Saturday, May 28, 2011

Emma Newman's Week - Underestimated - #FridayFlash

Understand why the fuss, HERE.
Picture credits on this post.
In continuation to Emma Newman's Week, I present you a story featuring one of her characters from her anthology, From Dark Places

Emma's week will close up with a review of one of her books, and you don't want to miss her interview here at randomities.  Stay tunned! 


They were crouched in a small balcony, cornered at the 15th floor apartment, their opponent closing on them.

“See what happens when you come up with this humanity crap?” whispered Pete. “The last time I heard I should act more like a human being or some bullshit like that, I almost got killed.” To the girl’s set face and trembling lips he continued, “You have no idea the kind of shit I’ve seen, rookie. Now where’s the holy water I gave you?”

She lifted her hand to the mouth, eyes widening. “You didn’t lose it, did you?” asked Pete. Blond slick hair blurred the girl’s face. “Where’s it then?”

“Yes, where’s that little bottle of salvation?” said Gerome, his mouth twitching up in a sardonic smile.

Pete lost color, his pallor matching Gerome’s. All of Anna’s body froze up, except for her eyes, which moved up to the bum’s void eyeballs.  Her nose reacted and she instinctively pressed it with her fingers to prevent the horrid smell from absorbing all her attention.

“I’m disappointed at you, Pete,” continued Gerome. “I’d expect the girl to underestimate me, but not such an experienced hunter as yourself.”

“How do – ?”

“Yet again you misjudge me.” Gerome sighed and dismissed the crouching girl passing by him on her fours. “You should have noticed my accent and the fact that my mouth didn’t smell as foul as my clothes.”

“What else do you know?”

Gerome laughed. “Do you believe I’d tell you?”

Pete stood up to face the monster. “You parasite piece of shit. You shouldn’t believe I’d rely only on a clumsy stupid girl.”

He thrust his hand inside his pants but the beggar was too fast; he grabbed Pete’s wrist and pushed him forward, making him hit the balcony’s cold metal. Pete’s back hurt both from the impact and the odd angle of his spine. Gerome was so close that he could see the scars where his eyes were once placed. The vampire extracted his fangs and went for Pete’s neck, forcing him to lean back even more.

Better dead than undead, he thought. Pete used his free hand to change his balance but he wasn't strong enough, so it only caused him more pain. Gerome noticed his attempt and chuckled, an inch from his jugular. Then he opened his mouth wider, and Pete closed his eyes.

Gerome’s scream was so loud that Pete would have fallen off if not for his free hand clutching the balcony’s bar. The vampire released him and stepped back; Pete reacted instinctively and threw his flask’s content on Gerome’s chest, who danced at the sound of hissing holy water.

Breathing hard, Pete looked up to see Anna setting an arrow to a black crossbow. His mouth hanged open as she pointed, aimed and fired. Gerome fell with a thud and Pete slid down in front of his extended hand.

He followed her approach with blank eyes. Only when she shook him by the shoulders he managed to focus on her concerned grey pools.

“Are you out of your freaking mind? Do you know how hard it is to get the heart, even at short distance? You could have killed me!”

She released him hastily, losing her balance and sitting in Gerome’s mummified hand. She yelped and stood up too fast, dizzily stepping in Pete’s foot, and grabbed the balcony’s bar for support. Pete shouted in pain.

“Oh, sorry!” She extended her hands towards him but he growled back something unintelligible. “I do know how hard it is, and I have been practicing.”

“Where was the fucking holy water, anyway?”

“In the living room.” She pointed, pouting. “It fell from my hand when Gerome showed his fangs for the first time.” She looked up to avoid meeting his gaze.

Pete snorted and asked, “Did you ever consider that Gerome could have kneeled or something? I was right in your shooting line!”

“Oh, vampires are fast…”

“Yes, darling. They’re freaking fast!”

“Will you please stop shouting? You are alive, aren’t you?”

Pete sighed. “How the heck do you have a crossbow at home, anyway?”

Anna cleared her throat before replying, “I descend from a long line of hunters. I don’t think they’d have taken me in otherwise…” She lowered her head.

Silence fell until the stench of decay mixed with the odor of the beggar’s clothes was too much for them.

“Gimme a hand.”

She helped Pete up and they called headquarters. After letting the cleaning crew in, they left, keeping silent until the bright lights of the E.R. entry shone on their faces to wake them up from their reveries.



“I’m worried that Gerome knew so much about you.”

“Yeah.” Pete shuddered, and grunted in pain.


Note: I apologize for the feel of incompleteness this story gives. Since Pete is not my original character I didn't want involve him in any "definitive" situation. If you'd like to read more of him, he's featured in the Emma's story "The Victim" in her anthology From Dark Places.

Oh, and I was the one who put the cursing in Pete's mouth. Just for the record. ;P


Emma drinks too much tea, has too many ideas and writes too many stories. You can find out more about her debut novel '20 Years Laterhere. She blogs and gets up to all kinds of writing mischief at

'From Dark Places' is available in print and e-book book formats. You can buy a signed copy from her website and if you like dark short stories, join Em's Short Story Club to get an original short story for free in your inbox every month.

Emma has recorded audio books for publishers and has narrated short stories for fiction podcasts. To find out more about her voice work go to can  also find Emma on Twitter: @emapocalyptic.


  1. I don't mind and it's a really great story.

  2. --Sonia: Glad you liked the story and the open ending didn't bother you. :)

  3. Nice of you to feature her for #fridayflash. I didn't mind the guest post - I thought it was gracious of you as a host.

  4. I liked it and I liked both the characters Pete and the girl.

    I think thought I might have found a typo - "You shouldn’t believe I’d relay only on a clumsy stupid girl.” should relay perhaps be rely?

  5. I like your Anna character! "I descend from a long line of hunters..." - it shows. Both Pete and, more particularly - and unfortunately from his perspective, Gerome underestimated her.

    Nicely done.

  6. --John: Thanks, you're a real gentleman. :)

    --Helen: Thanks, and also thanks for pointing out the typo. Fixed!

    --Kevin (KjM): I only realized later, when the story was done, that there's a cycle of underestimation: Gerome underestimates Anna, who underestimates herself, and Pete underestimates Gerome and Anna. Curious, eh?

  7. I'm late to the party as I've been away for a few days, just wanted to say how fun it was to read this, and weird - but in a good way!

    Ahhh, rookie hunters, gotta love 'em :o) Thanks Mari!

  8. Emma: Glad you could come, and especially that you found all this good-weird. (that's a cool compliment on my side ;p)It was fun indeed!

  9. I found this fast, fun and extremely enjoyable. Now I want to see what you do with werewolves, Mari!

  10. --Jodi: Oh, I think I replied to your werewolf comment on the troll story. LOL Just to summarize, I have a story cooking in my head that I think you'll like. Tricky one tho, so it'll take a while to come out.


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