Tag Archives: science fiction pulp

SCB – Mickey

You know we nearly ended the human race….

Until we figured out that wasn’t a good idea. Unfortunately for us by the time we figured that out we outnumbered the food 30 to 1. So we were desperate, and lacking in options. The infighting between the clans and the species started to kill us faster than the humans could. And the starvation? Forget about it. We fucked up that bad. So we decided, well not “we” but a handful of us more forward thinking creatures of the night decided, that we will broker a deal between our world and the food. We were again a small minority, so it took a while and much desperate pleading to come up with a deal we both could live with. And not just something that’ll last a generation or two, but a status-quo that’ll last for now and the futures, future. Because unlike the food, we live a long time have a greater interest in keeping our promises (since violent death is the usual way out of them). So we sat down with the humans and decided that a small percentage of the your population will be our allowance, to feed on or to replenish our numbers.

And what was in it for you? Human civilization. The right to choose your own Renaissance and the benefits of having to only worry about serial killers and rapist at the wee hours of the night. Without the Treaty and this organization enforcing the rules…well need I remind you of the dark ages? Of the early attempts to settle the America’s? The rise and fall of Rome? I would like to blame religion but its a matter of ecology. To us, you are food and the incubators of our children. But to you? Well, their less kind nouns in your dictionary to describe us. Low words like virus and parasite. Pathogens that invade your blood streams and warp your DNA to suit our needs.  Is it a surprise you find theological reasons to cover up the base fear you have of us. Of our invisible power. Not really.

So what we have here is the old americana debate. The price of freedom, but not in the traditional sense of guns, glory and duty to country. No in the real world, its backroom deals with devils and men you’d call monsters. It’s selling your soul.

So in the meantime, it’s my job to keep sup world’s side of the bargain. The status-quo most be defended, that’s where the S.C.B comes in. Supernatural Census Bureau. To keep track, to take account, to smooth over and to eventually cull when necessary. I hate my job. Vamp clans, werewolves, keeping the zombies in the Nevada desert. Not my idea of a good time. My own people hate me. And for what? Keeping their mouths fed, keeping the heat off them, keeping the secrets of our existence in the dark where its suppose to be. And don’t get me started on the immigrants. Your division does too good of a job and you get them coming over in droves; wide-eyed, drooling mouths, not very concerned with how you runs things. That’s the one thing that bothers me, no matter how good you get at maintaining the status-quo there’s always a need to crack heads. Always. And in my opinion, I mean I hate to talk bad about my own people, but vampire covens are the worst. The worst….

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Pink Bomber

I still remember the argument me and Sammy had before I left for this job. I asked him a simple question, I expected a heartwarming response, and instead he got snide.

“What keeps you human?” I asked earnestly we were only 10 feet apart but I consciously took a step forward so when I leaned into him it would be more intimate and natural. Before he says anything profound he kisses me on the forehead as if I was the daughter he always wanted but never had. He was always big and tall and old spice musty, comfortable and what I needed considering what I was about to do, so I looked forward to him showing a moment of tenderness. But his impassive eyes told a different story. I backed away from him; I wasn’t his anything right now. The one thing about Sammy that irritates me this much is that he doesn’t mind telling the truth. He just considers the truth too adult for me to hear. As if I was really just a child to him. So when his lips starting moving I already started to get anger.

“Nothing.” He says as dryly as possible. No room for argument he was saying without saying.

Stunned but not deterred, I started to speak but Sammy was already speaking over me before I could get a coherent sentence in.

“Sure we may look the same, but just watching the nature channel will tell you that having your nose and eyes in the same place don’t mean you belong to the same species. Do you know that we can’t even give blood transfusions to regular humans? One rumor slash speculation is that our blood is radioactive and will cause cancer in significant amounts. Fact is normal people can’t turn cars into soda cans or have tap dancing lessons in people’s heads. ”

“But we have the same feelings as they do!” I protest with significant use of flailing arms to show how annoyed I am at his matter of fact tone.

“Yeah so do dogs, cats, mice, etc, etc.” I started to say something in exasperated protest, but he raised his hand to cut me off, let me finish he was communicating while sighing to apologize for the sarcasm in his tone earlier. He didn’t mean to be like that it just came out that way.

“I know you want to say something about love. Dogs love too Tabatha, by the standard definition of love espoused and acknowledged by most people, a dogs devotion is just the same as love. “

I fumed, even now remembering it I’m fuming! No argument with Sammy Tabatha, he just beats you over the head with his “facts” until your blue in the face and ready to clock him. He even makes things worse by giving me total access to his brain while he picks me apart. He is literally just churning the logic wheel, no emotion in it at all, maybe a vague sense of regret like I’m being told there is no Santa Clause. Well I wasn’t going to be out think by you Sammy.

“So we’re better than normal people?” I say in an, “I can play your game too!” kind of tone.  Now I just wanted him to admit I was right.

“Physically superior sure… but so was the dinosaurs. If you’re simply valuing the people around you based on their ability to stand up to you than you’ve missed the point of the past thousand or so years of civilianization.” He paused to examine my souring face and genuine concerned hanged in his expression.

“Look Tabatha” Sammy continues, “You’re never going to read about dinosaur art or literature because the dinos never made any. We’re the same, not saying that we will disappear or anything like that, just saying that I honestly don’t mind driving in cars that move slower than I do or watching bad movies, or doing all the little vain things that people do because if it was up to me…none of this would exist. When in Rome do as the roman’s and we say that because it doesn’t matter if you’re not a roman. Hell that phrase was made specifically for us! We live in this world as ourselves, nothing more. “

I sigh, no arguing with Sammy, never did have an argument with him. I only get mad at him and he never responds to my anger. Which is usually the best response.

Anyway I think of him because the job I’m on was previously his. Should have been his but he ran into a BPP agent a month ago. It was an ambush of sorts; they tracked him down by his bad habits, cigars and strip joints. Sammy blames it on making too much noise; he picks out telekinetic like himself to fight and leaves a big mess behind. But even if you leave the scene of the crime in a timely fashion, BPP has ways to follow the bread crumbs if you leave enough of them. On that note he stopped me from carrying an automatic, just wanted an Uzi really, and a couple of grenades because he felt the noise level will put me on their radar. Out of respect I only took 1 grenade. I feel nervous about fighting someone who can juggle minivans with only two knives, four glock 21’s with my signature pink handle. The hello kitty guns jokes Sammy. I wasn’t even sure I carried enough ammunition; practice fights with Sammy can easily burn through 30 rounds. But I rather not carry more than I have to. I wasn’t a small army. Ok technically I was, but that was due to other factors.

Ok focus on earning your keep Tabatha. This is for Sammy; that fight with that BPP agent was a fight he of course won but barely. He was too badly hurt and needed too much time to recover. An inconvenience for the boss and an opportunity to get even for anyone Sammy belittled. Three people in the first week of his recover felt brave enough to play “practical jokes” on Sammy. I killed two, Sammy killed one, cleaning up the blood for weeks type of kill. Nursing Sammy back to health was myself appointed job till the boss requested that I take on his responsibilities.  I refused of course, but Sammy convinced me to oblige. “We may be the only psychics officially on the payroll, but he has at least three running a protection detail just for him and the occasional internal affairs man.” I took Sammy’s word for it.

The boredom ended with the appearance of a crisp business suit heading down the parking garage. The parking garage was a three level facility, the last level being underground. The suit was my target, I had no doubt about that, he fit the profile, 6’2 caucasian male, black hair and brown eyes. Smooth features and wore a natural tan. Handsome by contemporary standards; looks like he held a good job, nice car, big house.  He had a casual appearance despite the double breasted suit, ivory black shoes, white shirt with sandy grey tie.  A guy like him had one of two jobs, security or management. I didn’t read that deep into the profile, all I wanted was a picture, a time and a place. I didn’t even know his name, which makes this even more awkward because it sounds like a one night stand. Not my thing and the pretty boy Harvard look ain’t my type, though he does look like quite the athlete. Maybe there is some mileage to him…

Oh hell I got a good shot from here maybe I can take him out now? Not likely, he’ll just catch the bullet…

Oh well time to move. Pretending that the parking garage is a jungle makes the sneaking go easier, two hundred paces away and maintaining that distance all-important. Now if the cars are the trees what would the support pillars be? Oak trees….. God he is moving awfully slow, is he by his car yet?  Ok why is he stopping isn’t his car parked a much further down? Maybe he parked in a different space this time? Wait that doesn’t make sense, there’s assigned parking isn’t there?

I almost out of habit call Sammy’s name out loud when I notice my target talking to himself, like I am but out loud. Crazy much? I couldn’t hear him of course considering the distance and the fact that he seemed to be whispering. Most not be important. Then he turns to face me and with a great jerk of his right arm rips the door of a nearby Lexus Sedan out of its hinges and hurling towards me.

Now a normal person at this time would be too deep in panic to dodge the door, or too concerned with “how he found me?” to react in time. I’m not sure this is unique to telepaths but I personally find anything moving slower than the speed of light moving in slow motion. A feature that only comes to play when I’m in immediate danger, like now, the only bad part is that you’re looking at your death happen in slow motion because normally your body is usually unable to keep up with the speed of whatever is coming at you even though you see it move as slow as snail. However I was special; like a mouse I dashed from behind my cover, a lesson I learned from Sammy who strongly discouraged hiding behind anything once a telekinetic knows your there. I was right the instant my feet cleared the headlights the Volkswagen I was using as cover was nearly split in half.

I regained my balance with ease, hours of cardio, and dash into the swirl of violent intentions that is Mr. Property Damage. Adrenaline on full pump, glocks in both hands, I fire haphazardly at Mr. Property Damage, managing center of mass shots each click. He plants his feat, strains his eyes (maybe he does see the bullets moving in slow mo as well?), and plucks the rounds out of air.  I stop firing for a second, and leap for cover behind a Masada, the glass shatters above as the car nearly tips over in the Mr. Property Damages rage.

I enter his mind at this juncture; my persona, the representative of my mind in his body, an avatar if you will, crosses the distance between us in instant. Entering Mr. Property Damage mind, or anyone’s for that matter, is similar to walking into someone’s front lawn, unremarkably easy. Unnoticeable until you look ahead and see the house. When someone tells you your mind is filled with empty space they are right. Your mind is only a piece of property, the “house” is where all the good stuff is housed and is only the byproduct of our subconscious attempting to compartmentalize an otherwise formless system. The trick is breaking into the house, which in most cases wasn’t a house per say but merely door representing the boundary between the formlessness of the peripheral corners of your mind and the haphazard attempt at organization most people call their brain. And I’m not kidding, most people’s minds are merely front doors that aren’t even locked and most of the time halfway open.

Mr. Property Damages mind however was simple a dome, smooth on all sides and two stories tall. I wanted to be taken aback by this; I usually see steel doors or vaults when it comes to the mind of a telekinetic. This was overly simple. It reminded me of a walnut and at this I smiled.

Than the smile faded, while I was busy being confused, Mr. Property Damage flipped the Masada over. Using more luck than skill, I laid flat and slid underneath the rolling car. Thanking father timing, rolled forward only to be picked up and slammed up against the now turned over vehicle that was just sent sailing over me.  The pain shoots up and down my lower back in a conga line of misery; I raged and slammed my fist against the dome protecting Mr. Property Damage’s mind. He cringed at the sudden loss of focus and his psy hold dropped.  Free I charged at him, the need for a less direct approach never occurring to me, I drew two new pistols and let muscle memory empty rounds. As if catching an air current, he floats back into the air while erecting a multi layered psy wall that stops the bullets cold. No problem, I use my persona’s fist as sledge hammer and swing madly at his mind’s defenses, yet only managing to crack one layer in futility.

No way!

Amateur hour at its finest, I dodge his raw surge of psy by rolling just under it, taking note not to notice the crater that it left behind. I’m using the wrong kind of brute force, I should be in already! I was taught better, I should have broken his defense in seconds not 2 minutes and counting. I relied too much on the element of surprise. Panic mode is over, this is a straight up brawl, and I let my persona assume the form of the first demon of the personal hell I’m going to make out of Mr. Property Damage’s mind. Four horns curled like elephant tusk, four arms with claws big enough to rend spines from men backs. It stood at 20 stories of purple and green demon. The illusion wasn’t finished, to him the sky darkened and the ground opened up to the underworld. He resisted of course, his mind worked feverishly to repair the damage, but that’s the fun part about being a telepath, once I’m in I’m always in, the best you can do as a none-telepath was hold on to your little corner of reality.

I bucked my head and my horns ripped open the roof. I climbed into the dome, my weight being too great for the structure; it was really just an onion, each layer gave way to more layers. I work feverishly with all six limps, clawing and kicking and pulling and more clawing. His focus was wild now; he punched at the air and sent psy waves into menacing parked cars and support beams. Still dangerous, he aimed for my general direction and when he didn’t hit the explosions he left behind sent glass and rocks everywhere. He was still airborne the parking garage proved surprisingly spacious as he assumed a half crouch as he glided. Mr. Property Damage stopped blocking my bullets, instead he focused on increasing our distance and dodging my gunfire. I wanted him down on the ground, and in my anxiousness he caught me by surprise and rocked me off my feat without me realizing what hit me. I hit the ground with a bounce, realizing that both glocks were empty I discarded one, while unclipping and reloading the second with the free arm in mid bounce. When landed I rolled to my feet to face him, but I was wrong about where he was.

Wait what?  I should know where he is, I’m in his head for god’s sake! The demon was finished with the dome, but found a very conventional iron door underneath. She roared and slammed head first into the thick steel of Mr. Property Damage’s final layer of peripheral defense before I was in. At that moment, as the demon took the door of its hinges, Mr. Property Damage sent a sports car barreling through the air in a free falling tumble. I jumped to my left side, and found it was a mistake, a second car slammed into my mid section knocking the air out of me as I rolled up high into the air nearly hitting the ceiling and crashed hard on flying windshield. I was beyond pain at this moment, I felt the thud of my body hitting three more previously parked vehicles or maybe it was the same vehicle and I hit the ground with a thud followed by a wet roll. I wanted to get up but everything hurt at the same time, I could only stop myself from screaming in pain.

So I moved my head slowly and saw Mr. Property Damage grinning and breathing heavy. He held his hand over me and I knew what that meant, the remaining hairs on my body stood on end because of amassing whirlpool of psy just above me. My little she demon was so far from me now, but I felt it raging on by my direction. Even in this state I was multitasking her assault on his mind, but it was only a battle that I was losing as his defenses and sense of reason held against the little daemon working too far away from her master. Given more wherewithal I would have thousands of little programmed horrors working on every nook and cranny of his mind, forcing him to experience a thousand deaths and warping his perception to the point of insanity. I’d messed up big but I knew theyweren’t enough tears left in my tattered body to cry for failures sake.

No! I need to focus even harder. I reached my right arm for the grenade I kept in my left pocket; I thanked Sammy for suggesting I wear bagging clothing. Still intact surprisingly, I forced my right arm to move further than the pain would allow. Like a puppets arms it merely flung the grenade at Mr. Property Damage, the pain of my right arm being dislocated was so intense that I nearly passed out. But I gritted my teeth; that wasn’t my real focus, no my rampaging demon had one more sin to commit before Mr. Property Damage mind pushes it back into his outer defenses.

I don’t know why but the Catholics never considered being a liar a deadly sin but it is the sin that kills the easiest. The mind is ready to accept all manners of lies, especially the ones the owner wants to believe are true. So when I felt Mr. Property Damage’s enthusiasm, the heavy bass sound of a victory vibrating from every corner of his soul, I rode his high right up to his ear and whispered with the voice a thousand gum drops, “Don’t worry she is already dead.” Of course that wasn’t going to convince him not to smash me flat like a pancake, but it would paint a big enough illusion that my flailing right arm tossing the hand grenade would go unnoticed. However the grenade itself had to be accounted for and I poured all my effort into blocking its flight from Mr. Property Damage’s sight completely. When it finally came to stop at his feet, by than all five of his senses knew something was there, I made him think that it was merely a small slab of loose concrete, which considering the state of the parking garage that lie wasn’t all too unbelievable.

But it wasn’t a perfect lie and I was out of luck if he noticed. But he didn’t! He raised his hand up like a roman senator deciding on the life or death of a disgraced gladiator and then the grenade exploded. At that moment, before even the sound of the explosion could reach Mr. Property Damage’s ears, I caught my second wind and resolved to show him real telepathy. So I pulled his conscious, grabbing the presumption of himself and dragging him out of his own reality.

Suddenly he was in a free fall toward the destination of my choosing, but he resisted never the less, going up stream with all his might kicking and swearing all the way down. It took time to fully create the reality I wanted him to experience but when I was done he found himself in an endless field of pink sunflowers. In Mr. Property Damage’s mind all that could be seen was rolling hills of blue, pink and subtle green. The confusion on his face was priceless. So I gave him something familiar, my demon appeared before him bellowing a challenge. Mr. Property Damage cursed and shouted back “This is MY HEAD!” and charged at me sword in hand. Figured he’d use a gun, oh well, he slashed at the demon as it popped in a shower of rose pedals like a piñata. His confusion was hilarious, he looked around wide eyed attempting to match an unforeseen threat but saw nothing but pink and blue.

I laughed as he kept whirling around to meet a shadow that wasn’t there; he heard my laughter and fumed with anger. Than the ground began to sink and concern returned on his face and he watched as some parts sank faster than others as if the whole landmass was on top of a sinkhole. The sunflowers soon started to burst as pockets of nothingness replaced patches of the  ground. The haze of pink petals floating up into the sky was almost magical until it started to catch fire. And the panic in his face was also priceless; the impossible heat that radiated from each pedal burned boils his flesh and cooked his hair. He took to the air pushing past the fire and the smoke, coughing and crying despite knowing this was all just a bad dream.

As he flew higher he started to feel the air pushing him back down, he looked down, the pink and green disappeared, in its place was a black hole that sucked in all matter. He panicked and tried to fly faster, harder, but the downward spiral of the wind was proving too strong. Than his faced grew white as he realized that at the far ends of the black hole there were rows and after rows of teeth. The demon has grown impossible large, the black hole was merely his mouth. Mr. Property Damage tried even harder he pressed against his fate and for a moment his momentum was greater than the gravity that was pulling him back down. “Free!” was the only thought that echoed throughout his consciousness and for a moment he was, but then I stuck my tongue out like a frog and wrapped it around his mid section instantly crushing ribs and liquefying organs. I retracted my tongue just as fast stuck it out; amazingly he still managed to put up a fight, changing his form three times one of which pierced my tongue. I applauded his effort by closing my mouth shut, leaving him in the dark where his screams were swallowed by the nothingness around him.

He screamed again, an abbreviated cough in comparison to the one his persona made, no this was shear instinctive reaction to nerves being abused beyond comprehension. He was rocked off his feat by the explosion his body disappearing in the flash. I heard the crunch of a wield shield, I saw Mr. Property Damages body crumbled against a generic looking black Sedan. I sigh, he put up a psy field at the very last second but it wasn’t enough for him to take that unscathed. He looked as though he got on the bad side of a bear and was only left in one piece because the bear eventually got bored. I couldn’t be sure that killed him, telekinetics have amazing recuperative abilities, but I couldn’t even get up to finish the job. Then I saw a pink and smiled. I rolled right slowly and gingerly, reached with my left hand for my pink handled glock 21. Not as good of a shot with my left hand, but it’ll have to do. I puppet my arm and fingers to move, too shaky but can’t really do anything about that. Slowly I steady my aim, Mr. Property Damage head is slouched over clearly unconsciousness may or may not be breathing though but it doesn’t matter at this point. Have to make this shot count, not sure my wrist can handle the recoil for a second chance.

Steady…

Steady…

Shoot! Oh god! The kick hurts more than I thought it would and the noise is awfully loud! I black out. No choice everything hurts too much at once.

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A King

God bless the League of Prehistoric Ninja Assassins.

When the world lost its first civilization and occult superpower over night my predecessor (more like patriarch), the original king of the seven seas, saw it fit to do a few things before he died a heroes death. The first of which was to sire an heir, forever tethering the blood of the first sorcerer supreme to the world of landlubbers. This was very important for a variety of reasons, most of which spiral into discussions about destiny, fate, and the general ease one can acquire a tavern wench with the proper sized jewelry.  The second was the establishment of the League of Shadows, the original department of homeland security, except not as pointless or as friendly.

And right now they’re out here in force cleaning up my mess, disposing of my bodies, patting me on my back telling me I did a good job while trying not to stare at the purple and grey mess called my face. I applaud their professionalism but it feels too much like kissing my ass to appreciate it.

And I’ll never get over being king. It helps that few people know who I am and even fewer wish to say the words, mostly because it sounds ridiculous but often it’s some peoples way of conveying disrespect.  I get that a lot in Atlantis, a lot of Arthur, not my last name or sir, but Arthur.  But I get it, I’m not wanted, and neither were my predecessors. But that’s the thing, the fucked up part that never really unnerves me but leaves a bad taste in my mouth. What was I before? When my father’s people, my people, the people who told me what I really am plucked me out of a life of underage debauchery and early morning cram sessions and gives me a title, the trident, and a whole new understanding of physics, only turn around and reject me because I AM everything they told me, gave me, and more…

You’ll own up to being King, you have to, the world depends on it and I have, since day one accepted that. But to be treated as such, without me forcing you to, feels too much like being surrounded by cronies.

“My liege.”

“It’s Arthur.”

“Your face.”

About time someone notices.

“It’ll heal.” Courtesy of the late Mr. H’Lee.

She nods after taking a good hard stare. Second sight and standing directly in-front of me. Upper management. I sigh because she is new and a manager, hopefully not district, but it does get that bad sometimes.

To elaborate, the League of Shadows since its conception has been dealing with say, occult related matters, since the first pyramid was no more than a sketch drawing on flat stone. Their job was simple enough conceptually. Identify, evaluate, and exterminate any body or bodies of individuals, organizations, and whole governments if need be depending on how far along their research, curiosity, or blind luck has taken them into the dark arts. With big emphasis on preventing potential actors from ever becoming real players, or in average speak, killing Merlin before he becomes the thunder tossing, time melding, dragon sealing wizard we learn about in elementary school. On a good day, the average dangerous mission involves slitting the throat of someone planning to make his first goat sacrifice when the moon is full (that rarely makes a difference). The most you have to worry about are the neighbors spotting your catsuit gliding over their rooftop with a cellphone camera. On a bad day, you’re facing Sabrina the Teenage Witch, half in the middle of a love spell, half wondering if lasers shooting out of her eyes will melt your face faster than say, setting your skin on fire. Than there is those really bad days, where you crash a party just to come face to face with a daemon fresh from the veil….

Sometimes you really aren’t paid enough for your line of work. Even more so if your being expected to be a garbageman minus the gloves. Because in this line of work, all but me is expected to follow the cardinal rule, don’t do magic.

Not to say magic is evil, or inherently evil. Because it is. But to point out the reasons for doing a little necromancy on the side isn’t always evil…just job security. Which is why blatant disregard for one of the primary rules (if not the only rule) hasn’t been punished zealously by me or most of my predecessors. Pragmatism, at least as far as the League of Shadows is concerned, as been the primary way of dealing with the very people who make my (self imposed) exile on the surface a lot easier than I tend to appreciate. But this same approach makes my job harder, because given enough time and all the temptation in the world, a little voodoo tends to slowly creep up to a lot of voodoo and lets just say more than a few decades worth of crisis has been because of or in light of a one man or entire sections of the League of Shadows going rogue.

Needless to say “don’t trust these fuckers” were penned in big bold letters in the memoirs and journals of my predecessors. People I don’t recognize fishing for the sit rep, is usually a bad sign. Especially people so new they don’t know to call me Arthur. But I shrug, ensuring the League of Shadows isn’t ending the world behind my back can wait till next week.

“What’s your name.” I give her a once over, maple brown hair, golden eyes, wide enough curves to convince me she’s a bruiser  I almost lick my lips at the prospect.

“Samantha First, my liege.”

“Its Arthur.”

“Right.”

Awkward pause.

“My-Arthur, the supernatural activity, necro or demon?”

“Demon like you suspected.”

“Taken care of?”

“No.”

Both our shoulders get smaller.

” Regional Supervisor Dawyne says he needs you in France sir.”

I nearly hop at the chance to go to France. No not really.

“No,” I shake my head, “that’ll have to wait.”

“You think its still here.”

“You tell me.” I make sure to say that with a smile.

“We can kill it.” she says with a tremble, whether of excitement or fear I don’t pray into her thoughts to tell.

“That won’t be necessary.” I start my walk to the nearest helicopter.

“I hear its only a small fry… I mean we can do this, your needed elsewhere.  If not Paris than somewhere else with a potential category four or five incursion.”

I stop, “Unless it’s category nine.” (and we’d be royally fucked if it was), “I’ll be asking for a ride to my car now.”

“It’s 2010, we know how to banish a level 3 ling.”

“That maybe true,” I wave, “But you guys take fun out of it.”

And Yes this will be edited

Just a Ling

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Just a Ling

“Who is he?”

“I don’t know.”

“How did he get here?” one voice rises shrill above the others.

“Maybe a cop?”

“What type of cop you know doesn’t have a badge?” retorts Percy, the grogginess slowly wearing off.

“No ID either.” another feminine voice, softer than the last one, replies.

“Look he must have followed me, I don’t know how or why.” Alex waves his hand up in his defense.

“Nothing human should be able to get through the spell. Even if they did the fence should have…”

“He, I mean she could help us right? I mean its safe for him, I mean her, to stretch her legs isn’t it?”

They all look at the man probably named Joey. Alex nods and John agrees. One of the girls takes an unconscious step back and in the direction of my stuff. All my stuff, even my phone still hooked to the double whammy. It’s a shack used for “fuck all if I knew” and only the sections obviously needed was somewhat cleaned to “don’t dirty my pumps” conditions. The occult books I was looking for? All here, laid out in piles spread around the various dust and hay free zones of the barn. Arcane symbols are written haphazardly on 8’11 pieces of paper, but most look too old and faded to be “hot” and none are spread out in any particular order or pattern, just the scribbling of children playing at Harry Potter. And in the middle of it all stood the cage. While the shack was well lite by modern light fixtures (very wise of them), the cage itself was a black tinted window masking the figure(s) moving inside. To understand how strange that was you’d have to imagine a typical zoo cage made to generously hold back a lion and then fathom why a grey sheet would be billowing inside, conveniently muting all attempts to illuminate the contents.

Joey was the one who opened the door, showing all the practice of a zookeeper working open the exit to a tigers cage. The tiger was not his friend, but he showed no fear of the tiger. Though his grasp of the door remained firm ready to close and lock it at a moments notice. The cage wasn’t just a few jail bars and a padlock, it had inscriptions running square to each corner, only stopping at the door itself, where a rune of vague, probably made up origin was sketched in most likely goat or cows blood. It glowed hot as the door was open gingerly. Joey backed up to give whatever it was plenty of space, though no one gasped everyone’s hair stood on end, even mine, though granted I was tied up like a dried pig.

It sniffed the air a few times before turning in my direction. Whatever It was, it did a good enough job of repairing its host body;  the only sign of a struggle was the orange-colored hair, the color of dried blood on blond. Otherwise you wouldn’t think said young girl was being posses by an alien entity beyond our concept of space-time. Though possessed is an odd word; it implies that there is someone home when the daemon gets bored and leaves, a cute Hollywood trope with no basis in reality. Fact is currently IT is wearing that poor girls meat suit with about as much practice as a dog walking on two legs (and doing a worse job than an actual dog because it’s probably accustomed to having more legs than four). For all intent and purposes, the poor girls last moments were spent locked in the back of a car, stripped naked, wrapped in chains and thrown into a bear cage for the amusement of the bear. Now the bear is wearing human skin like an expensive fur coat, and is sniffing me up and down looking for fear in my eyes.

“So who is he?”

“Out of your league” It hisses, he gives a moment to give the woman who asked the question a longing glare before turning his attention back to me.

“Yessss” it chimes, running a finger down my chest before his finger sizzles against the iron chains. The iron isn’t the problem, but the paper talisman wrapped around the locks and hanging from the chain links are. He notices me staring at it and nods the answer to my question, I groan.

“A precaution for me, but I can only imagine what it does to you.”

“Not much.” I chuckle, “mild headache really.” Also no low-level telepathy or access to magical items like wards or cursed items.

“You know him!?” resounds Alex

“Simple creatures, you don’t even know your champion?” It laughs, while keeping an unnatural level of alertness on me. As far it was concerned I was a shark in a fish bowl.

“King of Atlantis” It begins, “I wonder, have you sired an heir yet?”

The prospect of me dying today finally hits home and the only thing I could do was fake a steely eyed resolve. Damn this.

“Aww, I guess not.” It turns and walks toward the cage. Stops and address the confused rabble of white picket fence necromancers, “I’d suggest you kill him before he causes any more problems for us.”

And with that It climbs in and Joey locks the cage. I can see IT’s eyes staring at me now, mucus green circles spinning rapidly around her dead iris and beyond, the slither of worms moving in dead waters. He wanted to kill me himself but was afraid of the repercussions, the geass they have him under is strong. And it saved my life. Something I wish to take full advantage of.

“Hey, hey don’t tell me your believing…that thing do you?”

“How do you know she’s not human.” John points out.

I smile. “Well it wouldn’t pass the typical college frat girl test with that deep gurgled voice box she’s working with. I mean come on, I grew up in the 80’s, I’ve watched my share of scary movies! But let’s be serious do I look like the “King of Atlantis”? Do I sound like I drink vodka with SpongeBobSquarePants? I got a knife and a smart phone, and some jewelry I was hoping to pawn. I came by to rip you guys off and suddenly I’m out cold. Now I wake up in a strange shack and tied up, weird talismans hanging everywhere, and naked chick you got locked in a cage. I didn’t mean to interrupt your bachelor party, but I’d gladly get back on my way.”

“No.” says the woman who must be Katherine. She is calm and to the point, unlike Jill who is a bit more than nervous and hugging herself since her earlier outburst. Without any of my usual talents for building up persuasive arguments they’ll get me for being either suspicious or being at the wrong place at the wrong time. There is another way to get me out of here…

I”Look, I’m going to be frank with you.” not the best idea, but you know what they say about the truth, “She-IT’s right.  But I’m going to tell you something; this situation, this nightmare you’ve invited into your lives for 18 years can not be controlled. And don’t tell me you have it under control because I can see it laughing at all of you. How many people have you sacrificed to it? How many young women will never see their mothers again because of your actions. Boys that will never be fathers. For what?”

The room grows silent.

“Answer me!” no one speaks up. “Tell me that you have this under control! You don’t. And you know whats sick? Its waiting. Buying time until it knows it can stay in this world without you. Until it knows its safe to kill you all.”

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” John marches forward, anger in his eyes.

I match his glare and smile, “I see it now. Six years after that incident, your lives all suck, some with no girl, others with no job. There is only the guilt that maybe your responsible for all those unexplained deaths, maybe those douche-bags never really deserved to have what you thought was coming to ’em. And you feel like a scumbags, all of you do, and nothing you do can change that because realization of the truth only you know and only you can believe is eating you alive.” Than an epiphany hits like a brick, “So you come back to the barn where the magic happens…. my god, there is a piece of IT in you?” the group’s faces doesn’t deny it, ” A little bit of charisma, less guilt? The perfect family? The perfect job? A nice apartment with all the panties traffic your dick can manage? Is that’s what your soul is worth?”

Actually for most people the answer is yes, it is. But I doubt that they were stupid enough to make that exchange, no, they chose a different route, young boys and girls picked off from the street and late nights at the local bars. It’s not a coincidence that John has an alibi between the hours of 12-4,  and worst comes to worst his unwitting family can vouch for him being home despite sometimes not being home till 9 am in the morning. All this in exchange for a bit of knowledge here and a bit of juice there. But..

“But your deal wasn’t worth it for IT wasn’t it? It broke free six years ago, despite all the assurances that the sporadic flow of fresh bodies is of no fault of your own. You scramble to put it back to in the closest when  its true form can black out the state of Missouri. And yet you feed it prime stake as if it’ll be satisfied! Ha!”

I turn my full attention to the thing in the cage. “You’re nothing but a mid level Ling with dreams of grandeur  If you was a real daemon you would devoured them from  the inside the moment they took your offer, but you’re not even capable of holding a human body for longer than two hours, so you wait and bide your time until you learn to be a proper greater horror.” Even now with my eyes adjusting to the weird lighting of the cage I see IT’s form mutating; stretching the lips, elongating the fingers,breaking her skin out into hideous boils that ooze with blood and mucus like slime, while shifting her facial features to match the realignment of bones to a fit a newer more alien model…

“And you chuckle heads are just yucking it up as you put the lives of countless thousands in danger! If you had any idea where that thing came from you would have tried and failed to destroy it years ago instead of trying to appease it believing your two-bit parlor tricks will hold it back forever.”

Come to think of it, there is a reason why cops and soldiers above the level of rent-a-cop or merc-for-hire, train intensively in hostage situations. The simple basis being that sometimes you are the hostage and you’ll have to talk your way out of being gang-banged by the local psychopaths. Sometimes you must do this while speaking broken-unamerican, sometimes its better that you don’t call your current caretakers on their bullshit. Joey proves how much not being a snide douche keeps you alive longer,

“You talk too much.”

My knife is fresh from the table and in his right hand in pre-stabbing form when Alex and Jill rush to head him off.

“We don’t kill!” demands Alex

No, you just sic your pet daemon on people, big difference stupid git!

“Get off me he needs to GO!”

Alex lands hard on his hip while Jill, who is basically 5’1 and maybe a buck’one if you count the slippers, is sent flying before the rather fit Joey who could have been a 5’9 college quarterback in the heyday of his frat years (doubting he saw the inside of one). Neither John or Katherine moves to stop him when suddenly–

“JILL!!!” Kathrine was screaming for her friend’s name while the rest looked slacked jaw and petrified in fear and piss, Joey dropped my knife, Alex couldn’t peel his eyes away, and John…John had no expression at all.

You see Jill, a wisp of a thing, was neither tall or needing a gym membership, even her long hair was purposely cut business short to improve her streamline dry dolphin look, if the dolphin was a vegan; so when she went flying, she quite literally flew, and where she landed and thunk’d her little head, was no less convenient than the very cage, containing the very daemon they put so much effort into home trained.

Not funny how time stops when you have no way of changing the outcome. Fuck all the way of the warrior bullshit; a real fight is a blur  of indiscriminate motion only parsed though the magic filter of muscle memory and self-preservation. It’s only when death is looking at you straight in the face and there isn’t a god damn thing you can do about it, that you see the world at whatever frames per second is considered slow. When IT forced her hands through the bars– the sizzle and pop of the talismans all desperately trying to burn away the human meat coat but never beyond the level of third degree burns– you can see the momentary gasp of fear in Jill’s eyes as the window of escape closed before she understood it was open to begin with, the hands claps around her head and squeezed for dear life, nearly ripping her head from her shoulders as she thrashed against the otherworldly grip. But it wasn’t the physical touch that was loathsome, but the sudden invasion of one being of the immaterium into another being of immaterium (the human soul) that caused the panic that was almost primal to behold.

It was in this painful seconds of absolute horror that ages the soul and forces young men’s hearts to turn white before the twilight of their age, that the spectacle completed itself before a dumbfounded audience; powerless in body, mind and soul against the thing that eats goats and children. It was in completion that the cage in which the daemon lied for two decades, finally showed a natural hue, revealing the liters of dried blood and bits of unprocessed flesh of vague origins. Where the former host of ITs black intentions lay silent like a dried husk, the new host of horror laid slack like an adolescent child sleeping in a school bus.

And John just stood there, like a bloody stole pigeon.

“John!!”

My words barely moved him out of his stupor.

“John get me down!”

His eyes trail upward, sees me and hesitates to even stutter a no.

“Get me down or die with the rest of them.”

And like clockwork It moves. Why IT jumped on Alex McCoy as the first order of business, could be rationalized as the pure expression of a deep-seated grudge or the sheer coincidence of being the closest warm body to a soul eating monster, historians can decide, but as far I was concerned “it was better him than me” when it found Alex first.  Alex whispered “Jill” as he cried, tears flowing for a friend he just lost, the realization not quite hitting him but the gravity weighing all the same. It was the same for all of them, seeing Jill tightening her fingers around Alex’s shoulders, her green eyes reflecting a slight sickish hue. Only Alex could see what I knew was there; the hollowness beyond her facade, the IT that was barely contained, withering in places that shouldn’t move.  And when doom visited him, I mean finally dawned on him the nature of the creature he helped summon 18 years ago, he screamed. Not for help. Or for pain. But a torture keen to only the most basic senses in the human brain that still remains after years of surviving the hell of post-Jurassic. The sound of every cell wishing to do one thing, one basic thing and being denied the chance long before the understanding of the need. So he defecated himself, and twisted and thrashed and tried to escape the tiny grip of the hungry alien for all of one second-

“Crrrrrck”

Most children have tried, unsuccessful, to pull the head off a pez dispenser by yanking at it from the chin. But that method, with proper amount of superhuman  strength, is indeed sound. First the head is yanked back hard, the neck elongates before flesh and muscle cords snap at the seams. The sickening crack of bone is heard, as the spine is being snapped at the base, followed by a slosh of blood gushing forth like a shaken soda bottle.  When the child is done she merely toss the head against the nearest wall like a wet wash cloth before letting out a howl of ecstasy. Pure hunger  takes over as she unhinges a human jaw much like a snakes, and dives into the blood stump.

Crunch, crunch, crunch, crunch, and it rips an arm off from its socket to get a better grip of the mid section. Working its teeth and snapping jaws against and through tough muscles and cracking bones. Where it comes from there is no elegance is feeding on souls, no high pitch sucking noises or firm laying on hands. No Shang Tsung declaring your soul is mine. Just keep chewing and ripping at flesh until the belly is satisfied. This can be considered primordial, ritualistic, or just plain evil, pick your adjective, either way no person looking at this thing rip and spit out gobs of flesh and organs, face nose deep in blood, the clicks of its teeth mashing up fat and gristle…returns sane. And there was no escape. Even though John was the first to try.

“JOHN!” damn these chains,” You can’t run from it, it knows where you live, that you have kids, and even how your going to defend them. You have a piece of it inside you John! How do you think this will end!? I’m the only one here that can stop it, the only one here that its afraid of!”

Coincidence would have it he had the keys on his person (and that was a good measure of luck right there) and freed me promptly, being the only hope and all. I put a hand on his shoulder to show thanks.

“Took you long enough.” before sliding my palm under his chin and snapping his neck in savage disgust.

I only heard the shack doors slap close as Joey and Katherine ran out screaming. If I was in a generic action flick I’d menacingly call out “it’s just you and me” while pointlessly circling the room. I bite down the cliché’ and focus on the task at hand; my dagger, my three wards, and two curse items are call to me by me via the soft magic of displacement theory. Taking an item and re-materializing it to a very specific location is only intrinsically hard if you not particularly careful about details of the item or where exactly in space-time its going. You have to call by value not reference, and it takes much practice to do the former because the human brain likes to do some things by the latter . Otherwise I would be summoning a new copy of all my essentials from an alternate reality…and I’m too much of a fan of the original article thank you.

The daemon formerly known as Jill looked up at me the way a cat does when you interrupt it enjoying a fish stick, backed away slowly as I approached, looked around the shack as I advanced before giving the ceiling a quick eye.

“Rumor has it that your only half-Atlantian.”

“Whats your point?”

It chuckles, “Maybe we can end this game, I go my way you go yours. The real monsters are the human’s your letting escape.

Their engines barely make a sound but the slamming of their car doors grabs my attention for a second, a second enough for It to escape. Not on foot mind you but through Jill’s mouth, as the daemon drags its being into the shadows, leaving his meat suit to drop carelessly on the floor.

“Fuck.”

I scramble for the fleeing necromancers, their tail lights blaring as they speed into the open road.

“NOT FUCKING TEXAS!”

In my rage I channel a more serious form of magic, the art of probability, with the help of two cursed items, both red rubies that aren’t set to expire and anytime soon, one of which is holding the soul of a former meth dealer. Probability is relatively difficult because you’re never quite sure how far you need to manipulate the matrices to achieve the desired effect, and considering the effect only when casting can be rather lethal…to you, so its best to be prudent before letting the magic run wild (because there is no call backs once you hit the negative). Probability can be pushed up or down per set margins or given a sum to work out the difference, for me I just wanted their cars to break down, a sum based cast basically, which was the easier of the two options. The latter of which would be the untimely death of two healthy 30 somethings, speeding away in opposite directions in the middle of nowhere.

Quick thinking on my party determines which is most likely to end badly.

Joey’s car breaks first, a sports car running at triple digits, barely a speck in the horizon, the hood bursts into blue flames and acrid smoke, he hard swerves as the engine dies and his breaks fail. His crash is a series of hard skids, followed by a hard stop somewhere in horizon.

Katherine’s Chevy on the other hand caused a sharp pain in my chest before its front wheels snapped cleaned from its axle, slamming the front bumper hard against the open road. One of my dear rubies burned out and I traded the difference with one less month of old age, not a fair trade really and its going to take a minute for my breathing to regulate itself. But I’m calm enough for whats going to happen next as I step out into the middle of the road, Katherine’s car well in my sites. As expected she stumbles out from her unexpected crash, haven’t not bothered to wear a seat belt she is far more dazed and confused than she otherwise would be. Which means the following would be relatively painless, as my knife breaks past her spine and finds her heart before reappearing in my hand in a blur.

“One down.”

Displacement was only used in the return trip; actually placing a foreign object into a human body or any solid construct violates Pauli exclusion principle, which basically states that no two objects can occupy the same space at the same time. Granted it is a rather simple and effective way to murder someone, its best not used when you actually want the object back. For all intent and purposes all natural laws can be violated, however not all natural laws should be violated, which is the fundamental difference between a good necromancer, a bad necromancer, and a dead necromancer.

And I clearly intend to be a good one as I find Joey’s car hugging a welcome to sign. I see smoke, I see blood, I open car door, but no Joestar. I kneel to touch the blackening ichor, rubbing its warmth against my index and middle finger and following the trail into the tall grass. I smile and turn around, catching the brunt of a tire iron with my forearm. The pain is numbing but bearable. Joey however is breathing heavy and ragged, half weak, half exhausted from the crash. He’s nursing a few chest injuries and a dire need for aspirin. When I grab and pull down his only weapon, he nearly yanks it from my grip with a surprise amount of upper body strength.

End this fast.

So I stab him quarter to center but not deep; he checks my elbow and shoves his forehead into my face. I go down flat as he climbs on top, bringing the iron down as he holds my knife hand by the wrist. Two good shots is all he needs for me to nearly lose consciousness, only a gasp of air separates me from a shatter skull, as everything goes into a mumbled blur of sky, gray and red. Even in a situation like this nothing slows down, everything moves at the same time with no concept of before or after, especially decisions; I reach for a nearby rock, grasping it in my left hand, before hearing the thunk of it disappearing from my clutches and reappearing somewhere inside Joey’s skull. With a gasp his eyes fell back and his mouth hanged open, blood drooling out his eyes and nose from the aneurysm, before he started convulsing in seizures. Pushing him aside, I watched him thrash and gargle non-words before finally deciding what to do with his entrails.

And Yes this will be edited

                                                                 

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In the Apartment of Evil

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!”

Click

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.”

“Oh…”

“Where is Katherine?”

“Checking the cage.”

“BY HERSELF!??!”

“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,”

Contacts.

“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.

“John.”

“Morning Alex.”

“The sacrifice, you found one?”

“Of course.”

“Boy or girl.”

“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.”

“Oh…but still…”

“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

                                                                 

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