Chelsea Learns the Plan

This is a series of short stories, detailing the adventures of Chelsea Childling. You can start with her origin story or pick something from the index.

The sterile grey of the highway fell away as Chelsea turned towards the back roads. Her directions from her current partner lead her down a dirt road to a field with an open gate.

Kristin, said partner for this hunt, settled in the passenger seat, crossing her arms over her stomach.“Jack hangs out around here.”

Chelsea shook herself mentally. Kristin meant Spring-heeled Jack, the vampire they were hunting. Not her Jack.

He hasn’t called in a while.

Her Jack, Jackson Hawk, wasn’t any kind of vampire, and he usually checked in every forty-eight hours or so. It had been close to a week now since he called. 

“Chelsea? Are you paying attention?”

She sighed. “No, I’m wallowing in my own emotional shit. Sorry.”

Kristin laughed. “Wanna talk about it?”

“Honestly, no. I’d rather bury it, focus on this hunt, and let it all out later, after a few drinks.”

Another chuckle warmed the car. “Fair enough. So, like I was saying, Jack is some kind of vampire, we think. We aren’t sure what he feeds on, but it isn’t blood, or anything else physical. At least not from humans.”

Chelsea nodded, holding in her questions. Some day, she’d sit down with someone who studied monsters scientifically and talk a whole lot. Hunter designations for monsters were based on what they ate, so anything that feed exclusively on humans was considered a vampire. Even the things that fed on emotions, however that worked. But Kristin didn’t know any more about demon biology than Chelsea. So for now, she just filed away the weirdness and accepted what Kristin told her. Spring-heeled Jack was a vampire of some type.

“He jumps on the hood of the car and then chases it. Or some times, the other way around. Which ever scares people more. If the car stops and you get out, he might attack, but mostly he spits fire and runs.

Chelsea held up a hand as a whimper came from the back seat. “He spits out fire?”

“Blue fire.” Kristin shrugged. “It gets weirder. He has metal claws, but mostly he just likes to show them off. Get you real scared before running away.”

“So it would seem that he likes scaring people?”

“Seems so. But two people are dead, so he does do more than that sometimes.”

“Hmmm.” A furry head settled on her shoulder and Chelsea scratched at her dog’s ears. “And you’ve found him here twice?”

“Yeah, he also seems to like crossroads, and out of the way places. Although another one did hunt in London, so maybe there are regional differences, ya know?”

“Yeah.” Or maybe we just don’t know enough about monsters.

It wasn’t the first time she had wondered about these things, but there weren’t answers to be found on this dirt road. Monster hunting was an underground thing. People helped each other, but there was no real structure to it. You found a monster and put a team together, or got recruited to one. While a few people, like Rita Green, seemed better connected, mostly it was a DIY affair. 

Why hasn’t someone organized this? Why are we doing this? Couldn’t, like, the Army do this better than a bunch of folks with a death wish?


“Sorry, I have my head directly up my ass today.”

Kristin scratched at Bentley’s ears. “You might wanna talk to somebody before we try this, then.”

“Nothing to talk about.” Chelsea settled back in her seat, examining the road. 

“Your attitude says otherwise.”

“My attitude…” Chelsea sucked in a deep breath. “I can always drive and fight. I’ll deal with my attitude later.”


“How what?”

Kristin grinned at her in the windshield’s reflection. “How will you deal with your attitude later, when I need you to pay attention now?”

A blush warmed her face, and Chelsea had to laugh. “I’m sorry. I don’t know why I’m so distracted today.”

Bentley snorted and settled down on the backseat.

A flash of amusement crossed Kristen’s face. “Since I don’t speak dog, you’ll have to tell me what he meant by that.”

Chelsea lifted a middle finger. “He means I know I need to call my… Jack and talk to him because I’m worried he hasn’t checked in. You talking about this monster-Jack just keeps bringing it up for me.”

“Need me to take a walk?”

“No, I got this one.” She exited the car, collected her dog, and started down the road. 

The first call went to voicemail, but Jack answered the second round. “Hello, my little nun. What’s wrong?”

“Nothing’s wrong. I just hadn’t heard from you in a while. Wanted to see if you were okay.”

He chuckled. “Yeah, I’m okay.  I’m just deep in research mode.”

“Research mode?”

“Well, not all of us have Andy and Rita looking over our shoulders. If I want to find Amber, I’ll have to do it myself.”

“Andy will help.”

“No, he won’t.” There was a hard finality to Jackson’s words.


“He told me, to my face. He’s not putting Amber and I together without you or him there, so no help for me.”

She glanced down the road at her car and Kristin. “I can head back east and have a talk with him.”

“Nah.” Some of Jackson’s normal lightness shone through. “It’s not a big deal. It’s very similar to tracking monsters. Known places she likes to go, favorite foods, that sort of thing. I’ll find her, I promise.”

“I’m calling him, tonight.”

“You don’t think I can do it?”

“I–” She sighed. “You shouldn’t have to. And I’m still giving him a piece of my mind for this.”

“Good. Give him hell for me. But that aside, I’m fine. Not injured or dead. Just doing a lot of looking and reading.”

“Okay.” She wasn’t sure why tears were welling up, but she wiped at them away quickly. “Stay in touch, please. I can only take one you being MIA at a time.”

“For you? Anything and always.” 

“Thanks, Jack. I love you and I’ll talk to you later.”

“Love you, too.”

Feeling bolstered, Chelsea whistled for Bentley and headed back to her car. Kristin was all smiles as she slid back in to the front seat. “So what, exactly, is our plan for Spring-Heeled Jack?”

“We’ve spotted him a few times around here. We think if you catch his attention, you can lead him to our trap. And to that end, I’m about to take you a driving tour of the back roads around here.”

Chelsea nodded. “Let’s hit the road.”

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