After my close brush with the squid, our trio decided to lie low. Our hopes were that there would be other clashes occurring and that we would be left in peace.
We’ve made camp on the edge of the misty section home to the dreaded Count Dracula, a vampire as we were informed by commentator Claudius Templesmith. Onyx is already deep in slumber, all of her body but her head hidden by her invisibility cloak. Datura is slumped against a tree, fatigue evident in her gaze.
“Hye, go to sleep. I’ve go the watch. You should rest while you can,” I whisper, careful not to wake our other ally.
“You sure?” the caution in her tone betrays her hesitance to leave me unprotected. She still doesn't completely trust Onyx. I’m not sure I do either. Coming from a typical Career district, it was hard to believe that she would really want to team up with the tributes from District 12 of all places. I keep waiting to wake up with a knife in my back, to see the life draining out of Detour one morning, or to find that Onyx left in the middle of the night.
“Yeah. I’ll be fine. No one’s getting past me- I’m still jumpy from this afternoon.”
“Okay, but get me before too long, And, I’m glad you’re still here,” with that, she slides down the tree and curls up.
Alone, I stand up and cross to the fire. I add some more fuel to the dying flames. We decided to risk a fire, deciding that the mist native to this section would mask any telltale smoke. The snap of branch alerts me to a new presence and I spin, grabbing the cross hanging from my neck with one hand, my other fingers closing around a clove of garlic.
I’m prepared to fight off a fearsome vampire but all that has changed is the fog. It seems to have thickened and built up into it seems to surround me. I move back towards the packs getting ready to kick my allies awake if needed. I’m hesitating, because what threat can the water vapor really pose.
Then, I see it. I flash of a fang, the hint of blood in the air.
In a few swift fluid motions, I throw my backpack into my back and slip my sword into my belt. Pulling the invisibility cloak off Onyx and stuffing it into the bag it had concealed wakes her up.
“Shh,” I put a finger to my lips and point at the fog. “Vampire.”
Her eyes widen in realization. Nodding, I move around the clearing to Detour.
There’s no time to waste, so I use my tried and true method. I tickle her feet.
“Ack!” she’s roused from her rest immediately with flailing limbs. “BRAY!”
“No time! Here take this! Follow Ony!”
The two of them disappear into the mist as I pivot, checking to make sure we haven’t left anything on the ground. All I see is a vampire. Standing in the right by our fire with a menacing grin on his face.
My reaction is immediate. I start sprinting in the direction I think my companions took. My heart pounds in my chest and my lungs burn. I slow for a moment, my feet dancing in place as I try to follow any sort of trail. I lunge to my left right as a wall of fog seems to float out from the shadows. Blinded, my feet carry me forward as I stumble along.
I stretch out my arms to try and prevent myself from crashing into any trees.
“Youch!” A faulty step sends me tumbling down a hill that appears out of nowhere.
I bounce over rocks, ricochet off trees and am abused by by twigs littering the ground before crashing to a halt.
I’m so so sore but don’t have time to take stock of my maladies for Dracula is looming over me.
The mist around his head has cleared and he slowly bends down towards my unprotected neck. He swooshes his cap, showing off his fangs that drip with blood.
In an almost delicate manner he leans towards the tender flesh of my throat, preparing to feast. Terror paralyses my limbs, and my brain starts to shut down when I get a whiff of something disgusting.
I wrinkle my nose in disgust, noticing that Dracula seems to be hesitating, turned off by the smell.
‘Guess he doesn’t like garlic either, garlic… GARLIC!’
It all comes back to me in a flash.
Vampires don’t like garlic.
I have garlic.
I reach one hand deep inside my pocket and pull out a slightly smushed clove of garlic.
Taking a deep breath, I toss it up into the Count’s face and watch in delight as he flies back, repulsed by the onion.
I don’t take too much time to bask in this small victory for I know I need to get out of this vicinity and find Ony and Detour.
Rolling onto my feet, I dash into the undergrowth, not sparing a single look at the fiend behind me. I’ve only been on the run for a few minutes when I burst into a clearing where two familiar figures pace anxiously.
“Do you think the vampire got her? Should we go back?” Detour is speaking, glancing around every few seconds.
“Nah, I think she’ll be fine!” I respond and step into view, allowing them to launch themselves at me.
Hugs from my allies have never felt so good.