"Fast little bugger, isn't he?"

Muttering this to himself while loping down the alleys of the sleeping East Coast seaside city in the middle of the night, Spike peered around for his prey. Actually, this whole thing was kind of pointless, considering how small his meal looked, in that it didn't seem likely he'd have all that much nourishment from it. Maybe only a mouthful or two of blood. The vampire wasn't even sure exactly what he was chasing, with that quarry ducking out of sight every time he'd been near enough to have a chance of seeing it. Spike's potential victim was small enough to be a human child, but it ran far too quickly to be that. Maybe some kind of demon he'd never come across before?

In any event, Spike was feeling the excitement of the chase to such a degree that he was willing to keep after his kill. That might soon change if he became bored, but right now, Spike continued sniffing the odd scent he was sure belonged to whatever he was pursuing.

A few moments later, Spike burst out of the alley into a tired street of small shops and industries closed at this time of the night. Most of these places weren't just closed, they were out of business with boards across the doors and windows of the shops, and rusty signs and images that hung from chains and poles attached to the buildings' upper faces dolefully creaking from the gentle sea breeze, forlornly offering services and goods that were no longer needed or wanted.

Spike ignored the decaying area he'd entered, far different from the gleaming, affluent neighborhood just a block away. Instead, the vampire eagerly looked around, to spot out of the corner of his eye a flicker of motion further down the street, as a small being desperately ran across the window face of a shop.

*Tally ho!* inwardly whooped Spike, his legs blurring in a dash of pure speed after his prey. An instant later, the vampire skidded to an astonished stop, finding his exhausted quarry at the point between two shops, waiting under a streetlight and clearly making its last stand against its pursuer. That was reasonable enough. What wasn't normal was exactly WHO was waiting for a bewildered Spike the vampire now standing in the middle of a square of sidewalk in front of a small shoe store.

A pure monochromatic creature of absolute black and white stood under the streetlight, a human-shaped being only two feet high that showed itself to be an elderly round-faced male with a white handlebar mustache, wearing full morning dress, including a tailcoat, a waistcoat, and striped trousers, accompanied with a monocle, a black top hat, and a white cane.

As Spike gaped at what he'd been chasing, the vampire had a sudden absurd thought: *What's this bloke got in his veins, ink?*

For a frozen moment, neither moved, vampire or other. Then, the diminutive creature lifted his head to stare fixedly at something directly above Spike. An instant later, sharp cracks resounded throughout the air. Spike jerked his head up to look up with alarm that turned to terror at seeing something that was plunging directly onto him, far too fast for the vampire to react and escape, with this object landing with an immense smash onto the sidewalk, crushing the blood-drinking Englishman under it.

Several minutes later, an agonized groan announced the successful freeing of a left arm from under whatever was pressing onto Spike. Gripping the edge of his burden, Spike heaved upwards with all of his vampiric strength, and finally managed to tilt it over to the right, with another crash, that revealed the flattened and totally aching body of a former member of the Scourge of Europe lying face down on the cracked sidewalk.

Spike didn't feel all that much like a demon that had been supremely feared by humanity for decades, as he crawled over to the shop front and using this as a brace, managed to get upright, and turned around to lean by his back against the shop while blearily examining what had fallen on him.

An immense metal old-style shoe that for decades had hung from chains attached to a pole jutting from the top floor of a shoe store, both an advertisement and a representation of what was for sale and repair at that business, until its fall tonight for some mysterious reason right onto Spike, resulting in this object now resting on its battered side on the sidewalk.

*Bleedin' wonderful. I got stepped on.* After that dour thought, Spike slowly lifted his gaze from what had landed on him, grimacing at the crunching noises coming from his broken neck, to look up and down the street for that soddin' creature he was absolutely sure had somehow done this. As expected, there was no sign of the little black-and-white man, who Spike glumly knew to be long, long gone.

Now pushing off from the shop front, to stand weaving on his feet, moaning as his numerous fractures healed themselves, Spike stumbled along the sidewalk to down just before the corner, where in resting for a few moments, he gratefully clutched the street sign pole and held onto this as he groggily looked upwards in idle curiosity at where such an humiliating event had taken place for William the Bloody.

The street sign read: MEDITERRANEAN AVENUE.

Author's Note: Well, I have no idea what that specific place is like in real life in Atlantic City, but in the Monopoly board game, it's one of the two cheapest squares (the other being Baltic Avenue), so it's not plausible that it's a high-income area. Unlike the Boardwalk square just opposite.