A Plan Comes Together

Drawing: A little girl in a Red Riding Hood costume, running among some trees. Caption reads: “Hurry Mummy, help the doggy.”

Listen to this story as a podcast episode here.

A Plan Comes Together 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.

“We don’t want you in any danger.  You set up the meeting, but you don’t go to it. We do,” Senior Agent Jo Burns said.

Eric, the werewolf nodded. “If this is going to keep werewolves safe, I’m in.”

“As long as everything goes according to plan it will.  You need to make it clear, both Cassius and Marcus have to be at the meeting, or otherwise you’re walking away.  You represent the werewolves, and negotiating with you is the only way they’re getting wolves to join them against the HDU and me.”

Eric made the call, and set up the meeting for that night.  

Jo went back to her office, and briefed her team on the plan. Then, since none of them had slept the previous night, she ordered them all to get some rest.

Like most of the others, she found a bunk in the unit’s rest area.

She dreamed she was running through a treed area.  Ahead of her ran a little girl in a Red Riding Hood costume.  “Hurry Mummy,” Katie’s voice called back to her.  “We have to help the doggy.”

Jo jolted awake.  

She had a missed call from Eric on her phone. He’d left a message. The vampires had moved the meeting forward, and changed the place.  It was immediately, and in a park. Since she hadn’t answered his call, he would go and try to delay them until she and the team could get there.

Of course, Jo realised, ancient vampires had a tolerance for daylight.

She woke every team member who was in the HDU, and had them call the others as they drove to the meeting site.

“This way,” Jo heard Katies’ voice say.  She had a glimpse of red disappearing through the trees.

“This way,” Jo whispered to the team.  

With their mini-crossbows armed with stakes, they followed as she led the way through the trees.

They found one vampire holding Eric, the other was about to stab him with what appeared to be an ivory-handled silver sword. 

For a moment, Jo hesitated, afraid of harming Eric, then she realised a wooden stake was far less harmful to him than silver was.

The next things happened in seconds, but seemed to take much more time. 

Jo fired, hitting the fang with the sword.  The stake hit his heart and he fell to dust.

Beside her, Kate Murdoch did the same. Kate’s stake hit Eric, who collapsed. Scott Cooper fired, staking the second fang, which also turned to dust.

Jo ran over and pulled the stake from Eric’s shoulder. As she watched, the wound healed. She’d known it would happen, but was still amazed watching the process.

Once she was sure Eric was fine, she scrambled amidst the dust of the ancient vampires to find two red stones. She shot both of them with her service weapon and shattered them.

“Someone pick up the shards of those bloodstones and make sure they’re scattered over the widest possible area,” Jo ordered.  Then she turned her attention to Eric, “That was wildly courageous, and also the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen. What did you think would happen if I hadn’t got the message?”

Eric pulled a home-made explosive device from his pocket. “I’d have used this, and taken them out with me,” he said.  “Did I tell you how I became a werewolf? I was a soldier.  An IED like this one injured me, and I was captured.  One of the enemy was a werewolf.  When I tried to escape he bit me.  Did me a favour. As you’ve just seen, werewolves heal really well. After the first full moon, I was strong enough to escape.  After being blown up and captured, I applied for, and was granted, a discharge. A full moon would have made military life complicated.”

“Do you want a job?” Jo asked.

“Thanks, but no thanks.  The werewolf Neighbourhood Watch is going to keep me busy enough.  We’ve realised that looking out for each other is going to take more than watching out for people attacking us.  We need to look at how we support each other in other ways. Someone just got fired for refusing to work on night of the full moon. We need to help her get another job. Things like that are important.”

“Fair enough,” Jo said. “If you ever change your mind, or you need us, you know how to find us.”

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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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