[Short Story] Fantasy Fan Con Panic [Excerpt]

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Back inside, Jack and Crystal eyed the couple from the second story terrace overlooking the hotel lobby. They watched a crowd slowly form around their two targets while they swapped use of the Chem-Thermo goggles that had been provided for them.

Among the crowds of cosplayers interspersed with the banner advertisements and kiosks showcasing the newest trends in manga, anime, and fantasy there they stood among them all. Even dressed in costumes like the other con goers, it was frightening yet intriguing spectacle to see these kinds of predators blending in with the other humans down below.

The vampire looked no older than perhaps twenty as he spun his cape and flashed his fangs for the adoring fans that took photos of him and his poses. The young Dracula cosplay look that he was going for must have been some sort of meta-joke of his, or a blatant invitation for someone to stake him right then and there. Even so, he fit right into the costumed clientele of this particular convention. Crystal zoomed in on him, noticing his thin, smooth, innocent, and androgynous looking face with piercing, pale-blue eyes. Crystal raised an eyebrow as he pouted at one of the cameras that coaxed him for another photo. Under the therm-optic filter his body took on a greyish blue hue in a sea of deep red pedestrians that stood or passed him by.

The succubus — the vampire’s partner — was able to spoof her heat signature better among the crowd, but she also shared her undead boyfriend’s meta sense of humor. She was standing next to him with her bat wings and black horns on full display. They looked real, but could just as well be chalked up to being the product of well done prosthetic make up and accessories. Like the vampire, she had a conventional beauty and confidence in the way she carried herself. She wore armor, but nothing that could be considered practical. It reminded Crystal of Xenia the Warrior Princess, but with a shorter leather skirt. Not much left to the imagination. Jack and Crystal switched to the chemical tracer filter on the goggles and could see that she was already releasing pheromones into the crowd. People who

might have been uninterested in the impromptu photo shoot in the lobby, were now transfixed and slowly growing attached to this attractive couple posing together. On the surface, things looked innocent enough, but Jack and Crystal saw it for what it was: lambs being lead to slaughter in some anonymous hotel room later tonight.

As the crowd grew from a dozen to nearly twenty in a matter of minutes, Jack and Crystal got up from their table and began to walk down to the lobby area. They were dressed in post-apocalyptic duster jackets. A cosplay grab that fit with the eclectic dress code of the nerd convention. As they walked, they fingered the holstered, plastic-looking guns that were actually loaded with silver and holy relic tipped subsonic ammo. They were suppose to take this demon and vampire in alive, but if worse came to worse, the subsonic ammo and suppressors would quietly dispose of them. Jack and Crystal each put on their shades and pulled on their gas masks to counter the vampires hypnosis and the pheromones of the succubus.

Now in the lobby, they walked casually into what was now turning into a fan mob. Not a single person among the crowd of ninjas, transformers, and alien princesses noticed nor raised an eyebrow at the Mad Max cosplay couple making their way to the front to see the vampire and succubus “models” gaining attention.

When Jack and Crystal reached them, the two supernaturals noticed them, and momentarily paused their act. For a split second, it felt like a connection was made between the four of them. Fight or flight began to take hold. The vampire and succubus noticed the gas mask and shades Jack and Crystal were wearing and tensed up. The fear in their eyes seemed to surprise Jack momentarily before realizing that he had already put his hand on his gun.

[Novel] Spymancer Chapter 1, Part 2 [Excerpt]

Author’s note: if you want to see the previous part or other stories related to this project follow this link here and here for more!

I carried her body out of the room. My left hand holding the pistol I had hidden earlier as the rest of my arm propped up her legs. I made a jog back to the elevator, but I didn’t make it so far as a few meters before I saw an angel rounding the corner after us.

“Magus!” he shouted, before raising his wings to fire a barb of sliver feathers into my chest.

    Three sharp feathers pierced my body armor, nearly cutting into my heart. My growl echoed into the dark hallway. I gritted my teeth as I struggled to support the weight of Cassidy’s body. I stumbled for a moment, almost into a half-kneel, but I still managed to raise my longinus hand canon and squeeze off several pincer shots that pinned the angel to the wall. The angel scream was deafening with a wave of anger that nearly stopped me in my tracks. Not wanting to waste anymore time, I took a deep breath, held on tightly to Cassidy, and lifted off into a sprint around the corner. As I pasted the angel he continued to spit out a string of curses at me as he slowly died from his wounds. Finally, I made it to the elevator, and using the same enchantment once again, I transformed my hand into that of Agather’s and summoned the elevator via the palm print scanner. The elevator responded with banal, womanly approval in the lyrically brutal, ancient language of Sanctum-Lilim Orthodox. I looked behind me and saw that several portals within the corridor were forming down the hall as more angels warped to my location. I took cover with Cassidy behind one of the protruding walls.

“There’s no way out, James!” one of the angels called out to me, “you’re not going to make half a kilometer before we run you down! Give up Cassidy and we promise you a swift death.”

“Really good at negotiating, aren’t you?” I mumbled.

I switched my pistol to fully automatic and fired blindly from around my small corner as the elevator was in its last moments of descent. There was a moment of pause before I heard there counter offer.

“Say your prayers, half-blood whore!” one of them yelled back in my direction.

I pulled out another loginus grenade from inside my suit and activated the trigger.

“How original,” I said to myself.

Just as the elevator doors opened, I tossed the grenade towards the pack of angels and jumped into the elevator with Cassidy in my arms. I could feel several feathers piercing into my back like knives as I shielded her from the barrage. I could hear the shrapnel exploding behind us as the elevator doors closed and began its ascent up towards the surface to a shrill burst of torturous screams. I kneeled down, placing Cassidy gently down on the floor and pulling out one of the sharp, knife-like feathers from my back. I could feel myself bleeding under the layers of my clothes.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

Cassidy slowly propped herself up and looked up at me. I could see that she was coming out of her fog, but her face told me that seeing me before her was a shock to her system.

“Is this a dream?” she asked.

“No, I’m getting you out of here.”

I smiled, but winced from the effort as I felt another sharp twinge of one of the feathers digging into me. Cassidy got up and held me by my head.

“Cassidy,” I said, gritting my teeth, “do the have the strength to heal me?”

“Yes,”

“We’re going to need to help each other out of this if we want to get out of here alive,” I told her, “there’s going to be more of them waiting for us on the surface.”

She paused.

“Cassidy?”

“I’m sorry James, but I’m not going to heal you.”

I looked up at her. My mouth was open, nearly slack jawed over what I was hearing.

“Cassidy, what the fuck are you doing?”

“I wanted to look into your eyes and see the man that left me for dead,” she said, before grabbing one of the feathers and shoving it into my heart.

I doubled over, falling on my back as she looked down on me. I could hear the elevator screeching, sparks started to fly, and a massive inferno erupted inside the box car. As the fire quickly engulfed us, Cassidy bent down and looked at me, a sadistic smile spreading across her lips. Her beautiful eyes melted and in their place were embers of fire that slowly cracked the skin of her face as if her head was made of pottery.

“Come and die with me, James,” her voice echoed in the flames as the fire consumed us, “die like the cowardly traitor you are.”

I could feel my body shaking, unable to look away from her as the fire became hotter and more intense. Somewhere, I heard someone screaming, the wail becoming louder and louder until that’s all I could hear.

[Flash Fiction] Crystal the Vampire

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“God damn it…”

It was the only thing Crystal could bring herself to say at the start of the evening when she emerged from her coffin to find a dead body on the ground. The man, a gray, naked, husk of a corpse had obviously been drain and left vacant of any life force that she sought to drink from. She grimaced at the dried erection that stuck out from the dead man like a flag pole or in Crystal’s mind, a phallic grave stone.

Crystal remembered bringing the guy over the night before just to take a bit of his blood for feeding. He was so healthy and full of life when she found him, that she knew he’d make a great weekly food source to snack on. Maybe she’d kill him or let him go, but either way, he was too good a catch and too ripe for the taking for her to pass up.

What Crystal forgot to do, however, before going to bed that pre-drawn morning, was lock her bedroom door. There was only one person in this apartment that could have done this. Only a succubus could leave their dead with a boner like that.

“You fucking bitch,” Crystal snarled to herself, her fangs barely able to stay retracted in her mouth as she worked herself up into a fit of rage.

Crystal leaped from her coffin, picking up the dead body as she went, and kicked open the bedroom door. She carried the dead man into the living room where Kimberly was eating a bag of chips while watching something on T.V.

Kimberly, the sultry succubus, looked up from her show. She had another chip just inches away from going into her open mouth before noticing Crystal storming in. Kim blinked with wide eyed surprise.

“Yeah?” asked Crystal, with a raised eyebrow, “remember this?”

Crystal dropped the body onto the coffee table, which caused Kimberly to jump slightly from her half-sitting-half-fetal-position on the couch. Kimberly maintained her composure, as she finished eating her last chip, but her voice betrayed a nervousness that wasn’t fooling anyone.

“His name was Justin, b-by the way,” Kimberly started, “he, he was studying business and liked video games. He was actually…”

“Shut up,” Crystal interrupted.

“Okay,”

“Seriously, what the fuck is your deal, lately?” Crystal asked, her voice rising into a shout, “you know he was mine, right!?”

“W-well,” Kimberly whimpered, “I didn’t take his blood. You can still drink him, right?”

“It’s dried blood, Kim,” said Crystal, speaking slowly as if to a small child. She even lifted one of the limp arms of the corpse and shook it for emphasis as she spoke, “you think I can drink this shit? I need fresh blood! You don’t fuck corpses, do you?”

“I was just…”

“What was going to be our rule?” Crystal asked, though at this point the ask sounded more like a demand.

“Please, Crystal,” Kimberly pleaded, “I was soooo fucking hungry today!”

“THE RULE!” Crystal shouted.

Kimberly looked back at the T.V and took a deep breath before exhaling the longest sigh Crystal had heard from Kimberly thus far.

“Any food that’s being kept in our bedrooms is to be off limits to the other room mate,” Kimberly stated, repeating the vow verbatim.

“Yeah,” said Crystal, nodding, “this is third time you’ve done this to me. You know how hard I had to look? How many nights I wasted trying to find a guy like this?”

“I’m just…” Kimberly tried to speak, but Crystal was having none of it tonight.

“I’ll tell you!” Crystal interrupted, shouting over her room mate, “I had to go to some shitty night club. One of the few in this godforsaken college town, by the way. I had to listen to shitty techno music, while pretending to enjoy shitty drinks, and act like I’m having a good time with shitty twenty-somethings. All this bullshit so I can find myself a fucking human specimen worth taking home with me, because I’m starving as fuck!”

“But, you look like a twenty-something, anyway,” countered Kimberly, “what’s the difference?”

“Kim, I’m forty-fucking-five,” Crystal responded, dead-pan, “doesn’t matter that I got turned at twenty-two and haven’t aged since. You know I can’t stand their music. Fuck I even got a gaming PC to keep these boys occupied while I sleep during the day. Do I look like a gamer to you?”

Kim didn’t have anything to say about that.

Crystal sighed and planted herself on the couch next to Kimberly. She looked at the corpse as a wave of depressive resignation washed over her.

“You didn’t even get rid of the body…” said Crystal.

Kimberly looked down, ashamed at what she had done and quietly placed her bag of chips down on the floor.

“You’ve never had this problem before,” said Crystal, “I know you’re not the dumb slut you pretend to be to snare guys. What’s going on?”

Kimberly looked up at Crystal and looked back at the T.V. To Crystal’s surprise, Kimberly was starting to tear up. Kim bit down on her lip to fight the tears, but she soon exploded into a full on sob. It was the ugly kind of crying that was a rare thing for a demon to do. Crystal had never felt more uncomfortable in her unlife than she did right now.

“Oh no…” Crystal was not equipped for this right now.

“He broke up with me!” Kimberly wailed.

Crystal tried to think for a moment about who Kim was talking about.

“Lazerus…?” Crystal asked.

“Yes!” screamed Kimberly, “that piece of shit! That fucking demon man whore dumped me!”

Kimberly resumed her crying while Crystal turned away and allowed herself to get hit by the pain and guilt she had allowed herself to get mixed up in. Kim always had her ways of making Crystal feel like a total bitch.