Ihp's Talebox 2

An Exciting day in Boring, Oregon

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Critter Profile: Valerie!

Overview!

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Name: Valerie

Species: Little Red Flying Fox (Pteropus scapulatus)

Primary Caretaker: Terrestrial Team, Mark Nathanson

Diet: Fruit soaked in a little bit of blood (she likes pineapple chunks and bananas the best)

Housed: Wilson's Wildlife Center, Enclosure 26

Creature Features!

Valerie is an odd case here at Wilson's. Originally, she was a vampire— and we don't mean a vampire bat, we mean a full-on creature-of-the-night. Through a complex series of events involving our partners at Breekon and Simms's Humane Vampire Solutions, she got permanently trapped in the form of a bat. Sadly, she still maintains some of her old diet, but her new stomach doesn't agree with her. We're hoping to rehabilitate her until such a time that we're sure a cure for vampyrism can be found, and she can be un-worged1 and released into normal society.

History!

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Believe it or not, Valerie is over 600 years old. She originally hails from what is now the Czech Republic, having willingly made herself into a vampire due to the fact that she was afraid of dying to a strain of the Black Plague that was sweeping through the area at the time. She was on the run for years, managing to come to the USA in the mid-1800s, where she made her way west along the Oregon Trail, before making her home in southern Washington.

In the late 90's, Valerie was apprehended by Breekon and Simms Humane Vampire Solutions, a partner group to Wilson's, where she was sealed in the form of a bat. The charm misfired, as she was meant to be in the form of an insectivorous bat, but she got made into a fruit bat instead.

Special Needs and Accommodations!

Valerie has to be fed fruit that's been soaked in pig's blood, otherwise she won't touch the stuff. Vets should be on standby when she eats, as being a fruit bat, she can't really have meat in her diet, and blood makes up a good part of meat.

Her enclosure should be kept dark at all times, similar to Bakugo— while a Worged vampire can function just fine in sunlight, due to the nature of her condition, we'd rather not take any chances. Flying foxes are largely diurnal, so she can be brought out for educational purposes every now and then, provided she's given permission.

Certain traits of vampires might still apply— she needs to be invited into certain areas, but being carried in is usually an implicit invitation. She can cross running water just fine— otherwise, we would have to put her in an enclosure that isn't near any plumbing. The last time we put granola in her enclosure, she didn't eat for six hours until she finished counting them, so keep things like sand and salt and loose grains away from her.

Notes about Valerie!


Faeowynn Wilson pinched the bridge of her nose as she waited for the last member of staff to come in. Her e-mail inbox had been flooded by notices from the Supervisors about apples that had gone weird. Apples that they had been planning to use in their apple bobbing thing. They were advertised as 'narrative-proof', but her father had warned her not to trust anything she bought from Sloth's Pit.

Mark Nathanson came in the door and saw the crowd assembled, his eyes widening. "This… looks urgent. What's up?"

"Food safety meeting." Fae stood up from her place at the front of the room. "Got some notices from the Supervisors. Those apples we ordered from Sloth's Pit? We're meant to destroy as many of them as we can." There were several loud groans from around the room. "I know, I know, but as it turns out, in a place like Boring, they're actively dangerous."

"How?" Mark scoffed. "I've eaten a few chunks, and they taste weird, but nothing bad has happened."

"I took one the other day to put in my lunch." Bill Hendricks rubbed the back of his head. "I'm fine."

There were a few murmurs of assent throughout the assembled staffers.

Fae looked at the e-mail she had printed out, the frown on her face growing a bit deeper. "It says here that the effects can 'vary between municipalities, depending on the local themes'. Whatever that means." She looked up at the rest of the crowd. "Have any of you been feeding apples to the animals?"

Mark chewed his lip and blew out his cheeks. "I… gave a few pieces to Valerie. She seemed like she really, really wanted some. I figured a chunk or two couldn't hurt."

"How long ago was this?" Fae made her way towards the door.

"About…. half an hour? What's up?"

Faeowynn dragged Mark out of the meeting room, and headed towards the terrestrial enclosures. Once they reached Valerie's cage, Mark's heart sank. The door had been blown open from the inside, and there were pieces of fruit everywhere. Footprints appeared after about ten feet, then handprints, as if something had fallen onto the ground. A small pile of vomit was between the hands, and then scuff marks, as if something had flown away.

"…I think those apples just un-worged Valerie."


It was the first bit of food they saw.

Initially, the vampire mistook it for a bear. There were a lot of those in this place. Boring should have been called Bearing— Valerie had seen at least four in Wilson's, during times when she was being transported between enclosures.

Now, in a proper form, after over a decade of subsisting off of pineapple chunks, Valerie hungered. She landed on the hairy form. She preferred human meat, but a bear would do in a pinch.

From her mouth, a long, spiraled tongue snaked forth, and bore itself into the skin of the beast. It was as the first drops of blood were on her tongue that she realized something was wrong— all blood tastes different, but most non-human blood tended to be bitter. This was sweet and salty, like a human's.

Her first thought was that she had bitten some hunter in a ghillie suit. Then, the thing stood to its full height— almost ten feet— and looked down at her with bright, intelligent eyes.

In her shock, Valerie did the one thing a vampire should never do to a strange animal. She broke away, her tongue painlessly snapping off and burrowing its way deeper into the animal's skin, into its bloodstream.

She flew off, already feeling a new tongue beginning to form itself in her mouth. The Child of the Night below her clutched its head with one hand, and the sore on its arm with another. A grunt of pain escaped its mouth as its teeth began to elongate.


"Your father is a bit thick, you know that?"

Fae glowered at the back of Hope Simm's, of Breekon and Simms's Humane Vampire Solutions. The girl was a third generation vampire hunter, and looked the exact opposite of how one thought a vampire hunter should look. Uncalloused skin, all extremities intact, not a single scar on her person, her hair long and easy for something to grab and tear off her scalp. The accent was just right for a pompous hunter of those that lurked in the night— some weird quasi-Londonion cadence that gave away that she was either from England, or trying her hardest to sound like she was.

"He's not the one who screwed up the anti-worging charm and made the past twenty years of her life pure suffering. That was your dad."

"It's an animal that should have either been destroyed or contained!" Hope laughed, crouching on the ground to inspect some scat. "You'd not have a rabid animal in your facility, would you?"

"No," Fae admitted. "But your company advertises humane vampire solutions."

"And as soon as I inherit the company properly, I'm axing that part." She frowned at the pile of dung before her. "Huh. Does this look like bear shit to you?"

Faeowynn made her way around the hunter, crouching by the pile. "Ever since Ursus Maritimus, dad's held courses on animal tracking every year. This stuff isn't dark enough to be bear scat. Looks almost human." She looked up at Hope. "Why do you ask?"

From a pouch on her side, Hope produced a set of tweezers and a plastic baggie. She dug the tweezers into the scat, and pulled out a long, worm-like appendage.

Fae recoiled as she saw that it was both squirming, and barbed on one end. "What the hell?!"

"Vampire tongue. This is how they spread their sickness. Once it burrows in, bam, you're a creature of the night, have fun being worged in the daytime for the rest of your life. The hunter placed the tongue in the bag. "Now what creature is this actually from?"

Fae scratched her head. "It could just be a camper that Valerie fed on. Don't tell my dad about the 'it looks human' part, he's going to think it's big—"

The world around them turned dark in the middle of the day. Fae looked up to see stars in the sky, as if the sun had disappeared. "—foot." She finished her sentence, aghast. "What the fuck?"

A screeching sound came from overhead. Hope and Fae both produced a flashlight, looking overhead in time to see a pair of bats fighting above them. One was small and swift, and Fae recognized it as a vampire bat. The other was much, much larger— she felt its feet graze her hair and had to duck. "What the hell?!"

The larger bat looked down at the both of them, and landed on the ground with a titanic thud. It stood back up to its full height, revealing a tall, hairy form. In the darkness, Fae couldn't make out its head, just a pair of beady, intelligent eyes looking down at her. Blood dripped from its mouth, and Fae could see that fangs had grown from its lips and punctured its own face.

"Children of the Sun," it spoke in a way that made Fae and Hope's ears hurt. "You have brought unto me a great boon." It took a long sniff of the air. "You… smell of Tim Wilson."

"You know my dad?" Fae gawped. "He… he's never said anything about you."

"The jailers, then." Its head shook. "No matter, soon the Children of the Night will be free of them."

With that, the titanic form shrank into a slightly smaller one, and the bat flew away, taking the darkness with them.

Fae stood still for so long, utterly stunned, that it wasn't until she felt a bat climb into her hair that she looked somewhere other than the travelling patch of darkness. She looked up at Valerie with a sigh. "You're in a lot of trouble, you know that?"

"You're chastizing a bat at a time like this?!" Hope stared. "Faeowynn, that was a fuckin' vampiric bigfoot! This above my paygrade, your paygrade, your dad's paygrade, everyone's paygrade."

"Fuck." Fae rubbed her eyes. "Dad has a direct line to the supervisors. They may know how to take care of this."


Tim Wilson had been dancing with joy for the past three minutes. His daughter had told him that they had encountered a sasquatch that had turned into a bat, but all he got from that was the term 'batsquatch'. "I knew it! The Fortean Times said I was crazy, but they exist! They exist!"

Hope gave Fae a look that said 'What the fuck?'. Fae gave a shrug in return that she hope conveyed 'he's a bit crazy but I still love him'.

"Dad," Fae said, "He… said something about—" she almost told him that the Sasquatch knew him somehow. "He said something about the 'Children of the Night' being free of 'Jailers'."

As if on cue, the phone on Tim's desk rang. It was a bright red phone— the direct line that Fae had mentioned. It had only rung twice in the past.

Tim looked at Hope. "I'm uh. I'm afraid this is for Wilson's Ears Only. Sorry, but could you vacate the room for a minute or two?"

Hope Simms sighed and stood, making her way out the door. Fae locked it behind her and drew the blinds on the window, before Tim put the phone on Speaker. "Wilson's Wildlife Solutions, this is Tim and Faeowynn Wilson Speaking."

"Mr. Wilson, this is Roger Tarpan. I'm one of your Supervisors. What's this I'm hearing about a… 'Batsquatch'?"

"Jeez, news travels fast." Tim scratched his head. "Uh, yeah. A vampire we've been caring for got out, and we think it bit a Sasquatch. Twenty feet tall, my daughter says."

"Huh." The voice on the other end of the line sounded like it was chewing something. "I suggest you stay indoors for the next couple of nights."

"But we have a Halloween thing going on!" Tim protested. "Kids are expecting us to have an apple bobbing thing, and…"

"Sir, what you're dealing with is beyond you." A tapping sound came from the other end of the line. "Bigfoot isn't actually an animal. They can talk, think, use tools, the whole nine. You're a wildlife preserve, and we specialize in things that are a bit more intelligent than your average bear."

Tim felt an old shaving scar on his cheek itch. "All right. What do you want me to in the meantime?"

"Those apples? Destroy as many of them as you can, I don't care about whatever metaphysical caterpillars you encounter. They're more trouble than they're worth, and you're not the only place that's been affected by them."


[more stuff]


[supervisors come in, battle batsquatch]