Chelsea Hunts a Brain Leech, pt2

This is a series of short stories, detailing the adventures of Chelsea Childling. You can start with her origin story or pick any story from the index.

Yes, this is the other half of Chelsea Hunts a Brain Leech, Pt 2.

***

Chelsea fought down a laugh. Miles made a decidedly awkward white knight. His arm flopped awkwardly at his side once he handed her the blanket. “I don’t really have extras.”

She laughed, pushing wet hair out of her eyes. She had enjoyed the hot shower. “I do.”

“About that.” Miles swallowed. “I have money on my card, so I washed them for you.”

Chelsea shook her head. “I can pay you back.”

“When you get the chance.” He threw up a hand, shaking his head.

She had to put him out of his misery. “Miles, yeah, I’m homeless, but it’s more a voluntary vow of poverty than anything else. I have plenty of money.” She fished a stash of cash out of her bra before she pulled her emergency credit card out of her boot. Gold and shiny, Miles’ eyes popped.

He shook his head. “Please don’t make me an accessory to anything.”

Chelsea flopped on the couch with a laugh. “Miles, I know it sounds weird, but I really did choose to live out of my car.” Bentley wiggled onto the couch, trying in vain to only take up a single cushion. Chelsea was resigned to using the dog as a body pillow. She often had since she found him. He’d gotten more comfortable as he put on weight.

Miles stuck his hands in his pocket as he studied her. She actually saw the moment he believed her. It started in his eyes but became obvious at his flushed cheeks. “Ah, shit.” He gave up an embarrassed chuckle. “I feel like an idiot.”

“Don’t.” She smiled at another human and for the first time in weeks, it felt natural. “I think it’s sweet you wanted to help someone. And I really am looking forward to sleeping on your couch. Far more room than my backseat.” She shrugged. “And c’mon, who takes off like this? Nobody.”

It was a lie, but one he’d believe. She knew lots of people who had chosen the same life as her, although none with her monetary resources. It’s what had led her to this exact man and his dorm room. He was the victim of a monster. And Chelsea killed monsters.

She had to put him at his ease though. Brain leeches tended to attack when their victims were sleeping. 

He pinched at the bridge of his nose. “I’ve been so stressed, and these headaches… I guess I just wanted to help someone else.”

“Like I said, it was sweet.”

He crossed his arms. “I was projecting. You mentioned your girlfriend, and… well, I- I’ve been there.”

He crossed his arms. “I was projecting. You mentioned your girlfriend, and… well, I- I’ve been there.”

You mentioned your girlfriend, and… well, I- I’ve been there.”

Understanding hit Chelsea and she gave into her instinct to hug the guy. Her parents had been rich and liberal. Loved, pampered, and adored all her life, she had never known a moment of anything other than security. While she’d only dated one woman, that didn’t mean she was ignorant of the challenges other people faced. Art school had been full of eye-opening moments for her. She knew full well that sometimes a failed relationship meant living on the streets for some people.

Miles’ hug started tentative before turning rough for a few moments. Then he pulled away with a sniff. “I do feel better though, knowing that you’re voluntarily homeless. Why are you anyway?”

She shrugged, knowing the truth was completely unacceptable. “A series of bad relationships during a really terrible time in my life. I needed a change. So I cashed out my chips and hit the road.”

He gave a scoff. “I wish. That sounds great.”

She shrugged again. “It is. Once you get past the need for a shower that lasts more than five minutes and sleeping on anything resembling a bed. Oh, and home-cooked food.” She sighed. “It’s not the life for everybody, but I had nothing tying me anywhere, and I was sick of pretending that I did.” She sensed the awkward silence coming and patted the couch. “Seriously, this will be a treat. No worry about cops harassing me, or crazy people, or how cold it’s going to get.” She snuggled up against Bentley. “We’re sleeping like kings tonight.”

Miles grinned. “Well then, I’m going to curl up on my plastic mattress and attempt to appreciate it a little more.” He shuffled off to his room, head bowed, fingers massaging his temples.

She breathed in rhythm with Bentley, taking comfort in the big dog’s mass and warmth. Especially once her breath misted in front of her. 

“Bentley, stay.” Chelsea rose from her couch and pulled her ax from her backpack. She crept down the hall, trying not to make any noise. 

She paused to look at the paisley frost on Miles’ open door, but only for a moment. While she appreciated the confirmation, she had been certain the brain leech was attacking Miles since she met him.

The monster stood over Miles, the cold mist of its magic surrounding the tube it had inserted in his ear. According to the message boards, that tube held a substance that degraded brain cells, until the victim was too disorientated to fight back. Then the monster split open their head and feasted on the brain.

Tall and thin, the brain leech’s only resemblance to humanity was being bipedal. But the silhouette offended her sense of proportion, being truly too thin to be human, and its face was utterly alien. The lack of a nose making it vaguely reptilian, but also a touch insectoid, with side mandibles.

That’s what I need to watch out for. Those things are sharp.

The message boards said the easiest way to kill a brain leech was while it was feeding. Chelsea ignored the twinge of guilt at using Miles as bait. He’d been attacked before she came, and she was killing the thing attacking him. 

She swung at the leech’s arm. A thin, wheezy scream came from the monster as it pulled away from Miles. She grazed the arm as the leech scrambled for the open window. 

“Shit.” She rushed out to the living room. “C’mon, Bentley.” She grabbed her bag as she ran out the door. She didn’t want to lose the leech, but she didn’t plan on coming back here either.

Bentley on her heels, she ran over to the sidewalk next to Mile’s window. Drops of some dark liquid headed into the night. Chelsea didn’t think, she went after it.

She heard the leech’s wail to her left, and sprinted towards a dark parking lot. She spotted the vampire behind a sedan. A wordless cry escaping her lips she rushed the monster.

It turned swinging. She turned the ax head, using it to trap and deflect the leeches blow. Once it was stumbling away, she kicked at it. To her horror, Bentley sailed out of the dark, landing on the leech. 

Terror pounding through her chest, Chelsea hacked at the leech’s neck, heedless of the clicking mandibles. It shuddered and then went still.

Chelsea couldn’t breathe. “Bentley! Bentley!”

The big dog bounded to his feet and pounced on her. Still terrified, she ran her hands all over the wriggling mass of ecstatic dog. Eventually, her heart gave in to what her brain screamed, and she accepted that Bentley wasn’t hurt in any way.

She grabbed his muzzle and rested her head against his. “You scared the hell out of me. Don’t do that again, please.” She’d have to leave him in the car when hunting. That was all there was to it.

Climbing to her feet, she sighed. Her night was just beginning. “C’mon, boy. We have to drag this body to the car.” There was a dump on the north end of town. She’d leave the leech there.

Humming under her breath, Bentley at her side, Chelsea got to work.

***

Keep the Adventure going!

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