Back up takes the fun out of daemon hunting, but the League of Shadows takes the tedium out of hunting necromancers. I could call them right now if it wasn’t for the 4th level abomination sleeping in some assholes basement waiting to be sicked on hapless teenagers. They’re better at the more boring assignments, the ones that don’t involve undead pirates and possessed grandmothers, but lean towards the subtitle difference between H.P Lovecraft and someone sacrificing goats and virgins in the backwoods by a lake shore. Granted, there are 6 billion people on this planet and despite all advances in social media and travel, it’s impossible to thoroughly investigate every Wicca club in the state of Missouri let alone the country. Sometimes they arrive too late and counter-demonology 101 has to be dusted from the shelves, friends need to be sacrificed….
Which is partially why I am rummaging through the mail Mr.McCoy leaves haphazardly in his bachelor-pad/apartment/condo. Who knows what their called these days. It’s a box on top of another box with two kitchens and a thick wall dividing the two renting units. One bed room, one bath, one living room and room enough for two barely adult sizes tables that denote the dining room from the living room. He as an impressive library of science fiction, pulp fiction, and old school fantasy before Dresden Files and Song of Ice of Fire with the occasional college textbooks un-open since the day it was bought. His TV looks expensive but only that, there is no sign he actually sits down and uses it; his cable is basic, his game systems include the original Xbox and an N64, and his fridge is mostly lined with beer and flavored tequila.
His closest is light on the wife beaters and jeans and more on the button ups and other business casual “comfortably working in an office” drape. No D&D, no He-man, or even a fetish for Star Wars. A guy with more condoms than video games probably stopped wearing his geek on his sleeve years ago. And most disturbing is no occult. None. And I’ve been to necromancers apartments, most don’t think to hide that type of shit from plain sight, some are more than proud to let you know they firmly believe gibbering horrors from beyond space-time did or should rule this workd, usually by way of undisclosed human organs laying about with crude “insert your favorite ancient civilization” runes and inscriptions mapped over floors and jars. I personally tend to start worrying when I start seeing Scandinavian/Germanic runes inscribed in various bodily fluids, no offense to anyone but when people start asking the “frost giants” and “dark elves” to cross the rainbow bridge from their cozy dark corner in the multi-verse into the “middle-realm”…well lets say the Viking’s disappeared for a good reason…
Was I wrong? I’ve been here for two hours without noticing, god I’m still bad at this. Stopped Iran from doing the “other” type of nuclear research (the kind that involves less boom or more num) but can’t find a single vile of “cocktail monster bait”. Well, if I think about this logically, he may have a lot of people come in and out his apartment for one reason or another. It would be a buzz kill for a one night stand to run into your collection of satanic rituals 101. Few necromancers know guys like me exist, not for the lack of paranoia on their part, but for the simple reason that while stories of witches are rather prevalent, the guys that hunt them are far less popular. This is partially on purpose (secret government agencies and the league of shadows wouldn’t be quite secret or shadowy otherwise) and mostly because the potential witch to hunter ratio is very skewed on the witch end. And besides the few bastards that slip through the cracks look less like Magikarps and more like Gyarados when they finally make the radar again, meaning there are few to none who are truly qualified to put them down.
Though I’m sure he isn’t that dangerous. I mean come on, what kind of social outcast doesn’t have an Xbox 360? I need his cellphone and or his laptop (no **** desktop to hack? fucking serious?), but I’d rather borrow his cellphone for now. So I do what any sensible king of the ocean floor has done for generations…hide under his bed just when he comes waddling in at 10pm in the evening, talking loudly and boisterously on his cell-phone.
“Look I’ll have next week column to you by Friday, I just spent all day at Starbucks getting the ideas down… Look I know, I know was late last week but Vicky came through didn’t she?… I know I know your paying me not Vicky but… Ok, ok I got you, rough draft before the clock hits 12, you have my word!”
He settles on his bed by flopping on it, pulling out various cords from his briefcase/carrying bag before finally slapping the charger against the wall and letting his apple shinny rest after a long day in McCoy’s back pocket; which going by how readily this bed is touching the floor, it must have been rough. Real men have Androids, but I resist the urge to point that out, he needs to go to sleep or sit on his work desk, which ever is easier on my poor legs. He of course does neither, instead he dials another number, the phone whizzes back into action and another voice, defiantly male comes into speaker.
“Alex whats up.”
“You know whats up, they just found the girl.”
“Where is Katherine?”
“Checking the cage.”
“God no, she toke O’Hera and Joey with her.”
There was a long audible pause as both men breath sighs of relief.
The man on the other end breaks the silence,”So who stopped HIM.”
“Wasn’t me.” says Alex sharply.
“Next meeting we need to talk.” the distance sound of family obligations can be heard from the strangers phone.
“Yeah, yeah sure.” hangs up McCoy.
“I could slit your throat right now.” It wasn’t a threat but a promise. But my rage will have to wait. Bumping him off now will trigger a flight or fight response that always ends me up in Texas (whoever made this universe did two things wrong and one of them was Texas).
Besides they’ll be all together soon enough. In the mean time I’ll take my Mandriod and connect to his I-crap, using my double whammy. Now don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the good ol’ days when all you needed was a ward soaked in the entrails of a local thief and a few cursed items (basically objects with soul(s) tethered to them). And yes I could have easily made a few sandwiches with Alex’s brain for the information I need. But there is a time, a place, and a measure of caution you must have and I’m sure my predecessors would appreciate how much easier technology makes the busy work associated with daemon hunting. And besides stomping around in the mind of a normal person is traumatic (for them) but fine, doing the same to a person who just came face to face with a gibbering horror is varying degrees of dangerous and extremely traumatic but its doable, but…. the mind of someone paranoid and actively engage in magic… no way to not leave a mess (that’ll usually result it your choice in serious mental disease(s) or a mind wipe of the last 10 years of their life as a bonus), or hit a trap (see making messes), or leave a dead body(the other way of dealing with traps). And the worst case scenario IS leaving a cold unresponsive body behind… Maybe I am being too cautious but I’d rather not try to stop another easy assignment from crossing the Mexican border if it can be helped.
But as far as my double whammy, oh man what an awesome little device(and my only device). Connects to any phone. Check. USB enabled device. Check. Even has an extension for using fake credit cards to access ATM’s using bluetooth. Check. And best of all, none of those apple tards can use it. Go Mandriod. Without even having to crack his password, my Android app loads his shitty Apple OS and gives me complete access to his phone from the comfort of real smart phone position five feet. away Silently I go through his call history looking for the names of his mentioned friends.
“John Percy of course, Katherine H’Lee,”
“Joey H’lee, Jill O’Hera? Bingo. Wait…”
I nearly laugh. An alarm set for 4 am in the morning. Basically dawn. Looking at my target again, if I had met him 12 years ago he would be an overweight chili-dog stuffer but now he is reasonable buff, except for tell-tale signs of alcoholism starting to set in around his gut. He doesn’t fit the profile of a skinny, nebbish little man with wet black hair and beady little eyes. Instead he is has graying sandy blonde hair that stands at attention even while being rolled over a pillow. Light blue eyes and the type of “adorable” baby face one would find in a Seth Rogen comedy. No one would believe this asshole killed over 20 people, or that his actions are chewing at the fabric of space-time and inviting more of his pet Cthulhu’s to our little corner of the multiverse. Nay.
Oh the ease of hiding in the back of a car, a hot ward fading me into the shadows of an Mitsubishi Lancer, as Alex tumbles on in and fumbles for the keys. The only trick is staying silent, even as he throws his briefcase into my abdomen without looking. I could have shadowed him from the comfort of my car but its hard to notice someone following you in a small town at 4am in the morning. Especially when you go out into country side and all there is for miles is highway and corn-stalk.
“The sacrifice, you found one?”
“Boy or girl.”
“Katherine will bitch.”
“Let her! Look, I’m stressed enough as it is and besides our mutual friend specifically asked for one.” John points out.
“Still one more missing girl, especially after… that…that Jessica girl the cops will think a kidnapper/rapist is one the loose.” Alex sighs.
“No, I heard from my cop friends that their blaming it on drug-sex traffickers or something like that.”
“Seriously?” Alex’s relief passing over like waves.
“Yeah they found a meth dealer eviscerated in a bath tub. They keeping a lid on that part.”
“Yeah I don’t like this more than you do, but lets’ get this over with before my kids wake up.”
Some 45 minutes later, not counting the 30 minutes it took to not even be half way there, Mr. McCoy parks the car. I look outside and all I see is two sports cars that looked that they starred in the fast and the furious, a Ford minivan that looks like the envy of suburbia and a grey Chevy Altima. All of which are surrounded by tall grass and wheat and an old shack looming in the foreground ominously. However Alex doesn’t seem to notice, he slams the door as he heads straight for the barn. I stare at him waiting for something horrible to happen but nothing does. Weird.
I step out the car and immediately my ears start to ring. Getting back into the car seems like a great idea, in fact driving away seems like a really great idea…
“So this is what it feels like to be repelled.”
Ok good trick. I ignore the ringing, the anxiety, the cursing myself for not simply taking my own car and for the most part it helps. Except the ringing, it seems to only get louder and its coming from my ward. I touch it and its blazing hot.
“Only a really good mesmer.”
And I push forward, hit something solid, realize what it is too late, reach for my ward too late, feel each hair on my body catch fire as my tongue dries, my eyes sizzles, my throat gurgles yesterday’s stomach acid as my entire body is being plugged into an outlet and all I can do on time is scream,
“SooON OOOOoooOOF AAAAa BIIiiiiiiIIITccccccCCH”
And yes this will be edited