alexconall: the Pleiades (Default)
Alex Conall, social justice bard ([personal profile] alexconall) wrote2013-09-14 10:26 am

By the Light of the Moon [[community profile] crowdfunding Creative Jam freebie]

This is a story from the universe of my novel quartet in progress, Blow That Trumpet Gabriel. Consider it canon.

Jyoti stood alone at the mall entrance that doubled as the Greyhound stop, waiting. One suitcase and one messenger bag and one purse contained all her remaining possessions in this world, except the clothes she wore and the rainbow friendship bracelet Vanessa had given her: the bracelet that had started this.

At least she had been allowed to keep that much.

She got on the bus, off, on again and off, for days, then off in San Francisco with no idea where to go.

During the days Jyoti haunted anywhere she could find with free wifi, letting cash trickle out of her pocket little by little to extend her welcome. At night, sleep did not come easily with no bed, and with worries about how she would keep eating when her cash ran out. How could she find a job with no home address?

One night she was woken from restless slumber by a scream. Running to help, as fast as she could with her suitcase rolling along behind her and her bag and purse banging at her sides, didn't bring her fast enough: Carolyn, who was kind, who walked the streets to earn money to pay for her tiny apartment with the shower she let Jyoti borrow every third day, lay sprawled in a pool of liquid that showed red by the light of the full moon.

Carolyn was dead, Jyoti realized, and she fumbled out her cell phone and called 911, sobbing.

A month later—long enough to prove that no one actually cared about dead sex workers, that no one but Jyoti and a few other strays of Carolyn's actually cared about Carolyn—a rustle woke her. She sat up and looked around, saw nothing, lay back down—and a large dog hurtled around the alley corner and leapt.

The dog misjudged its landing and slammed into the dumpster instead of Jyoti. That was the only thing that saved her: that she had that half a heartbeat to roll out of the way and dart around the dumpster. The dog snarled and followed, but Jyoti was already up the dumpster's side, and perched on its lid she was out of reach.

The dog retreated down the alleyway, then turned around and ran back, taking a flying leap at the dumpster top. A gunshot, and a bullet caught it midair.

Jyoti's savior, when he stepped into the moonlight, was a Latino man only a few years older than she herself. "I hate werewolves," he said. He walked over to the twitching body and fired twice, and the dog stilled. He turned around and looked up at Jyoti. "Come on down, it's safe. The wolf's dead."

"You said werewolf," said Jyoti.

"I did say werewolf," said the man. "You might feel better if you start pretending you never heard that."

Jyoti scooted to the edge of the dumpster and jumped down. "Last month," she said. "A woman named Carolyn, who died near here. The police said it was an animal attack and stopped caring."

"She's how I knew where its hunting grounds were," said the man. "I'm sorry."

"No," said Jyoti, "I won't feel better if I pretend this never happened."

The man nodded, and held out a hand for Jyoti to shake. "Me llamo Miguel."

"Jyoti," said she.

"Come on," said Miguel. "Let's get you cleaned up."

Six months later

Jyoti raised her gun, loaded with wooden bullets. This vampire had made its last mistake.

Image of an Indian woman with a determined expression on her face and a handgun in her hand.

Creative Commons License
By the Light of the Moon by Elizabeth Conall is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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