Tobias Halson: Werewolf Hunter
Wards, wizards and werewolves, oh my.
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"That dog is neither man nor monster. Only a man can truly hope to kill a monster." ~Alucard, Hellsing
Don’t get me wrong I don’t hate kids, and I think that when it comes to educating our youth that first-hand experience is the best teacher. I am a firm believer in Tolkien’s old adage that “the burned hand teaches best” and kids these days are too damn coddled. I think we would have so much fewer spoiled brats if more kids had to graduate from the school of hard knocks. Sadly the Order had a different idea on “first-hand experience” when it came to teaching newbie hunters about the trade.
My first time had been more than a lesson in hard knocks; I had nearly died and was terrified the whole time. My first hunt had ended with a broken arm, jaw, and nose, plus countless bruises and cuts that hurt for weeks. I had wildly overestimated my abilities and underestimated my prey. That’s what kids do, they believe they are invincible until the world bites them on the ass and sobers them up. I had been fourteen at the time and accidently stumbled into a Vampire nest.
Oh yeah did I mention that I am a Vampire Hunter, cause that is kind of important. I am not making it up, I really am a totally badass vampire hunter; I have a license and everything. Ok, my license is actually for pest extermination and animal control but I do have an official title and decree from the Order and all that. I even have a crossbow, I have never used it but I have one.
The Order is exactly what it sounds like; a group of doddery old men, most of them Oxford-educated with British accents, sitting around with mountains of old leather bound books all of whom have been hunting the creatures of the night since before I was an itch in my father’s underwear. Though I doubt any of them had so much as seen a vampire in the last twenty or thirty years. Getting a top spot in the Order was a cushiony job for the geezers to sit around telling old war stories and ordering the younger generations around.
It had been a hell of a learning experience, my first hunt. I had peed my pants and fled in terror, lucky to have survived. I had been much more careful from then on until I learned to be cleverer than the undead monsters that I hunted.
Flurries of snow drifted down from the coal black night sky. Barely a week til Christmas and the temperature had been steadily dropping. The Weather people were calling for lower temperatures and storm fronts bringing more snow. It was starting to look like the city Philadelphia was going to have a white Christmas. The cold made my old injuries throb, especially the scar along my back where a vampire had nearly torn my spine out when I was nine.
So what was I, the greatest Vampire Hunter to have ever lived, doing wasting my time teaching kids on a cold dark night in the middle of winter? Well turns out those big paychecks and extravagant perks come with a price. There are no paychecks and the only perks are people thinking you are crazy, so you can see why I was less than enthusiastic about bringing some snot nosed brats up to speed. The Order had charged me with helping these brats get their first kill and show them how it is to be done.
These two kids could not have been greener. I mean it. They were literally turning green out of fear and horror. Jake, the boy looked like he was about to toss his cookies and run home crying to mommy. He was nineteen and a little over six feet tall. He was well built, not muscular but not gangly, more along the lines of a swimmer or runner. His face still had traces of acne on his cheeks and forehead just below his sandy blond hair. I could see that given a few years and some experience he would be the poster boy for the Order’s Vampire Hunters.
Cassie was a stark contrast, while she was only a few inches shorter than Jake, she looked a little more held together though she still managed to look pale with her African complexion. She had big brown eyes that made her look like one of those American girls they make dolls of, innocent and so out of place in such a violent calling. The Order didn’t discriminate when it came to gender, but deep down I had an urge to protect her from what she was seeing. Call me misogynist but a girl her age should have been out hanging with friends and giggling about cute boys. Not standing in the middle of an empty industrial complex parking lot freezing her butt off about to watch something so horrifying that it would give her nightmares for the rest of her life.
Both kids were staring at an improvised dais made of concrete blocks, rebar and what looked like an entire hardware store worth of chains. All this was necessary to keep the screaming and thrashing vampire restrained. She had been one of those little goth kids, you know the kids who wore black torn clothing and dog collars, as well as dying their hair black and plastering on lipstick and eyeliner. The black only made her pale skin appear to glow like ghost light. I guess she would have been pretty, if you are into Emo chicks, except for the dagger-like fangs that she snapped at me as I walked in a circle around the makeshift platform.
Both of the teenagers stood well back away from the tied up vampire, their fear making them appear years younger than they were. Each held a large wooden stake and a mallet, in addition to wearing large bulky wooden crosses around their necks. They looked ridiculous, the way they were standing and holding their tools in front of them like actors in a play getting ready to go on stage. While there was still some danger from the vampire, this was as safe as it was going to get for them and they were frozen in place.
“Ok kids listen up,” I addressed them in a loud voice as I passed behind them “this is your final test before the Order green lights you for your first hunt. It doesn’t get easier than this because the next time you see a Vampire it will probably be trying to kill you.” Jake’s Adam's apple jumped up and down in his throat, and Cassie broke out in nervous flop sweat.