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Seven Rounds

By J.M. Perkins

Drop him!’ I command, wishing my voice was deeper.

The perp does, but then stalks towards me.

Halt!” I say and this time she doesn’t listen.

The first bullet I fire is just that: copper coated lead. I can already tell it’s not gonna do shit. I hit her anyway, more reflex and lingering sanctification than anything else. I don’t even know why the brass insists the first shot has to be norm (that’s what my other sidearm is for). Oh well, regs are regs I guess.

The next two shots are silver. Even during the day there’s a surprising number of werewolf gangbangers out; and they don’t stop committing felonies just cause the sunlight makes them wear their human skins. These slugs hit her without noticeable effect - but silver is light and less effective than a norm round unless you have a susceptibility to it.

I pull the trigger again and again and again. The garlic and holy water infused bullet with a crucifix etched on the front doesn’t work. But if I thought she was a vampire I’d already be running back to the squad car where the crossbow is locked above the dash. The compressed flower petal shell doesn’t do anything (only had it work once actually). And the distilled absurdity round causes her to laugh uncontrollably but otherwise keep advancing (I’m always relieved when *that* one doesn’t work, anyone who has bravado concerning Cthuloids is a liar and a fool).

It’s not til round seven that she goes down: cold iron, as pure as we can make it. Shoulda known. While she’s lying on the ground I check the norm.

You ok?” I ask.

Tears stream down his face. She was going to take me to the everspring fields, I was to be a prince.”

Yeah. Sure you were… I’ll get your statement in a second.”

The perp is coughing up something that looks like glitter and smells like potpourri. I call in for an ambulance, wrap her tiny wrists (smaller than mine, even) in golden binding chord.

You have the right to remain silent,” I say, Anything you say, do, or incant may be used against you in a court of law or through the column of the threefold return. You have the right to consult an attorney, summoner, or cultural translator before speaking to the police and to have said party present during questioning or trial by honored combat now or in the future.”

Times like this, I think about how much easier it was to be a cop before the return.

Up next In the Absence This story originally appeared in Girl at the End of the World Melissa laced her fingers around the cup of coffee, drawing in heat
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