Mary walked from the bus stop slowly. Another job interview was over and she had gotten another ‘we’ll let you know.’ They never let Mary know. She had lived in Neptune all of her life and they did not waste time letting you know in Neptune. She imagined they put her resume right into the shredder as soon as she left. They forgot her face and never cared about her dwindling funds and growing bills. Of course, why should they care?
Mary’s walk home was never good. There were a lot of broken down houses outside of the Oh Niner part of town. There was also a big empty vacant lot near her house which always kind of spooked her out. A rec center used to stand there. Worst of all, before she even got to the vacant lot, there was a small cemetery that Mary dreaded. Cemeteries had always had that effect on Mary.
She would not have had to endure this walk until the events of a week ago. A week earlier she would have been content to survive on a little bit of babysitting money and a few personal loans. On Tuesday, she had suddenly gotten a surge of energy that she still could not explain. It was like a sudden sugar rush multiplied by a hundred. It made her restless and she had started filling out applications. The fact that she could not explain it pissed her off.
As Mary passed the cemetery, she started to hear sounds. Strange sounds, shoveling sounds. There should not have been shovelling this late should there? It was well past dinnertime and somebody was shovelling. She realized she did not know the cemetery’s hours of operation because she normally did not want to know anything about it.
Mary did not know why but she poked her head through the shrubbery that bordered the cemetery. She was just curious, she guessed. She looked and saw some curiously-dressed men and women digging wildly. Only one of them had a shovel. None of them looked like a member of the maintenance crew. The headstone of the grave also did not look like it was new. Nothing was adding up. Was it her place to get involved?
“Hey! What are you guys doing?” Mary called out. Again, she had no idea why she was sticking her neck out. Something about the situation just got under her skin.
“Go home, little girl.” A girl younger than Mary called back. Her voice burned with the bad attitude of a thousand suns.
Mary frowned and pushed past the shrubbery and into the cemetery. “No. You go home. This doesn’t look close to legal to me. And if you guys work here, then I’m the President of the United States.”
The girl approached Mary with a sassy little saunter. “I’m warning you to get lost. Or else.” The girl was now in Mary’s personal space which only made her angry.
Mary rolled her eyes hard. “Bite me.”
The girl smiled fiercely. “Gladly!” Then the girl’s face just suddenly changed. Her brow got thicker and her eyes got meaner. Her lips curled back and she now had two giant fangs showing. She changed from girl to creature in an instant. Mary stumbled backwards. The two men behind the girl changed too. The second change was what shook Mary from the paralysis of shock. She turned and ran but knew those things were not far behind. She ran through the shrubs and down the street and she could still feel them behind her.
She had run two blocks and into the vacant lot before the girl tackled her from behind. The impact hit her legs hard and she fell hard on the hard-packed ground. She could feel the girl’s claws dig into her calves but she kicked her in the jaw and squirmed away. She got to her feet and found that she was now surrounded.
One of the guys swung a shovel at her and she ducked as it sailed over her head. Instinct kicked in. She grabbed the shovel mid-arc and pulled the guy off balance. She swung the shovel and watched it slice off the other guy’s head. He disintegrated into dust as soon as his head left his neck but Mary did not have time to really take that in.
The girl charged and Mary spun and smacked her in the face with the shovel with a loud clang and plenty of satisfaction. The shovel broke in half with the force of the blow. The remaining man charged and Mary kicked him directly in the chin and sent him sprawling to the ground. She jumped on top of him and drove the sharp end of the shovel handle through his heart. He also disintegrated into dust. The girl charged again but now Mary was unprepared on her hands and knees.
Gunshots rang out and the girl’s head exploded before she also became dust. Mary blinked at the piles of dust around her for a moment before looking up. Three people were approaching. There was a girl with short blonde hair, a bald tough-looking guy and a brown-haired man wearing a smirk. The last one had obviously fired his rifle at the monster girl.
“Stand down, Logan.” The woman said.
“Are you the police?” Mary managed to ask.
The guys laughed but the woman gave them each a look to quiet them. She turned back to Mary, smiled and shook her head. “We’re Mars Investigations. My name is Parker. This is Logan and Eli.” She said, pointing to each guy in turn. The guys waved and Mary waved back.
“I’m Mary. I didn’t mean to kill them,” Mary said. She carefully stood up.
“We’re pretty sure they were vampires. Don’t sweat it.” Eli said with a shrug.
“Vampires?” Mary asked. She was still a little stunned.
“Yeah, Bela Lugosi isn’t dead after all,” Logan said but shrugged when nobody got the reference. “Let’s get back to the office, shall we?”
“Alright. Come with us, Mary. We’ll sort this out. OK?” Parker asked. She was holding a hand out to Mary.
Mary took her hand. “This is crazy but I’ll come with you.” Mary followed them back to their car.