The Cactus Killer – Chapter 10 and Price Reduction

99 cents

Well it’s Monday and that means we are all back to work (believe it or not I’m not a full-time author, that’s just a hobby).  Even though it’s a Monday, that doesn’t mean it can’t be good.  First up, Power Play is flying off the shelves at the new 99 cent price.  I even received a few emails from people saying they hadn’t seen the book before, so I guess Amazon is starting to advertise it (now that it’s cheaper…).  With that in mind, what the hell, The Cactus Killer is 99 cents too.  The people have spoken and I have listened!  So if you are enjoying that chapters and can’t wait to finish the book, go grab it.  If you are happy to join in for a few chapters a week here on the blog, that’s awesome too.  Personally, I’m just glad you’re reading what I’m typing.

Anyways, on to our next chapter… number 10!  As an old announcer used to say, business is about to pick up!

The_Cactus_Killer

Chapter 10

 Big and ugly just stared at all of us. Well, I think he was snarling too, but I can’t confirm that. I looked over at Reno and I saw him pulling on an extendable metal rod to its full length. Phil was putting a pair of brass knuckles on as well. I’m sure glad they’re on my side.

I too had a way to defend myself. I didn’t use them often and not too many people knew I could, but when necessary, my hands can form into claws. To be honest, I was quite embarrassed by it, because the side effect of using them was the hair on my hands stayed there for a few days and made me look ridiculous. However, staring into the face of this monster and my gun being all but useless, I would deal with it.

I pushed hard and after a few moments of pain, my hands were hairy wolf claws. Not pretty, but certainly effective at defending myself. It was a good thing too because our new friend was no longer standing around.

Reno and Phil wasted no time in engaging, but it didn’t go too well for them. They were fast for sure, but Frankenstein was just as quick. He grabbed Reno by the arm and tossed him aside like he was a kid. Phil used the situation to give him a solid punch to the gut, but nothing really happened. Not one to let others take a whooping, I jumped in too.

In a coordinated effort, Phil and I went to work. Using the brass knuckles, he turned this into a fist fight. He was actually really good, able to duck and dodge everything the monster threw at him. I snuck around to the back and jumped on. I dug my claws into any part of the monster I could find. Even though the skin was tough, I was still able to rip him up. I thought I was doing well until a giant hand grabbed me and tossed me right on top of Reno. A few seconds later Phil landed right beside us.

The impact jogged my senses and my hearing was starting to return. I had to strain, but I could hear Reno.

“You don’t want to miss this Vic, Elizabeth is one angry lady.”

All of us were getting up and getting ready to jump back in, but what we saw told us to wait just a few seconds.

“I’m no expert on vampires, but I don’t think that is normal.” I couldn’t take my eyes off of what I was seeing.

“No, that is far from normal. Only the oldest and strongest of our kind can pull a stunt off like that. Something must have sent her over the edge.”

For the first time, I heard Phil’s deep rumble of a voice. “This sheriff, is called the bloodletting. When one is old enough, they can harness the blood of the last donor they had. But I have never seen a reaction quite like this. I wonder who her last donor was.”

“Gentlemen, that was me.”

**Elizabeth**

It had been decades since I last used the bloodletting, but this creature called for such measures. Usually when used with the blood of a human, a vampire gets a quick boost of adrenaline. But this, this was incredible. I had forgotten that Vic was the last person who gave me blood and the effects were something I could never have dreamed of.

My senses had opened to the world. Scents and sounds were magnified a thousand times over and everything was much brighter and brilliant than I have ever seen. If this is how he truly sees the world, his gift is priceless. In addition to that enhancement, my legs felt lighter and I had a craving for meat.

I looked over and saw all three boys were glaring at me. Phil Ruud should be old enough to know what is going on, but Reno and Vic were probably confused. I had no more time to waste; it was time to see what these new powers could do.

Moving with speed and clarity like I never experienced, I lunged at the monster’s legs. I had planned on punching him, but mid swing my fingernails extended to something like claws and I slashed threw the knee. It howled its horrible growl and for the first time since it arrived, it felt pain. It tried to punch me but missed and I did the same to the other leg. It could not keep up with my movements, so while it grabbed at air, I continued to slice it up.

After a few more passes, I figured the creature would be close to death. I was wrong; yes it was in pain and I was doing damage, but it was also no nearer to death than when I started. I saw the boys start to come over, their eyes full of panic and worry.

“Stay where you are! I will continue to fight this abomination!”

I had filled my voice with persuasion; even Phil was not immune to its effects. All three stopped in their tracks. If I could not defeat this creature, than there was no hope. I was starting to tire as well. This power was good for a quick boost, but never intended to be used for long stretches. Vic said he had faith, so I hoped he was calling on it. We might need a miracle here.

**Vic**

I don’t know what she did, but I felt compelled to stay where I was, even though I knew she needed help.

“Don’t fight it; the persuasion she used is strong enough to stop a charging bull, like Phil.”

I looked back at Elizabeth and the wolfish features she had shown were slowly fading away. Her eyes were no longer yellow, but had faded back to vampire red. The claws she had produced were also shrinking back in. Whatever boost she had received from me was no longer there. I think the creature sensed it too. I don’t know what sort of brain function it had, but I think I saw it smile. We needed a bloody miracle here.

I picked up a scent, one I knew quite well. It was coming from the north fast, but unlike this creature’s smell, this was the scent of the Reds.

“Boys, I think the cavalry is about to show up.”

“What are you talking about; no one else knows we are here!” Reno was upset, but he forgot about the folks who called us for help.

The pack broke through every entrance they could find. Some came in the door, others broke through the windows. Soon the room was filled with fifteen angry wolves, and they wasted no time. They pounced on the monster and just by sheer volumes, were able to pin him down and proceeded to tear him apart. There is a reason they say nothing is as strong as a pack of wolves, and the three vampires got to see it firsthand. Judging by Elizabeth’s look, I don’t think this was the first time she had seen an angry wolf pack. Poor Reno though, he looked like he was close to puking.

After all the carnage calmed down, there wasn’t much left except lots of little pieces of monster. It was a shame, I wanted Dr. Tello to have a chance to study this, but the alternative probably was us ending up as monster food.

One by one, the wolves transformed back into their human selves and I thanked each one. Most looked at my hands and I think it dawned on them just how bad I had it. The ones who looked at me with contempt earlier now gave me pity. I’d rather deal with contempt. Finally, the Alpha Josh Greenfoot approached.

“Sheriff Inglewood, I am glad to see you are safe. We were finishing our run when a strange scent hit us all. Stars above, what was that monstrosity?”

“Well it used to be a human Chief, but not no more. The smell you picked up on was something I have come in contact with before, just not to the magnitude that this thing produced. Also, the human who killed our fellow Red is connected to what is going on up in my territory.”

“So whoever is behind this foul evil is now coming into Texas. I pity anyone who tries to do this to us again. Now we know what to expect, we will not be caught off guard again.”

“No, I suspect you won’t.” I looked back at the vampires; I think it was time for us to head back. “Chief, I am very glad to have met you. Next time we meet, it will be in a bar with beer, not a crime scene.”

“That is a meeting I will be looking forward to.” 

-Jeremy

You can find all of my work, including “The Cactus Killer,” @ www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston

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About Jeremy Croston

I'm a comic loving, soccer playing, devoted husband who has a writing addiction. I can be found at Orlando Solar Bear hockey games, at the local sports bar cheering on my teams from Philly (go Flyers!), and being led astray by my schnauzer, JJ. Check out my Amazon page at www.amazon.com/author/jeremycroston to see my collections. Feel free to friend me on Facebook too at www.facebook.com/jcroston2 (there is another one of me out there apparently). Outside of writing, I work in business development and am considered an expert in all things Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Thanks for stopping by and looking forward to talking to you soon!
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