Chapter Five – Chisolm’s Prey

It was not fair, not in the least.

The monster who now called himself Vasquez had been called up by one who still worshiped his kind, a señorita who was having trouble with a white man in what had once been part of his domain. He had come at her call and had quickly dispatched of the mortal. It had been while he was eating his prey that the other mortals had come upon him, calling him monster and insisting that it was illegal — for whatever that was worth — to kill a mortal who was apparently some kind of agent of law and order.

Some law, some order. A bully preying on one of his chosen peoples. That was always grounds for swift execution.

Although, honestly? What made him angry was that he did not get to finish his meal. Had he consumed the mortal in full, he would have turned himself over just to see what these creatures thought they could do to him.

The problem was, however, that now the mortals they called monster hunters were on his trail.

He was farther north than he preferred to be, well into what was now the territory of other creatures but had once been his, and the hunters kept chasing. He easily dispatched many of them, of course, ate the ones he could when he was hungry and left the ones he could not when he was not as hungry as a warning. One that went unheeded, but a warning still.

He was currently holed up with the body of one such hunter, dining on him bit by bit as he pondered his next move. He would prefer to go home, but he dreaded leading these relentless pursuers to his brothers and sisters. His siblings, they would not appreciate that, and they could cause him harm.

As he chewed idly on a finger he had removed from the dead hunter’s hand, he heard horses approaching. Mortal horses, not ones like his demonic mount, which likely meant more monster hunters. He heaved a sigh and slipped out the door, spotting the riders still some ways out. He shifted into the space between flesh and shadow, making himself all but invisible to the mortal eye, and walked around the building even as the man and the woman dismounted and walked into his hideaway.

He allowed them to do so, moving around the building back around to the front again and remaining in the space between. Even so, he readied the rope he had retrieved from Diablo, swinging the lasso idly as he waited for some move.

The woman was the one to make it, a startled cry slipping from her as she stumbled backward onto the porch once again. He flung the rope around the woman, let it fall to her feet before pulling tight and dragging her to the ground. He immediately slipped back into the world, pistol drawn and trained on the man who was standing with hands up to show he meant no harm.

He was not fooled: he had seen the gun on the woman’s hip and demanded it. The woman reluctantly dropped her weapon on the ground, and he kicked it away before she could get any ideas. These were odd monster hunters; it seemed they were not even trying.

“He was already dead,” he lied with a nod to the corpse, “if that’s what you were wondering.”

“Have you been sleeping in here?”

What an odd thing for a monster hunter to care about. Still, he replied, “He doesn’t snore much.”

“You Vasquez?” the man asked, seeming to ignore his irreverent words. He did not believe that, given the man knew the name he was currently using.

“You a monster hunter?” he asked in return, even though he already knew the answer.

“I’m going to tear up a warrant,” the man replied. “Just wanna make sure I have the right monster.”

He kept his weapon on the man, even as he pulled out a paper and opened it to show what was supposed to be his current form.

He smirked. “Poor likeness.” There were not nearly enough teeth, to start with. And he thought he had chosen a rather handsome mortal face. These mortals who made the warrants could not draw well, it appeared.

He then frowned, curious as to the fact that the hunter was unarmed. “Where’s your gun?” he demanded.

“Man carries a gun, he tends to use it.”

He chuckled lightly, amused by the hunter. Honestly, mortals were so very young.

“I’m looking to hire some monsters for a job,” the hunter continued, folding the warrant but not doing otherwise with it. “Was wondering if you’d be interested in some work.”

He was somewhat interested. “Does this work involve her?” he asked, indicating the woman. She did not seem suited to be a monster hunter, but perhaps she was in training. If that was the case, then she would not last long in this life.

“Get this off me!” she abruptly snapped as she moved to claw at the rope on her ankles, and he caught a hint of something in her scent. It was not pure monster, very diluted if there was anything in her bloodline. Her fire was amusing, though, and he started to chuckle at her. “You wipe that smirk off your face!”

He chuckled again, greatly amused by the woman. “And when our business is concluded,” he asked, “what happens then?”

The man gave him a steady look. “There’ll still be a lot of monster hunters looking for you.”

“And this is supposed to bring me comfort?” the ancient being asked, already knowing that he would just eat whomever came after him. He was always hungry, and he would always be ready to devour his enemies.

“It should,” the man replied. “I won’t be one of them.”

He stared at the hunter for a moment before a grin crossed his face. He knew he was showing too many teeth from the way the mortal froze for just a moment, but that did not matter. “You are loco, my friend,” he found himself saying even as he reholstered his weapon.

“Sí,” came the reply, and the creature that called himself Vasquez laughed out loud. This could wind up being fun, especially if he got to meet with the other monsters roaming these northern lands.

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