Darkly Drinking (With a Badger)

One of the best things about being a nowned author (that’s what you have to bechloe hammond, darkly dreaming before you’re renowned, right?) is that you get to play with other authors you like and admire.  As you probably already know from my review of Darkly Dreaming, I think Chloe Hammond is a brilliant writer, so I was chuffed to bits when she agreed to help out with the launch of Everything Is Better With a Cape, and even more so when she agreed we could write some live cross over fiction for the party! It was great fun, and I have tidied it up below.  With cameos from E.M. Swift-Hook and L.N. Denison, this was really good fun to write, and hopefully you’ll have fun reading it!

Our scene opens in a very traditional British pub, right on the edge of the area where the recent apocalypse trial was held. In the furthest, darkest corner are two vampires.
They don’t look like vampires though, or at least not how we have been led to believe vampires look by myth and legend. Instead, they look like oversized, very beautiful marble statues, that someone has scribbled on with magic marker. No-one pays them any attention. It’s that sort of pub. They are leaning together across their table, unsipped vodka and cokes clutched in their long taloned grip. They are whispering…

‘I still don’t see how this will work?’ Layla muttered, scanning the crowd in the pub.
‘This girl, Kerry,’ Rae sighed, tired of explaining. ‘Survived and exposed the apocalypse with her friends, we saw it in the paper. With everything in the news at the moment about nuclear weapons, artificial intelligence, and reanimating the dead, I think we can pretty safely say we are going to have an apocalypse of one description or another pretty soon. Yes?’ She leaned back, raised her drink to her lips and then placed it down again without actually drinking.
‘Well, yes,’ Layla spoke uncertainly. ‘But, why would that worry you? We don’t need a human to show us how to survive, none of these things will affect a vampire.’
‘Only their food source?’ Rae rolled her eyes.
‘We don’t eat human.’ Layla spoke firmly.
‘Not usually, no, but Georgette needs human to Heal doesn’t she? And vampires get pretty cantankerous if they get no human at all don’t they? So what do you think is going to happen to the occasional human who manages to survive the end of days?’
‘Ah, yes.’ Realisation slowly dawned on Layla.  ‘They’ll get guzzled. So what are you planning to do? Turn Kerry?’
‘That would rather defeat the object.’ Rae frowned. ‘I’m going to persuade her to help us gather up her friends, and then we’ll take them somewhere very remote and safe, with some breeding pairs of animals and we’ll all be safe for the future.’
Layla looked as aghast as a scribbled on statue can look. ‘A farm? You’re going to farm them?’
‘No!’ Rae sounded appalled at the idea, before lowering her tone. ‘Well, not as such. Now shush, they’ve just walked in. Look human.’
‘I‘ve got my disguise on haven’t I?’ Layla defensively pointed to the black felt tip round her eyes and mouth. ‘I look like a proper Goth.’ When Rae didn’t respond she added, ‘are you ignoring me?’
‘Oh for feck’s sake.’ Rae snapped. ‘I’m Compelling them. It’s difficult trying to affect only them, don’t want all the other riffraff descending on us. We want quality stock for this breeding programme.’

An attractive blonde woman walked in, flanked by a badger. A few drinkers glanced at the animal and blinked, but most just assumed it was a strange looking dog and carried on.
‘Why do we have to sit outside?’ the badger grumbled. ‘It’s cold and dark!’
‘Because,’ the woman muttered through gritted teeth. ‘They won’t let a badger in the pub.’ She looked like a poor attempt at a ventriloquist.
‘How do you know?’ the badger persisted. ‘There isn’t a sign!’
‘Because I just know, OK?’ she continued to clench her jaw as she spoke.
‘Why are you talking like that?’ the creature sniffed her leg. ‘You look ridiculous!’
‘I’d look more ridiculous talking to a badger!’ she shouted, before looking embarrassed and sitting down.
‘Hiiiiii Kerry,’ Rae gushed. ‘So lovely to meet you at last. I’ve read so much about you’
‘Lick arse,’ Layla muttered
 In a voice lower than humans can here Rae whispered, ‘do you want to eat in the future?’
 The woman was far to preoccupied with disguising her embarrassment over her outburst at the badger to notice anyone was talking to her.
‘She seems to be ignoring you,’ Layla observed drily.
 ‘I think I over did the compelling.’ Rae said defensively. ‘Go and get her a drink.’
 ‘Oh, it’s OK,’ Rae sounded relived. ‘She’s just chatting to the badger. She’s fine.’
A handsome, toned man in skinny jeans, shiny shoes and a fitted shirt walked confidently into the bar and kissed Kerry on the cheek. ‘Hey, babe.’ he greeted her. ‘What’s up?’
Gazing in distraction at the vampires Kerry managed to say, ‘Hi Tyrone.’
‘Whatcha looking at?’ he followed her gaze
‘Those women,’ she continued to stare at them.  ‘They’re… fascinating…’
‘Go and say ‘ello!’ he sounded enthusiastic. ‘They gotta be better for you than wasserface. She ain’t even turned up, AGAIN!”I can’t do that, Tyrone!’ she looked mortified.’
‘Who’s that?’ Layla demanded.
‘Oh excellent, breeding pair!’ Rae grinned.
‘We’re taking both?’ Layla sounded confused but quickly jumped on board with her friend’s plan. ‘Shall we nab them now?’
‘No, Layla,’ Rae began.
‘Me?’ a random drinker looked across at them. ‘Kidding,’ she added sheepishly when they both looked at her. ‘I know you don’t mean me.’
‘Goddammit Layla, that woman’s got the same name as you! She thinks I’m talking to her. Argh. I think the compelling might have affected her’ Rae scratched the table with her long claws.’

I don’t trust them,’ the badger said, looking up sharply. ‘They don’t smell right.’

‘Shit, that badger’ s giving me one hell of a glare!’ Layla was disconcerted.
Standing up confidently and brushing himself down Tyrone spoke. ‘Don’t worry, babe, I got this.’
‘Tyrone, don’t!’ Kerry was panic stricken.
‘Keep your pet away from them!’ the badger spoke urgently from beneath the table.
‘What am I supposed to do?’ Kerry sounded helpless.
‘Look,’ Rae snapped. ‘This isn’t going to work out long term if we can’t persuade them to join us voluntarily. Go get them a drink.’
Tyrone strutted over to the table of vampires. ‘Ladies…’ he gave a wink.
‘Ooo the stud’s coming over.’ Layla purred. ‘HELLO HANDSOME, HOW LOVELY TO MEET YOU’

David,’ Rae coughed before acknowledging the new arrival. ‘Hi Tyrone, why don’t you and you friends come and join us? Layla was just going to get drinks. What would you like?’

‘Alright, babe?’ Tyrone seemed unfazed by the fact that she knew his name. ‘What you up to?’

Licking her lips seductively, Layla simpered, ‘I’m just getting a round in, want to help me carry them back? Call your mates over. Maybe not the badger though. What’s wrong with that thing?’
Rae coughed louder. ‘DAVID!’

Tyrone turned and waved, beckoning Kerry, who looked like she was about to crawl under the table and die. ‘Come and join us, Kerry.’
‘I don’t like it,’ the badger said firmly. ‘I say we run.’
‘We can’t exactly leave him… can we?’ Kerry sounded uncertain as she awkwardly rose to her feet.
‘Why are you saying we?’ the badger grumbled. ‘I’d leave him in a heartbeat, you know that.’
‘Alright, well, I’ll make sure it’s OK, then we’ll go, alright?’ she made her way slowly towards their table.
‘He’s probably already told them that you’re desperate and single and looking to form a love coven…’ the badger observed matter-of-factly.
‘Oh god!’ Kerry’s cheeks drained of any colour. ‘Yes… that is exactly what he’s done!’ A blush began to appear as she drew nearer. ‘Erm… hi… I’d like to start by saying, please, for the love of god, ignore my friend!’

 
‘Who?’ Rae asked, looking up at her. ‘Tyrone or that badger? He’s gone to get the drinks in with Layla.’ She nodded towards the bar. ‘Why is your badger glaring over like that? I didn’t know badgers could glare.’ When Kerry blinked dumbly at her she continued. ‘Did I hear something about a love coven?’

They can hear me?’ the badger bristled. ‘This is not good, at all. I say we make a break for it.’

Kerry’s face was now beetroot. ‘Erm… no…. erm… I… Really need to be going, actually. Probably shouldn’t have come in the first place… wow… your skin is so smooth…’

‘Tell your badger,’ Rae raised an eyebrow at the creature. ‘That yes, I can hear him, and there’s no need to be so rude! And there’s no need for you to rush off either. I’d love a chat. You are the girl that survived that apocalypse thing aren’t you?’
Kerry was becoming mesmerised by Rae and slowly sat down. ‘Well, it wasn’t really an apocalypse, after all.’

‘They aren’t human!’ the badger said urgently. ‘Get up, come on, get up you useless woman!’

‘Shush, Badger,’ Kerry gazed at Rae. ‘We’re talking.’
‘That one might not have been real,’ Rae observed.  ‘But I’m sure you can see from the news there’s going to be a real one any day now. And you did so well. You were so brave.’ She batted her eyelashes seductively.

Kerry stared at the table awkwardly. ‘Oh, well, it wasn’t just me, you know…’

‘I don’t need to watch this,’ the badger snorted and wandered off. At that point a random drunk burst into a rendition of Danny boy from the corner of the bar.

‘ LAYLA!’ Rae almost shrieked. ‘Put the drunk down, you don’t know where they’ve been!’

A man walks in and heads to the bar. He is tall, with a beard and a scar down the left side of his face. His entire demeanour screams military. He perused the drinks list before ordering and leaning on the bar. Tyrone was temporarily distracted by the well muscled man and started to puff out his chest and posture.

 

lipping Layla,’ Rae said exasperatedly. ‘She’s gone and started that drunk off singing! Anyway,’ she attempted to regain control of the situation. ‘As we were just saying… Oh, yes, that apocalypse. Feels like it was just a taste of things to come. Don’t you think?’

The drunk began another rendition, louder than the first.

‘Well, it was the bloody government, wasn’t it?’ Kerry had to almost shout above the noise of the pub. ‘I mean, corrupt bastards… When’s the next election anyway? Feels like it’s been years, doesn’t it?’

Badger re-enters, followed by Sam. The approach the table.  There is a definite bulge under Sam’s jacket, which is either a gun or, well, since she’s female it’s almost certainly a gun.
‘Well,’ she raised her eyebrows at the scene before her. ‘At first I thought that little Timmy might be stuck down the well,’ she nodded toward the badger, who was sitting triumphantly at her feet. ‘But now I see you’re being seduced by a vampire, honestly, I can’t leave you alone for a minute.’

Unperturbed, Rae shouted over the drunk Layla had brought to the table, who is serenading them loudly. ‘I just think it’s all been a sign of things to come, with everything that’s been going on. I was going to suggest maybe you and your friends might like to come away with Layla and I? Find somewhere safe. We could look after you…’ She looked to Layla for support, but both she and Tyrone were far too preoccupied by the newest arrival to notice. ‘This is not going to plan,’ she muttered. ‘How come this has ended up being the party table? Who the hell is this Marcus guy? Damn Sam for turning up right now…’

‘I can look after everyone, but thanks.’ Sam placed her hand strategically on the handle of her weapon. ‘And there had better not be any deaths by blood loss in the area, I know where you’re staying.’
‘Bloody Layla,’ Rae muttered, feeling the hint of failure. ‘Got to turn everything into a party. Feck it. I tried. I’m going home before that badger bites me or Sam does something other than just flash that blade at me.’
And you can find more from Rae and Layla in Darkly Dreaming.

And more from Kerry and the Badger in I Wore Heels to the Apocalypse

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