Penalty Claws

Author : Jae Miles, Staff Writer

“It’s a vampire!”

“No, it’s not. It’s a biological construct designed to look like a creature from mankind’s horror mythology.”

“It’s got slicked-back hair, fangs, pronounces ‘double-you’ as ‘vee’ and is dressed for a black-tie reception under it’s red-lined black cape. It’s a vampire!”

“How did you see it’s hair?”

“It tipped it’s top hat to me when I screamed the first time.”

“It saw you?”

“Well, yes.”

“Oh bugger.”

With that, Cliché Lugosi drops on us. Time to try one of the psychological tactics suggested by our ‘Asymmetric Controls’ team.

I straighten up with the fake nonchalance of my best imitation toff. “I say, could you possibly take the cabbie? I have an appointment at the opera.”

The pasty white face turns to regard me with eyes of burning blue. The accent is pure Hollywood-Teutonic and tinged with condescension. “For vun who haz not lived even a zingle lifetime, you're a vize man. You may go.”

My informant is not impressed. “What’s a cabbie? Why are you leaving? Oh no! You bast-argh!”

Blimey. It worked. These things must be programmed from old footage as well. That could be useful. Don’t know exactly how, but any edge is another one to stick in your opponent.

Thankfully we didn’t trade the Waddamalur any slasher horror before EarthGov reneged on the trade agreement and made off with the cure for cancer. They are so tiny, we just laughed at them when they threatened revenge. Of course, they are master bioengineers, hence being able to cure cancer. We never guessed they could create whole creatures. Or deliver them to Earth.

I break into a run as my informant’s screams gurgle into silence. Definitely time to be elsewhere.

“Headquarters? This is Helsing Two.” Yes, I know it’s a ridiculous callsign. Don’t blame me. “The werewolf is down. New encounter: vampire by The Clink.”

“Roger that, H2. Return to Southwick Depot.”

The Waddamalur have another trait we didn’t allow for: they have no concept of penance or forgiveness. You offend one; they afflict you back in proportionate measure; end of activity.

We now live on a planet that suddenly has active populations of vampires, werewolves, frankensteins and rakshasa, with no ‘off’ switch for the nightmare. The vamps and weres are even infectious! Some sort of bio-pico-mutation-thing in their blood and saliva.

I certainly picked the wrong decade to go into pest control.

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