Roger opened the door, stamped snow off of his shoes, and stepped hurriedly inside. He closed the door behind him to block out the cold.

"I'm home," Roger called. He waited, but no one answered. He gazed about. "Anyone here? Hello? It's Roger!" He paused, cocking his head to one side. "…Hello?"

No one answered. Roger shrugged, then took off his overcoat and hung it on the rack beside the door. He swaggered over to the marble staircase, leaning on the intricately-carved banister, and called up to the higher levels of the mansion. "Hallo?"

"Did I miss somethin'?" Asked a voice from behind him, sporting an outrageous, drawling accent. Roger whirled around and stared, wide-eyed, at the man who now stood in the foyer. Muddy boot prints trailed behind him into another part of the house.

"Who are you?" Roger demanded, trying to melt into the banister. "How did you get in here?"

"Didn't see you b'fore," The man said, shrugging. His long, knotted brown hair fell from his shoulders as he did so. Roger noted the stubble covering his chin.

"Where is everybody?" Roger asked.

"You tell me," Said the man. He reached into the duster coat that he wore and pulled out a dangerous-looking pistol. He cocked it and held it up, aiming it at Roger's head. Roger swallowed the lump in his throat.

"So," The man said. "What's a boy like you doin' in a place like this?"

"I…I live here," Roger said carefully.

"Y'all live here. Seems an awful big house for one fella."

"My family lives here, too."

"Big family, is it?"

"I suppose you might say that," Roger said, gazing at the gun in the man's hand. "Look, there's plenty of valuable stuff here, alright? If you'll just-"

"I'm not here to steal anythin'," The man growled.

"Then why are you pointing a gun at my head, pray?"

"Cause," Said the man, casually. "I want you to tell me what you know."

"I don't know anything," Roger said.

"What's your name, boy?" The man demanded.

"Roger Recois."

"Well, Roger, ah have reason to believe that your lovely house is in-fes-ted with vampires."

"Oh," Said Roger, surprised. "I, uh. Really?"

"Yes. Did y'all know that?"

"I'm sure I didn't. Father will be very upset to hear it. I had better call him."

"Is he here?" The man asked.

"I don't think so. Wait a moment," Roger said, taking out his cell phone and quickly dialing a number. He held it up to his ear.

"…Father? Hallo. Yes. There's a man at the house. Hmm? No, no. I'm fine. He says that the place is infested with vampires. Yeah. No, it's true. I don't know, he seems very professional."

He held the phone away for a moment. "He doesn't believe it," He said to the man with the gun.

"Gimme that," The man growled, tucking the gun into his overcoat and striding over, swiping the phone. He turned his back to Roger. "Hullo? Yalp. Montgomery Clank, vampire hunter extra-ordinaire. All of the signs show it, yep."

The man, Montgomery Clank, went on about signs of vampire infestation. Roger casually slipped into one of the side rooms, picked up the red cane in the umbrella stand, and removed the long-bladed, light dagger that was hidden inside. He swung it around a few times, experimentally. It was nowhere near heavy. It might've been the lightest weapon he'd ever held.

Roger tucked the blade into his vest and strode back out to the foyer, where Montgomery Clank was still deep in conversation. The man glanced back as Roger entered. Roger just smiled and held up a hand. Montgomery Clank continued his muttered conversation, his back turned.

Roger crept forward, drawing the blade out of his vest. He briefly calculated how hard he'd have to stab, and where. The blade was exactly one cubit long, and dangerously sharp at the tip, but it was thin. Even if he twisted it, Roger might not do enough damage if he hit the slayer in the wrong spot-

"Hmm? Yeah, he's right here," Said Montgomery Clank, starting to turn around. Roger panicked, hurriedly shoving the blade into his vest and gouging a deep cut into his ribs. He winced, but then grinned as Clank turned around.

"Hmm?" He squeaked.

"S'fer you," Said Clank, handing him the phone. Roger took it with a shaky hand.

"Yes?" He asked. He cocked his head to one side as he listened. "…Really. That's not going to be easy," He said, looking at Clank. "I, um. Yes. I've got it, yes. You talk to him."

He shoved the phone back in Clank's direction. The slayer took it and promptly turned back around.

Roger reached into his vest, gingerly pulling the dagger out of his flesh, and wiped the blade with a hand. He mumbled unhappily about the blood for a moment, and then sprang at Clank's back.

Clank let out a sharp yell, his arms flailing wildly at his sides, as he fell to the marble floor. His jaw cracked against it. Roger prodded the back of Clank's neck with the dagger.

"Okay," He said. "I, uh. Okay. That worked."

"Git off me!" Clank snarled, writhing unhappily. Roger poked the back of his neck with the point of the blade again.

"I have a weapon," He said.

"Ah warn you, boy, you're gonna be in trouble when ah git up!" Said Clank.

"Mr. Clank," Roger said. "How long have you been a vampire hunter, exactly?"

"That ain't none 'o yer business."

"I know it isn't. How long?"

"If you must know," Clank snapped. "Ah graduated from the Windsheer University about two months ago with a major in Crealogy an' two minors, one in swords-man-ship and one in beast-hunting. Ah am a trained professional."

Roger laughed.

"That doesn't sound very professional to me," He said.

"Well, it is."

"They'll probably just let you go," Said Roger. "I mean, you're not a threat or anything."

"Ah am a trained professional!" Clank repeated, angrily.

"You keep saying that, but have you even seen a vampire before, Mr. Clank?"

Clank paused. "…Of course ah have," He growled.

"You have? What'd he look like?"

"It was a fee-male vampire."

"What'd she look like?"

"She were in bat form, 'o course."

"Of course."

"But ah could hear her tryin' to cloud mah thoughts. Nearly died, ah did."

"I'm sure," Said Roger, swiping the phone from where it had fallen on the floor. He redialed the number and waited, the point of the blade still pressed against the back of Clank's neck.

"…Hallo? S'Roger," He said. "Look, I've got him, he's not serious. Nope. No, see, he's a rookie. Never seen a vampire in his life."

"Ah have, too!" Clank cried.

"Not even a one. C'n I just kick him out?"

"Ah shall not rest until all y'all vampires have been de-stroyed!" Clank cried.

"Yeah, I know, but he's just bluffing," Roger said. "I'm getting bored of sitting here, and I've still got to sweep the…Yeah. Exactly. So do you want me to throw him out, or should I just kill him? Yeah, I know. No, I get it, only on the tiles or outside. I know s'hard to get out of the carpet. Right. Hmm? Aww, poor kid. Tell her I hope she feels better. Is Johnny okay? Aww. Must be lonely without her."

"What the hell're you goin' on about?" Clank mumbled, his head resting comfortably against the floor as he inspected the rather nice marble tiles. Roger glared at him.

"Don't interrupt, Mr. Clank. Hmm? Yeah, I've got him, he's here. No, I know. Yeah. I'll get right on it. Kay. Tell Johnny I'll come over and see him sometime if he's lonely, okay? Great. Right. Bye."

Roger flipped the phone shut, tucked it into his pocket, and grabbed Clank roughly by the hair. "Right," He said, jerking the slayer's head up and pressing the blade against his throat. "Mr. Clank, are you a good fellow?"

"Ah'm a good feller," Clank said, quickly.

"Thought so. D'you have a family?"

"Wife and two kids."

"That's a lie."

"Girlfriend," Said Clank.

"That's better," Said Roger, nodding. "Do you like books, Mr. Clank?"

"Hate 'em."

"At least you're telling the truth. Play an instrument?"


"Alrighty," Said Roger, springing up and dragging the slayer to his feet, pulling him towards the door. "I'd like you to do something for me, Mr. Clank."

"Anythin'," Clank said, wincing as the blade pressed deeper into his throat, nearly breaking the skin.

"Go home, grab your Crealogy degree, and devote your life to sitting at a desk and writing books about beast-hunting and swordsmanship. Go back to school, get a doctrine in it. Maybe teach a few classes. Marry your girlfriend. Learn to play the harpsichord. Spend time at the library. After you've done all of that, go to the Allegiance House and pledge your loyalty to Myreia the Faerie Queen. Go and buy a little cottage in Britarin. Stay there, and never come back. Have a nice day, Mr. Clank!"

Roger opened the door and kicked Clank squarely in the back. Clank shrieked slightly, toppling down the stone steps and then sprawling onto the cobblestones. He sat up. He scrambled to his feet, and ran. Roger waved after him.

"Bye, Mr. Clank!" He called. "I'll check up on you soon!"

He could swear that Mr. Clank ran faster, after that.