The first thing you have got to understand about werewolves is: yes, they're real.
Well, as it turns out, so are a whole lot of supernatural creatures and things that go bump in the night, spanning across every culture and people, with all the teeth and claws and blood and frightening noise that goes with them.
So when you do encounter a creature of the night, one that will have you know the electric and paralyzing feeling of fear and terror, you can do so armed with the knowledge that can give you an edge, a single chance.
Here's how you're going to survive to tell the tale.
- GW: Silver and Salt
Feb 2018 - Jacksonville, Florida
Looking in from the outside, there weren't any signs of disorder or chaos or anything to signal a disturbance, or that anything was out of the ordinary. The house, a thing out of a fairytale looking like a cozy cottage in a picturesque neighborhood of similar looking family friendly homes, complete with equally picturesque white painted picket fences and bright flower gardens surrounded by perfectly manicured hedges, differed only by the 'For Sale' sign on the pristine front lawn. Even the weather was storybook perfect, especially for the early spring season; bright and sunny and serene in a near cloudless bright blue sky.
Inside the quaint two-story house was a different story, as what was once an immaculate and tastefully classic interior lay in ruins with bits of broken furniture and shattered glass strewn across now-scuffed hardwood floors that would undoubtedly have to be replaced or refinished. There were a few scorch marks on the walls, alongside a kitchen knife or two that were imbedded into the drywall, and the wooden banister circling the stairs leading to the second floor was equally in splintered ruins (a result of a body crashing through it), in the quiet sounds that often accompanied the end of a battle.
Two men, bloodied, bruised and worn, worked quickly, moving around each other easily with some familiarity as they packed up the tools of their particular trade from amongst the debris scattered around them. There wasn't too much they could do about the house but the damage was relatively minimal and repairable, at least for their line of work. Repairing the damage wasn't really their concern, and both of them would be long gone before their client returned to the house. He planned on calling her from the next town over to inform her of another job well-done.
The realtor who'd hired them for this pesky poltergeist job probably had a contractor on hand for when they finished the job. If not, she should; hunting a poltergeist always caused some sort of collateral property damage..
At least the house was still standing; they hadn't needed to resort to arson and torch the place to the ground.
Which has happened far more often than he'd like.
"Hey, have you read this?" One of the two men, a burly man with cropped greying hair and a couple of weeks' worth of stubble, pulled a paperback from his duffle and passed it over, the spine of the book already showing signs of wear despite being rather new as seen by the still glossy cover. The other man, younger than his companion by about a decade, frowned at him with narrowed eyes, looking mildly incredulous as he caught the title of the little book.
"Uh, no, Clint, can't say that I have; our line of work doesn't exactly leave much room for reading'," He grabbed the book and gave a quick flip through the pages. "'Sides, what kind of fantasy junk could compare to our type of lives?"
It was very much a valid question. It did nothing to deter the older man, however, as he reached over and jabbed a finger against the lightly worn front cover. The book itself seemed like a fairly standard mystery or horror novel; dark background, shadowed figures in faded moonlight and muted tones, the title plastered across the top with a slightly gothic font.
"Something is different about this one, I'm serious. You can have my copy, I can get another. Read it, and you'll see why." Clint grinned at him, pushing the book closer.
"What the hell kinda title is 'Ghost Writer' anyway?"
He failed to react accordingly to the truly epic eye roll and the equally dramatic put-upon expression gracing his friend's scruffy features, wondering idly why the grown man acted so much like an affronted teenager, especially considering he had at least ten years on him.
"Just read it, man. Trust me."
"Fine," The younger man rolled his eyes in exasperation but dutifully stuffed the book into his own duffle bag, tucking it between the mojo bags he used and his knives. "I gotta run. Thanks for the help with these poltergeists; one I can handle, but triplets? Not so much. Call me if I can return the favor."
"Yeah, no problem, man. See you around."
Hours later in a dingy motel room in another forgotten town, propped up against the headboard of the slightly sketchy bed, he read the book through in one sitting, captivated by the words weaving a thrilling and dangerous story in his head, one that spoke of fear and blood and teeth, and the silver light of the moon and the purifying burn of salt.
March 2018 - North of Dallas, Texas
The Hunter grabbed her around the waist and leapt through the front window, twisting in midair to land beneath the woman and break her fall. The mojo bags he'd planted earlier, filled with a mixture of crushed agrimony and sage, salt and iron shavings, do their jobs beautifully, containing the ghost within the blazing house. He'd even managed a last-minute purification to the building fire by throwing sanctified silver dimes into the worst of the flames.
He pulled the woman up off the lawn and dragged her across the street with a firm grip on her arm, giving her a quick once over in case of any injuries he might have missed, but she mostly seemed to be in a state of shock and, thankfully, only mildly singed. Not that he blamed her for spacing out; losing your home and family in one night tends to do that to a person.
For all the commotion, it was actually looking to be a beautiful night; the moon was starting to rise, casting silvered light across the scattered clouds that still held the edge of a golden glow from the setting sun. The effect was a little lost due to the massive column of inky black smoke rising rapidly from the burning house across the street.
"What happens now?" The young woman stared at the burning wreckage of what was once her home, where she had been haunted by a rather violent ghost with an obsession with mirrors. The Hunter, tall with wide shoulders in his late twenties stood next to her, just a little out of breath with his hands stuffed into the pockets of his scuffed and torn jeans, his height and bulk dwarfing her tiny frame, quietly contemplative as he watched the blaze as it began to slow and die in the oncoming approach of twilight. Both were covered in marks borne of ash and smoke and fire.
"'Sup to you, to be honest," He turned his head just enough to look at her sidelong, watching as a breeze played with the strands of her mousy brown hair, taking in her pale skin and the dark smudges borne from sleepless nights beneath her glassy shell-shocked eyes. "Most people that we meet, that are saved go on to live their lives, all peaceful like. Which is perfectly fine an' normal, and frankly, I encourage that whenever possible. Some don't get involved, not really, but you can't unsee this shit, so if and when somethin' else happens, they call someone and the problem gets sorted out. I'll be leavin' my number with you." He sighed, long and heavy in the air. "The thing is, well, once anythin' weird has happened to you, you're Marked, down to your soul, and weird shit will keep happenin', and sometimes this pulls on somethin' in people; they can never be normal again and they can end up like me, going from place to place."
"So someone saved you?" She turned to look at him, taking in the soot and ash on his face and clothes and in his hair, turning the already ashy blonde color much darker. He shrugged off her inquiry; it wasn't like his personal history was all that important in the face of the young woman's recent loss. He did wish he could've saved her husband...
This was just another example of why hunting ghosts and monsters was so dangerous; even the easy stuff like old-fashioned ghost hauntings were unpredictable, chaotic and often life-threatening, or just plain old life-ending. This ghost had somehow manipulated fire from an old flip lighter to set the house on fire and its manipulation over mirrors had caused the inferno to get quickly out of control, and while he'd gotten the woman out, her husband paid the ultimate price, a sacrificial tribute of seared flesh and tortured, animalistic screams.
He had a vague idea of a possible blood-borne generational curse, which could explain why the ghost was exorcised with the husband's death.
He still wasn't exactly sure how it had all happened, how it was possible (it shouldn't have been possible), but the mechanics behind hauntings were often unusual and unexplained, and just as unique as there were people in the world.
"Sort of. Someone saved my dad an' I when I was jus' little, and I ended up being raised into this... lifestyle, I guess you could call it."
"That must have been hard on you. So, you've always done this? Hunting ghosts?"
"Not just ghosts, but that's the most common thing out there. You don't get as… uh, Spirit-touched from a ghost hauntin'. Makes it easier to go back to a normal life. Hang on; I got somethin' that might help explain what I mean." He reached down to dig around in his duffle bag; the damn thing carried just about everything he needed from the mystical to the practical. He found the book he'd been given a couple weeks back and handed it to the woman.
"I've seen this in the paper," She jerked her head in mild confusion. "What's a book like this have to do with… what you do?" She raised inquisitive brown eyes to meet his own shrewd look.
"While it reads like a common everyday fantasy book, a lotta what goes on in here has more than its fair share of truth to it, and it should give you an idea of what's involved in this life; and 'member: It's more than ok if you wanna go back to livin' a normal life. You get that chance to do so." He dropped her gaze to stare off in the distance; he could hear the sirens of the incoming emergency vehicles, fire trucks and cop cruisers and the like, and there was just the hint of flashing red and blue lights dancing in the distance. It was almost time for him to go.
"Okay, thank you. For everything. I can't thank you enough."
"Just keep on livin'. You're tough, you'll get through this."
April 2018 - Denver, Colorado
The atmosphere was comfortable if a little subdued considering there was plenty of hard liquor and beer flowing fairly free from behind the bar and every seat was occupied with a body. The pub, built in traditional Irish fashion from some immigrant hunters almost a century ago, was decently large, and was almost always busy, if not full. It helped that there was a series of rooms for rent above the business, allowing the pub to serve as a kind of way station for those in need of a place to sleep, which was a Godsend for the profession.
Almost every patron kept to themselves for the most part, as their lifestyle was solitary in nature, but there were a few tables that held small groups or pairs of people drinking quietly amongst themselves, keeping obnoxious chatter to a minimum. The pub specifically catered to others of their lifestyle, hunters from all walks of life and many of them knew each other in one way or another.
Nestled comfortably somewhere in the middle of the room at a small wooden table with a couple of beer bottles between them sat two men, one in his mid to late twenties with ash-blond hair cropped close and with a broad build comfortably clad in worn dark jeans and an equally dark t-shirt that's seen better days, and a worn leather jacket was hanging on the back of his wooden chair. The other man was at least a decade older, smaller in build and more wiry in mass than his companion, with dark brown hair just long enough to be pulled into a short, messy tail, and a scraggly beard that was beginning to show more grey than brown. He was dressed in much the same as the rest of the patrons of the pub; worn jeans and flannel shirts and thick steel toed work boots.
The two men had known each other for going on ten years, sometimes working jobs together, and sometimes (rarely) passing along information and sometimes just hanging out much like friends (as much as people like them could be friends, being paranoid and all), catching up over a beer or three.
Sometimes, they only saw each other when one of them needed a favor.
"Do you know anyone who can get in contact with these people?" The young man asked as he fidgeted with his beer, scratching at the label with his fingernail. The man sitting across from him looked down to the tabletop, where a worn paperback book was nudged his way.
"Wha-? Oh, you mean that new horror author? I know the book's been making the rounds with some of the others. Um hmm, dunno, I'd have to look into it. Why, you wanna... talk to 'im or something?" He pulled the book closer to read the little blurb on the inside of the cover about the author. There was nothing that stood out; name could be a pseudonym as was common these days, but he took note of the publishing house. It would be a good starting point, at the very least.
"Dunno yet. Think so, though." The younger man shrugged casually, playing with his beer bottle before signalling the bartender for another drink.
"Why d'ya wanna do that for?" They smiled in thanks as the cute waitress with the blonde hair dropped a couple more bottles on the table between them.
"Got a bit of an idea, but I wanna know how much of this story is actually real. I mean, sure, the hunting info's legit, but I wanna know more about the actual story behind it. If any of that's really real then the guy survived a fuckin' werewolf; you know as well as I do that only the most experienced of us have survived a wolf attack. Also, somethin's been bugging me about the attack anyway; 'snot typical behavior for your average werewolf, Nick." He looked away with a fierce scowl, unsure himself as to exactly why he wanted to seek out the author of this fictional horror book, although an idea had been eating at him for a while now. He hadn't lied though; something was nagging at him about the contents of the book, like the pieces of a puzzle that didn't quite match up.
The visceral need to see this… quest of his through pulled at his very soul, an urge to follow the thread that wove a tapestry of adventure and mystery.
And now he was resorting to poetry, which was extraordinarily maudlin of him.
His friend stared at him for a while, considering the request, which was odd, and who it was coming from. The hunter on the other side of the table had very rarely been led astray by his gut feelings.
The younger man looked up, his mossy grey eyes wide and quietly hopeful. He hadn't expected this; as a general rule, Hunters kept to themselves for the most part, and hoarded knowledge like a dragon would gold. Typically, they only passed on information if they themselves couldn't get at the particular monster before a lot of damage and death was caused, or if there was a specialist Hunter.
Like that crazy asshole in Montana that hunted Wargs, or that pair of brothers in California that went after Dark Watchers.
"Yeah," Nick nodded with a smirk tugging at his lips. "I'll find out what I can, and let you know."
"Thanks, man. I appreciate it."
"Sure, but you're buying me another round!"
He laughed and signalled the bartender again.
May 2018 - Boise, Idaho
This was the turning point of this particular Hunt, the point where he'd either get himself killed or he would take down the pack of ghouls that had brought him to this infested city. It was some indeterminate hour after midnight (he'd already been here a week, and he was tired) and he was ready with his weapon of choice for ghouls; a special recipe of cleansing hoodoo mixed into an improvised Molotov cocktail, of which he had half a dozen. The salt and sage when mixed with the fire worked beautifully against the monsters of the dead, with only a moderate chance of explosions.
He was also armed with his shotgun and his silver falchion, the gun filled with hoodoo buckshot specially made by a New Orleans soothsayer who owed him a few favors, and the blade was a custom mix of silver and iron.
He was considered odd to others in his chosen profession in that he utilized the more mystic resources of the natural world as a Hunter, the bags and the charms and whatnot being just a step down from actual magic, but he found it worked, and worked well, for him, and it helped him to protect innocent people.
But now was not the time, and he needed to get his head in the game even though he was tired as fuck all, preferably before he got himself killed by a pack of ghouls.
He lifted his head with a shake, not realising that he'd looked away (dozed off) from the expensive crypt that belonged to an old money Southern family that had transplanted themselves a little more north. Crypts were the best places for ghouls to feed, leading a large population in the deep South with New Orleans as a particularly virulent hotzone, and virtually unheard of anywhere north of the Canadian border - far too cold for dead flesh.
He watched from a fairly safe vantage point about thirty or forty yards away, downwind to hide his scent, from behind a large tombstone to hide the flames when he lit the reworked Molotovs.
A sharp ringing, high pitched and unspeakably loud in the quiet of the night, rang through the air, and the Hunter froze as the ghouls turned in the direction of his shabby little hiding place, while he froze for a moment as horror lanced through his stiff body before he scrambled for the ringing phone in his pocket, desperate to turn the damn thing off.
The ringing phone cut off sharply but a moment later, the jarring shrieks of the ghouls had him raising his head to see the ghouls running for him, a distorted shambling blitz that took down too many Hunters and instinct lit the Molotovs even as he threw them, one by one into the quickly approaching pack.
His aim held true, even in his startled terror as two of the flaming bottles smashed and shattered into the two closest ghouls, lighting them up in a burst of purifying flames, aided by the sage and salt, and fed hot by the vodka he used as an accelerant (hoodoo witchdoctorin' didn't always work with gasoline - too many unnatural chemicals.)
It bought him just enough time to pull up his shotgun, firing a couple rounds of specialized buckshot that disintegrated another ghoul that moved through the edges of the fire, leaving only two more to go, but still just as dangerous.
Dropping the gun, suddenly bulky and unwieldy as the remaining ghouls closed the distance, he grabbed his melee, swinging the sword in a familiar, long practiced slash, cutting through one even as the last ghoul slammed into him, knocking him off his feet and into a nearby gravestone; yeah, that was going to be an ugly bruise.
He held back the snarling, shrieking ghoul that wanted to eat his face with an arm against its dessicated chest, trying frantically to get a decent vantage point in which to kill the damn thing, and he had to hold back his scream as the ghoul, a truly hideous creature, grabbed and threw him like a ragdoll, and the subsequent impact with another grave dislocated his shoulder.
Fixing that, which he could on his own, was going to hurt.
Being thrown like that stunned him, and it cost him as the ghoul smashed his head into the gravestone, sharp and jagged claws slicing into the flesh of his face and he felt blood start to trickle down from the wounds.
The Hunter managed to get his foot around, kicking the angry, hungry ghoul off of him, and he scrambled upright, pulling a dagger from his belt since he'd lost his sword and lunging forward to plunge the knife through the skull and into the brain, killing the ghoul instantly.
The desiccated body fell into him, and dragged him down with it to the ground, as the sudden weight proved to be too much for him in that moment. Grimacing, he shoved it off and he took a moment to let himself breathe again before heaving his trembling body up off the cold ground to start the lengthy task of cleanup.
This was the part he hated, if only because it was so damn tedious, and quite frankly gross, because he needed to burn the ghoul bodies to ash, and it would be just plain rude to leave shattered glass all over the graves here.
It was hours later and dawn was fast approaching when he finally made it back to where he stashed his truck, dragging his duffle and a filled heavy-duty trash bag with him, and this time when his cell rang, he only flinched a little, stumbling as the last bit of battle-fuelled adrenaline dissipated.
"Hello?" He answered his cell after the first jarring ring, cupping the phone to his ear with his shoulder to keep his hands free as he loaded his gear into the back his beat up truck, moving a little slow in consideration of his tender shoulder; popping in your own dislocated shoulder was always a bitch. This last job had really been something else, ghouls were always a bitch to handle, time consuming and incredibly dangerous, and he was so fucking tired after almost a week straight with little to no sleep; all he wanted was to drive long enough to get away before taking a fucking nap, a long one.
At this point, he desperately needed the rest.
"Hey, it's me. Got an address for you."
"No shit? Thanks, man. Anythin' I should know about?" He perked up a little, slamming the tailgate of his Chevy shut; he hadn't been expecting any results from his author search for at least a couple more weeks. The cut on his forehead was really starting to itch from flaking blood; he'd need to properly mend it later, hopefully it wouldn't need stitches.
DIY stitches sucked a lot of balls.
"Well, for one thing, there's two of them. They both got a couple of pseudonyms for the different shit they write, and their writing's pretty varied across the board. Anyway, they're a brother and sister pair, uh twins, I think. From what I can infer, they're both civilians to our lifestyle, although the brother had some kind of accident not too long before the book was published. Could be what triggered it."
That was a little unexpected. And mildly concerning.
"Really? 'Cause the book read like somethin' from a veteran hunter, or at least someone who's been doin' this for more than a few years." Keys in the ignition fired up the engine and then he was on his way, almost coasting down the empty road. He was paying more attention to the phone in his ear.
"Nah, these kids are young; in their mid-twenties, like you, and orphans to boot. Got an article about that; they were just little when their bat-shit mother tried to off them, right after killing their shit-for-nothing daddy. Nothing from that stands out on a supernatural standpoint, but you know as well as I do that not everyone shares stories about their hunts, so there could have been something that was missed."
Of course they're orphans, with a tragic back-story, too.
"And now they're dealing with monsters of another kind. Well, that kinda gives credence as to how they survived the fuckin' werewolf." If anything, he was already impressed. A shit childhood, especially one that involved violent homicide at a young age, usually went one of two ways; you got bitter, or you got better. And to him, it sounded like these twins went with the lesser used route and got better. He figured they'd have their quirks and issues and insecurities, especially since a lot of that kind of information was a matter of public record, and therefore, an easy find if one went looking long and hard enough.
And if there was something of the supernatural sort behind their mess of a crappy childhood, it would leave a big enough mark on the soul to attract a curse of bad luck. It was definitely something he was going to have to look into much more thoroughly.
"Yeah, I guess. So what's your end goal here?"
That was a good question. The idea that had been steadily forming in his head was pulling at him and he figured that Nick had already clued into it but ultimately, he figured he'd wing it and see what happened with the meet-and-greet first.
Wouldn't get very far if he got no further than a door slammed in his face.
"Just... talk to 'em, I guess. For now, anyway; I haven't really thought that far yet. They may just toss me out on my ass."
"All right, fair enough. I'll let you go. I'll text you that address. Good luck."
"Hey, before you go; you should see if they'll be doin' more writin'. Books like these, with solid info hiding in the story, would be a pretty good way of getting new hunters set up properly, could save a lot of lives from getting killed from rookie mistakes."
It would be a lie to say the thought hadn't crossed his mind, more than once, actually.
"I was thinkin' about that. Talk to ya later."
Now he really needed that nap; had to be on his 'A' game, after all.
A few days (or a week, whichever came first) to rest up and heal wouldn't be amiss either, so as to not look like he came out the wrong end of a fight like some kind of demented giant bruise; good first impressions and all that rot.
Yep, that was his new game plan.
June 2018 - South of Tacoma, Washington
The house was nothing special; there was nothing out of the ordinary and there was nothing to indicate that the inhabitants were anything but normal. It was a small two-storied building, older and done in white-painted brick with dark wood accents, but that was the aesthetic of the neighborhood; all brick and mortar housing with plenty of maples and willow trees for a classy feel. It was supposed to be warm and welcoming, he was sure.
The few windows he could see in the front of the house were shuttered, and in the daylight, he wasn't able to tell if anyone was home, but the Honda in the drive told him otherwise. Still, he hesitated, doubt in his half-assed plan trying to creep in.
Fuck it, the worst they could do was turn him away; time to stop stalling. He got out of his truck, leaving it parked on the street and ambled up the front walk, hesitating only slightly before he knocked on the heavy front door.
Was that a bundle of Devil's Shoestring tied to the top of the frame?
Huh, it was.
How'd they know about that?
Something to ask about, anyway, 'cause you don't find a use for herbal hoodoo by happenstance, which led him to believe that these twins had done their research, and felt it necessary to ward their home with some Devil's Shoestring, a common hoodoo plant for protection and turning away malignant spirits. Combine that with salt lines and some silver mirrors, and there wouldn't be much that could get through those basic defenses. Everything else was much more specialized.
A few long moments passed before the door opened, and he was greeted with the sight of a young woman, mid-twenties and dressed comfortably in jeans, a racer back tank top and a flannel button up, her feet bare. She was shorter than him by at least six or eight inches and very pretty with long dark reddish hair tied up in a high tail with some locks framing her angular face and blue eyes like the ocean on a sunny day. There were two beauty marks on the right side, one below her eye and the other right above the corner of her small mouth. He almost missed the two small silver hoops in her eyebrow. She didn't wear makeup, or not much of it, but again, she was pretty.
Even with the healing yellowed blemish of a fading black eye.
Something to dig into at a later date, though; now was not the time.
For now, it was something to ignore.
As much as that pained him.
"Hello? Can I help you?"
"If you're who I'm lookin' for, then maybe I can help you. Are you E. E. Flint?" She narrowed her eyes suspiciously at him, and yeah, he probably could've framed that better, especially with his own set of healing scrapes and bruises.
"You're here about the book; why?"
"Honestly, I wanna know how much of it is real." He shrugged and ran a hand through his ash blond hair, trying to be casual and keep his posture relaxed. He didn't want to scare her off, especially with the evidence of recent violence. "'Cause I think you've already guessed that I've had some... similar experiences."
She kept him there, standing in the front of her house while she assessed him critically with a small frown. That little frown crease between her eyes shouldn't be that cute. Finally, she opened the door fully and gestured for him to follow her inside.
"...Come on in."
The house on the inside was really nice, with an open plan layout with light cedar hardwood floors and walls bright and cheery in a pale blue. There was plenty of soft lighting and the little foyer space opened up into a high ceilinged living room with a small set of stairs leading to where he presumed the bedrooms were hidden on the second floor. There was shelving everywhere, and absolutely packed with books of all kinds and tasteful little decorations and plants. Actually, all the decorations were nice, with paintings scattered on the walls in bright bursts of colors, and yep, small silver mirrors were in the corners. In one corner of the open room, there were two very comfortable looking stuffed chairs, and in another corner was a long couch sitting opposite a flat screen fitted on the wall, with a matching loveseat off to the side.
"I'll get us some coffee, or maybe this conversation calls for something stronger?" She walked off towards the back of the house where he could see a well stocked and lived in kitchen and... Was that a conservatory? This house was really nice, very cozy and lived in and very much a home. He was actually a little jealous.
Only a little jealous, though.
"Whatever you feel like, 'though coffee sounds great." He settled down in the loveseat, sitting forward with his elbows on his knees, and while the young woman bustled about the kitchen, the hunter looked over to observe the other occupant of the open living room, currently ensconced on the couch, his leg in a brightly decorated cast that had clearly seen better days and looked like it was ready to come off soon.
Had to be the brother, and he could definitely see the twin resemblance in the sibling; same color of hair, although the brother had his hair significantly shorter than his sister, but messy, with strands hanging in his eyes. The eyes were the same, identical even with the same color and markings, although the brother's eyes were matched with a downturned frown currently set in a fierce scowl, regarding him with unfiltered suspicion and scrutiny.
"Right. Um, take a seat, and I'll be there in a minute. Anyway, yeah, I'm part of E. E. Flint; my name's Elizabeth, my brother's Edward. He's the asshole trying to be tough by not saying anything on the couch." The young woman, Elizabeth, called out from where the kitchen was, and her brother's head swivelled in her direction in plain irritation.
"Hey, nerd! I was trying to play up the intimidating older brother!"
"Doesn't work when I've covered your cast in pink flowers, jerk!" She sassed back, clearly used to her brother's antics. "And you're only older by two minutes!"
It was actually pretty funny and mildly surreal, because Edward mimicked his sister as she bitched about their 'age difference'. The hunter briefly wondered if it was like that with all twins; he wouldn't know, seeing as he never had any brothers or sisters.
"God, you are so bitchy... anyway, you heard Liz; take a seat... which you already have. I'm Ed, and who might you be and why are you here?" Ed, as he obviously preferred, turned serious again, his eyes taking a keen glint. Elizabeth watched from the open kitchen, even as she fiddled with the coffee pot and cups, just as interested in his reply as her brother was.
"Name's Asher Troy and I'm what you'd call... a Hunter, of sorts." He shrugged and hunched his shoulders a bit, trying to be as disarming as possible. With his height and build, it was easy to come across as more than a little intimidating. "Your book's been makin' the rounds with the rest of us, and I was hopin' to get the full story. Your information's pretty good, too good to jus' be makin' it up, to be honest."
There was a brief moment as both twins froze in shock, looking equally flummoxed. Asher wondered if these two were always so easy to read, or if he'd just caught them off guard.
Probably the latter; he'd heard enough stories about twins to know that they had other ways of communicating that wasn't always obvious or easy to read.
"Well, shit. Guess I was kinda hoping for that to be a fluke or something, but... it makes sense that there's more weird shit out there than what happened to us." Ed looked a little stunned at the popularity of their book before his expression turned contemplative as he processed the rest of Asher's words. Elizabeth came back carrying three large mismatched and well-used mugs that were steaming, a young basset hound following at her heels, even as she passed one mug to her brother and handing one over to him.
Oh, that coffee smelled divine, and Asher couldn't wait to try it.
Yup, just as good as he thought. He let out a small noise of appreciation, with a small smile of gratitude in Elizabeth's direction. She returned the smile, albeit a little shyly as she took a seat in one of the cozy looking armchairs.
"What do you get out of this? Out of our story? That's the part I don't really understand." She asked after taking a sip of her own coffee, and Asher let his gaze drop to the mug in his hands, idly watching the heat rise like wispy smoke.
"Look, I've done this for a long time; practically my entire life. All I've ever wanted to do was help people, and I've already used your book to do so, but I think there's more to it on your end." His voice was quiet but earnest; his mind was working ceaselessly as his random thoughts over the last month or so began to form into a cohesive line of thinking. "And... I've an idea, if you're willin'; I want you to write more books, specially catered to real stories from real Hunters, like a list of the do's and don'ts on how to kill what we hunt."
Both twins just stared at him, faces blank and eyes wide. Disbelief and caution crossed Elizabeth's face with a quick downturn of her mouth before she looked to her brother who mirrored her expression. Asher had a feeling that a lot passed between the twins in that single look.
"... You're serious?"
He nodded once; he needed to convince them of this. This had to work.
"As a heart attack."
"Like... an instruction manual or something? Like a 'How To KIll Monsters: 101' kind of thing?" Ed asked, simply for clarification; he was getting the idea behind his proposal, but Asher couldn't tell how he felt about it, he was a lot harder to read than his sister.
"Yup, 'bout sums it up"
The two shared another long look, but this time there was an air of inquiry on Elizabeth's side and Ed shrugged in response to whatever silent question she had.
It's up to you.
Indecision replaced disbelief and her ocean blue eyes flashed back to him and Asher felt like there was a judgment being passed. He met her gaze head on, hoping that they wouldn't just toss his ass out of their house.
"...Okay, then. You'll get the full story. You might as well make yourself comfortable, because this will take a while."