On to the Afterlife

For the entire hour the vampire had stated, he sat comfortably, perusing the werewolf’s newspaper, while the werewolf paced in and out of sight, growling periodically.

“There!” The werewolf pointed at the clock. “It’s been an hour. You can take your new zombie friend and leave.”

“Paperwork first.” The vampire slid a thick sheaf of papers across the desk to the werewolf.

The werewolf growled, bending over to flip through the sheets and scrawl his signature. In his haste, several sheets came close to tearing, and one flew right off the desk. Neither the vampire nor the werewolf seemed to care.

“You missed one,” the vampire pointed out cheerfully, flipping back several pages.

When he’d reached the end, the werewolf slammed his pen down on the desk and crossed his arms, glaring at the vampire. “My bit’s done. Now you do your bit and get out of my hair.” He stalked over to my cell door, unlocking it and holding it open. I backed up against the wall. There was no way I was getting any closer to that vampire than I had to.

The vampire glided forward. The thought popped into my head that the werewolf might lock him in with me, and I hurried through the open door, leaning away from the vampire as I passed him. On my other side, I felt the werewolf flinch as my arm brushed his.

“Wait up,” the vampire drawled. “I won’t bite. Zombies taste disgusting.”

I wheeled around at that. “I’m not a zombie!”

Chloe Illustration
Illustration by Chloe Omelchuck

“Sure you’re not, sweetheart.” Then, to the werewolf, “I’ll get out of your hair now—or should it be fur?”

The werewolf growled. As the vampire hustled me toward the door, I heard the cell door slam shut with a clang.

The vampire pushed me through a side door and towards a large black van parked nearby.

“Don’t touch me,” I snapped, wrenching my arm away.

The vampire just grinned in response to my glare, raising both hands up in the air and waggling his fingers.

When I reached the van, I grabbed the handle of the nearest side door, but the vampire put a hand out to stop me. I flinched back at the contact.

“You go in the back.” He pointed at the rear of the van with another smug grin.

“I shouldn’t even be here!” Despite my protests, I did as I was directed, if for no other reason than to keep the vampire from touching me. His hands were cold and clammy, just like a dead body. “You can be certain I’ll put in a complaint with your supervisor.”

The vampire opened the back doors of the van. “Good luck with that. Clara!” he shouted over one shoulder as I clambered in. “Time to go!”

As the vampire shut the doors behind me, I caught a glimpse of a blond woman in a long, paisley dress as she rounded a corner. The caste mark around her mouth was not one I’d seen before.

“Done tormenting the wolf on duty?” The woman’s voice was muffled, but I could just make out the words.

“It was Augustus,” the vampire replied. “He deserved it. Besides…” The voices faded as they moved out of earshot. I heard a couple car doors slam, then the rumble of the engine. I lurched against the wall as the car started moving on its way to the dead side of the city.


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