Drunk Vampire Hunter by Gol Druberg I was somewhere on the edge of the graveyard when the hangover wore off. Vampires make a liquor of sorts - distilled from cow blood, of all things - and they like to put crushed wormwood in it. This stuff does what absinthe is actually supposed to do. Green fairies? You’re gonna have a whole green cast of Midsummer Night’s Dream acting out their factions in front of you. It’s a truly fantastic kind of drunk. And you won’t become a bloodsucker. The downside - the principal downside - is that recovery takes forever. And I’m not talking about that generally shitty feeling that happens when you party too hard much past age 30 that lingers for a few days and you eat fried garbage and watch Netflix. I’m taking non compus mentus for a day and a half. You need to clear your schedule and have a safe place to curl up with plenty of water and no disturbances. Naturally, I had done none of that. Killing vampires is thirsty work. It’s easier during the day, when they hide in their weird life-in-death torpor from the sun. It’s not risk-free, though. Stabbing things and cutting their heads off never is. Oh, you can sneak up on them, sure. You can even get a good shot in with the stake. But the stake doesn’t kill them, Virginia. The stake just holds them down so you can behead them. That kills them. And they do tend to wake up when you impale them. As anyone would. So if you haven’t got the stake down at one blow, or you haven’t got your axe ready, get ready to wrestle an angry bloodsucker trying to eat you. And I mean that literally. They don’t just poke a hole and drain a bit of red kruvy when you wake them up in daytime. They go full zombie. Anyway, I had done all that. I had stalked a small coven to a churchyard. Which usually means there was a Renfield somewhere on the Church staff. There always is - some derpy schmuck who gets suckered by existential promises to be a Thrall Friday. Usually it’s a parish secretary or other mousey type. Sometimes it’s the pastor. That’s always awkward. So yeah, three of them, coffins in a mausoleum. I tracked them there by triangulating recent bleeding attacks and morgue visits and running that through m y computer at the lab. Nah, just kidding. I got lucky and spotted one of them after she fed off a child. These new female vamps, always nibbling on kids. It means something, but I don’t have the education to determine what. And I wouldn’t trust my conclusions if I did. I’ve seen too much. Right, so, I wait until dawn, and I’m sure that all the Cainites are hibernating and whoever the Renfield isn’t watching. (some of them like to keep a creepy vigil over their masters’ tombs in the daytime. That’s super- annoying because you can’t just kill them. They’re still human). And I approach from the non-church side of the property, so I’m not seen by dawn commuters. And I move with deliberateness, not drawing attention to myself by moving to quickly or too slowly. I am aware of anyone else and simultaneously acting like I belong there.