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Brothers & Sisters – Chapter Two: Introductions All Around

Brothers & Sisters
A Tale of The Weirdo
By Brett N. Lashuay

Chapter Two: Introductions All Around

 

 

March 27th, 2003

4:16 p.m.

 

            Tommy was able to sit up on the hospital bed, although he looked to be in some discomfort. His hands and upper arms were bandaged and although he had taken pains, the back of his neck had a large bandage taped across it. There was the yellow amber stain of antibiotic soaking through the white cloth of the gauze that they had wrapped around him. His face was uncut though, and for that they were glad.

 

            Jack entered the room first, followed by The Weirdo and Max came after them. Tommy watched them through the haze of the morphine they were feeding him through a drip. It was only because of this drip that he was able to sit on his rump at all.

 

            “Hi.” Tommy said. “You’ve come to take me home?”

 

            “We have indeed.” The Weirdo said.


 

            “Where are the girls?” Tommy asked.

 

            “Sheila thought it would be funny if they showed up in really tight nurses costumes they claimed they already own.” The Weirdo arched an eyebrow playfully. “I’m not going to ask why they already have them, what you do in your own time is your business. As they went looking for them we slipped out and told Marla to explain it.”

 

            “We figure she’s encouraging them to wait till you get home. Hospital stays are quite expensive and there’s no need to extend them any further than necessary.” Jack said.

 

            Tommy began to get up and looked pained as pressed down on the bed. He hadn’t wanted to say anything, but he’d burned his hands fairly badly by grabbing a metal post. He’d seen The Weirdo do it and thought they were cool enough to touch, he’d been wrong. The skin had burned quite badly, and now they hurt. That is to say the pain was excruciating, or at least really bad. It seared its way past the morphine, and directly into his brain. The Weirdo saw him wince, if only for the moment.

 

            He wasn’t going to say anything though, because he wanted to go home. If he admitted he was in pain, they might not let him go home. They would insist that he needed to be observed, and if he fought they would strap him down to the bed. It occurred to him for a moment that The Weirdo probably wouldn’t let them do that, but his mind was fuzzy. He hurt, and he wanted to go home, because Judy and Sheila were at home and he wanted to be lost in their embrace.

 

            He wanted to lie down on their big bed and feel one of them on each side of him. He could lie down, put his face into a deep feather pillow and scream. They would lay their hands on whatever part of him they could touch with out causing pain and sooth him. They would run their fingers through his hair and whisper into his ear to just let it all out, that it was over now. He would scream, and scream and scream until it was all gone. He would let it all out until there was no more left, and then he would be clean. After he was clean, they would make love. He so wanted to be clean, more than anything, he wanted to get clean.

 

            “You’ve brought me clothes no doubt.” Tommy said.

 

            “Clothes?” The Weirdo said. “Were we supposed to bring clothes? You had clothes when you came here.”

 

            Tommy looked at The Weirdo’s open, and implacable face for a moment. It was hard for him to form a stare, because the morphine was drawing him in small gentle circles. Jack looked at The Weirdo quizzically and Max kept looking out the door, scouting for cute nurses. This left Tommy with a disadvantage, great mind reader that he was. The Weirdo could dodge any mind reading trick, and could hide his thoughts like a hermit. If one tried to read his mind when he didn’t want to read it, they might as well stare a blank page and guess what words would be written on a completely different piece of paper a hundred years from now.

 

            “You may not have noticed self healing boy, but I was quite badly cut up. My arms, legs, buttock and back had fairly long shards of glass imbedded in them.”

 

            “Oh that.” The Weirdo said. “I thought you were trying to impersonate Godzilla. I meant to tell you that the bits were supposed to go down your back in a line, not all over the place like that.”

 

            “The practical upshot is that my clothes were more or less shredded. When, after hours of standing and working I was finally brought to the hospital, they cut my clothing off my body in order to remove the shards. They do that, cut you’re clothes off. Even if they hadn’t cut my clothing away from my body I could hardly wear it in the condition it was in.”

 

            “And you think this means I should have remembered to bring you clothing?”

 

            “It might have occurred to you.”

 

            “Well the thing is, I was expecting Judy and Sheila to come with us see? I figured if their plans were put into fruition, you wouldn’t need your clothes.”

 

            “What about when we were done?”

 

            “Well I figured by Tuesday I’d be able to find the time to swing by.”

 

            “You think he can hold out for more than twenty minuets?” Jack asked.

 

            “Oh thank you very much.” Tommy said.

 

            “I try to help.” Jack said with a wink.

 

            Tommy’s eyes moved to Max, who he noticed for the first time, had his hand behind his back. It was then that Tommy realized, even through the fog, he was being put at ease. They were really worried, it was just Jack and The Weirdo were better at hiding it. Max was really nervous, his eyes moved up and down the corridor as the other two men joked with him. He hadn’t been scanning for chicks, he was checking for danger.

 

            “You’re missing the ribbings of one of your betters Max.” Tommy said.

 

            “What?” Max said, looking into the room. “Oh yeah, ha, ha, Tommy’s a minute man. Can we go now please?”

 

            The way The Weirdo produced the bag was like a conjurers trick. He reached under his coat and pulled a small gym bag from the folds of the fabric. He tossed the bag to Tommy, and watched long enough for him to catch it.

 

            “Out you two.” The Weirdo said, “Give him some dignity.”

 

            Jack and Max left the room, though The Weirdo stayed. He walked towards the side of the room and drew the privacy curtain down between them. He sat down on a chair on one side while giving Tommy cover to change.

 

            “If you were going to do that, why tell them to leave the room?”

 

            “Something’s happening.” The Weirdo said. “Jack and I have already discussed it and frankly Max isn’t old enough for this kind of talk yet.”

 

            Tommy froze, the bag in his hands. He looked at The Weirdo’s out line and realized that The Weirdo had managed to work it out that he was the one facing the window and not himself. He had been sitting in the bed nearest the window and now the white water proof and subsequently blood proof curtain was between them. The Weirdo didn’t do things on accident, he was being careful about something. It had an amazing affect on Tommy; all of this information had driven his mind into effectiveness. The morphine might be affecting his muscles, or pain centers, but his mind now was snapped into shape.

 

            “The Blue Weasel, those Glam girls, the Night Creeper have been killed today.”

 

            “What?”

 

            “The Blue Weasel was in that building that blew up today.”

 

            “Shit.”

 

            “And as soon as the place went boom, somebody took a run at us.”

 

            “Fuck.”

 

            “They knew we were going to be there, then they knew that you had for some reason picked the other side of the building even though the Saturday crowd of girls doesn’t go by that side, they go by the side that would have sent us through the window.”

 

            “I didn’t want to sit on that side was all.” Tommy said.

 

            “Sure.” The Weirdo said. “And if I hadn’t have thought there was something to it, I could have insisted on a better girl watching spot.”

 

            “They knew we’d be there, and they knew we didn’t die.”

 

            “So their information has a time laps.”

 

            “Or they haven’t got Grandma and we have.”

 

            “Some one is going to try to kill us again.”

 

            “How many costumes are dead?”

 

            “There’s just the Kitty, Amber Frost, the Marshal, and two groups left. I think Jorgaes said that it was the Jumpers and the Street men.”

 

            “Are those street gangs?”

 

            “The last two?”

 

            “Yeah.”

 

            “Converted street gangs I think. Both groups have suffered some pretty major thinnings in their ranks though.”

 

            “And what does Jorgaes have to do with this?”

 

            “He’s been running the costumed heroes in this town.” He said, “We worked out so well he expanded and made it a franchise.”

 

            “How did we not hear about this?”

 

            “They didn’t kill them while in costume, they got them at home.”

 

            Tommy threw the curtain aside and felt a strange feeling, almost like a high concentration of light particles focused into a tight beam. It would be untrue to say he could see the laser; laser sights in the better class of weapons are only visible with a specially calibrated scope. He knew The Weirdo was being targeted though and fell to the ground, sweeping The Weirdo’s legs out form under him. The Weirdo fell to the ground and looked at Tommy with some annoyance.

 

            “Some one’s aiming in.” Tommy said.

 

            The Weirdo nodded and looked at the window.

 

            “Can we get out?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            Tommy squinted at the window and then made almost a following motion with his head to the door. If the shooter was about where he thought the shooter was they would be killed on their way to the door.

 

            “I don’t think so.” Tommy said. “I think they’d be able to see us from any angel on our way to the door.”

 

            The Weirdo looked thoughtfully at the window.

 

            “We could draw their fire, try and figure out where they were and shoot our way out of the room.”

 

            The Weirdo looked at him.

 

            “I’ll admit it’s risky,” Tommy said. “Do you have a better solution?”

 

            The Weirdo didn’t say anything, simply slid to the side of the window, keeping his back to the wall. He looked at Tommy as his fingers gripped the two strings that held the horizontal blinds in place. He tugged on them once and the blinds fell in a sudden sharp motion. The room was plunged into relative darkness, and The Weirdo stood up.

 

            “C’mon.” He said walking to the door.

 

            Tommy looked at the closed blinds and then got up and followed The Weirdo out. They exited the room and closed the door carefully, The Weirdo waved to one of the doctors to come close.

 

            “Yes?” The doctor asked.

 

            “Some one is aiming a high power rifle at this room’s window.” The Weirdo said. “Until some one calls to give an all clear, don’t let any one go in there and open the window.”

 

            “Are you serious?” The man asked.

 

            “I’m afraid so my dear chappy.” The Weirdo said. “We’ll call you as soon as this situation is resolved.”

 

            “But.” The doctor said.

 

            “No time,” The Weirdo announced as he began to walk away. “Bad people to stop.”

 

           

March 27th, 2003

4:23 p.m.

 

            “So what do we have?” Jack asked.

 

            “Some one could still be aiming a rifle through the window, or maybe not.” The Weirdo said as they watched from a corner of the hospital’s glass doors. “Tommy?”

 

            “They’re still in that window.” Tommy said. “They’re sweeping around the grounds now though.”

 

            “Are they?” Max asked.

 

            “Yes.” Tommy said.

 

            “Defiantly in that building across the street?” Max asked.

 

            “Yeah.” Tommy said.

 

            “I could draw their fire.” Max offered.

 

            “I doubt it would do any good.” Tommy said. “Some one who’s got enough money to afford laser sights that can only be seen by the shooter probably invested in a flash suppressor. You’d be dead and we still wouldn’t know where they were.”

 

            “So how do we do this?” Jack asked.

 

            “I’ll go.” Tommy said.

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said softly. “I’ll do it.”

 

            “I’ll come.” Tommy said simply.

 

            “You’re still cut up pretty bad, and you might be buzzing but that adrenaline is fighting the morphine. You’re not walking to steady in case you didn’t notice.” Jack countered. “I’ll go with him.”

 

            “Why is it you two get to go and I don’t?” Max asked.

 

            “Because you’re young and have you’re whole life ahead of you.” Jack said.

 

            “And you’ve got kids so that counters that.”

 

            “Look.” Said The Weirdo. “Tell you what, you guys work out who’s going to follow and I’ll just nip off and take care of this.”

 

            He didn’t wait for a reply, simply walked out the door. The other three began to walk out after him when they heard the gunshots. A window on the fifth floor of the building they were headed too burst open, a man falling through it. He was already dead when he struck the ground, blood spurting from the place on the back of his neck where the breaking glass had lacerated.

 

 A moment later, a woman leapt out of the window, jumping high. She turned in mid air and fired the two guns she was carrying into the room behind her. The window exploded as she began to fall towards the ground, a great ball of orange flame bursting out after her. She spun through the air, cascading down slower than the man who had fallen.

 

            She landed on her feet, her white leather coat fluttering around her as she hit the ground in a crouch. She stood up and the rest of her outfit became clear to the four men watching. She wore a pair of white leather pants and a white top of thin silk, a white leather bodice holding the shirt to her. She looked like the sort of thing you only see in a comic book that panders to lonely young men who don’t get out very much. She was a vision as impossible as… the narrator suddenly realizes that anything he could mention has already happened within the story.

 

            “Who is that?” Max asked.

 

            “Dunno.” Tommy said. “I think perhaps we should find out though.”

 

            There was something about that explosion that was bothering The Weirdo. It was something that he couldn’t quite put into proper context at the moment. There was something though and as soon as he thought of it, he would mention it. It was like having a small bit of food stuck in his mouth and with out a piece of dental floss he wasn’t going to be able to dislodge it.

 

            She looked at them, as they watched her, and slipped one of the guns behind her back. She didn’t move away, or make any self-conscious movements. She liked that they were looking, and turned her body to give them a better view of her profile. She ejected the magazine from her right hand gun, catching the spent clip in her left hand. She smiled as they watched and began to walk towards them as she pulled a fresh clip from her pocket. She slid the clip in, and then pulled it out and slid it back in again before slamming it home. The boots made clomping noises as she walked towards them, making her a paragon of sexuality.

 

            “Hi.” She said putting the gun in a holster against her side.

 

            “Hello.” The Weirdo said.     

 

            “Hey.” Max raised his hand.

 

            The Weirdo took in the young woman as she approached. She had skin like a statue made of alabaster, so pale and white. In fact a little too pale and white, he wondered if that was her natural skin tone. Her hair was a white blonde, dangling in a thousand little ringlets. Her large eyes were sparkling blue, and then they melted into a shade of spring green. They held the green color for a moment and the color spun away and was replaced by a silvery gray. They then, when she blinked, were suddenly deep violet, before fading into a sort of pink.

 

            “We work in the same field.” She said.

 

            “We do?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I’m Lilith.” She said holding one pale hand out.

 

            The Weirdo took her hand and was surprised by the warm of it. With her pale skin he had expected her to have bad circulation. She held his hand for a long time, and then let it go. They hadn’t actually shook, just held hands for a moment. She watched him and he thought he could smell something besides the leather of her outfit. There isn’t really a genteel way of saying it; he thought he smelt her arousal.

 

            “You must be Jack,” she said extending a hand to Jack and shaking his hand.

 

            “Tommy.” Tommy said taking her hand.

 

            “And you’re Max then.” She said taking Max’s hand, resting her left hand over his.

 

            “Hi.” Max said.

           

The Weirdo looked down at his hand and noticed a smudge of white. He looked at her hand and noticed it was considerably darker than he had at first thought. It was still pale but very dark compared to the stark white of the make up. He glanced up and noticed the tell tale signs on make up on her face.

 

            “You’ll have to excuse me.” She said looking at her hands and then at The Weirdo. “I’ll have to wash my face before I can talk to you with any reliability. This make up’s useful, creature of the night and all, but it does tend to come off if I touch anything.”

 

            “Hey, no problem.” Max said.

 

            “Are you going to be around?” Lilith asked.

 

            “We’ve got to get our wounded friend home.” Jack said, leading Tommy towards the car.

 

            Lilith’s hazel eyes looked to the car and then took a step closer to The Weirdo. He could smell the sweet perfume she had worn, and the slight odor of her sweat. She smelled clean and healthy. Her body heat radiated off her despite the leather and contacted parts of him he’d not thought about in a while. There was suddenly a feeling in his stomach that he hadn’t felt in a long time.

 

            “I think if there’s time later.” She said. “You and I should talk, maybe pool our resources. Some one’s trying to kill us both after all.”

 

            “You might be right.” He said.

 

            “Why don’t I come see you tonight?” She asked, and there was a suggestion in the voice. “We could walk around your grounds, discuss the future. There’s something going badly wrong here.”

 

            “Why don’t we just do that now?” He asked.

 

            She smiled and bit her bottom lip, which was a cute thing for her to do. He thought there were very few things she did that weren’t cute. She gave a little laugh and looked up into his coal dark eyes. Her hands reached out and touched his lapels and he noticed that she was about half a foot shorter than he was.

 

            “I’m covered in white make up.” She said. “And I want to go wash it off, and I’m not ready for you to see me naked yet.”

 

            “Aren’t you?”

 

            “No, but I might be later.” She stood up and kissed him lightly on the lips. “I’ll see you later.” She then walked away, turning a corner and leaving his site.

 

            He took a white cotton handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the white makeup off his hand. He then realized why the explosion in the room looked wrong. It was the large orange ball of fire, but no real shock wave. The sort of thing one would get if they fired flammable liquid or gas through a jet and lit it. It was a trick used at amusement parks for easily controlled flames. Very exciting to watch, but in the end it was harmless.

 

            “A gas explosion.” He said, as he wiping his hand. “Something to make it look like an explosion but not to really be one.”

 

            He slipped the handkerchief into his pocket and walked towards the car. He sucked the edges of his upper lip in until he was making a funny sort of fish face with only the top lip. His lower lips closed up over the fish lip and then opened the lips with a smacking sound. He pulled out the cell phone he carried to communicate with those without pen shaped devices. He scrolled through the phone numbers and selected one. He pressed send and held the phone up to his ear.

 

            “Jorgaes, what can you tell me about someone called Lilith? Yeah, white leather…”

           

 

March 27th, 2003

9:28 p.m.

 

            When the sun went down, what little heat the day had generated died away. It was carried off by a breeze that blew in from the ocean, cooling the air as it went. The sky had managed to clear itself mostly of clouds, with a cool wind that was blowing in from a harsh winter that still had a few kicks left in it. The light had almost completely faded from the world and only the glow from the nearby city remained. The house stood huge and implacable, a few windows lit from within.

 

            The Weirdo stood in the large ballroom, looking up at the high ceiling. He had woken up with the notion that the day might not be too bad of one. He and Tommy had started with lunch, and were going to work their way from one park to another. They had a plan for walking the entire day, ignoring much that went on around them. They would slowly introduce the first year anniversary, and discuss how by now he’d have been a father by now. The problem was, that some one then decided to detonate a building. He looked at the large glass steps of the crystal stairs.

 

            The long pieces of glass or crystal or whatever they were, had been sunk into the wall to create a stair that went to the balcony level were people could look down on the dancers, and also on the balcony level, the tunnel which connected the library to the ball room. From the mouth of the tunnel, which he could see from the center of the ballroom, Kestrel emerged. She held a small book by a science fiction author in her hands, and was reading it as she walked. She gave barely a look to either side as she sat down on one of the chairs. She slumped into the chair and read the book.

 

            The Weirdo moved up the stairs with stealth and grace, walking up to Kestrel unheard. To all accounts, he would have simply appeared before her. He could have made a noise, but he didn’t want to disturb her. He knew he was going to have to disturb her though; he’d come up here to talk to her. It was inevitable that he would disturb her, yet he moved silently all the same.

 

“That’s bad for your posture.” He said.

 

“Is it?” She asked, completely unphased by his sudden appearance.

 

“Yeah.” He said.

 

“Ah well.” She said, turning the page. “Can’t have everything.”

 

“I guess not.” He said.

 

“I heard you had a bad afternoon.” She said.

 

“Yeah, where were you during all of that?”

           

“I was out.” She said. “I had things to do.”

 

            “Oh?”

 

“Yes.”

 

            “What sort of things?”

 

            “Things, which are none of your business.” She said.

 

            “Oh.”

 

            “Yes.”

 

            He waited through a slightly chilly moment, trying to think of something for them to talk about. She had decided to stay after that whole Loki affair in October, but they’d never really reconciled the fact that Loki had been The Weirdo in some form. Neither of them had made much misstep, but they were both still being careful about it. The care they took, made things rather formal and stiff between them. He was about to go when she then spoke up again.

 

            “Is Tommy okay?” She asked.

 

            “I think he’ll be fine.”

 

            “Are you okay?”

 

            “I’m always okay.”

 

            “Max said you got carved up pretty badly as well.”

 

            “I’m alright now though.” He said, holding his hands out to show them. “See, no wounds.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “Max also said you met someone today.”

 

            “Just some super girl. Jorgaes says she’s been mainly an operative in Europe.”

 

            “So why’s she here?”

 

            “Gonna find out.”

 

            “Good.” She said, and after a moment. “The Mouse is dead isn’t she?”

 

            “Yes.” He said.

 

            “And the Blue Weasel?”

 

            “Was in the building today.”

 

            “You didn’t tell me about it.”

 

            “I thought Max would.”

 

            “He did.” She said. “I just thought that you’d give me up to the minute things.”

 

            “I didn’t have up to the minute reports.” He said. “I only found out about the Mouse today, very recently.”

 

            “I’m sorry.” She said setting the book down.

 

            “That’s alright.” He said. “Next time some one dies I’ll tell you.”

 

            “Thanks.”

 

            “No problem.”

 

            “Rubber Duck.” Jack’s voice called from The Weirdo’s pocket.

 

            “Hang on.” He said and drew the pen shaped device from his pocket. “Go ahead Sodbuster.”

 

            “Were you expecting some one in a white Ferrari?”

 

            “Possibly.” The Weirdo said. “Who’s driving?”

 

            “Can’t quite tell.” Jack said. “But it looks like the blonde from earlier today.”

 

            “Lilith.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Her.”

 

            “I’ll be there in a moment.”

 

            “Shall I let her in?”

 

            “Let’s be friendly but cautious for now Jack.”

 

            “I’ll wait for you.”

 

            “Well, you can find out now.” Kestrel said.

 

            “I guess so.” He conceded, and then he said what he had to say. “Look, not to make you feel like a small woman or anything, but you might not want to leave the house unprotected for a while.”

 

            “You mean without one of you?”

 

            “I mean with out a gun.” He said, trying not to condescend, but feeling he was probably failing. “If they’re gunning for us, they’re probably gunning for you.”

 

            “You’re not serious.” She said.

 

            “They killed The Mouse while she was on her way home from the market with a quart of milk.”

 

            “Shit.” She said.

 

            “So be careful.” He said. “And be armed.”

 

           

March 27th, 2003

9:35 p.m.

 

            Lilith was leaning against the white Ferrari 360 Spider talking with Jack. She was pointing out some of the newer features of the new car to him, explaining the new refinements. The Weirdo came out and found that for the first time in a long time he had to catch his breath. She looked as though neither she nor her ancestors back five generation had ever had so much as a suntan. The look was something he had only really seen in young women in north Germany, Norway or Sweden. It was a mixture of pale and perfect, they had known cold, but never the heat of a New York summer. Her skin was still pale, but not the ghostly death pale she had shown before. This was the sort of pale that spoke of crisp winters and mild summers. This was the complexion of a person who had done a lot of walking as a child, and it was beautiful. She was almost too beautiful to be believed. He found that he wanted to walk right up to her and take her in his arms. He wanted to hold her and kiss her and make love to her under autumn stars. He thought she would relish the idea of making love outside on a bed of orange leaves.

 

She was no longer wearing the leather concoction she was in earlier, not even the high boots. She now wore a long pink silk skirt, which reached down to her ankles obscuring what had to be the best legs in the world. A red heavy nit and over sized sweater covered the rest of the incredibly powerful body. The sweater drifted down just below her buttocks so that he couldn’t even sneak a peak at that. She turned slowly as his feet touched the gravel, and caused stones to shift. He could walk with out even the gravel knowing he had been there, but that would just be bragging. Besides, it’s not nice to sneak up on people. The stones had caused the minutest noise and she turned, her blue eyes swirling away into a light pink. Her light pink lips cracked in a smile and perfect teeth greeted him.

 

            “Hello.” She said, wrapping a thousand meanings into the one simple word.

 

            “Hi.” He said.

 

            “I’ll just be going then.” Jack said, sensing that a lot of conversation might be said with very little speech.

 

            She watched Jack go and when the door was closed focused her attention on The Weirdo. It felt like having the rest of the world taken away, and placing them together in a very small room. She leaned against the car and pushed one sleeve of her sweater up. The arm she exposed was strong looking, yet it was still very feminine. She looked at the car and then at him, her lips twisting a promising smile.

 

            “Care for a spin?” She asked.

 

            “Not just at the moment.” He said diplomatically. “I’m not sure I’m ready for that.”

 

            “You sure?” She asked.

 

            “Quite.”

 

            “Can we tour the grounds?”

 

            “Sure.” He said

 

            “But I can’t see your etchings?”

 

            “Not just yet.” He said.

 

            “It’s just as well.” She said.

           

            “Why is that?”

 

            “Because I’m not ready for you to see me naked yet.”

 

 

March 27th, 2003

9:37 p.m.

 

            “Is that her?” Judy asked, leaning near one of the windows of the bedroom she shared with Sheila and Tommy.

 

            “Looks like her.” Tommy said.

 

            “Sexy.” Judy said.

 

            “Very.” Sheila said standing behind her.

 

            “Cute too.” Tommy said.

 

            They turned back to look at him, laying face downward on the bed. The white strips of bandages were soaked through with sweat now, as well as the red stains of blood, which had soaked through. He probably wouldn’t be able to sleep on his back for a few days, they had said. He lay on the bed, wracked with exhaustion, but happy. His spiritual cleansing had been performed, and now he was just waiting for gentle, easy sleep.

 

            “What do you have to say about it?” Sheila asked. “Are we not enough?”

 

            “Shut up Sheila.” Judy said prodding her in the side with her elbow. “She is cute, they’ve come closer now I can see her.”

 

            “I am having a moment of jealousy here.” Sheila said. “You could try to have some solidarity.”

 

            “You’re mad.” Judy said, watching Lilith walking with The Weirdo as he pointed out the bridge, which straddled the small stream on the island. “How can you be jealous? Look at how many of us there are.”

 

            “You’re not helping.” Sheila said.

 

            “Sorry, but she is cute.”

 

            Sheila shook her head and lay down on the bed next to Tommy, laying her blonde locks about his neck and back. Her mouth came to his ear and whispered into it. Her breath tickled ever so slightly, but he wouldn’t have moved for the world. There was no joy like this joy.

 

            “How are you feeling now?” she asked. “All better? All cleared away?”

 

            “Much better dear.” He said, one hand raising up to stroke her cheek. “Very tired though.”

 

            “Well, you can sleep.” She said, lying down on the bed next to him. “You sleep and I’ll keep watch over you while our little red head examines every bit of tail that walks onto the grounds.”

 

            “She’s fine.” Tommy’s voice was barely audible.

 

            “I know she is. We’re all fine now.” She cradled his head into her breast and let him fall gently to sleep.

 

            She had worried about living with Tommy at first; she and Judy had relied on each other for so long while in servitude to the mad woman who called herself Vena. The three immortal women might have been thought to be equals, but she and Judy had been slaves to Vena’s rages. She had kept them like dogs. Forced to suffer every humiliation that one being could suffer upon to others. She thought about the beatings, the burnings, the prostitution they had been forced into. The whole while they had never fought, or tried to run away. Judy couldn’t really function on her own and Sheila had never learned how to take care of everything. For five hundred years, they had stayed with her, because they knew nothing else.

 

            Then Tommy had come, and everything changed after that. He’d originally been a target seduction; Judy and Sheila were to rope him in. Vena wanted to interrogate him or have him for her own, or something like that. Something had gone wrong though, and he had seen through her façade of the perfect lover. He had seen the truth, and had come back after escaping from her.

 

            They had been in an unheated basement; the wounds form their last flagellations still bleeding. They had been locked in the basement, naked and bleeding. They were clinging to one another when the door had suddenly burst open, and he came down the stairs. He’d taken them away, that very minute, not even waiting for them to get clothes. He had simply thrown blankets over them and taken them to his car.

 

            He had saved them and then offered to send them wherever they wanted to go with enough money not to need to worry about working. He’d told them he’d take care of anything that they might need, and Judy had fallen in love with him. It had been that simple for Judy, just fall in love with the first wonderful perfect man who comes along. She just decided Tommy was the perfect man and he hadn’t been able to disappoint her.

 

            Sheila had been attracted, but after a few centuries of forced whoring, it had been hard for her to say what her feelings were. She had to stay with Judy though she knew she loved her. Initially she stayed with Tommy because of her love for Judy, but she’d found she loved him too. They had come home with him, and they all lived in the suite that was assigned Tommy in this huge house. There was a room for each of them if they ever wanted to use it, but Sheila had only ever been in that room because she kept her wardrobe and few personal effects she had managed to save from Vena. Judy, to Sheila’s knowledge, had never even been in her room. Judy was much more like a child, who had managed to grow into a woman without ageing.

 

            Sheila laid her head against Tommy’s and kissed his faun brown hair. She watched Judy, who was watching the two people on the lawn walking around. She worried a lot about Judy, because Judy was the fragile one. She had been the one who needed looking after, the one who needed to know some one was there for her.

 

            “They might want their privacy you know.” Sheila said.

 

            “They don’t know I’m watching.” Judy protested. “All the same, come over here.”

 

            Judy sighed loudly and walked over to the bed. She was mocking her annoyance, but there was an edge to it. There was something there that Sheila didn’t like, a hint that something dark was lurking under that mass of red hair. It worried her to think of what Judy might have going on inside her head.

 

            “Why does it just have to be us three?” Judy asked.

 

            “What?” Sheila asked.

 

            “We had each other forever.” Judy said. “And then we took in Tommy, so why can’t we take in some one else?”

 

            “I’m not sure we can just add people on at will.” Sheila said.

 

            “Well why not?” Judy asked. “If I wanna go to bed with some other cute boy or girl I used to be able to.”

 

            “But that was before.” Sheila said.

 

            “I know.”

 

            “And we don’t have to be whores anymore.”

 

            “I’m not saying I want to see my self on the street.” She protested. “I’m just saying I want to have some fun sometimes.”

 

            “And how do you think he would feel about that?” Sheila asked, pointing at Tommy’s head.

 

            “He wouldn’t mind.” Judy said.

 

            “How do you know?”

 

            “I asked him.” She said smiling, her blue eyes twinkling.

 

            “Did you?”

 

            “He said that what with one thing and another, that we should find pleasure when we can.”

 

            “Did he?” Sheila asked, in a tone that suggested that there was going to be trouble for Mister Gunner later.

 

            “He did.” Judy said, leaning her head in and nuzzling into Sheila’s shoulder. “I love you both so much, but we can’t lock ourselves down. We were locked down so long with Vena. She never let us explore ourselves and I’ve got to explore, or I won’t know who I am.”

 

            “Well.” Sheila said. “Why don’t we see about that then okay? Slowly, don’t just dive right in.”

            “I won’t.” Judy said.

 

            “Okay.”

 

            “Don’t you want to know?” Judy asked. “If there’s anyone else out there, who could make you feel good? If some one else could make you feel good without feeling dirty at the same time?”

 

            “I guess I haven’t thought about it as much as you.” Sheila said. “I’ve got what I want here, you two.”

 

            “Liar.” Judy said. “You want to bed some one else. I can tell.”

 

            “What?”

 

            “You’d like to lay Max, I’ve seen you flirt with him.”

 

            “Judy.” Sheila said as indignantly as she could, though she thought she felt her ears warm.

 

            “You can’t keep secrets from me.” Judy said, noticing the reddening of her lover’s ears.

 

            “Well if it comes to that I know why you’re watching so intently out there.”

 

            “What?”

            “You don’t just want Weirdo’s new friend.” Sheila said. “You’d like to go out there and have both of them.”

 

            “Do not.” Judy said, though the red patches on her cheeks exposed the lie.

 

            “You’re blushing.”

 

            “It’s because it’s such a ridiculous idea.” Judy said.

 

            “Judy, sweetie.” Sheila said. “I can make you chirp like a bird, you can’t lie to me either.”

 

            There was a moment of silence where Judy felt the need to hide her face. After a moment or two of this though she felt indignant, particularly about one phrase. She turned, her face almost dark as she did.

 

            “I do not chirp like a bird.”

 

            “Sounds like a bird.”

 

            “Does not.”

 

            “Yes it does.” Sheila said kissing her lips.

 

            “Doesn’t.” Judy said laying her head down on the only patch of Tommy’s shoulder not marred by cuts.

 

 

March 27th, 2003

9:31 p.m.

 

            “I think she’s gone now.” Lilith said, looking back at Tommy’s window.

 

            “I certainly hope so.” The Weirdo said, looking out from the bridge to the city.

 

            A small spring of water leapt up from a place on the grounds, and the water was aloud to flow out to a koi pond. As it ran through the grounds it made a shallow stream, which passed under the small bridge that they now stood on. The stone bridge was just big enough for three or four people to cross at once. Although one could simply step over the stream for the most part, the bridge was still put into place. If nothing else, it gave a decent view of the city from one angel, and the sea from another.

 

            “I asked around about you.” Lilith said, her eyes melting from green to orange.

 

            “Did you?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Didn’t you ask about me?”

 

            “I made a phone call.” The Weirdo conceded.

 

            “I did more than make a phone call,” She said, allowing a small giggle to escape. “I collected a dossier on you.”

 

            “I only just heard about you today.”

 

            “That’s odd.” She said. “We both do essentially the same job.”

 

            “But I’m an American.” He said. “We don’t know about the rest of the world.”

 

            She laughed at this and clapped her hands together, and he noticed the faint vestiges of a Swedish accent. It could have been Norwegian or even German the accent was so slight. It had slipped out, just a little at certain words. It was nothing major, but it suggested that perhaps English wasn’t her first language. Not that it mattered because who had ever taught her to speak English had taught her to speak with a mid west accent. Somehow, it lent to the allure, to know that.

 

She was truly lovely, unsettlingly so for him. The love of his life was only a year dead, and yet he found this small blonde decidedly alluring. He knew that she was performing a series of subtle tricks to make herself more attractive. She stood in a submissive stance, tilting her head so what little light there was would play on her features. He knew these were tricks; he used them to similar effect to intimidate bad people. The fact that he knew them to be tricks, and had actually numbered them one day when he was bored, didn’t mean that they worked to any less effect.

 

            “You’ve really never heard about me?”

 

            “I hate to sound like your reputation doesn’t proceed you, but it doesn’t.”

 

            “That’s not too surprising.” She said. “I’ve changed my identity three times in the last two years.”

 

            “When you say changed your identity.” He began.

 

            “I’ve got three costume heroes who I dress up as. I kill one of them off every nine months or so.”

 

            “Why do that?”

 

            “So my targets can’t follow me back. They keep finding that they’re being attacked by someone new all the time. Then they kill that new someone and get terribly over confidant and the new hero gets a whole group of them.”

 

            “I see.” He said. “And who do you go after?”

 

            “Didn’t they tell you?” She asked, her hair blowing over her deep purple eyes that were at that moment shimmering into a glassy red.

 

            “Jorgaes didn’t have a lot of details.” He said.

 

            “Jorgaes,” She asked. “Is that you’re UN controller?”

 

            “I’m not sure I’d call him a controller.” The Weirdo said, thinking about it. “I’ve always thought of him as a sanitation department really.”

 

            He had made a face that spoke of all the times he and Jorgaes had to work things out. How many times people had to just be labeled as missing after they two of them had done something the real world wouldn’t understand. It might be hard to understand, with the knowledge of what he would later do, but The Weirdo had a checkered past that is sometimes best left unexplored. She smiled as he made the comment though, and laughed a little at the idea. He thought she was beautiful and she thought the same of him.

 

“I never thought of Eve like that.” She said. “I guess I should have though.”

           

“Eve you’re U.N. liaison?”

 

            “No.” she said, shaking her head. “I don’t work for the UN.”

 

            “Who do you work for then?” He asked it without the idea of her working for herself occurring to him. “Or is this where you finally become coy?”

 

            She laughed at this and leaned against the opposite rail, pressing her arms against the stone rail and pressing her chest out ever so slightly. He noted the swell of her breasts under the sweater, as he had done a few times before. She crossed one leg over the other and he noted the firm movement of her leg under the skirt as it swept over its partner. She pushed with her arms and raised her self up on the stone rail. There was a promise of lean, strong muscles under that skirt. She could hold on, she could make things last, holding out for her would be a pleasure.

 

            Her skin glowed as the light caught it, her moist lips glistened as she turned her head. Her cheeks had grown rosy, and her nose had become the color of a pale spring cherry. She looked at him as a woman might look at an expensive piece of furniture which she were trying to deiced if she could afford, and would it go in the living room as planed. She smiled at him and swung her legs gently over the air, as if she were trying to decide if he might be worth the price.

 

            Grandma’s tiny voice was whispering thoughts into his mind. Warnings about getting too close to early. She was trying to interest him in what she had under that sweater, and what exactly was hidden under the silk skirt. She wanted him to know how tight her belly would feel, and should after all those sit-ups. She wanted him to feel her muscular legs around his waist, and wanted to feel him pressed against her, inside her.

 

She was trying to seduce him, the warning voice said. The voice explained that she wanted to get him into bed, to distract him.  The problem was, there was a concerted majority feeling from places besides his brain that seduction would be a welcome respite from being shot at. That perhaps the touch of soft flesh was exactly the kind of distraction he could get into at that moment. He could very much take the kind of distraction she was offering.

 

            His hands mentioned that feeling smooth skin would be much more desirable than a rattling machine gun. His legs offered that pressing against a mattress for support would be much better than running after people who only wanted to kill him. His back mentioned that lifting her tiny frame would be a great relief after lifting heavy steel girders all day. Even his lips made mention that those lips would be more desirable to press against than his pillowcase. There was also some grunting and rude comments from just below the waist but they shan’t be repeated.

 

            He made a step towards her, beginning to think that while Grandma meant well, it had been a while. She was beautiful, after all, and she seemed to like him. He thought that maybe, just maybe, he could take a chance. After all, he took chances with his life every day. Heroes had a right to bleed, but they also had a right to feel. He had decided that he was going to take her in his arms. Unfortunately she took that moment while he was deciding to begin a talk of business.

 

            “What do you know about secret societies?” She asked, which stopped him from moving forward.

 

            He might still have moved forward, but the thought struck a cord with him. He thought for a moment about the idea, and his mind began to work on that train of thought. The grunting from below his belt continued but the brain shoved them back and concentrated on why she would suddenly change the subject like this.

 

            “My grandfather was a mason.” He said. “Had a ring that he always wore.”

 

            He gripped the ring finger on his right hand, remembering the old ring.

 

            “The Masons are just a group of men who raise money for charity.” She said. “They’re a bit secretive I’ll grant, but they’re harmless.”

 

            “So whom are you speaking of?” He said taking two steps back and leaning against the opposite rail.

 

            He did this with the greatest reluctance because he didn’t wish to talk about this now. He wanted to talk about silk sheets. He wished to talk about kissing and soft flesh. He had to talk business with her though, he because that was what she had brought up. Had he been a little less serious or a little more forceful he would have pushed past the question and gone towards what he wanted to talk about. He didn’t though, and he found himself regretting it.

 

            “There is an organization called The Power, a terrorism group. We think they were responsible for today’s attacks.”

 

            “What kind of terrorist uses a name like The Power?”

 

            “A secret society that’s turned to terrorism.” She said. “A religious group originally.”

 

            “What sort of religion?”

 

            “A band of Pagans. We understand that they’ll take any Pagans on board, so they’re not just the Wiccans or the Nordics, they’re everybody.”

 

            “And who exactly are we?”

 

            She looked at him and then down at the ground, and then her eyes glanced up at him. There was that look of trying to figure out if she would by him or not. She bit her lower lip, which made her look adorable.

 

            “I like you.” She said. “You’re very nice.”

 

            “Yes?” He said, because you have to say something at these moments.

 

            “I think I’ve had a crush on you for a while.” She said. “And if we begin this, it could affect any thoughts I might have had.”

 

            He stayed silent for the moment, waiting her out. It was a trick he used now and again. You didn’t say anything, and the other person would begin to talk again. You just let the admissions come. She probably knew it was a trick, but that didn’t mean it didn’t work.

 

            “I’m a Christian.” She said. “By which I mean that I believe in the teachings of Jesus, and that he died for our sins and rose again.”

 

            “Yes?” He said.

 

            “I was recruited about five years ago into a Christian group called The Crusade Group.” She tugged at the hem of her sweater. “Since then, I’ve been trying to end the terrorism that’s held Europe for the last thirty years or so. I had a group of operatives, but they’ve all been killed in the last two years. I was in Europe when the towers fell. Couldn’t do anything about it. Then I heard about The Power coming to America and planning something big. I missed the towers, if I had been here, I might have been able to do something.”

 

            “You shouldn’t start that.” The Weirdo said. “I was here and all I was good for was the clean up.”

 

            “But you avoid politics,” She said, “You wouldn’t have been asked about this. I’m an anti-terrorism expert, or I’m supposed to be. The point is, if The Power is going to do something big here, I want to stop them.”

 

            “You have information of their whereabouts?”

 

            “Not yet.” She said. “But I will.”

 

            “How does this affect you and me becoming friends?” He asked, keeping the words neutral.

 

            “I know about you and God.” She said. “You’re not religious.”

 

            “Untrue.” He said, taking a step forward. “I’m not a believer in the Judeo-Christian system, that’s for sure. I am however, very religious.”

 

            “Are you?” She said sliding off the stone rail.

 

            “I just happen to believe that souls are formed by long suffering and careful examination, and that taking away the sins cheapens the work put in to the soul. It’s like taking the black out of a picture, you make too much light and no picture emerges. You’ve got to strike balance and be the best developed picture you can be.”

 

            “So you’re not an atheist?”

 

            “No.”

 

            “You believe in God?” she asked.

 

            “I’ve met Chronos.” He said, as if trying to offer the information. “And I think I met the arch angel Gabriel but I’m not sure, it could have just been a stand in.”

 

            “This was when you were dead.” She said.

 

            “Who said I was dead?”

 

            “There were reports that you had died.” She said.

 

            “There were also stories that it was just a coma.” He said. “In your experience how often to people come back from the dead?”

 

            “I know of at least one fellow who did it.”

 

            “Anyone else repeat the trick?”

 

            “Not as far as I know.” She said. “But then I heard about you.”

 

            “People say a lot about me that’s not true.” He said. “I’ve learned to deal with it. I’m very open.”

 

            “That’s a very diplomatic answer.” She said.

 

            “I’m known for a particular brand of diplomacy.” He said.

 

            “You don’t mind if I believe in Jesus?”

 

            “Do you mind if I don’t?”

 

            “Do I mind that you don’t mind or do I mind if you don’t believe?”

 

            He took a step back and leaned against the rail again. He folded his arms and now the speculation of weather this purchase might be worth the price came into his face. He looked like he had a slightly tighter wallet when it came to purchases of this type than she did. She had fallen in love with the piece of furniture and wanted to justify the price to herself. He seemed to be evaluating her, and wondering if it was actually worth the price he could end up paying. He also seemed to be considering if there was any damage he might have to get fixed. He was looking for the greater cost rather than just taking it and deciding to make due later.

 

            “What?” she asked. “You dangled your participle.”

 

            “Lets not talk too much about my bits dangling.” He said, his face completely stone.

 

            She tried to keep a strait face, but the smile came up from behind and danced over her frosted pink lips. She tried to keep the laugh down but it leapt from her pale cherry colored nose and then forced it’s way out of her mouth. She laughed for a long moment, raising one hand up to cover her lips. He continued to stair, the same look still across his face. Her blue eyes met his, they shifted to green and she began to laugh again.

 

            “I don’t mind if you don’t believe.” She said. “I’m not in this fight for ideology. I’m in it to try and save lives; I don’t care about other people’s belief. At least not as much as other people.”

 

            “Well that’s good.” He said.

 

            She made another step towards him, coming close enough for him to smell her breath. It was sweet, as if she had been sucking on peppermints. He hadn’t seen her suck on anything, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t. She could have stuffed one of those little flash strips into her mouth when he wasn’t looking. She smelled of vanilla sugar, and her breath of peppermint. Her body was giving of a certain amount of heat and he could fell it through his clothes. She was sweet and warm and beautiful, and she was standing next to him.

 

            “You’re beautiful, you know that.” She said, suddenly. “I have never seen a man who was as beautiful as you without being almost girlishly pretty.”

 

            “I’m not girlish?” He asked.

 

            “No.” she said. “You are not.”

 

            “Well that’s nice to hear.” He then tilted his head. “You are girlishly pretty though.”

 

            “Am I?”

 

            “You know weather you are or not.” He said. “You know exactly how beautiful you are and how to make that work to create a more desirable persona.”

 

            “Does it work?” She asked. “Do these little tricks work?”

 

            “Just because you know how a trick works, doesn’t mean it loses its effect when done well.” He said.

 

            “Would I be desirable without the tricks?” She asked, “It’s not like I’m doing things on purpose. Their sort of trained traits, they happen automatically.”

 

            “We’re moving into dangerous territory here.” He said. “When we ask questions like this, it starts to get dangerous.”

 

            “You do tricks to.” She said, touching his chest with her fore finger. “Trying to seem more aloof, less interested than you really are. Which of course makes you more desirable. Who wants to have something if they can just have it? Make some one work a little and the game interests them all the more in the prize.”

 

            “Is that what I’m doing?” He asked.

 

            She leaned in closer to him, her breasts brushing against his folded arms, her lips a few inches from his. He uncrossed his arms and slid them around her waist, holding her strong back. Her eyes melted from green to a particular shade of royal blue, which made him think of some one else. It was uncomfortable to think about that color, and then they changed to pink.

 

            “I don’t mind chasing.” She said. “I think the prize is worth the chase.”

 

            She leaned a little closer, her eyes closed to the barest slits, and a sound came bubbling up. It was a cell phone playing the latest pop song. Her eyes opened and looked pleadingly into his, she seemed torn between moving forward and backing off. His dark eyes stared into hers. She sighed and backed off from him, her eyes sorrowful and apologetic. His fingers left her warmth as she moved to the other side of the small bridge. She reached into the pocket of the skirt and pulled out a small green cell phone. She pressed a button and raised the phone to her ear.

 

            “What?” She asked then waited for a moment. “Alright, I’ll be there in a bit”

 

            She looked at him and hung the phone up. She slipped it into her pocket and looked around her, trying to see if she had set anything down. She then looked at him apologetically, and a bit hurt. She actually looked crushed that it had happened like this. Had that call not come at that exact moment, things might have progressed differently. Had she just switched the phone off they could have… but why draw this out?

 

            “I’m sorry.” She said, taking his hand. “I know we were just starting.”

 

            “It’s alright.” He said.

 

            “I’ve got to go, but I’ll call you.”

 

            She turned and took a step away, stopping. She turned around and gave him one hard kiss on the lips desperate for what it could be. He put his arms around her and returned the kiss, their lips pressing hard against each other. She let go and had to push her self away from him to make her self go. Her eyes swirled from gray to blue as she bit her lip and raised a hand as if to take hold of him again. She then spun around again and ran towards the front of the house. When he heard her car rev up and saw the taillights pull away, he reached into his pocket and produced a small device shaped like a pen.

 

            “Did we hear all of that?” The Weirdo asked, taking the tape off the broadcast button.

 

            “Ten four rubber duck.” Max’s voice came over. “Caught every flirty word.”

 

            “Why didn’t you go with her?” Kestrel’s voice came over. “She was awfully cute.”

 

            “There is something wrong here.” He said. “Something doesn’t fit, I intend to find out what.”

 

            “I don’t trust her.” Kestrel said.

 

            “Taken under advisement.” The Weirdo said, feeling the coldness of his words.

 

            “We’ll begin checking records right away.” Max said.

 

            “You do that.” The Weirdo said. “I’ll be in with you in a moment.”

 

            He looked at the bridge that connected his island with Manhattan. He could still make out the taillights of Lilith’s car as she drove away from him. The smell of vanilla lingered in the air, as did the sight of a pair of royal blue eyes. He tapped the stone valiance and felt something stirring in him. He felt his heart thump in his chest, as if he were a real living human being. He felt a promise of life as she drove away from him.

 

            He turned and saw a small figure in pink, a small girl who was watching. She saw him look at her and seemed to freeze caught in the high beams of his sight. He began to walk towards her, and she ran into the bushes. This set of bushes wasn’t large, and as she never came running out her felt he had her trapped. When he came to the bushes though, the small child was gone.

 

            “Who was that?” He asked aloud, and looked around, before going into the house.

© 2014 Autumn Knight Productions

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April 26, 2014 - Posted by | Fiction | ,

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