Survival of the Fittest

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Wordcount: 2996

A/N: I have entered this in the @WattyWolves "Washed Out" contest - I hope everyone likes it and thank you for reading.


Lil looked down at the naked body and knew war had come to her town. Just like the dark waters lapping at the corpse's legs, the local veneer of civilisation hid far too many dangerous things.

"Sheriff, that's Dan Winters."

"Yes, Roper, I have eyes," she said, turning away from the scene.

"He ... he ... look at his chest."

Roper didn't really have the temperament for Sheriff's deputy, but she knew the boy's father and Tom had asked her nicely. The town was very much built on families, so Lil hadn't had the heart to say no. Still, it might have helped to have someone capable for this. She'd sent Stag and Smithy, both far more experienced, to check on a case of cow tipping. Most "bodies" in the water usually turned out to either be the merfolk or floating logs; she hadn't expected it to be an actual dead man.

"Roper," she said, pulling her chain from her pocket, "Mark, look at me and take a deep breath."

Of course the kid's stare swung round to her immediately, he was well conditioned to obey her voice. She held up the crystal on its chain and let it swing in the early morning light.

"Winters died of drowning, Mark," she said, slowly and clearly as the crystal glinted. "He must have gotten drunk and fallen off the jetty."

"Drunk, yes," Roper responded as his eyes went glassy and his expression relaxed.

"We'll put him in a body bag and deliver him to Doc Langdon," Lil instructed.

"Yes, Sheriff," Roper replied and smiled at her, before turning back to the body.

Lil didn't like ensorcelling her people as a rule, but every now and then it was necessary. She laid the groundwork with every one of them as soon as they started working for her, just in case. It was better that the purely human part of town remained unaware that some of their fellow townsfolk were not quite normal. As chief witch it was her place to keep the balance.

It didn't take long to get Winters safely stowed in the back of her truck, at which point she and Roper climbed into the front and she turned the ignition. The engine gave a cough or two, but eventually started. Her truck was getting old.

Dr Bartholomew Langdon was the only doctor in town and hence the coroner as well, so they went straight to his offices.

"What you got for me today, Lil?" Bart asked after they deposited the body bag on his slab.

"Dan Winters," she replied, "looks like drowning."

Bart opened the body bag and his eyes flashed bright green in shock. Bart also happened to be a vampire.

"I see what you mean," he said.

"Thanks, Roper," Lil said as Bart stared significantly at the door, "you can head back to the station. Start the paperwork on this and I'll see you there when I've spoken to Carrie."

"Right you are, Sheriff," Roper replied with far too much enthusiasm.

Lil wondered if she had ever been that young.

"Someone was serious," Bart said as soon as the door closed.

"Someone wants a war," Lil replied. "Wasn't you was it, Bart?"

That earned her a double eyebrow raise.

"As if I'd be that stupid," Bart replied. "Werewolves are fine for a little snack, but I haven't killed one in centuries. Whoever did it removed the heart and laced the body with silver. They definitely didn't want him coming back."

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