Recently Toni Weiskopf from Baen suggested that I needed to post some snippets of upcoming works. Monster Hunter Vendetta is the 2nd book in the MH universe, and will be released in Fall of 2010. This is from the unedited version.
“When monsters have nightmares, they’re dreaming about us.”
-MHI Company Handbook
Monster Hunter Vendetta
It was less than a year ago that the illusion shattered and I got my welcome to the real world. Up until that point I considered myself perfectly average, living a normal life, with a regular career. That all changed the night my accounting supervisor turned into a werewolf and tried to eat me. Now there are basically two ways to deal with such a problem. Most people confronted with something so hideously impossible tend to curl up into the fetal position and die. On the other hand, those of us destined to become Monster Hunters simply take care of business. He almost ended my life but I tossed him out a fourteenth-story window. He died, I didn’t. That makes me the winner.
After that initial encounter I was approached with a job offer. Apparently survivors like me aren’t that common, and as a result killing a monster is a real resume builder. I was recruited by Monster Hunter International, the premier eradication company in the business. We protect mankind from the unnatural forces that come crawling out from our darkest nightmares, and in return, we get paid the big bucks.
It wasn’t that long after I started my new job that MHI came up against an unfathomable evil from the past. It took everything we had to survive, but in the end, the Cursed One was defeated and I literally saved the world.
I was employee of the month.
The biggest chupacabra in the pack was only four feet tall, but what they lacked in mass, they made up for in sheer ferocity. Being unable to get to their dinner was making them even surlier than usual. The peasant girl had been futilely tinkering with the engine of her broken down Chevy Vega when the first chupacabra had come sniffing onto the jungle road. Her screams at seeing the little demon-lizard-insect-thing hopped down the dirt lane like a demented miniature kangaroo had driven it into a frenzy, and she had barely managed to dive into the car ahead of its snapping jaws. Her continued cries from behind the locked doors of the old rust bucket had attracted the rest of the pack, and now there were a dozen of the creatures clambering on the car.
Chupacabras do not normally attack people. The puncture tubes that jut from their mouths could pierce a human skull like a screwdriver through a milk jug, but instinctively they stick to preying on small animals. Once a chupacabra pack has tasted human blood, however, they absolutely will not stop, and killings become more and more frequent. From what I have seen in this business, people must be either extremely tasty, or addictive like monster crack.
The creatures were scratching and clawing at the car’s windows and roof. The girl just kept on screaming. She had a remarkably good set of lungs for this kind of thing, which is why we’d picked her. Her cries spurred the monsters on, and they all began to shriek as well, echoing across the dark jungle canopy for miles.
The four-footer jumping up and down on the hood of the Vega was pissed. It had to be the pack’s alpha male, and it couldn’t figure out why the glass wasn’t breaking. I watched it carefully through the night vision monocular.
“I think he suspects something,” Trip Jones whispered.
I nodded. They might be clever for creatures with brains the size of tangerines, but the goat-suckers had never run into bulletproof glass before. Finally the alpha hopped off the car and scurried over to the side of the road. I almost keyed my radio, but he hesitated there, looking for something, and came up with a rock. He crawled back on the hood, raised the rock, and started banging away at the windshield. The others cheered and hooted him on.
“Hey, I didn’t know suckers knew how to use tools,” Milo Anderson said over the radio. He was positioned on the other side of the road. All of us were wearing ghillie suits and had been lying in the underbrush being eaten by insects for hours. The foul smelling grease that we had rubbed on ourselves earlier to hide our smell from the chupacabra’s sensitive noses also served as seasoning for the region’s bugs.
My radio crackled. “We’ll have to update the database,” Julie Shackleford replied, the roar of the chopper’s engine could be heard behind her. “Tool use… That’s fascinating.”
Apparently our fake peasant, Holly Newcastle, didn’t think it was nearly as fascinating from her position as bait in the front seat of the Vega. The theatrical screaming stopped for a moment. “Uh… guys…” The rest of us could hear the glass cracking in the background. “Guys?”
We had three members of Monster Hunter International hiding in the brush, one in the decoy car, two more on the rapidly approaching attack-helicopter, carefully positioned claymores along the roadside, piles of guns, thousands of rounds of ammo, state of the art night-vision and thermal imaging equipment, a lot of attitude, and a general dislike of evil beasties.
I keyed my microphone and unleashed hell.
My name is Owen Zastava Pitt and I kill monsters for a living.