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A New Danger!

Tepic sauntered into the hideout and came to a sudden halt – one of the bunks was shaking and from under a pile of blankets he could just make out an ear he recognised.
“ello Loki, me old cat!”
“h…howdy T..Tepic..” came the broken reply.
“yer sound a bit shaky mate, what’s up?”
“I don shore seen Creaky Gloom fer sure, im m..mmmm…my cave!” the statement was finished with a plaintive meow, the violation of his safe refuge a shocking thing, then the scared boy continued “he don try an take me!”
The fox boy helped his friend to the table, where they could talk more easily, and they could have a mug of small beer to steady the nerves. Tepic was curious, as escaping Creaky was not an easy task.
“yer seen old Creaky? yer got somethin musical ter play? he asked.
Loki shook his head and said “I was doin my thang.”
“hmmmmm… singing might work, but he don’t like me flute at all!” Tepic commented, then the import of what Loki was saying filtered through, “an how did yer get away without music?”
“I ran fas’ an i shore did fire a fire right at ‘im!” the boy, though scared, was proud of his escape, “I got me a fire gun, shot it!”
“strange, that don’t usually stop ‘im…” this was getting more puzzling by the minute, and Tepic was beginning to wonder, “yer sure it were him?”
“shore nuff, hairy legs glowin eyes in all.”
“glowin eyes, that’s fer sure…. but hairy legs?”
“yes”, Loki said emphatically, “that were lot o’ them.”
“yer sure it wern’t Mr Goa….Mornington?”
With a shake of his head Loki muttered “ain’t nuthin moar evil than ol’ Creaky, shor nuff cummin fer me durin the holiday.”
“it’s true, he’s a bad un……” Tepic said, getting an emphatic nod of agreement from his friend, “there were trouble over the rail yards the other night…..”
“Th’s him alright, shore is comin fer all us then, aint jes me, yew better wa’ch yerself Tepic.”
“ain’t sure it were him, whole gang of older urchins vanished, an i saw the inside of the truck they opened….” he paused for effect, even in such dangerous times the telling of a tale required certain conventions, “were filled with enormous spider webs, an…… bones……”
Loki sat bolt upright at this revelation, “yew donn thank ol’ Creaky is gettin himself o’ family of creakys?” he said, then continued “I aint me’er heard him spinin no webs.”
“i dunno, i ain’t afered of Creaky, i knows him of old, but this new thing, i ain’t so sure…..” there was a trepidation in Tepic’s voice which disturbed Loki.
“I…. I aint never met ol’ Creaky but if this thing aint him yew thinkin it coulda been the same thang at the rail yard?” he asked.
“coulda been….. yer fired a flare at it an it didn’t slow it?”
“it was in mah cave!” Loki slammed his fist onto the table in anger, then in reply “no, all it did was laugh a right wicked laugh….”
“did yer try anythin else?”
The cat boy shrugged, “One minute I thank it was in the Port with me, I thrw mah knife at it at star’ then i dun ran, ran till I was on fire.., then I done close the door’ when I got in, an then nex’ it done be in my cave, an I done shot it with a flare gun I dun swipe earlier, aint nuthin stop it..”
“That ain’t good,” Tepic said, “an it were in your place before yer got there….”
“nuthin aint that fast Tepic!” the protest was clear.
“hate ter say this….” the fox lad tentatively put forward, “but i reckons it were playin with yer…”
“shore aint no fun kinda playin..” was the grumpy reply.
“like when the Hunt sends some horsemen along the routes they reckons yer’s gonna take…..”
“yew think theres more of em? this aint none too good fer us Tepic.”
“not sure…. but yer’s right, it’s either faster than anythin we seen before, or there’s more than one of em…”
Loki nodded in sorrowful agreement, then shook his head as Tepic asked, “you ever been up Ravalin way?”
“aint ever”
“they got vampires up there, an they hunts like that, like ter scare people first…”
The cat boys jaw dropped in astonishment, before he said “yew meanin blood suckin kind? Aint no such thangs!”, then he remembered the experience he had just had, and nothing seemed as certain as before.
“yep, suck the blood right out of yer….. course, they don’t bother foxes, reckons we taste bad….”
Loki gulped hard at the thought, “Y…Yew thinkin they done come down here, gettin a tas’e of me?”
This puzzled Tepic, as what oddments he knew about the Ravalin folks didn’t quite fit, “wouldn’t think they would take ter cat neither, mostly they only bothers human folks.”
“maybe it don…, know I was me.. maybe it think I was jes some kin’a human… course it shore is cold ou’, maybe it jes needs some place warm,,? I mean shore coulda been friendly to ‘im.. I dun said some right mean thangs too..” Loki’s voice petered out at Tepic’s look.
“whatever were in the rail yard took a whole gang, cept fer their lookout….”
Loki desperately tried to find some comfort in the situation.
“What if it aint drinkin?” he said, “jes turnin kids into minions?”
“hmmmm…..” Tepic considered, “more chance with the rail gangs than any of the others, cus they works together, i guess….”
Loki nodded in agreement, urchins working together in most circumstances was unthinkable.
“an that would be better’m eatin em….”, Tepic said, raising a cringe from Loki, “but…. there was bones in the truck…… lots of em…..”
“what kin’ bones?”
“errrrrrrr……. yer sure yer want ter know?”
“oh…..” Loki’s eyes widened, “them kinds.”
“maybe a it some kin’a zombie vampire? a Zomppire? yew ever heards ’em?”
“could be…” Tepic replied, then added a thought, “with hairy legs?”
“maybe a zomppire ‘n part abominable snowman,” Loki struggled with the known facts, “with a need fer caves ‘n minions…”
“it’s a bad business whichever way,” Tepic stated, rising to his feet, “yer stayin here fer the while?”
“shore is, fer t’night,” Loki confirmed, “aint goin back till the morn’n.”
“i got me rounds ter do, but i’ll keep me eyes open.”
“yew for shore be safe.” Loki said to his departing friend.
“an you, Loki!” came back the call, as Tepic vanished out over the plank exit towards the Cafe.

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