Arthur faced the man with the shotgun aimed in her direction. She held her service revolver aimed at him. “I die; you die.”
He smiled, his eyes devoid of warmth.
“I mean it!”
“So do I!”
“Looks like we’re going to hell together then,” Arthur chuckled, then fired and dropped at the same time and fired again.
His shotgun went off.
A second too late.
Buckshot spattered her backside.
She rolled to the right and back onto her feet.
He stood there, calmly reloading his shotgun. “I guess you’re not a vampire after all,” he said with a grin.
“Are you deaf, copper? A vampire!”
She looked at the bullet hole in his chest and between his eyes. She hadn’t missed. She felt cold shivers run up and down her spine. Where was backup when you needed one?
She’d been stupid to rush into the 7-11 when she saw the man with the gun. Superwoman she wasn’t; she faced something incomprehensible.
“What are you?”
He finished loading and put his shotgun in the crook of his arm.
The store manager was crouched behind the counter, where the gunman could keep an eye on him He glanced at him, motioned with his gun. “Come here, snack!”
The store manager, an Indian by birth from Benares, rose slowly with his hands up. “Please, don’t shoot me. I’ve got a wife and children.”
The gunman grinned. “Hell, no intention of ruining my snack.”
Then so fast that Arthur couldn’t move to stop him, the gunman’s right hand reached out, snatched the store manage by his neck and lifted him into the air.
“Let him down!” Arthur shouted, aiming her weapon again.
The gunman chuckled casually. “Look, why don’t we just call this even at this point. You shot me; I eat him and we’re all good.”
Arthur’s eyes weren’t on the gunman, they were on something else. She flicked her eyes back to the gunman, noting all the hair on his arms that hadn’t been there before they exchanged fire.
“Put him down!”
She edged closer to her objective.
The gunman sighed and shook his head. “We all get hungry sometimes.”
“I wait until I’m home to snack.”
She edged ever closer, her face to him, her back to what she wanted. The medicine section. A special bottle.
“You’re really starting to piss me off; if you hadn’t had garlic with your tacos, you’d be dead now.”
“Still got your shotgun.”
“That I do.”
“Then why not use it?”
The Store Manager’s face was turning blue and his hands went limp to his sides.
“Now!” Arthur screamed.
The gunman tossed the Store Manager to the floor and stomped towards her. “I hate bossy women!”
Arthur clasped the bottle she had seen, smashed it hurriedly and tossed it into the gunman’s face, which was slowly transforming into that of a wolf’s face.
He froze, spitting out the substance that had sprayed all over his face.
Then his furry face exploded into flames.
He dropped his shotgun and gripped his throat, making choking sounds and then collapsed to the floor.
Arthur glanced to his right where the Store Manager was still gasping for air. “You all right, sir?”
The Store Manager nodded.
Arthur stepped next to the gunman, whose whole body was beginning to smoke now.
“Mercy!” The gunman begged.
Arthur held his service revolver up.
Excalibur in its golden glory appeared in his hand.
He crossed his chest in the accepted Christian ritual, and then sliced downwards.
The front door of the store slammed open and Dakota came running inside, her weapon drawn, followed by two other policemen.
They glanced at the head that rolled towards them, still on fire.
Dakota looked up.
Arthur holstered his revolver. “How the hell did that happen, Detective Barnes?”
“I’ll need a report.”
She turned to the Store Manager who rose slowly, eyes on Arthur. “You okay?”
“Thanks to the detective I am.”
Arthur grinned. “Well, that’s mighty kind of you, partner.”
Dakota laughed, and then grimaced. “Stop imitating John Wayne.”
“You know damn well who!”
Arthur blew her a kiss and head out the door.
“You know where to find me.”
“Like hell I do.”
“Then I guess you’ll have to try a little harder, sweet cheeks.”
Dakota screamed angrily. “Will someone kill that man for me?”
Sergeant Blake eyed her sternly. “Why do you keep letting that man get to you?”
She eyed him fiercely. “None of your damned business now let’s clean this place up and skedaddles.”
“Now you’re starting to sound like John Wayne.”
She gave Sergeant Blake a shut up look and he nodded to his men, one who went outside for a body bag and the other to secure yellow tape and call in to Central.
She eyed the burning head. “How can one man have so much hair on their face?”
But she already knew the answer. She just didn’t want to admit. Damn Arthur! Why was he always right in the middle of this Halloween bullshit?”
She took a deep breath, holstered her weapon and gave the Store Manager a hand up. “Emergency should be on its way as I speak.”
“But I’m fine.”
She eyed the tears in his throat.
He felt his neck and then gave her a horrified look.
Outside, Arthur was watching from across Martin Luther Boulevard, his eyes on the Store Manager touching his throat. He sighed. “Guess we’ll be seeing each other again, my friend.”
He turned around, shoved his hands into his pockets and walked away.
He’d know if the Store Manager was going to turn or not in the next full moon.
He hauled out the cell he was beginning to love these days. Thumbed on its recorder. “Note to self, my favorite 7-11, Store Manager. Possible werewolf turn. Check back in thirty days.”
He thumbed it off, and then eyed the skies. Not a cloud in sight.
The night was warm.
But behind him a dead werewolf was warmer still.