Promotion. Gratitude.

“This doesn’t feel like a promotion,” Roe sighed to himself. He took a moment to appraise the two-story, red brick building. A red neon sign flashed “Donna Chang’s” on the second story. It did not look like it needed an ounce of work on the outside. it looked rather ancient, but still in perfect condition. But, the age of the exterior gave him plenty of worries about what horrors lay within.

It was an uneasy morning so far. Roe showed up at the work-site, but the foreman pulled him aside before he got started. His first words put a damper on Roe’s whole day.

“You’re not working here anymore,” his boss said. When Roe immediately demanded to know what he did wrong, his boss laughed; that didn’t help Roe’s mood. “Kid, you’ve gone and done everything right. In six months, you’ve learned more and worked harder than guys that have been with me for years. That’s why you’re getting this promotion and they’re not.”

“Alright,” Roe nodded. He was ready to listen now that his livelihood was intact. “What’s the job?” The foreman grinned and handed Roe a red business card. It was embossed with a golden dragon, and golden text read, “Donna Chang’s” with an address, but no phone number.

“A Chinese restaurant?” Roe asked.

“That’s just where you’ll make contact with your new foreman. She owns the restaurant.”

“How is this a promotion exactly?” Roe asked. The foreman always made him feel like he could speak his mind.

“Higher-level clientele willing to pay big bucks for discretion. Not only that, there are fringe benefits you wouldn’t believe. I’m putting a lot of trust in you by putting your name up for this,” the foreman patted Roe on the back. “Trust me, you won’t regret this.”  With that final encouragement, Roe made the drive out to the restaurant.

After a few minutes of waiting in the car staring at the building, he finally opened his door. He crossed the street and entered the restaurant. A small, tinny bell jingled when he opened the door then a short, elderly woman walked out of a swinging door at the back.

“Hello, Roe,” she said as she approached. She reached him and introduced herself with an outstretched hand. “My name is Donna Chang, and I’ll be your foreman from now on. Are you ready to work today?”  She asked with a stern voice. Roe nodded.

“Yes, Ma’am. I was already at one site before they sent me here.” She giggled lightly.

“Good good. No work for you today. I just wanted to know if you were ready.” She pulled out a card-sized rectangle of glass. “This is a node. Consider it your schedule and your pay. It functions like a credit card and a cellphone, learn to use it.”

“Credit card?” Roe asked. It seemed kind of unusual that she didn’t need his bank information. After his question, he realized his previous boss, Joe, probably sent all the paperwork. To his surprise, Donna nodded.

“You’re on retainer. No work today just means no work today. Joe didn’t mention the signing bonus?” she asked.

“One million dollars, pre-loaded,” she nodded at the node. “Get your things in order, Roe. Reliable transportation, reliable tools, and so on. Many of your jobs will be short notice.” Roe stopped paying attention at ‘pre-loaded’.

“One…one million dollars?” he asked. Donna nodded.

“Joe mentioned discretion was part of the job?” she asked. Roe nodded. “You’ll be working with Fae. Fairies, pixies, werewolves, vampires, and the like. I expect that won’t be an issue?” Roe’s eyes widened; he was surprised, but not shocked. He felt like he was suddenly given permission to believe in the things he knew were real all along.

“Alright,” Roe grinned. “I’m 100% on board. So, you seem wise,” Roe added. “Any ideas how I can thank Joe for this awesome promotion?”

Delicious Opportunity

“Go on!” Terry chuckled and put his arm around Brent. He pointed at Lisa sitting across the red table. The group of friends sat in a Chinese restaurant with a red and gold theme. “Tell her what you do,” he shook Brent while three of them laughed. Brent wasn’t laughing; he was too tired.

“Vampire hunter,” Brent replied. Steve, the third of Brent’s trio, and Terry laughed a bit too enthusiastically. Lisa, Steve’s date, gave a polite smile, but didn’t laugh. Brent saw her eyes widen slightly and she suddenly looked nervous. “Awww, hell,” he thought.

Brent was already worn out. Terry did everything he could to keep Brent up late to jokingly get in the way of his duties. Unfortunately, he still had to try and patrol after they parted ways, and get to work on time in the morning. He had been cutting his patrols short for about month to get more sleep, and he started to wonder if the karma from that decision was sitting in front of him.

This was the first time he met Lisa, but she met Steve about a month ago. Steve stopped joining Terry and Brent at night because Lisa, for some reason or another, could never meet during the day. She finally felt comfortable enough to meet Steve’s friends and he brought them all to what she said was her favorite restaurant.

“Well that’s interesting,” Lisa said. “Excuse me for a moment,” she suddenly stood from the table and dashed to the back toward the bathroom.

“So, what do you guys think?” Steve asked.

“She seems nice,” Terry replied.

“What do you know about her?” Brent asked. Steve rolled his eyes and shook his head.

“I know she’s not a vampire. Not to kiss and tell, but she’s had more than a few chances to sink her fangs into me, if she had them.”

“Congratulations!” a short, wrinkled Asian woman said from beside their table. She pointed at Brent. “1000th customer! Free food for you and your friends. Come do paperwork please,” she said, then turned to walk to the back.

“Thousandth customer?” Brent laughed and looked around the empty restaurant. “This century, I guess.” Brent stood from the red booth and followed the ancient woman down the hall, then into the kitchen. He was surprised to find Lisa standing in the kitchen looking fretful, next to a mountainous man. The giant wore a cook’s uniform with short sleeves; he had dozens of colorful dragons tattooed on his arms. He focused on the sizzling wok in front of him.

“Lisa?” Brent asked as the old woman walked up and stood next to her.

“She is under my protection, hunter,” the old woman said. “She is innocent and means no harm to your friend.” Lisa nodded quickly.

“I like Steve,” she said. “A lot.”

“Don’t make trouble in my restaurant,” the old woman added. “Lisa is a good vampire.”

Good vampire?” Brent chuckled and shook his head. “No such thing.  Are you a good vampire too?” he asked the woman. She shook her head.

“Donna Chang,” she said. “I”m not a vampire, but I protect the good Fae that pass through my restaurant. Brent looked her up and down. He felt confident she wasn’t a vampire, but something about her bothered him. She wasn’t human. Brent was fast enough to keep up with most vampires, and vampires were possibly the fastest creatures he’d ever faced. He felt confident in his ability to rush Lisa before the old woman knew what was happening; even if she was Fae too. Lisa was a vampire, that was good enough for him.

Brent relaxed his hands at his side. In one fast, smooth motion he pulled the silver dagger from behind his shirt and lunged forward at Lisa.

“Takeru,” the old woman said, without making any moves to stop him. As Brent shoved the dagger forward he noticed the hulking chef disappeared from his station. A golden mist gathered at the tip of Brent’s dagger inches before it penetrated Lisa’s neck. In an instant, Brent was on the ground. On his aching back with the wind forced out of his lungs and his own silver dagger poking at his throat.

Golden mist coalesced above Brent and took shape. It solidified into the tattooed chef with a ham hock hand holding the dagger against him.

“I am officially your employer now,” the woman said. “I’ve let you work in my city because you provide a necessary service; not all vampires are good. Also, not all are bad. Lisa lives, but I have a list of others you may eliminate with my blessing.”

“Hah,” Brent managed a weak chuckle while he caught his breath. “What’s the pay like?” He made the joke hoping to stall and figure a way out. He wasn’t prepared for an answer.

“Enough to comfortably quit your day job, Mr. Swift.” Brent’s eyes widened in surprise for a moment. Then he realized it made sense she was checking up on him. “I know your hunts aren’t earning you anything but sleep deprivation. Now that you work for me, you can get some rest during the day, collect a hefty bounty at night, and eat here as often as you like.

“What are you? Brent asked. “I like to know who and what I’m working for.” As soon as he asked his question, the cook disappeared into a golden mist again. After a moment, he rematerialized in front of his wok.

“I’m Unique, Mr. Swift.”

Offering a Seat

“Mrs. Houston?” Erica heard her name and whirled around. She stood at the entrance to her small, single-office in the run down strip mall at 7:50 a.m. about to enter and start her day. The area’s residents did not stir much until about noon. Hearing her name made her jump; she did not expect to see anyone around. She found a short, elderly, Asian woman standing behind her. She relaxed when she realized a woman that ancient wouldn’t pose much of a threat.

“Yes, Call me Erica,” Mrs. Houston smiled and finished unlocking the door. “Come inside. How can I help you?”  She led the old woman in and gestured at a metal folding chair in front of a small wooden desk. Erica dropped her purse in its usual filing cabinet then sat down in front of the woman. “I haven’t seen you around town, are you new here? Mrs… ” she waited for the woman to introduce herself.

“Ms. Chang,” the woman said with a smile. “Yes, I’ve only been here for a day. The word around the neighborhood is you’re someone that can be trusted; you genuinely care about the people here.” She said. Erica did her best to keep a straight face, but her bottom lip trembled a bit as tears gathered in her eyes. She almost did not go to work that day. Until she heard those words she assumed this would be her last day on the job. She’d spent years trying to make a difference but she did not see any evidence.

The neighborhood and a good portion of the city were nearly overrun by crime. The police were paid, handsomely, to stand around and look the other way; they would not lift a finger. Erica had been doing her best to work with the people that did show up at her door. Not only individually but she often put them in contact with each other. Her plan was to try and foster a sense of community so they would be more inclined to help each other. Hearing that they considered her trustworthy changed her mind in an instant.

“Thank you,” Erica managed to hold back the tears. “How can I help you?” Donna Chang shook her head.

“I don’t need your help, I’ve come to help you.” The frail, wrinkled woman made a show of looking around the office with a critical scowl to give Erica a clue about what kind of help she was offering. Erica sat up straighter and shook her head. She did not know anything about this woman, but she knew Dralio made her a similar offer.

“No, thank you,” she nodded toward the door. “You know the way out, it’s not a big place.”

“Dralio is dead,” Donna said. She did not stand from her seat to leave; she stared at Erica expectantly. The social worker sighed.

“I assume you’ve taken his place?” she asked. Donna gave a slight nod.

“I’m giving you the same answer I gave him. I will improve things here. One family at a time if I have to. I will not send anyone your way for extra…,” Erica raised her hands to form air-quotes. “…’work’ that we both know they won’t come back from. I don’t care if you are vampires. You can kill me, but you can’t scare me off.”

“I am not Dralio,” Donna said. “I am not a vampire. I don’t want to kill you or scare you off. It’s as I said, I came to help you.”

“Uhuh, I’ll bet. What’s in it for you?” Erica asked. The stranger’s calm demeanor helped Erica keep her own feelings reigned in.

“Nothing except for the joy of helping others,” Donna replied. Erica scoffed, then forced out several peals of harsh, sarcastic laughter.

“Yeah of course. Why didn’t I think of becoming a mafia boss to help others!?” she asked rhetorically.

“It’s never too late,” Donna smiled.

“What?” Erica asked with a puzzled expression. “You’re serious?”

“What we are does not have to dictate what we do.

The factions that reported to Dralio now report to me,” Donna shrugged. “He grew cocky, sloppy,” the elderly woman pointed at Erica. “Even you knew he was a vampire. I took his seat to teach him a lesson; but, I have no long-term interest in staying here. I am looking for someone to manage things when I leave.”

“And all these vampire factions are going to take orders from a human?” Donna nodded.

“The vampires are only one faction. There are also the werewolves, zombies, and fairies. They will obey your command as if it were my own.”

“Werewolves? Zombies and fairies too??” Erica asked with wide eyes.

“See? That surprised you,” Donna giggled to herself. “Dralio was very sloppy.”


“I’m not going to hurt you!” Nyva spoke loudly at the building. An overhang created a lightless corner that she needed to get by. “I’ need to be seen on camera making my rounds but I’ll ignore you if you ignore me.” She hoped the child knew how to speak. She had no idea how old it was when she noticed it on camera. Nyva did not realize what it was until she stood outside inhaling the sour, gamy scent of werewolf emanating from the darkness. She considered it might be feral and clenched her fists as she moved to pass by.

She felt eyes following her as she walked to her next visual check in, but the short journey was uneventful. After her rounds, Nyva sat at the bank of monitors to wait for her next walk-around. She checked the corner camera several times throughout the hour but did not see it again. She assumed that it fled as she completed her perimeter check until she hit the wall of stench at the corner on her next round.

“I wouldn’t be here in the morning if I were you,” Nyva said to the shadows and continued to walk by. She spent the next hour wondering if it would still be there the next time, and what that might mean. “Maybe it’s hurt.” The realization stuck with her until she stood outside again by the corner, the scent hung in the air.  “Are you okay?” she asked the darkness. She heard rustling in the darkness, then a child stepped into the light. Nyva guessed the young, blue-haired girl to be about six. The blue moonlight fell on her face as she looked up at the security guard’s shiny badge with brilliant green eyes.

“I’m lost,” she said softly.

“Lost?” Nyva looked the girl over. She wore a long light pink nightshirt with no socks or shoes. “How’d you get lost honey? You look like you were in bed.” The little girl nodded.

“I was.. and I woke up…,” she pointed to the edge of the forest. “…in there.” She looked down at her bare feet. “The ground hurt so I came here.” She stomped her foot on the concrete.

“You were asleep and you woke up in the forest?” Nyva asked to make sure she understood. She debated what to do with the obviously abandoned child. The girl nodded. “Fantastic.” Nyva thought sarcastically. She knelt in front of the child.

“I’m Nyva, what’s your name?”

“Stella,” the girl replied.

“Okay, Stella,” Nyva stood and patted her stomach. “I’m hungry, are you hungry?” Stella nodded with an eager grin. “Come on then, I know a great place.” She took the girl’s hand and led her to the parking lot.

“What about your job?” Stella asked.

“One of the other guys will take over when they see me leave with you. We have special rules for lost children,” she said. Nyva lied through her teeth, but she did not want to make the child feel worse on the night she was abandoned. There was no other security in the building, and she was definitely walking away from her job. They did have special rules for lost children, but she could not hand a werewolf over to the police. Luckily she did know someone she could leave the child with and help her find a new job.

“Do you know what I am?” Nyva asked once she pulled out of the parking lot.

“Uhuh, I can smell you.”

“You’re not scared?”

“No, why?” Stella asked. Nyva wondered why Stella’s parents did not warn the girl about the dangers of vampires; then, she remembered the girl woke up in a forest.

Someone should warn her,” Nyva decided.

“Vampires and werewolves don’t normally get along. If you ever see or smell a vampire that isn’t doing a human job do your best to avoid them, okay?”

“But my best friend is a vampire!” Stella replied with a confused tone.

Great, she’s already calling me her best friend. That’s the last thing I need,” Nyva grumbled mentally while she drove. “Well, friends are one thing, but still. You should always be careful around vampires. A lot of them like hunting werewolves for fun.”

“Since when?” Stella asked.

This poor child, her parents didn’t want her at all.” Nyva thought. “I hope you like Chinese food,” she said as they pulled into small parking lot. A red neon sign read “Donna Chang’s” on top of a quaint restaurant.

“I love it!” Stella said. She sounded excited about something for the first time since Nyva met her.

“Awesome, let’s go.”  An old, Asian woman approached them as they entered.

“WHAT ARE YOU!?” Stella let go of Nyva’s hand and ran to the old woman. She walked around her excitedly, sniffing the air around the woman. “You smell sooooo PRETTY!” The woman smiled at the child.

“Hello cub,” Donna said. “I’m a dragon. What are you doing here?” she asked Stella. The girl continued sniffing at Donna and pointed at Nyva without looking. She decided to change tactics.

“My name is Donna Chang, what’s yours?” Stella shook hands with Donna.


“Stella, would you like to eat before you go home?” The girl nodded with a large smile. “Okay, go sit down and look at the menu.” The girl bolted off to a red booth with a golden table.

“Home?” Nyva asked. She looked around Donna to check how far away the girl was.” She leaned closer to Donna and whispered.

“I don’t know how you know where she lives but I’ll chalk it up to dragon magic. However, I don’t think it’s a good idea. She woke up in a forest. Her parents probably drugged and abandoned her.”

“WHAT?!” Stella yelled from the table while staring at them. “THAT’S NOT TRUE!!” Donna chuckled and walked to the booth. Nyva followed with her head hanging heavy with embarrassment.”

“No, it’s not true,” Donna said once she reached the table. She continued to smile warmly. “Nyva doesn’t know everything. I’m sure your parents will be very worried about you if you’re not in your bed in the morning.

“Okay, what do you know that I don’t?” Nyva asked.

“Stella is from a different Earth. Her powers kicked in while she was sleeping, but I can send her home,” Donna said. Then she looked down at the girl. “But if you keep visiting after I send you home I can teach you how to use your power.” Stella nodded then focused on the menu again.

“A different Earth? Those exist?” Nyva asked. “And you never told me about it before?” Donna shrugged.

“No reason to.”

“OH! Can Nyva come to my Earth?” Stella asked. “She can find a job there.”

“Why do I need a job?” Nyva asked. She did but was curious about how the girl knew.

“Because you stink like Zane when you lie,” Stella grinned. The answer only confused Nyva more.

“Who’s Zane?”

“My best friend!”

Magic Hope

Robert stepped into the Chinese restaurant and sat at his regular red and gold booth. He took a moment to admire the dragon-themed decor in the restaurant. Small dragon statues and elegant watercolor paintings dotted the empty restaurant.

When he first discovered the business he wondered how it stayed afloat financially. He rarely saw any other patrons, despite the food being the best he’d ever eaten. It was not until after several visits getting to know the owner he realized the restaurant was a hobby for her. He smiled when he saw the elderly Asian woman step out of the kitchen and head towards his table. He stood to greet her.

“Mrs. Chang, it’s great to see you,” he offered a hand, but she waved it away with a smile and encouraged him to sit back down.

“The usual, Mr. Alonso?” she asked. Robert nodded.

“Please! But, I’m also here on business. That is if you have a minute?”

“Sure, sure. Let me place your order.” She smiled and walked back into the kitchen. Before the swinging door completed its motion she came back out again. The frail woman sat across from him in the booth and smiled.

“Did you bring good news?” she asked.

“Yes!” Robert could barely contain his excitement. He reached into his suit pocket and pulled out a small photo, then handed it to Mrs. Chang. She studied the picture of a young looking couple. The man smiled with a kind, brown-bearded face. His dark green eyes sparkled with hope. The woman’s light green hair was put up in a pony-tail that almost reached the man’s shoulders. She smiled as brightly as the man.

“The Foresters came to me a couple months ago, and I’ve spent the time learning as much about them as I can. They’re good people,” he said. “I wanted to set up an afternoon to let them get to each other. What do you think?” Mrs. Chang set the picture on the table and shrugged.

“It’s not for me to say.” She stood from the booth and walked back into the kitchen. Robert waited almost ten minutes for her to return. She came out of the kitchen carrying a steaming plate of food and an eight-year-old blue haired girl following her. The young girl held on to Mrs. Chang’s apron and did her best to hide behind the petite woman. The old woman sat the plate down in front of Robert, then turned to the little girl.

“Aura you remember Mr. Alonso, right?” The girl nodded from behind Mrs. Chang and released the apron long enough to give a small wave. Mrs. Chang sat in the booth again, and Aura scooted in close to sit next to her. “He has some good news for you,” she added, then handed the girl the picture from the table. The girl looked at the picture and her emerald eyes grew wide. A hint of a smile tugged up at the corners of her lips. Robert pushed his plate of orange beef aside and leaned over the table. He spoke to the girl with a soft voice.

“Mr. and Mrs. Forester asked me to find them a daughter that was just like them. I only know one little girl that’s as special as they are. Would you like to meet them?” Aura looked at the picture again, then at Robert.

“They’re like me?” she asked with a whisper of disbelief. Robert nodded.

“You wouldn’t have to hide anything from them,” he said.

“What if they don’t like me?” she asked.

“What if they do?” Robert countered. Aura took a moment to weigh the pros and cons in her mind. Her head tilted back and forth as mental scenarios played out. Finally, she nodded to herself then looked up at Robert.

“I want to meet them.”

“Alright!” Robert gave Aura a thumbs up gesture. “Tomorrow?” She nodded eagerly.

“I’m gonna go pack!” she bolted from the booth before Robert or Mrs. Chang could stop her.

“Don’t worry. I’ll temper her expectations,” Mrs. Chang offered. Robert waved a dismissive hand.

“I don’t think it’ll be an issue. It’s near impossible to find orphaned fairy children,” he shrugged. “If I didn’t already know where there was one, I never would have been able to help them.”

Family Vine

[WP] Today, you injured yourself and found out something: You aren’t human. from WritingPrompts

Bert sat on the aqua pleather, paper-lined examination table with his feet dangling over the edge. At 23 he was not a short man, but the table was high enough to keep his feet from the ground. He waited for the doctor while browsing the internet on his phone and fighting the urge to scratch. He waited in the room for an hour before a sudden knock at the door startled him. The doctor, a woman with a salt and peppered bob cut and laugh lines around her mouth, smiled as she entered.

“Mr. Hada, how’re we doing today? I’m Dr. Nielsen. What can I do for you?” She stood before him holding a clipboard, but her green eyes focused on his dark brown eyes. Bert lifted his left arm up to show her the sickly, dark green gash that ran up his forearm. “Oh, wow. That could be healing better. When did this happen?” she put on a pair of blue disposable gloves.

“Today, a couple of hours ago,” Bert replied. He grimaced slightly as the doctor touched and pushed at various points along the sides of the wound. After a few more prods she nodded, stood back, and removed her gloves.

“That recently? I take it back, you’re healing perfectly. The coloration and spread are somewhat different than what I’m used to seeing, but it all seems to be normal. I’m glad you came in though, you can never be too cautious,” she smiled. Bert did not.

“It looks like I have gangrene, that can’t be normal,” Bert shook his head. Dr. Nielsen nodded.

“Your immune system must be strained, usually the wound would be a brighter less putrid color by now. But it’s doing its best. Was one of your parents human by any chance? That would explain the coloration.” Bert’s face paled and his eyes narrowed.

“They were both human,” he said flatly. Dr. Nielsen shook her head.

“Oh my, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you. The way that wound is healing, that’s fairy blood in your veins. You might want to have a conversation with your parents about,-“

“They died when I was eight,” Bert interrupted her. “Are you sure it’s not something else?” he asked. The doctor held up her hand in a “wait here” gesture, then left the room. A minute later she came holding a small vial filled with gold glitter.

“This is for our, uh… better insured, patients. But if you’re fae, we’ll find out right away. Arm please,” she said. Bert held his arm out. She opened the vial and tilted it over his arm to sprinkle golden dust on the wound. Seconds after contact with the golden particles dark green vines began to grow out of the wound. The vines grew outward, across the wound from each side. They formed a suture-like bandage over the injury and continued to wrap themselves around his forearm. Dr. Nielsen slipped the vial into her pocket and nodded.

“Definitely fairy blood,” she said. Bert stared at the green vines around his arm and sighed.

“Now what do I do?” he asked. “I mean, work and stuff shouldn’t change, I’m good at my job. But,” he gestured at the vines with his right hand, “how many other weird things can I expect? How do I know if it was my dad or my mom? They don’t have any family left for me to ask.” Bert felt himself on the verge of tears. He did not have anything against fairies or any of the other fae races. But, discovering he was one of them was more than he felt prepared to handle at the moment. Dr. Nielsen placed a hand on his shoulder.

“I’m sorry. I have other patients, and your case is already resolved. The last piece of advice I can give you is to go have some Chinese food downtown. There’s a restaurant named Donna Chang’s; the owner will help you out. She regularly deals with fae folk and she can give you some advice if nothing else.”

Dog Years

[WP] You are living a good life for a Vampire. Working the night shift in a hospital, chatting with patients. Until a new worker joins the night shift. You’d recognize that stink everywhere, a Werewolf! from WritingPrompts

“I’ve come to suck your blood!” Hampton entered Mrs. Churchill’s room with a toothy smile and the old woman giggled like a schoolgirl. Mrs. Churchill was Hampton’s favorite patient and he always went above and beyond to get her to smile.

“I’m afraid all you’ll find in these veins is dust,” she said with a hint of melancholy. Hampton wrapped the blood pressure cuff around her arm and smiled.

“Nonsense, you’ve got enough to feed a football team’s worth of vampires,” he tried to reassure her. He felt an instant connection with her when she pointed out how much he looked like a vampire. He was a nurse, but she took to referring to him as Dr. Acula when they were alone. She had no idea he was a real vampire, but the running gag seemed to please her. After Hampton checked her vitals he sat down next to her. He always saved her for last to give them some time to chat.

“How’s your night going, Emma?” He asked. “Need anything?” Her eyes sparkled and she glanced towards the open door.

“I need a few minutes with the new orderly I’ve seen walking around,” she smiled. Hampton gave her a playful shove.

“Emma! You should be ashamed of yourself. A woman your age? You’re gonna kill that poor man.” They shared a laugh, then Emma released a gentle sigh.

“What I wouldn’t give to be young again,” she said. Hampton leaned over and kissed the wrinkles on her forehead.

“As soon as I figure out how, I’ll let you know,” he said as he stood up to get back to work. He learned to keep the visits short. The more time he spent with her, the more he wanted to turn her. But that would mean she’d be old permanently, and he knew she did not want that. He decided to ask the new orderly to check in on her frequently. He had not met the man yet, but all accounts painted him as someone friendly and helpful.

After asking at the nurses station, Hampton found the man in the breakroom. As soon as he entered, an awful smell assaulted his nose. Hampton’s hand flew to his face to cover his nose as he processed the scent. It was something he had not smelled in at least a century, but was instantly familiar. The new orderly was the only man in the room, and he stared at Hampton with burning eyes. He must have realized what Hampton was. The nurse put on his best smile and nodded at the werewolf.

“I don’t have a problem working together if you don’t,” he offered. The orderly relaxed visibly and nodded. He stood from the table and walked towards Hampton with an outstretched hand.

“I’m Josie,” he said. Hampton nodded and shook his hands.

“Hampton. I’m surprised they didn’t tell you there was a vampire working here,” he said. The two men walked to the table and sat down, but Josie gave Hampton a confused look.

“You mean you told the hospital?” He asked. Now it was Hamptons turn to look confused.

“No, I meant Mrs. Chang. You got a permit to work here, right?” Josie shook his head.

“Do I need one?”

“YES! Sorry, I didn’t mean to yell. But Mrs. Chang runs this city, and all nightfolk need her approval to work with the public,” Hampton said. “Usually she avoids mixing us, but I’d be happy to go with you and point out that we’ve already met.” Josie nodded.

“Thanks, I appreciate that. I’m new in town, and didn’t know I needed to check in with anyone.” Josie said.

“Yeah, you definitely need to get registered. It’s not a big deal, but it helps them keep track if someone gets turned publicly,” Hampton started to explain, but the moment he realized Josie wasn’t registered something else distracted him.

“Wait! You’re not registered!” Hampton jumped up excitedly. “You can turn someone and no one would know! You gotta come with me!” He grabbed Josie’s hand, but the man remained seated.

“What? Why?”

Hampton relaxed a bit, and released Josie’s hand.

“Sorry, I got excited. There’s a patient here that I’ve grown attached to, but if I turn her she’ll just stay old. If you turn her she’ll grow young again, right? At least I’ve heard that’s how werewolves work. It kind of resets the body… right?” Hampton asked eagerly. Josie nodded, but gave Hampton a grim look.

“Yes, but it’s hard on the body. A lot of people, even in their prime, don’t survive it,” Josie explained. Hampton chuckled and cocked his head towards the door to get Josie to follow him.

“Trust me. Emma’s willing to take that risk,” he said.

Fight for Flight

[WP] You’re a three hundred year old Dragon living in modern New York City, and you spend half of your time in human form and the other half as a dragon. One day, you realize an order of Dragon Hunters has come into New York… [Link to post.]


Magnus stepped into the quaint Chinese restaurant after the sound of a jingling bell informed the workers that a customer stepped in. An elderly Chinese woman walked out of a stainless steel swinging door that led to the kitchen. The thin lines around her lips seemed to pull her mouth up into a smile for her new customer, but she stopped when she saw the short round man wearing a heavy brown trenchcoat.


“You’re not a member of this Flight. What business have you?” The woman asked in a tone that Magnus understood to mean, “don’t lie.”


“Hunters have come to the city,” Magnus said with an obvious tremble in his voice. He took a step towards the counter, but the woman’s stern look encouraged him to step back again.


“I know,” she said. Magnus felt like an idiot, of course she knew. “My Flight has nothing to fear. We keep to ourselves and stay in human form. It’s a wonderful city, after all, I’m sure they’re just passing through,” she said. She waved him off, then turned her back to walk into the kitchen.


“Asylum, please.” Magnus fell to his knees with his hands clasped, and tears “I beg of you, my Queen.” The woman stopped in her tracks, then turned to face the man.


“Your Queen?” She scoffed then walked around the service counter to the kneeling, sobbing man. “YOUR Queen?” she hissed. “You dare to suggest you are worthy of joining my Flight?”  The woman’s sharp voice summoned a burly cook with dragons tattooed up his arms from the back. He walked through the swinging door holding two large cleavers. The woman waved him away without turning around; he disappeared back into the kitchen.


“No! I only meant I would do anything to serve you, please. I need asylum.” He prostrated himself completely, forehead against the wooden floor.  The woman appraised him; her eyes narrowed.


“Why?” After a moment of silence, she lifted her spindly leg and stomped on his head, but the man did not dare to move. She repeated the action, and Magnus stayed as still as he could manage while enduring the beating. “YOU’VE BEEN IN DRAGON FORM!!”


“I’M SORRY!!!! I’M NOT A BIG ONE!” he cried. To illustrate his point Magnus’s body morphed into his tiny, pony-sized dragon form in the restaurant. Short, stubby, green wings tore through his brown trenchcoat. His neck elongated only slightly and grew very thick. Magnus’ face stretched and grew into a chubby dragon’s snout with green iridescent scales. The tip of a docked tail poked out from the bottom of the trenchcoat. The woman continued to beat him.


“You idiot! You’re not even trying to hide your magical aura! TAKERU!” she shouted. The burly cook burst through the door then slid across the counter like the hood of a car. In a second he knelt in front of the woman.


“Ms. Chang?” he asked, ready to do her bidding.


“Take this idiot outside and make a scene,” she said. Takeru nodded his head, then stood. Magnus began changing back into his human form.


“Takeru,” the woman said softly. One of the dragons on his right arm began to glow with green light. He reached down and touched the, now, man on the back. Immediately his green wings sprouted again, and he changed into a dragon.


“What are you doing??” he asked.


“You put my Flight in danger. I’m giving the hunters what they came for.”

Dragon Deals (6-4-18)

[WP] Dragons only kidnap legitimate princesses – as such, to cement their legitimacy, both sides in a civil war seek their daughter to be taken by the local dragon. [Link to post.]

“Thank you for meeting with me,” Sergi Vecchio, a rotund man in well tailored black suit nodded politely at an elderly Asian woman wearing a red dress, and a white ragged kitchen apron. “I know you’re a busy woman, Mrs. Chang.” The woman, Donna Chang, gestured to a well used booth towards the back in the shadowy part of her Chinese restaurant. 

“Yes, very busy. Make your point.” She slid into one side of the booth, then looked at the round man 
expectantly. “I have another meeting.” Sergi removed his jacket, then slid into the booth holding it over his lap. 

“Vittorio’s passing this morning has left an opening. An opening that I can fill quickly, in order to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. I just need to get a dragon to accept my tribute.” Sergi explained in a hushed voice. Donna smiled at him.

“Show me your tribute,” she demanded. He pulled a picture of a young, beautiful woman with long dark hair from the coat on his lap and handed it to her. 

“Pretty girl. Daughter?” Donna asked, Sergi nodded. 

“Yes, she’s 21,” he said. Donna handed the picture back. 

“What do dragons benefit?” she asked. A confused look overtook Sergi’s face. He looked at her with a half shrug.

“They get to eat my daughter? What more is there?” She smiled at him and tried to calm him with a dismissive wave of her hand. 

“Accepting your tribute is the favor,” Donna began to explain, but she looked up from Sergi when the front door chime jingled. Sergi turned to follow Mrs. Chang’s attention and recognized a rival. The short man in a pale blue suit walked in holding the hand of a lovely young blonde woman. He walked towards Donna Chang the moment he walked in, and greeted her when they arrived at the table. 

“Mrs. Chang,” he nodded politely at the elderly woman, then turned his attention to Sergi. “Hello, Sergi.” Sergi nodded at him in return.


“Sit, sit!” Donna pointed the two gentlemen at the booth. They begrudgingly sat next to each other. 

“You both here for same reason,” Donna said. The two men’s heads turned towards each other, and they stared the other down through slitted eyes. The woman that accompanied Giovanni stood behind him without saying a word. “But one of you more prepared,” she added. Sergi noticed a smirk grow at the edges of Giovanni’s mouth, then he turned to face the young blonde and cursed himself.

I should have brought her,” he complained inwardly. Mrs. Chang caught his attention. 

“What you offer in return?” she repeated her question. Sergi blurted out the first response that popped in his head. 

“15%,” he said. Donna nodded, but Giovanni burst into laughter. 

“15%?? They won’t even bother to wake up for such a tiny amount!” He continued laughing until Donna Chang held up a hand to calm him. 

“Tribute?” she asked Giovanni while pointing at the blonde. He nodded. “What you offer in return?” Giovanni’s chest puffed out, and he turned to stare at Sergi while he answered. 

“I offer my seat. I offer to be a puppet for the dragons, and I welcome them to my city,” he said. Mrs. Chang nodded at him, then stood from the booth. She beckoned the woman with a gesture. 

“Come see kitchen,” she said. Giovanni swatted the blonde’s behind and encouraged her along. 

“Go with the nice lady, kitten. I’ll be seeing you around,” Giovanni said. Then he turned his attention to Sergi. “15%?? This fuckin’ guy!” He punched Sergi in the shoulder. 

“They’re dragons, you’ve gotta think,” Giovanni spread his arms wide in front of him. “BIG. They can do anything they want,” he lowered his voice and nudged Sergi in the side. “And they’re gonna be on my team!” he smiled broadly. “You’d do well to stay on my good side.” 

“Congratulations,” Sergi said, then he scooted toward Giovanni to hint that he wanted to exit. Giovanni refused to move. “Excuse me,” Sergi said. 

“Oh, sorry there pal,” Giovanni’s laughter continued while he slid out of the booth to let Sergi out. As Sergi finished putting his jacket on Donna Chang walked out of the kitchen alone. She noticed Sergi readying himself to leave and walked to him. 

“Bring daughter tomorrow,” she handed him a large golden coin with a dragon’s head on one side and a sun etched into the other side. “Your tribute has been accepted.” 

“WHAT? What about me??” Giovanna slammed his hand against the table and stood with a ruckus. The ruckus attracted attention from the kitchen; in seconds three burly cooks sporting dragon tattoos and wielding meat cleavers appeared around Donna Chang. Giovanni put his hands up and sat down slowly. “Where’s my tribute?” Donna shrugged.

“On the way home. Not good tribute, so I free her.” 

“She’s a perfect tribute! My own daughter!” Giovanni tried pleading his case. The cooks all burst into laughter as they headed back into the kitchen, Mrs. Chang laughed also. 

“Pay closer attention to ‘family‘. Your daughter a son,” she continued laughing. “One more thing to remember. They dragons, they do anything they want.” The elderly Asian woman stepped closer to Giovanni and flicked his forehead with her finger. “Don’t want to micro-manage puppet,” she said then lifted a hand to point at Sergi standing in the same spot. “They just want steady income.” 

Taking a Seat (5-23-18)

[WP] For centuries werewolves, vampires and zombies have hunted together, and werewolves get the flesh, vampires the bones and zombies the brain, and this system works perfectly until [Link to post.]

“They expect us to just roll over and give them a cut?” Adam Fenwick voiced his concern to the other two council members gathered at the small, elegant, round wooden table. They sat in a shadowed, private room at the back of a restaurant. “Our partnership has been very lucrative over the past few centuries for our peoples. How does adding a fourth seat to our table help us?” He asked, then sat back and made a show of fidgeting with the golden moon pin he wore on the lapel of his dark suit.

“I agree with the wolves,” the zombie representative spoke with a smooth, electronic male voice. He remained in the shadows, but a faint blue glow emanated from his left eye. 

“You take our gifts, but refuse us your support?” Dralio the vampire asked the zombie. The rotting corpse lifted a robotic hand in front of himself.

“Not refusing. However, I feel the wolves have a valid point. What do we earn in exchange?” the cybernetic zombie asked. Dralio shrugged. An elder female’s voice came from the shadows. 

“In exchange for your cooperation, you earn the right to keep cooperating,” the woman said. An elderly Asian woman stepped into the light. “You misunderstand the purpose of this meeting. It is not a discussion for you to offer your opinions.” Her eyes shined with a bright golden glow; she looked directly at Adam, the werewolf representative. “This meeting is informational. To let you know you are working for us now.”

“WE DECIDE WHO WE WORK FOR!” Adam yelled as he stood up. He slammed his hand on the wooden table. Fur grew out of the back of his hand and head. The front of his face elongated into a snout as he bared his teeth at the strange woman. She turned toward Dralio.

“You didn’t tell him who I represent, did you?” She asked him. The vampire gave a half smirk followed by a shrug.

“It must have slipped my mind,” he said, then laughed. The old woman laughed too, then stepped closer to the vampire. She leaned forward, and brought a single hand up to her mouth, as if she were going to relay a secret to him. He leaned his pale, pointy ear closer.

She whispered something in a language neither of them understood, then the vampire’s head burst into flames. It burned down faster than he could scream leaving orange embers at his neck. The body fell over then disintegrated into ash.

“I apologize for the miscommunication.” The woman stepped over the vampire’s ash pile, then sat in his seat. “My name is Donna Chang and I represent the Dragon clans.” Adam reverted to his human form, and sat down.

“The werewolves will hunt for you,” he said.

“The zombies await your command,” the electronic voice said.