Vacation. Ruined.

“I know you’re not,” Ruin said. He stared at the man trembling under his blade with cold, red eyes. “But, I can kill you just the same.” Ruin held the silver dagger against Jed’s throat a second longer while they made eye contact. Then, he relaxed and withdrew the blade. Jed exhaled a heavy sigh as he relaxed against the forest floor.

“I should kill you for your stupid little pranks all week,” he said while sheathing the dagger under his leather duster. “I’m here on vacation and I thought some hunting would be fun. The last thing I needed was an idiot trying to convince me he was a vampire for some reason.” Ruin knelt at the trunk of a tree and returned his attention to the trap he was setting. However, he continued to lecture Jed.

“What was your goal anyway? Get killed for being an idiot? Hunters don’t generally mesh well with surprises.” The rugged stranger turned and spat on the costume cloak he tore off Jed. Ruin was setting traps throughout the forest at midnight when Jed suddenly ran toward him with the black and red cloak billowing behind him.

The light given off by the full moon barely penetrated the canopy. Ruin only saw a pale figure charging at him with his arms flapping like he was trying to take off. One scuffle later, he held the dagger at Jed’s neck. 

“You were the one following me,” Jed replied. He sat up but remained seated on the dirt. “Like you were hunting me.” Ruin leat out a heavy, gravelly chuckle.

“Why would I be following you?” Ruin asked.

“You think..,” Jed began his explanation but paused. “I thought.. you thought I was a vampire.”

“And you thought that…. why?”

“The first day you came to town.. I was sick. Pale, and sensitive to sunlight; slight migraine,” Jed said.

“And?” Ruin prodded further.

“You looked at me with the same red eyes you have now. No one else saw those red eyes. You hunt vampires, I thought you were going to hunt me.” Ruin stopped working with his hands and stood to look down on Jed.

“I hunt vampires?” he asked. Jed shrugged, then proceeded to stand up. He trusted the hunter wouldn’t hurt him, but he still wanted to stand eye to eye.

“Gossip travels fast around here,” Jed clapped his jeans to release the dust. Ruin laughed again, this time it was more than a chuckle. It was a full-on belly laugh that made him double over at the waist. After almost half a minute of laughter, Ruin finally began to calm down.

“I don’t hunt vampires,” he shook his head, then pulled off his hat to reveal a tattoo on his bald head. He bowed his head to give Jed a better look in the moonlight. A fanged skull stared at Jed. A blood-red ’42’ sat in the middle of the skull’s forehead.

“What I said when I checked in was…,” Ruin looked up to meet Jed’s eyes again as he put his hat back on. “…I’m a vampire, hunting.” Jed froze. He wasn’t moving, but every muscle in his body tensed. Ruin noticed and sighed.

“Relax, I don’t hunt humans. Or did you already forget I could have killed you three minutes ago?”

“So why are you here?” Jed asked. Ruin shook his head and sighed again. He was annoyed at what seemed to be a townwide lack of listening skills. He already mentioned it this night, as well as when he checked in at the gossipy bed and breakfast.

“To have the worst vacation ever, apparently.”

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