Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 14

‘Much Dithering in Little Botheringham’ is an everyday tale of village life and vampires, from Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.

Em was half a churchyard in front of Agnes, and she heard Virginia Cropper making a brave attempt to save the bats. The woman might be a fool, Em thought, but at least her heart was in the right place. 
As she wrestled with the church door Erasmus landed on her shoulder and they burst in together, just in time to see a nightmare figure that didn’t seem to know whether it was a man or a rabbit point a gun at the unconscious woman on the flagstones. Why, Em wondered, would anybody point a rifle at an incapacitated foe. Then she found out why, as the mad creature laughed and shot Ginny in the neck. He seemed to be intent on filling his enemy’s body with lead, so Em took the only available option. She let forth a bloodcurdling scream and leapt onto the back of the out of control were.
Screwing up her face in distaste she bit hard, right about where the human jugular was to be found. Doug Turner dropped his gun and began clawing at her face. Em had never appreciated how sharp rabbit claws are until they were raking at her cheeks and eyes, but she held on for dear life and hoped for help.
Fortunately, it wasn’t too long arriving, and Agnes rugby tackled the man/rabbit to the floor. With them both sitting on him, he was finding it harder to move and his shifting from form to form became even more erratic. He jerked and twisted and foamed at the mouth alternately swearing and making high-pitched screeing noises that hurt Em’s head. Being a were, he was preternaturally strong and keeping him down on the ground was an uphill struggle. Just as Em was wondering whether or not two of them could manage to keep a hold, the cavalry charged in. Petunia leapt onto the flailing legs while Arnold gently elbowed Em aside and tidily rabbit punched the struggling were on the back of his neck. 
There was, Em thought, an irony there if one had time to think about it. But there was no time. While Arnold and Agnes trussed up the now limp form of the half-shifted wererabbit she turned her attention to the unconscious woman with the neck wound. Petunia was two steps in front of Em, and the face that normally heedless female lifted from the body was white with shock. She spoke with none of her usual girlish silliness, and Em was reminded that Petunia was a veterinary nurse by trade and the silliness was mostly a pose.
“Em. She’s nearly dead.”
“Don’t be silly. She can’t be. She’s bleeding. But not enough to cause permanent damage.”
“The reason she isn’t bleeding much is that her heart has just stopped. The pellet sliced her carotid artery. It should be pumping.”
“Why did her heart stop?”
“I don’t have the first idea. But it has. And as of right now she’s dead if we don’t do something.”
Em felt her own heart sink, and Agnes kicked the wererabbit in the genitals. Petunia looked Em steadily in the face. 
“It’s up to you. But the last thing we need is a murder investigation in the village and we are a Sister short.”
“So we are. And she couldn’t be much more trouble than the last occupant of her cottage. Hold her steady, Petunia. Agnes can you pry open her mouth.”
With her Sisters doing their part it only remained for Em to take the final step. She bit her own wrist and concentrated on the blood flow directing a scarlet stream into Ginny’s slack mouth. For a few seconds more nothing happened then Ginny’s throat worked and she began to swallow. The wound in her neck pumped briefly before the pellet was ejected with a pop and the wound closed over.
“Enough now,” Agnes said briskly and Em allowed the wound in her own wrist to close over. 
She laid one hand on either side of Ginny’s head and willed her to sleep while she healed.
“That went well, didn’t it,” she said a bit snappily and Agnes laughed.
“Let me clean your face before the scratches heal over. Rabbit claws are dirty things.”
An awful thought hit Em right between the eyes. “Petunia,” she said, “can you just have a look at Mzzz Cropper and make sure she isn’t growing any unwanted hair?”
“What? Why?”
Em sat down with a weary bump. “Because I just Fed her. And not five minutes before that I Bit a wererabbit.”
“Oh, bugger. So you did.”

Part 15 of Much Dithering in Little Botheringham by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook, will be here next week.

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