Something New

Drawing: A bat flying past the moon. Caption reads: “Bat, or vampire?”

Something New 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.

“So is that a vampire or just a bat?” Kerry Perry asked as she pointed to an animal flying across the full moon.

“Bat. Probably,” Senior Agent Jo Burns replied.  They were sitting side by side on a bench seat at Southbank Parklands

Jo recalled that it was this same seat she’d been on when her former boss, Kurt Davison had attacked her. Now she was here, talking with a journalist. The world really had changed.


“Probably.  There’s a lot of flying foxes or fruit bats or whatever you call them around.  Even if it’s a vampire, it’s not a problem unless they attack someone.  Lots of monsters find ways to live without harming humans.”

“Good to know.  Some of those people who came with you to rescue me from the Countess didn’t seem quite… Was one of them some kind of ape?”


“They’re real?”

“That one is.  The Bundamba Yowie.  When his home was getting built in too much, he did a fair amount of property damage.  My predecessor had the choice of relocating him to pristine bush somewhere, or bringing him in.  He’s normally our office cleaner, but lately he’s come out when we’ve needed extra muscle.  The guy who couldn’t speak was a zombie, the spell making him a zombie was broken. He’s still extra-strong, can’t speak and chose to live-in at my unit rather than going home and traumatising the family who had already buried him.  One of the agents with me that night was a werewolf.  She’s locked up in the cells tonight, voluntarily, along with a couple of other wolves. Everyone else on the team’s human. Katie’s not really on the team.”

“Your little girl, Katie?”

“Ghost.  She’s saved my life a couple of times.”


“You said you wanted to help.”


“I’ve been talking to my colleagues in other states. We have a job for you if you want it.  Officially, you’d be part of Police Media. That’s where you tell family and friends you’re working. Whenever information about one of our cases leaks into the public domain, you help us control the narrative. If the whole thing is exposed, you’re our front line in reassuring people, and giving them information on how to stay safe.  No HDU branch in the country ever thought this position would ever be necessary, but then the Countess approached you, and we discovered how easy it would be to expose everything.”

“Public relations for a secret organisation was never a goal for me, but I see how it could be important. The Countess was scary and she was determined to make me publicise the existence of vampires.”

“It’s a completely new position.  You would be based in our office, but might have to be sent interstate at any time if a crisis became public knowledge.  If this experiment leads to media people being appointed in other states, you would be the person to teach them how to do the job. Effectively, you’d be our national head of media.”

“National head of something sounds less impressive when you’re the only one doing it.”

“Are you in?”

“When do I start?”

Jo handed her a newspaper. “Now.  You’re not the only journo the Countess contacted, just the only one who refused to run her story.”

Kerry began reading the story, “Oh no, I know this guy.  He’s a major…”



“Read on.  He says he was turned.  It wasn’t the Countess, because she was dead before he claims it, but there were two other ancient vampires in town.”

“So what are you going to do?”

“He’s exposed vampires, and the HDU, if you read all the way through it.  Tonight, we’re taking him in.  He’s going to a secure unit, officially a mental health facility.  We’ve got a couple of special cases there.  That’s if he doesn’t force us to kill him instead of taking him in.  If we get him without a fight, your story is that this poor deluded man is now in a secure facility for his own safety.  Otherwise, it’s about his disappearance, and police are looking for him, and concerned for his safety.  The important thing is that people think this is the ranting of someone who is extremely unwell. If you want the job, I can set you up with your office now, before I go to bring this guy in.”

Kerry read through the whole article.  “This is all really real, isn’t it?  I mean, we’re on the brink of mass panic if we’re not on top of it?”

Jo nodded.

“OK.  I’m supposed to serve notice if I quit my job.”

“I can pull strings to get you out of that.”

“Then I guess, you can show me my office.”

Jo wasn’t entirely sure that bringing in a journalist was the best idea. She hadn’t thought of any better way to deal with vampires outing themselves, and the HDU, in the media. Hunting down monsters in the shadows, was something she was used to.  Moving the fight into the public spotlight was something entirely new. 

The Countess had made the move.  At least one of the two other ancient vampires out there had continued it.

Now, it was up to Jo to find a way to counter it. 

Human Defence Unit Stories

While you’re here…

Find my Books:  Direct from the publisher
                               From Amazon
                               Or from your favourite online bookshop

Follow Me: Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Digital Tip Jar: PayPal Me

Everything on this site is the product of human, not artificial, intelligence.

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.


Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: