“What the hell was that?” Gwen said as she caught up to Jack and Ianto at the end of the alleyway.
“Some type of giant bat,” Ianto gasped as he tried to catch his breath. “That man turned into a bat right before my eyes.”
“He’s more than just a bat, he’s a vampire,” Jack replied.
“Oh, come on, there’s no such thing,” Gwen retorted.
“Not on Earth, but there are several planets that have creatures very like what we call vampires. Looks like one of them has fallen through the rift.”
“And now it escaped and knows we’re looking for it,” Ianto said despondently.
The calls had started the night before. A giant winged creature had been spotted flying around Cardiff. At first the team thought that someone had spotted Myfanwy, but when they tried to match the times of the sightings against Myfanwy’s time outside, it became obvious that it wasn’t her.
“Could another pteranodon have fallen through the riff?” Tosh asked as the team brainstormed in the conference room.
“Wouldn’t think so,” Ianto told the team. “I think Myfanwy would have been very interested if that was the case. Tonight, in fact, she wouldn’t leave her aerie for her normal nightly flight. She seems very nervous, scared, in fact.”
Owen wondered how Myfanwy could she even know there was something unusual flying around.
“She can smell and hear things far better than we can,” Ianto replied, “so perhaps the creature flying around has a scent or sound that upsets her.”
They hadn’t been able to find any trace of the creature that evening, so Tosh spent most of the next day modifying some old sonar equipment.
“Assuming it is some flying life form and is only seen at night, it may find its way about using echolocation. This equipment will pick up any unusual sound waves at very high or low frequencies.”
Everyone agreed that it was a brilliant idea. All they had to do was wait.
The next evening, reports of a strange flying creature began to come in just after midnight. There was an almost full moon and several people were able to snap pictures of a shadow of a giant winged animal against the moon.
“There’s trouble in Gotham City and someone’s signaling for Batman,” Owen joked.
“There’s going to be trouble in Cardiff if we don’t catch this creature before someone gets hurt,” Jack retorted.
Following Tosh’s instructions Jack, Ianto and Gwen crept up on the location where she had last received a reading. To their surprise, a man in a black cape was standing in an alley way, tilting his head to one side and then the other.
“Are you sure you’ve got the right location,” Gwen whispered into her com.
“He’s bouncing sound waves around right now,” Tosh replied.
Suddenly the man turned and looked right at the team. He smiled and began to run down the alley.
“After him, Ianto,” Jack commanded. “Gwen, this alley makes a ninety degree turn down at the end of the block, you double back around to the other end and we’ll trap him between us.”
Gwen nodded and ran out the alley and down a parallel street. Jack took off after Ianto. He could see Ianto closing in on the man and just as he went to grab him, the man spread his cape, rose in the air and flew out of sight. Seconds later, Gwen appeared from the other end of the alley.
Back at the Hub, the team discussed exactly what attributes this vampire might possess.
“So is it true that he feeds on human blood?” Owen asked.
Gwen asked, “Will garlic protect us?”
“Is it true that if he bites you, you also become a vampire,” Tosh added.
Not to be left out, Ianto asked, “Can you really kill them with a silver bullet?”
Jack smiled. “Yes, no, not exactly, most of the time. If I’m correct, this vampire does feed on blood, and has a preference for human blood. Trust me; you don’t want to know the details. Garlic may work in the movies, Gwen, but this alien is far more powerful than those from earth legends.”
He turned to Tosh. “The good news is that you won’t turn into a vampire if you get bit by this creature. The bad news is that you will be dead. And,” Jack continued, “He can be killed with a silver bullet, but it must be delivered at close range. If you miss, you are as good as dead.”
Ianto felt an involuntary shiver go down his spine.
They argued how best to go about catching and killing the vampire. Finally they came to an agreement and a trap was set.
The next night was cool and clear, and a large autumn moon rose in the sky. The streets were unusually quiet. Rumors of a strange creature had circulated for a second day through the city.
Corpses of bloodless dogs and cats were said to have been found in one park. A child had been bitten and turned into a zombie. An elephant at the zoo was found with terrible anemia and was near death. In fact, nothing of the sort had occurred, but give people a full moon, a scary bat-like creature, a few pints too many, and it was amazing what they would imagine.
The rumor that a jogger had been attacked by a flying creature but had managed to escape was true. What the rumors didn’t include is that the jogger had been bit, lost more than half his blood in the process, and had died several hours earlier.
Over in a secluded park, a homeless man lay injured on a bench. It looked like he had been at the losing end of a serious fight; his nose was broken and blood was running down his face and onto his shirt.
It didn’t take long for the vampire to smell the blood and locate the victim. He took a deep sniff. “Alive,” he thought, “excellent.” He needed to feed and this prey wouldn’t put up much, if any resistance. Cautiously he landed near the body. The injured man looked at him saying, “Give me a hand mate.”
The vampire smiled and walked over to the park bench. He bent down slowly exposing the man’s neck and then licked the neck in preparation to begin to feed. He didn’t notice the person coming up behind him.
He heard and felt the impact at the same time. PU-PUNK. And then another, more distant and slower, puuuu-punnnk. Then nothing.
“You cut it a little close there, Jack,” Ianto said as Jack rolled what remained of the vampire off him and helped him to his feet.
“Only had two silver bullets, didn’t want to take a chance on missing.” Jack had crept up silently as the vampire focused on Ianto and pumped two bullets into its brain.
“And his head exploding was a nice touch.”
Jack smiled. “Used hollow tip bullets, just to make sure we finished him off.”
“Well, you did,” Ianto said, wiping his face, “all over me, in fact. Let’s get back to the Hub. Owen better be able to put my nose back in order. I still can’t believe you actually broke my nose.”
“The blood had to be fresh and human. He might have detected animal blood and realized it was a set-up, and mine is a bit different from 21st century human.”
Back at the Hub, Gwen and Tosh fussed over Ianto to the point that Jack and Owen got annoyed.
“Oi, sure, Ianto did a good job, but it’s these skilled hands that are going to put his nose back where it belongs,” Owen pointed out. “Now lie down, Ianto, so I can make your nose nice and buttony again.”
As Owen got ready to perform surgery, Ianto looked up at Jack.
“Next time, let’s get Owen to play the victim,” Ianto said.
Jack laughed, “Nah, he’s already such a bloodless corpse, no vampire would touch him.”
The whole team laughed, having no idea how true that statement would become.
Gwen hung up the phone and activated her comm. “A girl around ten yeas old in Swansea has been snatched on her way home from school.”
“That’s terrible, but what’s it got to do with us.” Ianto asked.
“She was seen being led away by a large, hairy ape-like creature in an orange jumpsuit. It was holding her hand apparently.”
“Oi! Maybe our weevils are getting domesticated?” Owen snarked.
“Doubtful,” Jack replied, “we’ll need to very careful in case the child is still alive. Owen, Tosh, you’re with me. Gwen, monitor the police communications in case there are more reports about the child’s whereabouts.”
The three team members drove over to where the child was last seen. They were met by a Detective who shook her head when asked for an update on the child.
“No trace of the child yet, but we have her spiral notebook which she must have dropped when she was grabbed,” the Detective told them as she held up the small pink and white book with Hello Kitty on the cover.
Gwen took the notebook and thumbed through pages of school assignments until she got to pages of drawings. “Jack, Owen, look at this,” she said excitedly. She turned the book to show them pages and pages filled with pictures of weevils. Weevils dancing, weevils reading books, even weevils brushing their teeth.
Owen couldn’t believe what he was seeing. “Now that’s just plain wrong. She couldn’t have seen weevils do these things.”
“She shouldn’t have been able to see weevils at all and live to tell about it,” Jack added.
“Maybe she spotted one and just imagined different things they could be doing.” The men looked at her skeptically. “Children have very vivid imaginations. Maybe she did spot one and then these drawings were her way of trying to make sense of them.”
“But that wouldn’t explain why she was seen being taken by weevils.”
They searched the area for more clues and came up empty handed. Thanking the Detective, they took the notebook and headed back to the base.
Tosh and Ianto examined the notebook and were baffled by the drawings. As they sat around the conference room table eating lunch, Ianto asked to see the notebook again.
“I don’t think you are going to find any clues about why she’s having tea parties with weevils,” Owen joked.
Ianto shrugged and went back to studying the drawings. Eyebrows were raised around the table but the others continued to talk, leaving Ianto in peace. At the end of their lunch, Ianto closed the notebook. “I didn’t expect to find out why, but I think I know where she’s having them.”
All eyes were on Ianto as he sat at the table with a very satisfied look on his face.
“Alright, Sherlock, are you planning on sharing your brilliance with us, or are you trying to transmit the answer telepathically.” Owen was clearly exasperated by Ianto’s silence.
“Elementary, my dear Watson, there’s something distinctive in the background of some of these drawings.”
“It’s a castle,” Gwen realized. “That’s Oystermouth Castle in Swansea.”
“Well done, Gwen. That’s exactly what it is.”
The team armed themselves with weevil spray and stun guns and headed back to Swansea. There, tucked under some trees at the edge of the field behind the castle, was a most amazing sight. A girl and three weevils sat on the ground. The girl had a story book in her lap and was reading aloud to the weevils.
“There was a table set out under a tree in front of the house, and the March Hare and the Hatter were having tea at it: a Dormouse was sitting between them, fast asleep, and the other two were using it as a cushion, resting their elbows on it, and talking over its head. `Very uncomfortable for the Dormouse,' thought Alice; `only, as it's asleep, I suppose it doesn't mind.' The table was a large one, but the three were all crowded together at one corner of it: `No room! No room!' they cried out when they saw Alice coming. `There's plenty of room!' said Alice indignantly, and she sat down in a large arm-chair at one end of the table.”*
“That’s all for today,” the girl said as she closed the book. The weevils moaned softly in disappointment. “I know, we’re just getting to the good part, but its getting dark so we have to go back to the sewers.” When the weevils didn’t move, her expression darkened and she ordered, “I command you to return to the sewers. It’s time for supper and I’m starving.” The weevils stood and bowed to her.
As they stood up, Gwen started to move forward. Jack shook his head ‘no.’ Gwen tried to move again and found Ianto restraining her. “This isn’t what it seems,” he whispered.
Once the weevils moved off, Gwen let the others know how angry she was. “I can’t believe you let that girl go with them, what about her family?”
Tosh showed her the energy readings she had taken of the group. “There’s three alien life signs, but where’s the child?” Gwen asked.
“She’s not there at all,” Tosh replied. “Well, she is, but she’s not alive.”
“But I saw her, we all saw her,” Gwen protested.
Owen looked like he might be sick. “She’s part of the un-dead, a zombie. She must have been bit by that vampire. Harkness, you were wrong when you said that the victims wouldn’t become zombies.”
Jack looked more worried than the team had seen him in a long time. “Owen, I know my vampires. And I’m not wrong about getting bit by them. Something else has changed this girl into a zombie, but I don’t know what.”
As he turned to walk out of the park, Gwen blocked his path. “You’re not just leaving are you? What about that girl? What about her family?”
“What can we do?” Tosh asked. “Return a zombie to her family? I don’t think her parent’s would be happy to see their un-dead daughter.”
Gwen looked for understanding from the rest of the team. Ianto looked away, upset but resigned. Owen looked irritated. “Well, I suppose we could kill her. There’s a remote chance she could be dangerous to others.”
Gwen looked shocked.
Jack spoke. “Owen, stop winding her up.” Turning to Gwen, he explained that there was no way to make a zombie human again. “Our only choice is to kill her or leave her alone. Which would you have?”
“But what if someone sees her?” Gwen asked.
Tosh smiled. “Now that’s something we can deal with. I suggest we rig up a perception filter in that grove of trees to protect our girl and her friends.” And they did.
Every year since, on warm summer evenings when a full moon is out, the Swansea police will invariably receive a report of a young woman walking along the Oystermouth castle walls. The weevils are never mentioned as they stay hidden in a copse of trees as they watch their revered Queen take her stroll. The police turn the reports over to Torchwood who always cheerfully comment on the good citizens of Swansea having a little too much drink or drugs on the lawn of the castle.
It was a quiet day and Gwen was monitoring the police communications channels. In fact the whole month had been so quiet that she had taken to monitoring reports across all of Wales in the hopes that something, anything interesting might come up.
“There’s a report of a man drowning in the River Taff not far from here,” she told her teammates excitedly.
“Yeah, well, sorry to hear that, but these things happen. Probably had too much to drink,” Owen said, turning back to his porn laden computer.
“No, listen! He and his mates were drinking when he fell in, but they swear he was swimming toward shore when a whirlpool appeared and sucked him under.”
“That was the spins they were getting from the drink,” Owen snarked.
“Well, there could be eddies in the river, but that’s nothing that involves us,” Tosh reasoned.
“There’s more,” Gwen snapped in frustration. “As the man was pulled down a long green tail came out of the water and then disappeared. And by big, I mean twelve feet long. Then the body was tossed back on the shore from the middle of the river. Explain that,” she concluded triumphantly.
“Come on, Gwen, they were drunk, there was nothing there,” Ianto replied.
“Probably a trick of the light,” Tosh speculated. “I’m guessing it was just a large tree branch and the water had a prismatic effect on the moonlight which made the wood look green. And you know if the water was moving fast and their, uh, cognitive skills were a bit impaired, they might have thought the log was moving rather than the water.”
“I guess it could be that,” Gwen glumly admitted.
As they all sighed and turned back to their paperwork, Jack came out of his office. “What’s going on? Sounded like there was some interesting discussion and then everyone got quiet.”
“Gwen here, thinks there are sea serpents in the River Taff,” Owen snarked.
“Are you serious?”
Gwen was embarrassed but related what she had heard on the police radio.
Jack thought for a moment. “Maybe we should check it out. Never hurts to be cautious.”
Like kids let out of school early, the team dropped everything and began to discuss what they needed to take in order to catch the water monster. They spent the next hour loading nets and dart guns and wet suits into the SUV as Jack watched indulgently.
“You drive Ianto, I’ll ride shotgun.”
As they drove toward where the drowning had taken place, Jack regaled them with stories about other sea serpents.
“…so Nessie, it took a lot of effort to make sure she didn’t come too close to shore too often. Archie and his predecessors have had to go and remind her periodically of the agreement she made many years ago with Torchwood.”
“What?” Ianto was so startled that he turned to look at Jack and see if he was serious.
“I am not making this up,” Jack said smugly.
“Look out, you’re drifting into the other lane,” Tosh shouted from the back seat.
Ianto looked back at the road and swerved the SUV, just missing hitting a small truck coming towards them.
“Good move, Teaboy, if you broadside someone we won’t get to hear the rest of Jack’s nonsense.”
“It’s not nonsense. Every word of it is true. And I guess I should tell you that the Taff River Monster is real as well. You really didn’t need all this gear, as she and I have known each other for years.”
Ianto stopped the SUV and pulled it off to the side of the road. “Are you telling me that you knew about this creature but let us pack up all this gear for nothing?”
Jack laughed. “You have to admit, it’s the most excitement we’ve had in several weeks. And while you won’t need the nets or the weapons, the river is cold and you’ll need those wet suits if you want to swim with Taffy.”
“You named her Taffy, how original,” Ianto said rolling his eyes.
“Don’t tell me,” Gwen giggled, “but it was Torchwood House that came up with ‘Nessie’ for the Loch Ness Monster.”
“Alright, I’ll admit that perhaps we haven’t been all that creative in giving out names to various creatures, but remember that Torchwood has kept these water creatures and many others safe for over a hundred years.”
They drove on and arrived at a secluded spot on the banks of the Taff near where the man had disappeared. As they piled out of the SUV the river looked calm with hardly a ripple disturbing the surface.
“All of you stand back while I signal her.” Jack whistled a long string of notes and then, after a short wait, the water began to stir. Out rose the head and neck of a giant green serpent. As Jack spoke to the creature, the rest of the team whispered to each other.
“She must be thirty feet long,” Ianto said in awe.
“Not quite,” Tosh whispered as she checked her scanner, “about twenty-two feet in length not including the tail.”
“She’s beautiful,” Gwen said as her green scales glowed in the daylight.
“Ok kids, time to meet Taffy. She tells me that the man who fell in was drunk and drowned despite her best efforts to help. He had struggled in the cold water for several minutes before she reached him and he was gone moments after she made contact. His friends began to throw things at her so she submerged and the body got pulled down with her. She returned it as best she could without risking injury.”
They spent the rest of the afternoon with Taffy. Owen took some blood samples to check on her health, while Tosh scanned the creature to record her weight, body composition and other vital information. Gwen made some pencil sketches of the serpent that, from the rumbling sound Taffy made when she looked at them, apparently met with her approval.
Ianto put on a wet suit and got into the water with her. As the others watched Ianto and Taffy swam up and down the river in laps. All too soon, the sun was setting and it was time for the team to return to the Hub. No one was surprised when Ianto, as he was getting out of the water, turned and kissed Taffy on the head calling her Cariad.
Jack spoke briefly to Taffy again as Ianto changed back into his clothes in the back of the SUV. The others packed up their gear and they headed home. Once on the road, Gwen, Tosh and Owen fell asleep.
“She said she liked you,” Jack told Ianto on the drive back. “I hope you don’t mind that I told her what Cariad means.”
“I guess not,” Ianto answered a bit embarrassed. “What did she say?”
Jack waited just a moment to answer. “She said she liked the name and wondered if I called you that. I told her that I didn’t, but that I probably should.”
Ianto smiled but didn’t bother to reply. He didn’t have to.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts,” Owen scoffed. I don’t care what people report, they’re not real.”
“You’re right in the sense that they aren’t physical beings. Most of the time they represent small dimensional distortions. A being’s life force gets caught between parallel worlds and we see them as ghosts.”
Gwen was surprised by Jack’s answer. “Really? I always thought that the whole parallel world thing was just some science fiction idea.”
“They do exist. Just think Gwen, in another universe you might be ruler of the world.”
“That’s all we’d need,” Owen said with a grin. “Empress Gwen, telling us we should all be nicer to each other.”
“Oi! I would not tell you, I’d decree it. And woe to him that didn’t obey.”
“Ok, your Royal Highness, what do you think about these ghostly sightings at the National Museum of Wales?” Jack teased.
“I will defer to my Royal Archivist for a briefing.”
Ianto smiled. “Of course M’Lady. This is a fairly recent haunting. The building was started in 1912, but due to the Great War, it wasn’t finished until the late 1920s. The architect of the building was a man named Dunbar Smith. After his death, his ashes were interred in a small crypt below the first floor. Seems that in the late 1960s, the building was renovated and his ashes were removed in order to make way for a public loo. The ashes was reinterred in a different location and that’s when all the reports of a ghost started coming in.”
“If someone dug up my ashes to make way for toilets, I haunt them too,” Gwen said in disgust. “In fact, I'd order them beheaded.”
“So what does he do?” Owen asked. “Frighten everyone by flushing the commode?”
“Nothing quite so dramatic. Apparently a man in Edwardian dress is seen wandering the lower level of the Museum where his ashes are now kept. He’s sometimes heard muttering ‘wrong place, wrong place.’ ”
They visited the museum in hopes of locating the ghost. But despite scanning the entire facility several times for anomalous energy readings, nothing out of the ordinary was found.
Finally, Tosh suggested that they spend the night in the museum. Gwen volunteered to monitor the rift (she was actually a bit uneasy with the idea of sleeping in the museum basement, but didn’t want to admit it to the others) and Owen made such a fuss about giving up an evening of drinking that Jack decided that he and Tosh and Ianto could handle it.
After a couple of hours of waiting for the ghost who failed to appear, the three ghost hunters bedded down in their sleeping bags in the museum basement. Ianto woke up several hours later and heard a voice from the next gallery. He left Jack and Tosh sleeping and silently crept over to where the voice was coming from.
Sure enough, a man dressed in a sack suite and carrying a Hamburg hat was muttering about being in the wrong place. Oddly the man looked a bit like Owen.
“Jig’s up Owen. Nice try, but I’d recognize you anywhere,” Ianto said as he walked over to the man. The man paid no attention to him and when Ianto went to put his hand on the man’s shoulder it passed right through his body.
“Not Owen, then, sorry about that.” The man turned and glared at Ianto. Ianto took a step backwards as the man opened his mouth to reveal a set of sharp pointy teeth.
Jack and Tosh were awoken by a scream. Noticing that Ianto was missing, they raced over to the next room where the scream had come from. To their relief they found Ianto examining a small mound of sand-like particles on the floor.
“Found your ghost. Afraid I had to kill it,” Ianto said as he held up a spatial disrupter.
Jack and Tosh crouched down to examine the remains. Tosh pulled out a small scanner. “Definitely not from this world,” Tosh said as she looked at the results.
“And it’s not from a parallel universe either,” Jack said as he stood and stretched his back. “Did you happen to see its teeth?”
When Ianto described the sharp pointy teeth, Jack nodded. “Well, that’s two mysteries solved. This creature did come through the rift. Remember a few years ago when we investigated the girl who was living with the weevils? This must be what bit her. It’s not a true vampire as it doesn’t have to constantly feed on blood. It’s a DemiSangui and once every ten years or so it has to take a victim. The victim doesn’t die, but is transformed into a zombie. The alien transforms into the likeness of its first meal which was obviously Mr. Smith. He’s probably had about nine to twelve other victims since then. So we’ll need to keep our eyes out for them.”
“How will we recognize them?”
“By the teeth; it’s always the teeth.”
“Nine more zombies in Cardiff,” Tosh said, “that’s a bit disconcerting.
“I think I know who one of them is,” Ianto said.
“The last kid to deliver pizza was so confused and kept muttering about being at the wrong address.”
“You may be on to something, Ianto,” Jack said. “We’ll have to investigate.”
Ianto winked at Tosh. “Or it might just be the dope he was smoking.”
“Spiders have been spotted running through the train station,” Tosh reported as she searched through a series of tweets made over the last few minutes.
It had been a quiet afternoon and Gwen, Jack and Owen had been sitting around playing cards at Gwen’s desk. Tosh had been working on a program to monitor tweets for suspicious activity and had stumbled upon this incident. Ianto was down in the archive logging the latest rift debris.
Hearing Tosh’s report, Owen climbed up on Gwen’s desk and in a falsetto voice said, “Oh, spiders, help me, I’m so scared.”
Jack and Gwen laughed until Tosh explained that the spiders were about two feet around, hairy and spitting vermillion colored venom.
“Now I really am scared,” Owen acknowledged as he jumped down from Gwen’s desk.
Fortunately, Ianto was able to quickly locate a match in the archives. “Looks like you’ve got an infestation of Furrachnids. I’ll be up with equipment in a moment.”
Within a few minutes, Ianto appeared with protective gear. The team changed into the heavy coats and boots, and each took a flamethrower to use.
“The spiders can most effectively be killed with fire, and since their venom is toxic, the fireproof coats and boots should provide some protection against that as well.”
They drove over to the train station and found people screaming and running every which way.
“Looks like a typical alien invasion,” Owen remarked.
“Gwen, Ianto you start at the far end of the station, Tosh and I will start at this end. Owen, you stand by in case there are any casualties to treat. These are very dangerous aliens; do not let them get venom on you. It paralyzes their prey, leaving them alive but in permanently paralyzed state. There is no way to reverse the paralysis, so be careful.”
The team was careful and thorough. The spider were large and hideous, but with their flame throwers, they were able to stay far enough away that they were out of the reach of the venom being spat at them.
When they were finally finished, they went back and retrieved three victims that were paralyzed and partially wrapped up in solidified spit. After examining each one of them, Owen shook his head sadly. “Its too late, I’m afraid. They are all totally paralyzed and will stay this way for weeks as the venom slowly kills them.”
“There must be something we can do to help them,” Gwen said as she thought about the situation.
“There is,” Jack interjected, “but I don’t think you are going to like it. We’re going to have to euthanize them.”
“You can’t be serious, Jack, there must be another option.”
“The other option is to let them die on their own,” Jack said sadly. “They’ll be totally aware of their injuries and feel the pain of the venom eating slowly through their organs.”
“Now that really would be barbaric,” Tosh said.
They discussed it a bit more but in the end everyone, even Gwen could see that Jack was right.
“All right, I’m going to go ahead and administer an overdose of barbiturates to each of them. It will be quick and painless. It’s the least we can do.”
The others went to the SUV to retrieve body bags while Owen and Tosh administered the drugs. Less than an hour later Owen and Tosh emerged from the train station looking exhausted.
“That’s it then. Time to load up the victims’ bodies as well as the Furrachnids remains.”
“Start working on a cover story Ianto,” Jack ordered.
“Yes, sir. I’ve already been outlining one scenario. They look a bit like tarantulas, so we’ll say they came out of a crate of fabric shipped in from Sri Lanka. Tosh can hack any phones that might have pictures and make it look like they are greatly enlarged photos. We can say that the three casualties were due to heart failure. UNIT can confirm this for with fake autopsies. And of course we’ll retcon any witnesses to continue to claim that there were giant spiders in the railway station.”
“Good work, Ianto. Let’s get these bodies to the Hub and if you have a moment, could you order in a couple of meat feast pizzas? I’m starving.”
“I’m doing so right now.”
“Run, run for your lives,” Jack yelled as he barreled down the hill.
Tosh fell and when Ianto went to help her she looked up at him. “Go Ianto, live to fight on another day.” Ianto wanted to stay and help but he saw the monsters closing in.
Gwen had climbed up a tree and was yelling for help as loud as she could. The werewolves paid no attention to her and raced on toward their prey. On and on the remaining team members ran, but the werewolves were closing in on them.
As they tried to climb over a fence, the werewolves surrounded them and pulled them down to the ground.
Owen and Ianto glanced at each other. There was no escape. Owen did the only thing possible. “Take me,” he told them, “take me, but spare my friend.”
“We’re taking you both,” a surprisingly small and squeaky werewolf said. Ianto and Owen were hustled across the street and up the steps of a typical counsel house in Splott.
“These things always happen in Splott, don’t they?”
“Shut it, Owen, we’re in real trouble this time,” Ianto said.
As they entered the house, a group of people laughed.
“Look they’ve got their minions ready to torture us,” Ianto whispered. “What will we do?”
“OK, kids, that’s enough,” Rhiannon said, coming out of the kitchen. “You’re late for dinner and I don’t want the roast to get dried out. Werewolves, take your masks off and get washed up.” Mica and David and three of their friends obediently followed Rhiannon’s instructions.
Moments later, Gwen and Jack came out of the kitchen with plates of food for the table. “Oh, I see,” Ianto said in mock disgust, “we were out there battling for our lives while you were here relaxing.”
“Yeah, cause climbing up a tree and then down again was so easy,” Gwen said.
“Your sister had me setting the table. Figuring out where all the forks went was very taxing.”
“Don’t get out much, do you Captain?” Johnny teased as he helped Tosh over to the table.
“I really did hurt my ankle when I fell,” Tosh said as she carefully sat down.
The kids came back and after passing Rhiannon’s inspection joined them at the table.
“Were you really frightened, Uncle Owen?” Mica asked.
“Terrified, I don’t when I’ve been so scared.”
Mica turned to Tosh. “I’m so sorry that you got hurt Auntie Tosh.”
“I’ll be fine, but I think that next time I’ll wear some running shoes.”
“Oi, you guys are pretty fast for old people,” David teased.
“Old, who are you calling old?” Jack said, sneaking in a wink to Ianto.
“You. You’re even older than Mam and Tad.”
"A relic Jack, that's what you are," Ianto snarked.
After dinner was finished, they played some board games until it was time for the all the children to go to bed.
The rift predictor had been quiet all day which had allowed the team the rare treat of playing Werewolf Hunt with Ianto’s niece and nephew as well as enjoying a real home cooked meal. But just as they were finishing cleaning up the table, Jack got a signal on his wrist band indicating that two weevils were wandering through Bute Park.
They quickly said their goodbyes and drove off in their SUV.
“Who’s up for weevil hunting, tonight,” Jack asked cheerfully. “Besides Tosh, of course.”
“Not me,” Owen answered, “I’m beat. You may not be getting older, but hell, my back is killing me.”
“If you don’t need me, I’ll pass as well,” Gwen replied. “I think I scraped my leg when I slid down the tree. I’d really like to get home and put some ointment on it.” Seeing the look of interest in Owen’s eyes, she added, “And no, Owen, I don’t need you to look at it.”
“Guess that leaves just you and me, Ianto. Think we’re up to it?”
“Only two weevils? After battling those werewolves, weevil hunting sounds delightful.”
“Spoken like only a twenty-five year old and an immortal could,” Owen groused.
They pulled up to the Plass, and Owen offered to give Tosh and Gwen rides home.
As Jack and Ianto drove off, Gwen shook her head. “How daft do they think we are? Weevil hunting, we all know what that means.”
“Owen, come on, you know when they say they're going weevil hunting that it’s a euphemism.”
“I don’t know any such thing, Tosh.”
“It’s naked hide and seek, but in the park,” Tosh said laughing.
“And before you ask,” Gwen added, “they use perception filters so no one else can see them.”
Tosh sighed wistfully. “Really a shame about those filters. There is such good CCTV coverage in Bute Park.”
“Oi! That’s more terrifying than werewolves, zombies, vampires and ghosts all put together. If any reports come in of naked aliens running around Cardiff tonight, you two will have to handle it.”
“With pleasure,” Tosh and Gwen answered together.
* From Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll