The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story by Jon F. Merz – Part Sixteen
The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story
By Jon F. Merz
Before I could say anything, Higashi raised a hand. “I’m not about to tell you it’s wrong or unauthorized or any of that bureaucratic crap. I’ve got more than I can handle with three deaths right now. The sooner I can resolve it, the better. And if that means some gaijin comes to town with a gun straight out of a bad western, then so be it.”
Higashi barked some orders at the two guys standing around and they moved to the van parked further down the road, returning with a body bag and a stretcher. Higashi nodded at me. “Let’s see if we can make some sort of sense out of this, shall we?”
Higashi led me down to the area around the kill site. I didn’t know how crime scenes worked in Japan, but thus far he seemed to be foregoing the need for yellow tape. Higashi moved to the side of the culvert and pointed. “You see?”
Peering closer, I saw the tracks. They were muddy and far from perfectly formed, which was understandable given the muddy terrain. I didn’t see any claws. Whatever had done this, it wasn’t a Lycan, near as I could tell.
Higashi looked back at me. “What do you think?”
“I can’t tell what made those tracks.”
“Neither can I. But they’re fresh. And that means there are more to be found in the woods. If we hurry.”
“You mean to follow them right now?”
Higashi regarded me for a moment. “Is there a better time?”
“Well, yeah, maybe when the sun is up.”
Higashi drew his pistol and flashlight. “You said you wanted answers for the young man’s family back in Canada. Now’s your chance to get them.”
Since there didn’t seem any point in denying the existence of my pistol, I drew it and followed him into the woods.
Like earlier, as soon as we were under the canopy, the volume of rain decreased as the branches overhead diverted it. Higashi led the way, even though I could have easily tracked in the dark. His flashlight panned back and forth across the soggy ground.
He was right: the tracks were easy to see. Higashi looked back. “Make sure I don’t walk into an ambush. If this animal thinks it’s being hunted, there’s no telling what it might do.”