A while later I could smell the smoke from the burned explosives mixed with dirt and rotting zombies. I took another sniff, the humans had survived. I was happy yet frightened; would they shoot me with their boom sticks?
One of the hunters spoke, “Is everyone ok?”
A female responded “I think so.”
An older male groaned, “Oh, my head.”
I found myself chiming in before I could stop myself, “Me okay too.”
After I had spoken I realized how stupid I had been, I covered my lips and cowered down. Maybe they hadn’t noticed, maybe they would move on.
My world exploded in a burst of bright light. I covered my eyes and squealed, “No shoots! No shoots!” I didn’t dare move even though I wanted to run.
“What the heck is that thing?” the older voice asked, as I heard him manipulate a part of his boom stick.
The female spoke next, “Well whatever it is, it doesn’t look dangerous.”
Maybe I wouldn’t get shot. “Me no dang er uss.” I said as meekly as I could.
The blinding light was lowered out of my face, so I uncovered my eyes and blinked, the owner of the younger male voice was examining me. I looked back at him, he was a tall brown haired human wearing strange dirty green clothing covered in little pouches, every inch of their skin was covered except for the faces, but even those had heavy hats perched on top. In their hands they held large scary boom sticks that looked strong enough to turn me into a puddle of goo.
“Who are you?” The younger male asked.
My head itched badly, I scratched through my thin hair, “Me name Choo Toi.”
“Chew Toy?” He asked, he didn’t sound like he believed me. I nodded and peered at his face hoping that he wouldn’t change his mind and squish me.
The female dropped her weapon letting it hang on a strap. I looked at her, she had kindness in her brown eyes. Her olive skin was darker than my Mistress’s unnatural paleness.
“Hey Chew Toy are you hungry?” She asked me nicely. I smiled and perked up my ears. My left one still hurt from where Mara had bitten me.
“Choo Toi, no eats in tree day.” I said while rubbing my stomach.
She pulled something out of a pocket and peeled back the outer covering, she tore off a chunk and handed it to me I reached out slowly so I wouldn’t scare her, humans startled easily. The strange food was sticky and brown, it smelled odd, like something I’d eaten before all this. I looked at the human female again, she didn’t seem to be the type to offer poison, so I took a bite. Manna from heaven! I had no idea food could taste so good! In moments I finished the whole thing.
The older male had been fiddling with a black box with pokey things sticking out of the top that made strange noises. He turned to look at me and said, “What is that thing?”
I tried to make myself as small as possible scrunching my head under my arms.
The nice female who gave me the food stepped in front of him, “Sarge, be nice to the poor little guy!”
She turned back my way after scolding him and bent down to my level, “It’s okay little guy, what kind of creature are you?” She held out another piece of the strange but wonderful food.
I took the food and shoved it down, after finishing I looked up at the nice girl and squeaked, “Choo Toi, is Gob Inn.”
The younger man looked at the girl, I could tell he liked her, “A goblin? Is this your home?”
No this pit of horrors was not my home… my home was long gone. Tears welled up in my eyes, “No Gob Inn, home far.” The memories were painful, “Me taken by Vamp Ear, home in Kal if Horn Eee ah.”
The girl gave me the last chunk of wonderful food. “Aww, the poor little guy was kidnapped from his home and abused by Vampires for fun. That’s horrible.”
“So Chew Toy, why didn’t you run away when we came in the cave.” The young male asked me.
I pointed at my leg, and showed them it wasn’t feeling good. “Me egg ‘urt.”
The female knelt down and held out her arms to me, “Well I guess that means I’ll have to carry you.” I figured she couldn’t be bad giving me good food and all, so I climbed up into her arms.
The Sarge man looked angry, “No, no way! As senior Hunter I say we leave it here to…” he stopped in mid sentence and I realized she was staring him down, maybe she was a sorceress?
He muttered something and moved away.
It was good to have someone giving me good food and treating me nice. I had almost forgotten what it had felt like. I climbed up her strange clothing and found a large loop on her back that I could grab onto.
“Poor little guy, he can’t weigh more than fifteen pounds.” She said to her companions.
“What you called?” I asked her.
“Oh how rude of us, My name is Katrina, but you can call me Kat. This one,” she pointed to the younger man, “is Marty, and the grumpy one over there we call Sarge. Don’t worry he’s a bit stressed.”
They began making their way into the interior of the caves, I felt sad as I realized they would all die in here. No human who ventured inside these walls ever returned. Scarlet Mara would suck them dry and dump their carcasses in the burial mound with countless others.
After a while we came to a place where the caves split into three different areas. The humans argued among each other until Kat asked me, “Hey Chewie, do you know where the Vamp Ears go?”
I did, but I didn’t want to take these nice people to their deaths. I pointed at the drop-off that lead into a lower cavern. It was the longest way to my mistress’s chambers. A tiny stream of water drizzled down the hole. “No far. Please no wet old one hurts me.”
“Old one?” Kat asked.
“She hairy mean, hurts Choo Toi.” I shivered and buried my head into her shoulder.
“We won’t let anything hurt you.” Marty said, but I knew he would be the one hurting soon.
They played with ropes and hooks and things and prepared to climb down into the darkness. The one called Marty went first, hanging from ropes; he made it halfway down when they started yelling. Moments later the shooting started and then more screaming. They had found her worship’s guardians, the undead Wights.
I steered clear of those monsters, they never hurt me because she controlled them, but they scared the pants off me. If I had any pants to lose.
The shooting stopped and I heard a voice say “Welcome brother.” It was Michael one of Scarlet Mara’s latest creations. A victim who she had picked up not that long ago. He was still a baby vampire, but Mara was a master, the stronger the creator the stronger the creation. He had been nice to me the few moments I talked to him before she turned him. He was afraid but resigned to his horrible fate. Somehow he knew he wasn’t going to make it out alive.
After she turned him, he changed; he looked down on me as something not worth wasting time on.
Marty and the vampire argued back and forth for a bit. I felt sad for the man called Marty, his brother was now a vampire and soon he’d be joining them.
Kat fired her boom stick at the vampire hitting him in the head. He fell but I knew it wouldn’t be enough to stop him. “Run Kat run!” I urged her.
The Sarge pulled on her arm and they ran. I clung to her as hard as I could over the broken rocky floor. I glanced behind us, two of the undead minions had made it out of the hole and would be upon them they couldn’t get away.
“Shoots dem!” I yelled, they turned and fired their boom sticks. I covered my ears to keep out the noise, they ran again and I fell off bouncing on my head. Thankfully I have a hard head.
“Chewie!” Kat yelled but was forced to retreat when two more wights climbed out of the hole and charged her.
Darkness closed around my vision, I must have hit my head harder than I thought.
Something in my Hello Kitty backpack was trying to push through my back. I was cold and alone. How long had I been out? I sat up and fished my light out of my pack again. I turned it on and squealed. The vampire Michael was sitting next to me.
“Oh shut up already.” He said as he adjusted his glasses. Being undead he didn’t need to wear them; it was probably a left over habit from when he was alive.
“Sorry, what ‘appen Ma Tee?”
“I took him to Mara, she’ll turn him soon enough.”
“But ‘e be you brother. Why do dat?”
He shook his head, “I cannot disobey my creator.”
“What do you now?”
He shrugged, “I’m supposed to find the other hunters, but I don’t feel like getting shot, staked and decapitated.”
“I go ‘elps Ma Tee.”
“Why? He’ll be a vamp by the time you get there, plus she’ll kill you for meddling.”
“Maybe I gos ‘n finds other ‘unters.”
The young vampire got up and started walking off, “Good luck, just hope they don’t shoot you.”
That made me pause, would the others shoot me on sight? I scanned the cave, something brown caught my eye not far away. I limped over to it and grabbed it. It was some kind of equipment bag the hunters carried. I opened it and shined my light inside. Three heavy wooden stakes lay inside. How many times had I imagined staking Mara through the heart? I put two of them into my backpack and carried the third. Today I might use that to my advantage. I cleared my mind of any thought of stakes, and kept limping toward Her chambers.
“Chew Toy where are you?” One of her thoughts came to me.
Her direct communication startled me, she normally stayed out of my head, “Near fallin’ waters, dem ‘unters try ‘n shoot me.”
“Come to me my pet.”
“Yes warship.” I thought as I grabbed a hold of one of the ropes left by the hunters.
I slid down the climbing rope they made earlier, it had a knot every couple of feet. In a few minutes I stood outside her chambers.
I had something in my hand. I didn’t dare look at it, I dropped it outside she wouldn’t like it.
“What wouldn’t I like my pet?” She asked as I entered her chambers.
I bowed before her and stared at the floor. “Uhh, you no like dem ‘unters.”
“No I don’t. Except for this one.” She said pointing across the room. In the darkness lay a lumpy shape.
Candles ignited revealing an unconscious Marty. I pushed down any emotion, “Oh I see ‘im before. Try ‘n shoot me.”
She leaned back on her couch; I was surprised she hadn’t hit me yet. I looked at his neck, it was still intact, “You gonna make ‘im Vamp Ear?”
She smiled, I’d never get used to her smile, it looked like that of a cat toying with a mouse. “Soon enough my pet, but I never kill someone while they sleep. Bad form you know.”
I nodded and stared back at my familiar spot on the floor.
“Chew Toy, I have another task for you.”
“Yes yer warship?”
“I need you to find the hunter called Harbinger.” She levitated a wicked looking beetle toward me.
“What be dat?” I asked.
“It’s an Egyptian scarab, an ancient artifact of Set.”
I let it fall into my hands as it came close, I could feel malevolence inside it. “Warship, where gets dis ‘tuff?”
She laughed, not a friendly one though, no it was the kind of maniacal laugh that made one feel uneasy. “I’ve been collecting this ‘stuff’ for just a few centuries. Now go, attach it to him. It won’t be easy he’s not… normal.”