Drawing: A large house, at night time. Caption reads: “It was a large, but otherwise unremarkable, house.”

Trap short story by Iris Carden

Listen to this story as a podcast here.

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.

It was a larger than average house. Apart from that, there was nothing to distinguish it from any of the other acreage properties in the outer suburbs.

Senior Agent Jo led half the team through the front door, the other half came in through the back. 

It should have gone smoothly.  The previous similar operation had been easy.

They walked quietly through darkened halls and rooms, searching for the occupant, and any other vampires he might be working with.

Both halves of the team met in the middle.  Jo redirected them, Andrew, Scott and Elizabeth to search upstairs, while she, David and the Yowie, searched downstairs.

Jo was opening the pantry door when she felt a something like a insect bite on the back of her neck.  Then she felt weak a moment and everything went black.

She woke in what seemed to be a store room.  All of her team were there, all unconscious.  Another man was there as well, and he seemed to be just coming to. “Restrain me,” he said, sounding as if his voice was coming from a great distance.

“What?” Jo’s voice also sounded like it was coming from a long way away.

“Full moon.  Restrain me,” he said.

Something clicked. Jo reached for her handcuffs, but they were gone.  She frantically started searching the room. Throwing things off shelves, in the half light.

Andrew seemed to come around next, sitting up and looking around.

“He’s a wolf!” Jo said to Andrew.  “Help me find something to restrain him.”

Andrew got to his feet, swaying, and did something Jo could not have anticipated. His normal shambling gait exacerbated by the drugs, he lurched toward the wolf.  He pushed the werewolf down and laid across his body, pinning him to the floor.

How long could a zombie hold a werewolf pinned down? Jo kept looking for something to use as a restraint. The shelves held all kinds of household odds and ends, unopened boxes of washing powder and packs of toilet paper, bulk bottles of cleaning products to be dispensed into smaller bottles for use.

David woke up, and did the sensible thing Jo hadn’t thought to do.  He turned on the light.  That allowed them to see that the werewolf’s body was already changing, flailing legs becoming hairier and changing shape.

Jo found a shelf of linen.  She grabbed a sheet, twisted it, then tied it around the wolf’s legs. David took another sheet, and tied the wolf’s arms over his head.  Andrew continued to pin the upper body, so the wolf could not get up.

The others were waking up now.

“What’s happening?” Elizabeth asked.

“It was a trap,” Jo said.  “The fang we came for knew that we would come after he published that story. He’d already trapped a werewolf here, sedated.  The wolf was able to give me a warning before it turned.  Apparently they don’t turn while drugged.”

“So the wolf’s not in on it?”

“No, just a victim.  One we need to get out of here safely when we get ourselves out.”

David had been examining the lock on the room. “It’s electronic,” he said.  “No chance you’ve got your Open Sesame key with you?”

“The fang, or I would guess, fangs, took everything.”

The Yowie looked at the lock, then put its hands over its ears. Since no-one seemed to understand, it held David’s hands and put them over his hears.  Then went to Jo, took her hands and put them over her ears.

“You want us to cover our ears?  I guess we can do that. Everyone cover your ears.”

Everyone did as instructed.  On the floor, Andrew kept his body pressing down on the struggling werewolf, while covering his ears.

The Yowie went to the electronic lock and began a high pitched screech, the pitch getting higher and higher.  The wolf one the floor howled and thrashed in response to the sound. Then the door swung open.

The Yowie stopped its screech. 

“Do you shatter wine glasses as well?” Jo asked.  The Yowie patted her on the head.

“No point in stealth.  That noise will have woken everyone within a kilometre of here,” David said.  He found a toolbox, and looked for something useful in it.  Hammers and screwdrivers might have worked against humans, but not vampires.

“Tomato stakes. I’ve got gardening supplies over here, including tomato stakes right a the back. They must have forgotten they were here,” Scott said.

Everyone, with the exception of Andrew who was still on wolf duty, armed themselves with a stake.  Jo told the Yowie to stay with Andrew, in case he needed someone to protect him. The rest of the group stayed together as they made their way out of the room. 

They did not have to go far to find a group of half a dozen fangs, all curled up on the floor in pain, blood flowing from their ears.

“Looks like yowie screeches do more than open doors,” Jo said. “Stake them all, let’s get this over with.”

She found the fang they’d actually come for and, “Where’s the one who turned you?”

“Not here.  Cassius learned from the Countess’ mistake.  You won’t find him or Marcus, just an endless number of vampires they’ve created.  You can’t win. You can’t keep us secret.  Kill me now, and Cassius will bring me back to life by morning.”

“You think I’m leaving your body for him to revive? No I’m cremating you tonight.  Long before your leader finds out you’ve failed, you’ll already be cremated, and poured into the river, where he can’t resurrect you.”

She forced the stake through his heart.  

“OK everyone, clean up.  Someone find our gear and sedate that poor wolf. He can sleep it off in our cells. Let’s get these fangs burned and scattered before they come back to bite us.”

The next day’s news would feature a release from the Police Media unit, that the journalist who recently claimed in a news story that he was a vampire was now missing.  Police were concerned for his safety, but advised anyone who saw him not to approach.

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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