WARNING: Contains harsh language (F-bomb included) and sexual references/innuendos!
Viva Las Vegas. The city lights shined brighter than the stars above. Allanna Lycoris drove her lime green Volkswagen Bug through the strip, heading toward a place she’d rather not be in.
That place was called Strip Tease, and just as its name implied, it was a strip club. Allanna wasn’t going there to work – her best friend and roommate, Cynthia, worked there, and they had to carpool in order to get around.
This was just one of the many examples of how unfortunate it had become for some residing in Duskwood. The town essentially had two parts to it, each side segregated from the other by a cloudy river. Shrouded in mist, Duskwood was no ordinary town. But humans weren’t aware of that.
Humans, the species that resided in most of the world, and of which was very prominent here in Las Vegas. Allanna could see several now, standing along the sidewalks, selling things from sidewalk stands, and a few hookers flaunting their goods on the corners. Ah yes, there was nothing quite like Vegas, where prostitution was legal.
The Strip Tease appeared in the foreground, and as usual, the place was packed. Once again, Allanna would have to park in a parking garage a few blocks away, then walk the rest of the distance to the club. What was it with men who had nothing better to do than ogle half-dressed women in Stilettos? Or, in some cases, completely undressed women.
That’s exactly what greeted Allanna when she went inside. Several men, most of which seemed to be at least in their 50s, along with some college-looking types, were gaping at women parading around in thongs and push-ups, swaying around poles to heavy-pounding music (although tonight they were barefoot, which was probably a relief for their feet).
Allanna tried to stay as far away from the stage as possible. She didn’t want to be misconstrued as one of the strippers, which seemed to happen quite frequently when she got too close.
Cynthia came out on stage, her bodacious breasts bouncing as she seductively wrapped her legs and arms around a pole. Men threw bills at her and some hooted and hollered. Cynthia was gorgeous, and would be classified as such even if she weren’t a stripper. Her fiery red hair swirled around her face as she shook her hips and grinded her body against a pole.
As she waited for her friend to finish her performance, Allanna thought about how well she blended in with a crowd. Not particularly well in a strip club, but in a crowd of humans. She and Cynthia were both werewolves, and they could transform into such at will. But in their human forms, they looked exactly like real people. Sure, some of the males were a little hairier than humans, but other than that, no one would be able to tell the difference.
Humans had no idea that supernatural creatures actually existed in their world. Werewolves, or shape-shifters as they were sometimes called, since they turned into actual wolves rather than exceedingly hairy humans with fangs and claws, blended in very well. But those other creatures…they were slightly more noticeable. At least, they would be, if people knew to look for them.
Just the thought of those things made her skin crawl. It was bad enough that vampires breathed the same air as other living organisms, but the fact that they were trying to take over all of Duskwood, which would result in the werewolves having to find new homes, made them even more troublesome.
Duskwood held an invisible barrier that separated the two species. Even though they could mingle and coexist with humans, werewolves and vampires tended to stick to their own territories. Unfortunately, the vampires were rapidly trying to take over what was left of Duskwood, which happened to be the already run-down part of town, located in the bog. The blood-suckers, on the other hand, lived in the more exquisite part of town, and half of them had enough money to never have to work a day in their lives (if one could even call it that, considering the monsters never aged).
It wasn’t right that those leeches had a better life than the hard-working werewolves. First of all, because they’d been around for so long, all their money was inherited and just saved up for centuries. Werewolves aged like normal people, and they had to work hard to make a living. For instance, Cynthia worked here at the Strip Tease just to try to make ends meet. Allanna herself was stuck at a dead-end job in the human part of Duskwood (they lived in the center of the town – in fact, if it weren’t for them and the threat of them discovering the existence of werewolves and vampires, there would probably be a constant war between the two species) as a cashier for a convenience store. Unfortunately, the store was robbed quite often, and the money, to put it bluntly, was shit.
The supernatural creatures also had to pay bills, just like humans, which helped them blend in. So of course, if someone couldn’t pay rent, they’d lose their home. The filthy vampires didn’t have to worry about that, but the werewolves were always struggling to make ends meet.
There were so many legends of why vampires and werewolves are mortal enemies, but no one knew the truth. Some say the vampires enslaved the werewolves many centuries ago. Others say it was a constant dispute over territory. However, the stories that Allanna was told ever since she was a child was what her own parents and grandparents had learned. Legends say that vampires became as such because they were originally a coven of beings that drank blood and sacrificed their souls to a higher power in order to gain immortality. Werewolves were said to have received their powers from the moon, which gave them the ability to shift into their wolf forms as a means of survival.
The old superstition that werewolves were just humans that transformed into monsters and grew excessive amounts of hair with fangs and claws was downright asinine. Real werewolves were beautiful creatures, being humans or wolves whenever they chose (except during the full moon). Most people preferred the term “shape-shifter” to describe these types of werewolves, but Allanna had always preferred the other term, because the alternative could mean transforming into any creature, not just a wolf.
At last, the slutty-sounding song stopped playing over the loudspeaker and Cynthia left the stage (though not before some old geezer groped her butt as she bent over at the end of the song). Sighing in relief, Allanna tapped her foot impatiently as she waited for her friend to emerge from behind the Employees Only door. When she finally did, the two exchanged quick greetings before walking back toward Allanna’s car.
“So, did you make any good tips tonight?” Allanna asked as they walked.
“Just the usual. Not enough for you to quit your shitty job, sorry.”
“It’s not your fault. Besides, I’d feel bad if you were the only one working. I just wish I could find something decent.”
“Screw that, I want to find some rich guy to mooch off of. Those dumb bitches back in the hippie days don’t know what they did, fighting against staying home in the kitchen and not working. I’m all for equal rights, but I’d have no complaints if I was married to a guy who made all the money and I just stayed home and took care of the house and kids.”
“I’m with you there. But these days, unless you’re a billionaire, it takes two incomes to make a living. It’s sick.”
“Tell me about it.”
The two turned down a dark alley, taking a shortcut to the parking garage where Allanna’s Beetle waited for them. But as they were walking, they heard impending footsteps behind them. Not looking back, they just kept walking, their heads held high.
That is, until two dirty hands grabbed Cynthia from behind and fingers wrapped around her neck, and then a third hand covered Allanna’s mouth and clenched her waist.
Allanna struggled against her captor, her temper flaring. Cynthia, who was still able to speak, barked, “Let us go, you bastards!”
“Don’t be like that,” the guy in Cynthia’s ear cooed. “I had my eye on you the second you walked on stage. You and your pretty little friend deserve a good time.”
“Stop fighting it,” the guy binding Allanna added, “you’re gonna like it. You know you want it.”
The two men began groping Allanna and Cynthia. They were ready to transform, but doing so would be dangerous for their pack. If they transformed, the men would be able to tell anyone they wanted what had happened. They could kill the men, but their canine teeth marks would be obvious to the police. Either way, it would spell trouble for their pack.
Suddenly, just as Allanna’s captor began ripping her skirt, a sharp voice said from behind, “Leave them alone!”
The four turned to see a man with dark sandy brown hair and eyes the color of ice glaring at the men. Obvious muscles bulged beneath his shirt and Allanna felt her heart flip.
But then the smell hit her and Cynthia. The scent of the enemy.
Without a doubt, their savior, sexy as he was, was a vampire. And he dared try to save them?
“What are you gonna do about it?” Allanna’s captor taunted, releasing her in the process. His sidekick released Cynthia as well.
“Just leave the ladies alone,” the leech continued, his eyes glowing eerily, “and there won’t be any problems.”
The two men lunged, fists flailing. But they were no match for a vampire. He drove his fist into one of the men, who flew toward a nearby wall…
…and then got on top of the other one, the one that had been holding Allanna, and started bashing his face right in.
Allanna and Cynthia looked on in amazement, unable to run away since everything was happening so quickly, before the two men finally got to their feet and dashed out of the alley. The vampire looked at the two women, but he did so with a sneer.
Cynthia stomped toward the guy, fear not being one of her emotions, and demanded, “Who the fuck do you think you are?”
The vampire just looked at her smugly, smiling and baring his fangs, as he said, “I believe I’m the one who just saved your life. You don’t have to be such an ungrateful dog.”
“We didn’t need your help,” Allanna jumped in angrily, “we could have handled it.”
“Yes, you were handling it so well, weren’t you?”
Allanna’s cheeks flared, and she felt her temperature rising. When a werewolf became angry enough, and their body heat reached a certain point, they would uncontrollably transform. However, they could still control themselves in their wolf state.
But transforming in such close proximity to humans was dangerous. Cynthia laid a hand on her shoulder to calm her down, then steered her away from the snide blood-sucker (though they walked backwards, not daring to turn their back on the enemy).
“Nice dog collar,” he said, in a last-ditch effort to piss her off. Allanna could tell by the sound of his voice that he was actually playing with her.
Allanna flipped him the bird. The cretin just chortled before dashing off into the darkness.
When they finally reached the Beetle, Cynthia insisted on driving home, since Allanna was so infuriated she could hardly see straight. She couldn’t wait to get out of Vegas, and back home to Duskwood. Even though werewolves and vampires were isolated from each other there, several members of both species came to Vegas for various reasons. Considering that vampire’s looks, he was probably picking up a hooker.
Allanna looked out the window as Vegas disappeared behind her car, Duskwood looming ahead in the mist. Her pack didn’t live in the best part of town, and it didn’t have much, but it was still home. Yet if those damned vampires managed to get their way and start a war over territory, they could lose everything. Then where would they be? And more importantly, what would become of their already significantly small species?