“—Elsie and I were having—-”
“—-a really fun time—”
Knee kick. Knee kick.
“—–before you and your goons showed up.”
The vampire fell. He grabbed Hildreth’s ankles and snarled.
“Oh, no you don’t!” He swooped down, grabbed a handful of the vampire’s hair, and jerked his head back.
The vampire let out a fierce roar, released Hildreth’s legs, and slashed his arms.
“Ahh!” Hildreth hissed a breath between his teeth. He stood and examined his arms. “Oh, you’ve gone and torn my sleeve. Well, that was just uncalled for.”
“Uncalled for?” The vampire furiously rose to his feet. “Uncalled for? YOU PULLED MY HAIR!”
“Oh, I’m sorry. Next time I’ll be sure to grab your big baked potato nose.”
The vampire roared again and went at Hildreth with bared fangs and claws. He had no rhythm, no predictable pattern.
Hildreth ducked and dodged, waiting for the right moment to land a solid punch.
“Be patient, Hildreth. Don’t rush in. Look for weaknesses. Look for openings.”
Hildreth wanted to scream. “You don’t have any weaknesses, Master Initskay. You aren’t giving me ANY openings!”
Master Initskay lowered his arms. “Everyone has weaknesses. Even vampires. You need to see them. Find them. Exploit them and take them down.” He raised his fists. “Again.”
Then, just like that, Hildreth saw it.
He keeps aiming high. His lower half is undefended.
Hildreth did a quick dodge, duck, and head ram to the gut,
“Ooof!” The vampire doubled over.
Hildreth didn’t give him a chance to recover. He staked him and the vampire fell. He looked over at Elsie, who was busy with three vampires.
Elsie held her own against them. She gave those vampires a thorough demonstration of her Marauderness.
Hildreth felt the warm glow of pride as he watched her fierce, death-dealing dance. He delighted in her strength and agility.
My lovely, fierce Elsie.
He snapped to attention at the subtle scrape of footsteps on the nearby roof.
He pulled out his Bossman 550, balanced it on his shoulder, and scanned the roofs.
With a certain amount of luck, it will just be a rogue raccoon or a misplaced opossum or maybe a really—-
A man stepped forward on the roof right above Elsie. He looked down at her and jumped.
She obeyed without question.
Just as Hildreth pulled his weapon’s trigger.
He hit his mark.
The vampire fell dead at Elsie’s feet.
Two of Elsie’s vampires decided that they had had enough. They took off running, leaving the third one behind. “HEEEEEYYYY!” He ran after them, waving his arms in the air. “DON’T LEAVE MEEEEE!”
Hildreth stood at attention, watching the roofs and listening.
After about ten minutes, he relaxed and walked over to Elsie. “Hey, gorgeous.”
“Hey, yourself.” She gasped when she noticed his torn sleeve. “You’re hurt!”
“Nah, it was just a glancing blow.” He put his weapon away. “My shirt got the worst of it.”
She rolled up his sleeve and examined his arm.
“Elsie. Elsie Vansing. Elsie Vansing, you’re all worried about me.”
“Of course, I am.”
“Because you think I’m hot. You think I’m hunky.”
She laughed and pulled his sleeve back down. “I think you’re an idiot.”
“Mmm. Is that a compliment? I don’t know.” A teasing grin stretched across his face. “Wait. Wait one minute, Elsie.”
“Is ‘idiot’ a euphemism for a much stronger word?”
“I have no idea what word you mean.”
“Hmm, well. I’ll give you a hint. It starts with a soft ‘s’ and ends with a hard ‘ee’.”
“Well. I have no idea what word you mean.” Her eyes sparkled in the alley’s dim light. “But ask me on Sunday. I’ll give you my answer then.”
“Mmm. mmm. mm. Elsie Vansing being all cryptic and sassy.” He put his hands on her hips. “Just the way I love you.”
She dug her fingers into his hair. “And you are an idiot.” She pulled him into a kiss.
His hands slid up to the middle of her back.
She tightened her grip on his hair, which threw him out of the moment.
He laughed. “So fierce.”
“Such an idiot.” She smiled lovingly at him. “But I wouldn’t want you to be any other way.”
“Groovy.” And he moved in for another kiss.