Just beyond the woods of Silvervayne, seeped in the white radiance of the moon, was a simple house. It was home to the white witch Ariel, and the friends that accompanied her that night were an odd bunch indeed. There was Cassius, a detective turned monster hunter. Fairly new to the world of the unknown, but no less now part of it. There was Korhea, an ancient vampire lord trapped inside the body of a child. For his bestial appearance of pointed ear and fang, he spoke with an intellect far beyond his appearance. And finally, there was the hunter, Azerius. His sapphire eyes glowing from beneath a hood that shadowed his face.

The four sat on a dusty couch, surrounding a fire that raged from within a caged place. They drank deeply from an odd assortment of beverage. Ariel drank a mysterious translucent liquid that glowed softly with her touch. Cassius drank whiskey from a bottle. Korhea drank thick red from a glass. And Azerius drank from a flask that he hid beneath his cloak after every sip. They were an odd group of friends indeed, but that only made them closer. Stronger. More formidable. It was five days after the night of Halloween, and the hunter had a tale to tell….

“My night of Halloween was a strange one. It was a night of the usual blood and slaughter, but with a twist. I will start from the beginning.” Azerius began, his friends listening intently. “I was hunting a creature of an unknown variety. A creature that appeared humanoid with a pumpkin for a head. I had creatively dubbed him pumpkin head, for obvious reasons. Sightings of him began a week before the night of the thin veil, known as Halloween. But the closer it got, the more he killed.”

“Seriously? Pumpkin head?” Ariel sniggered while Korhea and Cassius held back their own.

“Yes. It’s genius, I know this.” Azerius replied. “Anyway. He had been killing innocent humans in their homes, as they slept, with a jagged blade of sorts, from what I could make out from the wounds. I had found a few of the victims myself, while hunting, their scent of blood thick in the air. The first thing that I had to do was find its lair. So, from the type of blade that it used and trails of mud through the homes of the deceased, I deduced that it must have made home in a farm.”

“Wow… you should be a detective.” Cassius mocked, then grinned.

“I don’t think the law would appreciate my methods of enforcement.” Azerius winked at the detective then continued his story. “As it so happened, there was an abandoned farm within the radius of its kills. I went there with blade in hand to hunt the one that would take life so easily. As I approached, the creature was soon upon me. It appeared before me. Its head a pumpkin. A long curved and serrated knife in its hand. I challenged the creature with my sword pointed toward it, and it took a step back. It knew of me. It feared me. Or so I thought at first. I darted toward it in a blur, and in a flash of silver removed its knife-wielding hand before it could strike. To my surprise, it cried in agony as blood poured from its wound. This was too easy. It was no creature. It was just a man.”

Azerius paused for a moment, for dramatic effect, much to Korhea’s disapproval. “For all that is unholy, finish the damn story!” The little vampire lord glowered at the hunter.

“Okay, okay, little vampire. I’m just getting to the good bit.” Azerius said. “So, there he was, on the floor crying. Flailing, clutching a bloodied stump with his intact hand. Not an it, but a he. I stood over him for a moment, contemplating my next move. I was not here to slay a human, but a monster. At what point does a human become a monster? I pondered. How many lives do they need to take to deserve death from the hunter? After a moment, I had decided. With a flash of my blade, I removed the face of the pumpkin head, revealing the man within. Tears ran down his face as he looked up at me. I brought my face close to his and revealed my own monster within. I flicked my eyes from sapphire to deep pits of obsidian. I said, there are real monsters that lurk in the dark. Monsters that kill. Monsters that feast on human flesh. Do you know of whom those monsters fear? Me. With my words, he fell unconscious. I left him there in the mud. To know of the real world is a fate worse than death.”

The four sat in silence for a long while, contemplating the hunter’s story. They drank and enjoyed the heat from the roaring fire. Cassius eventually broke the silence. “You realise he’s gonna come back next Halloween, right? With a fucking hook for a hand.”

*****

Hey everyone. This was kind of a late Halloween special that I prepared. The story is set in the world of my upcoming Novella, The Hunter, that is currently out to my beta readers.

If you missed my three days of horror (due to being posted on unusual days), please check them out: The Ritual The Article – The Journal

Thank you all for reading! I hope that you all had an amazing Halloween!