung, but it failed to repulse her.

"Under my pillow. She said I should put it there to keep me safe from monsters."

"What did she tell you about garlic?"

"You wouldn't come if I had any."

That much was true enough. Wendoline had tricked him into dropping all defenses. They must have been effective, if he couldn't tell a vampire when he saw one. It worried Katia that she might be warded off so easily, however much she wished she had been just this once.

"And she said don't tell anyone," he whispered. "You're my secret friend."

Katia heard him step toward her. She strove to think of some way out. Thirst clouded her mind and began to overwhelm her. It screamed through her for satisfaction. It locked her in that room, where there was blood, and wouldn't let her leave, despite a door and open window. She did what she could, and leaped as far away as possible, onto his bed in the corner.

He snatched a penny off his little table, and brought it over. "I found this beside the path. That's when I met the nice old woman."

Katia crouched awkwardly, one foot on his pillow. She dug in with her toes, her talons puncturing the fabric. She thought of the cross, a mere inch beneath her sole, hidden and useless. She pressed far back in the corner.

The boy came on. "She said you'd grant a wish if I give it to you."

Katia looked away, but still detected all those pulsing veins out of the corner of her eye. She raked her long black hair across her face.

"Here!" He held his little fist up to her and opened it.

She couldn't help looking. The shiny penny caught her eye. But then she saw the hand, plump with blood.

Logs shifted in the hearth.

Katia pounced. She yanked him off his feet.

The penny flew heads over tails over heads over tails, winking in the firelight.

Her fangs snapped in his gullet, and she ripped.

Blood sprayed the twirling penny before it hit the ground. It splashed down in a spreading scarlet puddle.

She clamped her lips around the spouting wound. She lifted the boy over her head. Blood poured down her throat, down the sides of her mouth, down her chin. It spilled on her breasts. Rivulets dribbled from her elbows, down her legs. A pool formed around her toes.

Intoxicated, she staggered and dropped the child. She sank to her knees beside him. She clawed for his heart, through nightgown and skin, but found bone in her way. She hammered her fist down on his sternum, cracking it. When she plunged in with her nails again, jagged bone edges cut her fingers, but she didn't care. She tore his chest open.

Rich scarlet blood flooded the cavity. Katia pressed her face in deep, her rump raised in the air. She slurped, impatient she couldn't drink fast enough.

The door opened.

Katia looked up.

A young woman, as blonde and blue-eyed as the boy, peeked in.

Katia hissed. Her nose and chin dripped gore.

The woman's mouth opened, but she found no voice. She stood paralyzed, as in a nightmare.

Katia lunged, but slipped in blood.

The woman blinked. She tore her gaze away. She fled through the cottage, and outside. Her white nightdress fluttered.

Katia tackled her into a snow drift.

The woman tried to scream again, in vain. She struggled, hot and living, against Katia's cold, dead, iron grip.

When Katia finished, she rolled over on her back in snow stained a pretty pink. She scooped a handful into her mouth. Instantly she spit it out--too watery.


Wendoline rode out of the woods.

Katia jumped up. "You!"

Wendoline acknowledged this greeting with a nod.

"You set this up."

"You're right. And you're welcome." Wendoline dismounted. "Tasty, no?"

"He was a child."

"Did that stop you?"

"I couldn't stop myself. You knew I wouldn't. Just like you knew he was my brother."

Wendoline laughed. "Oh spare me!" She swept her hood back. As she approached, her ghostly form grew tangible enough that wind began to play with her brown curls. "If it's 'brothers' you want, you've plenty more, believe me. Boo-hoo, he was a child! If you knew how many brats I've watched grow into Volfrics, you wouldn't make this pretense of remorse." Her big brown eyes looked so vulnerable and warm, especially amid her freckles, it chilled Katia to hear her speak such heartless words.

"Pretense?" Katia cried.

"Shed a tear for him, then. Go on, just one. I'd like to see you do it."

"Oh, you--"

"Look down. You cast no shadow. You're a corpse without a soul. Remorse is a habit from your life. Nothing more. Lose it."

Rage rushed to Katia's head and dizzied her. But deep down, she knew it substituted for remorse she didn't--couldn't--feel. As that sank in, the anger dissipated. It left her shaking, unsure what she felt, and wondering what it was even possible for her to feel now.

"There, there," Wendoline said. "I'm sorry, but you need to understand what you've become, with no illusions." She knelt. She packed together a clod of snow.

"What are you doing?"

"Shh. Hold still. You're a mess." Wendoline began to chafe Katia's skin, cleaning off the blood.

Katia let her.

"Vengeance always costs," Wendoline said. "Even when you think you've nothing left to lose." She rubbed the snow over Katia in brisk, rough strokes. "You're learning the price, the bad half of the bargain."

"I want to learn what it's bought me."

Wendoline kept chafing, down along Katia's calves to her feet. "Well, I know how you can find out for yourself, this very night." She glanced up.

Katia arched an eyebrow.

"We can't stay here," Wendoline said. "Among the places we can go is the tower where I died. You'll find a challenge there to show you what you're made of."

"What challenge?"

Wendoline packed a fresh clod of snow. "You'll see." Gently, she scrubbed the blood from Katia's breasts. "If you dare."

"What choice do I have?"

"We could go somewhere . . . less challenging." Wendoline wiped the last of the blood off Katia's face.

Their eyes met.

Katia suspected the challenge would be something terrible she'd have to fight--another monster, more monstrous than herself. Her shiver proved that fear, at least, remained within her range of feelings. "No. To the tower."

Wendoline gave her lips a peck.


The horse bore them across the starry heavens.

Katia's mind seemed frozen, suspended between two scenes of carnage--the slaughter behind her at the cottage, and the challenge ahead, which would surely be as bloody.

She emerged from her grim reverie at journey's end.

The horse descended through a silver floor of clouds which, on the underside, formed a dark ceiling over the dark earth. The moon blasted through shifting holes, to cast shifting columns of light.

A village passed below. It looked like Plumj to Katia, though she knew they were very far from Plumj.

A scrubby plain spread out before them.

A single feature rose into prominence, until it domineered over everything as far as eye could see--the ruined shell of a tower, overgrown with ivy, moss, and mushrooms from base to shattered crown. Holes in the outer wall revealed nothing but darkness. Earthen mounds, scattered stones, and grassless scars on the land were the only traces of the buildings that must have surrounded it, once upon a time.

"That's where you died?" Katia asked.

Wendoline stared at the old edifice. "What's left of me still lies beneath, in the oubliette."

They stood now on the plain. The horse found a stubble of spiny weeds to munch--from habit rather than necessity, Katia supposed.

"Hard to believe it was once a lively castle," Wendoline said. "Long before even my time."

"What happened?"

"A Volfric. What else? His army sacked the place. They massacred everyone except the tower's lord. Volfric intended something worse than death for him. As I said, they've always had magicians."

"They cursed him? The lord?"

"You can't imagine."

Katia gazed at the tower, and tried to imagine. "He's the challenge, isn't he?"

"He won't go gentle into death, though it would put him out of centuries of misery. He will fight you. He'll probably attack. And the curse makes him enchanted. That means he can slay you. Unless you slay him first. Do it, Katia. You'll be righting one of the Volfrics' many wrongs."

Katia's stomach growled. She clutched it. "How can I thirst again so soon? I drank so much."

"It's in your veins now. Those vampires drained you dry."

"I saw a village, not far from here--"


"Perhaps I should feed again."

Wendoline pointed at the tower. "There is blood. Go get it."

The thought of entering that tower, naked and alone, to battle some monster in its lair, to the death, with only her bare hands, petrified Katia. And yet she did insist they come here, even after Wendoline mentioned other options. She reminded herself why--to answer the question of what she'd become, and find courage to face Volfric again. In that sense, the road to vengeance ran directly through the tower, past whatever lurked inside.

Instead of calming her, this made her more anxious, and replaced her hunger with turmoil. Her stomach felt like a jar of butterflies. It evoked that image in her mind, a childhood memory that lingered and unfolded. She even smelled again the pickle jar's vinegar. She recalled most vividly all those wings aflutter behind the gleam of firelight on glass.

Now, weird sensations flooded her--tingling, dizziness, nausea, an erotic surge of pleasure, and an alarming feeling as if she were losing control of all natural functions. She realized with a shock that her body was melting into magical fluidity.

Just like that, she was a butterfly.

Apart from the transformation itself, what surprised her most was how naturally she took to flying, and how effortlessly she held herself aloft. She winged circles around Wendoline, who laughed and applauded.

This new experience of power, unlike anything she'd known, emboldened Katia. It was just what she needed. Before she entered the tower, though, she wanted to make sure she knew how to turn human again.

Again, it came very naturally to her, and felt a lot nicer this time. She expected the disorienting sensations, which didn't bother her nearly as much. It was a delicious release from everything that constrained her as a solid body. She relished the liquid feeling.

And just like that, she stood before Wendoline, in firm, dead human flesh. "I just thought of butterflies," she said excitedly, "and all of a sudden . . . !"

Wendoline smiled. "Look at your fingers."

"Claws. I know. I've used them already."

"Not the claws. The skin."

Katia looked. The skin was unremarkable, except for having the same morbid blue pallor as every other inch of her.

"You wounded them earlier," Wendoline said. "I noticed when I cleaned you."

Katia looked more closely. She remembered now, cutting her fingers on bone while she feasted on the child. The wounds had vanished, leaving the skin as smooth and perfect as when she first awakened.

"There's something healing about metamorphosis," Wendoline explained. "As you shift forms, it tends to remake you as you should be, not always as you were. Remember that." She gestured at the tower. "I expect you'll need it. Not too much, I hope." She moved to Katia and kissed her cheek. "Go. And know that I have every confidence in you."


Katia flitted on butterfly wings over a labyrinth of rubble. A crater yawned above her. All the way up, the outermost rooms hadn't yet collapsed, but centuries had pulled down and hollowed out the middle.

Little moonlight filtered in. Katia found that her vision now pierced every shade of darkness. She flew a cautious circuit, and scanned her surroundings. Though she dreaded what she might see, and tried to anticipate the worst, she felt safe as a butterfly. Whatever she hunted here, she doubted it would attack or even notice her until she resumed her human form.

Nothing moved at ground level.

She gyred up through the tower, peering through holes in walls and open doors. She only saw decaying furniture and tapestries.

Something passed overhead.

For the first time, it occurred to Katia that the old lord might be a flying creature.

A horrid squeak jangled her nerves. The dark thing glided lower. Wind ruffled her wings. She caught a glimpse of skin like oily grey leather.

Suddenly, fluttering around seemed like a bad idea. She sought somewhere to land. She'd flown higher than she realized. The bottom of the tower looked impossibly distant. She darted for the nearest ledge.

Another squeak stabbed the air.

Katia risked a glance. What she saw threw her wings off rhythm.

Sulfur-yellow eyes glared between demonic pointed ears. The bald head emerged from a furry neck and chest. Bat wings spread like a canopy of death. The fanged mouth opened wide. She stared into the throat, a tunnel blacker and more awful than the grave, bearing down to swallow her.

She'd never reach the ledge in time. She burst straight from butterfly to human in mid-air.

The hurtling body slammed into her. Flesh thudded on flesh. Bones crunched in collision. The impact flung her, reeling, toward a closed door.

She crashed through rotten planks. Head over heels, she careened into a chamber. She struck something that smashed to pieces. Pain lanced through her gut. She screamed. She landed on her bare bum on the floor stones.

Beside her, a wooden wheel twirled on its rim like a coin. A spinning wheel. That's what she must have broken.

She gaped at a pointed spindle poking up out of her belly, glistening with blood. It pierced her through and through. She contemplated how nearly it missed her heart.

A squeak sent vibrations through her very fangs.

She looked up.

The lord rushed in the doorway, winged arms straining forward, claws stretched toward her. She grabbed the wobbling wheel and swung it up with all her undead strength. An explosive crack and jar of contact knocked him upright from a horizontal lunge. The wheel shattered into spokes and bits of rim. Blood trailed a crimson arc from his mouth. Katia saw it. She smelled it. She could all but taste it.

She ripped the spindle from her stomach with a yelp. Panting, trembling, she tossed it away.

The dark, batlike figure of the lord rocked on his heels. He shook his head groggily.

Katia pounced on his back. She grimaced at the fur around his throat. Hungry for blood, she bit his shoulder. The spurt tickled her tongue. Her mouth filled with the rich, hot wine of life.

He spun to cast her off. She wrapped her arms and legs around him. He threw himself back against a wall. Katia grunted, drooling precious blood. Her grip loosened, but she held on.

The lord turned wild circles through the room, shrieking his loathsome, high-pitched squeaks. He slammed Katia against another wall, at an angle that scraped skin off her back. She cried out, but didn't let go.

He whirled in a mad dance. The spinning dizzied her. She gave up trying to drink his blood. She clung to him with more desperation than strength. She'd have let go, but his squeals frightened her.

He charged at a wall, then twisted at the last moment and smashed her against it with all his speed and might and weight.

Her arms and legs flopped loose. She couldn't have held on another instant.

But the ancient stones crumbled at the impact. Katia and the lord punched through into the tower's hollow center. Suddenly, surprisingly off-balance, she flailed for something stable. Everything she grabbed, everything around her, was in motion. In a shower of debris, she teetered for a heartbeat on the lip of the abyss, then spilled with the lord over the edge.

If vampires could thank God, she would have. Anything was better than lying in a battered heap at the bat-lord's mercy, as she would have if the wall had held. This gave her a new chance, and no choice but to take it. She steeled herself to fight.

He spread his arms, unfurling his vast wings. He tried to flap them. Katia caught them by the tips. She couldn't believe the speed of her reflexes. He fought to free his wings. She tightened her grip. Her talons punctured the leathery tissue.

They spiraled downward. The tower sides blurred by. His squeak blasted her with fetid breath. She drew her knees up and slammed her heels across his face.

She let go and turned into a butterfly, unmindful of a falling brick above her. Just as she began to fly, it pressed down on her. She tried to skitter out from under it. The floor raced up. She couldn't take a chance on getting squashed. She turned human and slapped the brick away.

Before she could turn butterfly again, the bat-lord seized her long black hair in his clawed feet. The damage to his wings hardly impaired him. A few mighty flaps stopped her fall and jerked her several stories higher.

She grabbed his feet, partly to try to free herself, and partly to relieve the pressure on her scalp. She forgot about transforming, utterly distracted by the horror of a giant bat-thing dragging her skyward by the hair.

He swung her hard against a ledge.

Stunned, she fell when he released her. She traced two loopy pinwheels before crashing to the floor. Her leg broke on rubble, and she screamed.

The bat-lord landed next to Katia. Transfixed by pain, she watched him bend over her. His eyes blazed in triumph. He wheezed several stinking breaths into her face, squeaked once, then sank his fangs into a breast.

She grabbed his head, but didn't dare push away, for fear he'd tear off a piece of her. Injured as she was, she recalled Wendoline's words about metamorphosis and healing. It seemed extremely dangerous, with his mouth already on her.

She closed her eyes and willed the transformation. Her body melted, turned mercurial. The bat-lord's jaws snapped shut. She seeped out between his teeth.

And then she was a butterfly.

He champed at her furiously. She wheeled and zagged, but he was nimble and determined. She escaped his teeth each time by a wing-beat, and felt each hot snort of his nostrils.

She darted through his legs, and hastened away as he squealed in rage.

She wanted more than anything to flee the tower. Despite Wendoline's confidence, she'd proven no match for the bat-lord. Or had she? Something in her insisted she'd proven something else--how much punishment she could survive. She'd suffered much, but nothing slew her. When she turned human, she'd be whole, unharmed, in no pain whatsoever. As encouraging as that was, she still wanted to flee. Why continue fighting if she stood no chance of killing him? And something in her answered she hadn't even tried. She'd only attacked in timid half-measures, never unleashing her full vampire ferocity.

Her reasons for entering the tower hadn't changed. She had no excuse to leave it. The lord still needed release from his curse. She needed to conquer her fear. And if she had a better sense of the damage she could take, she still needed to learn what she could inflict. She needed to prove she'd gotten what she paid for.

She transformed back to human. She faced the bat-lord across the hall. Her stomach growled again. She really needed blood.

She ran at him.

He squeaked, and launched himself on powerful wing-strokes.

When they met, Katia leaped. She gashed his side. She turned to face him again, and licked blood off a claw. It inflamed her hunger all the more.

Hovering, he raked her with his toes. His wings beat. His legs lashed. He squealed. He etched bleeding crosshatches all over her skin.

She caught one of his filthy, scabby feet.

He flapped his wings frantically. The gusts blew her hair back, and raised dust from the floor.

With a yell, she swung him down on a block of rubble, just as she used to slap wet linen on the laundry stone.

He shrieked. He wrapped his wings over his head. His wild twitching and kicking betrayed his agony.

Blood-lust maddened Katia. She straddled him on her knees. With her claws, she shredded the wings in her way. She beat his head against the floor-stones until the crack of skull-plates echoed through the hall.

She dug fingers into his scalp, feeling for the fracture. When she touched it, she plunged her nails through the flesh, and pried the living creature's skull apart. His leathery skin tore as she ripped. He trembled. Something like a moan escaped his lips. His hands, or what passed for them, scrabbled over her bare body, too weak to wound her, almost caressing.

She scooped the brain out. He stiffened, arched against her, then drooped into stillness with pathetic finality.

She held the lumpy mass in both hands above her mouth. She wrung it like a sponge. Blood gushed as she squeezed it in her scarlet fists. Streams ran down her wrists and arms. She paused to lick it off.

Katia tossed the mangled brain aside. She stuck her face into the skull and slurped the blood that filled it like a goblet. She only looked up when gentle fingers stroked her hair.

Wendoline smiled down. "Very good, my dear," she said, in that lullaby voice.

Katia had the answers to her questions. She knew what death bought her, she knew what she'd become, and she knew beyond a shadow of a doubt she could kill Volfric, who was only human, after all.

"Very, very good."


jaakko said...

Hell yeah, the relationship between Katia and Wendoline is getting interesting in more ways than one :-) Too bad the bat monster didn't have a huge erection, that would've made the chapter just about perfect.

Carnacki said...

Excellent stuff. The scene with the boy was especially good.

Curt said...

Thanks guys!

Jaakko--don't worry, the monster-sex-quotient will be ramping up soon.

Ben--wasn't sure how the boy scene would go over, but so far the feedback I've gotten has been positive.

Again, thanks!

Douglas A. Waltz said...

Okay, I hate reading long things online so I cheated and printed the whole thing and coil bound it like a little booklet. I even threw the cover on it to make it look official. One of the perks in working at a print shop.
What can I say? The book is excellent. There is only one true downside here that I can see.
I'm afraid that I am too hooked on the story to wait for each chapter. That would be torture. I'll wait for it to be done.
Thanks for a great story, Curt.

Curt Purcell said...

Yeah, Douglas, I know how rotten it is to read at this length online--I always print out the long stuff. Thanks for the kind words, and sorry it's not finishing faster!

Andriel said...

I love the story so far. In the beginning weaving the fairy tales into it was lovely.
I just stumbled on your site and I can't wait for you to write the rest.

March 6, 2008

Curt Purcell said...

Thanks very much Andriel! The next chapter has been giving me fits, but I hope to post it pretty soon. And there's plenty more fairy tale material to come--just wait till you see what I do with my werewolf! ;-)

rizwan said...

Actually I googled 'blitzfreeze' by Sven Hassel and stumbled into this vampire tale. Got to admit, its a nice piece of writing. Two thumbs up!!

Curt Purcell said...

Thanks rizwan! I take it you've seen the Blitzfreeze review, too?