Only Human (Serial Story) Part 8

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7

Sitting down onto the low cushion hurt Rachel’s healing side. The cut hadn’t been as deep as she’d thought, but it was at an awkward angle and hurt if she moved wrong.

“Your side still hurt?” asked Ronny.

“It’s only been a few days, we can’t all heal after a meal,” Rachel snipped. She was more annoyed that he’d noticed, she thought she’d done a good job at hiding her feelings.

“Sorry.” He lifted his hands in the air and looked like a whipped puppy.

“It’s ok, Ronny. What do you have planned for tonight?” After his show of bravery, or stupidity, she’d agreed to a date. It also gave her a chance to ask him questions and make sure he wasn’t the one who took the picture of her in the cafeteria.

They were at a restaurant she didn’t recognize, which was decorated in bright orange and red with short tables that had cushions instead of chairs. Each eating area had a thin curved fish tank around it for privacy.

“First dinner, then we’ll be trying something that I think you’ll love.”

“Mysterious, I wouldn’t have thought that of you.” She smiled at him. He was cute, his pale skin nearly glowed in this lighting and instead of making him look evil or monstrous it gave him an ethereal quality. Combined with his looks, that would make a super hero jealous; she liked the look of him. More than that, she liked who he was when he was alone with her. He was equal parts shy gentlemen and eager puppy, a surprisingly sexy combination.

“So what kind of food do they serve here?” she asked, trying not to stare at his well defined arms.

“Atlantean.” When he saw her surprised look he added, “Yes that Atlantis. It’s one of the only authentic restaurants in North America.”

The waiter arrived before she could ask any further questions. There wasn’t a written menu. Instead they had four authentic dishes. Two were sea food, one of chicken, and a last was blood based.

When the waiter left Ronny said, “Atlantis was a mixed colony of Vampires and Humans.” As an afterthought he added, “And they lived in harmony. Not slavery like the late Egyptian pharaohs.”

Ronny told her about Atlantis and the ancient world, he was a history major, and they talked about everything but what was going on. It was a wonderful break from her semi-obsessive mission to find out who’d sent the huntress after her.

The waiter came back after they’d finished and asked if they wanted any dessert. Rachel was going to say yes but Ronny shook his head as the waiter looked at her.

On the way out she asked, “I kinda wanted dessert.” She comically pouted like the girls on television and they both burst out laughing.

Taking her hand in his, which was as cold as ice, he started walking away from the restaurant and where they’d parked. “Atlantean food is great, but their dessert is lackluster. There were no bees, sugar cane, or chocolate on Atlantis. They only had sour and bitter dessert. There’s a story in one of my books where they complained that rhubarb was too sweet.” She made a face and again they laughed. It was easy to laugh around him.

They were so deep into conversation that they passed the place he’d been planning on taking her and had to double back. The small shop he brought her to was called, “Chocolate Bars by You!”

“How did you know I love chocolate?” she asked genuinely surprised.

“I’ve seen you orgasm over the cafeteria’s chocolate pudding and you live with my sister.”

Inside looked like it was decorated by five year olds with a love of colour. They must have looked odd both in dark clothes. It certainly wasn’t a place she’d expect to see Ronny the vampire and football star. He didn’t try to hide his excitement; he had a childlike joy in his undead eyes.

Walking in, they were given a tray with two compartments, one for chocolate and one for everything else. The walls were covered in candies, nuts, cereals, chocolate and other wonderful things.

What happened was you chose your chocolate and what to go inside and they made you a giant personalized chocolate bar which was flash frozen so you could eat it right away.

Ronny made a semi-sweet chocolate bar with peanut butter and rice crispy cereal. Rachel made a dark chocolate bar with chunks of caramel and gummy worms. The bars were the size of a piece of paper and they nibbled on them as they drank a coffee in the coffee shop next door.

In a lull in the conversation she asked, “Why do you do the macho crap when other people around?”

He frowned, creating lines in his smooth forehead. “People expect it and it’s easy. The jerk me doesn’t get hurt.”

Surprised at his honesty, she leaned forward and watched as he did the same. With eyes open she kissed him. It was a soft but passionate kiss that sent pleasurable shivers up and down her spine.

Pulling away she teased, “That makes sense. Plus if you show your sensitive brooding side they’ll compare you to Edward or Angel.”

He made a face and stuck out his tongue. “I’m totally team Spike,” he said, surprising a giggle out of her.

They left with less chocolate than she’d expected. As they walked away from the store, she could tell they were being followed. She took Ronny’s hand and pulled him down a side street. She hoped the person wouldn’t follow them.

The dark shadow turned into the same street and she whispered to him, “We’re being followed. Trust me.”

Leading the mysterious shadow down alleys and other streets, Rachel hoped to lose them. She could fight, but with her side still healing, she’d rather avoid it.

After multiple twists and turns she brought them back to the car. It was the only one left in the parking lot. Checking her watch she saw that it was much later than she’d expected.

Ronny got into the car and Rachel pulled out a pair of throwing knives. When she saw the shadow she threw a knife at it and it gave a high pitched scream followed by, “Rachel, it’s me!” Ginny came out of the shadows with her arms raised and said, “Don’t kill me!”

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Only Human (Serial Story) Part 7

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6

The woman who’d invited her to a bar in the middle of the night was a Huntress; a cult of monster hunters who claimed they were descended from Artemis. When she’d first heard the term she’d looked them up and Rachel found no proof they were anything but human.

The woman’s speed as she attacked proved there was something supernatural about her. She closed the distance between them and drew a long sword in the time it took Rachel to take a step back.

“Resistance will only make it more painful for you and more fun for me.” The woman smiled a smile that was one part pure joy and ten parts loonier than a Canadian vending machine.

“I thought Huntresses only killed monsters? Not innocent humans?” Rachel stalled, putting her hand on the machete. She wanted to try and disable the woman and find out how she’d found her.

Spitting on the ground, the woman said, “You’re pretending to be them and your friends with them.” She sniffed the air. “You reek of monster.”

“The sniffing thing’s a little weird, even for—” Rachel’s quip was cut off by the woman’s sword thrusting towards her. She jumped back and pulled out the machete just in time to parry the sword.

The woman’s longsword was longer than Rachel’s machete but Rachel was a good foot taller than her and had a better natural reach. Using the naturally tight quarters of the bar, Rachel moved in close to the woman and pushed her attack. Between the close quarters and the length of the blade, the woman’s motions were limited.

“You’re good, but I’m better!” cackled the woman as she thrust the sword towards Rachel in a reckless move that left her sword arm overextended and exposed. Taking the opening, Rachel dodged the thrust and slashed at the woman’s arm. She didn’t see the dagger until it was too late and it slashed at her side. If the coat hadn’t been thick leather she would have been gutted, as it was, she received a deep gash on her side.

Like a fool, Ronny ran into the bar. “Hey bitch. I don’t drink sentient blood but I’ll make an exception for you.”

The woman dropped the sword and lunged forward with the knife. Rachel easily deflected the knife but the attack wasn’t mean to hurt her it was meant to distract her. The woman pointed her hand at Ronny and something flew out of her sleeve hitting him hard in the shoulder and pinning him to the wall. The thing the woman had shot from her arm was a hawthorn stake.

Between her blood loss and the nauseating smell of seared flesh where the hawthorn touched Ronny’s flesh, Rachel wanted to vomit.

Things went from bad to worse when Ginny ran into the bar. Her perfect face was twisted in anger. She must have seen what happened to her brother. She moved with a staggering speed and was on the Huntresses back. It was funny to see the tall slender model-like Ginny wrapping her arms and legs around the larger huntress.

The Huntress laughed as Ginny bit into her throat. Instantly Ginny started choking on the woman’s blood. The woman grabbed Ginny and lifted her up as a human shield pulling out a different dagger. The way it sizzled on Ginny’s throat, Rachel assumed it was silver.

“Put down your weapon and I’ll let your vampire pets live.” The woman was lying and Ginny knew it.

They stood staring at each other in one of the tensest moments of Rachel’s life. The Sig-Sauer pistol weighed on her hurt side. Rachel could feel the strength leaving her body with her blood and she knew she needed to do something quickly. She needed a distraction. If she pulled the gun out she’d never get a shot off before the woman killed Ginny.

As if it knew what she was thinking, her cellphone, which she was certain she’d turned off, started playing a death-metal version of monster mash. The moment of confusion was enough for Rachel to pull out her gun and shoot through Ginny and into the huntress.

The woman dropped Ginny and stumbled back. Rachel didn’t take any chances and emptied the clip into her. Replacing the clip, she holstered her weapon and walked to Ronny.

When she pulled the hawthorn stake out of Ronny, he whimpered a little as it ripped flesh. Her phone started to ring again.

The Caller ID read Dowan and she answered saying, “You have interesting timing.”

“I just woke up from a nightmare and had the overwhelming feeling I had to call you. I never ignore those kinds of feelings.” Dowan sounded worried.

“Thank you. You saved our lives.”

“Our?”

“Me, Ginny, and Ronny.”

“Ronny, huh? Oh well.” The disappointment in his voice disappeared and he said, “Since I saved your life would you be willing to grab dinner with me?”

“It might be the bloodloss talking, but why not.” Rachel couldn’t help but smile. He hung up and she sat down.

Ginny took out a bottle of suspicious red liquid and gave it to her brother. “This will fix him but you need a doctor,” she said to Rachel.

“I have a first aid kit in the car and Tim can sew me up,” Rachel responded as she went through the Huntresses pockets. The woman had no ID, and twice as many weapons as Rachel. Thankfully for everyone, that didn’t include a gun. Rachel marveled at the arrogance of the supernatural community for shunning guns.

In a hidden pocket inside the woman’s shirt was a picture. It was Rachel, Ginny, and Tim in the cafeteria talking. On the back were the words, “Huntress, Demigod, or Human?” The angle of the shot told her it was taken from inside the cafeteria, which meant it had been taken by another student.

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Only Human (Serial Story) Part 6

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

“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.

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Only Human (Serial Story) Part 5

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

“I know what you are and why you’re here,” read Ginny. It said the same thing as it had when Rachel had read it the first six times, but hearing the words from her friend’s mouth made them real. The words were on the top half of a postcard-sized piece of paper in a cheesy horror movie font.

“What do you think they mean?” asked Rachel.

“What does it matter? I mean, yeah, you’re human, but you’re here for the same reason as everyone else.” Seeing Rachel squirm, the tall blonde vampiric beauty asked, “Aren’t you?”

“Well. I’ve been meaning to tell you…” Rachel didn’t know how to tell Ginny that she’d lied to her for the past two months. She wasn’t at Monster’s University only to study Cryptozoology, she was also there to avenge the deaths of her sister. Instead of telling her, she walked over to her closet that was locked with a combination lock. She unlocked the lock and opened the cabinet to show her arsenal.

“Wow,” whispered Ginny. She gave a whistle and her perfect face showed fear. “You’re a Huntress? Oh shit!” Ginny looked all the more frail and innocent when they were standing, Rachel was taller than most of the men in the school. It made pretending to be a demigod much easier, but Rachel sometimes wished she was as small and delicate looking as Ginny.

“I am not a Huntress,” Rachel rolled her eyes. Every time she’d gone out to hunt the nastier creatures she’d been called a Huntress. One of her other best friends, Tim, thought she was a Huntress when she’d saved him from a crazy confused monster that thought Tim was child. A Huntress was a supernatural assassin that killed all supernatural creatures until someone killed them. They were without mercy and without conscience.

Living and going to school with monsters had made Rachel more understanding of what a real monster could be. When she’d signed up for classes, she’d hoped to kill everyone, but after meeting them, she realized most were just like her; scared, confused, and lonely. On her dorm floor there were over eighty monsters of various types and, other than Rachel, they’d never killed anything bigger than a spider. Some couldn’t even handle that.

“We’ve been her together for almost three months, if I wanted to kill you I easily could have,” Rachel said trying to make it friendly.

“That’s comforting,” Ginny’s fangs were out and she looked nervous. Rachel wasn’t worried, seeing as Ginny was one of the few monsters that couldn’t manage to kill a spider.

“Ginny!” Rachel exclaimed throwing her arms in the air. Her dull tan skin, barely beige, looked extra boring next to the bright purple nail polish she’d just finished applying. “You knew I carried knives and that I was good with them. I’m not here to kill everyone, I just want to find out what happened to my sister.”

In an instant Ginny’s face went from fear to scorn. “You should have told me.”

“I’m sorry.” Rachel pouted, making her thin lips look a little bigger, and said, “I’m a terrible person and should be flogged.”

Laughing, Ginny gave Rachel a tight hug and replied, “I think that’s more along what my brother and Dowan want to do to you.”

Feeling her face get warm, Rachel put her hands on her cheeks. Her face had been covered in pimples when she’d arrived, but now after just two months, her skin had started to clear up, maybe it was the cafeteria food? She doubted it.

“Those two will just have to flog each other. I don’t have time for immature idiots fighting over me.” The two girl sat back down on the bed.

“Yuck, that’s my brother.” Ginny made a gagging noise. “Don’t you get coffee with Dowan twice a week?”

“He’s the TA for one of my classes. We just happen to get coffee at the same place and walk in the same direction… while talking.” Rachel smiled. Dowan hadn’t brought up what happened in the cafeteria since, but he’d been extra polite and charming.

“’Just happen’ isn’t a phrase that should be used about a trickster. He’s totally into you and for more than just for your freaky divinatory potential. And my brother…” Ginny trailed off gesturing at the large bouquet of wild flowers on Rachel’s dresser.

“Do you think it’s from one of them?” asked Rachel. When Ginny looked confused, she had to point at the note that was still on the bed.

“Oh… um… why would they?” asked Ginny making a face.

“I have no idea. I’d just rather it be weird way to woo me rather than…” she drifted off not wanting to give life to her fears.

“Kill you in a horribly gruesome way?” suggested Ginny in her most perky voice possible.

“Right thanks.”

“Why would they only write on the top half of the paper?”

“Maybe they didn’t.” Ginny stood up quickly, grabbed the postcard and walked over to the closet filled with weapons. She picked out a small ceremonial dagger, and before Rachel could stop her, the vampire had cut her palm.

Taking the bloody blade and wiping it on the paper, Ginny said, “It’s something my Dad mentioned once. Huntresses send messages like this.”

In the weapons closet there were also first aid supplies and after disinfecting the wound Rachel bound it with a bandage. It wasn’t deep enough to need stitches and after her next meal Ginny would heal.

As they both stared, the blood started to move and formed words on the bottom half of the paper. “2 am at the Karloff. Come Alone.”

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