“You told him?” Rachel looked incredulously at Ginny and Ronnie standing in her dorm room door.
“He’s my brother. He knew I was lying when I said I had a date.” Ginny shrugged and Rachel failed to supress a giggle. Ginny was dressed in a pink camo patterned tank top and black yoga pants. She had a ring on each finger and her red hair was tied up in a bun.
“I’m not surprised he figured it out. Neither of you are coming with me.”
“Like hell we’re not.” Ronnie puffed up his chest and tried to look intimidating. The whole effect was ruined by sadness and worry in his crystal blue eyes. “We’re your friends and we’re coming with you.”
From behind Ronnie came Tim’s voice, “Where are we going?”
“Nowhere,” replied Ginny.
“The Karloff. Rachel got a letter from the Huntress and she’s going to meet her. We’re going as backup,” Ronnie explained.
“No, you’re not. No one is going with me.”
“Oh, and she’s human, not a demigod,” added Ginny.
“I’m in. Hope it’s not poetry night.” Tim hesitated and finished, “I wouldn’t want them to bore us.” When everyone looked at him with confused expressions, he added, “Bore us, Boris. You know Boris Karloff? The original Frankenstein’s Monster from the movies?”
“You aren’t coming.”
“Oh. Mom never let us watch old monster movies. She said they were insulting and racist,” Ginny said.
Sitting on the bed, Rachel shook her head and said, “Fine, you can come. Just stop ignoring me.”
“Yay!” exclaimed Ronnie jumping up and down a little. When he wasn’t being an ass, he was kinda cute. Like a large puppy.
Standing back up and looking Ronnie directly in the eyes, Rachel added, “But I’m not some damsel that needs your protection. I can take care of myself and I don’t need to worry about you at the same time.”
“But you’re human. No human can stand up to a vampire and live.” Ronnie might have been joking, but Rachel chose to make sure he didn’t believe what he was saying. Grabbing him by the neck she picked him clear off the ground and tossed him into her room. He sat there with wide eyes as she took out a throwing knife and a hawthorn stake in the other.
Throwing the knife an inch away from his crotch she used the distraction to come in close and point the stake at his heart.
“Ok, Ok. You’re fast.” Ronnie was a paler shade of white. Even his freckles seemed to dim.
Pulling the knife out of the floor she looked at the other two. “Either of you want to argue?” The surprise and shock on Ronnie’s face was mirrored on Ginny’s.
“I’m driving,” deadpanned Tim. He was the only one with a vehicle and it was designed for him to drive without the use of feet.
* * *
The Karloff was an interesting cross between a country bar and a fifties monster movie museum. There were posters, busts, and glass cases filled with original props. The patrons were a mix of humans dressed as monsters, normal looking people, and monsters being themselves.
It had taken the entire ride there and another twenty minutes in the parking lot to convince her friends to stay outside. They forced her to call them and leave the cell call active while she was inside. That way they could rush in if needed. Rachel had rolled her eyes but she genuinely appreciated it.
The nights were getting colder and that gave Rachel the excuse to wear her old brown leather jacket. It was a loose world war two bomber jacket with lots of room to hide weapons. She’d sewn hidden pockets into the liner for weapons. She paired it with a fitted pair of blue jeans, black leather boots, and a bright red cowl neck sweater.
On her person she had two blades per boot, several up her sleeves and a short machete concealed on her back. She had also taken out her Sig-Sauer 9mm pistol in case she needed more power.
The bar was near empty at 2am, and the bar tender looked like she’d had a long night. She was a handsome woman in her fifties with a bright purple pixie cut. She stood with her left hip popped out and her eyes unfocused.
Most of the patrons were either drunk or asleep. No sign of the Huntress.
“Breakfast isn’t served until five and it’s too late to serve alcohol, but we have coffee.”
“I think I love you,” Rachel said with a smile. The older woman gave a polite chuckle and poured her a coffee into a large mug with Boris Karloff’s face on it.
Drinking the coffee black, Rachel was surprised. It was pretty good coffee.
A drunk took notice of her as she sat at the bar. “You like it dark, sweetheart. I like my women like I like my coffee—”
“If you’d like to keep the last of your teeth you’ll shut up and go away.” Rachel cut him off and gave him her best murder face. The man stumbled back and left the bar.
“You got my message then,” said the bartender.
“What?” Rachel asked surprised. The woman’s stance had changed and she was walking around the bar. She had to step over something that was hidden from Rachel’s view.
“Don’t be coy. It’s not becoming.”
“What do you want?”
“I’ve been watching you since that first night. You’re impressive. You even pass as human.”
“I am human,” Rachel said indignantly.
“Prove it.” The woman challenged.
“How?” Rachel stood up and found she was only a little taller than the other woman. They both looked each other over. The woman held a sword in her left hand and an ornate ceremonial dagger in her left.
“Bleed for me.” The woman put the dagger on the counter.
Moving forward Rachel picked up the dagger and used its tip to prick her thumb. She showed the red globule of blood to the woman and waited expectantly. The woman said nothing until the blade started glowing bright blue.
With a disappointed sigh she said, “You’re Only Human and now you know too much.” Without hesitation, the woman attacked.