Neighbourhood Watch

A wolf sitting under a tree, looking up at a full moon, with a bat flying past. Caption reads: “Vampires are killing werewolves.”

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Neighbourhood Watch 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.

Senior Agent Jo Burns opened the cell door.  The werewolf was back in human form.

“Are you OK?” she asked. “We weren’t really able to check if you were injured last night.  I’m sorry we were a bit rough restraining you. We were short on options.  Thank you for giving me that warning.”

The man answered, “You’re Jo Burns aren’t you? They wanted me to kill you. I told them I wouldn’t. Everyone knows about you.”

“What does everyone know about me?”

“That you’re tough, but you’re fair. You won’t bother us if we don’t harm humans. That you even help some of us. But if we hurt humans, you’ll make sure we disappear. They wanted me to kill you.  They were going to go public and say it was werewolves, not vampires that killed you.  They wanted the whole world to know we exist, but to make out that they are harmless, and you were persecuting them.  Everyone knows it’s a lie.”

“And everyone is?”

“All the werewolves I know.  The vampires have been trying to recruit lots of us to join in their fight against you, because you killed someone who was important to them. None of us will join, because they’re scary, but you’re even more scary. But…”


“Some of the werewolves I know have disappeared.  I know they locked themselves up on the full moon, the same as I do. So it wasn’t you who took them.”

“So the vampires aren’t just at war with the HDU.  They’re killing werewolves as well, and they seem to be turning lots of humans.”

“It’s getting scary out there. We’re trying to watch out for each other, but we’re just ordinary people. Well, we’re ordinary people for most of the month. We don’t know what we’re doing.”

“What if I could get an agent to work with you, like a Neighbourhood Watch set up? We help you to look out for yourselves. Help you plan a system where you all check in with each other, make sure you have contact details to call the HDU if you’re in trouble.”

“You can do that? I mean, your job is to defend humans, not us.”

“Like you said, you’re ordinary humans for most of the month.”

Jo took the wolf, named Eric up to the office floor.  Agent Kate Murdoch was in her office, having just showered and changed after spending the full moon in a cell. 

Jo introduced them, explaining to Eric that Kate had a particular understanding of the needs of werewolves.  She instructed Kate to help Eric to form a werewolf neighbourhood watch.  

Then she went to Kerry’s office to warn her the vampires might be stepping up their campaign to expose the whole shadow world.

Jo found Kerry fielding a call from a journalist, saying: “The guy wrote a news story saying he was a vampire, and now he’s missing.  Police are concerned for his safety.  I only just started at Police Media, I wouldn’t risk my job by speculating he was having a mental breakdown.  You might be able to find a psychiatrist willing to back that theory, but I’m not saying it. The only information I have is that he is missing, and that anyone who sees him should not approach, but call police. … No. There’s been no new information since the release. …  Yes, I know Jo Burns. She used to be a cop. She retired a few years ago. … Super-secret spy agency? Where are you getting this? … Well, hey, if you trust your source and can back that up… You want me to go to my superiors and say, ‘You know that cop who quit after her kid was killed, is she running some kind of anti-vampire spy agency?’ I only started here yesterday. That would be the shortest time in a job ever. … If there’s any follow-up on our missing journalist, I’ll put out a new media release.  Bye.”

“The fangs are backgrounding more journalists?”

“That’s the third this morning.”

“It’s only going to get worse.  They’re trying to force wolves to join them, and are apparently killing them if they don’t.”

“Do we have to go public?”

“Not yet.  If we can get those two ancient fangs, we can turn back everyone they’ve turned, but we have to find them fast.”

“And how do we do that?”

“I have a vague plan forming.”

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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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