Flash Friday 30/10/2015: A Bite To Compete
A little story just in time for the spooky festivities tomorrow. Happy Halloween, and stay safe!
Eldis the Shadowhunter was the first human that night to walk down Stonemason’s Avenue.
The street saw a lot of activity under the protective cloak of sunlight; no creature would dare pop out then. When the sun had set and the moon was bright, however, everyone would retreat back to the residential area of the town, guarded diligently by the night’s guard. Monsters rarely attacked them there; not when they could feast upon the drunk, the slow, or the stupid who hadn’t made it back yet.
For the residents of Duskhaven, the night was a curse. For Eldis, it was a work shift.
He had just begun to walk in front of a bakery when two things happened at once; something moved along the rooftops of a building nearby, and a bat fluttered past. Two relatively inconspicuous things in a town full of humans; when the creatures were out, however, they both meant trouble.
Eldis raised a crossbow.
What happened next went by too quickly for comfort. The shape skulking on the rooftop jumped from its vantage point. The lone bat had quickly become an entire swarm, bundling together to form a figure of a person. With a thump, the skulking figure landed in the street, showing himself as a werewolf; at the same time, the bats dispersed in a flash of light, revealing the vampire that had magically appeared under their cover.
Eldis alternated his aim between the two.
The werewolf and the vampire both scowled at Eldis, blinked, then looked at each other.
The werewolf’s face soured first. “Oh crumbs, not this again.”
The vampire dusted down his clothes. “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“You do. I know you do. This is the third time this week that we’ve clashed on our targets. When are you pompous snobs going to clear off and allow us werewolves to have our prey in peace?”
“Around about the time you stop spreading your fur around our territory and stick to your own corners, that’s when.”
“Your territory?” the werewolf snarled. “I’ll have you know that the Higher Commission of Monsters That Bite recognise that our territory covers this spot.”
“Is that so?” the vampire said. He adjusted a pince-nez and drew a piece of paper. “Let’s see, shall we? It says here; vampires maintain their territory from the bakery to Kingsworth Boarding School. And this is the bakery, is it not?”
“Yeah? Double check the werewolf territory part for me.”
“As you wish. Where was it? Ah, yes — it says that werewolves get…” the vampire peered at the paper. “From the bakery to the church? That’s odd.”
“Right! So the bakery is part of our turf!”
“It seems so, as well as ours.”
“That is odd. This is the first time we’ve seen two factions lay a legitimate claim to the same victim to bite.”
“What do you mean?”
The vampire pointed over his shoulder. Out of the shadow of an alley, a female zombie was shuffling. She was headed — very slowly — towards Eldis.
“Oh, back off.” The werewolf gave the zombie a shove. “Can’t assign you folk any territories, can we? You find it hard enough to keep the maggots inside your head from escaping, let alone any thoughts.”
“Quite. Keep her away while we sort out who deserves this prey.”
“Right. Who saw him first?”
“Alright. Who jumped him first?”
“It was so close a time frame that there’s no point debating it.”
“Well, we’ve got to debate about who gets to bite him. We can’t just let him go.”
“We could always try asking him. Fellow, what would you prefer? To become a testament against ageing itself, or a hairy mutt?”
“You know, werewolves don’t have it as bad as some might think. You keep a human form, get super speed, and don’t ignite like dry wood as soon as you’re touched by sunlight. Unlike some people. What do you say?”
Eldis stayed silent.
“Ugh.” The vampire sighed. “I hate paranormal hunters. Always so broody and dark. Lighten up, will you? Won’t hurt.”
“So now what are we going to do?”
“I don’t know. It’s not like we can both bite him at the same time or something.”
A brief silence. The werewolf scratched his chin. “What would happen?”
“I said, what would happen if we both bit him? You know, at the same time?”
The vampire opened his mouth, then closed it again. “You know what? I’m not sure. It might be worth some experimentation, if you ask me.”
“Vampire werewolves! Now there’s a thought. I like the sound of it, I really do. I think we should give it a go.”
The zombie raised her arm.
“Not you,” the vampire said, lowering it for her. “Nobody wants to be a zombie.”
“Hah! Yeah, that’s right. You never hear of a ‘werewolf apocalypse’ or a ‘vampire apocalypse’, do you?”
They both laughed. The zombie stared listlessly at nothing.
“Alright, look, listen.” The werewolf put a hand — or was it a paw? — on Eldis’ left shoulder. “If I bite the left of his neck, you get the right side.”
“Why do you have to bite his neck?” the vampire said, taking position on Eldis’ right. “I thought werewolves could bite anywhere.”
“It’s the principle that matters. Alright then, count of three. One–”
“On three, or after three?”
“Do you mean ‘one, two, chomp,’ or ‘one, two, three, chomp’?”
“The latter one.”
“Alright then. Ready?”
Both the vampire and the werewolf shot forwards, teeth bared.
The crack of two supernatural heads smashing together echoed down the street, followed by two heavy thumps as the pair hit the floor.
Eldris stood up, dusted himself down, and continued down the street. He patted the zombie on the shoulder as he passed, who took a few seconds to react. Supernatural hunting wasn’t as hard as some people made it out to be.