Sharon’s note: I’ve observed this many times over the years. There’s a bad situation, so they’ll sit there and scream about it and make things hard for others. They don’t accomplish anything, or even make themselves feel better. Not really. In a bad situation, you do the best you can, and don’t damn someone for doing the best they can. We’re all trying to get by. How about really looking at people and what they’re trying to accomplish, rather than just judging them without seeing? Warning: Author going off on a more general tangent because the world around her seems to be going crazy. Please, remember that you are looking at people, not just a institution or an ideal.
“How can staring death in the face be both terrifying and boring at the same time?” The absolute misery in Brian’s voice made me sympathetic, but also made me want to laugh a little, because I’d been there.
“Life is funny that way. I once spent eight hours stuck in this little-bitty church, waiting for the sun to rise, while vampires prowled outside. There were twelve of them, trying to taunt me into coming out. I was scared shitless, but you can only maintain that level of anxiety for so long. Either you break or you kind of . . . I don’t know. Normalize? Anyway, by the time the dawn got there, I was tucked up in a corner, more embarrassed than afraid because I had to pee twice while I was holed up in there, and the church was only one room, and there was no way to completely hide from all the windows. Have you ever tried to pee while someone is making a running commentary?”
“I can’t say I have. So, um, what happened when the sun rose?” A half chuckle broke through Brian’s exhaustion.
“They had to retreat. They didn’t really have a choice. They called in some humans to take care of me, but by the time they got there my team had found me and . . . well, things got a little messy. After we took care of the humans, we went after the vampires in their day time resting place. I have to admit there was a little bit of prejudice involved in dispatching them. Especially that one asshole who took pictures.”
“Understandable, I guess. You do a lot of that in your job? Killing?”
I sighed. “Sure. Go right in for the tough questions.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. . .”
“Don’t worry about it.” I was more than happy to talk about the more questionable aspects of hunting if it kept him from freaking out. Really, for his first introduction to the supernatural, he was doing quite well. “For the most part, anything we kill on the job is nonsentient. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case though. We don’t go after anyone who isn’t killing people, and we do try to capture if at all possible but sometimes that isn’t an option.”
“What about the werewolf? When you guys get here, are you going to kill him?” His voice sounded small and unsure. “Is he a normal guy when the moon isn’t full?”
My shoulders drooped. “Most likely.”
“What? That he’s a normal guy, or that you’re going to kill him?”
And more with the tough questions. Usually someone had to actually sign up to be a Hunter before they asked questions like these. “Both. I’d rather we were able to just let him run out the night and pick him up in the morning. We could get him into a program so that his condition would be a minimum disruption to his life.”
“But you’re going to kill him.” Was that judgement I heard?
“Would you rather I let him kill you?” I could hear my tone turn icy.
“No, I just . . . isn’t there another way?” He stammered. “Tranquilizer darts? Magic or something?”
I took a deep breath. “You have no idea how much I wish there was. We’ve tried everything we can think of to put a lunatic werewolf down without killing it. Unless it’s a big enough dose to kill them, sedatives won’t drop a werewolf. There are magics that can contain them, but they take a while to set up. Werewolfism is a curse. It was meant to be impossible to deal with. It’s one of the hardest pills of our world to swallow. Sometimes, there are no good answers. Sometimes, there’s just the ones that give us the least nightmares.”