The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Four)
As we screamed, footsteps could be heard rushing towards us. The door burst open and in came another wolf, a bit shorter than the first one, wearing a black waistcoat over a dress shirt with the sleeves rolled back.
"I heard screaming," he said. "Everything okay in here?"
We stopped screaming for a bit and stared at this newcomer.
"Ah," he went when he realized we were here. For a moment, he seemed to agonize over what to do. But then he meekly raised a hand and stuttered: "Y-yo. S-sup?"
And then we screamed again. In a panic, we pushed through the second wolf, and stumbled out into a hallway of dark, spotted green carpeting. On the walls hung more picture frames with newspaper clippings that were older than the ones in the office we were in.
"Hey!" shouted the wolf lady. "Stop!"
We came upon two flights of stairs, one that headed up, and another that headed down. No brainer, which one we picked. After reaching the bottom, I grabbed hold of the doorknob, turned it, and stumbled out, the weight of April crashing into me making me lose my balance. Together, we fell into what looked like a cafe. All the chairs were up, however, and the "Open" sign was facing into the store.
I didn't really take in a lot of details about the store at first, though, because there was one person standing in the middle of that store, dressed like wolf boy from earlier in a dress shirt and waistcoat, holding a long broomstick, staring right back at us. He had messy black hair, and his eyes and facial features make him look Asian. However, he also had bluish skin that practically glowed, something his eyes literally did, but red around brown irises. And his ears were pointed.
"What in the world?" the boy exclaimed. As he spoke, his fangs were exposed. His skins, ears, eyes, and fangs were things both me and April had become familiar with in the last couple of minutes.
"It's one of them!" I screamed. Huddled together, me and April scurried away, the edges of our shoes scraping against the hard wood flooring. I don't know about April, but my fear levels were off the charts then.
Understandably, the fanged boy glared at us with an extreme amount of venom. That didn't help to calm us down one bit.
He dropped his broom and went over to the long counter, ducking behind the cash register. A few seconds later, he popped back up, wearing a long black cape with a high collar. In his hand was a black parasol. Loud footsteps banged down behind us, and the two wolves popped out as the boy adjusted his wire-framed, circle sunglasses.
We saw the wolves coming and, I"m embarrassed to admit, I whimpered.
"I'll be back," the fanged boy said to them as he opened the door. Above his head, the small bell rang a short gentle tune. As he exited the store, his cape fluttered.
"Wait, Greg!" the wolf boy shouted.
I looked up at him, and saw "Simon" printed on his name tag. Wait a minute. Greg and Simon? No. Those two couldn't be . . . How could it be possible? Now that I thought about it, that guy looked kind of like him. And that wolf's voice also sounded like the Simon I met earlier today.
"Ah, jeez," went the wolf lady, scratching the back of her head. "Now look what you've done. He doesn't seem like the type, but he's actually pretty sensitive, you know? But I suppose it can't be helped. Judging by what you shouted, it must have been guys of the same species that made you go into a strong enough panic that tripped the emergency magic spell on this card."
She held up the card that had been in my pocket earlier, the one that teleported us away from that gang of monsters into this den of monsters. After flicking the card from her fingers, she let it fly towards us and flutter to the ground. As the card fluttered, the wolf lady pulled up a chair and sat down, propping her elbow on the table beside her, and propping her cheek onto the palm of her hand.
"Do you think you can calm down now?" she said. "It's already closing time, and I need to get Simon and Greg home. Or, if you'd like, you can just walk out of this store right now, and into the cold night where a lot of people like us are walking around right at this moment."
Our eyes followed where she jerked her thumb, towards the windows. My mind nearly went blank with fear again. Outside, we could see all manner of creatures. There were other half-animal people out there like the wolf people here, such as cat people, bird people, and lizard people. A cluster of girls with long, pointed years crossed the road from the shop opposite of this one to the one next to us, while a scrawny, short, green man with long arms used a long pole with a cleaning rag to wipe a window of what looked like a barber's place. A giant woman who looked like she was made with stone lumbered by, holding a stick of cotton candy.
"Apart from the beastkin and the elves, there are also goblins and ogres," the she-wolf said. "Sure you want to bump into them?"
April and I exchanged looks and then quickly, and vigorously, shook our heads.
"Good," said the wolf lady. "Well, I guess some introductions are in order. Better to get a name out so you don't keep calling me Wolf Lady or She-Wolf in your heads."
What the pizza sauce? Could she read minds?
"No, I can't read minds," said the wolf lady. "I'm a detective. I can tell what you're think with just one look at your face."
"A detective?" I said.
"It's on the card," the wolf lady replied, clearly exasperated. "And I said where you were. Above this coffee and tea house is my office, the Dandy Monsters Detective Agency. I'm the current owner of both, Delilah Douglas. My specialty is helping humans with their supernatural-related problems. Be it a witch's curse, or being chased by trolls, I'm the lady to turn to. Well, I say that, but I'm mostly helping the police's magic department stop rogue monsters from making trouble."
"Y-you stop monsters?" April asked. "B-but aren't you one yourself?"
"This again," we heard her mutter as she rubbed her temples. "Look, just because we're born a certain way, doesn't mean that all of us are the same. Just because some evil monsters pop up now and then, doesn't mean all monsters are evil. It's such a basic fact, it should be common sense to you humans, considering how you all recognize that there are all sorts of different humans out there. In that regard, the difference between monsters and humans is only skin deep. But, for some reason, you humans forget something so basic all the time, so people like me have to make sure bad monsters don't drag the rest of our good names to mud.
"Anyway, I'm guessing that the reason you ended up here is because you ended up in trouble with some vampires," Delilah said.
"You were just face to face with one in this very spot just a few seconds ago! That kid who ran off was one. I heard what you said when I came down. 'One of them', I believe. And by 'them', I'm guessing that there was more than one vampire out there causing trouble. Am I right?"
"Y-yeah, I guess," I replied.
"But that's strange. Although there are all sorts of vampires out there, generally, they're not the sort to cause any problems and prefer to do their own thing. There is a certain kind of vampire out there, but . . ."
"But?" me and April said.
"Oh, what does it matter?" Delilah said, throwing her arms in the air. "In a few minutes, when everything outside's sorted, you'll forget all this anyway."
"Huh? What do you mean?" I asked.
"You're from Whitebeard High, right?" Delilah said. "I recognize the key chain. I'm an Alma Mater there myself. One of the teachers there happens to be a powerful sorceress. And as far as I know, no one has yet to best her in a fight. If it's just a bunch of vampires causing trouble, she'll have no problem dealing with them. And once she's done taking care of the trash, we'll just erase your memories and send you on your merry way."
"Say what now?"
What did she mean by erasing our memories? Did she literally mean that?
"You might want to hold off on that."
"Whoa!" I shouted.
None of us heard the vampire guy come in and sneak behind me. But there he was, standing there in his cape, holding sheets of paper in his hands. They looked like forms of some kind to fill out and turn in to City Hall or places like that. Just how did he manage to get in without making any noise? There was a bell hanging above the door for heaven's sake!
"You're back fast," Delilah said. "Everything okay?"
The vampire hoisted his parasol up and let it drop onto his shoulder where he left it at rest. His pose seemed casual, but the grimace on his face only told me that he had some bad new. Dread filled me as he was about to speak. He opened his mouth to say something, but then -
"But first!" April cried out. "How did you get in here without making a sound? Did you turn into a bat or something to fly in? Oh! No wait, you turned into smoke and just drifted in through the cracks."
The vampire, Greg, stared at her for a bit, and then turned to Delilah and Simon.
"She sure recovered quick," he said.
The two werewolves just shrugged.
"Hey! Since animal people exist, does this mean that the three bears dancing the Macarena are actually animal people too? So I was right all along! Ha!"
I was wondering what she had been thinking about this whole time. She seemed unusually quiet for some reason. But seriously, I thought that it wasn't the time to talk about bears in a viral video. I was going to say just that, but then I saw the desperate look on her face, and that's when it hit me. She must have realized that Greg had bad news, but she was afraid to hear what it was.
Hoping to comfort her, I took her hand and gave it a squeeze. She looked at me funny, but the fear in her eyes faded a little. Only a little.
"Ready for the news," Greg asked.
We turned to him and nodded.
Greg sighed. Then he threw off his cape, dropped his parasol beside a chair, and transformed. The blue faded from his skin, and the red glow faded from his eyes. His ears shrank until they were as round as anyone else's. He wasn't Greg the vampire anymore. He was Greg, my step-brother.
"Our parents were taken," he said. "And it wasn't just any vampire causing trouble who did this. It's the Eripmav."
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Three)
Danger lurks in the shadows