Could Be Worse

First Draft 

Alice wasn't a huge fan of herself at the moment. Nope, not at all, especially when she came with the baggage of a crazy ass raccoon in her mind. She hadn't been entirely able to sense it in the first week, but as time went on, the little bastard seemed to be getting clearer and clearer, a chittering mess of wants and needs.

See something shiny? Had to have that!

Smell something tasty? Had to eat that!

Feeling sleepy? Had to sleep now!

It was hard to suppress the rodents desires, and Alice found her indulging in things she might of not before, like bells. The stupid creature adored them, for they were shiny and made the smallest tinkling noises that it could not get enough of, a nonstop barrage of chattering whenever one was spotted, that wouldn't stop until it was purchased. It was ridiculous, and the fact she was one bell number 6 was worse.

She needed time away, and something to drink, but bars were sort of a no go at the moment, because people themselves were pretty much off limits. She never knew when she would shift, and she had no clue what happened during those shifts, and so she tried her hardest to prevent it, which meant avoiding anything that could tick her off.

It was the one and only reason she had come here, books having never been her thing, sitting in the farthest corner huddles on a beanbag as she flipped through the pages of some childrens book. "The Giving Tree". It was filled with simple poems that actually were funny from time to time, Alice cracking a small smile as she sipped on her beer.


There was something to be said for a beer book place found in Larkspur of all places. This bit of town definitely had a charm to it it would seem. Catrina found it was an endearing place as soon as she had entered. People drinking and educating themselves, teleporting to a whole other worlds in their minds with just words and alcohol to swim them there.

She found herself walking through the shelves, a pleasant enough expression on her face as she occasionally pulled books out to look at the backs. Ah yes, a good one finally. One in hand, Catrina made the way towards some chairs in the back when a new smell all together had her pause midstep. It had broken up the alcohol, musty books, sweat, and human wafting around. This was distinctly outside, wet fur, metal, something new to her.

Following it with a bounce to her step, Catrina found this an entirely more exciting venture all together than just reading to pass time. Eventually, she found a corner where a girl sat quite engrossed in a book. She was the source and it was perplexing. What exactly was she? A look to the title. So they were into children’s literature?

A hand pulling back her hair to put it up, she leaned forward a tad, but kept a few lengths away in total just in case. ”How do you feel about that ending, dearest,” she questioned with a broad smile.

She wasn't particularly engrossed in the book to miss the steps of another, although she didn't quite expect them to be heading for her either. It was for this reason that she was surprised when a voice actually spoke, eyes moving from the page of her book to the red head before her. It was then that the smell hit her, so rank that it had her nose scrunching up in disgust. She knew this smell, Jiji had smelt this way the morning after her shift, although not quite as bad, this was the smell of death.

The raccoon gave a low growl in her mind, and Alice stiffened at the sound, the raccoons apprehension quickly becoming hers as well. "Nothing in particular, why?" She asked warily, eyes narrowing in suspicion.

Catrina noticed the stiffening, her smile growing some more at the edges as she finished putting hair into a ponytail. There was a good guess the girl knew she was different as well. Probably, for the best.

”Oh, there’s just several interpretations and I wondered where you landed.” Humming, she took a step closer. ”I personally feel it is quite a somber tale.” Another step, and she plopped down on a bean bag. ”Ooo, this is comfortable, I can see why you sat in one.”

She couldn't quite see how a poem about a tree could be somber. Sure, it had literally gave itself away to the selfish man until it had nothing else to give, but it was only a tree and Alice couldn't really bring herself to be sad for it. Plus, wasn't it supposed to be a good thing that the stupid man had stayed again? Why was she even bothering to reason all of this out right now, there was some creature sitting right next to her.

"It's just a tree." She grumbled, eyes following the womans every step as she made to sit on a beanbag close by, the hair on her arm raising as the raccoons wariness grew.

"What are you?" She finally asked, fed up, jaw tightening as she kept her gaze glued to the woman.

At the comment she just tutted. Critical thinking was important and yet apparently the metaphor had gone over her head. The fact she had taken it at face value gave her some insight into the girl nonetheless, that or she was being coy.

That gaze was following her hotly and Catrina preened in it, quite happy with the fact, a foot bopping up and down as soon as she put a leg over another. Straight to the point it would seem which was for the best. ”A question for the ages and one I have for you as well.” Playing with a bracelet, she smiled sweetly. ”Would you like to play a guessing game? Three tries and the one that figures it out first has to get the other a drink of their choice?”

A game?

Blue eyes narrowed a bit, but she gave a hesitant nod at the suggestion. She didn't want to risk losing her answers all together, just in case this woman was super adamant about it. Better to play along, and find out just how much this woman knew about her as well.

"Fine, you go first though." Alice had her own guesses, one of them being more obvious than the others, but she'd allow the woman to lead.

Not entirely enthusiastic was she, but the agreement would do. ”Very well.” Sitting up as much as she could manage in the beanbag, she thought over it, taking in the girl, her smell, the heartbeat easily discerned at this space.

Fur with water was the basis on her first guess. ”A selkie?” Not that she’d ever met one, a sincere travesty if this whole time they’d been real.

There was very little knowledge that Alice held about mythical beings, or even just animals in general, and so it was no surprise that she had to look at her phone just to see what in the hell a Selkie was. As the phone loaded the pictures, it was quite clear that she was nothing like this mermaid like creature, head giving a hard shake in response.

"Nope, no mermaid seal thing here." She answered, shoving her phone back into her lap as she looked back towards the woman.

It was her guess now, sniffing at the air once more, holding back a gag as the scent of death filtered through. God, she really hoped she didn't pick up the smell just from being around this woman. Another thing noted, was the fact that Alice couldn't pick up the sound of a heartbeat. She strained her ears to pick up even the slightest thrum, but there was nothing. Only silence.

These two things made it very clear this was no living thing, and so there was one pretty obvious guess.

"Zombie?" She'd run if she were met with a yes.

Catrina waited patiently as a phone was pulled out. The fact it was needing to be cross referenced was an easy note that she’d stricken out. Ah well. And then verbal confirmation as such. Mermaid seal thing was a description of the beast that had her wrinkling her nose in amusement.

Now it was the girl’s turn and she waited patiently. The guess of a zombie had her lifting brows. Was she not holding up better than decaying flesh? Of course, she was. ”No, surely not.”

It was now her turn once more and she gave it a long pause, considering the basis of an animal. She had two more guesses that seemed plausible and one won out over the other in the end. ”A faun of some sort?”

There was a relaxing of her shoulders at this confirmation, happy to know that her flesh was no at stake of being eaten currently. She did suppose this woman was a bit more put together than the stereotypical zombie, most certainly faster, and perhaps a tad bit smarter. Sighing, Alice leaned forward from her beanbag arms crossing over her knees.

At the womans second guess, Alice cracked a smile. A fawn would have been much better than a stinky raccoon. "Afraid there isn't any baby deer around."

She was very unaware that there was a mythical creature with the same name.

"Alright if you're not a zombie then you have to be a ghost right?"

A deer? Unfortunate, that the two names sounded so similar. But it did mean she wasn’t faun if not even a blink of recognition had crossed her features. Letting out a sigh, she opened her palms in defeat of the answer.

Calling her a ghost earned a giggle in response. ”Now that would be something. Imagine all the trouble I could get in. But no, I’m not.”

So she was down to the one guess that would be most plausible with her others nixed. Pandora had said there were shifters about the area, a rather rude bunch from the sounds of it. Even the news blasting that giant cat about. So, that was her next hunch.

”Let’s see, a wulver is the term I’m used to, but maybe to you, I should use shifter? Is that correct?”

Well damn, she was running out of dead things that she knew of... Was she wrong about the scent by chance. Another sniff to the air concluded that no, she was definitely correct.

What in the hell was this woman!!!

And now she lost the game, because home girl got it correct. Shifter and Were were about the same thing weren't they? She was assuming so, since it seemed there was a third name for her type. A wulver. Sighing, Alice fell back into the beanbag. "You got it." She wasn't especially enthusiastic about buying the woman a drink.

"Alright, you'll get your drink, but what are you." She was up right again. "You smell dead. You tell me what you are, and I'll let you know what kind of shifter I am."

Catrina had guessed right. Third time’s the charm. Positively giddy, she held her face in her hands, feet tapping on the floor. That meant she’d won and the shifter was going to have to figure out how to get her a drink. What a fun adventure in and of itself dinner would be once they realized it would have to be blood.

The girl asking for what she was was a fair tradeoff, made much more so by figuring out what type of animal the shifter was basically free of charge. ”You know how to strike quite a bargain, so why not.” One hand came down, the other still being leaned against as a toothy smile took hold. ”I’m what you call, a vampire.”

A.... Vampire?

God Alice felt absolutely stupid, they had outed themselves on live television, and it hadn't even crossed her mind that this woman was one of them! A freaking vampire! There was both fear and relief as the answer was given, the raccoon on remaining within her mind, rather than out, at the small fact that the woman had shown no violence towards them since her arrival. If she were to make one bad move though, Alice was absolutely sure that she wouldn't be able to hold back the creature from erupting.

"Why in the hell didn't I think of that." She grumbled more to herself than towards the red head. "Raccoon." She wasn't one to back down from a deal, and that also meant. "So what do you want? I didn't know that you guys could have normal food too."

A dawning of emotions was gleaned and she waited as they worked through the information, the rhetorical question having her smile still prominent. The gracing of the type of animal had Catrina blinking, tilting her head some, happy that the bargain had been upheld still. A rodent and one who’s smell now made sense. She kept each intricacy of it, of the girl in all, in her mind. Finally a shifter met in all her years and it wasn’t some hulking giant of a wolf headed shepherd, but a raccoon girl sipping beer reading children’s stories. Life had a funny way of going about even now.

Smoothing out the skirt, she let out a laughing exhale through her nose. ”We don’t.” A critical arch to her brow was given. ”My drink of choice has a heartbeat.”

She froze then, eyes flashing orange, as she unconsciously pushed backwards some, body tense and ready to flee if need be. The raccoon was no longer sitting still, body arched and ready, although some how Alice managed to keep it back. There was one shuttering breath and then a second, as she forced herself to calm, although her jaw never eased.

"You can't have mine." She practically growled, daring the woman to protest.

Well, that had her attention in a flash of color and movement. It was a satisfactory response and Catrina snorted at the growl, taking in those orange eyes. My, my, so that was the animal magic showing itself.

”No offense lass, but you don’t exactly smell good enough to bite.” As if to show this, she waved a hand in front of her nose, though that did little to get rid of the overwhelming scent of raccoon. ”But, there are others around that would work nicely.”

She smelt bad? Well that was news to Alice, but it did help both her and the raccoon to relax again after hearing this news, eyes returning to their original blue. There had only ever been one time that she had been drank from, and while it had been remarkable, she wanted to keep her experience at just that, and only that. There was still the matter of getting the vampire her owed drink, something that she found she was rather not looking forward to, although better someone else than her, right?

"How do you expect me to do that? I can't just go off and kill someone for you." She probably could, but she'd rather not.

Blue returned to her vision and she was a bit sad to see it go. Perhaps, it was an indication of sprouting fur, something Catrina hadn’t seen and realized, she wanted to. Not right now though otherwise her fun would be wasted.

Catrina shook her head. Killing seemed overly drastic of a response. You didn’t just kill a cook of your meal in thanks for feeding you. ”Killing sounds over the top, don’t you think? You’d be in shackles in no time.”

”You just need to nab someone and I can do the rest.”

Shackles would definitely not go with her outfit of choice, and so Alice nodded, content with keeping her hands somewhat clean.

"Alright then, anyone particular in mind." Did they have a particular taste for people? Did it matter if they were male or female? Alice was definitely out of her element with all of this, but she definitely didn't want those fangs turning on her if she screwed things up.

Good, with killing off the plate unless something turned absolutely unfortunate, it was bound to be no more than a quirksome dinner.

Anyone in particular had her blinking a few times fast, before leaning back into the beanbag, looking behind them upside down. There were a few drinking faces here that had whiffs of alcohol sweeping towards her even through the raccoon smell. Popping back to sitting up, she smiled widely. ”The world is your oyster, but it would be just swimming if you got someone just a teensy bit too tipsy for their own good and brought them out back for me.” Catrina pinched her index and thumb together at that to emphasize the small size, batting her eyes.

Alice nodded then, rising from her seat, giving her legs a stretch as she did so. There was a tinge of guilt in leading someone to a vampire to be fed from, but the vampire seemed to have no desire for killing, and so at least it wasn't to someones death. Alice would just find the drunkest person at the bar, someone so drunk that they wouldn't be able to remember the encounter with her at all.

It would be a bad dream or whatever, and they would just back to their plain old lives the next day. "Alright then, I'll be back." She answered, keeping her voice hard in an attempt to hide how nervous she currently felt.

She wouldn't show this woman any sort of weakness, and so she passed by, making her way back towards the bar for some sort of 'tasty meal' for the vamp.

Catrina watched as the girl rose to her feet and felt a rush of excitement with the confirmation that she’d see her. Well this was a definite unexpected turn all together. There had been very little need to talk her into the whole affair. Rising to her own feet, she clapped her hands together. ”Marvelous, I’ll be waiting outside.”

With her possible dinner off to be gotten, Catrina made her way to the door, pushing against the handle of it with her back. A narrowing of her gaze to look around once more and then she was twirling outside. She’d said to find her in the back, but for now the vampire desperately wanted to watch and see how a racoon handled such a feat. So staying by a front window, she leaned against it, side eyeing the bar where the girl had wandered off to.

She hadn't realized just how popular this place was, hiding away in her corner she hadn't noticed the group of people forming around the bar table, all laughing and talking loudly between their own groups. There were all age groups and genders all the way from 21 year old boys to 50 year old woman, all just drinking the night away. She was a bit surprised that she hadn't noticed the commotion from her spot in the far corner, but she supposed that had been the point of her coming here, to avoid all the noise.

Gaze roaming over the many faces, Alice looked for that familiar drunken haze in their eyes, searching for that far off look that said that they weren't really 'here'. There were a few with the haze, but most were with friends which made it a bit harder to separate them from the others. Impatience growing, Alice gave a smug smile as her gaze fell upon some boy sitting alone at a table just a few feet from the bar itself.

He had a textbook in front of him, but the swaying and drooping of his eyes told her that he was quite drunk. It didn't take her long to get to his side, and even less time to get the boy to follow her, just a few flirtatious touches, and wistful words and he was tailing her in hopes of making it back to her house for some fun.

It was as she made her way to the designated area that she spoke again, sending a smile back towards the dumbfounded man. "Hope you don't mind if my friend plays too?" She waved a hand towards the redhead, allowing her to just sort of take it away. This was the vampires forte, not hers.

Finding someone that would work looked like it might be a challenge, but as one began to walk with the shifter towards the door, Catrina happily stepped towards the back. A natural to it it would seem. Hands in skirt pockets, she swung arms too and fro in anticipation. In the back alley, she didn’t have long to wait leaning against the stone wall.

Steps and then the arrival of the girl and a drunken man had her smiling broadly. At the call out and flounce, she stepped up. ”I’m sure he won’t,” she hummed, hands behind her back with languid steps forward. There was a slow look towards her, a stupid expression on his face. Diving into his personal space and she managed to grab the chin, painted nails softly, but firmly digging into cheeks. A breath out before bumbling out confusion and she wrinkled her nose against the perfume of alcohol on his breath. ”Well aren’t you quite checked out,” she babied, snapping towards her face a few times to nab eye contact. Once it sluggishly came up, she was quick to speak something. ”Now then, you’ll forget tonight when I let go of you.” And with that, she gave a toothy smile feeling the suggestion take. Giving a look towards the shifter, she offered a thankful nod using a free hand to hold one of his arms at bay behind his back that had gotten too close. The current head grip slipped up to hold his mouth shut, palm to lips to stem the stream of questions beginning to bubble up, shushing him. Leaning in, she had to tiptoe a tad to reach better before sinking teeth into veins. Might as well jump to the chase on this. And with his free hand, he tried to push her off, but there was little that could be done, her grip firm and not letting go anytime soon

Taking her fill, Catrina let go and took several steps back as he blinked in confusion and then full on turned about absolutely lost. There was a rush through her head that had Catrina dizzy, the alcohol going through. She let out a giggle at the question as to where the man was, finding it funny. ”You went to take a whizz, you lost cuddy,” she snorted, swinging on her heel as the world spun a bit, before walking towards the way to the main road, a look for the shifter if they were still here. Hopefully, the man would move on.

Alice, although very curious, would not stick around to see the woman take her meal. There was no way that her raccoon would stand another minute of this nonsense, and she doubted that her stomach could take watching another human get their blood drained. A single hand rose in the form of a lazy peace sign, as Alice turned and walked away.

She would probably head home now, having a bit too much of an adventure for the night.

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