This is a majestic waste of time, child, my partner told me, or did he think it at me? It’s hard to tell when we share my body. I’m not sure if our talks are actual conversations or if he projects into my mind or my soul.
A bit of all really. At least you no longer speak out loud when he discuss. You’re right, the looks people gave me were very embarrassing.
And no, Don, this isn’t a waste of time. People have died and it’s my duty as a HPD Detective to be investigate this crime and it’s your duty as budding hero to join me and help out as well, or have you forgotten…I have forgotten nothing, child, but your methods, in fact the methods you lesser beings use are so pathetic it baffles me how you manage to apprehend anyone. Besides, you and I both know this isn’t your typical crime. We should be using my methods. They will give us greater insight. If only you allowed me to take over, we could be hunting down those responsible instead of wasting time rummaging around this residence looking for scraps on the floor like rats. Then again, it does fit your kind, doesn’t it? Could you let me finish a thought? I get headaches when you barge in like that, you know that Don…When you have a worthwhile thought, I will be sure to let you finish it, child.
Child, child, child. You always call me that. I have a name you know? Well, at least you’ve stopped calling me sow. You gave that crap up fairly quickly after I gulped down a gallon of holy water and a pound of wafers, didn’t you? Yes, you certainly proved your determination. You even managed to convince me you were not some mewling animal, instead you are more akin to a mewling child. You thought it’d be easy, that being a girl I’d be easy, just lie down and take it? Well, tough luck, Lillian Carpenter is anything but easy. I have seen through your memory, and have been with you for over a year now, you are plenty easy when you want to…well, except with him and myself, then you’re so complicated you’d baffle Home’s puzzlers and schemers.
“Lillian, you ok?” Said a voice behind me and I didn’t even have to turn to know who it was. Collin Ka’aukai, Sergeant Collin Ka’aukai, my mentor, my partner, my friend, speak of the devil, sort to speak. The other man you make things complicated for. Your crush, the object of your carnal desires. Shut up, Don! Back to where I was. Collin was around 5’ 10’’, jaw droppingly handsome, his skin a mouth-watering dark, his green eyes held enough intensity and care to make you faint. I turned to face him and saw that as usual his suit was impeccable, not a single crease, stain or even hair stuck to it, which was amazing considering he had shoulder length straight jet black hair, now tied in a tight ponytail. I could never pull that off, the prim suit, or the suit for that matter, or the hair, I’d have stray hairs pointing every which way, so I leave my own wavy black below-shoulder level hair free of such constraints. Besides, I look better with hair down.
I don’t do suits, but you do men in them. Shut up! Like I was saying, I can’t make suits work, so I keep to my comfortable, i.e., unattractive, no, comfortable, as in not skin tight. Skin-tight’s not good for chasing and it’s usually reserved for special occasions, but back to the point. You always make me go off on a tangent Don. I wear the comfy jeans, a blouse and some very stylish calf high boots, hidden under the jeans. I usually finished the look with my light brown leather jacket, but it was noon, in June, in Makiki Heights. It was scorching hot, so the jacket staid in the trunk of the car, where it might not cook under the sun. What? You thought that because of I was a local, because of my very hot, and smooth I assure you, dark skin, that I’d be insensitive to the heat? Well, you’re wrong, hot is hot is hot, and leather jackets under the sun make it hotter.
“Me? Sure, why?” I answered.
“You spaced out for a moment, blank stare and everything. If you were blond I’d have taken it as natural but since that isn’t the case…” He told me, the hints of laughter on the corners of his lips.
I gave him a wry smile, and was about to answer when another voice said “She’s a girl, her brain probably overheated”
I turned to the newcomer, a patrol officer, and old fat and wrinkly patrol officer, Peterson, who stood there, his body straining the limits of the uniform’s fabric, with a smug smile.
“You’re probably right” I said, smiling and flashing teeth. “It’s just my brain’s too big, so there’s little air flow in here” I tapped my temple. “You’re lucky, you have a lot of empty space there. Your brain must be very cool” It took him a few seconds, but he got it, and glared and curled his hands into fists. I’ve dealt with enough macho crap in my life to know how to defend myself, besides, in this line of work, if you can’t take it and dish it back like the rest of the guys, they don’t respect you.
Collin burst out laughing and soon the rest of the room followed. Peterson took a few angry, slow fe-fi-fo-fum steps towards me. His 6’ height and width made him seem huge compared to my 5’ 4’’ and sexy body, but I held my ground. He was about to lean in my face when Collin’s hand shot up and grabbed the man’s shoulder. Peterson regarded my partner with a full-on scowl, in stark contrast with Collin’s calm placid face. “Best leave it at that Pete, you don’t want me telling Alma about the three burritos, two burgers and the Chimichanga you had for breakfast today, now would you?” He told him, the left of his mouth twitching as he struggled to not smile.
Peterson’s already paste skin paled a few shades more. No wonder he was such a macho-idiot at work, he was terrified of the wife. Ha. Go Girl Power! “You wouldn’t” he told Collin.
My partner’s gaze turned cold and harsh and said “Try me”. Peterson left the room, not turning his back to my partner and rubbing his shoulder. The room went quiet again, all the techs and officers still as statues.
I don’t much care for that. I waved my hand at myself, like a fan, placing my other hand on my chest, turning my head to the side I an overly dramatic fashion. “Oh my, Sargeant, you’ll make a girl blush with daring rescues like that” I told him in my strongest and fakest southern accent, which was too strong and very fake.
His cool demeanor disappeared and he went back to laughing his ass off, and soon the rest of the room followed suit. Collin was that kind of man, everyone in the room looked to him to see what they should do. “Alright, alright, next time I’ll let you deal alone, ok?” He conceded, and I graciously nodded. Next time you should let me handle it…show him what real horror is. Thanks for the offer, but no thanks. Besides, since when are you so eager to defend my honor? It had nothing to do with honor child, it’s about inspiring fear, something I’m quite good at. Ohhh, I get it, you’re jealous. What?! Yeah, you’re jealous of how he flinched and ran from Collin. Oh Don, that’s so cute.
My inner partner didn’t answer, merely grunted in disapproval. Must you always do that? Do what? That, that inner monologue, must you describe everything that happens, verbatim, as soon as it happens? I am tapped into your senses child, I do not need the, how do you call it, play-by-play. Shut up, my mind, my body, I’ll inner-monologue as much as I want. Don’t like it, you’re free to leave. God knows I didn’t want you here in the first place. Getting kidnapped by a Satanist cult and have a Demon implanted in me wasn’t on my to-do list last year, still isn’t. Well child, if things had happened as they should have, you would now be at the Ebony Gates, on your way to a Hell best suited for your soul, while I rained destruction upon this island. Sadly for you and I both, that did not happen.
“Lillian, you’re doing it again” Collin’s voice snapped me back to reality.
“Sorry, way too much on my mind” I replied, straining to smile. And straining more to think. Why are you so prickly today? Are you still mad I called The Illu…Do not mention That One’s name, don’t even think it. Ok, ok, look, I’m sorry I called him, trust me, it wasn’t a fun experience. Though I have to say, how he locked you up in some dark corner of my soul with a single gesture was very funny.
Once again, my body’s roommate merely grumbled. A few weeks ago I’d followed up a clue to an abandoned warehouse, and found it to be a nest of vampires, of weird vampires hopped up on infernal energy. At least Don said they were. They were too much (I disagree), so I made the call to The Illu…to Him, to come and help. We saved the people the vampires had, but then I had to follow Him on a round-the-world trip, ending in Cardiff fighting something straight out of a Lovecraft novel. Not an experience I’d like to repeat.
I shook my head. “So, what do we have?”
Collin raised an eyebrow. “I hoped you’d tell me, you’re standing beside the body and you got here first. Are you sure you’re ok? Are you up to this?”
I waved his concerns away. “Yeah, yeah, just want to get this over with and catch these guys, this is the fourth now”
“Guys? So, now we have multiple suspects?”
“Yeah, call it woman’s intuition” Because calling Demon’s counsel would be too much, right? Exactly, see, you’re catching on.
“That only works in TV shows. Walk me through this” He nodded towards the body.
“Ok. Male. Thirty-ish. Name, Kama Kane, I kid you not. Social Worker, so not many friends and a lot of enemies. Engaged, but bride, like the others, is missing. Catholic, like all the others”
“Multiple lacerations, death by exsanguination at first glance but I can bet my badge on his insides being cut up like the rest, the smell is a dead giveaway, pardon the pun”
“Why do you think there’s more than one?”
“Too much damage, fiancé taken and all in the middle of the day. One guy alone couldn’t kill the guy this violently and get the girl, not without breaking a lamp at least. Look at the place, the only thing out of it is the dead body. It’s too, well, clean”
Collin nodded, his expression grim. “Damn, I agree. The L.T. isn’t going to like this. Any witnesses?”
“Yeah, neighbour, saw the door open and found Citizen Kane here. Sorry, couldn’t resist” We exchanged smiles. Something about the job, you either learn to find humor in any situation or it drives you crazy. Maybe when you can laugh standing over a cut up body, you’re already crazy, but no one’s sure, at least I’m not, and I’m pretty much first in line on the cuckoo train, I speak to myself and I hear voices, one of them a Demon’s. I’m pretty insane as it is. No, you are enlightened to the truths of the world. Granted, you are still human, which is a terrible condition, but you are better off than the rest. At least you are not cattle. Gee, thanks for the comforting thought Don. My pleasure. Ok, you’re officially being too nice, what’s up? Let me out and mayhap I can still pick up remnants left by the murderers, if your “techs” haven’t completely sanitized the room. Sorry, no can do, we’ve been over this, crime scene is my turf, my sandbox and you don’t get to play in it. “We interviewed everyone on the floor and uniforms are still doing that with the upper and lower ones, still nothing. Like the rest, no one heard or saw anything”
“Crap. We can only hope then, that the techs and ME pull out something we can use. I just don’t get how clean they can be, it’s the middle of the fucking day!” He exclaimed, and heads turned around to see him. “Sorry” He said to no one in particular.
“Detectives, over here” Called a tech.
“What is it?” Collin asked, almost eager.
The tech showed us a small pile of yellowish dust that stunk to high heaven. “What is that?” asked Collin, covering from the smell.
“Sulfur” I said, see, those Chem classes in high-school weren’t for nothing.
“Normally I’d agree Detective, but it doesn’t smell quite right, less rotten eggs, more rotten meat” The tech said, his nose bunched up, his voice muffled by the cloth facemask.
“It’s yellow and stinks, sound like sulfur to me, man” I told him.
“Maybe you’re right, but we’ll know exactly what it is when we get it to the lab”
“Anything else?” Collin asked, almost disappointed. Sulfur wasn’t a lot to go on. Not for you, but it is enough for me. Why? What do you know?
Don remained silent. Prick.
“As a matter of fact, Detective, yes. The little mounds of sulfur are wet, and we found a pool of clear liquid near it”
“What is it?” We asked in unison.
“Well, from the fainted techs out there, I’d say Ether, but again, we’ll know more once we get to the lab, maybe even find out why it’s mixed with the sulfur” We nodded to the tech and let him get on with his job, maybe they’d find something else.
“Not much we can do here, is it? Let’s go to the station and start going through the friends and family, but we both know it’s a colossal waste of time”
I grimly nodded. “Yeah, let’s go”
We drove in silence to Criminal Investigation Division, CID, headquarters. Collin was driving. It was my car, but I often let him drive, I’m sure it boosted his ego. Men. I just laid back and closed my eyes.
Don, what’s on your mind? More than you know child, more than you will ever know. About the case. Ah, yes, that is not sulfur, not the mortal one. That is Brimstone, from Home, you can tell by the smell of rotten flesh. It almost makes me nostalgic. So, we’re dealing with demons? I didn’t know demons left sulfur in their wake, at least not outside Supernatural. We don’t, well, most of us at least. There is one Pillar however, whose legionnaires, as their master, are too lazy to pick up after themselves. This was a servant of Roth, the Pillar of Sloth. Okay…so we’re dealing with major demon crap…that’s great. You make assumptions child, they might be servants of a Pillar, but that does not make them “major demon crap”, all demons belong to a Pillar.
Ok then, so Sloth it is…but wait a second, there wasn’t any sulfur on the other 3 crime scenes. You are right, but on the first the body was beyond brutalized, it could not be called human anymore, or even corpse. On the second, the victim had been fair, so his face was torn apart. The third victim had all his ornaments and jewelry removed. What does that tell you, child? Oh crap…Wrath, Envy and Greed, right? And this was Sloth…does that mean there’ll be 3 more murders before this stops, if it ever does? Not 3, only 2 more. Lust and Gluttony. The Pillar of Pride will not move its legionnaires to the task. Why not? And what do they want, why take the women? Is it not obvious child? They take the women for sacrifice; maybe they think they are pure, they know not what I do now, that purity is no longer valued. All men, mortal, or demon, you’re all pigs. You can go and screw around all you want, but the moment a girl does it, she’s a whore, no longer pure. Fuck you, fuck the lot of you. Rituals are a matter of tradition and precision, and conform to the ideals of the times of their crafting. In such days a woman remained pure until marriage, or conquest, whereupon she was ravaged, either by the husband or the invading horde. The ones who performed the ritual that drove me into your vessel, did not consider this fact and your impurity (Fuck you) may be the reason the ritual did not go as planned and we are where we are now. Now, moving on, 6 Pillars, 6 completely opposite and cross Demon Lords working in concert can only mean one thing. There is only one possible outcome for this ritual. What is it? Will they summon others here, or destroy stuff? Just what are they after? Nothing so dramatic child, they will put down the females and with the powers of the six Pillars invoked on their blood, they will scry and locate the missing Pillar, the Pillar of Pride. How do you know that one’s missing? Oh crap, please say it isn’t so…Yes child, you finally remembered, I am the Pillar. I must say it took you long enough, I did mention it when we first met and once more when we forged our contract. Yeah sorry, but it was a hard night for me, the details are still woozy. Very well, the Throne must be behind this. Who’s the throne? My brother, Luke, he’s the big boss, so to speak. Luke? Skywalker? Oh right, it’s that thing you do, change their names, just like I call you Don. You call me by that name to mock and anger me child, but yes, I use monikers to speak of them. Names carry power, and their known names even more so. It is the reason they are now employing such overt methods to find me. If I had called them by their names at some point they’d have felt my presence, and I do so value my privacy. Meaning you don’t want to be found. Precisely!
“Lillian, we’re here” Collin’s voice brought me back from my Mind-meld with Don.
If there is something TV shows have learned to portray, it’s division HQs. Low hanging, slow moving ceiling fans littered the room, and below each fan there were a couple of desk, front to front, sideways to each other or back to back. Detectives sat at those desks, one for each partner. The floor was tiled, but the color was faded, too many had walked them. Stains on the walls, floors and even furniture were so old they seemed to be part of them, like an inlay of grime. Each desk had its computer, the age of the typewriter long gone, though some Detectives were so old they’d probably used a feather and ink pots at some point. The windows were all open and all within the room were hopeful of a stray breeze to abate the strangling heat, something the ceilings hadn’t accomplished.
There is one thing TV shows haven’t learned to portray though. The energy, the tension in the air. Detectives sat huddled over the phones, calling witnesses, informants, trading deals and favors for the one clue, that hint to put some bastard behind bars. People walked in and out, uniforms, Detectives, higher ups, witnesses, victims and culprits, and each left a bit of their energy in here. Even on the best of days, such as when a big case closes, when cheers and woots and yaays are flying, this isn’t a happy place. It’s a place of duty, of honor, of responsibilities.
I sat at my desk and brought up the file on Kane, going through his records and started to punch in numbers on the phone, calling all who may have known him, going through the motions, asking if he had enemies, only to hear everyone loved the victim, that he was a friend to everyone, except maybe some guy or girl, probably an ex. It was a waste of time, but it had to be done, even if only to report to those people the world had lost another man who everyone loved and who had no enemies. It felt even worse to me, knowing demons were doing this, knowing the victims were not chosen for money or any material reason, their deaths being collateral, because demons lived in another century and thought an engaged or even single woman had never had sex. Two of the victims had been family, one brother and one father; the other two had been fiancés. But still, the job had to be done.
Collin came back around 30 minutes later, scowling. The L.T. hadn’t liked my multiple assailants theory, but had found no fault on it. Didn’t know if I should feel proud or sad. Probably both to be sure.
I passed numbers to my partner and we spent the rest of the day calling, wasting sunlight.
After what seemed like hours, the phone rang. “Carpenter” I said mechanically.
“Detective Carter, Kahananui here. Can you and your partner come down? The lab came up with some results” He said. Kahananui was the ME. It wasn’t unusual for him to handle the crime lab’s results.
I told Collin and we headed to the good doctor’s office, which was pretty much what you expect, a desk, a slab and rows of CCs, corpse cabinets, at least that’s what I remember, I don’t like morgues and places like that, they creep me out, even more so since Don’s been with me. I pick up stuff I really don’t want to.
“Doctor” Collins said to the small portly ME. “What do you have for us?”
The man opened a folder and spoke, without looking at us directly. I think he’s a bit rude. “The compound you found in the apartment is certainly Sulfur, though its composition is slightly different, something I’ve never seen in my life” Of course he wouldn’t, none of us had seen it before, only Don had, and it was back “home”.
“And the other thing?”
“Ether, but like the sulfur, slightly different. The base component is certainly Ethyl Ether, but it has several other agents mixed in. From the composition and after checking some medical and pharmaceutical journals I can tell you this is Eth3r” He said it Eth-three-r. “A new Elasam Corp. product, they’re trying to bring back Ether as an anesthetic” He told us, finally lifting his head from the folder and regarding us with cool eyes.
“Please tell me it can’t be bought in any drugstore” I told him, pleading.
He smiled, and just before he answered I saw his eyes dart to my breasts. Men. Pigs in every situation, even life and death. Admit it child, you are not wholly angry, you are quite proud of your effect on him. I am not, it’s completely unprofessional. Child, do not argue about Pride with me. Ok, ok, I admit it, but it’s still inappropriate.
“As it happens, you’re in luck, it’s not on the market yet. Elasam is local, and just before they began shipping their product, the FDA reconsidered their decision and forbade any commerce of Eth3r, citing test irregularities, so all the gallons and gallons of the stuff are pretty much stockpiled in warehouses down at the Harbor”
“Stockpiled? Shouldn’t they be destroyed?” I asked.
“Yes, but I suspect they were keeping them while they found other business opportunity with them, and the FDA never explicitly ordered their destruction, and you all know how corporations are with ‘explicitly’ and loopholes”
“So, the Harbor it is, thanks Doc” Collins told him turning for the door. I followed.
“Don’t you want to know about the body?”
Collin turned around but his eyes were on me. “I see the body, it looks awesome” He grinned confidently, I just chuckled. And how is that not appropriate? Honestly child, be more honest. Shut up Don! “As for the dead one doc, we all know it’s not gonna tell us anything new. If the last three haven’t this one won’t either”
“Sadly, you are right, good evening Detectives” Evening, damn, the day had come and gone.
“We need a warrant for those warehouses” Collin said as we returned to our desks. “If we’re lucky, there won’t be any red-tape, we’ll catch the bad guys, and rescue the hostages”
I snorted. “Yeah, and the Honolulu Sharks will make it to the big leagues and win the World Series” I replied.
“Hey, it could happen. Well, except the Sharks bit” He said, eyes glinting with humor.
Child, while he toils away with the bureaucracy, we should return to the scene of the crime. Didn’t you say the techs would wipe the area clean of any energy? Yes, but the night brings spirits and demons to bear, especially in places of violence, destruction and sin. There might be something there we can trace and, how do you say it, pinpoint the location of this sextet of legionnaires.
I stopped in my track and talked to Collin’s back and…yes child, be honest, his tight ass. Shut up! “Collin, I’m going back to the crime scene while you handle the red tape” My voice came out just slightly squeaky, all of it Don’s fault.
“Oh?” He said, raising an eyebrow. He didn’t look convinced. “Why? I know you hate red-tape but this is a bit extreme”
“There might be something we missed, something the techs missed, that maybe will lead us to the right Warehouse, ‘cause let’s face it, the odds are Elasam has a bunch of those”
He sighed in resignation. “True. Ok, Carpenter, go, but you owe me”
“Sure, Ka’aukai, this weekend I’ll let you buy me dinner and if you play your cards right, I’ll even let you do all those nasty things in your head” I flashed him a wicked smile. We’d played this game before and he’s yet to take me up on the offer. To your dismay. Yep.
I walked to the car, and went back to the apartment.
The techs did a thorough job. There was no physical evidence here, so much for that excuse. Relinquish your control to me, child. Okay, okay, here we go.
No sooner had I thought that, that my perception changed, from first person, through my eyes, to a third person point of view of the area, as if I was floating over my own shoulder, like an out of body experience. I hate this feeling of not being in control over my own body, but difficult times call for difficult measures.
“Yes, it was here, the sloth demon. I can sense it” Well, I can’t so care to elaborate?
“Very well, I shall open your pathetic human perceptions to my own”
The room suddenly changed color, taking a purplish hue and though the body had been collected and taken to the morgue, it was suddenly there again, bleeding, shaking, sobbing and trying to scream but found itself without air, trying to beg but not speaking. It was a horrible sight. “It’s not that bad actually, on the contrary, it’s quite comforting. Reminds me of home” You are one creepy bastard Don. “You should remember I am in control of the body now. If you insist on calling me Don, I assure you will wake up and find yourself having had an orgy with toddlers” You wouldn’t dare! And I refuse to call you by your true name, I won’t give you more power, so do you worst. “Heh, as usual you defy me. Very well, I will concede this time, we have more pressing issues”
Don, in me, wait, that didn’t come out right. Don, using my body, yeah, using my body, lifted my hands in the air, and slowly images formed around us. The body lifted from the floor to an upright position, the blood seeping back into it, the cuts closing, the pain replaced by fear. Behind him stood…something. It was vaguely shaped like a man, but his features were wrong, one arm longer than the other, one leg wider, the eyes too far apart and of different sizes. It looked like a badly crafted clay model, or maybe a comic book character, you know, those with fists larger than their heads. It surged through the wall, stabbing the would-be-corpse in the side, twisting the knife this way and that, mincing his insides. Kane’s eyes widened in shock and pain and looked down, panicking at the sight and feel of the knife. He tried to run but he was weak, he moved too slowly. Not leaving anything to chance, the clay-man slammed one of his oversized fists into the man’s back, the crackle of broken bones heard clearly in the air. Kane slumped to the floor, his back broken, paralyzed yet still conscious, still alive, still capable of feeling what I knew would come for him before he died. The demon knelt over him, straddling his back, and started, slowly, lazily cutting him up.
Enough! This doesn’t help us Don. “On the contrary, this is highly educational” He said, without a hint of remorse or even satisfaction. He meant it. “Indeed, but let us look further back, there are still more fragments of the past, phantoms, left here”
Another wave of my hands and everything rewound again, Kane stepping off the floor once more, the demon stepping back into the wall. Suddenly I could almost see the Play symbol over me as the scene resumed. Kane and his fiancé were having coffee when the demon burst through the wall behind them. Kane looked in horror at the deformed creature and was paralyzed, unable to do anything as his fiancé was grabbed, a damp cloth brought over her mouth until she fainted. The demon hauled the woman with him back into the wall. Kane stepped up and ran for the phone, surely calling the police, but his progress was interrupted by other deformed creatures, though their deformities were different and in some cases lesser, who just stood between him and the phone, or any means of escape. The leered and sneered, and forced him back, right to the point where the other one leapt from the wall to do to him what I’d already witnessed.
“Now, forwards” And it’s like he pressed the fast forward button, the scene moved hyper fast, and sadly I couldn’t close my eyes and not see the murder, which in fast motion was as horrible as normal or even slow motion. “This is what we are after” He said, starting normal playback once again, and I saw what he meant. As the sloth demon finished the job, the others vanished. It then moved lazily over to the wall and phased through it, shedding sulfur and dropping the dripping wet cloth that hung from his belt, which explained the evidence we found. He picked it up in a hurry and made his escape, but there was something he didn’t see, and I wonder if he could have even seen it at all. There was a fine red line, like a string, connecting the dead body to him, and even as the scene move forwards once more and the body was removed (and I had the chance to study how great I look in my work outfit), the line stayed behind, coming from the floor, where the body had lay. What is that? “Hatred, grudge, the last things the man felt for his attacker, they tie them together. Bind them. If the man would turn into a spectre, which he should have by now, then he’d haunt the demon forever, which is not a great concern for my kind, as we consume apparitions such as those. They are a very good meal for us” Okay, so didn’t want to know that. Can you trace the string? “Of course, in fact I will make you see it even if you are not in control” And with that our positions shifted once more, a jarring experience to say the least. But why did you change? My task is done, and as long as I am inside you, they cannot sense our approach. We should be on our way. Hell yeah, remind me to buy you a drink.
I got in the car and followed the red string which ran in a straight line, going through buildings and people. Sadly roads didn’t work like that, so I lost sight of the string once or twice but got back on track following it, and after minutes of swerving left and right, doing stuff on the road that would get a civilian’s permit revoked, I found myself closing in on the Harbor.
Honolulu Harbor is huge and it’s the stopping point for both cargo ships and passenger cruises. I flashed my badge at the front gate and made my way inside, following the red string until we came up to a row of warehouses.
As I got out of the car my phone rang. “Carpenter” I called.
“Lillian, where are you, I’m here at the scene” Collin said.
“Hey, I’m at the docks, facing the warehouses, and I know where the culprits are” I replied.
“How did you…”
“One of them showed up, I saw him enter the scene, come out again and drive away. I tailed him back here” I interjected. It wasn’t a complete lie, just a slight omission of facts.
“Okay, lucky break. The warrants came through, I’m on my way there with a SWAT team, don’t do anything st…” A high pitched scream pierced the silence. It came from the warehouse the string pointed to. “What was that? Lillian don’t…”
“Sorry, gotta go, hurry up!” I hung up on him. I’d pay for that later, but someone needed my help now.
I crossed the space between the car and the warehouse in record time and leaned over to watch through the grimy windows. Why do all warehouses have dirty windows? Never got that.
Inside, a huge circle had be carved out of the floor and within it a demon was strapping the new girl down, the others lay in a corner, dirty and beaten half to death. The sloth demon came up and bled her, cutting her with the knife and dropping the blood gently on the ground. The circle erupted in crimson lights with yellowish green lightning striking the warehouse, yet not harming anyone.
The circle died down once again and the sloth demon shook his head, and pretty much ripped the girl from the bed, tearing the restraints and in doing that braking bones and cutting the woman’s skin.
Ok that was enough. I ran back, took a deep breath and sprinted forward as fast as I could and jumped through the window.
Before my face met the ground I managed to get my hands under me, cutting myself with glass shards but I rolled and got on my feet, bringing my gun forward and aiming for the sloth demon. My hands shook and my ears rang with each of the three shots, one in each eye and one in-between them. I’m a very good shot, I’ve got a couple of marksmanship awards, though Collin, as usual is much better, but he’s humble about it and has taught me a lot, which makes me like him that much more. Is this really the time to be fantasizing about your partner? Perhaps not.
I scanned the room but found none of the other demons. Behind you! I whirled around, lifting my leg in a roundhouse kick and caught another of the demons straight in the jaw, sending him sprawling to the ground, but noticed I was surrounded, and worst of all, they were armed, with very big guns. To your right, 100 feet, steel boxes, run! I followed Don’s instructions to the letter. An advantage to having him tapped into my senses is he usually picked up stuff faster than I did.
I ran as fast as I could and launched myself over the boxes taking cover. The demons were taken by surprise by my kicking their mate, but it didn’t last long, just enough for me to sprint.
Their shots bounced off the crates, though a few came through some wooden ones to my side. I returned fire over my head, reloading when I ran out. I stood still, listening to the shots.
In movies, bad guys fire continuously for minutes, but in real life, automatic rifles fired for like three seconds tops before they were empty, which meant these guys had to be taking turns firing and reloading to keep up that stream of fire.
I kept my ears focused on the telltale click of and empty magazine and came out of cover, picking the first target and shooting for center of mass. The shots rang out, one, two and three, but they bounced off harmlessly from the demon. He was pulling a couple more magazines for his AK-47 (why do all criminals carry AKs, where do they get them from?) from his back. I took cover once more as the hail of bullets resumed, returning fire overhead to stop them from circling around me, and once more stepped out when it stopped. To my luck they hadn’t moved from where they stood, so I took three more shots at my previous target, this time, just like with the sloth demon, 2 in the eyes and 1 in the forehead, dropping the creature. Thanks to Don’s CSI vision back at the apartment, I now knew how they looked, and knew how to place the shots in their eyes, even if one of them was at cheek level. I could hear Don’s whistle in my head, he was impressed. Told you I was strong.
Through my own shots and the adrenaline, I didn’t realize they hadn’t fired back. Instead one of them spoke, his voice distorted and the words not making sense. I’m pretty sure he wasn’t speaking in English. You are right, it is the old tongue. He says come out with your hands on your head or he’ll kill one of the females. I think this should be the time where you let me save the day. Sadly you’re right, if I step out, they’ll kill me and with you in the driver’s seat at least we have a shot.
Once again that odd feeling overtook me as Don took charge.
The demon kidnapper spoke once more, but stopped in his tracks the moment Don took over and his energy poured out of us. From our entwined senses I could feel their uncertainty, their fear, and how much Don enjoyed it. We stepped out of cover.
“Who are you?” Spoke the demon, holding a girl in his arms, gun to his head.
Don gave them a cruel and wicked smile, before pushing more of his power at them, hitting them like a tidal wave, making them take a few steps back. “Can you not tell? Are you so low on the Infernal food chain you do not recognize your better?” He asked with contempt in his voice, though I knew he was almost giddy. When Don takes over and we’re fighting something, I make him promise not to cut loose, not hurt people more than he should, but we both knew those restrictions didn’t apply here. These were demons. As long as no harm came to the hostages, he knew he could pretty much do anything he wanted. But as always, for Don, fear and recognition came first. No wonder he’s the leader of all pride demons.
The demons exchanged looks of confusion and then fear, as they recognized the speaker. “My lord, you are here” he said, relieved. “How? How have you come to this place?”
Please, Don, just please, I’ll do anything. Just let me tell them, ok? Let me tell them how you barged into some other demon’s ritual, got placed in me, couldn’t fight me off and let me con you using your own pride against you into forging a contract with me that states you have to become, not the destroyer of the world but its savior, in essence, a hero. Please, please, please, pretty please with a cherry on top? You detestable child, I thought you said you had no recollection of the evening. I am a lady, Don, and as such it is my prerogative to have selective memory. Very selective memory.
Don grumbled in anger and the demons flinched, but one of them composed himself to say the wrong thing. “My Lord, you must come with us. The Throne, The Prophet of False Truths demands your presence in his court”
“DEMANDS?!” Don snapped. “You dare order me?!” He added, his rage bubbling over, and my skin followed.
I hate this part.
My skin tore in several places, deep cuts from where honest to god magma flowed, but instead of dropping to the ground it snaked its way around me, encasing me in it, transforming my body into Don’s. My body, the one I work so hard to keep as hot, sexy, feminine and yet strong and athletic as it is, became much more manly, my waist expanding, my legs becoming less delicious and more monstrous, ending in black hooves with fiery veins. My arms became brawny, ending in hands with wicked black claws. My long head of jet black hair became waist long and made of fiery tendrils that moved on their own. My own height increased by a few feet. As the rest of my body shifted, my skin became tough, leathery, scaly and of a deep red. My blue eyes became the color of topaz, a strong yellow.
From my forehead sprouted long straight black marble horns, and from my back sprung similarly colored bat-like wings with a span greater than any bird in this world. My clothes disappeared as well, leaving only a black and gold kilt open on the sides, making it seem less of a skirt and more of a very long loincloth.
Don’s body looked like the guy from Legend, that old weird Tom Cruise movie, just instead of that monster it was his scary older brother.
“My Lord, we meant no offense, we merely carry The Lord of Twisted Revelation’s message”
“I have heard your message, and have one of my own.” He swept his hand and the sloth demon and the other one I shot exploded, leaving only ash as trace. The demon holding the woman let go of her and she crawled back to the others in the corner, all huddled and scared.
“My Lord!” The demon exclaimed, seeing his partners being disposed of, his knees shaking and finally buckling from fear.
“My message is as follows” He swept his hand again and another demon burst into pieces, his skin peppered with miniature nuclear bomb mushrooms, leaving only the first demon standing as the sole witness and courier. “You will tell my brothers no-one makes demands of Abaddon the Destroyer, He Who Leaves Nothing in His Wake. This land is mine, and the cattle under my protection, and should they dare, once again, to invade my territory, I will shatter the Hells!” The other demon simply shook in his place, quivering. “Now, be gone!” and with one final wave of his hand he made the demon vanish.
Don stepped forwards to the edge of the circle and slammed his fist through the concrete floor, disrupting it. I’d learned that with him. Circles usually needed to be perfect, so you need to break them to get rid of the magic in them. In this case it was carved, etched, in the floor, so he had to crack the floor itself.
He stepped in and picked up the woman the “slothy” had ripped from the restraints. She was bleeding out and had a few bones sticking out of the skin. Don regarded her with cold eyes and placed his finger on her forehead and suddenly her skin mended, her bones set in place once again and she opened her eyes. And then she screamed and rand away from him, to the group of huddled women. What did you do? Destruction is merely a means to an end, what you saw was exactly that. The end.
Don stepped closer to the group and waved his hands over them and the women went from crying and weeping wrecks to blank-stared wrecks.
He gave a grunt of satisfaction before giving me back my body, letting it return to my beautifully normal appearance. There, they have no memories of what transpired here. They will never know me. But they will know you as their savior.
About half an hour passed and then, just like the movies, the other cops burst into the warehouse, guns ready. I gave them all a bored look that meant “too little, too late”.
The victims were given attention and taken to the nearest hospital and they were out and starting to rebuild their lives soon enough; while I was stuck at my desk filling paperwork, my ass saved from certain suspension (you just don’t go barging into a hostage situation by yourself) by my partner and the hostage’s testimony. Don showed me what the women remembered now after his editing and so my story matched theirs.
“Awesome work today Lillian” Collin said, smiling proudly, and once again I saw the problem in our relationship. He might make comments on my beauty and give me looks sometimes, but to him I was still his rookie, and for some reason that made him look at me more like a little sister than someone to date. It’s my curse.
“Yeap, I’m that good” I said, laughing, and he joined.
“Ka’Ona’s? Beer?” He proposed.
I graciously accepted.