James’s Note: So, White Holocaust Bees. They actually came to me in a dream. The only part I still remember is some one saying, “Most animals don’t want to harm you any more than you want to harm them. Well, except for White Holocaust Bees.” That’s where the name came from. The idea for the creatures themselves came from a video of Japanese honey bees killing an Asian Hornet by vibrating until they cooked it to death. I love nature.
I didn’t have any time to gloat over my victory. I grabbed my messenger bag, and after a bit of fumbling, came out with a large syringe and a small vial that contained what looked like blood. In fact, with the addition of a few herbs and magical charms, it was blood. I chugged it down quickly, and rushed to Israel’s side. His body was cold, still and dead. Luckily, he was a vampire and that didn’t mean a damn thing. I quickly found a vein and rammed home the needle in my own arm.
Damn it, that needle felt like it was the same gauge as a drinking straw. I filled the syringe, unscrewed the needle and opened Israel’s already slack jaw. I stuck the now needleless syringe in his mouth and sprayed my blood down his throat. Thankfully, the potion I had just drank would replace the blood I was giving him. That was a good thing, as I replaced the needle and repeated the process. Around the third time, just as his eyes were starting to flutter open, he jerked on the ground as his spine snapped back into shape. It’s truly ridiculous how much damage a vampire can heal given enough blood. After he drank what felt like enough of my blood to fill a small swimming pool, he managed to sit up weakly.
“How do you feel?”
“I feel like the assembled hordes of Genghis Khan just ran my ass over. So, you know, I’ve been worse.” He looked over at the pile of dust that had once been an unstoppable master of this city. “What happened to her?”
I motioned to the big white bees now returning lazily to their hive, some of them dawdling around to sample the flowers. “They did. Those are White Holocaust bees. Nature’s little Kamikaze bombers. Instead of a sting they self-immolate with a fire hot enough to melt steel. It’s a defense mechanism they evolved to combat Iron Hornets.”
Israel let his head flop back to the ground. “I really don’t want to know what those are.”
The rest of the night was a fun-filled ordeal to sift through the carnage and try to put my life back together. My first priority was to get the Willow man back in his enclosure before he decided to go Godzilla on the surrounding countryside. While “The Willow Tree That Ate Houston” might make a great B Movie, I really didn’t need that in my life. Luckily, after having decimated a vampiric hit squad, it was understandably tired. It had planted Itself by the stream, and was letting the cool waters wash over its roots and trailing branches. From my house I retrieved a wooden flute heavy enough to be used as a billy club. With a rousing rendition of Jethro Tull’s The Whistler, I was able to coax the old Willow Tree back into its proper place and rebind it with the proper spell.
Israel was tucked away safely in my sun proof guest room to ride out the coming day. He was one of the few vampires I had actually liked well enough to let stay in my house, but he wasn’t the first, and I was prepared to offer him a sun free place to sleep.
Then I had the unhappy task of surveying the damage to my property. My forest looked like it had been subjected to carpet bombing. I sighed, knowing the amount of work it would take to restore it to its former beauty. A lot of new plantings would be required, along with a lot of love.
The hedge, ornery bastard that it was, was already fixing itself. Several of the large orange trees that had been uprooted had been rammed back down into the soil by their neighbors. The bramble roses had enveloped all the wounded trees, holding them in place while they healed. Aside from the missing gate, you would never know the hedge have been breached. I love that cantankerous wall of hate.
I made a call to Anton’s human secretary, who takes all his calls during the day, and set up a meeting as soon as the sun went down. Having my ducks now firmly in a row, I was able to return to my house for a much-needed shower, and some much-needed first aid.