*FIRST AND VERY IMPORTANTLY, THIS IS NOT CANON. THIS IS COMPLETELY UNSANCTIONED (okay, not completely. Larry said I could do this for you guys without his ripping my head off) MHI FANFIC.
Good, now that we got that out of the way, why am I doing this? Both Grant and Fado Negro (Portuguese Monster Hunters) have minuscule parts in Guardian, the MHI book I’m collaborating with Larry Correia on. However, obviously the Portugal of Monster Hunter is not the real Portugal (Really, no arcane creatures come stumbling out of the undergrowth there. If there were arcane creatures, the country would be chock-a-block in them, when you take in account the continuous human occupation since… well, forever.) And this story gives me more of an opportunity to firm the worldbuilding. (Yes, it would be MUCH easier to do this with a notebook and noting things down, but that’s not how my mind works, d*mn it.)
Okay, that’s the rational excuse. The real reason is that d*mn Grant Jefferson won’t leave me alone. (Always had a thing for men from Patrician New England families. Ask my husband.) So I’m torturing him. Also Guardian won’t come out until I do this more or less at same time (I’ll be sending first chapter of that to Larry soon.)
Will this ever be a book? Don’t know. First Guardian will get delivered. Then, this being finished, I throw it at Larry. And then it’s his SOLE DECISION. (Which means, don’t you monkeys hassle him.) It’s his world and his character. I’m just grateful he lets me play in it in Guardian and here for your amusement.*
Third Chapter is here (edited because I was out of it last Monday.)
So, I was trapped in my room with a Lamia. I’d just done my best to kill her, and she’d self-regenerated. And I was out of options.
As she moved, startlingly fast towards me, I jumped on top of the bed and to the other side, trying to slow her down. I ran in ever broader circles, trying to make it out the door, because I had the vague idea that in the hallway I might find something else to kill her with. Of course, she also might get to attack other people, and of course I’d try to stop her doing so, but clearly I needed more space and greater ability to act.
Panic and tiredness got hold of my mind, and I must have lost it, because I caught myself babbling the most inane crap ever, “Ah ah, what a Lamia story! Come on, Madam, are you Lamia? Now I Lamia down to sleep.” As I spoke, I detached a fire extinguisher from the wall and flung it at her head. She ducked, and it hit the wall hard, making a dent in the plaster. Man, it’s a good thing I’d made a lot of money in my years with MHI, because this bill was going to hurt.
Let’s assume that Lamias were like every other vampire. It had to be staked through the heart, but it had to be with wood. I tried to find wood, but I wasn’t sure that either the desk or the bed was wood. They were that kind of painted and antiqued stuff that might be wood, or it might be papier mache or fancy painted plastic, for that matter. For all I knew it was plaster. Didn’t anyone think of the needs of tourists who must kill vampires?
I presumed garlic didn’t work — not that I had any — but if it were an Italian vampire, certainly it would like garlic.
I got to the door, and turned to open it and there she was. Right on me, coils around my lower body, inhumanely beautiful face, next to mine, mouth opening. “I have lawyers.” I said. My father had described his third wife much like this lamia, and this must be some memory of hearing him talk when I was five or so. Predictably it had no effect. She smiled. Or it looked like she was going to smile, but her mouth kept opening and opening, till it was round, and surrounded by needle-like teeth.
I squeezed myself against the door so hard that I might be two-dimensional, while with one hand behind me I tried to open the door, and with my other hand, I reached to my left, blindly looking for something to stop her killing me.
And all through it, the coils kept tightening around me, till it felt like she’d break me in two, with the pressure on my waist. I felt as though lights were going on and off behind my eyes, and I was sure I was hallucinating, because I kept hearing fireworks.
The only thing my hand found was a serpent tail, waving at my head height.
I seized hold of it and pulled on it, while I rolled my head this way and that against the door, trying not to let her bite me. I could feel her scrabbling at my mind, too, telling met his was the best way and that really, my entire life I’d wanted to be devoured by a woman-serpent thing. Honestly, if it weren’t for the fact that by the time I was ten my father was on his tenth wife, and that I’d learned to distrust women if not in my cradle shortly after, I would probably have fallen for it.
Instead, I grabbed the serpent tail hard and pulled. The first pull was easy, and then it seemed to realize it was being pulled and tried to pull the other way. I pulled with all the strength and despair of someone who is being sliced in half by a supernatural creature. Sweat fell into my eyes. It felt like I was going to pass out. In fact, I probably did, but kept pulling anyway, until I shoved the tail, completely, into the lamia’s own open mouth.
She bit down, perhaps by reflex. There was a sound like an unending female scream. As it toppled away from me, I pulled under and away from it, opened the door and got to the hallway. My legs probably were broken, or at least they felt like I was walking with swords up my thighs, but I didn’t have time for that now.
I had a vague memory of seeing a glass case with “Break only in case of emergency” and a firehose and a fire ax behind it.
The fireax was needed in these old buildings because the partitions between rooms weren’t wallboard, and if the hallway was in flames, you might have to escape by hacking your way into the next room and the one after that.
I was fairly sure this was an emergency. I shoved my elbow at the glass as hard as I could, and was almost amazed to see it shatter into the particles that safety glass breaks into. I felt weak as a kitten and half expected it to do nothing.
When I turned, ax in hand, the Lamia had got its tail out of its mouth and got out of my room. It made for me. I swung the ax. It hit her neck and went in like knife through butter, slicing her head off her shoulders. I half expected it not to work, but her head fell, right enough. Blood got all over everything.
I grabbed the head off the floor, and flung it to the end of the hallways. Regenerate that, bitch. Then I thought I should make it harder for her.
I was axing the tenth portion off the tail when I heard someone behind me, “Sir, Sir, what are you doing?”
I turned around, blood spattered and with a maniacal grin on my face. “I want to lodge a complaint,” I said. “Your reception committee was too slithery.”
The person who’d talked was Portuguese and young and looked like some sort of valet. He stared at me and looked down at the ax. I could hear the ax drip blood on the floor and I was not about to let go of the ax, because you never knew precisely what the nice room service guy might really be.
He looked behind me. “That…” he said. “That was a lady.”
“Not hardly pal. Not unless your ladies are half serpent,” I heard myself snarl, and then, not caring what he thought, not caring if he’d just had his world shattered by seeing a legendary monster, not even caring if he thought I was some kind of mass murderer and called the police, I turned on my heel and went back to my room.
If I was going to be arrested, I was, by damn, going to be arrested clean and shaved and feeling like a human being.
I left the ax propped in a corner of the marble-and-tile bathroom, while I washed. The water was kind of low on pressure, but it was warm and there was a lot of it, and it kept pouring over me, washing away all the red, all down the drain.
Some of the red was probably mine, judging from the places that hurt, particularly that place behind my ear, but I really didn’t care. The shampoo smelled of wisteria, and so did the soap, which stung on a lot of my skin, but took even more of the red off.
Towels were abundant, white and thick. I dried myself thoroughly before risking a look in the mirror.
If someone had drawn my portrait right then it would be called a study in blue and purple. There were bruises forming across my forehead, across my chin, and around my neck. The wound beside and behind my ear looked like someone had stabbed me with a circle of sharp needles. It itched. I got some disinfectant cream from my luggage — of course I always traveled with a first aid kit — and slathered it there, and also on an open gash down my arm and in a place around my waist where it looked like someone had attached a lot of suction cups with nails in the center. Rusty nails.
All of it stung, which I didn’t remember the cream doing in the past. I contemplated using band-aids, but it would take like ten of them for my neck, and if I used gauze I would look like a bad remake of The Mummy Wakes.
Instead, shaved, and dressed. Putting on a clean shirt felt good, as did the nicely cut suit. I looked at myself in the mirror again, and looked almost like myself.
There had been no thumps, no one frantically knocking at the door. As I put my used clothes into the laundry bag, wondering if this hotel performed miracles or if I’d have to buy an off-the-rack suit while in town, I half expected the words, “The police have this room surrounded.” Instead there was a sound from the hallway that sounded much like a vacuum.
I put my socks and shoes on, in case someone really wanted to arrest me, because I didn’t want to be arrested barefoot, then opened the door. Someone had taken out of the pieces of cuisinarted lamia, and there were three women in the hallway running carpet cleaners.
I opened my mouth, closed it, closed the door, too, and realized the phone was jumping around atop the marble-top of the dresser producing a sound not unlike a low-level growl. I didn’t remember tossing the phone on the dresser top, but obviously I had. It must have been all bloodied at the time, too, because it had left little dropplets and then a trail of blood as it buzzed along the marble.
I grabbed it, answered, “Hello,” I said. And thinking of the female voice on the phone before, I added, “who are you?”
The growl from the other end told me all I needed to know. Whoever the other voice had been, this was Agent Franks, and he was not happy with me.