So you're probably wondering what a middle-aged white male cop does for a pastime in Forks, Washington outside of his career.
I'm just pulling your chain; no one cares what a middle-aged white male cop does because he's not some young thing or out of sight billionaire, am I right, my man? I'll tell you anyway, because, despite popular belief, I don't just sit in my car listening to the police scanner at one in the morning eating sprinkled donuts.
But I do something similar, just minus the donuts. They're bad for my cholesterol anyways.
Now, my daughter and her mother think old Charlie is going hunting on his off time. Neither of the two had ever been interested in that sort of thing, so they never question it. It pings my soul. I always knew that there was something enchanted about Forks, even before vampires existed.
Vampires. I'm talking about actual, bumping the night, fang banging vampires. No, I haven't gone off no deep end, though I can understand you thinking it.
It took one night to make me believe.
When I met Jonny and one of his sons, I couldn't understand how he could sleep at night knowing that his kids are with him on these hunts. It's beyond me. I wouldn't want my Bells holding up a shotgun to one of these beasts. She's too pure. Pure enough to see the good in these monsters. She has an arsenal of romance under her belt with the number of books she reads about it, and I worry for her.
Yeah, that's the big reveal if you hadn't guessed it. I fight these things daily, keeping Forks as smooth as I can, but for some reason, vampires and werewolves central around these parts. They seem to like the ambiance of this cozy town, rather than somewhere like Seattle where they can get more dinner. I guess I'm fortunate enough to be in the know, but sometimes I cry myself to sleep thinking my daughter could get covered in blood at any given moment. I feel like I'm in a real-life version of Demon Attack, but instead of laser cannons I'm using shotguns filled to the brim with Dead Man's Blood, and instead of a joystick to control it, I'm actually running for my life with my own two feet.
Everything started when I was out on patrol on the outskirts of town. Illegal campers were complaining about loud sounds that were described to be gunfire and hollering that had been triggering their veteran back into wartimes. I said I would look away from the legalities if they packed up and left the premises by the time I was done checking out the riff-raff. Although that's not lawful, it was pretty late, and I was just about to end my shift, so I didn't mind much.
I let the bystanders off with a warning and kicked dirt into their fire before hopping back into my cruiser.
The house was abandoned, and occasionally used by the homeless or wannabe gang members, because let's be honest, there was nothing "gangster" about Forks. They're just desperate and would use any means to get out. Forks was not the most exciting town, so I did not blame them, but I wish they would think a little more than just waving guns around and sagging their pants to be hip. Since the home had been used by many waywards, it was given the name "The Port" by locals. It's far enough from the suburbs where it can't bother the locals, but it's close enough for hikers and sport hunters to pass by.
I had heard the gunfire even before I killed the engine. Back then, when I was pulling up to the house, I assumed that it was kids learning target practice with some cans or stationary targets to work on. Then I heard the hollering and the hissing. The hollering sounded human but very military, which threw me off. We didn't get many veterans who wanted to retire into Forks, though you would think this was the ideal retirement home aside from Boca Raton, on the other side of the country. And I didn't know any kids part of the ROTC program. My brain failed to find a reasonable solution, but I was curious enough to press forward. The closer I got, the clearer the hissing became.
Jonny's son had kicked the door wide open and started cursing at what I had expected to be some gang members. I think his name was Gene or something like that.
"Bite me, Fright Night!"
"Don't provoke him, just shoot!"
"Clear! … Sir?"
Imagine this scenario: You're in a creaky old house in the outskirts of an unfamiliar state, carrying shotguns with your father or pseudo father. It's far past the witching hour, and there is little to no lighting aside from some flashlights you've scraped from the back of your car. You've just shot a humanoid point blank, and you've called out to said-father. There's no response. Anyone who cares about anything would be sweating bullets, tongue-dried, and probably a little confused. He couldn't have been older than my daughter, who just started her second year in high school. She would have been losing her mind and in tears.
But this kid-Gene or whatever-marched right in with his flashlight guiding his way, and his gun pointed in the same direction. I followed behind him, careful to keep my strides light and swift, awed. As he shifted his view, I made sure to steer clear from the angle and kept my hand on my holster.
I strained my eyes and kept my distance by a good foot, but the crack of broken glass gave me a dead giveaway. Gene whirled around, and I heard a click. He looked as though I looked like a monster. Both our nuzzles had met.
"Easy there, son."
"I'm not your son; you fanged narc. Tell me why I shouldn't put a bullet through your head."
"Because that would be an assault to a cop, boy, on top of murder. I don't have fangs, either... whatever that means. Is that some kind of cop slur?"
He glared for a moment and went at ease. "Nothing. Leave it to the professionals, if you know what's good for you."
I scoffed as he started to walk away. "Listen here-"
Two shots were fired, over Gene and my shoulder. Directly into the forehead, the humanoid collapsed.
I whipped around to catch the end of the fall and rushed over. There was no pulse.
"Careful, idiot!" Gene barked.
"I'll ask again, what's going on here? Who are you? Who were they?"
"That's too many questions, narc, go home."
"That's enough, son."
So I had gotten the name wrong, but years to come he would still be remembered as Gene or Dylan. Somehow I managed to get Jonny right, but it's such a joe's name that it was easy enough to register.
"My name is Jon, and this is my son. We're hunters."
"Quiet son. He deserves to know what almost killed him."
"Pardon? Are you hunters? Then why are you shooting personnel? Tell me why I shouldn't write you up for murder and disruption."
"Cause they're not personnel, Sergeant Taggart, they were already dead."
My forehead throbbed at the reference. "The guys looked pretty alive to me, kid."
"So I'm a kid now?"
"Son, I said that's enough."
Jonny walked over as the boy muttered a yessir. I began to give him a warning, but he wasn't listening. I recoiled the slide of my gun as he walked right past me to the corpse.
"I'm trying to show you something, sir."
"I'm just doing my job, sir." I retort. My finger is twitching by the trigger as he lifted the body's lip and triggered it to reveal several dozens of inhumane teeth. I could swear that my eyes had risen past the ceiling. It looked like he came straight out of a horror film, not like that one show with the blonde girl who slew things. My finger relaxed.
"This is a vampire. We've been hunting these things for the past week. We've been getting news of missing citizens that hike by a squatter house in the outskirts of Forks, Washington. We do what you do, keep citizens safe."
"And you're sure this isn't just some sort of… home base for mutation experiments?"
"Oh for fuck's sake-!"
Jonny sighed and had put a hand on my shoulder. I had not noticed that he had walked back up to my side and I nearly jumped out of my boots.
"I understand your confusion, but it'll be better if you just write this off as a couple of teens shooting fireworks nearby this house."
"In the middle of September?"
I could feel my brow cock upward as he shrugged.
"Look, you can make it as elaborate as you want, but you don't want to get into this line of business. It gets messy. And the more people who know about it, the more danger it brings. Just tell yourself it was a dream and keep doing your job. We'll do the rest."
I felt uneasy leaving them that night.
I felt even more uneasy the following morning when my daughter proclaimed interest in living with me.
My first instinct was that Renee's new boyfriend was hitting on my daughter, or making her uncomfortable, but she insisted that she wasn't being harassed. She hadn't even really come clean as to why she had a change of heart, to begin with. And I couldn't imagine why she'd want to live here. After all, for the past couple of visits, we have been meeting halfways in California when I had time off.
She detested Washington. It was "too dull" and "too rainy" and too "alien." That would have hurt me back then, but now that I see Forks for what it was, I do not blame her at all. So imagine my confusion now that my daughter is proclaiming her desire to fly over to Washington.
The thought of her being in any sense of danger boiled my skin.
Her mother was sick of this place and wanted out, but I couldn't follow her.
I was born and raised to be a family man, to have a loving wife and to raise a kid or two. I was born to have a job and come back home to this family. I was raised in this town, and it's all I know, and it's what my parents taught me. I don't know what's out there, and I couldn't even dream up what was in my own backyard.
That's how I knew I was awake when it was happening to me, that's how I know I'm not off my rocker.
Renee was pretty imaginative though. She could write a book with what she thought up if she could ever find her pen.
Her flighty attitude that I used to love turned into something that didn't make sense to me anymore, and what's worse is that now she's dating some younger guy. He's not much into the hunting stuff either, which means he'll ask fewer questions, which means we'll talk less. Good riddance. I heard he gave her a band CD he thought the kids were listening to these days, which made me laugh myself to tears. I would need more convincing from my daughter to believe that she was leaving because she liked him.
So that's it then. Old Charlie has to protect his daughter with his life in a snug town infested with vampires.