Ami hurried to pack her bag. She wanted to be on her way as quickly as possible.
"So, you saw the Chupacabra?" Hotaru asked for the fifth time.
Ami nodded, "That's right. He told me I need to go and see the 'Coyote father'."
Hotaru hissed in annoyance but Ami could also detect a trace of fear, "I've heard things about the Coyote father. None of them, I like. They say that if he likes your head, he'll remove it to use as one of his own."
"He has multiple heads?"
Hotaru nodded, "Three, I think. You be careful, Ami."
"I've left enough food and blood for three days. If I don't return by then, call Oso and put together a search party."
"How will you find your way back?"
"Did you forget? I'm a Werewolf. I have a wolf's sense of direction and, failing that, I can smell everything. I'll just follow my own trail back."
"Be careful, Ami. I'd hate to have to explain to your husband why his wife is missing, especially when she was under my care but decided to head off into a trackless desert, alone, on the advice of some creature that only she has seen."
Ami mounted her bicycle, "You, too. I'll see you when I get back."
The Chupacabra had said a day's travel but what had that meant. Did it mean a day's travel at walking speed, cycling, or had it simply meant a certain distance? Ami pondered this as she pedaled hard through the sand and rocks.
Her hair protected the back of her neck from the brutal sun and every inch of her body, save her face, was covered, from her ears to her toes and everything in between. She gripped the hose from her hydration pack and stuck it in her mouth, drawing out some of the lukewarm and no longer refreshing water. She had been riding hard since she had left Hotaru the night before. Checking her bike's clock, she saw that it was nearly six. The lowering sun confirmed what she already knew. She would have to stop soon and make camp. At the speed she had been traveling and the time frame she had to travel, she figured she would be roughly two hundred miles from her camp when she stopped and waited for the Coyote father.
The place she stopped was a virtual paradise in the middle of a dry hell. A small oasis surrounding a natural spring. The water was clear and Ami nearly wept with relief as she stripped out of her clothes and sank her overheated, exhausted, and sore body into the cool water. She reached behind her and rubbed he backside. Ramon had done his best for his mama in making the bicycle's seat as comfortable as possible but a bike seat was still a bike seat. No matter how much gel padding and air cushioning you had or how many springs and shock absorbers you installed, at the end of the day, it still felt like a metal rod was being shoved up your ass.
She relaxed back against a group of warm rocks and the contrast of warmth against her back and the chill everywhere else was blissful. Her eyelids drifted lazily as she settled deeper into the waters.
She didn't know how long she had been asleep but, when she had awoken, night had fallen. Because of where she was in the desert, there was no light pollution from nearby towns and cities. She looked up and saw more stars then she even thought would have existed. Galaxies, like wispy clouds, floated across the sky. A tapestry of precious gems woven across black velvet.
"Beautiful, isn't it?"
Ami's head snapped around to her visitor, the strangest creature she had ever seen. A canine body with twin dog-like heads. Sandwiched between these two heads was a human head, jowly and balding. All three heads were reclined back, staring up at the sky. The furthest left head angled down to return her gaze. The right arm raised and, without leaving her stare, it spoke, "Do you see that group there? That one's mine."
Ami followed the arm to a large cluster of diamond, ruby, and turquoise.
"My crowning achievement. My best work, if I do say so myself." The creature spoke reverently, scratching it's chest with a clawed hand.
"It is." She replied.
"They call me the Coyote father, young hybrid."
"I must ask, what is your actual name?"
The Coyote father raised it's heads and made a strange guttural yodeling noise.
She blinked, "I don't think I could pronounce that properly."
It grinned, "To pronounce it properly, I'd have to cut out your tongue."
"I'd really rather you didn't. I'll just call you Coyote father," Ami reached behind her and dug around in her pants pocket, extracting the small red box. She offered three of the cigarettes to the creature. It took the cigarettes and placed them in it's mouths, "Sorry, I don't seem to have a lighter with me."
"That's quite alright." It replied. With a snap of it's fingers, it produced a flame and smoked quietly. Ami stayed very still and refused the impulse to get dressed. She remembered Hotaru's warning about the Coyote father and waited quietly, albeit impatiently, for it to finish.
As it smoked, the middle head, the only human one, watched her intently. Ami could feel her face heating up and desperately wished that she had had the chance to dress before it arrived.
It finished with the cigarettes and tossed away the glowing butts but, before she could speak, the right head addressed the other two, "What do you think of her head? It would make a fine replacement, wouldn't it? A Werwolf-Vampire hybrid? Wouldn't we look fearsome?"
"Whose to guarantee that it would Change once we took it?" The farthest left head objected. I don't particularly care for Asians, at any rate."
"What's wrong with Asians?" Ami objected, heatedly, before she could stop herself.
All three heads stared at her in surprise and she immediately regretted speaking. Nobody should be offended at the words of a god and expect to be heard out, or even survive.
"Your heads are too small, for one thing." the left head replied dryly.
"And," continued the right head, "your eyes are very narrow. Asians always look like they are squinting."
"Right." Ami confirmed, keeping her gaze downward.
The Coyote father performed an odd contortionist act where it managed to whisper in it's own ears and converse quietly with itself. Occasionally, one of the three heads would glance over at her before returning it's attention to the whispered discussion.
Finally, all three of the heads returned their attention to her, "Good news, young hybrid. It is agreed, none of us like your head."
"That's good." Ami replied carefully.
"As for your offering, we find it acceptable. We will now answer your questions."
"How did you know I needed answers?"
"We know your purpose here." The Coyote father replied cryptically.
Ami fought to refrain from rolling her eyes. She didn't know why American cryptids had to be so mysterious about everything, "Have you ever seen a Werwolf-Vampire hybrid, like me?"
"What can you tell me?"
The Coyote father took a moment, "First, you are not, technically, Undead, like the Vampire. You will age but very slowly and, you are not susceptible to illness. Provided you aren't violently killed, you have another millennium in you, at the very least."
"Second, You don't really need to drink blood unless you are injured. A Vampire's blood will gradually thin with time but that is not the case with you. You may continue with the diet of food without the thirst for blood."
"Finally, even though you are more powerful than both Vampire's and Were-creatures, you are susceptible to all of their foils. You are allergic to both garlic and silver, your skin and eyes are more sensitive to the sun, as I'm sure you've noticed. And, you will begin to experience the Vampire's need for night roaming. For you, it'll come in the form of mild to moderate insomnia."
"I know. I haven't been able to sleep very well these past few days."
Coyote father gestured, "See what I mean?"
She nodded, "I do."
"Have I answered all of your questions, young hybrid?"
Smiling with all three heads, the Coyote father reached forward and, with a single claw, tapped her between the eyes.
Ami blinked, "What-" and she collapsed.
Bright sunlight was streaming through the trees when she awoke with a bit of a headache. It took a moment for her to remember why she was sitting in a pool of water in the middle of the desert. She had come to speak with the Coyote father, the mystical god-spirit and it had answered her questions. She tried to recall what the creature had looked like but every attempt only increased her headache. Finally, she gave up and climbed out of the pool and began to dress, intent on heading home.
A vehicle, a large, off-road, truck was speeding towards her, bouncing across the sand and rocks. She, quickly, ducked behind a tree and hurried to finish dressing.
The truck slid to a halt, nearly running over her bike, and Ami crouched behind a tree to observe. The driver climbed out of the cab and she recognized the massive, hulking, form of her husband as he knelt down to examine her cycle. She stepped out from her hiding place, "Hey."
Startled, he turned to her. She could see the relief wash over his expression, "Where the hell have you been?"
"What do you mean?" She asked, rather confused as to what he was doing all the way out in the desert.
"Hotaru called me and said you had disappeared."
"I told her to call you after three days." Ami replied, "I only left her the night before last."
Oso blinked, "Baby, you've been gone almost a week."
"Six days." He confirmed. He pulled a radio off of his belt and spoke into it, "Green Lead to Base, recall all parties. I've found her."
"Copy, Green Lead." Hotaru replied, "See you back at camp."
A week, Ami thought, How? Did the Coyote father create some sort of time anomaly where time passed slower for us than in the outside world or have I been out longer than I thought?
She watched him heft her bike into the bed of the truck, "C'mon. Let's go get you something to eat. You must be starving."
She shook her head, "Not really. Where are the cubs?"
"At home, causing trouble, probably."
"You left them alone?" She asked incredulously.
"They'll be fine for the couple of days it'll take us to get back up the road. Did you find what you were looking for?"
She relayed what the Coyote father had told her.
Oso shook his head, "No more garlic bread with the pasta, I guess."
"Well, I'm almost assured to see my grandkids."
"And their grandkids, and their grandkids, etcetera. I wondered why you kept looking so young but that's the thing about you Japanese-"
"HEY!" Ami barked.
"You look sixteen until you're a senior citizen."
"Aww." Ami cooed, "You're sweet."