The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story by Jon F. Merz – Part Eighteen

The Bakeneko: A Lawson Vampire Short Story
By Jon F. Merz

Part Eighteen

Higashi whispered over the din of rain and wind.  “If it’s heading back to the town…”. His voice trailed off but I got his meaning.  A wounded creature heading back to town would be even more dangerous.

“We’ll find it,” I said.

Going downhill was tougher because of the slippery footing underneath.  The tracks themselves started looking strange as well.  I didn’t know if the water was affecting them or if something else was happening.

Lycans, for example, could shapeshift as they moved.  But was this creature capable of that also?

And if so, how?

The trail led us down the side of the mountain, with Higashi still taking point.  He must have thought he had to since he had the flashlight.  I followed behind, turning every couple of steps to make sure nothing snuck up on us from behind.  I’d done enough tracking to know you could loop around in a big wide circle and set an ambush for anyone tracking you.

But then we reached the spot where I’d entered the woods earlier today and stepped out on the Kiyoko’s road.  The tracks vanished.

Higashi stopped and looked back at me.  “What now?”

“We split up?”

He sighed.  “I was afraid you were going to say that.”

I smirked.  “Yeah, I’m not exactly crazy about it, either.  But what choice do we have?  If we want to make sure this thing doesn’t hurt anyone else, we’re going to have to be quick.”

Higashi nodded.  “All right then.  But be careful.”

He broke away to my left, creeping down a smaller path behind another house.  I watched his flashlight beam bounce around for a few seconds and then I moved off down the road.  I drew abreast of Kiyoko’s house and stopped.  There was a light on in one of the windows.  At this time of night?  I frowned.  Maybe she couldn’t sleep?

I crept up the gravel path toward her door.

My footsteps ground the stones together and I froze.

I heard voices coming from inside the house, but they weren’t speaking Japanese.  It sounded like some sort of sing-song Asiatic tongue that I couldn’t understand.  And I’d been exposed to plenty of them.

Then I heard something I could only describe as a horrendous hiss sound followed by a shriek and howl.

I aimed my pistol up at the house as I dashed forward. 

Click here to go to Part Nineteen!

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