Sticks of Fire–MHI Tampa (a short fan-fic)

“What was it?” asked Olivia as she looked up at the hulking man covered in blood and bits of unidentifiable meat. His partner, a squat, rotund woman of later age continued to smile her matronly smile which was made almost obscene by the fact that she too was covered in blood and various fluids and wearing what appeared to be body armor. Her still smoking shotgun was at her side.

“Oh, I’d say it was definitely your neighbor, Ms. Arbuckle,” said the woman in her strong, Minnesotan accent. She had said her name was Beatrice. A bolt of lightning struck nearby

“Yes, but what happened to her?” she asked. Olivia gulped back revulsion as a stream of sticky, black fluid squirted from the half severed neck of the beast splayed out on her boat dock.

The brute of a man paused from decapitating the deformed mass at their feet to speak to her. “Were-manatee. Kind of a cross between a mermaid and a siren with less fish and more mammal.” He continued to hack at the head until it came clear of the body. Almost instantly the flesh of the creature started bubbling.

“Your neighbor, “ Beatrice spoke as she took Olivia’s hands in hers “must have been bitten by another were-manatee. They’re very, very rare, but as you can tell from the recent spate of deaths along your section of the river, they are creatures that need to be taken care of quickly before they can kill again. I’m sorry it had to happen, were you close to Ms. Arbuckle?”

Olivia gazed at the rapidly deteriorating monster near her feet. It had a manatee like body with clawed arms and a head that, while grotesquely elongated, did still resemble her widowed neighbor, Irene. Only with fangs.

“She was just a sweet old lady who lived next door. I saw her walking her Pomeranians every morning and she’d wave and sometimes bring over cookies. If I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes, I could have never believed she’d lure men off their boats and crush them to death in the water.” Olivia choked back some tears. “Poor Irene.”

Yaz stopped wiping off his machete long enough to look at her. He was easily 6’8” and almost as wide. You could see traces of Greek heritage in his face and black, curly hair. Every last thing about him radiated unfathomable violence except his eyes. His grey-green eyes showed pity on the poor woman who had just watched him yank her deformed neighbor from the canal behind her house and dismember it on her dock. “I’m terribly sorry, Misses…”

“Adler. Miss Adler,” she added with emphasis. A small smile crept up on Yaz’s face, insofar as it could. Down the left side of his face ran a massive channel of scars that went from forehead to his chin. His grin came out lopsided, which Olivia found instantly charming.

Yaz continued. “Anyway, we’re sorry for your loss. I’m also sorry that you’re going to be visited by some governmental goons… “ Beatrice coughed at Yaz’s description. “Sorry B. I mean, you’re surely to be visited by the governmental bureau that handles monster affairs to ensure that your story doesn’t get out. They’ll visit your other neighbors too, so don’t worry about having to come up with a story to cover the gunshots, they’ll take care of that.” Beatrice patted her Mossberg happily, still grinning from ear to ear.

“You two aren’t with the government?” inquired Olivia.

“Oh dear no!” exclaimed Beatrice. “We’re with a private company that hunts down monsters and such. Old company, been around for ages. In fact, we’re just opening a new branch in town here, this is our first mission since we got here a month ago and wow what a doozy!”

“You hunt monsters?” Olivia asked, specifically aiming her question at Yaz.

“Yes ma’am, “ he replied, holding up the skull of her former neighbor. Olivia couldn’t help but feel a little impressed.

“And what happens to… that?” she asked, pointing at the disfigured remains bubbling on her formerly spotless dock.

“We take the remains, send it into the government for verification, and we get a bounty for the kill. This one is rare, so it should net a pretty penny. As for this skull…” Yaz hefted up the elongated and fanged skull and turned it over. The jaw had fallen away already. “I think maybe it will be a nice looking candy dish in the office.”

“Ooh! I know, “ squealed Beatrice excitedly, “I think we’ve finally found something to put on our patch!”

Off in the distance, another lightning bolt crashed down.

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posted by by Robb Allen @
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