Award Winning Fantasy with a Twist!
Giovanni crouched in the bushes and wished for the thousandth time that he wasn’t a labradoodle. It probably wouldn’t have made any difference. He would have been sent out on patrol anyway, but at least then he might not have felt such a strong urge to whimper and cringe. It may have been a natural reaction, but it was also an embarrassing one.
A faint crack caught his attention, the sound of a twig snapping. He didn’t dare lift his head, but he strained to hear, long, floppy ears raised away from his pointed muzzle. He could smell the vampire somewhere nearby, a faint dusty odor like fallen leaves only with a floral overlay from the cologne vampires routinely slathered on. Most people would smell only the perfume, drawn to the sweet smell and the charm vampires projected. They never smelled the dry and desiccated death that called them.
At least it was an old death smell,Giovanni thought. He was all too familiar with the smell of fresh death, the coppery tinge of blood added to the antiseptic attempts to resuscitate the patient in the emergency room. Even the best efforts of the nurses couldn’t erase the earthy stink of loosened bowels or septic wounds sometimes. No, freshly dead smelled like old meat. This guy, this vampire, had the stale baby powder scent of his Nonna Bianchi’s seldom used front parlor.
“Here kitty, kitty, kitty.” The soft call whispered through the early evening dusk and grated across Giovanni’s ears. Now that was just rude. He was a dog, darn it, if not proud of it. He was tempted to growl even as he knew his only hope of safety lay in keeping absolutely still. Vampires moved quickly and silently and could smell their prey almost as well as any canine. Every muscle clenched as he crouched in the underbrush, protesting the tension and demanding to stretch in an agonizing ache that was growing harder and harder to ignore. What was keeping the sergeant?
An almost indiscernible scrap of shoe against the packed earth caught Giovanni’s attention. Thank God vampires wouldn’t be caught dead in sneakers. The vampire was on the dirt path that wound through the strip of undeveloped land that separated the house Giovanni shared with three roommates from the rest of Atlanta. Drawing out a vampire so close to his home was a dangerous game, but that proximity made it just possible for him to walk into the most distant coffee shop the vampires frequented, grab money out of the till, and take off running. Okay, he hadn’t strutted so much as tiptoed and even then, he wouldn’t have gotten away if Betty hadn’t stepped forward, eyes shut tight against being mesmerized, and swung one leg around in a round-house kick.
No, not thinking of Betty right now! She might be gorgeous, she might be the reason he was in this mess to begin with, but she was not going to be the reason he got distracted and eaten! Giovanni forced his attention back to the suspicious stillness of the forest path.
“C’mon kitty. Come out and play.”
The soft voice tickled his brain more than his ears, but Giovanni still had to fight the urge to shake his head. Mentally, he snorted. Really? Play? After all the crap the vampires had put him and the rest of the campus through the previous semester, did anyone still believe they only meant to play? Well actually some did. That was the biggest problem with the vampires. Somehow, someway, they kept convincing everyone they meant no harm and were just having a little, harmless fun regardless of all evidence to the contrary. It was like living in a perpetual election season, over and over again.
A faint rustle gave him only seconds warning, and he looked up to see the vampire’s long, thin face smirking down at him.
“Hello, kitten,” the vampire started, but a sudden fury drove Giovanni up, barking furiously as he lunged towards the creature. There was a certain amount of desperation in his assault as well because he knew full well that he wouldn’t be able to escape, and indeed the vampire laughed, entertained, even as he stumbled back startled.