By Seressia Glass
“You lost what?” Kira glared at Demoz.
“I lost my pet,” the energy vampire answered. “His name is Frack.”
“Why do you think this is a job for a Shadowchaser?” Khefar asked.
“We can’t leave Frick alone to search for Frack. Perhaps if I show you Frick, you’ll understand why I asked Kira for help.”
Kira followed Demoz outside, Khefar close behind. Their plans were to spend a quiet night together with plates of jollof rice and peppered chicken watching a monster movie marathon. Missing those plans was making her surly.
Khefar touched her hand, startling her and stopping her forward motion. “Watch your eyes.”
Shit. Facing off with an incarnation of Set had filled her with Shadow, tingeing her extrasense neon green. She flattened her emotions and walked down the curved steps. Yessara, a peace angel, was already there. She smiled as they approached. “Greetings, Chaser Kira, Warrior Khefar.”
They nodded their greetings then Kira got to business. “Where is Frick?”
“Hiding in the bushes there.” Yessara pointed.
“It’s all right, Frick,” Demoz called. “Come say hello.”
A pair of orange eyes lit the darkness. Kira tensed as the body those orange eyes belonged to solidified out of the darkness. Demoz eached up to scratch the creature’s chin. “This is Frick, one of my pets. Frack is its littermate.”
Khefar faced the energy vampire again. “Your pet is a gargoyle? And there are two of them?”
“A gargoyle that broke out of your magic barrier and is now running loose somewhere in Atlanta.” Kira looked at Khefar. “We have to stop it.”
Alarm flashed across Demoz’s features as Frick crouched behind him. “Can’t you just capture him and bring him back home?”
“If that’s what you wanted you should have called Magical Animal Control and not the Shadowchaser,” Khefar retorted. “If it comes in contact with humans, you know Kira has to do her job.”
Yessara placed a hand on Demoz’s shoulder. “We know your duty, but hope you find Frack before then.”
“That’s why I asked this favor,” Demoz said. “Remember, we helped you recover your Lightblade.”
Her vision flashed green, the Lightblade in question gleaming in her grip. Khefar stepped in front of her, warning in his eyes, before he turned to face the vampire and the angel. “You ask for the Shadowchaser’s help to find a pet your negligence caused to escape, yet you have the gall to remind her of her lowest point after an encounter with one of the Fallen?”
His voice frosted the air as he pulled his own blade. “Find your gargoyle yourself, because if it has harmed one human life, I will use the Dagger of Kheferatum to unmake it.”
It wasn’t an idle threat. The Dagger of Kheferatum was semi-sentient and far older than the four-thousand-year-old Nubian warrior wielding it. If it wanted to unmake anyone or anything, it would.
Demozraised his hands with a shaky laugh. “I don’t think there’s a need to go that far. Frack is harmless.”
“Then what is the sense of urgency?” Kira demanded.
“Frick and Frack only awaken at sunset on the night of the full moon,” Yessara explained. “At daybreak, they return to their stone form. Wherever that happens to be.”
“Like the middle of the downtown corridor,” Kira muttered. She didn’t want to kill the beast, but Demoz and Yessara had to prepare for the worst. “We’ll find your pet before sunrise.”
Khefar sheathed his dagger then stepped back, turning to her. “We’re going to need a bigger car.”
Demoz reached into his pocket, extracting a set of keys. He held them out to Kira. “There’s a black box truck in the driveway. It’s stocked with everything you need.”
Khefar took the keys. With time being critical, they made their way to the limousine of box trucks. “How are we going to find this thing before sunrise? I mean, it’s not as if he chipped the gargoyle.” He paused. “Did he?”
“Probably not since they turn to stone,” Kira answered. “I know how we can get information, but I need to make a pitstop first.”
Fifteen minutes later, she had him pull up in a small park. “Are we meeting an informant?”
“Something like that.” She grabbed the black shopping bag she’d already doused with her extrasense so that she could handle it. They walked deeper into the park. Kira stepped off the path and stopped in front of a large patch of kudzu. “Lady Hisa. I come asking for information.”
The kudzu rustled. “There is a price to be paid,” a sibilant voice said. “Perhaps the young and tasty one behind you?”
“I am neither young nor tasty, Lady Hisa,” Khefar replied, stepping backward. “I wouldn’t want to give you indigestion.”
The leaves rustled again. “An excellent but disappointing response. Still, a price must be paid.”
Kira reached into the bag, held up the bottle of expensive sake. “I bring a gift from your homeland.”
One vine rose from the mass of leaves, then wrapped a tendril around the bottle of sake before disappearing back into the overgrowth. “A worthy gift. What is it you wish to know, Shadowchaser?”
“We’re searching for a gargoyle that escaped its owner. Can you locate it?”
“I am everywhere,” Lady Hisa said. “Of course I can find it.”
Leaves swayed as if blown by a concentrated wind. “It is hiding in another park, three miles west of here. My children are very interested in it.”
Kira sighed. She knew what “interested” meant. Kudzu ate everything, and living things were a delicacy. “Lady Hisa, please ask your children to leave it be. We’re going there now.”
“Then you should make haste, Shadowchaser. My children are feeling mischievous.”
“Thank you, Lady Hisa.”
“Kudzu is your informant,” Khefar said as climbed into the truck. “You got kudzu tipsy and now a gargoyle in a park three miles away might get eaten by another patch of kudzu. Do I have that right?”
“Yes. Kudzu is always hungry and always growing. We have to get there before it decides to eat Frack.”
Kira gave Khefar directions. The second park was bigger, with more ground to cover. They pulled out the equipment Demoz had stocked: a giant rubber ball, a leash that looked more like a rope for tying up a boat, and a giant box of dog biscuits.
“Are we looking for a gargoyle or a big red dog?” Khefar asked, taking the biscuits from her.
“They consider it a pet, so we’ll have to treat it like a pet.”
“A pet that could do damage to us and the truck. Probably a tank, too.” He looked at her. “Have you ever had a pet?”
“No, have you?”
“I’ve had some stray cats and dogs adopt me,” he answered. “And a certain old spider-god.”
“Where is Anansi? We could have used his web-making skills to snag this thing quickly and be back at home.”
“Off trying to make up with his wife again.” They stopped in the darkest part of the park, beneath a large tree canopy where kudzu had been allowed to spread, then placed all the toys on the ground. “You ready?”
“I guess. How do we lure a pet that could trample us to death?”
“Watch and learn.” Khefar took a deep breath, then grabbed the giant ball. “Here, Frack, Frack. You want your ball? Come and get your ball.”
Kira stared in shock disbelieving what she was seeing and hearing—Khefar using a sing-song voice trying to coax the gargoyle out into the open. He turned to look at her. “Are you going to just stand there, or help? The kudzu’s getting restless.”
Right. She grabbed a squeaky toy and tried to mimic Khefar’s voice. “Hey, Frack. Come on out, Frack.”
“That’s the tone you use when your puppy wets the floor,” Khefar said. “Try again.”
Kira gritted her teeth and tried again. “Frackie boy, we’ve come to take you home. Don’t you wanna go home?”
A whine answered them this time. “He’s there. But if he wants to come out, why isn’t he?”
“The damn kudzu,” Kira said, abandoning the squeaky toy for her Lightblade. “Throw some biscuits in there to distract them. If he’s trapped, I’ll free him.”
“Always.” She stepped into the leaves. Her Lightblade illuminated the darkness, causing some of the vines to slither away. The light caught the shape of the gargoyle, lying on its side, vines entwined around his limbs. It whimpered when it saw her, a plea for help written clearly in its eyes.
“Don’t worry, Frack, we’re going to get you out of here, okay?” She glanced at the kudzu. “I don’t want to hurt you, but this one’s going home with me. Let him go or feel my blade.”
More biscuits landed in the leaves. Something was better than nothing—or death—so the vines slowly unwound. The gargoyle jumped to its feet, tail wagging happily. It started toward a biscuit, then hurriedly stepped back.
Kira smiled, then leaned forward. “If you want some, that man over there has a whole box full.”
The gargoyle leapt free of the kudzu. Khefar couldn’t brace himself before the half-ton creature bounced towards him. It transformed into the size of a Labrador but still knocked Khefar onto his back before covering him with licks.
Smothering a laugh, Kira walked over to them as Frack wolfed down as many biscuits as it could reach. “Are you okay?”
“I’ll live. Just because he’s smaller, doesn’t mean he’s lighter.” He sat up. “I can’t believe we caught a gargoyle using Scooby Snacks.”
She stretched out a hand to pull him to his feet. “I can’t believe you know about Scooby Snacks.”
“I’m older than you are. I can’t believe you know what Scooby Snacks are.”
They loaded the gargoyle into the back of the truck. “Let get him home, and then get ourselves home.”
“You think the jollof rice is still good?”
Khefar gave one of his rare smiles as he started the truck. “There’s never a time when jollof rice is bad.”
Today’s contest / giveaway is for one ebook copy of THE LOVE CON on it’s release day, December 14th!!
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Contest starts today, and one winner will be chosen from all eligible commenters at the end of our event. Winner will be chosen, then announced in our wrap-up post on November 1st.
Check out the Kick-off post HERE to see the full list of authors participating in our 2022 Halloween Flash Fiction Blog Event. Links will be added to the main post each day when that author’s story goes live. Each post will include the inspiration image from a DeviantArt creator, the story, and the contest/giveaway info.