Today’s Teaser Tuesday is from Author Robert Clark!
In a town where a significant percentage of the population consists of individuals sometimes considered paranormal, Drew’s ability to detect potential trouble is valued. Is the problem he senses the vampire hunters Boringville has to keep from encountering the vampires who live there? Is it the people claiming to be looking for a vicious rapist?
Whatever the threat is, the town’s residents have to find a way to neutralize it without shedding innocent blood, at the same time keeping the world from knowing many beings from legend are real and live peacefully beside normal humans in Boringville.
He almost laughed. Even in a place like Boringville there were problems, although not always the same ones a person would to encounter in most areas. “Ray. Over here, please.”
The ten year old of Asiatic background came to him at once. Drew went to one knee so he could look the boy in the face without looking down or forcing Reynard to look up. “I thought you were taking SCUBA lessons. Why aren’t you in school?”
“I was. We just ran through some basic drills in the pool today, stuff like mask clearing and recovering lost mouthpieces. We got out earlier than normal.”
“Good. You know the SCUBA lessons weren’t what I wanted to talk to you about, don’t you?”
Looking guilty, the boy put his hands to his ears. Drew nodded. “What does The Law say?” While Boringville had a town charter and under normal conditions followed the leadership of the mayor and town council, a place with a population as unusual as Boringville’s had problems most places didn’t and needed special rules to deal with them. A hidden government, headed by elected individuals called leaders, could be called on to deal with situations not covered by the standard town charter. There were things the residents of Boringville couldn’t risk talking about. In those cases they followed a detailed set of rules known as The Law. Boringville residents were taught The Law from the moment they were old enough to understand it. People who moved into Boringville from outside, in every case Drew knew of individuals who were aware of Boringville’s secret, had to learn The Law before they were considered true residents of the town. Only by cooperating with each other and living not only by the standard laws any place like Boringville would, but also by obeying The Law, could the citizens of Boringville maintain the lives they wanted to live.
Reynard said, “No transformations, even partial ones, where outsiders can see us.
“I didn’t think what I did would cause any harm. I didn’t think anyone would notice and I can hear better this way.”
“What would your parents say if they saw you like this?
“I’d be in for it, wouldn’t I?”
“I think you would. Most normals would consider fox ears on a human a bit shocking. They might think they were part of a costume and ignore them, but you know we can’t depend on them convincing themselves they saw something other than they did.
“You know how proud your parents are of you. Very few shifters can manage partial metamorphosis. Being able to do a partial at your age is outstanding. The fact you inherited their abilities is even rarer. The special traits are recessives. Even with both your parent’s being were-foxes, the odds of you being one were slim. You wouldn’t want to embarrass them and yourself for something as silly as having the wrong ears with the wrong body, would you?”
Reynard’s ears took their human form. “I’m sorry. Are you going to tell them?”
Drew laughed. “Tell them what? I imagine they know you got out of SCUBA class early. You’ll behave yourself, won’t you?”
“Good.” Drew stood up. “I’m sure you have things to do. Don’t let me keep you.”
“Some of us were going to meet at the creek and go swimming.” Reynard started away, turned, and said, “Thanks, Drew.”
Reynard headed in the direction of the creek and Drew kept moving toward the center of town. Even as a newcomer he was acquainted with a large percentage of the people who lived here. Longtime residents knew everyone. In a town the size of Boringville getting to know everyone wasn’t difficult, but no other place Drew’d ever been was as friendly. In a way it was vital. Any word of Boringville’s secret getting out could be a disaster for the town, and the normals like himself would be in as much trouble as the people of various subspecies. True, he was a normal with a special ability, but was still a mainline human, not one of the subspecies like a lycanthrope or vampire.
A van pulled into a parking place near him and he knew where his feeling of a potential problem was coming from. Someone inside could prove dangerous to Boringville.
Five young men and women, all people he guessed to be in their early twenties, piled out. They were laughing and talking. He couldn’t be sure, but from the way they were acting he guessed they were college students or recent college graduates on a road trip. An attractive blonde woman inclined her head in his direction and spoke to her companions. Drew’s hearing was exceptional, but he couldn’t make out her specific words well enough to tell what she said. They walked to Drew with a tall, thin, dark haired young man taking the lead, although it was clear he was doing so because the blonde woman was directing him.
The small group of tourists stopped a few feet from Drew. They seemed a little nervous, but not frightened. The man in front looked embarrassed at being appointed the group’s spokesperson, but managed a smile. “Officer, we, my friends and I, wondered if you could help us?”
“Could you, well, maybe tell us…? I’m not sure how to say this – ask this.”
The blonde woman said, “Jack, just ask him.”
“Yeah. I guess. Officer, could you tell us where we’d have to go to see some of the vampires living in Boringville?”
If Drew could have believed he was looking at some clown trying to make a joke at the expense of a police officer, or a complete idiot asking a stupid question, he wouldn’t have been concerned. He knew better. These people were smart and the question sincere.
He wondered if he should be relived. At least he knew where his feeling of unease came from. The problem was; what was he going to do about it?
Robert Clark was born and raised in Eerie (Erie), Pennsylvania. He was brought up on Creepy, Eerie, and Vampirella comic books, stories of Ax Murder Hollow, science fiction novels, and late night horror and science fiction movies. He delighted in scaring the neighborhood kids with stories he made up or swiped from comic books. His fifth grade teacher told his parents he’d end up either in prison or as an author. To the surprise of almost everyone who knows him, he graduated from college. After graduation he spent years teaching biology. While doing so his fifth grade teacher’s prediction (?) threat (?) curse (?) whatever, came true. Tired of reality, he decided to try writing fiction. The genres he writes in are science fiction, fantasy, and horror/supernatural, although these often overlap in his books. He and his wife live in northwestern Pennsylvania. Clark is no longer teaching biology, but is still writing. At this point he hasn’t been in prison and hopes to keep it that way.