When an unknown force causes the Netherworld to start spilling over into the normal lives of people all over the world, some will find it within them, whether mortal or otherwise, to stand up for what they believe in.

Michael limped to the end of the back alley. The smell from one of the dumpsters was overpowering. Michael could barely keep his dinner down. Not that it mattered. If what he was running from caught up with him, the first thing it would probably do was eviscerate him, and his entrails and their contents were bound to be on the floor then anyway.

“Relax, Michael, try not to think about your imminent death.” Michael could hear the fear in his own voice. He took a deep breath and begun to summon his energies. His inner self tried to cheer him up with comforting thoughts.

“Don’t worry, even if you do escape, the Coven is not going to let you live. You know too much.”

Sometimes, Michael didn’t like his inner self very much.

A white ball of pure energy began to form in Michael’s cupped hands. He had to cover it up well, or else the light would just act like a beacon to…

The carnivera bounded around the bend with surprising agility and entered the alley in which Michael was. So much for hiding.

The temperature around Michael dropped several degrees as he absorbed the last of the ambient energy into his little ball.

 With the ball’s bright light, Michael could see the carnivera properly now. It looked like a human, a tad over six feet tall, dressed in an outsized black coat, gaunt and lean. The saliva dripped from its mouth, glistening in the light. To all purposes, it looked human enough. Predators often mimicked their prey to aid in the hunt. For carniverae, humans were the prey. 

But Michael had been trained well. He had dealt with carniverae once before and he knew how to spot the tell-tale signs of the manhunter. The glinting talons in place of fingernails that could slice through flesh. The bare feet which had retractable claws snuck away inside them. The eyes, completely black, perfect for seeing at night. The teeth, far more incisors and canines than necessary.

Michael tried to gulp without showing it.

The carnivera began to step forward cautiously, wary of the ball of light in Michael’s hands. Michael had seen what carniverae could do. If push came to shove, Michael knew that the carnivera’s talons would be at Michael’s throat before he could release the ball. The only thing he had to play on was its fear of Michael’s power.

“Step back, maneater, or I’ll vaporize you.”

The maneater looked up at Michael’s face and growled, a foul noise. Then the carnivera began to speak. Unlike the rough sound Michael was expecting, the voice that issued from the carnivera’s mouth was a polished accent, something vaguely British.

“You are nothing but kine. You really believe you can stop me with your light show?”

The carnivera took a cautious step forward, sniffing at the cold air, its jet-black eyes constantly watching Michael’s hands. Suddenly, its attention seemed distracted and it looked at Michael with some degree of consternation on its face. It took another tentative step closer and sniffed the air again. This time, a look of revulsion came over the carnivera’s pallid face.

“You have wasted my time, fool. I do not hunt carrion. Perhaps I shall be better off hunting prey that is safer for my palate.”

With that cryptic comment, the carnivera bounded out of the alley and took off.

It took a few seconds for Michael to register what had happened. Eventually, he breathed.

“Better head back to base, Michael. Before that friendly monster changes its mind and comes back to eat you.”

Obnoxious or not, Michael decided that his inner self was at least being sensible.


The End

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