#ShortStory A Hunter’s Night Off by L.J Cassidy #Halloween2019

Happy Halloween everyone! I haven’t shared one of my short stories for a while so I thought I’d share this fun little story. I wrote this in prep for NaNoWriMo which starts tomorrow and I will be taking part of, and hopefully winning (wish me luck I’m gonna need it!). Without further ado, here’s A Hunter’s Night off…

Mist hung low over the ground, making it feel like I was trapped in a cheesy old horror movie. Occasionally the wind howled, whipping up fallen Autumn leaves. 

It was the perfect Halloween night.

Well, that was if you were inside, nice and warm, not out Trick or Treating with your eight year old son on your first night off in weeks. 

I’m still trying to figure out how my husband had convinced me not only to go out but to dress up and ‘get into the spirit of things’ yet managed to wiggle out of coming himself…I swear there must have been some sort of hypnosis involved.  It didn’t help that the vampire outfit I’d chosen seemed to be made out of the thinnest material known to man, and was as much use as using a tissue against a thunderstorm at keeping the cold out. I tried pulling my cloak tighter around my body but it made no difference. I was slowly turning into an icicle.  

Next year I was dressing up as an Eskimo.

I’d been trying and failing to get Connor to go home for the last five minutes, it wasn’t working.

“Just one more house mum, please,” he whined.

We’d been at it for almost an hour and his bag was barely half full. I felt bad. This was a new neighbourhood and we’d yet to work out who answered their door and who didn’t. I could see him shivering, his own superhero costume doing little to keep out the cold. 

“Fine, just one more but then we’re going home.”

He clapped his hands together and ran towards a house at the end of the street. It didn’t look much different from the other red brick houses around it but there was something definitely off about the place. Maybe it was because every window lit up, like a beacon in the darkness, looking so inviting. I could feel my sixth sense tingling.

“Connor, maybe not that one-”

It was too late, he’d already rang the bell.

By the time that I’d marched up to Connor’s side the door had swung open. A plump old lady stood, surrounded by a golden light. 

“Trick or treat,” cried Connor holding out his bag.

The woman put a hand to her bosom.

“Oh my, aren’t you darling.”

Her eyes travelled to me. There was something in her expression that I couldn’t read.

Another alarm bell rang.

“Well, young man, I have some sweets inside the house but the bowl is far too heavy for me to carry, would you like to come in and pick some?”

“Yes please.”

Connor ran inside before I could stop him.

I let out a sigh. 

He knew not to go into strange houses, what has gotten into him?

The old woman when to close the door but I stuck my foot in.

“I better come in hadn’t I? I don’t want him eating you out of house and home.”

She let out a little laugh.

“Of course. You look like you could do with a cup of tea, warm you up a treat.”

The woman opened it just enough for me to slip in.

I expected Connor to be in the hallway, hovering over a bowl of sweets but he wasn’t there.

“Connor, where are you?”

A strange smell reached my nose, coppery, earthy, maybe.  

“Oh, he’s probably in the kitchen. That’s where I left the sweets. How about I go and get him?”

I could feel the hairs on my arms rise, every sense I had screamed that I should run.

“No, if you point me in the right direction, I’ll get him.”

I took a step away from her but in the blink of an eye she was in front of me.

“I don’t think so my dear.”

She cocked her head to the side and gave me a wide smile.

That’s when I saw her fangs.

Oh, the irony wasn’t lost on me.

“I’m afraid you’re mine now.”

My hand went to my waist, where I usually keep my trusty tools for hunting but I remember I’d taken them off, convinced I was having a night off from all that.

Her nostrils flared.

“You don’t seem that scared. Not at all like my usual prey.”

I adopted a defensive stance.

“I’m not your usual prey.”

She pounced but I was ready for her, catching her in the chest with my boot.

The vampire hissed, steam rising from her chest.

“Silver capped boots, never leave the house without them.”

“Hunter.”

“Got it in one.”

We circled each other, I kept an eye out for any weapon.

I spotted the wooden banister, if I could snap off a piece. It’d make a perfect stake.

My moment of lost concentration gave the creature the edge, charging at me. It caught me around the waist, we crashed to the ground.

I could smell it’s fetid breath, as its strong hands held me down, tearing at my outfit.

Bucking and twisting made no difference, it clung to me.

My boot had worked loose, if I could reach it…

“I’m going to drain you dry, then I’ll start on your little boy but don’t worry, I won’t kill him. I’ll turn him, make him into my son.”

My fingers grazed the back of my boot.

“Why do you creatures always insist on telling me your evil plan before you do it? I mean you could have killed me by now but no, you just yap, yap, yap away.”

It snarled.

My hand enclosed round the boot.

“Oh, I’m going to enough killing you.”

It reared back, opening its jaw wide, ready to rip my throat out.

I brought the boot up, catching it on the face. It was enough for me to wiggle out of its grasp.

I ran for the bannister, elbowing out one of the balusters.

This time when the vampire charged at me, I met it with a sharp piece of wood to the heart.

It burst into dust.

“Mum…”

I heard Connor’s voice. Quickly I shoved my foot back into my boot, readjusted my torn outfit and tried to move as much dust out of the way as possible.

He burst into the hallway a moment later carrying a huge bowl of sweets, the telltale signs of chocolate around his mouth.

“Where’s the lady gone?”

“Oh, she had to go to bed but she told me you can have as many sweets as you can fit your bag.”

His big blue eyes lit up.

“Really?”

“Really really.”

He started shoving handfuls of sweets into his bag until it was almost bursting.

“Shall we go home now?” he asked.

“Come on then.”

I held out my hand which he took, making a mental note to come back later to check there were no more vampires hanging around. The last thing I want is to settle in a new neighbourhood with a vampire nest in it.

So much for my night off.

© L.J. Cassidy 2019