The sweltering heat was overwhelming, the Detectives’ worries and frustrations melted into their clothing just as the criminals’ guilt fell in drops on the tarnished floor. The fans in the ceiling moved ever so slow, mocking, reminding the Detectives just how their lives wasted away in the ever repeating cycle that was the hunt for justice, bringing them ever so close to becoming just another lost soul in this forsaken city, just as those they hunted. Wait, what the hell is it with the Noir introduction, Don? I’m bored, child, we have sat at your desk for five consecutive days, not a single murder, disappearance or vicious bunny attack to make it all worthwhile. Thus, I am forced to give some color to our current situation and try to make it more bearable, before I am forced to take over you and slaughter every single being in this rank and tarnished place. You’re such a diva; we had a serial killer case right up to last Sunday. Yes and that one was solved by your meager skills and tools alone, which should be enough to show just how worthless it all was. Then again, to your empty pathetic lives, it must feel like some sort of accomplishment I suppose. You’re a prick, you know that? If that is the case, I don’t know why you take that tone as you and I both know how much you enjoy those. Shut up Don!!
I will admit this has been a slow week, considering that since you and I “joined” up, the weird stuff has just piled on us, but since that time a few months ago with the other pillar demons, things have been calm, maybe a bit too much. Perhaps my brothers are trying to bore me into returning home and I must say it seems to be working. If things continue this way I might even consider doing so. No you wouldn’t. No, I wouldn’t. But I do need something of interest, being locked up in your head with nothing but your memories and your disgusting imagination is getting to me. You don’t like it, you’re free to go, and my imagination isn’t disgusting; it’s refined and elegant. Child, the things that go through your head could make pornography actors blush and my brother Deuce, Pillar of Lust, just say NO. How about what’s going through my head right now? Very well, I’ll drop the subject, though I seriously doubt you’d go through with that. Wanna try me? No, not really.
“You’re doing it again, Carpenter” Collin’s voice brought me back to the present. Collin is my partner, mentor and friend (Don’t forget font of inspiration for that “refined” imagination of yours). You’re pushing it. I know. It’s hard to resist really. Besides, why are you recapping on who he is? We both know the man. Ok, maybe I need to say it again: my body, my mind, my inner monologue, and I’ll recap as much as I want or need.
“Sorry, what?” I said, making contact with his gorgeous eyes.
“You were spacing out again”
“Sorry, thinking too hard”
“Fighting your inner demons?” He smiled.
“Demon, singular. Trust me, one is enough!” Quite right. Besides, the universe couldn’t tolerate two of me.
He raised his eyebrow. “Okay, just remember I’m right here if you need to talk, maybe I can knock some sense into that demon of yours” He chuckled as he said it. Oh child, please allow him to counsel you and of course, let me take over. I’m sure we’ll have a riveting conversation. No way in any circle of hell, Don.
I smiled sweetly at him. “Thanks, I’ll keep it in mind” Not really. Sure it’s sweet and it’s one of the things I love about him, he really cares about me. But I’d be so much happier if he cared for me a little less brotherly and more I-want-to-rip-your-clothes-off-ly. But, I can’t force the issue, not without being direct enough for him to pick up on things, which considering he’s a man, and a dreamy one, he’s really likely not to get anyway. How can he be so brilliant a detective and still be clueless about us? Men. Honestly…
“Anyway, I’m heading out to eat, wanna come? It’s not like we’re doing anything” He sounded a bit bitter about it.
“Are you seriously upset that we’re not working on anything right now?” I crossed my arms and worked really hard not to smile.
He placed his hand on mine and whispered, “If I say yes, does it mean I’m messed up?” See, I am not alone in this!
“Yes, absolutely, but don’t worry…I just spent an hour arguing with myself about it. World Peace is boring” I grabbed his hand with both of mine and sighed in mock support.
“What will become of me?” He grumbled, feigning concern, “No woman will want a monster like me!”
I resisted the urge to be straight about it and instead kept on with the play, “I know, I know…but don’t worry, before you become a spinster living with twenty cats I’ll take you. It is a great sacrifice, but someone has to do it!” I scooched closer and put my arm around him. “I won’t let you be alone, even though you are a terrible person” I could smell his shampoo and honestly I took a lot of me to keep the charade going. Oh child! Yes, I know it’s creepy, shut up!
Collin cracked up first, snorting and laughing and I joined in, letting go of him and moving back to my place. The other detectives, sweating and focused on their jobs turned to see us, more than a bit of annoyance in their eyes, so we apologized.
“Thanks Carpenter, now I have a glimmer of hope” He chuckled. Very well child. Frankly, if you’d have wasted this chance I would have taken care of it for you. Don’t even want to know what that would be.
“Glimmer? I’d make sure you were on your knees thanking the world for getting this” I waved a hand over me as if I was a prize on Jeopardy, and I could see Collin’s eyes follow my hand and linger on the good spots. I couldn’t help but blush. “So,” I changed the subject and brought his attention back to my eyes. “where are you buying me lunch?”
“Sounds good. Just for the love of God, don’t just eat a salad, get some Pasta in you, ok?” I scolded him. It didn’t matter where we went, if it was Italian, French, Chinese, he always asked for salads; and he’s not vegetarian, I’ve seen him stuff himself with meat. Language, child. Not that kind of meat you sick bastard. Anyway, he always goes for that while I eat like there’s no tomorrow, because in our line of work, there might not be. That and you are a gluttonous creature. Well, there’s that too.
“We’ll see” I am not very fluent in the social “graces” of cattle, but I think that meant No. Yeah, got that.
We left HQ and went for a nice drive to Grazziano’s and ordered maybe too much food. Sadly our meal was interrupted by a dispatch call, a hit and run with fatality.
I’d like to say we lamented the loss of life, left the meal where it was and ran with the passion of doing Justice, but in reality, we stuffed our faces, put it all on our tab and ran excited to have something to do. We’re bad people. For once I share your glee over a course of events, as both the news of some death and not having to spend a minute longer listening to your banter and flirting were both very welcome. Oh shut up, Don. No need to be so prickly, we’re going off to work, I thought you wanted this. Yes, but only if it’s worth my considerable talents and time.
The victim’s car was a mess. It looked like a can crushed in a garbage compactor. The remains were so badly crushed the ME said all bones were most likely pulverized. They had finished scooping up the fleshy bits, what could be scooped up, and I was thankful that when we arrived there was only the familiar sight of a splatter of blood and nothing else. The smell on the other hand was powerful and rank, I had to stay away to avoid retching. Collin wasn’t doing any better, and we were both regretting having stuffed our faces full before running here, as the lunch was now trying to get out. Then again, how the hell could we know it would be this bad?
We didn’t know who the other driver was, in fact all cameras managed to fail at once, and no one had seen anything…in downtown, in the middle of the day, when the streets are packed. If I was paranoid (Which you are), I’d say it’s a conspiracy, but as that is not the case, despite anything Don might say, I’m guessing Weirdness is involved. What makes you so sure? You are right of course, I can sense something else here, but how did you come to that conclusion, child? I’d say I thought of the worst, but you know that wasn’t it. It’s too clean, the car’s a wreck but there aren’t any pieces, not even paint scraps from the other vehicle and besides no one saw anything, and in my experience, too clean almost always means supernatural bullshit. So, what is it, demons? No, nothing from home did this. Like you said it’s too clean…The demon murders from last time were too clean as well…Do not interrupt me child. When I said it’s too clean I did not mean it as you do, but in the spiritual sense. There is no lingering trace, no emotion and no hatred even, which is unusual in a violent death, to say the least. The victim felt nothing but surprise, before it felt its body being crushed mercilessly. I don’t think it had time to process what was happening, not enough to scream. Him, not It, Don, he was a human being, not a thing. And the ME recons death was almost instantaneous. Firstly, you are all cattle. Do you assign genders to steaks? No? Thought as much; and secondly, the little man in the room of cadavers knows nothing. Even if death takes less than a second, the body feels the pain, it just doesn’t last long, but know this for certain child, its last second on this World was spent in agony. It is a comforting thought, don’t you think? Thanks for the image, you creepy bastard. My pleasure. Missed the sarcasm, there, big guy. No, I did not, just chose to ignore it, as I am wont to do most of the time you prattle on.
So, there’s nothing you can do, right? No remnants for you to do your CSI flashback stuff. Too bad, Don, this one will have to be solved using cunning, ingenuity and detection skills (of which you possess none). Shut up! I’m one hell of a detective, pun intended, even before you came along. I’ll show you what Collin and I can accomplish. Child, the only thing you will accomplish is making a fool out of yourself and slobber all over your dear mentor. And I did not say there was nothing, I simply stated there were no remnants, but there is a feeling in the air, something the responsible party left behind. What is it, then? Sadly the presence is quite faint, thus I cannot identify it or trace it accurately from, what do you call it…ah yes, the back seat. If you would let me take over for a minute I could provide you with plenty more details. Yeah, right, like that’s gonna happen. I may be a woman, young and beautiful and smart and sexy, and I know you think that means dumb, but I’m not, Don, I know when you’re trying to con me. I’m not letting you take over with so many people around. Suit yourself child. We both know you will grant me control eventually, but it seems you need to drive your thick head through a wall a few more times before you realise it.
“What’re you thinking?” Collin asked behind me. I gave him a quizzical look. “You spaced out, that usually means you’re deep in thought”
I smiled. “I’m thinking this doesn’t add up”
“What doesn’t?” He said grinning. “The fact that there aren’t any traces of another car, or that there aren’t any witnesses, or maybe it’s the fact that all electronics went to hell just as it happened”
“My, my, Sergeant Ka’aukai, you picked up on that. Seems like you’re not just a pretty face” I gave him a sultry look.
“Aw shucks, I just try my best, ma’am” He said in his own fake southern accent and tilting an imaginary hat. I just know someday we’ll work with, and piss off, a real southerner. “But yeah, something’s way off here, even more so than usual” He said in his regular, and quite musical, tone of voice. Oh dear, you make me nauseous. Shut up.
“Usual?” I asked him playing innocent, though I’m sure I know what he means. If he did not find this strange, or even previous cases, I would write him off as an imbecile. Well, he’s not. That much is clear.
“Come on Carpenter, you and I both know our past few months have gotten weirder and weirder. From demonic cults to serial exsanguinations; but this is a new one, even for us. I’m gonna have another round questioning the witnesses” He walked away, frustration oozing from him. I hate to see him feel like this, so lost, out of his depth, just as I’d be without Don here, and I’d love to tell him everything, but how can I say “Hey, I have a demon possessing me” without sounding like a complete freak? You cannot. I know Don, it was more a rhetorical question than anything. If you so wish, I could take his frustration away, make him write everything off as “business as usual”. You can do that? But of course child, your primitive human minds are quite malleable. O…k, thanks for the offer, but I won’t let you screw with his head. As you wish.
I turned back to the car, what was left of it, took as few deep breaths and prepared to take a closer look and deal with the god-awful stench.
Whoever had done this had gone for overkill. There really wasn’t any way in any hell to look inside the car. It was crunched beyond recognition, a bit more and I’d have said the remains were flat. Everything under the hood had compacted and melded with the rest of the car, seats and trunk included. The wheels had popped off the car, as did the door and hood. I asked the techs if they’d taken them, but they said there were no traces of them when they got here. I took my sweet time checking every inch of the smashed beer can car, but there was nothing to find, not even a paint chip. Even supernatural stuff leave something behind, even if it’s a claw mark, but this time there was nothing, not a single bit.
Ok Don, you win, you’re up, but try to be subtle. Very well, now move over.
That strange feeling I hate took over, and I found myself looking at the scene from over my shoulder. I’ve grown more used to it, but it’s still disorienting, to see yourself move without your input. On the bright side, thanks to this, I know for a fact how good I look from behind and how my tight jeans accentuate my curves. I usually wear loose pants to work, but I thought it’d be a slow day and dressed to impress Collin. Are you done narrating what just happened? I need to focus and your mental voice disturbs me. Now you know how it feels. There is a difference child, my words are meaningful, yours are not. Fuck you, Don. As I am currently taking over your body, would that not mean I should…Don’t even think about it! And Shut up, Don! I heard him chuckling, his deep throbbing voice coming from my lips, which was odd.
Don extended my hands towards the wreck and closed my eyes, and maybe it’s because I’m tapped into his senses just as he taps into mine when I’m in charge (I find it so endearing how you keep up the illusion that you are and have been in control), but I could feel a bit of what he perceived. It smelled moldy and tasted like old leather and smelled of an old room no one’s entered for a long time. What the hell is that, Don? It is your limited senses trying to cope with what I perceive. I know that, but what are we feeling? An Old One. As in Cthulhu? No, child, that is an Elder One. An Old One is something quite different, and I don’t know if I should be gleeful to find a living one, or to be frightful for it. I don’t like it when you’re afraid, it makes me afraid. Then again, I don’t like it when you’re happy, it scares the crap out of me. As it should. But this is quite serious, child. An Old One is something extremely powerful, and the fact that it moved among a crowd, in the middle of the day, is quite disconcerting. Was this Old One also responsible for the lack of witnesses and video? I think so, they’re presence interferes with your technology and their nature hides them from your eyes. What do you mean, their nature? Let me explain. An Old One is a creature, a being, of that which you call Myths and Legends, such as the Greek Myths. They were once part of the world, but have since been forgotten, relegated to stories and fiction, and thus, human consciousness rejects them and your meager senses avoid them. The common saying “people see what they want to see” is quite literal when it comes to an Old One. Damn, Greek Myth? But surely you’re older than them Shirley, right? I mean, you’re a Fallen Angel, from the beginnings of the world. I do not know why you have referred to me a Shirley, but I would appreciate it if you would not do it again. You should really go and see a few movies, Don, they’ll help with that sense of humor. As for the other matter, they are older than I am. Do not believe everything that is written in a book. Yes, my brothers, my father and I are quite old, but we are not the beginning. Before us there were others, replaced and forgotten, just as, I suppose, we shall be someday. Well, maybe not, I am quite resilient and resourceful, I am sure I will find a way to persist.
O…k. Then what kind of myth monster is this? Hard to tell child, there are many Myths and many creatures, and a fair few capable of this. Thankfully, I have the trail on it, and can find it, but we will have to ditch your partner, unless you wish for him to accompany…No, I don’t want him near the weirdness. Besides, you said it yourself, humans can’t deal with them. Very wise, child, you are learning. I’m not just a pretty face, you know? I have never said you were, in fact I find you quite revolting. Gee…thanks…My pleasure. You missed up on the sarcasm again. Again, I did not. It is in fact a pleasure.
“So, Carpenter, any luck?” Collin said from behind me, and from my vantage point I could see he was checking me out. There’s still some hope for us then. One day you will have to explain to me how some people doing that offends you and he doesn’t. It’s simple, most men are pigs and he’s not. There is also the small detail of your infatuation with him. Well yeah, there’s that too.
“Sorry, Collin, nothing. Whoever did this went for overkill, left nothing behind. I think we’ve just hit a wall. Did you get anything from the witnesses?” Don said in my voice, which to be honest was way more disturbing than having him speak with his voice through my lips. It is quite disconcerting for me as well, child, but needs must as Abaddon drives. That is so not how the saying goes. No, it is how it should go, and it works best for our case.
“Nothing, zip, nada. They either gave me glazed looks, or each told me a different thing, from truck, to van, to funeral hearse. No license plates, no descriptions, nothing. And of course, their cellphones went out with the rest of the electronics in the area. I hate to say it, but I’m stumped” He admitted and looked defeated.
“Don’t worry Collin, we’ll find something. How about you go back to HQ and see if the techs can get a move on. I’ll take another crack at the witnesses” Don told him, and I’m surprised you didn’t take a shot at him, Don. Too easy, and unlike you, he is aware of his limitations. No need to kick a dog when it’s down.
“Oh?” He raised an eyebrow. “What makes you so sure you’ll have better luck?”
“Have you seen me? I’ll just flash my best winning smile and a bit of cleavage and I’m sure a few of those witnesses will loosen their tongues” Ok, don’t say that ever again. Really? I thought my impression was quite good. It was and it makes me self-conscious, so don’t do it again.
Collin laughed loudly. “Yeah, I’m sure that’ll work. Call you if I know something”
“Same here” Collin left. Ok, Don, can I have my body back? If you insist. And at once I was sucked back in to the driver’s seat. Much better.
So, what now? For appearance’s sake, waste a few minutes with the witnesses and then head north. How much north? I am not sure, so maybe it is best if you take a vehicle. Ok, Collin drove, but there are a bunch of uniforms here, and I’m sure, seeing that they’re all men, I’ll have no problem getting one from them. You have a very low opinion of your coworkers. I’ve been a cop for a while now Don, and with most men I’ve come to expect “chauvinist pig” unless proven contrary, and I’ve been mostly right. Even if this is the 21st century, some still think this is a man’s game, and some, even worse, still think of women as pieces of meat. I’m good, but I’m not a telepath, so I can’t know who’s evolved enough, so I work with the information I have. Guilty until proven innocent, then? I must say I like that approach. And just like that, with you saying that, I want to reconsider my approach. But it’ll have to be for another time.
As Don suggested, I spent a few minutes going through the witnesses and their statements matched what Collin said, ranging from useless to completely worthless and everything in between. As the crowd thinned I moved over to the nearest pair of uniforms and, with my best frustrated look, and having unbuttoned my shirt enough, asked them to give me their car to pursue a lead. They quickly accepted and to their credit, they kept their eyes on mine while I was talking to them, so there may be some hope for Male-kind. That is not a word. It should be. You do realise, they are ogling you since the moment you took their keys and walked away from them, right? Oh, sure, but at least they didn’t do it in front of me, so they’re off the “Pig” list, and hey, I’d be somewhat disappointed if they didn’t even take a glance. I will never understand you. Ditto.
We drove north, into Makiki, and up Ko’olau mountain, Volcano, child, whatever. As I drove following Don’s vague directions, and the bits and scraps missing from the victim’s car littered along the road like breadcrumbs, I recognized the road. We were heading for Pu’u Ualaka’a Park. I’ve been there more times than I can count, as a kid, a teenager and even these past few years. It’s a beautiful place, and it’s always been somewhat relaxing for me, but I never expected to come here for work. It feels wrong somehow.
Stop! No need to yell, Don! Leave the vehicle behind and move on foot through the plant life. You mean up the mountain? Are you insane? It is not steep, and we are close, no need for your hysterics. When this is over, I’ll show you hysterics.
I climbed the mountain side for what felt was an hour but most likely were just a few minutes, all the while having my heart hammering against my chest, one part physical strain and the rest anxiety and a whole lot of fear. I pulled myself up onto a small ledge and stared at the entrance of a cave. Fantastic, I’ll bet it’ll be dark, slippery and it’ll give whatever’s inside the home advantage. I could give you the ability to see in the dark, child. Thanks, but no thanks, we tried that once and it just gave me a migraine and made my eyes hurt for weeks, and from the way you were giggling back then, you knew it would happen, didn’t ya? Yes, but where was the fun in telling you? Ugh! One of these days Alice! You’ll send me to the moon? Hey, you got the reference! Of course, my brother Veil wrote it…well, he possessed the one who did. I so didn’t need to know that. But back to your concern. Yes, child, the cavern will be dark, and musty, and probably labyrinthine, and I predict we will be fleeing from the Old One, fearing for our, well, your life. Thanks for pep-talk. Wasn’t intended as that. Good, because it wasn’t.
I took out my flashlight from my jacket’s inner pocket. Today so wasn’t the day to be doing this. I expected a slow day, so I wore skin tight jeans, a thin-fabric long sleeved shirt and my brown leather jacket to finish the Charlie’s Angels look. I was supposed to spend the day cooking myself under the crappy HQ fans, not climb the side of the fucking mountain (Volcano).
I pulled my gun out too, resting it on the hand grabbing the flashlight, keeping the light in front of me at all times and moving slowly into the cave, careful of my footing. I’d seen enough horror movies about caves to know the ground could give away at any moment. You do realize I can see perfectly in the dark and thus you do not need to worry? Leave me alone, Don! I’ll deal with this in my own way, okay? Bad enough we’re in a dark cave in the middle of nowhere, but we’re also hunting something older than you and we have no idea what it is, so just let me do things my own way for once, okay? Very well, no need to raise your tone.
As I moved deeper into the cave, the musty smell in the air slowly turned into the all-too-familiar smell of decay and rotten corpses. We were on the right track, and I was not happy about it. I followed the stench and came up to a large alcove, dimly lit by torches on the walls. Skeletons, both clean and fleshy and oozing, littered the walls of the circular room. A large bed lay near the end, but it was empty. I moved forward, inch by inch, scanning the room top to bottom, ready for anything, but there was nothing.
As I reached the center of the room I heard a click-like noise coming from the entrance and I turned in time to see a boulder fall and block the way out. Trap? Oh yes. As I turned back to face the room, I saw rocks slide on each side of the room, forming new doorways and from the left side threshold came the sound of stomping feet and the smell of wet and dirty farm animals. I moved over to the right hand entryway and stood at the threshold, gun at the ready, waiting for the Old One to finally make an appearance.
It stalked into the room, a giant, and I mean massive, humanlike creature, over twenty feet tall, with furry hooved legs, a scarred human-like, pale torso and…oh crap. Is that what I think it is, Don? If you are thinking Minotaur, you would be correct, child. Uhm…ehh…what do we do? I suggest you run! I did.
I dashed through the threshold into a long polished stone corridor, the walls higher than I could see, and kept sprinting. Behind me I heard the distinct stomps of the Minotaur as it gained speed. I turned left and right, and left again, and more and more I felt myself trapped in a Greek Myth. Wait a second, labyrinth, running away…You son of a bitch, Don! You knew what it was, didn’t ya? I had an inkling as to its true nature, yes. Why didn’t you say so! Would it have made a difference? Yes! I would have run for my life! Aren’t you doing that now? I mean before even entering the cave, you bastard! Oh dear, escape, flee and leave the people of the island at its mercy? Are you not supposed to teach me how to be a hero? I so hate you right now, Don…I really do. Perfect, use that and fuel your legs and run away little girl, run away!
I didn’t need him to tell me that, I was already doing so, as fast and as hard as I could, but I had the nagging feeling I’d be running straight into the ‘taur just because I was lost in a damn maze. Don! Find me an exit! I already am doing that, child. Take the next right, by the way. I did as he said and ran through another hallway just like all the others before it.
The stones burst behind me and it took Don’s quick warnings to avoid getting hit by them, as the Minotaur grew tired of running its maze and was now running through it, walls and all. It was faster than me and I felt its thunderous hooves coming closer. I heard its bellow and through Don I knew it would probably gather speed, lower its head and ram me, and not in the fun way. Child, I will take care of your senses in front of you. What?! I’ll be your eyes on the front, you turn your head back and shoot the damn thing! Oh, right!
I had the strange sensation of being in front of two screens, one showing the front and the other showing what was behind me. I moved in line with the forward screen, with a bit of course correction from Don, while I took aim at the rampaging monstrosity behind us. I saw it start to lower its head and I knew I had to take the shots. I shot him three times in what have become my favorite targets on supernatural stuff, two in the eyes and one in between. I expected it to bellow harder and stagger or even better, fall and die the fuck off, but no, the bullets bounced of his freaking eyes to the floor, like in that really bad Superman movie. Oh…that didn’t work as I had expected. Same here! Now what! Now child, we face it! Are you insane?! Up for debate, but I have an idea, but I need control! Take it and get us out of here!
I felt myself sliding in the backseat and Don took over and as soon as he did, my body moved faster, lighter, stronger, as Don pushed me to the brink of the humanly possible. It had to hurt, and the fact Don hasn’t spoken since he took over means it’s hurting a lot, I just don’t feel it because I’m backseat driving, but I knew when we got out, I’d feel the brunt of it. But as long as we escaped, I was fine with that.
Don took a left, then a right and then a few more but we couldn’t shake the rampaging Minotaur, who insisted on cheating and just go through the walls. I hope you have a better idea, Don! Close…to…exit. I lifted myself from my perch over my own shoulder and saw the exit not far, but from here I could also see we wouldn’t make it. To get there we’d have to take a bunch of lefts and rights and a whole lot of running while the Minotaur would only smash through the walls and get there first. Damn it all…no choice but to face it! You said that before, why didn’t you do it first? I am not mad, child…I know better than to face an Old One…I would have preferred to leave its gauntlet. Not much hope of that.
Don stopped dead in his tracks and waited and soon enough the Minotaur smashed into the corridor, turning to glower and snarl at us. It took a few tentative steps, and as it saw us standing still, decided to keep wit the plan and charge us.
As it drew closer, steam blowing out its ringed nose like a freight train, my skin split open, magma pouring from the veins and enveloping and encasing me as Don manifested himself in the mortal world, using me as anchor. My young and beautiful body gave way to a monstrously male red-scaled one, with great black horns on its head and black bat-like wings sprouting from its back. Over the ensemble was just a gold-trimmed black kilt open on the sides.
The Minotaur had already lowered its head to skewer us and did not see the transformation. Don braced himself and caught the creature by its horns, slowing it as it pushed us back until the Minotaur’s momentum was gone. Don lifted the creature’s head and shock showed on its face as it saw what had stopped him. Its eyes darted here and there as it looked for hot sexy thing he’d been pursuing and slowly it dawned on him that we were the same person, technically speaking. It struggled to break free and Don let it, the strength it used expecting a struggle made it take a few steps back as it lost its balance and Don didn’t let the opportunity slide, kicking it in the chest with all his considerable strength, sending the creature down the hallway into the opposite wall, cracking it but not shattering it, which pretty much meant it was stronger than Don. Which isn’t surprising at all, we were quite fortunate it had not reached its top speed.
“You…Fallen…Unworthy of Labyrinth…Not Hero!” The Minotaur said in a rumbling voice. To be honest it was hard to understand what it said, it bellowed in between words.
“You, Old One, get out of my way! Your time has passed, this is my world now, and your kind has no place in it!” Don replied, in his own deep bass voice, each word echoing in the cave. I don’t know how he does it, but he always finds the way to get perfect acoustics and echo. Helps a lot when intimidating.
“Can-not leave…must find…hero…complete quest. End story!” I bellowed as it stood up and came thumping down the hallway, speaking so slow it seemed to hurt and maybe it did, Don did kick him straight in the chest. What the hell is it talking about Don? Oh dear, we seem to be dealing with a really old Old One, very old-fashioned. Somehow, our dear bull-man here is trapped inside his kind’s myth, the labyrinth, and it cannot move on until it has been replayed and the quest is complete. You’re kidding, right? I wish it were so. This happens from time to time with these old fellows, their stories are so well known they become trapped in them. I suppose his assault on the vehicle this day was just its way of summoning a hero, as evidenced by the breadcrumbs. There are no longer princesses or pure women in this world (Fuck you, Don!), thus there must be another reason to challenge the Minotaur’s Labyrinth. It took you for its hero, but now because of our unique situation, it has rendered you invalid.
“Sorry to disappoint you, Minotaur, but I am the hero, believe it or not, and I would very much like to kill you now!” Don shouted.
“You are Fallen…not hero…not powerful enough…only hero can vanquish creature…”
“We shall see!” Don bellowed and at once the ground shook and bits of the cavern ceiling fell to the ground, crushing the labyrinth walls. As the shaking got worse, the cavern started heating up and the ‘taur’s eyes filled with terror. “Yes, Minotaur! You can sense it!”
“You…would not dare…destroy this land…to vanquish me…you…bluff” It spoke calmly though his voice shook a bit.
“Bluff?!” Don shouted, outraged. “I do not bluff, I do not threat, I do not warn! I am Abaddon, and I will make this Volcano erupt as it has never done before and take this speck of land with it! You have dared to insult The Pillar of Pride and will pay the price!”
“Very…well…I…concede…” The Minotaur walked unevenly towards us. As it got close, it reached up and grasped its horn. With a shriek of pain, the creature ripped its own horn and offered the bloody thing to Don, who simply reached out and took it. The Minotaur spread its arms wide and closed its eyes, pain on its face.
Don didn’t even hesitate and plunged the makeshift stake into the creature’s chest and both it and its horn dissolved into thin air and a bright light enveloped us.
As we opened our eyes we found ourselves on the ledge we came from, which was impossible to say the least, but then again, weirder things have happened. My body reverted to its normal appearance as Don gave me back control. I expected to feel a lot of pain, but didn’t. Thanks Don. No need to thank me, I think I might have shorted out your nerves. They will recover in time and then you will not be so thankful.
“Nice bluff, Don” I said out loud. Thank you. I knew Don had been bluffing. Ko’olau hasn’t erupted in like a few thousand years, but the Minotaur didn’t know it, though it did seem to know it was a volcano. That was my doing. As I spoke I used my very considerable power to create explosions beneath and above us, making the whole cavern shake and heat up. I knew my words and taunts would not suffice, and if it did not believe me…well, let’s not get into that, shall we? Okay, but did you have to be so dramatic with the boasting? Too much? I have always felt exaggeration works best when trying to convince people. It worked, so let’s not question it much. By the way, nice trick with the taking over my forward view, why haven’t we tried that before? There was a chance, a very real one, your brain would not take it and burn up like a crisp. Okay…let’s not do that again, then…
My phone rang just then, and I almost jumped out of my skin, something I’ve already done today more times than I feel comfortable. Besides, with meeting the Minotaur I expected it to short out. “Carpenter here” I said.
“Carpenter, it’s Collin, get over here, you’ll want to see this!” He said, and he sounded odd.
What do you suppose it is, Don? Oh I have a feeling. Nothing to worry.
I drove back to HQ and found Collin with the techs and they were staring at some monitors.
“Are you guys watching porn again?” I said in mock scolding.
They all laughed but waved me over. “We were trying to filter through the cameras near the accident site, and at first nothing, but just before Sergeant Ka’aukai called you, we got images to show, and well, it’s unbelievable” I didn’t like the sound of that.
They rewound the tape and I watched, nervous for what would show. There were four videos, each with the same timestamps, right around the time of the accident. The first showed our victim’s car being hit by four vans, one from each direction. The second showed it being hit by two trucks. The third showed the car being smashed by the same car over and over again. Finally the last one, bizarrely, showed it being rammed by five funeral hearses. The videos matched each of the witnesses’ strange descriptions. I fought hard to avoid laughing, while the techs and Collin stared dumbstruck at the monitors, and they assured me the tapes hadn’t been tampered with, or at least if they had been, the one who’d done it was too good. We’d send the tapes over to experts for verification, just in case.
You knew about this too, didn’t you Don? As I said, I had a feeling. But how? There is no simple answer child, so I will just say it was magic and the way of the universe to balance itself out.
In the end we never caught the culprit, and the case has been archived as a weird one, those cases we all talk about when we get together, and that slowly become part of police legend. I feel for the victim, but I can live with people not knowing there was a Minotaur in Hawaii, way away from Greece, killing people in hopes for a Hero to take up its quest. It sounds strange just thinking about it.
After leaving HQ I drove back to Pu’u Ualaka’a Park and just stood there admiring the view, and as usual, a feeling of calm washed over me and drove the frustration and fear from me.
Don, how come a Minotaur found its way to Hawaii? And was it the Minotaur? I do not know, the Old Ones tend to show up all over the world, in places you least expect them to be. As for this Minotaur, perhaps it was, or mayhap it was just another bull-man from one of the many in existence across the totality of Myths, and simply got stuck in this particular role.
You know, I’ve seen vampires, Judaeo-Christian demons, werewolves, witches and now a Minotaur, but I’ve, we’ve, never encountered spirits from my home, my people. Why aren’t there any Hawaiian spirits around? Are they gone? No child, they are here, it is just the spirits of this land do not like to show themselves and prefer to work in silence. But they are here, right now, and it is from them you get your calm and I get scowls and glares. Seems they do not approve of me. Yeah, that sounds like my people.
Should we head back to your home, or shall I spend another evening in suffering as you throw yourself into the arms of the first men you find, in what you call your “healthy sex life”. Shut up, Don! You make me sound like a slut. You are. I’m not! Let’s just go home, Ashley must be worried. Oh dear, then instead I will have to suffer through another evening of you ignoring the signs that your “sister” cares less about you in the sisterly way and more in the she-wants-to-rip-your-clothes-off-ly way. She does not. We’re not blood related, but we’re sisters dammit. Yes, keep saying that to yourself.
Shut up, Don!
That’s it, wafer and holy water drink for you. Try it at your own peril child. What do you mean? Nothing, nothing at all. You’re bluffing. Care to take that chance?
Thought as much!
By the way…on the way back to your hovel, you should pass by a chemist and purchase some industrial grade painkillers, you will need them soon enough.
I would appreciate the concern a bit more if you didn’t giggle as you said it.
I don’t giggle child, I chuckle.