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|This is a short introduction piece about a couple of characters I'm writing about in a 'dark world' series with vampires, weres and so on. They work as monster hunters for the Non-Human council. All comments/constructive criticism welcome!||
A Night in the Life of
She was sitting next to the cash machine in the night-time back streets, hungry eyes huge in her pointed face, hunched into the folds of an army jacket two sizes too big and a tangle of dirty blankets. She glanced up quickly as footsteps echoed along the street.
He cast her a quick, sidelong glance as he flicked the card from his pocket. She waited until he folded his money in his pocket before speaking. “Hey, mister; can you spare some change?”
He hesitated, looked over at her. “Please, mister – I haven’t eaten for two days.”
“Sure; why not,” he had a soft, distinct Scottish accent. He shoved a hand in his pocket, and she heard money rattle before he withdrew a clenched fist.
She held out a hand eagerly – and then jerked back with a scream of pain. The odour of burnt flesh rose from her palm as she shook her hand frantically. The small silver cross he’d dropped into her hand gave a soft tink as it hit the ground. She gave a hissing snarl of rage, eyes turning blood red, fangs extending as she glared at him, flowing to her feet impossibly fast. Instead of cowering from the waif-turned-demon, he reached into a pocket of his jacket, pulled out a knife. She laughed, and flung herself at him, fingers contorted into claws –
And stopped short as he braced himself and slammed his free hand under her chin, forcing her head back, and drove the knife cleanly between her ribs. She coughed up blood, and he saw quite clearly the disbelief in her eyes – she thought weapons couldn’t hurt her any more.
“It’s silver,” he explained gently, as though to a child. The light faded in her eyes and he eased the body to the pavement, knife tilted to slide smoothly from her chest. He watched the corpse start to decompose as he stooped to collect his cross, decay eating at the flesh and tissue. Looks like what Louise calls a New Born; I wonder –
The sound of a hoarse, guttural cry of pain and running footsteps brought him up to his feet in time to lock gazes with a red eyed young male vampire, face distorted with pain and hate, a second before the vampire’s shoulder caught him in the chest, slamming him back against the pavement. He heard his cross go skittering off into the darkness and made a wild stab with the knife he still held, but evidently the vampire had seen his little tricks earlier, and pressed his arm back with one of his own preternaturally strong ones. Unable to reach any of his other blades, he squirmed, trying desperately to wriggle free as the vampire gripped him around the throat with his other hand, broken nails digging painfully into his skin.
The vampire leaned into his face, all mad red eyes and breath carrying the stench of old, stale blood. “Bastard,” he hissed. The grip around his throat tightened, and he felt blood trickling down his neck.
“Hey, dead boy - you’re in the wrong seat.” A hand grabbed the vampire’s hair, jerking his head back and drawing a knife hard across his throat, skin burning at the touch of holy silver. There was a brief spurt of blood fountaining across the street as the vampire was lifted bodily from his victim and dumped carelessly on the ground.
Louise cast a quick glance over her shoulder to make sure he was truly dead before turning back to Jorey, still lying on the pavement. “You okay?” she extended a hand to help him to his feet.
“Yeah, more or less.” He touched the wounds on his throat with a wince. “Cutting it fine, weren’t you?”
“Well, you boys seemed to be having so much fun I couldn’t bear to break you up.” She studied his injuries. “You’ll be alright; just broke the skin.”
He gave her a mock glower. “Have I ever told you you’ve got a sick sense of humour?”
“You might have mentioned it,” she agreed blandly. She wiped the knife clean on the remains of the vampire’s clothing and sheathed it. “Have I ever waited long enough for you to be in serious danger?”
“No; but there’s always a first time.”
“Here.” She tossed him his cross and glanced around the street. “Where’s the sun going to rise?”
“Over there.” Jorey pointed to the right.
“Right.” Louise hefted the first corpse, grimacing at the smell. “So if we dump these over there,” she nodded to an alleyway, “they should get hit by sunlight just after dawn.”
She dumped the body behind a pile of black bags and carefully arranged the rubbish to shield the corpse from the gaze of anyone in the street as Jorey dragged the other to lie beside it. When sunlight hit the vampires, it would disintegrate the bodies to dust.
“Anyway, I don’t know why you’re complaining,” she added as she peeled off her gloves. “Are you seriously telling me no one warned you that hunting vampires would be dangerous?”
“No. But why do I always have to be the bait?”
“Jorey, be serious. Those vamps would smell I was a werewolf before I was within ten feet of them. I need you to distract them.”
“I suppose.” He sighed. “Well, shall we tell Ric we’ve disposed of those two for him?”
“Yeah, put his mind at rest. You know how much he worries about rogues drawing attention to themselves.”
“Yeah. Now all he has to worry about is who's creating new vampires and setting them loose.”
“That's the Council's problem. We're just grunts as far as they're concerned.”
“I know.” Jorey shrugged. “Do you fancy a drink on the way?”
Louise grinned at him. “Surely you’re not suggesting we call in at the Belfry?”
“Why not? At least we know it’ll be open.”
“Do you want to be the only human in a pub full of monsters? You’ll attract attention.” She warned. “Especially smelling of fresh blood.”
“But I have my faithful werewolf sidekick who’s never too late to save me.”Jorey replied, dead-pan.
Louise stopped dead in the street. “Sidekick?” She repeated incredulously. “Sidekick?!”
He glanced at her expression, grinned and dodged from her kick. “You take that back, human boy.” She growled, aiming a punch.
Jorey fended her off, still grinning. “Well, you’re faithful, you’re a werewolf, and…”
“And?” She prompted, the growl still in her voice.
“And I’ll buy the drinks.”
They resumed walking along the street. “Sidekick.” Louise muttered in disgust for the last time.
|The Hunter; prologue|