The caith girl opened the jar of anchovy paste.
I’m not hungry. She stared thoughtfully at the jar in her hand. I don’t even like anchovy paste.
But I’m so bored. Eating anchovy paste is the only sensible thing to do.
She dipped her finger into the muck brown stuff and licked it off.
“Too much mustard and olive oil. Not enough fish.”
So, of course she had some more.
The outside door fell in a loud thump.
She licked the last bit of paste off her fingers and crawled out of her makeshift den.
She ducked back down.
Wood cracked and crashed and bashed.
She transformed into her cat form and leapt on top of her lookout crate.
The vampire had returned and he was smashing the other crates.
Criminy! He’s destroying my turf!
Her back muscles twitched. Her long black tail was an exclamation point in motion. I will scratch his eyes out and bite his face off!
She jumped down to a lower crate. Her tail calmed and wrapped around her four white feet. But something’s not right with him. He’s too quiet.
But he’s destroying my turf! I have to stop him.
He stopped on his own.
She flattened her body against the crate, trying to become invisible.
He slunk down to his hands and knees. He retched and coughed and gagged, but whatever was inside his stomach stayed inside.
She pinned her ears against her head. I knew it! He’s sick or something.
He went into a coughing fit. His coughs sounded wrong, like they were coming from the top part of his throat instead of his chest.
Ambrose pressed the back of his hand against his mouth.
He coughed some more and did some more retching.
And right on top of his hand. Gross! She grabbed the tip of her tail and licked it clean.
His coughing died down to a staggered breathing. He slumped to the floor.
Her ears stood straight up. Oh,no! What if he’s dying? Double and triple gross! He’ll get dead body germs all over my turf! I can’t let that happen.
She jumped off her perch and landed light and easy on her feet. She strode over to him – all senses alert to any undue actions on his part. Actions like trying to do a jump scare. Or dying.
Must watch out for him dying. It would be awful if he died in here. I’d have to leave.
There just wouldn’t be enough bleach in the world to clean up after him.
He opened his eyes and looked at her – a particularly dull and listless look.
She sat up straight and wrapped her tail tight around her legs. If he touches my tail, he’s gonna lose all of his fingers.
He closed his eyes and his breathing returned to normal.
Oh. So, he doesn’t want to touch my tail. Good. She transformed back into her human form and pressed a couple of gear-shaped buttons on her goggles.
The lenses turned black and the words “Now Scanning…” appeared in white Comic Sans font. “Scanning is now complete. Subject: Human. Male. Vampire.”
“Is he sick?”
“Now Scanning…Scanning is now complete. Subject has traces of dragon blood in his system.”
“Dragon blood? Where’d he get that from?”
“So…Is he sick?”
“Subject is currently suffering from Dragon Blood Reactivity.”
“Is he gonna die from it?”
“Now Scanning…Scanning is now complete. Subject does not appear to be in danger of death.”
“Subject is mentally unstable. Subject poses a significant risk to you and to others.”
“Well, duh. He’s a vampire.”
“Dragon Blood Reactivity suppresses a vampire’s humanity. Be Aware: He poses a significant risk to you and to others.”
“What am I supposed to do about it?”
“Now Scanning…Scanning is now complete. Subject must be eliminated.”
“What? By me?”
“Now Scanning….Scanning is now complete. Insufficient data.”
“Sounds like maybe to me.” She licked the back of her hand in a series of small, careful licks. “Are there any hunters around here?”
“How does one eliminate a vampire?”
“Now scanning…Scanning is now complete. A stake to the heart will eliminate a vampire.”
“Stake – a sharpened wooden wedge created to eliminate vampires.”
“Ohhh.” She thought about the mess of broken crates. “I think I can slap a stake together. Thanks.” She pressed the button again and her ruby colored lenses came back online.
He wasn’t sleeping anymore.
He was wide awake.
He sat up and looked at her like she was a ice cream sundae with all of the fixings. He ran his tongue along the sharp edges of his teeth.