“Silver doesn’t kill werewolves, they’re allergic it.” I sigh and lean against the counter. Same spiel, different day.

“Young man, I will have you know that I’ve killed two dozen werewolves with silver.” The tiny little old lady waves her silver-tipped parasol in my face.

I eye the tip, going slightly cross-eyed before shaking my head and re-focusing. “And they got all puffy when they died?”

“Of course they did!” She old crone’s voice reaches a pitch I’m surprised hasn’t cracked the jars lining my shelves. “It’s a part of the process! Not simple allergies. I guarantee you I’ve seen more of their dead bodies than you have, boy.”

“It is a part of the process, yes.” The allergic reaction process. I suppose it does commonly end in their death, but I’ve met a couple of werewolves that are immune. It isn’t true magic, like the transformation process itself.

I gently slide a paper bag across the corner toward her. “Will silver bullets be all you need today?”

She huffs, snatching the bag. “Yes. Have a good day.”

It doesn’t sound like she meant it. But she storms out of the shop, which in fact does make my day, well, more good.

I take in a deep breath and bring the money around the corner into the back of the shop. I count the bills, placing the extra in my pocket. A hundred bucks should to the trick for now.

“Who was that?” A woman’s voice echoes from the darkest corner of the storeroom.

I walk toward it, careful to avoid the mountains of dusty back stock lumbering around me. We’ve always had too much stuff, though under my management we’ve managed to clear out a good amount.

“It was Gran Oakley here for more silver bullets.” I shimmy between two stacks of what seems to be cockatrice feed.

“Silly woman will never believe there are better methods than wolf bane and silver.” A sigh resounds through the piles.

“No kidding,” I mutter, finally coming to the altar in the farthest corner. The altar itself is plain, wood with the insignia of my twisted and furry family demon on it. The woman hanging above it is a little plain, too, a white dress sheathing her body, muddy brown eyes peering at me from a hallow, ghostly face.

The creature of darkness binding a woman to the wall, however, is a little less plain. It’s hundreds of glowing eyes watch me as I set the money down on the complex insignia, and I’m happy when I close my eyes to begin to pray. Utter darkness isn’t easy on the eyes. It gives me a migraine every time I come back for my daily sacrifice.

“When are you going to free me?” It’s almost a whine from the woman, but just a tad bit too elegant.

“Maybe tomorrow.” I open my eyes to find the money gone. I scowl. At least the tithe to binding her isn’t an animal sacrifice, but it’s damn hard enough to run a niche monster-hunting shop without having to sacrificing income.

“Tomorrow you’ll be at school.” Her voice is a purr and a growl at the same time.

“Good catch.” I walk away without ever meeting her eyes, despite the demon constantly sucking away her powers. “Maybe once you stop trying to destroy the world, I’ll give the letting you out issue more consideration.”

“Oh, well that won’t do.” There’s a grin to her voice. “Why don’t you just kill me then?”

Another sigh escapes my lips. Maybe I’m just as silly as Gran Oakley, insisting on using backwards methods to kill the local werewolf pests. I won’t kill the world-devouring monster in my storeroom, no matter knowing she’ll do it again if she ever escapes. It’s just… “I can’t kill my own mom.”



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