Fic: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (1/?)
Xander grunted as the demon’s heel smashed into his gut, knocking across the room, over a table and to the ground. The vampire took a step towards, its yellow eyes glittering in the derelict house’s half-light, then shook its head, and turned away from him and leapt through the nearest boarded-up window, wood splintering at the impact.
“Damn,” Xander cursed as he struggled up to his knees. He’s been hoping to avoid this. “He’s coming your way!”
* * *
“On it!” Faith leapt clean over the balcony’s railing, foregoing her usual one-handed vault for fear of the lice-riddled looking railing disintegrating under her. Hitting the ground with feet apart and knees bent, she faced the demon with stake ready.
She caught a glimpse of a short, chubby man with only a few wisps of hair dancing in the cold night breeze, a cast to his left, squinting, muddy-brown eye, a jagged scar running from his right eye down his cheek, a hare-lip, and a missing left ear. “Damn,” she muttered, nose wrinkling in distaste, “you are one ugly bastard.”
The demon let out a high-pitched, girlish laugh that managed to be both ridiculous and bone-chilling at the same time. “But you are quite the pretty,” the demon giggled. “Older than I normally like, but a Slayer’s blood tastes the sweetest.”
Faith missed a step, stomach hollowing at the meaning behind the demon’s lisp-delivered words. “What the-.”
Laughing hysterically, the demon charged her, hitting her shoulder-first, the force of the collision and the demon’s greater weight lifting her off the ground and sending her somersaulting involuntarily through the air. Hitting the ground in an ungainly heap, she gasped as the vampire grabbed her hair, and yanked her head up, pain shooting through her scalp. “I usually like to spend time enjoying my girls but-.”
“Enjoy this!” Faith slammed her stake into the obese vampire’s thigh.
“Arrrghhh!” the vampire screamed as blood jetted out of the wound. She tried a leg-sweep but the demon stumbled backwards, eyes blazing. “If I had time,” the vampire looked behind him and giggled, “but help comes. Bye bye. Be seein’ ya, ya all!”
Faith watched as the vampire hurried off, her stake still jutting from her thigh. “Are you alright?” Faith tore her eyes away from the demon to see her man fighting his way through the boarded up window at the same time as Tara hurried around the side of the house, the opposite side to the vamp thank god.
“Five by five!” Faith powered up to her feet. “But that demon was wicked creepy even for a vam-.” Her voice trailed off at Xander’s chagrined glance down. “K, X.” She put her hands on her hips and stared at her boy-friend. “Wanaa share with the rest of the class?”
* * *
“Oh boy,” Xander muttered at his girl-friend’s penetrating glare. He was in deep do-do. Forcing a smile, he raised his voice. “Any one ever tell you, you have a nasty, suspicious mind?”
“Just the one time,” Faith’s smile had a shark-like quality. “The months he spent eating through a straw cured him of it.” His girl-friend’s smile disappeared, replaced by a flinty look. “Ya know more than you’re telling?”
“Okay, okay,” Xander sighed, shoulders slouching in gesture of defeat. “Everything I told you was the truth, the board strokes anyway. He was turned in the late 20s by Spike no less, like I said. And he did kill a Slayer in the early 50s, the last in America until Nikki Wood-.”
”Who?” Tara queried.
Xander glanced towards the witch. “She was the Slayer in New York in the mid-late seventies, Spike’s second Slayer.” He looked towards Faith. Seeing the Slayer’s cowboy-booted foot impatiently tapping, he hurried on. “What I didn’t tell you was why Spike chose him.”
“He didn’t seem a very likely case,” Tara noted, “most vampires turned are the handsome or strong,” the witch’s eyes widened, “or the-.”
“The evil,” Faith completed. “What did he do, X?”
“It was Tennessee, just after the first world war, when he started. Over the period of four years nine brunette girls aged from twelve to sixteen disappeared from a three county area, all poor, all pretty. At first people from the area figured the girls had run away, hoping for a better life than the one they’d been dealt. Then,” Xander shook his head. “Their bodies started turning up. They’d all been raped and tortured over a period of several weeks, and then killed.” Faith winced, he heard Tara bite back a sob. “Over the next four months the entire state was in an uproar looking for the killer, but nothing worked. Another two girls disappeared. Then a girl managed to escape the guy when he tried to snatch her, and ran home to her parents. They started off to the man’s house, building up quite a mob on the way. By the time they got there, the man had returned-.”
“He fuckin’ went home?” Faith interrupted, eyes sceptical. “What is he, some sort of ‘tard?”
Xander shrugged. “I guess he went back to burn some evidence, grab some stuff before running, whatever. Whatever his reason, the mob marched into his house.”
“What about the police?”
Xander shook his head at Tara’s question. “This was the early twentieth century, Tara. Around here a lot of the wild west mentality still lived on. And people were angry and scared, never a good combination. Anyway,” he returned to the story. “They found a ton of stuff taken from the girls, trophies.”
“Oh this just keeps getting better and better.”
Xander ignored Faith’s mutter to continue. “That just got the crowd madder, and after beating the hell out of him, that’s how he got the scar and lost his ear-.”
“Bet he was an ugly bastard even before that though.”
Again he ignored his girl-friend’s interruption. “They dragged him to the nearest oak tree for a lynching.”
“Is this where William the Bloody found him?”
He glanced towards the witch at her softly spoken interruption and nodded. “Him and Dru were passing as the lynching was going on. Spike being Spike, he was drawn to the violence and asked what was going on. Once he found out, he broke Obie free and escaped with him and Dru.“ He shook his head. “That’s even part of his legend. People in Tennessee say that Obie broke free of his captives on his own and killed eight of them before fleeing into the night.”
”But he didn’t?” Tara asked.
“No,” Xander shook his head. “Spike thought he had potential, that the evil he’d done as a human meant he was he was bound to make a great vampire so he turned him and left him to do whatever he wanted. I knew he was in the area because,” Xander shifted uncomfortably, “occasionally he goes off on a spree, not just killing like a normal vampire, but choosing young girls, doing his thing and cutting their left ears off, like a taunt of those who’d tried to kill him seventy years ago. He always stopped at eleven victims, like what he was cut off at, but starts again 12 – 15 years later.”
“Why didn’t you tell us all this before?”
“I didn’t think it was impor-.”
“The truth this time, X.”
Xander swallowed at Faith’s cold tone. “I thought it might freak you out, what he’d been as a human-.”
“Damn it, X!” He noted uneasily Faith’s fists were clenched and her body shaking as if struggling to control the rage etched across her face. “I can’t trust ya if ya don’t tell me shit!” After a shake of her head, the Slayer spun on her heel and stormed off.
* * *
Seeing Xander about to chase after the Slayer, Tara grabbed his arm. “I’ll go,” she smiled at her friend’s distraught face. “Don’t worry. It’ll be fine. You know what she’s like.” Before the youth had chance to reply, she’d moved off.
“Faith!” Tara yelled as she rushed through the night, hurrying after her. Even as she chased the Slayer down she shook her head. “If it’s not one thing with these two, it’s another. Talk about hard work.”
The Slayer stopped suddenly and spun to face her. “He should have fuckin’ told us!”
“Yes he should,” Tara agreed, her tone calm. “He was just trying to make sure you didn’t get hurt.”
”I ain’t some fucking china doll!” Faith yelled back at her, her best friend’s liquid eyes filled with hurt.
“It’s not you Faith,” Tara soothed. “It’s Xander, you know what he’s like, always trying to protect you, protect us both.”
“Yeah,” Faith nodded. “He’s so damn hot when he does that, ain’t he?”
Tara shuddered. ”I’m not going to discuss your boyfriend’s hotness, I do have some limits.”
Faith smirked weakly. “So we’re back to talking about lingerie models then?”
Tara smiled back at her. “I’d feel more comfortable.”
Fic: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (2/?)
Reno glanced left and right as he entered the darkened saloon, the sound of the Dixie Chicks blasting out from the jukebox, the mixture of bourbon and cigar smoke hanging heavy in the air. He shook his head as he noticed the tattered confederate flag draped over the far wall. “The South’s gonna rise again.” He also noticed with amusement that every man in the bar was wearing a Stetson. Looking around, he saw the man he’d tracked for a month and over three state lines sat with his back to him. He glanced around the bar one last time, memorising what it looked like. Usually after these things were finished, there wasn’t much left standing.
The place burnt into his memory, he
started forward. boots clicking on the sawdust covered floor. “Mike Lovett?”
The man glanced over his shoulder, grey eyes hard and suspicious, but then the majority of a life spent in and out of prison and the rest on the run would do that to a man. “Who wants to know?” the man growled, his husky rasp evidence of a lifetime spent drinking gallons of whiskey and smoking thousands of packs of cigarettes.
“Vince Black, licensed bounty hunter of the state of California,” he replied, his tone held even. “You jumped bail on charges of drug dealing and armed robbery, leaving the state with a $75,000 problem. I’m here to collect,” he smiled “Now is it going to be the hard or the easy way?”
The man’s chair scraped back on the wooden floor as he stood, revealing a height some way north of six foot and an etched from stone body. Reno wondered who’s bright idea it had been to put gyms in prisons. “I ain’t going anywhere with you fuck-nuts!!!” the giant sneered.
“I guess that’s a hard way then.” Reno noticed the fugitive’s three companions had joined him in standing.
Lovett’s gap-toothed grin had more than a little insanity bubbling away in it. “Guess you’re right.”
The fugitive threw a right the size of a catcher’s mitt at him. Reno slid inside the blow to deliver a crunching head butt to the man’s nose even as he smashed a right into his midsection.
“My dose!” the man screamed as he stumbled backwards, blood seeping down his face, his mouth twisted in a disbelieving sneer. “You broke my dose!”
“Good. That’s what,” Reno drove his elbow into the face of a man rushing him from his left, “I was trying to,” he twisted away from a charge at him from his right, grabbing a hold of the man by his collar, and flinging him into the man to his left, knocking them both to the ground, “do!”
Looking up, he was barely in time to sidestep Lovett’s bull-like rush at him, leaving behind his out-stretched foot for the muscle-man to stumble over, knocking a table over in his fall. The third of Lovett’s companions charged him from behind, but a back heel kick to the mid-section sent the man crashing into another table, sending him and the table and its occupants crashing to the ground.
”Ya spilt my drink,” roared a short fat man in his late fifties who had been sat at the table Lovett had knocked over. The man pulled a knife and ran at him, weapon swinging wildly.
“Jesus, Deliverance the sequel,” Reno dropped into a crouch, allowing the knife to slice harmlessly above his head before shooting out a straight right into the man’s armpit. The man screamed as the nerves in his arm went dead, causing him to drop the switchblade.
Reno caught the knife as it fell. Sensing Lovett rising behind him, he twisted round at the waist, and thrust the blade deep into the man’s thigh while reaching out with his free hand, grabbing a hold of the would-be knifeman’s ankle and yanking. Lovett screamed before slumping back to the ground at the same time fatso did.
Upon rising, he heard the sound of something being swung at him from behind. Ducking instinctively, he twisted around to see the apron-wearing bartender swinging a baseball bat at him, eyes wild with fury and chubby face contorted with effort. “You can’t come in here attacking my customers!”
Deciding reason was not an option, Reno ducked a second swing before rising, grabbing the barkeep’s meaty wrists, and yanking them against the grain. Releasing his grip at the sound of breaking bone, he snatched a hold of the bat as it dropped from the screaming man’s hands.
Looking around he saw a man charging him, pool cue in hand. Raising his arm, he flung his newly acquired bat at the would-be assailant. The bat smashed into the man’s forehead, knocking him soundlessly to the ground.
Another thug rushed him, eyes dulled with drink. Reno easily sidestepped the man, reached out, grabbed the cowboy’s pony-tail, and gave him the extra push to send him flying into another table. “Damn it!” he cursed as he realised that despite the knife in his leg, Lovett had still managed to use the disturbance to escape, leaving a trail of blood behind.
Sensing a presence behind him, he kicked out, the heel of his boot smashing into his potential assailant’s jaw. Looking over his shoulder, he watched as the cowboy flew through the nearest window. Taking the momentary opportunity the crowd’s shock gained him, he raced towards and leapt through the window.
Landing on his feet, he immediately took off after the bail-jumper, grateful he’d checked where the man had left his battered pick-up before venturing into the bar. When he reached the pick-up Lovett was no-where in sight. Deciding to take a chance, he ducked down in front of the vehicle.
Seconds ticked by. Just as Reno was about to give up on the criminal he heard the wheezing gasps of a man in pain. Smiling to himself, he straightened and stepped around the vehicle. “Hi Mike.”
The fugitive’s eyes widened at his appearance. “You’re a dead man!” the criminal spat, his hand reaching into his jacket.
Reno’s foot shot up and smashed into the man’s groin. Lovett let out a croak, his eyes rolled back, and the man started to double up. “Why do I feel we’re not connecting?” Deciding that giving the man another chance to recover was the height of stupidity, he grabbed a handful of his opponent’s horribly matted hair, and repeatedly drove his head into the side of his car. Once he was satisfied the man was unconscious, he allowed him to drop to the ground, frisked him for weapons, finding a switchblade and rusty revolver that was so old it had probably seen service in the civil war, and cuffed him.
That accomplished, he pulled out his mobile and quickly dialled a number.
* * *
Bobby Six-Killer looked up from his spreadsheet at the sound of his phone ringing. Swinging around in his chair, he grabbed the mobile. His eyes widened when he recognised the number. “Have you got Lovett?”
“Why yes, Bobby,” his best friend’s replied. “I’m fine, thank you for your concern.”
Six-Killer rolled his eyes. “If you weren’t fine, you wouldn’t be ringing. I assume you’ve got him?”
“Had to fight a bar full of rednecks for him, but I managed it.”
“Oh yeah?” Six-Killer smirked into the phone. “Given his rap-sheet, I wouldn’t have seen him as the popular type.”
“Life’s full of surprises,” Reno’s voice turned serious. “What have you got for me?”
“Yeah,” Bobby’s own mood took a downturn. “This isn’t a bail-jumper, just a straight bounty. Guy by the name of ‘One-Eared Obie’-.”
“Oh,” Reno’s own voice was colder than death’s own touch. “I’ve heard of him.”
Bobby grimaced. “Yeah.” Who in law-enforcement circles hadn’t? Nine dead girls in two years and across four states left quite a trail. “But I’m betting I know something you don’t. Something the police are keeping to themselves for fear of a panic.”
“This isn’t the first murder spree he’s been on. In the late seventies, eleven girls disappeared, same trademark-.”
“The ear?” queried the bounty hunter on the other end of the line.
“Correct,” he nodded unconsciously.
“Well that’s not impossible, if he’s old enough,” Reno dubiously replied. “Maybe he’s been inside for twenty-plus years and only just got out. Or maybe he’s a copy-cat.”
“There’s three other sprees on record, one in the late fifties, one in the mid-forties, and one in the early twenties. All of the first three with the same trademark, a missing ear, and something else in common.”
“That’s not possible,” he heard rather than saw his best friend’s headshake, “maybe it’s genetic. The first two lots of killings were done by his grandfather and father, he’s done the last two?”
“That goes against all known behavioural science,” Bobby objected.
”What’s your explanation then?” Reno said. “What was the other thing all sprees had in common?”
Bobby hesitated, hating himself for the emotional blackmail he was about to indulge in. “They all stopped after eleven girls were killed.”
“And he’s killed nine this time?” Reno sighed. “So if I don’t stop him, two more girls will die. Great. But how am I supposed to find him?”
Bobby smiled. Great, his friend was in, not that there was any doubt, Reno was a regular boy scout. “Cheyenne’s done a program plotting his movements. Based on his historical patterns and FBI psych profile, she’s 92% certain of his future movements. I’ll send you that and the rest of the information by email. And,” Bobby licked his lips, “Reno.”
“Be careful,” he grimaced, “the profile says this guy isn’t as tough as the normal scum you go up against, but the things he does to the girls he captures makes the Mafia dons look like boy scouts.”
“He’s the one who better be careful,” his friend replied.
FIC: MC 27 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (3/?)
“Here’s a question,” Faith spoke to him rather than Tara for the first time in a day and a half. “Why do we have to use Angie’s program to track Obie? Why can’t we use the All-Seeing Eye?”
“The All-Seeing Eye doesn’t work like that, Faith,” he explained as he glanced down at their SUV’s fuel gauge. Satisfied they had enough for at least a couple of more hours, he gunned the engine still further, feeling the car’s power run through him. “It only sees what the person you’re looking for sees.”
“Yeah, I know” Faith nodded impatiently, “so?”
“So,” Tara broke in. “If Obie’s in a town or place we’ve never been too, we won’t recognise it unless he’s looking directly at a sign or something we wouldn’t know where he was.”
“K,” Faith paused to take that in. “Better hope Angie’s right then.”
“Yeah,” Xander nodded as he looked around him, around the barren landscape that the freeway cut through. “Slumber Falls, here we come.”
* * *
Slumber Falls, Alabama
“I said no, Casey!”
“You mind your mother, Casey,” Cameron Poe said wearily. It was days like that this that almost made him pine for those peaceful days in a maximum-security installation courtesy of the government. Casey had been playing up in the way that only a child hurtling towards puberty could.
But then again, if he wasn’t here, he wouldn’t be able to revel in the company of the world’s two most beautiful women.
“What are you smiling at Cameron Poe?”
“Just thinking how beautiful you are, Hummingbird,” he replied.
All at once the weariness and anger on Tricia’s face melted away and was replaced by the dazzling smile that had entrapped him almost fifteen years ago. “Why don’t you show me?” she challenged.
”Glad to, Hummingbird.” Placing his shopping bags on the slightly sandy ground, he pulled his wife into his arms, and pressed their lips together, tongues eagerly duelling.
“Mom! Dad! Not in public again!”
Cameron laughed at his daughter’s horror-laden voice. Pulling away from his wife, he picked his daughter up and hugged her tightly. “Is that better, honey?”
“DAD!” Casey’s eyes widened with horror and her head snapped left and right as she frantically checked to see if any of her friends were watching. “Someone might see!”
“In that case,” he placed her down on the ground. “Is that better?”
His daughter pouted at him, hands on hips. “Oh, Cam,” his wife swatted his arm. “You tease her terribly.”
“Excuse me, sir, ma’am.”
Cameron turned at the deep voice behind him, his amusement fading away at the unshaven man stood behind him. “Yes?” he said carefully, body tensing. The tall, raw-boned stranger dressed in denims, cowboy hat, and boots had the look of an athlete. More than that, he had the look of a warrior, he recognised the type, being as he was one himself.
The man raised an amused eyebrow. Like had obviously recognised like. “I’m just passing through town, you wouldn’t happen to know anywhere that takes in people?”
“Mrs. Stockley on Raven’s Avenue takes in lodgers,” his wife replied, her tone strained, having obviously picked up on his unease. “She runs a strict house though.”
“That’s okay ma’am,” the stranger smiled. “I try and be a good boy.”
“Just follow the road until you reach the picture house, then turn into the road opposite, and head down there until you come to a bowling alley, turn left just past it, and continue on. Mrs. Stockley’s is just left after the gymnasium.”
“Thank you, ma’am,” the man turned to him and nodded. “I’m Vince, Vince Black,” the man’s smile widened. “You have a pretty family here. You’re a lucky man, you look after them.”
“I intend to,” Cameron noted the tell-tale bulge of a .44 inside the man’s stonewashed jacket, but didn’t comment.
“Well thank you for your help,” the man tipped his Stetson before striding off, his gait untroubled.
“Cam,” again Tricia swatted his elbow. “You were very rude!”
“Was I?” Cameron watched the man disappear into the distance. “I didn’t notice.”
“You never do,” commented his daughter.
”Is that right?” he laughed, his good mood returning. “I’ll have to be taking lessons in etiquette from you then missy!”
* * *
Obie giggled from the shadows as he watched the family head into their house. “Delicious,” his mouth watered at the sight of the golden-haired daughter. So pretty, so perfect for his collection.
And then there were the parents, the sweetly happy parents. His smile widened. When he’d been alive he’d concentrated on the child, on loving them. But his sire had shown him how wrong he’d been, how he’d been so selfish as to miss out on the family’s pain, to bathe in their hurt. But no longer, he watched as the trio made their way into the careworn house. It was obvious they had so little, except one another.
And he was going to take even that away from them.
* * *
Reno chuckled as he walked away from the family. The man had definitely been a player and hadn’t liked him. But then, Reno’s mood dipped, he was only following a man’s natural instinct to protect those close to him from a potential predator. “I wish you luck, friend,” he muttered. “Better luck than I had.”
Following the woman’s directions, he soon arrived at a white-painted plantation house with a black-tinted SUV and a red family hatchback parked outside. He grinned at the leather clad behind of the girl carrying a couple of heavy-looking sports bags inside. “Nothing like a perfect butt to raise a man’s spirits,” he chuckled to himself before hurrying up the four wooden porch steps and grabbing the door. “Here,” he smiled down at the slender girl, “let me get that for you.”
The girl looked up at him, her full lips parted in a strangely mocking smirk. “A southern gentlemen, guess the stories about you cowboys are right after all?”
“I try,” he replied as his eyes struggled to drink in the raven-tressed sex-bomb before him. She was only half his age, but her pool-like eyes seemed to contain a lifetime of experiences. “Say, how about two strangers in town find the local diner and share a bite to eat together?”
“Sorry hon. I’d love too, really,” the girl’s voice had a smoky quality that sent shivers up his spine, “but I’ve got a boy-toy. And he’s the wicked protective type, wouldn’t harm a hair on my head, but if I messed him around, they’d be finding parts of you all over the state.” The girl winked. “Looking at ya, it’d be a hell of a fight though.”
“I can handle my own,” he replied with a smile.
The girl chuckled throatily. “Well tonight you’re gonna have to. Thanks for the help with the door.”
* * *
Faith grinned as she strode into the boarding house’s reception, hips purposefully swinging to give the stud stood behind her a show. She loved her baby and would never cheat on him, but she always got a buzz when a good-looking guy paid her attention, proved she still had it.
The reception was a long hallway, the antique furnishings probably dating back to the civil war, and the woman sat behind the desk was a matronly-looking old bird with frizzy grey hair modelled in a bun and a pair of horn-rimmed glasses perched on the end of her nose. The woman was laughing at something X had said, Faith shook her head, her boy had the gift that was for damn sure, women of a certain age always wanted to adopt him. The woman glanced up at her approach, her jowls dropping and nose quivering in a disapproving sniff. Faith’s eyes widened as she noticed that Xander had taken not one, not two, but three room keys from the battleaxe. “Single rooms!” Faith exploded. No way was she going without tonight. “Jesus Christ, X!”
“Bible belt, Faith,” Xander said through gritted teeth as he grabbed one of the bags from her and her elbow as he guided her towards the stairwell. “Try not to take the Lord’s name in vain. They still burn blasphemers here.”
“Great,” Faith muttered. From the scandalised look in the receptionist’s eyes, X might not be joking.
Tara giggled. “Imagine what would happen if they found out I was gay.”
“Don’t,” Xander shuddered.
Faith grinned at the man as they passed the hallway, noting how his eyes flickered towards her and Xander’s stiffening. Her baby was jealous. “We patrolling tonight?”
“Yeah, only we’ll have to climb down the fire escape,” Xander warned. “The boarding house has a 12 o’clock curfew.”
Faith groaned. This just getting better and better. “You sure this is the place where Obie will hit next?” she asked.
“Yep,” Xander replied as they started up the blue-carpeted stairs. “The routing program that Angela used predicted Obie would pass here, and it fits the profile – low-income, low-population town, miles from the nearest population centre.”
“While you’re out patrolling, I’ll contact Angela, see if anyone’s reported a missing child,” Tara commented.
“Sounds like a plan,” Faith agreed.
Fic: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (4/?)
Deputy Stan Hansen sighed as he took a sip of his lukewarm coffee, wincing slightly as he did so. He didn’t care what anyone said, he could always slightly taste the Styrofoam cup the drink came in. His mood wasn’t improved by the news regarding the ‘West Alabama Tigers’ either. Shaking his head, he turned the page of his tattered newspaper, fleeing the sports news for rather less distressing local affairs pages.
He started at the slightly-lisping voice in front of him. Cursing himself for being caught unawares, he hurriedly shoved the newspaper onto the reception desk and stood. “Hello sir,” he noticed the man was a short, portly ugly-looking white dude in his late forties. As he spoke, he thanked god the chief was in the back. If he caught him napping on the job again there’d be hell to pay. “How can I help you?”
“I’ve come to report a crime.”
“Oh yes?” Hansen reached into his deck drawer and pulled out a spiral notepad. “What crime, exactly, sir?”
Hansen looked up, eyes widening. In five years as deputy, the worse crime he’d had to deal with was some kids selling pills at the local high school but this was a completely different league. “Who’s?” his eyes widened as he noticed something. “Say, don’t I know you?”
“My first time in town, so I doubt it,” the man replied before giggling, a sound that caused the hairs on the back of his neck to stand up. Hansen looked down, realising he hadn’t got a pen for this important moment. “As to the victim,” the stranger paused. “That would be you.”
Jaw dropping open, Hansen looked up to see the man leaping over the raised desk, his eyes flickering yellow in the office’s fluorescent light. Hansen opened his mouth to shout for assistance and reached for his holstered sidearm. Before he was able to complete either task the fat man had smashed into him, knocking him onto the ground, his impossibly sharp teeth sinking deep into his throat.
* * *
Obie giggled as he rolled off the deputy’s corpse, having forced the man to drink. He would rise in a few hours. Standing, he made his way back to the reception area’s glass double doors, and quickly closed and locked them, cutting the oblivious officers off from the outside world. Now for the rest of them. He’d have his army to fight the Slayer’s friends and then he have her alone.
She might not be a child, but she’d beg like one.
* * *
Deputy Bill Watts hummed a tune as he made his way through the corridor that led from the offices and jail, and to the canteen. He’d been in a good mood all day, ever since his early-morning workout. For the first time ever he’d benched 500lbs. He was young, healthy, with a solid job. Life was good.
He stopped as he heard – no sensed something in the corridor’s shadows ahead of him. “Hello?” he waited for a second. When he received no reply, he continued on, eyes darting uneasily around.
“So pleased,” a high-pitched giggle behind him made him shiver involuntarily, “so pleased to meet you.”
Watts turned around to find himself being regarded by an ugly-looking man easily a foot shorter, a hundred pounds lighter, and twenty years older than him. Yet despite all these physical advantages, there was something about the man that made him want to turn and run. Forcing the compulsion under control, he gazed down at the intruder. “I don’t know how you got here, sir,” he managed a stern note in his voice. “But the public aren’t allowed back here. You’ll have to go back to reception.”
“No, no, no,” the balding man shook his head, eyes dancing insanely. “I’m exactly where I need to be.”
“I’m sorry, sir,” skin crawling, he reached out to take a hold of the man’s shoulder and guide him out, “rules are rules.”
Suddenly the man had him by his 19in neck, his hand squeezing with impossible power. Breath coming in desperate wheezes, he punched his attacker full in the face but although the man’s head snapped back, he didn’t release his crushing grip.
Watts’ bladder loosened when the man’s face changed horribly, becoming even uglier than before. Ridges bulged from the freak’s forehead, his features somehow sharpened, teeth changed to fangs, and his eyes turned a satanic yellow. He reached for his gun but his attacker just grabbed his wrist and twisted, the bone’s snap echoing throughout the darkened corridor. A second later and the small man had dragged him down to his knees before sinking his teeth into his throat.
* * *
”Oh,” Obie giggled as he looked down at the bodybuilder’s corpse, Obie’s own blood trickling from his mouth, “he’s a big one. His demon will be so, so strong.”
Obie looked towards the opposite end of the corridor, the sound of the working deputies reaching his supernaturally ears. Four heartbeats, four more kills. “I’m going to be a pig,” he giggled as he started towards the office. “All this blood, I’m a regular glutton.”
* * *
Deputy Terry Funk turned from his inspection of his carefully written report at the sound of the door opening behind him, pen still in his mouth, surprised that Watts was back already. The big ox usually used every minute of his break to shovel in food, supplying his humongous body with the fuel it needed. If it wasn’t for the regulation six monthly drug tests, he’d be sure the huge lump was shovelling in steroids to go with his steaks.
His surprise increased at the unfamiliar intruder stood in the open doorway. “Sir,” taking the pen out of his mouth, he rose and stepped towards the interloper, “you’re not supposed to be back-,” his voice trailed off, blood chilling as he registered the blood trickling out of the man’s mouth. “What the fuck!”
His hand flashed towards his gun, at the practice range he was the fastest and most accurate pistol shot. Despite his speed the intruder got to him first. Funk screamed as his wrist was snapped. A half-second later and his head was smashed against his desk, plunging him into unconsciousness.
* * *
“Food for later,” Obie chortled as he dropped the unconscious cop to the floor. He knew he wouldn’t have time to turn the policeman now, already his companions were moving into action.
Spinning around to face them, he saw all three men reaching for their guns, spread out in an inverted triangle. Instead of going for the nearest, a handlebarred moustached Latino in his mid-thirties, Obie leapt over the desk and headed for the furthest away, a short, fireplug of an African-American.
Reaching the man at a blur, he grabbed him around his jaw and threw him into the wall, the back of his head smashing into the wall. “OWWWWW!” Obie roared in pain and anger as bullet after bullet smashed into his back, knocking him to the ground.
Lying deathly still, he listened for the two men’s approach. “You see what that fucker did?” asked one of the cops, his slight accent revealing him as the Latino. “How fast he moved?”
“I saw,” replied his companion, his accent more local. “Fat fucker moving that fast, he must be on PCP or some shit.”
“Si,” the Latino agreed. “He was rapido.”
The moment the two police officers came to a stop, flanking his supposedly dead body, he moved. Leaping to his feet between them, he grabbed their surprised heads, and drove them together, their skulls smashing together like coconuts. Releasing his grip, he allowed the two limp bodies to drop like stones to the ground.
He smiled as he sensed the sound of an approaching, previously undetected heartbeat rushing towards him. Turning, he looked towards the door that doubtless led to the cells and stood. “Another one,” he muttered in delight.
* * *
“Why here?” Sheriff Virgil Runnels muttered as he hurried towards the door, shotgun held across his expanding belly, hands sweaty. “Why my town?” he asked. He’d been checking out the armoury, cleaning the guns when he’d heard the gun shots. “What sort of idiot attacks a police station?” he wondered.
Just as he reached the door it flew open, almost hitting him as it flew off its hinges and crashed into the wall opposite. His eyes widened as a short, portly figure perhaps a mere half his size stepped into the hallway. “How?” he croaked.
Gathering himself, he raised his shotgun, conscious that his breath was coming in ever shorter breaths. He squeezed the trigger. His eyes widened when the man somehow managed to sway away from his shot, despite both their closeness and the relative tightness of the corridor. Blood pounding, he tried for another shot.
His gun was grabbed by the barrel and snatched away from his grasp before he had chance to fire. He slammed a fist into the man’s mouth, his knuckles came away bloody, but the creature just giggled in a high-pitched tone. The next thing he knew he was on the ground, the back of his head cracking on the tiled floor. And then he felt the man’s teeth sink into his neck and knew nothing else.
* * *
An hour later and Obie let out a loud belch as he allowed the last of the bodies to fall from his grasp, his stomach filled with blood and his mission accomplished. “Seven soldiers for my army.” A beatific smile spread across his face as he morphed back to his human face, the mask he used for passing amongst his prey. All that was he needed now was to bait the trap, and he had just the lure. “Such a pretty little girl,” he whispered.
* * *
Faith shook her head as Xander strode up beside her, their split patrol of the small town having taken all of an hour. “Nothing except horny cowboys,” she replied with a smirk. “Seen plenty of them.”
Xander didn’t crack a smile. ”Speaking of which,” Xander kicked up some dust. “I saw your buddy from before, moving from bar to bar. He was looking for someone too.”
Faith arched an eyebrow. “One-eared Obie?” she guessed.
“The same,” Xander nodded. “I really want to know what he’s up to.”
“I could go undercover,” she volunteered with a smirk. Her teasing was rewarded with a satisfying glower from her boyfriend. “Ah baby,” she pinched his cheek. “Is my Xanderkins jealous?”
“Xanderkins?” Xander stared at her, the look on his face incredulous.
“Seemed to suit the moment,” she grinned.
Xander chuckled unwillingly before shaking his head. “Let’s get inside.”
“Back up the fire escape?” Xander nodded. “Damn.”
* * *
Reno dropped his bag on his bed, dusty and stinking of a mix of booze and smoke after a night spent trawling Slumber Falls’ motley collection of bars, confused and irritated. Not only had he struck out completely looking for his target, although he’d been told by a number of burly dudes more than capable of doing the deed that if Obie turned up in their town they’d hang the bastard, he’d also become aware that the kids he’d met at the boarding house were also looking for him. But for what reason he couldn’t ascertain.
“I’ll find out soon enough.” He’d wondered how an ugly, unprepossessing man like Obie had been so successful at snatching kids at an age when they were usually so scared or disdain of less attractive people, no matter the person’s actual personality. And now, perhaps he had a solution. Maybe he had accomplices, younger, prettier people more likely to appeal to young children. He didn’t want to think he was right, but maybe the kids had lost contact with their leader and were here, waiting to meet up with him at a pre-arranged location. Maybe they would lead him to Obie.
FIC: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (5/?)
As soon as he reached his room, Reno pulled out his cell and rang his best friend. After eight rings Bobby picked up. “Hello, Six-Killer Enterprises?”
“Hey, Bobby, it’s me,” Reno replied.
“Hey, you,” his best friend’s voice warmed up. “Any news on Obie?”
“Not yet,” he replied. “It doesn’t look like he’s here yet. One thing though, I’m not the only person in town looking for him.”
”Oh?” he heard his friend shift, he guessed he was sitting up straighter. Nothing got Bobby’s attention more than the thought of missing out on cash. “Competing hunters?”
Reno shook his head. “Doubt that, I can’t see any state giving them a licence. The boy’s maybe 20, 21 at the most, the two girls not even that.”
“What then?” Bobby asked.
“Eye candy bait,” he replied, his tone heavy. God, he hoped he was wrong.
”Say what?” asked Bobby.
“In ’85, I was working a case where the perp appeared to be a man in his 70s or 80s, kidnapping and torturing young women, at least that’s what the forensics suggested. We couldn’t understand how he was doing it, they were all far younger and fitter than he was.”
“So how was he doing it?” queried Bobby.
“It turned out the perp had been inside in the late-50s, and took his younger cellmate under his wing. When they got out, they both remained friends. When the cellmate got killed in a drive-by, the perp took in his wife and son. Fast-forward twenty-five years, and the handsome, articulate son is brainwashed into luring pretty girls for the perp to play with.”
“Damn,” he heard Bobby’s shake of the head, “it’s a sick world.”
“Preaching to the choir,” he replied.
“What do you want me to do?” Bobby queried. “Have Cheyenne check them out?”
“That’s about it,” he gave his friend the names he’d managed to charm out of the boarding house’s owner.
“I’ll get right on it,” his friend promised.
* * *
“Patrolling again tonight?” Faith queried restlessly, bored shitless from a day of doing nothing but sitting on her pretty little ass. She liked the idea of a holiday as much as anybody, but this wasn’t the sort of place she’d pick for some down-time. Where were the clubs? The beaches? The casinos? Hell, the amusement parks at a push, there was nothing going on in this one-horse town. “You and Tar cover one half of the town, I cover the half?”
Her boy-friend was interrupted by a beep from Tara’s cell. The two of them watched with interest as their friend spoke into the phone for a few seconds before hanging up, her face grave. “We’ve got a problem,” her sis said. “Somebody’s run a trace, trying to find out about us. Angela’s blocked them, and she’s set about trying to trace the hacker back and find out who they are, but they’re good, tracking them’s apparently going to take time.”
”Has to be that Vincent Black. Told you there was something up with him,” Xander said with a glance at her.
Faith shrugged. Was no skin off her nose, she didn’t give a shit about the guy, just as long as he didn’t get to hurt her family. “What do ya figure he is? He can’t be Council, not dressed like that?”
“Good point,” Xander pursed his lips. “Maybe he’s a vampire who works with Obie?” Faith shook her head, she hadn’t got a vibe off him. “Okay, maybe he’s a human who works with Obie for the kicks? Or maybe he’s been hired by the family of one of Obie’s victims and thinks -.”
“Oh crap,” Faith finished Xander’s thought for him. “And he maybe thinks we’re working for Obie.”
”His aura seemed okay, but things could get complicated,” Tara commented.
“Gee, ya think?” Faith sniffed. “Talent for stating the absolutely fucking obvious, sis.”
* * *
“No, no, no,” Cameron crouched down by Luther Reigns, a fat kid with all the expected pimples of a child running headlong into puberty. “Concentrate on where your feet are, that’s where your balance is,” he ignored his daughter’s long-suffering sigh behind him. He loved his girl and knew that she was a good person at heart, but right now she was in her ‘precocious princess stage’, and her father spending time with the likes of Reigns wasn’t ‘cool’.
The boy tried the move again. “Better,” Cameron praised before looking at the rest of the class and walking to the front of the YMCA gym, a small smile on his face. He loved this, training the town’s youth, helping them to reach their potential, build the self-esteem of the less popular kids like Reigns.
He’d jumped at the chance when the sheriff, aware of his military background and his two black belts, had asked him to volunteer training self-defence to the town’s children two years ago. It was only a few hours a week, but it meant far more to him than his mundane job as an auto shop mechanic. “Everyone give me fifty press-ups and then once you’ve all finished, you can go.” He bowed his head and waited for the children to begin. “And I’m watching you, no cheating.”
Twenty minutes later and he was leaving the class, his complaining daughter in tow. “Dad, why do I have to be partnered with Luther? He smells bad and his clothes are always second-hand.”
”And is that his fault?” he demanded, looking down disapprovingly at his daughter. “His parents are poor, but they love their son. They can always manage to find the ten dollars for his training, and he tries so hard. We’ve taught you better than this, Casey. You judge people by how they treat other people, not by how they look or what they have.”
“But he’s rubbish at karate,” his daughter whined, bottom lip jutting out. “He holds me back.”
“Do you know why I put him with you?” Casey shook her head. “Because you’re one of my best students, and he’s one of the worst.” There were a couple worse, but neither of them put the effort into training that Luther did. “A teacher should learn from teaching, should encourage.”
Casey sighed. “I’ll try.”
“Of course you will,” he affectionally ruffled his daughter’s golden hair. “You wouldn’t be my girl otherwise.”
“So sweet,” a high-pitched voice floated out of the darkness behind him. “A father’s love. Napoleon was right. A picture is worth a thousand words.”
Skin crawling, he turned around to see a short, fat man stood behind him. He stepped between his daughter and the man, not liking the way the stranger was looking at her. “Glad you enjoyed the show,” he replied, his nonchalance not completely hiding the fact that not even Garland Greene had creeped him out as much as this one-eared-. Cameron’s eyes widened. “One-eared Obie,” he whispered, remembering the news reports he and Tricia had watched, clinging together, terrified that one day the bogeyman would visit their small town and take their daughter away.
“Pleased to make your acquaintance,” the man smiled.
Cameron didn’t bother with a reply. Leaping into the air, he front-heel kicked the man in the face.
Or tried to. Somehow the man managed to sway away from the blow, grab his foot, and fling him at the wall. Hitting it back-first, the impact driving the air from his body, he slid to the ground, keeping his feet through sheer force of will. “Run, Casey!” he yelled, voice hoarse with fear not for himself but for his girl. His daughter stared at him. “RUN!” he roared as he jumped at the man.
The man blocked his attempted backfist on his forearm. Heart thumping, he moved into a spinning back-kick that the man somehow managed to duck under. Adapting quickly, Cameron changed direction, catching the unsuspecting man as he straightened.
The toe of his trainer thudded against the man’s cheek, snapping his head to the side. Cameron winced at the impact. But the man seemed none the worse for it. Instead he just laughed and leapt at him, fists moving at an impossible rate.
Cameron blocked a pounding right body shot on his forearm while at the same time smashing his own palm strike to the man’s nose. The blow should have knocked the man out if not killed him. Instead Obie giggled before kicking at him.
Cameron winced as the blow smashed into his thigh. Shaking that off, he cracked an elbow into the man’s head while grabbing his wrist and yanking him towards him, his knee powering up to collide with the madman’s stomach. He gasped when the man tore his hand loose from his grip, grabbed his mid-air leg and flung him headfirst into the wall.
* * *
Obie looked down at the stunned man. He was tempted to turn the father. He could fight and would be a real asset, but doing that would mean he’d never get to experience the man’s sweet pain at his daughter’s death. Besides, that would take time, time for his prey to get away from him, and he didn’t want that. No, that would spoil all his lovely plans. Once the Slayer heard a girl had been kidnapped, she would come running into his trap. He had to have that little girl.
Turning, he charged down the street, moving at his fastest speed, leaping over fence after fence. Hearing the girl’s heartbeat pounding as she hid behind a trash can at the mouth of an alley, he flung the can away and grabbed the screaming child, backhanding her across the mouth when she attempted to kick him. “Naughty, naughty,” he scolded. “You need some discipline.”
“Ya know I’m just guessing but it seems to me the kid doesn’t wanna go with ya,” the husky voice behind him paused. “The screaming and struggling kinda gives it away.”
FIC: MC 27 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (6/?)
Obie turned to see the Slayer stood across the road, a hard look in her dark eyes, her features illuminated by a lit storefront behind her. “We both know how this is gonna end,” the brunette said, “so how about ya put the kid down, and run right onto old pointy here? It’ll save me the trouble of catching ya, and ya the pain of me kicking your flabby ass.”
Obie chortled at the Slayer’s words, spittle flying from his mouth. She was so funny, it was sweet. Would she be laughing soon, when she got his surprise? He doubted it. “You want this?” Obie looked towards the sobbing girl, his hand around the scruff of her neck. Just seconds ago she was so important to him, but now, next to the thrill of claiming his second Slayer, incidental. “You can have it!” Straightening his arm, he flung the girl across the road before charging off.
* * *
“FUCK!” Faith’s eyes widened as the demon launched the girl into the air, golden locks whipping around in the sticky night air. Her eyes widened still further at the sight of a SUV hurtling around the corner and heading towards them. “This is really, really stupid!” she reprimanded herself before dropping into a squat, and powering up, supernaturally strong legs propelling her into the air.
The car’s horn blaring in her ears, she snatched the child out of the mid-air before hitting the asphalt with a grunt, the impact tearing a hole in her jacket. “Hey, hey,” she soothed the wailing kid, “it’s okay, he’s gone.” Damn, she was crap at this earth-mother shit, where was Tar when you needed her?
Her head snapped around to the car driver, chubby, short man who’s greying beard and lined face put his age at at least fifty despite the ridiculous-looking ‘Christina Aguilera T-shirt he was wearing. “Get in the car, and go,” she said through narrowed eyes. The man’s mouth opened. “You don’t want a piece of this. Go while you still can.”
The man paled before scurrying back into the car. Faith forced a smile as she turned her attention back to the girl in her arms. “Now, let’s get ya back to your daddy,” she winked. “You’d like that, right?”
The girl nodded before speaking. “W…who a…are you?”
“Me? Just your regular ass-kicking honey, just like you’re gonna be in a year or two,” Faith replied as she started in the direction she’d trailed Obie from, thanking god that she’d sensed a near-by demonic presence and seen the ugly bastard charging through the streets and managed to catch up with him before he hurt the kid.
“Hell, with those eyes you’ll be fighting the guys off.” Faith chuckled at the kid’s disgusted look. “Not into guys yet? Give it a few years. They’re like the best thing ever, only ya can’t tell one that, they kinda get big-headed.”
“W…what’s your name?”
“I’m Faith, hon, you?” she replied distractedly as she retraced her steps at a more sedate pace. Her blood pounded with the urge to be chasing her prey, but she knew getting the kid back to her parents was the more important thing to do.
* * *
Reno gasped for air as he struggled to keep pace with the amazingly fast young woman. They’d left the boarding house an hour and a half ago, him trailing the curvy brunette rather than her two companions in large part because of the decorative appeal. At first the night’s routine had been much the same as the previous, the young girl checking out deserted or abandoned buildings for some unknown reason while also dipping her head into the town’s rowdy bars. And then suddenly she’d exploded into a charge, her legs pumping at an unimaginable speed before the girl had screeched to a halt opposite the serial-killer.
Reno’s eyes widened as he watched the tail-end of the confrontation between the beautiful brunette and the serial rapist-killer, having missed the majority of it because of the girl’s incredible sprinting. He watched as the criminal charged off but didn’t follow him, curiosity about the girl, and just how she’d managed to leap across the road to rescue the kid compelling him to stay. Besides, just because the teen wasn’t working with Obie didn’t mean she was a good guy, he couldn’t risk the blonde’s safety by just chasing after the one-eared psycho. The child had to be her priority,
* * *
Cameron groaned as he staggered to his feet, the blood trickling down his forehead and into his right eye, and the pain coursing through his battered body unimportant next to the heart-rending fact he’d failed to protect his daughter. “Got to find her,” he muttered.
”Shit, he really did a number on ya, didn’t he?”
Head pounding, he looked up to see a dark-eyed. leather-wearing brunette stood holding the hand of a blonde child. He smiled as he dazedly recognised the child. “Casey!”
In an instant his daughter was in his arms, sobbing as she babbled out a fantastic story about her companion not only chasing off the pervert who’d managed to comprehensively kick his ass but also save her from being hit by a car. The brunette stared at them for a second, a heart-breaking longing in her eyes. before turning away with a shake of her head. “Be good, Case,” the girl husked. “And don’t worry, the bad man won’t be coming back, I’ll make sure of that.”
“Wait!” he grabbed a hold of the girl’s shoulder.
“Only one man can lay his hands on me without asking and you ain’t him,” the girl’s eyes hardened to stone. “I think your daughter’s had enough of an ordeal for one night, don’t ya?”
Cameron slowly released his grip, somehow chilled by the sudden hardness in the beautiful teen’s face. “Sorry,” he raised his hands placatingly. “I’m grateful for what you did. You’ve no idea how much. But I’m also curious, was he on drugs?”
“Yeah, something like,” Faith turned to his daughter and ruffled her hair. “See ya kiddo.”
Casey stared adoringly at the leather-clad brunette as she charged off into the darkness. Cameron stared after her in confusion. Determined to have his questions answered, he took a step in the direction the teen had run. “Daddy, take me home.”
Chagrined that he’d forgotten about his daughter, he spun to face her. “Of course, Casey.” He offered her his hand. “Back home to mom.”
* * *
Reno found himself a hiding place in a darkened shop doorway across the street to watch the exchange between the brunette and the battered man. As he did, he grew more and more confused by the second. It was obvious from the blonde’s reaction that the man was her father or at the very least someone she knew, so she was safe. But the question remained just who or what the mystery brunette was?
“One way to find out,” she muttered as the brunette set off. Keeping to the shadows, he followed the girl, noting the lethal way she moved. “Girl’s a fighter,” he shook his head. He’d been so busy watching her ass, he’d completely missed the signs. Stupid.
* * *
“Yo X,” Faith stopped and looked around, eyes searching the darkness surrounding her, certain that she was being followed. When she failed to see anything, she shook her head and returned to her phone call. “Yeah, I had a run-in with Obie. No,” she shook her head, “I’m five by five though the bastard cost me a leather jacket. Had to stop him snatching a kid so I lost him, but I’m in the shop district heading down into the industrial district. Yeah, I’ll meet ya both at the old laundry in five. No,” she rolled her eyes, jeez, did X think she was ten or something? “I’ll wait.”
* * *
Xander shoved his phone back into his pocket before glancing at his companion. “Faith says she’s seen One-Eared Obie and to meet her at the closed laundry on Stonemount Road.”
”She won’t wait for us,” Tara said.
“Yeah,” he nodded. If he knew anything about his girl, it was her complete and utter lack of patience.
”We’ll have to get there fast,” Tara declared. “But what about that Vince Black?”
“We’ll worry about him if and when we need to,” Xander declared. “Let’s go.”
* * *
Tricia yawned, relaxed for the first time in what seemed ages. She loved and adored her husband and child, but she also looked forward to the couple’s twice-weekly YMCA training sessions, a rare opportunity for some relaxation. She spread out on the couch – and looked up at the sound of the front door crashing open. Rising, she saw her battered husband staggering in, half-carrying, half-dragging their sobbing daughter behind her.
Heart thumping, she raced over to her husband, staggered at how beaten up he looked. What could have done this to her dangerously capable man? “Cameron, what happened?”
“One-eared Obie’s in town,” Tricia gasped, horrified. “He beat me up,” Cameron shook his head. “I can’t believe how strong he was. And kidnapped Casey.” Tricia’s heart momentarily stopped beating. “But this girl somehow scared him off and brought Casey back.”
Tricia couldn’t stand any longer. She launched herself at her baby, grabbing her in a hug, touching her all over to reassure herself she was alright. ”What are you doing?” she demanded as she noticed her husband had walked into the lounge, unlocked and opened his gun cabinet fastened to the wall underneath the grandfather clock and began arming himself.
Her husband didn’t look away from his inspection of his weapon. “There’s a man in our town who’s hurt and killed little girls, I won’t let him hurt any more. I won’t let him hurt the girl who saved Casey.”
“You can’t,” Tricia shook her head. “Don’t do this to me and Casey.”
Cameron looked at her, his eyes tormented. “I can’t,” he shook his head. “She’s just a kid and she helped Casey. I can’t leave her to face that man alone.”
“Alright,” Tricia gave up, tears gleaming in her eyes. If he didn’t go, he wouldn’t be the man she loved. “But you come back to me and Casey, you understand?”
“Always Hummingbird,” her husband kissed her softly on the lips before running out of the door. Turning back to close the door, he smiled at her. “Don’t open to the door to anyone except me,” he said before slamming it shut.
“Come back to me, Cameron,” she repeated as she stared at the closed door, tears trickling down her face, her daughter clinging to her waist. “Don’t you dare not come back to me.”
Fic: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (7/?)
The moment he stepped out of his front door, Cameron shoved his automatic into his pants on the left, concealed under his jacket. Looking around, he licked his lips, his first burst of anger ebbing away to be replaced by his usual cool calculation. He supposed he should contact the police; warn them that One-eared Obie was in town. That was the right thing to do. He stepped back towards his door.
And remembered the terror in his daughter’s eyes, her screams.
Cameron growled. He didn’t want to do the right thing. He didn’t want to see Obie locked up, awaiting trial, getting appeal after appeal en-route to getting off on some legal technicality. He wanted the bastard dead, to be able to tell his daughter that he’d never get a chance to harm her again.
The question was how to achieve that? He thought for a moment, the soldier in him taking over. Someone like Obie, with his deformities and disfigurements stood out in public, he couldn’t be staying at a boarding-house or renting somewhere. He had to be staying somewhere deserted.
Cameron smiled grimly. He had it. “The industrial district.” There were plenty of deserted buildings there, victims of the early 80s bust and Reganeconomics in live and living colour. And that had been the direction the brunette had been heading. He set off at a run.
* * *
“You’re sure we’re heading in the right direction?”
“I’m sure, Xander,” Tara soothed. “We’ll be with Faith in no time.”
“Yeah,” her best friend shot her a strained smile. “I know, it’s just-.”
“You worry, it’s so sweet.” She giggled at Xander’s mock scowl. “Wait,” she grabbed Xander’s forearm as she saw the patrol car turn the street corner just ahead and head slowly towards them.
Xander nodded. “Let’s play it cool,” Xander wrapped an arm around her before winking. “Young lovers out for a romantic walk.”
Tara laughed. “You wish.”
“Frequently and in increasingly depravity,” her friend grinned. “Would a threesome be out of the question?”
A glow covering her cheeks, Tara looked ahead at the car creeping towards them. At that moment an over-hanging street light illuminated the car. Tara gasped. Placing her hand in the small of Xander’s back, she shoved her friend into the mouth of a near-by road, leaping in after him. “Tar-.”
Her friend’s angry protests were drowned out by the explosion that tore through the night as bullets smashed into the wall where they’d been stood, sending brick chips flying, the stench of cordite filling the air, clogging their lungs. Xander stared at her in disbelief as they cowered behind some trash cans. “How did you know?”
“When the light from the streetlight fell on them,” Tara shouted over the flying bullets, “I saw they didn’t have any auras. They’re vampires!”
Xander nodded. “Good to know.” The man pulled his shotgun out and peered over their makeshift cover. “They’re coming around for a second go, when they get in range, I’m going to give them both barrels in the fuel tank with that new armour-piercing ammo Yaz gave us. You,” Xander glanced back at her, “stay down.”
Tara nodded from her position pressed up against the wall. She wasn’t planning on going anywhere. Suddenly Xander surged to his feet, shotgun seeming to come up in slow motion. Flame erupted from the weapon’s muzzle as it bucked in Xander’s hands. Ignoring his earlier suggestion, Tara peeked over the trash cans.
The front of the car exploded in flames, its front wheels briefly lifting off the ground before coming down with a thud. The car careered drunkenly on, smashing into the opposite wall. The vampire nearest to them started to climb out of the car but Xander sent a round into his head, blowing it off. Before the other demon had chance to react the fires had engulfed him and he exploded into screaming dust.
“Yaz’s ammo came through,” Xander looked up from his shotgun and smiled at her. “And so did you. Good going you aura-reading, hot lesbian of my dreams.”
“Why do you have to ruin every moment?” Tara shook her head in amusement.
“Because,” Xander’s face sobered, “it stops me from worrying about just how many policemen have been turned and that my girl-friend is probably walking right into a trap.”
Tara’s face fell. “We better get to her and fast.”
“Yeah, you think she waited for us?”
“Not much chance of that,” Xander commented. Her friend’s face paled as he tried his phone. “No answer. Screw blending in, let’s hustle.”
* * *
Faith looked impatiently at her watch, the blood still racing through her veins after the earlier confrontation with Obie. “Damn it, X. Get your lazy ass into gear,” she muttered. Even as she spoke she knew it wasn’t fair, she was a good ten minutes nearer the industrial district, and supernaturally fast to boot. But she had to kill Obie before the bastard got his hands on another kid.
Deciding she couldn’t wait any longer, she started into the industrial district. Despite the knowledge of her supernatural powers to protect her she couldn’t help but shiver as she walked through the deserted area. Once vibrant factories, offices, and warehouses loomed over her. The now derelict buildings cast long, depressing shadows that engulfed her. The only sound she heard was her own breath and her feet padding on the dusty sidewalk. She guessed that once the place would have smelt of a dozen different products, but now it only smelt of failure.
She tensed as she saw a shadow move on the opposite side of the road, then relaxed slightly as she realised it wasn’t Obie but a police officer. “Dude’s big,” Faith breathed. The man stood maybe six four, weighing in at an all-muscle two sixty, just the sort of dude she’d have spent a few hours giving the time of his life before she got her Xander. Well, if he hadn’t been a cop.
Faith continued on her way, walking towards the cop although still on the opposite side of the road. And then stopped when something troubling occurred. Why was the pig there? She glanced at the man, she was down with the police rousting the place, looking for runaways and shit, but they always did such sweeps in gangs, she knew that from bitter experience. So where was his buds?
Faith’s eyes widened when the man drew his automatic and pointed it at her. “Shit!” she screamed in terror when the cop shot at her, the bullets smashing into the wall of the building just behind her. Seeing a door to the office block to her right, she leapt towards it, hitting it with shoulder-first.
The door imploded inwards. Faith hit the grime-covered floor on her shoulder by some stairs, but rolled up immediately. Seeing the cop crossing the road and heading towards her, she swore and charged up the stairs.
And cursed when her foot tugged on a trip-wire. “Shi-.” She barely had to look up before the microwave fell from the stairs ceiling, smashing into her head.
* * *
Obie giggled as he came out from the back of the building. His trap had worked, in an attempt to escape his childe the Slayer had charged head-long into the building and fallen foul of one of the half-a-dozen traps he had set up the previous night. It was perfect, just perfect.
Walking over to the unconscious Slayer, he stroked her hair and sighed. So pretty, the age and her badly swollen face from where the microwave had hit were a problem, but the fact she was a Slayer more than made up for that. “My pretty bird,” he giggled, “I wonder what sort of tune you’ll sing.”
Seeing his childe coming through the doorway, he lifted the Slayer’s limp body onto his shoulder. “See to her companions,” he ordered.
“What about her?” Watts leered at the unconscious Slayer.
Obie scowled, he didn’t like the way his fellow demon looked at his prize, no not at all. “You can join in if you’re quick about killing her friends,” he promised as he carried the Slayer out through the back.
* * *
Reno arrived on the scene in time to watch aghast as the cop opened fire on the beautiful brunette without warning. For a moment he was caught in a quandary. Perhaps the girl was bad after all. But the cop hadn’t shouted a warning. And the girl had saved the kid earlier.
By the time Reno had come to a decision as to what to do, the cop was exiting the grey-walled building the girl had fled into. Without her.
Which left two possibilities. Either she’d escaped or she was dead. Reno intended to find out which it was. And if she was dead there’d be hell to pay.
Starting with the big ox heading towards him. Reno stepped out of the shadows, affecting a casual, unconcerned air. “Officer,” in six strides he was directly in front of the man, “I was won-.”
A clubbing backhand sent him flying into the air, crashing into a wall some sixteen feet behind him. Eyes widening in disbelief, Reno struggled to his feet. The guy looked strong, but no way should he have been able to do that.
Gathering himself, he threw a roundhouse kick at the giant, catching the charging policeman on the side of the face. Reno gaped when instead of knocking the giant out, he just grunted before throwing an overhand right that Reno only just managed to duck under. Gathering himself, he threw a body shot into the man’s gut only to be grabbed by his shirt and lifted into the air. Reno kicked out, the tip of his cowboy boot smashing into the man’s nuts.
The cop grunted and dropped him to the sidewalk while at the same time dropping to one knee. “Finally,” Reno exulted as he rose. “I’m getting-.” His voice trailed off as the other man rose, his face horribly distorted, and his teeth somehow grown to fangs. “Screw asking questions,” Reno decided. He drew his gun only for the thing to kick the weapon out of his hand and to the ground before grabbing him around his throat, the monster’s immense power cutting off his air-supply in a second. He punched the creature in the face but got no reaction other than a grunt. Soon he saw dots in front of his eyes.
Suddenly a shot rang out and the monster’s head snapped to the side, its blood splattering him. The monster dropped him to the ground and staggered to the right. Reno barely had a second to recognise the man whose wife had directed him to the boarding house the previous night, or was it a lifetime ago, he could hardly remember before the creature turned back to them and started forward. “I shot it in the head, its skull is caved in, but it’s still moving. How do you kill these things?” his companion asked as Reno scrambled to his feet.
“Like this,” the creature exploded into dust, revealing the girl’s boyfriend stood behind it, together with the girl’s sister, a beyond crazed look on his face and a piece of wood in his hand, Reno’s eyes widened as he realised the wood was a stake, in his right hand, and a Desert Eagle in his left. That thing was a vampire? “Either of you two want to tell me where my girl-friend is? And I’m only asking nicely the once.”
Fic: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (8/10)
Obie giggled at one of his minions’ questions as he entered the police station, all four vampires rising in unison. They all sensed her power, how special she was. “She’s a Slayer,” he explained. “A hunter of our kind.”
“She’s hot,” commented one of the policemen, a lustful look in his eyes. “I wouldn’t mind-.”
“She’s not for you,” he scolded as he made his way through the office and towards the cells. “She’s mine. But I’ll share her when her companions are dead.”
* * *
Reno exchanged a wary glance with his new-found companion. He slowly raised his hands. “Look, I’m Vince Blac-.”
“He’s lying,” interrupted the pale-faced girl beside the stake-wielding youth. “That’s not his name.”
“Good to know,” the boy nodded slowly before glancing towards the local. “You?”
“Cameron Poe, your friend rescued my daughter from a pervert and I’m here to help her track him down,” the townsman dazedly explained, eyes fixed on the dust pile by the boy’s feet.
“He’s telling the truth,” commented the girl.
“Good to know,” the boy repeated before glancing back at him, eyes turning to ice. “You want to tell me your real name or do I have to beat it out of you?”
Reno’s eyes narrowed. He didn’t like being threatened, didn’t like it at all, and normally he’d be compelled to take up the challenge, but right now there were more immediate problems. “My name’s unimportant, the reason I was fighting the cop is. He was shooting at your girl-friend, she ran into that office block, he followed her, there weren’t any more shots, but she didn’t come out.”
“He’s telling the truth about that,” the girl’s eyes shot to the office block.
The boy paled but shook his head. “That doesn’t make sense, I took him down easily, Faith could manage him no problem.”
“There’s only one way to find out,” Cameron commented.
“Yeah,” the boy looked towards the shabby looking office building and then back at them. “Are you two coming?”
“She saved my daughter,” Cameron replied. Reno just nodded.
“Tara?” the boy didn’t take his eyes off them.
“They both have good auras,” the girl said, whatever the hell that meant.
“What guns are you carrying?”
“Same as you,” Reno replied.
“Heckler & Koch .USP,” replied Cameron.
“Right,” the youth nodded. “You’ll need more than that to help you if there’s more vampires in there.”
“Vampires?” Cameron exclaimed.
“You saw it explode into dust.” Reno joined Cameron in gaping as the boy pulled two shotguns, two boxes of ammo, and two stakes out of nowhere before throwing the items to them. “You do the maths. Guns won’t kill them, but injure them enough and they’ll be immobilised long enough to stake them.”
“H…how did you manage -?” Reno managed to gasp.
“I’ll explain later,” the boy’s eyes turned towards the building. “Tar, cover our rears. Cameron, take the left, Vincent or whatever the hell your name is, you’re on the right. Whatever you do or see, don’t get split up, stick with me or Tara.”
“Okay,” Reno licked his suddenly dry lips. He was usually cold as ice before a fight, but this, this was different. Vampires? But he never backed away from a situation, never knowingly allowed evil to go unopposed and he wasn’t about to start now. Savouring the reassuring weight of the shotgun in his hands, he started across the road.
* * *
Xander’s heart was thumping by the time he reached the office entrance. According to the mystery man Faith had gone into the building pursued by a vampire cop but hadn’t come out, just what had happened to her. He forced himself to concentrate and eased the door open, wincing as it collapsed under his slight push. He grimaced as he glanced down and realised that something, probably Faith if the mystery man was to believed had hit it with enough force to almost rip it from its hinges and his gentle push had been all that needed to complete the job and knock it to the dusty ground.
Xander glanced up at Tara’s urgent tone. Seeing the pale-faced witch staring over his shoulder, he followed her gaze to the stairs. His eyes widened at the broken microwave lying there. “What the-?” After a quick look left and right, Xander hurried over to the smashed machinery. “How did this happen?”
“It was a booby-trap,” he looked up at the grave voice behind him. Cameron continued. “The vampire who shot at her was just meant to lead her into this particular house to be hit by this or one of probably several booby traps set throughout the house. It’s classic military strategy.”
“Great,” Xander struggled to breathe as he realised that Obie had gotten his sick hands on his girl. “So the pervert vampire’s a whiz tactician as well.” But what had he done with Faith? Where was she?
“He’s a vampire?” muttered the mystery man. “So that’s why there’s been reports of similar killings for decades! It’s not copycats it’s all him!”
“We need to go to the police station,” Tara suddenly interrupted.
“Damn it, Tara!” Xander couldn’t help but snap as he whirled around to face the witch. “You’ve been hunting vampires for long enough, the police can’t help us even if the-.”
“Think Xander!” Xander was surprised when the usually meek witch didn’t flinch at his outburst, but instead stepped towards him, eyes flashing. “Two policemen tried to kill us while in their patrol car! Another led Faith into this trap here! He’s turned the entire force!”
Xander stared at the irate witch. Suddenly it made perfect sense. “Sorry, you’re right,” he admitted. He turned to his companions, heart hardening. “Is the nearest car dealership nearer than the boarding house? Only I need an SUV fast.”
* * *
A high pitched sound stirred Faith out of her unconsciousness. “Ooooh,” she groaned and shook her head to clear it of its fuzziness. She immediately regretted her instinctive reaction when a sharp jolt shot through her head and foul-tasting bile rose into her mouth. Vomit spewed out of her mouth, splattering the wall opposite.
And all the time the high-pitched noise continued.
Groaning slightly at the effort she opened her eyes.
It took a couple of seconds for her eyes to focus and when they did she profoundly wished they hadn’t. She was in a dark room, spread-eagled and cuffed to an iron-grilled cell door. Stood just to her left, just to the side of the landing site of her projectile vomiting, stood an insanely grinning Obie, giggling and jumping from foot. “You’re awake, awake for our very important date!”
“Great, so you’re a fucking poet and you didn’t know it,” Faith pulled at her cuffs but to no avail. “Hip hip hooray.” She was so screwed.
Her stomach curdled as she noticed that there was a table sat to her right with a pair of scissors, a blow torch, a night-stick, a hunting knife, a leather belt, and a pair of pliers on it. She didn’t wanna even guess what that shit was for.
The vampire smiled, clearly having registered her eyes flickering to the table. “Oh yes!” she couldn’t help a shudder at the look in the demon’s eyes. “My tools,” the demon stalked over to the table and began stroking the tools like he was touching a lover, “they will make you scream such lovely screams.”
“Bitch,” Faith swallowed her fear down deep, “the only time I scream is when I’m with my man and you come up short in every department.”
The demon laughed and then an instant later was at her side. “Such a pretty mouth,” Faith tried to pull away when the demon ran a cold hand down her cheek but his other hand gripping her head held her steady, “will it be pretty soon? I don’t think so.” The demon pulled away and picked up the scissors. “Could have started while you were asleep, but that’s no fun. Don’t get to see your fear, smell your sweat, hear your whimpers.” The demon stepped back in and started cutting at her purple gym shirt. “Got to get you ready to sing -.”
The demon stumbled when the back of the building shook, sending the scissors slicing across her stomach, grazing her stomach. Faith grinned despite the momentary pain. “Looks like the cavalry’s arrived.”
Fic: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (9/?)
“Did you see the jugs on -.”
“Shut up, Ron!” Virgil snapped, irritated by his deputy’s rantings. Deputy Bass had always been obsessed with sex and his turning appeared to have only increased his libido. “The boss,” after years of running the police department that word left a bitter taste in his mouth, “said he wanted her for himself. And unless you want to make an issue of it with him, I suggest you clam up!”
That did it, his fellow vampire fell silent. But only for a second. “He said she was a Slayer, what do you think a Slayer is?”
Virgil stared at his subordinate. “Jesus, Bass,” he snorted, “what’s it come to when you actually ask a sensible question?” he laughed at his deputy’s glare before sobering and shrugging. “I don’t know, I expect he,” he nodded towards the door behind which lurked the cells, “will tell us when if he wants to.”
“Yeah,” Bass nodded before looking hungrily towards the cells. “I wish she’d start screaming.”
“Yeah,” Virgil smiled. Their first meal had been a gang of teens on their way home from school, stopped for supposedly speeding. Their blood had been delicious, but their fear hadn’t been far behind in taste. “Me -.”
He was flung to the ground by the force of something slamming into the office wall behind him, the collision also shattering the window. Leaping to his feet, he joined Bass in hurrying over to the shattered window to see an SUV with a bent fender and smoking engine sitting crumpled by the building. “Get through the window and check it out!” he ordered. His deputy started to shake his head. He grabbed Bass by his collar and threw the smaller vampire through the cracked window.
His fellow demon shot him a reproachful look as he scrambled to his feet and peered through the SUV’s window. “It’s been set on automatic,” the deputy announced, “there’s a broomstick handle holding the accelerator down.”
Virgil’s brow creased in thought. “But why-.” Suddenly they were rocked by another explosion, this one at the front of the building. “A decoy!” he realised before spinning around and grabbing his shotgun off his desk. “Hurry, Bass!”
* * *
“Where do you suppose Watts and the others are?”
Deputy Mulligan shrugged, his feet up on the reception desk. “They’ll call in soon enough, Fernandez.” He looked up at the sound of a heartbeat approached, he grinned at his fellow deputy as the glass double-doors opened and a pretty honey-haired teen wearing a long leather jacket and ankle-length gypsy-style skirt stepped through it, silently agreeing that they wouldn’t be sharing this beauty with their companions. Smiling, he rose, priming himself to jump over the table. “Can we help you miss?”
The girl smiled timidly. “Y…yes.” The girl reached into her leather jacket. “You can die.”
His eyes widened when the girl produced a grenade and flung it over the counter and onto the desk. He leapt to his right and the grenade exploded. Looking over his shoulder, he saw Manny explode into screaming flames. Fangs showing, he leapt to his feet and started towards the girl. He’d show her.
His eyes widened as he realised the girl had been joined by two tough-looking men with shotguns, shotguns that were levelled squarely at him. He reached for his gun. Before he could get to his weapon, the two shotguns fired, their loads smashing into his chest and stomach with enough force to send him crashing to the ground. Body screaming in pain, he tried to get back up. Before he could move, the girl was over him, her face suddenly hard. “No body hurts my family, no body.” His mouth opened in a plea, but before he could speak, the girl slammed her stake into his heart.
* * *
Tara smiled down at the vampire as it exploded into dust. She gasped as she felt a hand grab her collar and yank her backwards just before shotgun pellets peppered the wall behind where she’d been crouched. She looked to her left to see two vamped-out vampires bursting through the door and unleashing their guns in her direction, and then up to see ‘Vincent Black’ yanking her backwards. “Thanks!” she cried.
“No problem,” the man grinned wryly. “Just tell your friend about this next time he decides to get all macho on me.”
“Deal,” Faith ducked behind the counter and joined the others in firing at the newly arrived duo, the air growing heavy with sulphur.
* * *
Xander smiled thinly as he watched crouched on the top of a small rise overlooking the back of the police station as the two officers in the office abandoned their inspection of the car he’d sent crashing into the building, another rental trashed, to rush to the fire-fight at the front. His double-bluff had worked. “I only hope the rest of my plan goes as well,” he whispered as he leapt to his feet, raced down the slope, and climbed through the shattered window.
Once in the office, he headed for the back door, Tara having found the plans on the internet, and a look through Faith’s eyes using the All-Seeing Eye confirming she was in the cells. “Knock, knock,” he muttered as he sent two barrel-loads of door shredders into the door. The moment the door exploded off its hinges and flew into the cell opposite, he stepped through.
* * *
Conscious that the vampires’ bullets were ripping apart the counter they were cowering behind, Reno turned to the witch and mimed throwing another grenade, aware that she’d never hear him over the barrage of gunfire. The witch looked at him in puzzlement. He mimed the action again. The teen’s eyes widened in understanding. After a quick nod she reached into her jacket, pulled out a grenade, and lobbed it over the desk.
After a second the room shook to the sound of the explosion, what remained of the table flying over the counter and smashing into the glass door before falling uselessly to the ground. Reno joined the others in rising.
The area beyond the desk was completely scorched, filing cabinets, photocopiers, and computers all warped by the heat of the explosion. Amazingly the two vampires were still moving, although slowly, but their companion put a quick end to that, putting a bullet in both their head and staking them.
“We should be careful,” commented Cameron. “We don’t know if-.”
“Damn girl!” Reno shouted as Tara sprinted through the still smouldering doorway and into the dimly lit corridor beyond. He looked towards his new friend. “After her?”
Cameron smiled. “The Rangers never leave a man, or in this case woman, behind.”
“I’ll take that as a yes then.”
* * *
“He comes to save you,” Obie giggled. “So gallant, so dead!”
Faith’s mouth dried as her man stepped through the smoking door, shotgun in hand. Sweat began to bead down her forehead. God, she was so scared, not for her, but for him. “She’s unhurt,” Xander’s voice was cold. “Means your death’s gonna be a little easier. Not much though.”
“Oh,” Obie picked up the hunting knife before stepping next to her and placing the blade against her throat. “I’m not the one whose going to die and it won’t be painless. Drop the gun.”
Xander glanced from her to Obie. She shook her head, wishing her boyfriend to do the smart thing and put a load through the two of them. Instead the dumbass released the shotgun, the weapon falling to the ground. The moment the weapon hit the ground, the demon’s eyes moved from her to the weapon. Faith took the opportunity and used the only weapon available to her, headbutting the demon in the side of his face.
Faith saw stars from the collision, but also heard the sound of the demon’s cheekbone breaking and the bastard screaming in pain. She also made out the sound of the demon stumbling into the table. “What are ya waiting for? Get him X!”
Her boyfriend needed no further encouragement. Eyes clearing, she watched with baited breath. Darting forward, without picking up his shotgun, the dumbass, Xander covered the distance between him and the chubby demon in a blur. The vampire snarled before throwing a wild right that Xander blocked on his shoulder. Her boyfriend winced before responding with a kick at the monster’s chest.
Faith’s heart dropped when the demon grabbed her man’s foot and pulled. Xander let out a cry as he toppled helplessly forward.
And drove a forearm into the bridge of the demon’s nose.
Obie screeched and stumbled backwards, blood pumping out of the wound. The demon threw a left hook that caught Xander in his side. Her boyfriend grunted before trying with a left of his own at the beast’s jaw. His blow connected and the demon stumbled backwards again. Before the demon had chance to recover, Xander leapt into the air and crashed into the demon in a sort of cross-body press.
Caught unprepared, the off-balance vampire fell to the ground, her boyfriend on top of him. The demon grunted before slamming a right into her man’s face, blood splattering from Xan’s forehead. Ignoring the pain, Xander rammed his forehead into the demon’s face, drew a stake and thrust it into his chest. After a second her boyfriend stumbled to his feet. “Well done, X,” Faith looked at her chains, “now get me loose, hon.”
“Oh I don’t know,” Xander leered at her. “I see this position having definite possibilities.”
Faith glared at her boyfriend, her temper not improved by the situation she found herself in. “Take the fucking cuffs off, Harris.”
Xander gulped at her tone. “Yes, boss. You’re no fun.”
“I ain’t supposed to be fun, Harris. I’m your significant other, remember?” Faith shook her head, jesus hadn’t he been paying attention?
Fic: MC 27 Jul ’00 Humans & Demons – What’s The Diff? (10/10)
“Hurry up, X!” Faith hammered on her boyfriend’s door. “We’re supposed to be at the Poe household like ten minutes ago.”
“Come in,” her boyfriend called. “Tara’s got some news.”
“Sure,” curious, Faith opened the door and walked in. It was the night after X and the others had rescued her from Obie and his band of good ol’ boys. Xan figured they had until morning for someone to call the alarm on the smouldering ruin that had once been the small town’s police station, maybe 3 – 4 hours after that before the state and federal pigs got there. They should really have left already, but X wanted to make his sales pitch to Cam and maybe Vince if they could work out who the hell he was. “What’s the 411?”
“Look at this,” Tara passed her the lap-top.
Faith’s eyes widened as she read what Angela had found out on the computer screen. “Well, shit.”
“That’s not quite how I put it, but yeah.”
Faith looked at her grinning boy-friend. “This change anything?”
“No,” Xander shook his head. “Tara says they both read alright so I’m still making the offer.”
“Five by five,” Faith shrugged. They’d both helped save her life the previous night, and if Tar said they were good to go, they were good to go. “We going?”
* * *
Tricia opened the door on the sixth knock to find a trio of teens stood outside. Her heart dropped. These were the kids her husband had told her about? But they were so young. The world was such a cruel place, they shouldn’t have the weight of what they did on their shoulders. “Please,” she paused, remembering her husband’s remonstration about inviting people in.
The young man of the trio smiled and pointed up at the blue sky. “It’s sunlight, Mrs. Poe, no need to worry.”
“Of course,” she smiled, embarrassed by her obvious faux pas. “Please, come in.”
She stepped to one side, allowing the first girl, a pretty honey-blonde, and the boy through. When the leather-clad biker beauty made to step through her doorway, she blocked the way. “Thank you for saving my Casey last night,” she said softly.
The girl looked down. “No big deal.”
“It is to me.”
The girl’s blushed. “Um, well thanks. Can I go through, ma’am?”
Tricia realised from the chestnut-haired beauty’s reaction that her two companions apart this child had never been thanked or appreciated her entire life. “I’m afraid not dear,” the girl looked confused. “Not until I’ve given you a hug.” A smile on her face, Tricia flung her arms around the east coat beauty and embraced her. “Thank you for what you did last night, Faith,” she muttered into the girl’s ear. “It is not no big deal, it’s the most selfless and brave thing anyone’s ever done for me, do you understand?”
The coal-eyed teen girl tensed initially only to relax after a second. “Yes, ma’am, thank you, ma’am.”
After another second she let the teen go, chuckling inwardly at being called ‘ma’am’, she’d be finding grey hairs next. “Why don’t you go through and join your friends? There’s someone who can’t wait to see you.”
* * *
Faith was still reeling from someone actually being grateful that their kid hadn’t been taken by a vamp, shit her mom would have probably given the demon who took her a freebie, when she was hit by a blonde blur leaping off the lounge couch, lunging at her, and grabbing her around her waist. “Hey Faith!” a high-pitched voice screamed excitedly. “Thank you for last night! Come sit with me!”
Faith glanced over her shoulder and towards Mrs. Poe stood in the doorway. She was even more nonplussed when the blonde woman smiled and nodded encouragingly. She actually wanted her daughter to hang with her? Now there was proof of bad parenting right there. Next she’d be wanting the kid to hang with the local Hell’s Angels’ chapter on the weekend. Faith shrugged inwardly. “Sure k-,” she stared at the kid, trying but failing to remember her handle. “Sorry, can’t remember your name.”
Faith felt a stab of guilt at the kid’s briefly crestfallen face. “It’s Casey.”
“Yeah,” Faith ruffled the girl’s blonde locks. “I remember, just testin’ ya.” She winked. “There’s a shi-,” Mrs. Poe coughed, “ton of kids walking around today with name-tags on who can’t remember their own names. Had to make sure you hadn’t been dropped on your head at birth.”
Casey giggled. “You’re funny. Come sit with me,” the young girl grabbed her hand and dragged her over to the couch.
“Ah, Faith’s got a little sister,” Xander cooed.
“Like two peas in a pod,” Tara grinned. “Do you have any dollies, Casey? Only Faith likes to play with dollies.”
Faith shot her two best friends a glare, but it was kinda hard to look threatening with a pre-teen hanging off your her arm. “You two,” Mrs. Poe interrupted. “Don’t be mean.”
Faith smirked at Tara and Xander’s chagrined faces. “Sorry ma’am,” Xander sheepishly apologised.
* * *
Cameron hid a smile at the exchange between the three teens, and his wife’s reaction. Demon-hunters or not, they better not be messing with his Tricia. His amusement faded when Xander turned to his companion, the bounty hunter having arrived a quarter of an hour before them. “I know your real identity,” the youth said. “Reno Raines. I know the crimes you’re accused of.” The man sat beside him tensed. “I also know you’re innocent, and have sent copies of evidence clearing you my associates have found, bank account statements etc., to the various authorities.”
The bounty hunter gaped. “H…how?”
“As I said, I have resources,” the young man’s face sobered. “And that’s why I needed to speak to you both.”
Cameron listened with increasing bemusement as the young man described a world ruled by demons, the war that was fought to overthrow it, and the creation of the Slayer. He glanced towards the beautiful brunette sat talking with his daughter. That girl, little more than a child herself, was the world’s protector? What sort of sadistic idiot created such a system?
Forcing aside his initial reaction, he turned back to the boy and listened as he talked, describing his possession by a warrior god, the great war coming, and his efforts to set up an army. “And, that’s why I’m here,” the boy paused, his nervousness increasing noticeably. “I don’t know how to put it.”
“I find being up front usually works, Xander,” he softly counselled.
“Yeah,” the boy smiled self-consciously. “I’m willing to set up a hundred and fifty million dollar trust fund for you and Reno to finance a demon-hunting operation throughout Alabama in return for your loyalty and participation at the big battle. Are you in?”
“I’m in,” Reno said immediately before looking at him. “Cameron?”
Cameron hesitated. It was a very tempting offer. He loved his family, but he also missed the action, and this sounded important, vital work. And the money could in handy. He barely made thirty thousand after tax at the moment, with this money he could make a difference to his wife and child’s lives, give them the things they deserved but he’d never been able to afford.
“Do it, Cam.” He looked towards his wife. The smile on her face was strained. “It’s a great opportunity, and I know you, my man can’t turn away from people needing their help.”
He mouthed ‘thank you’ at his wife before turning back to the expectantly waiting young man. “I’ll do it,” he announced.
The youth beamed at his agreement. “Great, Tara?” the young woman that Xander had blithely informed him was a witch passed him a collection of CDs. He stared blankly at the young man. Xander smiled. “That’s all the information from our records about demon-hunting independents in Alabama. There’s already groups of 6-10 hunters in Hoover, Tuscaloosa, Mobile, Hunstville, Birmingham, Montgomery, and Greenville. We usually advise our team leaders to contact them, and select their troops from them. There’s also information about white witches in the area, the resources we can supply you with, useful contacts, group protocols.”
“I don’t have a computer,” he admitted in embarrassment. As much as he wanted to provide for his child, it was one of the things he just couldn’t afford. Until now.
“That’s alright,” Tara smiled reassuringly at him. “Any old computer wouldn’t work any way. They’re encrypted so they can only work on computers supplied by us. Now that you’ve agreed, we’ll post one to each of you as our group joint leaders.”
“I’d like to bring two people in on this,” interrupted Reno.
“Bobby Six-Killer and Cheyenne Phillips?” Xander queried. After a second Reno nodded. “They’ve been checked out, you want them in, they’re in.”
* * *
Faith dropped her bag into the back of the car before turning around to find herself being watched by Casey, a chubby kid stood a respectful distance behind. “Hey, Case. Kinda gotta, business to take care of, ya know?”
Casey sighed. “I know.”
“Who’s the guy?” Faith smirked. “Your boyfriend?”
“No, he’s Luther,” Casey said disdainfully. “My dad says I have to be friends with him.” The boy flinched.
“Hey, come over here.” Faith nodded away from the car to the row of trees between the boarding house and the parking lot out of the boy’s earshot. After a moment, the girl followed her over. “He done something to pi-, annoy ya?”
“No,” Casey shrugged. “He’s just real poor, and he isn’t in any of the cool groups.”
Faith controlled her temper with an effort. “That’s not cool, kid.” She crouched down until she was at Casey’s eye level. “Thanks to my X, I got a shi-, ton of money. Way more than you can ever hope to see. But we’re still buds, right?” Casey nodded. “And I’m like super-powered. But we’re still buds. Ya can’t treat people bad just because they don’t have as much as you, it ain’t right. Only uncool people do that, ya dig?”
“Faith’s quite right, Casey, now why don’t you go and introduce Luther to Xander and Tara?” Faith looked up to see Mrs. Poe walking towards them.
“Yes, mom,” the girl hurried off.
Faith straightened. “Um, sorry for lecturing her, I was way out-.”
“You were exactly right, Faith. I somehow think you’ll make a great mother-,” Faith flinched, memories of her own mother hitting her. Mrs. Poe’s eyes narrowed. “You were once the child all the others looked down on, weren’t you?” Faith stayed silent, not willing to share with a near stranger. After a second, Mrs. Poe continued. “Whatever, we’ve been trying to teach that particular lesson about judging people by their actions rather than their possessions for a while, but hearing her hero say the same thing might impress her more.”
“Hero?” Faith smiled, a rare feeling of self-consciousness coming over her. “Girl’s got rocks in her head if I’m her hero.”
“Nonsense, Faith,” Mrs. Poe’s eyes hardened. “You saved her life. Of course you’re going to be her hero. And except for her father I can’t think of a better one. Now, you look after your friends, you mind me?”
Chastened, Faith nodded. “Yes, ma’am. Sorry, ma’am.”
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