Hunter’s Moon
Brian Campbell

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Ray walked confidently down the darkened street, enjoying the gentle breeze on his face and inhaling the night air. The full moon was just beginning to rise in the east, the Hunter’s Moon. Very appropriate, as he was on the hunt tonight, but his hunt wouldn’t be taking him into the open fields, but into the crowded bars and night clubs, looking for prey.

He opened the door to the first club he reached, and was nearly overpowered by loud rock music smashing into him. Ray’s sensitive ears rebelled at the abuse they were receiving, but quickly adjusted to the volume. It wasn’t the first time he had exposed them to this while on the hunt, and no doubt it wouldn’t be the last.

Ray ordered a beer and found a place at the bar where he had a good view of the crowd. His practiced gaze casually sized up the people sitting in booths or at tables, standing by the pool tables and VLTs and writhing on the dance floor. He sipped his beer and shook his head, mildly irritated. Poor pickings tonight. He considered leaving the beer and trying another place.

That’s when he saw her. She was already entertaining a would-be predator, but something told Ray that that guy was way out of his league. His eyes and ears focused on the couple, blocking out all other distractions and zooming in on his targets. She was a slim, auburn-haired girl, with the outward appearance of innocence and helplessness, but Ray wasn’t fooled. The way she held herself, her poise, the feral gleam in her eyes, marked her as every bit the predator that he was. His senses picked up the scent of the hunt on her. That young man may think himself the hunter, but he was actually the prey, being set up by a seasoned professional. The poor guy didn’t have a chance.  Ray almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

She must have felt Ray’s gaze, because suddenly she looked straight at him. A sly look crossed her face, and she smiled and winked at him. Ray returned the smile and raised his glass to her. She nodded and her finger crooked in an obvious come-on gesture. Interesting. She recognized him for what he was, just as he recognized her, but yet she invited. Why?

Well, best not to keep the lady waiting. He picked up his glass and sauntered over. He casually edged between them, draping an arm over her shoulder and giving her a peck on the cheek. “Oh, there you are, darling. I’ve been looking everywhere for you.” Ray glanced over at the guy. “Who’s your friend?”

She wrapped her arm around his waist and turned to face the guy. “Glen, this is…”

“Ray,” he supplied, sticking his hand out. “Nice to meet you Glen.”

Glen shook it nervously. “N-nice to m-meet you.” He turned to the girl, “G-great t-talking with you Vanesa. I’d b-better g-get going.”

“Do you really have to? Okay, it was nice talking with you too.” Ray and Vanesa watched Glen beat a hasty retreat. Then she slipped out of his embrace and turned to face him. “So, Ray, it appears as though I have to thank you for getting me out of that situation. It was getting a bit uncomfortable.”

“I don’t know,” Ray said. “From where I sat, it looked like you had everything under control.”

She laughed lightly, sounding like the tinkling of crystal bells, and Ray could see her well-polished teeth, the incisors slightly elongated and looking needle sharp. Her black dress set off her pale skin and as she tossed her head back, Ray could see a diamond and gold earring on an exposed earlobe. The earring appeared to be bat shaped. Cute touch.

“Well, thank you all the same,” she said. “Would you like me to buy you a drink, or would you prefer to get out of here and grab some fresh air.”

Curiouser and curiouser. What was this lady up too? “My, my Vanesa. Are you always this forward with men you just met?”

She laughed again. “It must be your animal magnetism.”

Animal magnetism is it? Okay, if that’s the way she wants to play it, the kid gloves are off. “In that case, why don’t we ditch this pop stand and go someplace where we can have a bite.”

Her eyebrows rose at that one. “Indeed. I could use a bite about now. Lead on Ray. “

She took his arm and he led her out into the cool night air. They wandered silently away from the busy streets and into the quieter area of the city. When they reached a darkened alley, Ray felt Vanesa’s arm come away from his and he turned to face her. Vanesa’s eyes were glowing in the darkness and her fangs were much more prominent now.

“Time for that bite you were talking about Ray,” she hissed.

Ray was also changing, hair sprouting on his face and the backs of his hands, his ears and face elongating and fangs forming. “I agree, Vanesa. But what makes you think that you could prey on a werewolf?”

“Simple, because I’m not alone.” As she spoke a large male vampire materialized out of the shadows to stand beside her. She smiled at Ray, her fangs gleaming. “As you can see, my mentor is with me. Together, we are more than a match for you.”

It was Ray’s turn to smile. “My dear Vanesa, you really need to learn more about werewolves. For instance…” As Ray spoke, half a dozen shapes formed out of the shadows and silently crept up behind the vampires. “We hunt in packs.”

Before the vampires could react, the werewolves pounced.