Save Daddy

Drawing: a long corridor in institutional blue-grey, a little bit of something red is turning the corner at the end of the corridor. Caption reads: "The girl disappeared around the corner at the end of the hallway."

Save Daddy short story by Iris Carden

Five storeys below Brisbane’s Roma Street Police Station, is the headquarters for the Human Defence Unit. Its members are drawn from among the highest performing members of military, intelligence, and police forces throughout Australia, along with select highly specialised members of the civilian population. The Human Defence Unit and its elite staff are neither police, military nor intelligence. They do not exist.

HDU Senior Agent Jo Burns was running down the labyrinthine corridors, with unnamed doors, of the HDU, chasing a little girl who was wearing a red hooded cloak.

As the girl disappeared around the corner at the end of the corridor, her deceased daughter’s voice came to her: “Hurry, Mummy, we have to save Daddy.”

Jo woke up with a start, echoing from her dream, she heard Katie’s voice say a word Katie had been far too young to know: “Vampire.”

Jo tried to phone David, but got no answer. She dressed quickly and took a small concealable crossbow and three wooden bolts from her gun safe. She knew if she missed with the first bolt there was probably not much chance she would be able to reload, but she habitually took extra.

At David’s house, she didn’t get an answer when she knocked at the door. She heard David yell from inside. They had each other’s spare keys for emergencies. Jo determined this to be an emergency and let herself in. She heard a crash from the back of the house, David’s study, and ran there.

Through the open doorway, she could see a female vampire had David pinned against the wall, and was about to bite him.

“I’m late to the party, again,” Jo said.

Startled, the vampire turned partly towards Jo.

It was enough to create the space where Jo could fire without harming him. She pulled the trigger mechanism, releasing the wooden bolt. The force from the crossbow staked the vampire and she fell to the floor.

David, shaking, slowly bent his knees and sat down on the floor, leaning against the wall.

“Are you OK? Did she bite you?” Jo asked.

David put his hands over his face. “She didn’t bite me. Is she dead?”

Jo sat on the floor beside David. “She’s kind of dead. They can be brought back, and there are people crazy enough to do it. The clean up team will cut her head off, fill every orifice with garlic, cremate the head and body separately, and scatter both lots of ashes in different locations. The idea is to make sure no-one can gather the bits back together. You invited her in.”

“First time I’ve been on a date, since… It seemed to be going well. I invited her back here for a drink.”

“Do me a favour, don’t invite people into your house unless you know them really well. I might be too late next time.”

“How did you know to come now? You weren’t just passing by my study.”

“Katie told me, in a dream.”


“Yeah. It’s the second time she’s given me a warning. Saved me from a werewolf.”

“Our dead daughter told my ex-wife to save me from a vampire. That’s a sentence I never expected to ever say.”

“Life got weird.”

“Did I say ‘thank you’?”

“It was implied.” Jo noticed what had smashed. “Your grandmother’s sculpture.”

“Yeah, well, she wasn’t much of a sculptor.” He paused a thoughtful moment and asked: “Why didn’t we make it? After Katie, I mean.”

“We both needed each other, but we were each so caught up in our own grief, neither of us had anything left for the other.”

“And Katie’s back now?”

“Katie, or something impersonating her. If it’s Katie, it means she has unfinished business.”

“Could that be us?”

“Could be.”

They sat, side by side, each lost in their own thoughts.

Human Defence Unit Stories

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By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.


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