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The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Three)
April wasn't kidding when she said that the driveways would be packed. Cars of all shapes and sizes slowly trickled through the road, screeching to a halt after each inch forward. Backpack-toting teens piled into those cars, many having not a care in the world on their faces as the sun was setting above.
Both April and I were sitting on a concrete bench at the front of the school, waiting for our respective parents to come pick us up. For me, getting picked up was an everyday thing, something that hasn't changed no matter how many schools I've transferred to. But for April, it seemed like this was a first in a long while, to be picked up. Apparently, her old man's usually very busy at the local FBI office. That's right. Her father's a fed. I was surprised when I heard about it.
At first, I thought he was like one of those hardcore heroes in suits, solving crimes and taking down dangerous bad guys. But April quickly crumpled up that image and threw it in an incinerator when she told me that all he usually did was paperwork for the bureau. She even showed me a picture of him from her phone, which was, as you might guess, of a guy who could be called a real-life example of a stereotypical television nerd. He had the taped square glasses, the bow tie, and even pocket protectors. I mean, who wears pocket protectors these days?
Together, we waited, and waited, and waited and waited. By the time both of our parents had arrived, the sun was close to completely setting, and all the doors, save one to the main office, had been locked. There were two police officers there to keep an eye on anyone whose parents were going to be late. After hearing the story about the disappearances of kids that go to this school, I'm more glad they're here.
I didn't really mind the long wait, really. It was a blast waiting with April.
"By the way, where's Greg?" April asked. "He's your brother, right? Doesn't that mean that he'll be picked up with you?"
I raised an eyebrow. Now that she mentioned it, she was right. Where was Greg? Looking around, I found that he was nowhere to be seen. He never showed up when me and April arrived. Was he still in the school? Maybe he got out earlier that we did. I did see that there were still people walking home from school, albeit in groups. Maybe he chose to go home with friends.
Just as I was wondering about this, I noticed April looking around, and fidgeting as if she was standing in a walk-in freezer.
"Something up?" I asked. "You're looking kind of nervous."
I figured that she was probably bothered about the disappearance. Well, it was understandable. After all, people from her school were disappearing, and it seemed like anyone of our other schoolmates could be next. Including US.
"Huh?" went April. "No! No. Nothing's up. Just a bit chilly is all."
That could not have been a bigger obvious lie. I'm in a t-shirt and khaki shorts, just sitting in the shade, but I could feel myself breaking into a sweat, my shirt sticking to my back a little. Being a gentleman, however, I didn't pry. I wouldn't need to anyway. You'll understand soon enough why.
Our attention was drawn by the honk of a car horn. Two cars approached. One of them was Terry. The other was a black sedan.
"About time they showed up," I said. Looking up, I could see the last rays of sunlight fade from the dark sky. "Is that car behind the first yours?"
"Y-yeah," said April. Relief was written all over her face. Jeez, she must have been more shook up about that story than she let on earlier. She seemed so normal just a few hours ago (minus the whole thing about the Macarena dancing bears). "Well, see you."
"See you," I said. We hoisted our bags and split to our parents' cars.
Through the windshield, I could see both Mom and Terry together. When their car stopped in front of me, I opened the door and got in.
"Hey!" I said, raising a hand in hello.
"Making new friends, I see," Terry said with a grin. "What did I tell you? I told you he'd fit right in."
"So you did," Mom admitted. "Let's get going."
"Wait," I said. "Shouldn't we be waiting for Greg?"
"Oh, he's with Simon," Terry replied. "He and Simon are usually picked up by Simon's sister. Greg helps them out at their family cafe as a part time job. Simon's sister's also kind enough to drive Greg home, and he's never come home late. So it should be fine."
Oh. So Greg had a part-time job. That kind of surprised me. He didn't look like the customer service type to me.
Mom turned her head to face forward and frowned. "What is that guy doing out there standing in the middle of the road?" she said.
I looked over her shoulder. True enough, there was someone standing in front of us, dressed in black with the hood of his jacket over his head, covering his eyes from view. A chill went down my spine. When someone in a hood does something like standing in front of a car without warning, you know something scary's going down.
Terry frowned too.
He lowered the side window and stuck his head out.
"Hey, buddy!" he called. "Would you mind moving aside? We really need to get going."
The figure in black said nothing. He just continued to stand there.
"Okay," Terry said, retreating his head back into the car.
"I don't like this," said Mom. "Close the window and lock the doors. I'm going to call the police."
"Good idea," said Terry.
Just as he got the window to close, a scream pierced my ears. It came from behind me.
"April!" I realized. Without thinking, I popped off my seat belt and flung open the door.
"Jay!" I heard Mom yell. She sounded very panic, which wasn't like her, being all cool-headed most of the time. "What do you think you're doing? Get back in here, right now!"
But it was already too late. I was out of the car and running towards the sedan where April was being dragged out by more men in hoods. Two car doors were left discarded on the ground.
"Hey!" the man in the bow tie shouted as he tried to break free of the men restraining him. "Leave her alone!"
When I was out, I realized I had no idea what I should do. Not a single thought had passed through my mind except that I had to help April. I had no plan whatsoever.
"Jay!" Mom shouted.
I turned around and saw, to my utter disbelief, that the car was surrounded by a ring of green light. Mom and Terry fought with their doors, but it looked like they were locked inside. The man who had been standing in front of their car was on the move. He was headed towards me.
My first instinct was to run. And that was exactly what I did. I ran towards April with everything I had. I crashed into the men pulling on April. Let me tell you, it was like running to a brick wall. They only barely budged from my tackle, but I did end up bouncing off of them, falling back and landing on my behind, extremely sore all over. Still, I was able to surprise them enough to let go of April. And I managed to make one of those guys' hood fall back.
I froze when I saw the guy's face. His skin was bright blue, and he had pointed ears. His eyes glowed red. And his snarl revealed two fangs. This guy, these guys, weren't even human! April was also staring at the man, dumbfounded.
"Grab them!" I heard one of the others shout.
There wasn't time to ponder about the guy's looks. We had to get out of here. I grabbed hold of April's hands, pulled her to her feet and turned to run. Unfortunately, we were already surrounded. All exits were blocked. Beneath their hoods, I could see pairs of glowing globes of red. They bared their fangs at us, hissing and sneering. Their laughs were full of malevolence.
"Oh man," I said. I kept April close as my eyes swept over our surroundings. They all looked ready to grab us. I prepped to run. Chances were definitely not in mine and April's favor. I could still hear our parents' scream and shout.
April and I were so close, I could hear her whispering.
"Someone," she whimpered. "Anyone, please help!"
"Save your breath!" one man growled in a gravelly voice. "No one is coming to save you."
"No one," they all chanted, mocking us. "No one. No one. No one. No one."
I hated to admit it, but the guy was right. With our parents trapped, there was only the police officer. However, these guys had already gotten to him. Over the shoulders of a few of those men, I could see the police officer's unconscious form get lifted up and carried away to the side of the building. At least, I hope he's just unconscious.
April didn't seem to hear. She just had her eyes closed shut, and continued to pray really hard. I felt like praying too. I thought to myself, "Please! If there is anyone out there, please help us!"
They all closed in on us.
And then a bright light flew out of my pocket and came between us and our attackers.
"Wha-?" I went. I realized, then, that the glowing thing free floating before me and April was the card that Greg had let me keep. Light flew from the card and ringed around me and April. A close up look revealed that the balls of light were actually tiny miniature wolves moving their legs like they were running on air as they circled around us.
"No!" screamed one of the men. "I will not lose her again! Spell casters! Dispell this enchantment at once before it takes hold!"
The other surrounding men raised their hands and started mumbling in low voices. Energy crackled between their fingers. As they continued to chant, hundreds of bats flew out of the glowing card and swarmed above the men before splitting up and diving down. The bats attacked the men, breaking their concentration and chanting. That was probably what caused the energy that had been crackling from the men's fingers to disappear.
White mist spread from the wolves and enveloped everything around us. It spiraled like a tornado, and we were on our knees in the eye of the storm. We were lifted off the ground for just a moment, our clothes billowing against the wind. And then the tornado of white mist disappeared and what held us in the air let go and we dropped painfully to the floor.
"Ow!" I cried.
Rubbing my sore behind, I looked up, and I think my mind just froze for a bit. I couldn't tell how long I just stared ahead. Everything happened so fast that I just couldn't process what happened the past few minutes.
"Where are we?" April asked. She seemed to have calmed down a bit.
That was just one of a billion other questions going through my mind, but I set those questions aside to focus on that one.
Looking around, I could see that we were in some kind of old-fashioned office. Leather-bound books filled a bookshelf standing near the curtain-drawn window. A large, wood desk supporting a laptop computer squatted in front of that window. Beside the bookshelf, framed pictures were mounted on the wall. Most of them were newspaper clippings with headlines like "Another Case Solved!" or "Local PI Does It Again!"
As I looked around, I was startled by an unexpected voice which answered April's question.
"Why, you're in my office," the voice said. It came from the leather chair behind the desk, its back turned towards us.
The chair spun around and revealed to us the person sitting in it. Sitting in the chair was a wolf. No, seriously. A wolf in women's business clothes was sitting in the chair, chin propped on clasped hands, and one leg crossing over the other. The wolf lady flashed a toothy grin, and leaned forward, towards us.
"Welcome to the Dandy Monsters Detective Agency," she said.
I stared. And I think April stared too. We both stared at the wolf lady with our jaws dropped.
Frowning, the wolf lady stood up.
"Are you okay?" she asked, waving her hand in front of her. "Anyone home?"
And then we screamed our heads off.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Two)
Jay enters his new school.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Four)
Jay and April find themselves face to face with a werewolf.