Girls Bite Back

1 - Luna

"Lis, he's not worth it."

Luna sidestepped as the shrieking vampire lunged at her, keeping her cellphone wedged between her ear and her shoulder as she drove the wooden stake into its heart. The creature convulsed and let out a dying hiss before crumbling into a pile of ashes at her feet.

"I know," Lisa sniffled on the other end. "I just don't know why I keep doing this to myself, you know? I know what he's like. He does it over and over and over again. But as soon as he calls me up, I melt. I melt, Lu!"

"Yeah," Luna stepped over the corpse and fished a throwing knife out of her purse. "Piercing blue eyes and a good jawline can do that to you, I guess." She drew her hand back and let the knife fly; it lodged itself in the back of the vampire who was currently trying to make an evening meal out of her boyfriend.

"He's not even that good looking." There was the sound of plastic crackling, and sheets rustling. "I wish I could just date potato chips. My snacks would never betray me."

"Listen, Lis. I feel terrible that Dale screwed you over again, and I promise we'll find some way to publicly humiliate him on Monday, but Jack kind of needs my help right now." Luna yelped as the vampire turned on her, teeth bared and Jack forgotten. "Can I call you later?"

"You didn't tell me you were working tonight," Lisa said.

"No one told me, either," Luna sighed. The vampire yanked the knife out of his back and flung it at her; Luna hastily dodged the oncoming blade, letting it stick in the wooden fence behind her. She whistled. "That was way too close. Call you later, Lis."

"Fine. Bye."

"Bye, girl." Click. Luna slipped the phone back into her purse. The vampire tilted its head.

"Rude of you to make personal calls during work," he sneered.

"Aw, were you feeling neglected?" Luna smiled and ripped the knife out of the fence, twirling it in one hand. "Sorry, hon. You've got my full attention now, I promise."

The vampire ran his tongue over his pearly white fangs. "I wish more slayers looked like you. It'd make things a hell of a lot more fun."

Luna giggled. "Oh, stop it!You're embarrassing me."

"How'd you like to join my clan, baby girl?"

"That's a fantastic idea." Luna fondled her knife, eyeing the hulking figure behind the vampire. "Maybe you should ask my boyfriend what he thinks about it."

The vampire turned around, but it took only a second for Jack to take him by the collar and slam him into the brick wall of the alley. The creature reached out to slash Jack's face; Luna hurled her knife again, aiming for his hand this time. The blade sliced clean through his palm. The vampire opened his mouth to scream, but was promptly silenced by a stake to the heart. The wound sizzled, bubbling blood, and the light faded from his eyes. Jack let the corpse dissolve and walked briskly to the other side of the alley; he braced himself against the wall and shook his head, trying to calm himself.

Luna brought a little pack of antibacterial wipes out of her purse and wiped the blood off of her knife. She didn't bother retrieving her stake; the vampire had said he was part of a clan. His cohorts would find him and his friend eventually, and the stake would serve as a warning to them. Besides, wooden weapons were cheap and easy to come by. Silver-coated throwing knives? Not so much.

Luna tucked her knife back into her purse and tossed the ruined hankie onto the ashes. "Jack?" She ducked and checked her reflection in a grimy window. "Are you okay?"

"Fine," Jack replied quickly. "Just—gimme a minute, yeah?"

Luna obliged, keeping her distance. "Did you get hurt? I have some elixir here, if you need it." She brought a vial of clear, dark blue liquid out of her purse.

"No," Jack panted. "I'm not hurt."

"How fortunate for you."

Luna whirled around at the sound of the new voice. A tall, lean silhouette stood in the entrance of the alley, watching the pair with a curious hazel gaze. She tensed. "Aldus Khan."

"Luna Marquez." Khan dipped his head in greeting. "How surprising to see you here." He took a step forward. "Do you have business in my territory?"

"I wouldn't call it business," Luna said; she felt Jack come to her, looming over her shoulder like a shadow. "It's date night."

Khan raised his chin, examining the ashes with distaste. "You slayers have an odd way of celebrating your romantic partnerships."

Luna scoffed. "Oh, and taking your girlfriend out hunting for necks to chew is so much better."

"You seem to be confused about the process of feeding," Khan drawled. "There is no chewing involved."

"Whatever." Luna crossed her arms. "Are these yours?" She nodded at the bodies.

"No," Khan said coolly. "I don't recognize them. But I do recognize those rings."

Luna glanced down at the little ash piles; sure enough, two golden rings stamped with the letter 'C' sat nestled amongst the valleys of dust.

"They belong to the Cantrell clan," Khan purred. "Francis won't be too happy about you murdering his dogs, little slayer."

"They attacked first. I told them we didn't want any trouble."

"They were probably out looking to fetch their master a bite to eat," Khan said. "Though, since they did wander into my territory, I suppose I could take the blame for you."

Jack touched Luna's elbow as if to say, be careful. She gave his large, calloused hand an affectionate squeeze. "What do you want, Khan?"

"Nothing excessive," Khan assured her. "I only want you to deliver a message for me."

"To who?"

"Your father. Ramiro Marquez."

Luna's eyes narrowed. "You know my dad?"

"Quite well, actually." Khan stalked into the alley and nudged one of the cold bodies with his foot. Luna felt Jack tense. Khan did, too. His lips curled into a smirk. "Tell your pup to settle down, little slayer. You act as if I'm going to eat you alive."

"And you act as if we're crazy for thinking it."

"I'm not hungry, if you must know," Khan said. "I had a couple of lost orphans before I came."

Luna made a face. "Was that supposed to be some kind of joke?"


Luna blanched; Jack's grip on her hand tightened.

Khan seemed to find great pleasure in their shock, as he let out a low chuckle. "It's so easy to frighten you mortals. I find it amusing."

"The message," Luna snapped. "You said you wanted me to deliver a message to my father. Why? How do you know him?"

"So many questions," Khan breathed. "I can imagine your father has told you close to nothing, hasn't he?"

"About what?"

"Your mother and I, of course."

Luna's blood seemed to freeze in her veins. "You stay the hell away from my mother! One of you has already turned her—"

"There is only one of me, child," Khan said callously. "I am not responsible for the actions of others of my kind."

"You're all the same," Luna spat.

"Think what you like," Khan replied pleasantly. "Would you like my help or not, Luna? My patience is wearing thin, and you and I both know Francis Cantrell's wrath is not something you want to invoke."

Luna hesitated. If Khan told Cantrell about her, then she wouldn't be the only one in danger. Her father, her brother, her little sister, even her aunts, uncles, and cousins would be targeted. Even if the Cantrell clan retained only a small sphere of influence in the city of Monterey, they still posed a very real threat to a family of humans.

"What's your message?" Luna said, jaw clenched.

Khan seemed pleased. "Smart girl. You don't want to end up like those unfortunate Moreaus, do you?" She didn't respond, so Khan continued, "Go home, and try to stay out of trouble."

Luna raised her eyebrows. "What?"

"That's all."

"That's all?"

"Yes. I told you it was simple." Khan knelt down and collected the rings from the cold, stiff hands of the corpses. "You and your pup are free to go, little slayer. Again, I would very much appreciate it if you would refrain from causing anymore trouble in my territory. Even I cannot fend off every vengeful clan in California." He dropped the rings into his pocket. "I would head home if I were you. It's a new moon." Khan glanced up at the moonless sky. "The streets are not safe tonight. Not even for you."

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