The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story by Jon F. Merz – Part Thirteen
The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story
By Jon F. Merz
And then, just as quickly, it was gone.
The wind blew again and the rains pelted the trees above me. The danger – if there had been any – was gone.
But I wanted to get out of the woods and come back when I was better equipped.
I retraced my steps and found my way back to where I’d entered the forest. Out from under the canopy, I was shocked at how much rain fell. I was soaked through in seconds as I dashed back down the street to where I’d parked.
As I grabbed the door handle, I had a sudden feeling of being watched and turned to see Kiyoko eyeing me intently through a window. I waved, but she turned away and I thought nothing more of it. I slid into the car and cranked the engine. I needed a change of clothes and a weapon.
Back at the ryokan, I finally dried off and contacted Niles. He sent me back coordinates and wished me good luck on my hunt.
While on the computer, I did a quick search for mountain cats in Japan. I was surprised to learn that there weren’t any to speak of, aside from something called the leopard cat that was only slightly bigger than a regular house cat. It wasn’t even supposed to exist on the main island of Honshu. But the article also stated that fossils recovered in the past suggested a wider distribution that what had been found currently – and other fossils reportedly showed that Japan had once been home to an even larger mountain cat.
I switched off the computer and sighed. Was it possible that someone had introduced a new species without anyone realizing it? Or was this just a case of mistaken identity? Maybe I’d been too eager to give Kiyoko’s theory credence when I should have just assumed someone had killed the two people and drained their blood.
One thing was for sure, I wanted a weapon from the cache Niles had directed me to. I got back into my car and took my time driving slowly to that destination, taking care to double-back on myself a few times. It was probably unnecessary, but instincts drilled into me a long time ago had a habit of keeping me alive, so I followed them.