The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Fourteen)
Three days have passed. April hasn't shown up once since. I know she didn't show up to school because I had some of my classes with her. When the teacher reached her name during roll call, there was no answer. It wasn't that unusual for someone to be absent once in a while, but by the third day, I was starting to get worried.
"I don't think you need to worry so much," Simon said, when I relayed my worries to him.
It was lunch time, and I was sitting with him and Greg.
I don't know when he made time for it, but Greg had made sandwiches for all of us. He put them in simple paper bags and made sure we all had one, leaving just one on the restaurant counter with Delilah's name written clearly in permanent marker. When he handed everyone their lunches for the day, I was shocked. I mean, who knew he could cook? Greg just scowled when he saw my face and said: "I'm a barista. What kind of barista can't even make a simple sandwich?"
"You remember that doll from before, right?" Simon continued.
"Yeah," I replied.
"Like I said before, that doll's one of the good guys," Simon explained. "She's actually a superhero of sorts. If anyone can keep April safe, it's her. That's why Mrs. Pembrooke put her up to bodyguard duty. If anything happened, trust me, we would know."
"Superhero is a bit of a stretch, don't you think?" Greg cut in. "But Simon's right. That doll's definitely someone a villain should be careful around."
"Are you speaking from experience as a former villain?" I asked.
Greg just shrugged and resumed eating his sandwich in silence. I took a bite out of my own, and it was unbelievably good. If Greg wanted to, I'm sure he could open his own restaurant and rake in the dough.
"If you're that worried about her, just go see how she's doing, yourself," he said after swallowing some sandwich.
"I'd like to, but I don't even know where she lives," I retorted.
With everything that happened, I didn't think it would be right to ask.
As it turned out, later, I didn't need to.
When school was over, with nowhere else to go, I headed back with Greg to the café. We went behind the school building, making sure no one was looking, and pulled out Delilah's business card. Greg said the line "I have a case," and we were swallowed up by a cyclone of bluish-white light. When the storm of light dispersed, the first face I saw, much to my surprise, was April's.
She was sitting at the counter, tea cup in her hands, looking as gloomy as the last time I saw her. When she looked up to see what the commotion was all about, I saw that her eyes were red and puffy.
Standing on the other side of the counter was a reptile man with green-blue scales looking mighty relieved to see us. He threw off his apron and got out. And his uniform transformed into blue hoodie and a pair of faded jeans.
"She's been here all day," he whispered to Greg, nervously glancing back at April. "Delilah said to let her stay here and give her a drink on the house."
Greg thanked the lizard man.
"I'll take over from here," he said.
Greg's shadow rose up from the ground and wrapped itself around its owner like a cocoon. When the shadow sank back down to the floor, Greg was wearing his uniform. He straightened his tie and went behind the counter. Once behind the counter, Greg glanced at April before keeping himself occupied by polishing a glass.
April and I looked at one another. I wanted to ask what was wrong, because clearly something was wrong. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get the words out of my mouth. So I just continued to look at April. And April continued to looked at me. No words were exchanged between us.
And then, woosh! Landing with a clunk on the table counter was a doll, the same doll that I've seen appear and disappear a couple of times already. But last time, it didn't have that hole where its right eye was supposed to be. And it definitely had two arms instead of one oddly bent left one. That was finally when I found the strength to ask in a soft whisper:
"What in the world happened?"
April bit down on her lower lip and turned away. Greg glanced at her again, and then towards the other patrons of the café. Many were happily chatting away, unaware of the heavy feeling surrounding April.
With a sigh, Greg snapped his fingers, and a thin film of black, transparent fabric appeared, separating us from the rest of the eatery. The fabric then faded into nothing.
"Go ahead," said Greg. "No one can hear us in here."
We all waited, me with bated breath, as April mustered what strength she could.
"It's my mom," she finally said in what felt like forever. "She's been kidnapped."
April told us how earlier today, a swarm of bats suddenly appeared in the middle of the day and attacked their house. They had suddenly latched onto her bedroom window while she was browsing the Internet on her computer, shrieking their little throats out. Some tried to dig their fangs into the glass while others scratched the surface with their minuscule claws.
Frightened, April ran out of her room and into the kitchen where her mother had been cooking lunch. There, upon seeing her daughter, Mrs. Gonzales rushed over to April shoving some kind of key chain into the girl's hands.
"Whatever you do, don't let go of this," she urged her daughter. It was the same kind of key chain that April's father had given her years ago, that she still used to carry her house keys.
The window panes above the sink cracked audibly beneath the weight of all the bats attacking it.
"Into the living room!" Mrs. Gonzales shouted. "Go! Go! Go!"
She pushed her daughter out of the kitchen and into the living room. But like at her bedroom and outside the kitchen, the bats were outside the living room area, attacking the windows. And at the living room, the windows were already on their last leg. The pressure became too much and the glass shattered. And the bats swarmed in.
Mrs. Gonzales had her own key chain charm and held it up at the bats. The bats seemed to swerve away from her and April, as if there was an invisible wall between the Gonzales women and the bats. But then three men appeared, dressed in black. They all had deathly blue-colored skin, pointed ears, and a pair of fangs. The whites of their eyes glowed red.
Outside of that, because of the swarm of bats flying around them, it was hard to tell their distinct features. But one thing was clear. They were vampires. No. They were the Eripmav.
"Get out of my house!" Mrs. Gonzales shouted at them. "You are not welcome here!"
She bravely advanced towards the intruders, holding up the keychain charm. But they just laughed at her.
"Fool!" one of them shouted. He snapped his fingers and the charm in Mrs. Gonzales hand crumbled to dust.
Mrs. Gonzales stared at her now empty hand in disbelief, and then to the intruders.
"That charm might work on the lowly of our kind, but we are of the elite!" the Eripmav leader boasted. "
A hand emerged from the swarming bats and grabbed April tightly by the wrist. When April screamed, Mrs. Gonzales turned around. That was when the others caught her.
"April!' her mother screamed. She tried to break free, but her captors were too strong.
April felt herself get pulled back. That was when the doll flew in from the window to the center of the bat storm. An explosion of power was unleashed from the doll, momentarily dispersing the bats. April's captor let go in surprise.
The doll flew towards the Eripmav and knocked him away with a tackle. She struck at the Eripmav again and again, and gracefully weaved around his counter attacks.
"April!" spoke an unfamiliar girl's voice. "The business card! Use the business card!"
At first, April didn't understand what the girl was talking about. But then she remembered that she had Delilah, that werewolf detective's business card, that had some kind of magic spell put on it that took her to safety the last time. Luckily, she kept it in her phone case's card slot.
April took out her phone and reached for her mother.
"Mom!" she cried out.
But her mother shook her head. Mrs. Gonzales had also been freed thanks to the shock wave the doll had caused. But the Eripmav had quickly recovered, and went after her. She was barely keeping them at bay with what looked like a silver candle holder. The Eripmav hissed and backed away as if the candle holder was on fire.
"GO!" Mrs. Gonzales screamed. "Get out of here!"
That mysterious girl's voice screamed behind April. The doll flew past April's head and right through the wall. Having bested his opponent, the Eripmav went after April. But Mrs. Gonzales got in his way, swinging the candle holder at him. The candle holder struck the Eripmav in the left cheek where his skin smoked and sizzled.
Screaming in pain, the Eripmav lashed out his arm, batting the candle holder out of Mrs. Gonzales' hand.
"What are you doing?" Mrs. Gonzales shouted. "I said to get out of here!"
But April couldn't. She couldn't leave without her mother.
And then the other Eripmav were upon Mrs. Gonzales. They caught her and pulled her into the storm of bats where they disappeared.
"Mom!" April screamed.
There was still one more Eripmav. He dove toward April only to slam his face against an invisible wall. The Eripmav stumbled back rubbing his nose. That was when the doll suddenly swooped in, snatched April's phone and pulled out the detective's business card.
"I have a case!" shouted the unseen girl's voice. The next thing April knew, she was standing in the detective's office. And her mother was nowhere to be found.
Delilah was there. She realized something was wrong as soon as she saw April arrive.
Once April saw Delilah, she ran towards the werewolf and begged her for help.
"Please," she had said. "You have to rescue my mom! I can't lose her, too!"
After she heard the story from April, Delilah took April into the café and told the reptile man to just treat her to whatever she wanted before taking off to parts unknown without another word. The on-duty barista just stared at the door his boss had been at with a confused look on his face.
"She probably went to the scene of the crime," Simon said, breaking the silence he and I held as we listened to April's story. "Don't worry. Delilah will be able to handle everything. Just wait and see."
Greg placed a cup of tea on the table beside the doll.
"You should go see a doctor," he said to her.
"I'm fine," said a girl's voice.
I looked all around me, but I could not find the speaker, which made me think that maybe it came from the doll, itself.
Without anyone touching it, the tea cup lifted from the table and floated towards the doll's painted red lips.
"There's nothing more we can do," the girl's voice continued after a short pause.
"We can only wait for Delilah to get back. I'm sorry."
I put my hand on April's shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze, but that did little to ease her mind. For the next couple of hours, she simply stared at the tea cup in front of her. Simon and Greg left us alone to run the store. And as for the doll, she disappeared again somewhere for a few minutes, only to come back again, good as new.
The store had long since closed for the day by the time Delilah finally came home. She was in her human form, carrying with her a somber expression.
Just the look on her face alone was enough to tell us that she did not have any good news.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Thirteen)
Jay learns some magic.
- The Dandy Monsters: Night of the Eripmav (Chapter Fifteen)
Simon takes Jay and April on a walk to the town hall.