Chelsea had dreamed of the prairie often since leaving. She had never imaged she’d return the same way she had arrived, exhausted and heart-sick.
The cop studied her license. “Chelsea Childling? Did your dad write comics?”
“No.” She wasn’t in the mood for banter over her name. She had driven for sixteen straight hours and wanted some sleep.
“Says here you’re from Georgia?”
She nodded and deliberately thickened her accent. “Yes, sir. Born a peach, die a peach.”
“How… do you… have a… job?”
“Why?” He didn’t smile, but he seemed pleased with himself. “Are you offering to be my sugar mama?”
“I hate you.”
He chuckled. “I think that’s a new record for your declaration on undying hatred.”
The camper was cramped and dark, a dry cave, covered in Jackson’s clothes. The hunter hurried ahead of Chelsea, grabbing shirts and pants as he went, apologizing over his shoulder. “Have a seat. Throw shit at me if it’s in your way. I’m just getting back on my feet and I wasn’t expecting company.”
Chelsea reached greedily for the proffered coffee cup with her uninjured arm. Hot, and somehow both bitter and smooth, she savored the drink. One of the hedge doctors had bought her one from the coffee shop downstairs when she limped in this morning. She was on her third. “I swear this almost doesn’t need sugar.”
Pale morning light barely brightened the tiny camper, but it was enough for Chelsea. She found her underwear quickly. The bright-white cotton glowed on the kitchen table. But her bra eluded detection.
She swore under her breath, not wanting to wake Carla. She didn’t exactly regret sleeping with the other monster hunter, but…
*Oh no, I exactly regret this.*
The Blind Bronco had never looked better to Chelsea as the cold, relentless wind blew her and Bentley through the door of the trailer. The bar stood immaculately clean, as always, and Florence smiled at her.
The teen aged beauty queen gestured to a stool. “Welcome back. I thought we’d seen the last of you.”
The second day of the storm had Chelsea pacing the hotel room. There were five steps between walls. The only five steps she had. She’d been walking them since she woke up.
He shuffled over, eyes bright and smiling. Chelsea’s stomach bottomed out. The man had tried to lie about his name and had done so poorly. Like many new hunters did. Yet he had beheaded a fairly big monster in moments. He moved a bit like the older people she hunted with, smooth and precise. But Rick had… an edge. He was so much faster… better than anybody she’d ever seen.
Dean sat up. “Isn’t there some weirdness for you at Halloween?”
“For werewolves or Canadians?”
“For were- Wait, they celebrate Halloween in Canada?”
Matty rolled his eyes. “Yes, Canada has Halloween. Why did you think there would be weirdness?”