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Brothers & Sisters – Chapter Three: Icabod’s Wild Ride

This is basically an un-edited version of this book. There will be typos. There will be your/you’re errors, because I’m dyslexic as hell. Why am I posting it? I’ve more or less come to the conclusion that some major things needed to change, so I’m changing them. However, I like the old version and I already gave you Twins In Death in the old form, so have this one too. It doesn’t matter, the books are being re-written, so enjoy.

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

Chapter Three

Icabod’s Wild Ride

 

 

March 28th, 2003

2:01 p.m.

 

            To say The Weirdo was sitting in his room was a bit of a misnomer, as it wasn’t exactly true. The house was mostly divided into a series of suites, rather than single rooms. Some of the suites had more rooms than others did; The Weirdo’s suite for instance had higher ceilings than the rest of the house. His was the highest room in the house, and held the top floor spot. The servants quarters had been taken out and the space given to making higher ceilings. A few rooms still remained but they were for storage of things that large houses had. Mrs. Pendleton had a small suite of rooms on the ground floor, which is where she had requested to be allowed to stay.

 

The Weirdo was sitting in his room though, a small dressing room that he had made into a makeshift study. A table, with a computer sitting on it was sitting against one wall, wires leading away from it to the wall. He was sitting in an armchair next to one of the large windows, looking out at the ocean. You couldn’t see the city from this room it was the wrong side of the house. He could see the sparkling ocean though, which was without any birds. He noticed for the first time in some time, he couldn’t see any sea birds.

 

            Sea birds are a regular fixture anywhere near New York City. A part from the fact that sea birds stick near the shore, there is a huge amount of food for a clever bird. He didn’t see any birds out there today though. While odd though, this wasn’t a great mystery to be delved into now. It was simply another fact to be stored back and collated as he went along. It did poke at him though, but he pushed it back for other thoughts.


 

            He looked at his computer, where he had spent most of the morning. He had been looking for information on the Crusade Group, and kept finding nothing but rumor and indecision. They were either an extreme right wing, Pro-Catholic group or they were fanatically anti-Catholic. There was so much about them that he deiced most of what he’d learned was useless. They were either responsible for the killing of John-Paul the first or they had avenged his death. It was useless, so he shifted to the Power, which yielded some interesting in formation.

 

            They were indeed a secret society with a Pagan bent, but they were also at war with another group. This other group was called the System, and they were fanatically Christian. The two had been at odds for sometime, killing each other all across Europe and parts of America.

 

            The problem was still that any information anyone had was often so contradictory as to be nearly useless. He gave up on the two groups and with resignation and moved on to Lilith with considerable delight. He felt like a creep delving into her file as it were, he’d rather not do it like this. He would rather have sat with her under a cherry tree and discuss her past as the pink blossoms fluttered down around them. He would rather slip through the waters of a warm lake, watching her muscles pump as she swam. He would rather relax along side of her, curling up in front of a fire and not concern himself with her past. Feel her press against him and listen to her calls of pleasure. He didn’t have that luxury just now though. So he opened the secure web site that Jorgaes had sent him.

 

            The information Jorgaes had supplied them with seemed to be reliably balanced. She wasn’t actually mentioned much in the sections of in fighting between the two groups. Rather much was made of her fighting other terrorist groups across Europe. She didn’t bother with religion as much as politics. All terrorism is really politically based the experts say. She’d been a character called the Fox, Blue Jay and most recently she was being known as The Ghost.

 

            She had an excellent record, if one was looking to hire her for super hero work. He wasn’t trying to hire though, he wanted what he was sure she was willing to give him for free. He told himself to stop those thought right now. There was no use thinking about round firm thighs and soft warm breasts, he tired to stop that thought as well. He had to concentrate on the issue at hand and not on her moist welcoming mouth. He set the pages down and smacked his head firmly against the table.

 

Having dispatched his thoughts or at least dislodged them, he went back to work. He searched through the documents for the woman that lay beneath the white face. There were precious little personal facts though. There was the fact that she came from a town near the Norwegian Swedish border, and moved to Paris. From Paris she had torn through a dozen countries and twice as many lovers, but that was all.

 

            He’d been able to divine that her preference was to the beautiful, and besides that wasn’t gender specific. He’d found that several of her lovers had either died or the relationship ended suddenly. A lot of people had simply pulled up stakes and left her for whatever reason. He wasn’t sure that finding out the reasons they had left would help him. If it had been the same reason every time that might tell him something. As it was though, all he could divine was that she managed to date people who left suddenly. Some people’s relationships end the same way every time, because they’re attracted to the same kind of person.

 

            He ran his fingers gently over his lips, where she had kissed him. He thought about how her body had pressed against him when she did. There was warmth, and softness, and firmness, and the gentle firm lips. He knew that he shouldn’t be thinking this much about her, he should be thinking about the task at hand. He couldn’t help it though; she had worked her way into his mind. Rather she had become a fixture in his mind without even trying. He had noticed her and she was stuck there now.

 

The way her eyes had shimmered into the exact shade of royal blue at that moment. It shouldn’t have been that shocking, her eyes seemed to change color about every two seconds. It was inevitable that at some time they would become that shade. Still it had held sway in his mind, the color had resonance for him.

 

            He had flipped through the files on the computer and now was sitting in a chair looking out at the birdless ocean. Bagheera leapt from the floor into his lap. The large black striped beige cat purred loudly as he rammed his head into The Weirdo’s hand to encourage patting. The Weirdo’s hand stroked the large cat’s head and scratched firmly behind his ears. Bagheera’s purring increased in volume and he flopped onto The Weirdo’s lap, exposing his belly. The Weirdo rubbed the belly, absently for a moment. He then looked at the door as Minga walked in.

 

            The huge gray tiger was about three feet high at the shoulder, her gray stripes darker than the gray fur they off set. Her coppery eyes looked at The Weirdo’s nearly black eyes as he rubbed Bagheera’s belly. He thought she might mean to leap up onto his lap as well.

 

            “Don’t even think about it.” He said. “You weigh a ton, he weighs ten pounds.”

 

            Minga laid her head on the arm of the chair he was sitting on, and he placed his hand behind her head and began to stroke the huge ears. He rubbed her chin and along the side of her mouth, and was treated with a loud, deep purr. She rubbed her cheek against the chair, moving it slightly as he did. Bagheera got up and moved toward her.

 

            They sniffed each other, nose to nose, and Bagheera put his from paws on her head and began to lick one of her massive ears. The large tiger let the relatively small cat do this for some time, realizing if she knocked him over she could well kill him.

 

            There was something gentle in the way the giant tiger dealt with Bagheera. She dealt with Jack’s children in the most gentle and kindly way as well. The Weirdo thought that perhaps Minga was far more intelligent than she let on. The two cats leapt down from the chair and walked out of the room together. The Weirdo wondered as they walked if there was something more to their relationship. The idea of size and scale then stopped him dead in his tracks, as did the notion that Bagheera had been fixed.

 

            “Rubber Duck?” Doc’s voice came over the communicator.

 

            The Weirdo plucked the pen shaped device from the table and held it up to his lips.

 

            “Yes Holiday?”

 

            “I’ve put that meal of yours through a dozen different tests.” Doc’s voice said. “And I can’t find anything wrong with it. There’s no reason for it not to have been the target of some kind of vermin.”

 

            “Very odd.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “More than odd.” Doc agreed. “I tried to attract some animals, but I couldn’t get any.”

 

            “What do you mean?”

 

            “I mean there are no animals, no birds, no rats, no ants no cats. It’s all a bit odd.”

 

            “There aren’t any birds on the sea today.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Something is going on.” Doc said.

 

            “Do be so good at to figure out what would you Holiday?”

 

            “Um, ten four?”

 

            “Yes, ten four.”

 

            “Okay, ten four Rubber Duck.”

 

            The Weirdo set the communicator down and looked out at the ocean. Far off a huge marlin broke the surface, flashed the sun against its body, and went back under the water. The Weirdo looked at the far off remnants of the place where the fish had jumped. Why a marlin but no birds? Where there swordfish this far north? He wasn’t actually sure, but he thought there were. There were blue sharks at least he thought there were. Maybe he should find out about that.

           

 

March 28th, 2003

2:14 p.m.

 

            Kestrel was looking at the same file as The Weirdo, with Max across from her. He was also reading the same file on the laptop he had placed on his knees. They had been going over the file for a few hours now and she could feel her legs beginning to atrophy. She picked up a pillow and threw it at Max’s head, it bounced off his head and caused him too look up at her.

 

            “What?” He asked.

 

            “You wanna go out for a while?” She asked.

 

            “Where?”

 

            “Who cares?” She said. “Let’s just go into the city and fart around for a while, you know like people do.”

 

            “We’re not exactly people.” He said.

 

            “We can be.” She said. “Besides, I’m bored with reading the same fifteen pages over and over again. I can’t keep looking at this woman’s sexual history trying to find meaning to her life.”

 

            “Well that’s got something to it.” He said.

 

            “So lets go.”

 

            “Why not.” Max said. “You got anything in mind?”

 

            “Well, we should have had lunch about two hours ago.”

 

            “That’s a good start.”

 

            They got up and left the computers running, walking to the closet where their coats were kept. Kestrel slipped into a leather holster and put the large Smith and Wesson 500 magnum revolver into it. Max slipped a Glock and berretta nine millimeters into holsters that he had strapped to the back of his belt. They both slipped coats on over the weapons, concealing them from view.

 

            “Ready?” Max asked.

 

            “Lets go.” She said.

 

            They picked a BMW from the small fleet of cars that The Weirdo kept in the garage. It’s never been fully explained why it was necessary to have twenty new and vintage cars of varying kinds in the garage. Since the midnight blue sedan was never among them, and was the only thing The Weirdo drove. The best explanation that’s ever been offered is that if not for the other cars, what would everyone else drive? Driving the midnight blue sedan was for work, or for The Weirdo to drive. So they took the blue BMW convertible, putting the top down and driving into the city.

 

 

March 28th, 2003

2:29 p.m.

           

            New York is really a great place to be sometimes, if only for the opportunity to have any given combination of things cooked in any combination of ways. Some people decry the loss of pure foods, thinking that the fusion styles have destroyed everything. They complain that it hurts the pallet for things to be mixed. Kestrel though they were fools for thinking this way. That to think like that was to be a culinary Luddite. There were six restaurants that Kestrel could see from this one corner, and all of them looked alluring. She and Max looked up and down the street, trying to figure out where they might want to eat.

 

            “Chinese?” Max asked. “Italian? Chinese Italian fusion?”

 

            “Is there a French curry sushi place?” She asked.

 

            “If we look long enough.” He said.

 

            “How about there.” She said pointing at a restaurant at random.

 

            “Good enough for me.” He said, and they began to walk toward the cross walk.

 

            It was then that she walked out of the crowd, looking like something form a movie. Kestrel saw her first, but didn’t pay her that much mind. The gauzy, shredded dress the girl was wearing was eye catching but not too unusual in a city like this. It’s not just New York, though New Yorkers like to think it is. In any large city your going to find people who wear whatever strips of cloth they can find in an attempt to get noticed for something anything. The long streams of gauze around her arms that served as sleeves had covered the knife from view though.

 

            The gauzy thing had covered the blade, but it had drawn a certain amount of attention to her. Max’s eye caught her and it would have taken a lot of work to get his eyes off it. The dress was more or less; layers of silky gauze wrapped around her body and kept in place by a belt around her waist. She was no strain on the eyes to view either, with her waiffish looks and large eyes. The street felt crowded, and there wasn’t a lot of room between him and the beautiful young girl.

 

            When she suddenly stabbed out, the blade caught the bright suns light. Kestrel’s hand reached into her coat, but froze before it touched the hilt of the gun. Max’s hand reached out took the girl’s wrist, and twisted. The knife tumbled from her suddenly open hand, clattering on the concrete. He yanked her toward him and tapped her in the stomach just enough to make her loose her breath for a moment.

 

            “Get the knife.” Max said.

 

            Kestrel reached down and picked the knife up. Max spun the girl around, pushing her gently against a light pole. A Police officer began to walk towards the little trio, he hadn’t seen the whole thing, just Max hitting her in the stomach and pushing her into the pole. Kestrel pulled her UN badge from her pocket and held it up for him to see.

 

            “This is official business.” She said holding the badge like the shield it was in the shape of.

 

            “Sorry.” The cop said stepping back. “Do you require assistance?”

 

            “Hand cuffs.” Max said over his shoulder.

 

            “Hand cuffs?” Kestrel asked.

 

            The officer took his cuffs out and Max gently placed them on the young woman’s small slim wrists. The three of them lead the girl back to the BMW and put her in the back seat of the car. She didn’t struggle, seemed relived to be caught actually. They thanked the officer for his help and began to drive back to the mansion.

 

            “What do we do with her?” Kestrel asked, as she started the car.

 

            “Take her back to the house.” Max said.

 

            “You’re Max Zane.” The girl said.

 

            “I am.” He said.

 

            “Can you protect me?” She asked.

 

            “Pardon?”

 

            “My life is in danger.” She said.

 

            “You tried to stab us.” Kestrel said. “You don’t know the half of it.”

 

            “I could have killed you both, I failed on purpose, but now they’ll kill me.”

 

            “You believe her?” Kestrel asked Max.

 

            “She’s scared.” Max said. “I think I do believe her.”

 

            Kestrel looked in the rear view mirror at the girl. She was maybe nineteen, Max’s age. Her body was slightly built, and she was pretty in that waiffish way that was still fairly popular. She had a bit of meat on her bones, but was a small and submissive looking girl. Her eyes were large and inspired a protection instinct in sexually active males. She was thinking that maybe Max wanted her to be scared, to need his protection. He was seeing what he wanted, not what was there.

 

            “Who’s going to kill you?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “They’re everywhere.” The girl whimpered.

 

            “Who?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Can you take these off?” she asked.

 

            “Who is going to kill you?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “The Power is going to kill me.” She sounded scared and confused. “I won’t try to run, just please take these off me, please.”

 

            “Well?” Max looked at the key in his hand and then at Kestrel.

 

            “She just tried to kill you not five minuets ago.” Kestrel said.

 

            “I’ll sit in the back with her.”

 

            She wanted to rail against this thought. Asking him why he was then going to get closer to the person who only a few moments ago had tried to stick a dagger between his fourth and fifth rib, but she knew the answer. The answer was that he wasn’t letting the big head do the thinking right now, and he wasn’t old enough to recognize that. She figured that she would have to think for the both of them, and thus it didn’t matter where he was sitting in that rearguard.

 

            “Fine.” Kestrel said and pulled the car over.

 

            Max got out of the car and climbed into the back seat with the young blonde girl. Kestrel wanted to pistol whip him across midtown, but let him climb in the back instead. She knew he was being stupid, and that if this had been a boy his age that had tried to stab them, he’d be bleeding from three places by now.  She started the car moving before he could uncuff the girl, the better to prevent him doing something stupid immediately. He uncuffed her gently and slid the cuffs into his jacket pocket.

 

            “You’ll have to frisk her. Before you take the,” She looked in the rear view mirror at him. “You’ve already taken the cuffs off haven’t you?”

 

            “Maybe.” Max said, and then turned to the girl. “I have to check you for weapons.”

 

            “Okay.” She said nodding. “I understand.”

 

            He ran his hands around her body, trying not to cop a cheap feel, but still cover all areas of hidden weapons. He found none, but it must be stated that he did linger when checking her sides and hips. It would have seemed to anyone else that he was mentally taking measurements. It seemed so to the person driving in the front seat. She felt that she had seen a movie like this once.

 

            The lead actress was driving the guy around to all these bad dates, never being brave enough to slap him upside the head with the fact that he should be with her. She didn’t know how the movie turned out; she couldn’t take the woman playing submissive as long as she did.

 

            “So lets start with simple things.” Max said. “What’s your name?”

 

            “Azela.” She said, “I’m Azela.”

 

            “Azela what?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Um,” She bit her lip and looked down, “Don’t remember.”

 

            “You don’t remember you’re last name?” Kestrel asked, thinking that Azela probably wasn’t her first name either.

 

            “Sorry mam, no.” Azela said.

 

            “It’s alright.” Max said. “Now who told you to kill us?”

 

            “Don’t remember.” She said again. “Sorry.”

 

            “Do you remember anything?” Max asked.

 

            “Spinning wheels.” She said. “Hand cuffs, electrodes.”

 

            “I see.” Max said, and sat back in the seat.

 

            “You won’t let them take me back will you?” She sounded suddenly frantic.

 

            “Not unless you want to go.” Max said.

 

            “No thank you.” She said and threw her self into his chest, holding him like a life preserver.

 

            Kestrel watched this and wanted to take them both out of the car and smack them from her to Jersey City with the butt of the SW five hundred. She knew that she wouldn’t be able to of course, their heads would split open long before the bridge. She wanted Max to sit in the front, and not be an asshole. He looked at her in the rear view mirror and tried to give an apologetic smile.

 

 

March 28th, 2003

2:35 p.m.

 

            “So what do we do with her?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Well, interrogate her.” Max said. “Or… something.”

 

            “I’m not sure he had an idea.” Kestrel said to The Weirdo.

 

            The three of them, standing together, looked into the room were Azela sat. She sat alone, her hands in her lap. She didn’t look up or around, just looked down at her hands. She looked like someone who was in a lot of trouble, and knew that the people speaking softly at the door were talking about her.  She sat on a lone chair, which was set about six feet away from the table it was a set to.

 

            “Do you know how to interrogate someone?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “We don’t usually interrogate, ‘cept by putting gun’s under people’s chins.” Max muttered.

 

            “Sounds good to me.” Kestrel said.

 

            “We can’t do that.” Max’s voice rose a tiny bit, to a hiss.

 

            “Why not?” Kestrel said.

 

            “It’s not, ya know, sensitive.” Max said.

 

            “Sensitive?” Kestrel asked. “May I for a moment point out that if that were a man you’d have beaten him bloody and made him give you his mother’s phone number so you could tell mom about the ass whipping her kid just got.”

 

            “She’s got a point.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “But,” Max whined. “But she’s you know.”

 

            “A girl.” Kestrel said.

 

            “Cute?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Yeah.” He said nodding.

 

            Kestrel rolled her eyes and gave out a sigh. She looked at The Weirdo for support; he stared back at her, implacable. She looked from one to the other, Max at least had the decency to looked pained by the idea.

 

            “Watch and learn.” The Weirdo said walking in.

 

            “Hi.” Azela said as The Weirdo walked into the room.

 

            “Hi.” He said drawing out his forty-five. “This is an awfully big gun.”

 

            “Um.” She said.

 

            He sat down on the table, looking at her. He then set the gun down on the table next to him. He cracked his knuckles and the sound filled the room. The knuckle cracking took some time and he was methodical about getting as many pops and snaps out of his hands as possible. When this was done, he picked the gun back up and held it with both hands. Actually he held the stock with his right hand and the barrel with his left, holding it reverently.

 

            “How are you?”

 

            “Fine I guess.” She said, watching every move of the pistol the way a bird would watch a snake.

 

            “I’m going to ask you some questions.” He said. “And if you don’t answer, I’m going to have to use this.”

 

            He held the gun up so she could see it, without actually holding the stock or pointing it. Her eyes watched the movement of the pistol, as if they were somehow attached to the gun with invisible cords. He set the gun down next to him on the table and walked towards her.

 

            “I don’t want to do that though, savvy?”

 

            “I think so.” She said.

 

            “So what we’re going to do is this.” He said and leaned back.

 

            He was about to speak again when the call came, which is unfortunate. She was, at that moment, so keyed up that she would have told him anything. He could have asked anything he liked and gotten the answer to the best of her ability and knowledge. The cry came out though and the moment was completely and irrevocably lost.

 

            “Weirdo!” Jack’s voice roared through out the house.

 

            The Weirdo stood, grabbed the pistol and walked toward the door. Jack came stalking down the hall and the two men met just outside the doorway. Jack already had his suit on, the armor platting nearly flush with his skin, pieces of the armor rising up to form extra protection.

 

            “They have my son!” Jack shouted.

 

            “Who?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Some bastards.” Jack said shoving forward a piece of paper.

 

            It was folded into three parts, like one might fold paper to put in an envelope. It was a single piece of twenty-pound printer paper, available from any office supply store. The text was from a Windows font, there was no tell tale r from a particular brand of typewriter only manufactured between nineteen twenty-nine and nineteen thirty-two. The note gave an address to start with and ended with the caption that if he wanted to see his son again John Uniton would give himself up.

 

            “This is a trap.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “They grabbed Rutherford and smacked Marla across the head.” Jack said as he pulled his helmet on.

 

            “Then into the trap we go I guess.” The Weirdo said.            “Max, you stay and watch the young lady, Kestrel you come along.”

 

            “Why do I have to stay?” Max asked.

 

            “Okay, then Kestrel can stay and interrogate. I’m sure she’ll get a lot of useful information after breaking the nice girl’s fingers.” The Weirdo’s words came in a quick rushed way. He didn’t care about anything that happened to her, he wanted to get moving. 

 

            “I’ll stay.” Max said.

 

“If you like.” The Weirdo nodded.

 

            The three of them walked to the front of the house. Jack didn’t wait for anyone to put their coats on, simply walked out the door. A few seconds later and the sound of his motorcycle rumbled through the house, and he was gone. The Weirdo put his coat on and watched as Tommy came down the stairs, struggling into his trench coat. He was wearing a pair of jeans and a white shirt underneath the coat. He did not look like he was ready for action, and was not wearing a holster. Where he planned to produce guns from then is anyone’s guess.

 

            “Don’t leave yet, I’m coming.” Tommy said.

 

            “You can’t come.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Why the fuck not?”

 

            “You’re not wearing a tie.” The Weirdo said. “You don’t even have you’re suit on.”

 

            Tommy actually looked down at his clothes in order to argue that there was nothing wrong with his clothes. He then realized that he was being razzed and looked up at The Weirdo. Had their been more time he might have made an argument about how this wasn’t the time to talk about dress codes. As there wasn’t more time though, he made only one comment.

 

            “Shut up Weirdo.” And walked out the door, putting his hat on.

 

            They took two cars, the sedan and one of the sports cars. The reason for the Porsche was not so much too look cool, but rather to keep up with the sedan. If some one were to talk about aerodynamics, or wind resistance, they might point out that the sedan had a limit to how fast it should be able to go. They might point out that the car would have difficulty being properly steered after a while. The problem is, that the car didn’t care. The midnight blue sedan, that looked much like a thirties roadster, didn’t know about aerodynamics. It didn’t care either; it just wanted to go fast.

 

           

March 28th, 2003

2:58 p.m.

 

            There was a lot of small arms fire coming from the building that had a large stone and steel marquee that proclaimed it to be Operations Systems Incorporated. A name like that two days ago would have meant nothing. Now the word system made The Weirdo’s mind clutch the word, searching and thinking about possible meanings. The Weirdo stopped the car right on the street, and damn the traffic. The police could ticket him if they liked it was their right. He looked around for a moment and noticed that there were less people on the streets than he would normally expect.

 

            Jack’s bike had apparently been abandoned before it had stopped moving. A long streak of blue paint had scrapped off onto the sidewalk, and Jack was nowhere to be seen. The Weirdo threw the door of his car open and flung himself out, running around the car. Kestrel and Tommy were getting out of the Porsche as The Weirdo ran towards the building’s doors. The Weirdo stopped up short when he saw Jack leaping over a rail and running towards a door. A figure in white burst out of one of the doors and looked around. The Weirdo recognized Lilith under the make up when she looked at him. She ran towards him as Jack burst out the door. It took a moment for The Weirdo to realize that Lilith was carrying young Rutherford in her arms. The Weirdo couldn’t see through his helmet, but his body language told him Jack was scared. What could possibly scare Sir John Uniton enough for it to show through the armor and helmet was probably not something that a person would want to be around.

 

            “Take him.” She shouted, shoving the child into his arms.

 

            “Jack?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “Get him out of here!” Jack said turning towards him.  “I put it down for a second but I think it was getting back up.”

 

            “What was?” The Weirdo asked, and then saw it.

 

            The thing rushed through the lobby and towards the large plate glass windows. It was not the sort of thing a person would later admit to actually seeing, unless some one had photographic evidence that it existed. A person would simply not want to admit to that, lest they be declared insane or drunk. The Weirdo turned and began to run to the car, his body suddenly moving without full conscious thought. He opened the door and sat Rutherford down into the passenger seat and slipped the seat belt on him.

 

There was a loud satisfying thump instead of the crash of glass he had been expecting to hear. The Weirdo turned and saw that the thing had smashed into the bulletproof glass that the building owners had put up. In these interesting days a builder felt a need to make the front of the building a little more durable. The glass had spider webbed, but hadn’t broken. The thing drew back and swung towards the window again. The second strike proved more fruitful full than the first and the beast’s head made it through the window. It pulled back and the third time proved to be the charm. It wasn’t as if the glass shattered. It was more that a section of the laminated glass fell over. There was a hole just big enough for the thing to work its way through.

 

            The Weirdo closed the door and took a moment to look at what Jack and Lilith had apparently been fighting. For their part they had seen enough of it and were running to his bike. They were screaming for him to run, but he could feel the black gun like a fist next to his chest. It would only take one shot from the mysterious black gun to put this thing down, probably. There were no assurances in this world, but the gun was something you could depend on. He could feel his hand want to draw it out, his fingers danced at his side. He felt, for that moment, like the old gun fighter he could have been.

 

            “Go!” Lilith screamed. “It’s the boy it’s after.”

 

            The thing then realized where Rutherford was and cried out at The Weirdo. His hand flew into his coat and came back out in the blink of an eye, faster then any high noon draw. The gun that The Weirdo pulled out was not the black gun of legend. Rather it was the forty-five automatic that he usually carried. He fired one round, which struck the creature about where he thought its heart might be. There was no reaction, but to have the creature stop and looked at its haggard robes and then at him again. The Weirdo then realized he was up against something pretty spectacular. He began to move around the car, because he was full intending to get the hell out of there.

 

            It was about ten feet tall, and comprised mostly of head and torso. It wore long red haggard robes, which didn’t seem to have feet sticking out of it. In fact there was nothing sticking out of the bottom of the robes. This could either have meant that the thing had very short legs, or had none. It floated about ten feet in the air, and held a huge scythe in its hand. Just to make the point, it looked at though there were wisps of flame coming off the scythe in its hand. There was a sort of skin stretched over the skeletal hands and features of the face, but it was just that, just skin stretched over. There was no cartilage for the nose, no muscles for the lips. Looking at it, it might have inspired H. P. Lovecraft to write a story where a professor inherits a house from a colleague. There was a feeling coming off the thing, like hot dry air being expelled after baking in the desert for a thousand years. The air smelt like the deserts of Egypt, or possibly Nevada, somewhere that hasn’t seen rain since the rise of mankind anyway.

 

“Now there’s something you don’t see everyday.” Tommy muttered.

 

“And we see a lot.” Kestrel said.

           

“Fuck monkeys.” The Weirdo said and got behind the wheel of his car.

 

            He slammed the door shut and revved the engine into life, slamming the clutch down and forcing the stick into first. He pushed his foot down so hard and sudden that the car revved loudly before he took his foot off the clutch and then the tires squealed as he took off. The thing let out a loud shrieking cry as the car began to move with the greatest of haste far away from it. It raised the blade of the scythe and began to peruse the car with at least as great a speed as the car had.

 

Jack lifted his bike and slung a leg around, Lilith mounting behind him. Her hands wrapped tight around his waist as he gunned the engine and the two of them rocketed away after them. Tommy looked at Kestrel behind the wheel of the Porsche. It was a sort of moment, when the two sensible characters realize that all the insensible characters have already left.

 

            “Do we follow?” He asked.

 

            “Dare we not?”

 

            “Well I can dare.” He said.

 

            “Do you want to tell him why we didn’t follow?” She asked.

 

            “Good point.”

 

            “So lets go.” She said

 

 

March 28th, 2003

3:02 p.m.

 

            “Are you alright Rutherford?” The Weirdo asked. “All strapped in nice and snug?”

 

            “Yup.” The child answered.

 

            “Good, you want to see how fast this car can really go?”

 

            “Can we?”

 

            “Sure why not.” The Weirdo said, watching as the beast following screeched it devilish screech at him in the rear view mirror.

 

            He wanted to close his eyes and concentrate that would have helped the trick. The need to keep his eyes on the road though kept them open. He extended his fingers as best he could while holding the wheel and pushed his will out ahead of him. If he could stretch a suggestion out far enough, he might be able to do this with out actually killing anyone. That would be nice.

 

His breath began to come in hot, shallow bursts as he stretched himself out. About two miles a head was the suggestion to get out of the street, a mile and a half and a definite need to move was inserted. A mile a head of him, a genuine panic attack would surface if the person didn’t get out of the way, and a half mile ahead, a huge gust of wind lifted people and cars from the path. With the way thus clear, he didn’t have to worry so much about maneuvering through the street.

 

            He did have to worry about where the street was leading him, but not about people being in it. This did mean that if he drove carefully around the streets and stuck to the map in his head, he could drive as fast as the car would go. The car didn’t so much roar or rumble as give out a sort of happy gleeful giggle. The car was stretching its legs in a way that it was rarely able to in this city. The city had lights and traffic and the car didn’t like that. This car wanted to run, and run fast. It’s engine was the giddy sound of a child who has found themselves in school after hours and able to run with out anyone telling them to stop.

 

            They were traveling at nearly three hundred miles per hour, but the beast was keeping up almost perfectly. The scythe scrapped the bumper at one point, causing The Weirdo to turn down another road, which of course meant the thing nearly caught up with them while they were performing the turn. Turning at the incredibly high speeds they were traveling at meant that they couldn’t just make a simple turn. They would have to go into four-wheel drifts that lasted a hundred yards and then rushing back up to speed. After a short while it was obvious that he would have to find a strait and narrow path that he could find some sort of escape down.

 

            It would be difficult to say how exactly the idea of the Brooklyn Bridge came into his mind. Perhaps it was the flaming death coming to claim him, and how the flames related to a burning pumpkin. Maybe it was the feeling in the air he had sensed before, maybe he just had too much of a thing for the story. Either way, the idea that the thing couldn’t cross water came into his head and wouldn’t leave. The Weirdo suspected Grandma, but it could have been anybody. He looked at a street, which he knew to promise a more or less strait shot to the bridge, and spun the car around into a four-wheel drift. The beast caught hold of the car and it’s face came right into The Weirdo’s open window.  The breath of the thing was the rank smell of dry rotting leather and thousands of years in the sun. He picked up and aimed the sawed off shotgun they kept in the car for such occasions and aimed it out the window at the things face. The beast was trying to get into the car over but as they drifted it was hard for the thing to get a good hold of the frame. The Weirdo pulled the trigger and the gun shook in his hand as it fired.

 

            A sawed off shot is not a precise weapon, nor an elegant one. The removing of more than half the barrel means that the gun scatters it’s shot in a much wider pattern and travels in a much shorter area of effectiveness. There is also the point of the sound, which is quite something. The entire world seemed for a moment to end inside the car as the sound just outside the window flowed in. The beast took the full force of the blast directly to the face.

 

            It fell out of the air and crumpled onto the ground, rolling as it did so. The Weirdo didn’t just drive off, but watched it fall. A smile broke over his face and he looked at the shotgun and tossed the smoking weapon over his shoulder. He then decided to taunt the creature. The Narrator would like to point out at this moment that this was a stupid thing to do.

 

            “Yeah.” The Weirdo said. “Fuck you.”

 

            One hand of the creature spread out and it pushed itself up, it’s eyes fixing on The Weirdo. It then leapt suddenly into the air as if nothing had happened. The Weirdo had to put the car into gear and start driving awfully fast as the thing came closer. The tip of the scythe caught the bumper of the car and split the rail.

 

            The Narrator would like to say told ya so.

 

            The Weirdo’s eyes closed half way as he concentrated his will out, and pushed the car faster. The car now no longer was giddy, but serious, this was obviously an important run and it was going to give it’s all in the drive. There was still a while to go, but he was suddenly struck with the urge to switch on the radio. The song that blared out of the speakers was made by a young bleach blonde, one whose sultry videos sold the music much more than the music did.

 

            “I would not have put this in.” He told Rutherford as he pressed the button that spat the minidisk out of the deck.

 

            “No?” Rutherford asked, gripping the seat belt.

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said. “I think Max has been selecting the music again.”

 

            “Oh.” Rutherford said.

 

            “This is mine.” The Weirdo said sliding a different mini disk into the deck.

 

            It took a moment, but then a voice came over. It was explaining how entropy worked in very precise and boring terms. An Englishman, who was explaining how entropy was like a box full of marbles, was reading it. The Weirdo popped this one out and replaced it with yet another disk.

 

            “Audio book.” The Weirdo said. “Science. Very interesting, just not now.”

 

            Another moment and a piano player who apparently had caught his pants on fire began to play. This player’s pants had apparently caught on fire just as the recording had started but his contract stated that one the recording had started he had to finish the song. He was there fore tearing through the song as quickly as possible.

 

            “Michele Petrucciani, songs called she did it again.” The Weirdo said. “You like?”

 

            “It’s great.” Rutherford said. “Could you jut watch the road though?”

 

            “We’re almost to the bridge.” The Weirdo said. “We’ll be okay.”

 

            “Will we?”

 

            “Hasn’t your father ever told you about Sleepy Hollow?”

 

            “He says I’m too young for that movie.” Rutherford said.

 

            “It’s a book, kids today.” The Weirdo looked at the thing behind him and tried to push his foot a little farther into the floor.

 

            “What about Sleepy Hollow?” Rutherford asked.

 

            “Well this charming and brilliant guy named Icabod Crane was being chased by an evil spirit, like we are. Well what he did was cross the old bridge and the monster couldn’t cross the bridge.”

 

            “Why not?” Rutherford asked.

 

            “Because the undead can’t cross running water.” The Weirdo said. “I think.”

 

            “But it’s not running water, it’s a bridge. Surely it knows that.”

 

            “Don’t spoil a good thing kid.” The Weirdo admonished. “I don’t want to die because this thing suddenly caught logic off you.”

 

            The car roared as the bridge came into sight, and the thing managed to get a hold of them. The scythe slammed into the trunk, and the thing began to drag on them. It was also drawing itself closer by using the length of the scythe’s handle like a rope. It wasn’t strong enough to stop them, but it was slowing them down. Even if it couldn’t stop them it only needed to get into the car. The Weirdo reached down behind him and found the sawed off shotgun. He reflected that he had only fired of the barrels and he had another shot left in it.

 

            “No,” The Weirdo shouted. “We’re almost fucking there.”

 

            He opened the door, which you shouldn’t do, and leaned out firing the shotgun. With speed and lack of a steady base the gun nearly missed entirely, but a few pieces of buckshot did smack the top of the things head. The beast wasn’t very much hurt, but it did let go of the scythe, and The Weirdo nearly lost his head when the car door slammed in on him. His foot slammed back down on the gas and the car flew across the pavement, the creature reaching and scrapping for the end of its weapon. It was flying so fast, and nearly had hold of the end of the scythe again as his prey raced towards their apparent salvation.

 

            “C’mon.” The Weirdo said, “Just get across the fucking bridge.”

 

            The car put on an extra burst of speed, and actually caught air as they came across the bridge. The Weirdo wondered as they hit the bridge, what the hell he was going to do if this didn’t work. He was going to have to fight the thing in a strait up fight he supposed, which was a pleasant idea. He always liked the idea of fighting hell’s fastest traveler in hand-to-hand combat. Maybe he could get it to play him at canasta for the prize; he was a great canasta player.

           

The beast was to be spared the desperate canasta ploy though, the bridge worked it’s odd magic. It gave out as they crossed water, screaming at him as the car came to a halt. The Weirdo reached behind him and lifted the Thompson from the back seat. He kicked the door open and raised the gun to his shoulder as the beast looked like it wanted to approach again. He was ready to fire, but then it stopped moving again.

 

            The thing stopped up short and screamed with frustration, swinging its claws at the air. The Weirdo was unsure how it happened later, because where was the ramp? Jack’s bike was suddenly in the air, the rear wheel landed on the things head and brought it down to the street level. Jack brought the bike to a screeching halt and got off it, Lilith leaping off as well. He and The Weirdo walked towards the fallen beast, The Weirdo a little more tentative than Jack did. He grabbed the thing by its robes and dragged it across that magic line where there was water under it.

 

            The thing screamed and flailed and screeched, swiping it’s clawed hands at Jack. The nails bounced off Jack’s armor though, and Jack was too angry to notice anyway. He dragged the beast until there was a good deal of water below them. He then pushed the beast against the railing, as if he meant to throw it off. The thing screamed in what almost sounded like words, but could have just been cries. The Weirdo watched as Jack held its head over the rail, so it could see the river below.

 

            “You’d better learn to speak English really quick.” Jack said ramming the barrel of his pistol under the creatures chin. Not that it matters but it was a Heckler & Koch USP Tactical. “Why?”

 

            The thing only screeched out a reply, it’s eyes glancing down at the water below it. It screamed out and tried to claw as Jack’s helmeted face, the nails clattered against the helmet making pathetic scratching sounds. It screamed and seemed to be in genuine terror of the water below it. It had huge yellow eyes that kept staring down at the water and then up at Jack. It screamed something and pointed with its bony finger towards Lilith, screeching and gnashing its teeth.

 

            “Not good enough.” Jack said.

 

The thing seemed to be really afraid of its fate. Jack was unmoved by it’s terror and simple shot it through the head. This was like shooting a ten thousand year old jar full of dust. The head exploded out ward and the dusty brains were carried by the wind.  Jack threw the remains over the ledge, watching as it fell into the water. When it did hit the water it exploded into a flame that quickly died away and all that was left was an orange cloud in the water that soon dissipated and was carried out to sea. If one had been watching carefully, one would have noticed Jack spinning the gun on his finger before holstering it.

 

            “All gone?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “All done.” Jack said, pulling his helmet off.

 

            “Daddy?” Rutherford’s voice came from behind The Weirdo.

 

            Jack fell to one knee and his son ran to him, his face gaining some of the color it had lost. Jack’s watery blue eyes watched as his son came to him. Jack took Rutherford in his arms and The Weirdo walked away as Rutherford’s tears began to fall. He looked at Lilith, who stood against Jack’s bike.

 

            “He doesn’t seem the type to normally drop his bike.” She said, conversationally.

 

            “He’s not.” The Weirdo said. “Why were you there?”

 

            “I saw them snatch the boy, and I decided to follow them.” She said. “I knew what Marla looked like, so I knew that it had to be his son.”

 

            “Lucky you came.” He said. “It would have been tough to get him otherwise.”

 

            “Thanks.” She said smiling.

 

            It was then that Kestrel and Tommy drove up, their car’s lights splashing across the two of them. He noticed for the first time how cold it actually was, and noticed that he had been sweating before. He looked at her and she looked to be sweating as well. He hadn’t noticed until the lights came up around them but there was a scorch mark on her legs where the thing must have grabbed at her. The Weirdo walked towards the car as Kestrel killed the lights, he looked down and found he was still holding the Thompson. She got out and looked at the two of them as he walked to the car.

 

            “We got here late huh?” She asked.

 

            “Fraid so.” He said. “It’s alright, you’ll be there for the next one. Can you take Rutherford home?”

 

            “There’s no back seat in that thing.” She said.

 

            “He could sit on some one’s lap.” The Weirdo offered.

 

            “Why don’t you just ask her to meet you in an hour and take Rutherford home?” Kestrel asked.

 

            “Because I don’t want to.” He said. “Tommy, you take the car home.”

 

            “Sure.” Tommy said. “Why don’t you bring the gun and we can stow it.”

 

            The Weirdo followed Tommy to the car and the two of them stood at the back of the car. They looked at the large scythe stuck in the back of the car. The Weirdo put the machine gun in the back seat and then walked back to look at the scythe some more. It almost vibrated in place as it stuck like a large agricultural implant. Odd that it would be a full sized European scythe and not a smaller Egyptian sickle.

 

            “We don’t stow weapons.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “But you and I are probably the only one’s that know that.” Tommy said gripping the end of the scythe. “You’re not going to go to bed with her tonight are you?”

 

            “I hadn’t actually planned that far.” The Weirdo said as he took hold of the scythe as well. “Why?”

 

            “I’m just trying to figure out what your plans are.” Tommy said as they tugged.

 

            “Damn it’s stuck in there.” The Weirdo said. “What’s it matter what my plans are?”

 

            “I like knowing things.” Tommy said as the blade began to give.

 

            “Why though?”

 

            “You haven’t had a date in a year.” The blade slipped out a little more.

 

            “So you think I should date more?” The blade finally slipped out and they threw it onto the ground behind the car.

 

            “Judy thinks you need to get laid, to put it in the most blatant terms.” Tommy said. “She’d love to volunteer for the job.”

 

            “She’s told you this?”

 

            “Not as such.” Tommy said. “She’s worked around the question by being hypothetical. You’ve never noticed how she flirts? She doesn’t see her self in a traditional role of a man’s property. She figures that if I can do her and Sheila, she should be able to other people as well.”

 

            “I suppose that makes sense.” The Weirdo said. “But I’m not sure about… um.”

 

            “I’m not offering her to you.” Tommy said. “I’m just saying, that some people think you should be seeing someone. You said you like her.”

 

            “I did.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I mean you sat next to my bed for two hours today and explained why she was so hot. I see you were understating, as always, and yet it’s only been a year. I wouldn’t want to think you’d rushed into something.”

 

            “Are you encouraging me or discouraging me?”

 

            “Just pointing out each opinion as they come to me.” Tommy said examining the hole that the scythe had left in the trunk. “I think you should be careful.”

 

            “Kestrel doesn’t trust her.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “I’m not sure I trust her as of yet.” Tommy said. “Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give her a chance.”

 

            “She also says that if she were a man I wouldn’t go near her.”

 

            “But she’s not a man, and we’ve all got to deal with that. I’ve got to deal with Judy telling me how cute she thinks Lilith is, and you telling me about how fascinating she is, and how Kestrel doesn’t quite trust her. Got to deal with all of that.”

 

            “You’re not going to help me at all are you?” The Weirdo asked

 

            “No.” Tommy said shaking his head. “I’m going to take the car home and see if I can’t get Jack and Max to help me fix the trunk door.”

 

            “Well you do that then.”

 

 

March 28th, 2003

3:45 p.m.

 

            It had taken a few minuets for the group to disperse, gathering bits of cars and arranging rides. Kestrel had taken Rutherford in the Porsche and Jack had ridden his bike home. This left The Weirdo and Lilith without a ride at the moment, but they seemed content to walk along the bridge back to the city.

 

            “When is your birthday?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “What?”

 

            “Your birthday, when is it?”

 

            “June fifteenth, why?”

 

            It was the right way to answer, facts mixed with wonderment why she was being asked. She didn’t just say a full date, which would have been a supplied answer. She didn’t give any of the answers too quickly. If they were prepared answers, she had practiced so this was probably the truth.

 

            “Just wondering.” He said. “What year.”

 

            “None of your business.” She said.

 

            “So before nineteen eighty.” He said.

 

            “What makes you say that?”

 

            “If you were less than twenty five, age wouldn’t matter to you yet. Either you’re being cautious, or you’re older than twenty five.”

 

            “When is your birthday, you’re so smart?” She asked.

 

            “August.” He said.

 

            “August what?”

 

            “Nope.” He said shaking his head. “First we’ll see if you remember it’s your birthday when I buy you a present.”

 

            “You think I’m lying about my birthday?” She said.

 

            “Maybe.”

 

            She smiled at him and laughed little, shaking her head. It was as if, for that moment, they were just two people who lived in New York and were starting to get to know each other. They might have both worked in the same company, a few rows of cubicles away from each other and just met in the lunch room that day.

 

            “Taxi.” She waved a cab down. “Lets go to my place, I need to change.”

 

            The cab pulled up and she began to get in, her body shuddering for just a moment. There was a collection of stiff muscles in her body he could see them trying to work. He stood and waited, that look of impending purchase on his face again. He crossed his arms and looked at her with tilted head.

 

            “Nineteen seventy seven you’re so god damn clever.” She said.

 

            He smiled and got into the cab.

 

            “You folded awfully early.” He said as he closed the door.

 

            “I didn’t want to risk you missing my etchings.” She sad.

           

 

March 28th, 2003

4:02 p.m.

 

            The surprising part was not the apartment that faced central park, nor the appointments that were in some of the latest fashions. The surprising part was that she actually did have prints of etchings on her walls. She showed him where some of the better ones were. Many of them had been obtained in Paris, she explained, although some were from England.

 

            “This set is from Germany.” She said pointing.

 

            “Very nice.” He said, his hands behind his back.

 

            “I have to take a shower.” She said turning to him and running a finger along the lapel of his trench coat. “It’ll just be a quick one.”

 

            “Okay.” He said.

 

            “You’ll still be here when I get out?” She asked.

 

            “Sure.” He said.

 

            “Okay.” She took of the white leather coat and hung it on a peg near the front door.

 

            She took the two shoulder holsters off and dropped the guns on a small end table. She then began to unclasp the white leather corset. There was a series of hooks that clipped into slots at the front of the corset to allow her to get in and out of the piece of clothing herself. Those who don’t wear corsets have no idea the trouble of getting into one from the back. It’s nearly impossible to do by one self in fact. It can be done, but lacing in the back is really a status symbol telling people who can afford to have some one else do it for you. She walked to the bedroom that was only a room because it was a box set apart from the other box of the living room and dinning room. She kept having to hold her breath and squeeze to unhook the tight garment.

 

            “Would you like some help?”

 

            “Are you prepared for what helping me out of my corset entails?” She asked,

 

            “I’m not sure.” He said.

 

            “Then I’ll do it.” She unclasped the last few hooks quickly and took the leather harness off.

 

            Her shape changed when she pulled it off. He hadn’t realized just how tight the corset had been around her waist till he saw her out of it. She went from pained to comfortable, and salaciously curved. He could tell as she moved that their had been no bra under the shirt, she had used the corset to hold her up. Her shape was now much more alluring than it had been, far healthier. She tossed the corset onto the bed and began to unbutton her shirt. She turned around just before entering the bathroom, her shirt hanging open just enough to cover her breasts but give the shape of them.

 

            “You promise you’ll be here when I get out?” She asked. “I’ve had people run of on me before.”

 

            “I promise.” He said, as solemnly as he could manage. “I’ll be here.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “I’ll only be a minuet or two.”

 

            The door closed and a moment later he could hear the running of water. He took the opportunity to poke around her kitchen. Years of being around the entirely wrong kind of person had told him that there was a huge amount of information in people’s kitchens if only you knew how to look. She had meat and frozen dinners in the freezer, fresh vegetables and left overs in the fridge. A bottle of Bolinger champagne was chilling in the icebox, and there was half a carton of eggs. The dishwasher was full of freshly washed dishes and although they were new, many of the pots had been used. She had already been here for a little while anyway, or someone had.

 

            He looked at the two guns she had strapped to her side, a pair of Walther P99 pistols. He slid the magazine from one of the titanium-coated pistols and took it from the gun. She was packing soft nose, hollow point rounds. There were little grooves along the bullet, which meant that either she or some one she knew had dum dumed the bullets. He slipped the magazine back into the pistol and looked at the two slots under each gun where spare slips could go. Two of the magazines had spent their rounds; the other two were still full though. He looked at the bullets of one and found that there were still more dum dumed hollow points.

 

            Because The Weirdo was a suspicious son of a bitch though, he ejected all the bullets from the magazine, to make sure they were all live rounds. They were live rounds and he replaced them when he was done looking at them. He thought that there should be some sort of feeling of guilt about doing this. He also thought though that a corset, outdated as it was, was a piece of underwear. If you were dealing with some one who wore their underwear over their clothes because it was uncountable sexier, they might do anything.

 

            He poked around her entertainment center while he waited for her shower to finish, noting that a quick shower in woman terms seemed to be an awfully long time to men. Quick showers were to him just that, less than five minuets. She had been there nearly ten. He then wondered what his damn hurry was, did he want her to find him fiddling with her guns?

 

            She had a lot of unopened DVD’s in her collection. They were mostly the sorts of movies women liked. Sappy comedies and costume dramas, as well as a few anime titles, which he suspected had girls transforming into sailor suited prostitutes. It wasn’t that he had anything particular against any of these, it was just that for the most part they got on his nerves by being the same thing every time. He watched a lot of experimental and foreign films, but he also watched a lot of action. He was a lot of action where he had to admit, the same thing seemed to happen over and over again. But that was life wasn’t it?

 

            He heard the water turn off but he’d lived around women long enough to know that it would still be another five minuets minimum. She surprised him though; he was just beginning to think about how she would be another five minuets when the door of her bathroom opened. She was briskly toweling her hair as she came out, her body wrapped in a white quilted robe. It looked amazingly soft and gentle to wear. She shook her head and looked at him as she came out.

 

            “I was a bit longer than I thought I would be.” She said, wrapping the towel around her hair.

 

            “Where you?” He asked.

 

            “You know damn well I was.” She said.

 

            “I hadn’t really noticed.” He said, a smile drawing itself across his face.

 

            “Yes you did.” She said walking back to the bathroom.

 

            He watched her walk through the apartment and noticed that there were no doors besides the one on the bathroom. The bedroom was simply another room next to the living room. He looked at the bed which was covered in white sheets, and made of the same pale wood that the floor and parts of the wall were covered it. She hung the towel up on a ring and turned back to him.

 

            “I’m still unsure as to weather or not I’m ready for you to see me naked.” She said playing with the collar of the robe.

 

            “Well, maybe I’m not ready to see you naked.” He said.

 

            “That’s a good point.” She said. “Are you?”

 

            “I’m always ready to see an attractive woman naked.” He said.

 

            “But you’re not prepared to do anything about it?”

 

            “No.” He said. “Not just yet.”

 

            “Would you like to see me naked?”

 

            The Universe held its breathe.

 

            He looked at her in the robe, thought about what was undoubtedly under that robe. His mind had formed a fairly detailed portrait of what she looked like without it. He would most defiantly have liked to see if his mental picture matched reality, but he couldn’t just say that. It wouldn’t be right to say that sort of thing that would be crude. He didn’t want to seem crude, but he did want to compare mental image to the truth.

 

            “I might.”

 

            She shook her head at him.

 

            “Too non committal.” She said and turned around.

 

            She walked to the door of the bathroom and The Weirdo looked out the window again. He felt a pain in his chest, and touched the place where the sword had gotten stuck I his rib cage. That place where Loki had nearly had his victory. He thought this might be a reminder that time wasted was just more time being wasted. He had actually died once did it have to happen a second time before he’d take opportunities?

 

            He looked back to her and the robe dropped. Her back was muscular, yet still soft and feminine looking. On her left shoulder blade was a large tattoo of a sweeping crusader’s cross. A cruciform sword was in the design locked within the cross. She picked up a pair of panties and slipped them on. Actually she placed them on the ground, slipped her feet into them and then crouched down and slid them up her body. She managed to do this without reveling anything that couldn’t be shown on national television. She pressed her arms to her breasts and turned just enough to make sure he was watching. She gave a little laugh and pulled a brazier from the closet next to her. She slipped it on and then turned around, confident that the most interesting parts had been covered. The thin sheerness of the silk meant that she might as well be nude but she was confident that she had made her point. She pulled a t-shirt from a drawer and slid it on. She then pulled a pair of jeans from the same drawer and slid into them, lying onto the bed so she could put the pants on both legs as once.

 

            “I love being able to say that I don’t put my pants on one leg at a time.” She said. “I can intimidate other women so much easier that way.”

 

            He laughed at this, and she laughed too. It was an enjoyable moment for them both. She got up off the bed and joined him by the window, and they both looked at the view for a long moment. She touched his hand and was pleased when he didn’t draw away from her. He liked her enough to stand with her, holding hands while looking out a window.

 

            “It’s beautiful isn’t it?” She asked. “I’ve only been here about a week. They tried to supply some movies they thought I’d like, a lot of frozen meals.”

 

            “How much time do you spend here?” He asked.

 

            “As much as I can.” She said. “The head quarters is downtown, but I try not to go there too much. They tell me where there’s going to be trouble and I go.”

 

            “Going to be?”

 

            “They employees a battery of psychics to help prevent crime by getting it just as it happens. They tell me where something’s going to happen and I show up just in time to stop it.”

 

            “So that’s how you really knew where Rutherford was.” He said. “You didn’t see Marla get hit, but they did tell you where he’d be.”

            “I don’t mean to lie.” She said. “It’s just usually quicker and easier than telling the truth.”

 

            “You still shouldn’t do it.” He said.

 

            “I know, and I’m sorry. I’ll try to remember to tell you the truth, no matter how complicated.”

            She walked from the bedroom to her sitting room. It was called the sitting room because the area of the room was sunk two feet lower than the bedroom and one foot lower then the kitchen dining room area. She sat on the couch and patted the spot next to her. It was a beautiful place, but The Weirdo couldn’t help but notice it was rather small. It was a place for one person, maybe two if they were deeply in love.

 

            He sat down on the couch next to her and she leaned against him. Her body was warm and soft, and it made him think of happier times. She smelled sweetly of her shampoo and conditioner, and there was still a fresh from the shower softness about her. Her damp hair soaked into his shirt, but only just a bit. He could tolerate a bit of wet on his shirt. He put an arm around her and touched her cheek gently.

 

            “I don’t want you to hate me.” She said. “I really like you.”

 

            “I like you too.” He said. “But we can’t begin like this, not with one of us lying. Keeping secrets I can understand, but don’t fib.”

 

            “Okay,” She said. “I’ll remember that.”

 

            They sat in silence for a while, looking at the blank television screen. It was a large plasma screen, but it was off right now. She curled her way deeper into his side, and he began to wonder what he was getting himself into. Her head raised up and looked at him, she was shivering ever so slightly. The reddish blue of her eyes drained down to her pupils like they were a drain, leavening only a stark white. Then silvery green flowed in from the pupils. She placed her hand over his heart and her fingers twitched over the place very slightly.

 

            “I think I would like you to kiss me.” She said in a tiny, almost inaudible voice.

 

            It would be impossible to fully express the feeling that took him at that moment, but he felt as though all the marrow had been suddenly sucked from his bones. He felt as if his teeth were suddenly hollow and his bones were brittle and weak. It was an amazing feeling, to suddenly feel as though his foundation was so weak. Because at that moment, he felt as though he could have lifted the Statue of Liberty and carried her on his back.

 

            There was no voice at that moment, not Grandma with her constant stream of suggestions. There wasn’t his own voice, making its constant commentary on what he should do next. There wasn’t the voice of any other person he had come across. There was only he and her alone in this room. She tilted her head back, to accept a kiss that she wasn’t sure was actually coming. Her lips were trembling, and her body was soft and limp in his hands.

 

            And he did kiss her, deeply and passionately.

 

It was a kiss that started with lips pressing together and ended with mouths open and no one having their own tongue. They held onto each other, as if afraid they would be torn away by the sudden rush. He lifted her up and they spilled back down onto the couch, him lying on top of her. She wrapped her legs around his body and pulled him as close as they could be with clothes in the way. He pressed the closeness between them, pressed himself closer to her. She reached her hands into his hair and pulled his head back from hers.

 

            “Will you spend the night?” She asked. “Will you make love to me?”

 

            Something about her asking spoiled it. In order to answer he would have find words, and for words he had to think. He wouldn’t have had to think to just lift her up and take her to the bed. Had she said nothing, he would have done just that. He would have stayed with her, spent the whole night, but then he had a moment to think. In that moment, a spark of resistance exploded the gasoline of guilt that had built up in his head. The sudden explosion burned away all the desire and animal passion that would have taken over just a moment ago.

 

            “You won’t, will you?” She asked. “You’re going to leave, because I asked you to stay.”

           
            “I’m not going to have sex with you tonight.” He said. “And I’m not going to stay the night with you just yet.”

 

            “So you’re going to run out on me?” She asked.

 

            “No.” He said. “I am not going to run out on you.”

 

            “Then what?”

 

            “I like you.” He said. “I don’t want to screw something up.”

 

            “What?” She asked, as if she had trouble taking the concept in.

 

            “We go to bed together, and then what happens in the morning?”

 

            “We go our separate ways or stay together for a while.” She said.

 

            “And then I just walk out one day?”

 

            “Maybe.”

 

            “Not if we take this in its proper order.”

 

            “Order?”

 

            “That means we don’t have sex on the first date.”

 

            “So what do we do?”

 

            “You have an awful lot of movies.” He said.

 

            “You want to just watch a movie?” She asked.

 

            “Why not?” He asked.

 

            “You could be inside me right now.” She said. “We could be on the bed, with me reforming your view of the world.”

           

            “And then what?” He said.

 

            “You said this part already.” She said.

 

            “Yes, you missed the point the first time.”

           

“Don’t you want to fuck me?”

           

            He closed his eyes trying to figure out how to explain this. He also did it to show her he was trying to be patient with her. She knew the theatrics well enough to know that. His long lashed lids came down for a moment and he spoke.

 

            “Yes.” He said, opening the dark eyes again. “Just after I know you a little better.”

 

            He took her face in his hands and brought her close to him. He kissed her, accepting her tongue when she slipped it into his mouth. He let her go and then kissed her again, this time keeping his lips tightly closed. She felt the pressure of his lips against hers and felt her legs go weak. She thought it must be some kind of contest, and pressed back. He pressed harder and her knees buckled. He caught her and she found herself leaning into his chest, trying to catch her breath. She also found her ear was against his heart, and it was thumping hard and fast. She realized he wasn’t trying to form an excuse to get away from her. He just wanted to do what she wanted to do. He just wasn’t going to allow it to happen yet.

 

            She could feel understanding creep into her mind. She just had trouble accepting this idea because it had never been presented to her before. She had been around for a while and most people had accepted the sex when she offered, or they had run. Sometimes they had run right after the sex, but they usually took her up on the offer. She hadn’t come across some one who said there would be sex, just not now.

 

            “We could watch a movie.” She said.

           

            “Pick one then.” He said.

 

            The movie was one of the romantic comedies that the Crusade Group had decided she would probably like to watch. Not that it mattered; they talked the whole way through the movie anyway. She found herself curled up against him the whole time, talking about whatever subject struck them. They gave their opinions on each subject the movie managed to bring up and talked about each of their personal experiences.

 

            She’s had a long series of failed relationships, and he had Shannon. There had been other women a respectable number in fact, but there was also Shannon. It was hard to decide if she really was the love of his life, or if she had just died in his arms. Death can bring a young couple together in ways that only poets and novelists can understand. She found the story tragic, and the aspect of Loki fascinating. She asked a lot of questions about Loki in fact. Where had he come from? When had he first appeared? How strong was he? The Weirdo would have thought he was being pumped for information if he wasn’t talking about a dead man.

 

            The movie ended and The Weirdo got up, looking at the clock on the wall.

 

            “I should go.” He said.

 

            “Are you sure?” She asked sitting up.

 

            “Not really.” He conceded. “But we each need to figure out what we’re looking for and how we want to proceed.”

 

            “Okay.” She said. “Can I kiss you good bye?”

 

            He bent down and kissed her gently on the lips. She put her arms around his neck and held him to her for a long moment before letting him go. When they parted she was standing demurely next to the sofa.

 

            “I’ll see you later?” She asked.

 

            “Yes.” He said slipping his coat on.

 

            “I’ll call you.” She said.

 

            “Okay.” He said. “I’ll give you a call if you don’t call first.”

 

            “Okay.” She said smiling.

 

            He went out the front door and she closed it behind him. He took in a deep breath as he stood at the door, and was aware that she was watching him. The peephole was dark, even though the room beyond was well lit. He kissed the tips of his fingers and pressed them against the peephole and walked away, trying to catch his breath.

 

            He had wanted to see her naked, but some part told him to hold back. He suspected that Grandma didn’t want him getting into anything too early. If he had asked her too early, would she have discarded the robe? Would they have made love on the bed with out closing the curtains? Would they have let whatever members of the city who had telescopes watch as they made love? Could what they would have done been definable as making love? What sort of bedroom activates would she be open to performing? The things he had thought of, as things to do to her were less in the realm of love and more in the realm of grunt. They were sweaty thoughts that proved how long it had been.

 

            He had a feeling that Lilith had wanted him to take her, even as he left. She wanted him to throw her down on the bed and tear her clothes off. He thought that maybe she was a bit disappointed that he didn’t, even after their talk. He had a feeling that it would have been the worst thing he could have done though. She felt like damaged goods to him, but not irretrievable damaged. There was something wrong there, he couldn’t put his finger on it, but there was something.

 

            “You walked away?” a voice asked.

 

            The Weirdo turned and saw The Gray Man leaning against the wall. He hadn’t heard him come, but there he was, a man in a gray suit with gray shirt and tie. His hat was gray, his over coat was gray, even his hair and eyes were gray. They weren’t all the same shade, but they were all a colorless gray. The Weirdo crossed his arms and looked at him determined not to have him vanish on him.

 

            “Yeah, I walked away.” The Weirdo said. “What of it.”

 

            “We should talk.” The Gray Man said. “This cat and mouse shit has gone almost far enough.”

 

            “What cat and mouse shit?”

 

            “Lets go for a drive.” He said.

 

 

March 28th, 2003

7:51 p.m.

 

            The Weirdo had to turn away from the man in gray clothing in order to open his door, but when he turned the man was still there. This was a turn up for the books as he was usually gone by the time The Weirdo turned back. He looked at the man’s gray hair, pale gray eyes. There was a singular sadness in that face, as always there was. The gray man looked around and walked towards the car. He ran a finger along the hood of the car as he walked around to the passenger side.

 

            The Weirdo watched him get into the car, with an odd expression. It was like watching not some one who was unaccustomed to the car, rather some one who was unaccustomed to not being the driver. The Weirdo got into the car and started it. It would be folly to ask where the car had come from. As we know the car simply appears when The Weirdo wants it, it’s part of what makes the midnight blue sedan worth having.

 

            The sky had darkened in the last hour or so and now rain began to pat against the windshield. It took only a few seconds for the rain to begin to fall in earnest. The rain sheeted over the glass and made visibility difficult. The Weirdo turned on the heater to prevent the windows from fogging up. He opened the window on his side just a crack to allow heat out and cool air in.

 

            “So what do we want to talk about?” The Weirdo said.

 

            “You can’t go to bed with Lilith.” The gray man said.

 

            “Why not?”

 

            “It would be bad.”

 

            “I’m fuzzy on the whole good bad thing.” The Weirdo said, “What’s bad? Do I go through total protonic reversal?”

 

            “That wouldn’t be as bad.” The gray man said, with an air of total seriousness. “I can’t go into too much detail, because I haven’t the time. Suffice it to say that she is trying to seduce you for her own purposes.”

 

            “What if I want her to?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “I can’t tell you what to do or not do.” He said. “However I can tell you that going to bed with her would produce a child.”

 

            “What’s wrong with that?” The Weirdo asked.

 

            “See, this is why you and she shouldn’t produce an heir.” He said.

 

            “Why?” The Weirdo was beginning to get a bit angry.

 

            “Because you can’t see what would be wrong with that.” The Gray man argued. “Your last child died before she ever had a chance.”

 

            The Weirdo pulled the car over quickly and yanked at the gray man’s lapels. He yanked the man close enough to smell the sweet tea on his breath. His fists curled so tightly that the tendons of his left hand twanged against the bones. It was an odd thing that happened when he tightened his left hand into a fist. He could hear them twang when he closed his hand.

 

            “You’d better start talking strait pretty damn fast.” The Weirdo said. “Or I’m going to smash your face in.”

 

            “No, you won’t.” The gray man said. “You need the answers too badly. You’re not going to risk my vanishing and never returning.”

 

            “Why don’t I want a child with her?” He asked. “Why don’t you want me to have a child with her?”

 

“You might want to have a child with her.” He said pushing The Weirdo’s hands off. “Drive on.”

 

            “What’s your interest in my breeding?” The Weirdo asked.

           

“Could you have a child with a woman and still kill her?”

 

            “No.” The Weirdo said.

 

            “Then that’s one good reason.” He said. “You’ve either got to stay away, or go for broke.”

 

            “What the hell are you talking about?”

 

“There is something huge coming.” The gray man said reluctantly. “Worse than anything you’d ever thought you’d have to deal with. If you and Lilith end up on different sides, she’ll kill you or you’ll kill her. If you end up on the same side, you’ll be subjugated to her. You see?”

 

            “No.” He said. “I don’t see.”

 

            “I can’t tell you any more than that.” He said. “You’re either her slave or her enemy.”

 

            “How do you know?”

 

            “It has been… foreseen.” The man in gray said. “You’ve only got the two choices I’m afraid. If you make the wrong one, even Chronos couldn’t help you no body could help you. We shall soon be on the razor’s edge. Either we fall off one way or the other, or we get cut in half down the middle. Either way we don’t make it.”

 

            The Weirdo looked out into the rain swept streets, he noticed that traffic was awfully light even for a Sunday afternoon. There were only about half as many people as he thought there should be. He then looked back to the gray man, who was gone.

 

            “I usually manage to at least get to chapter four before the really weird shit starts to happen.” He said. “Usually it doesn’t begin till five or six, but at least chapter four.”

© 2014 Autumn Knight Productions

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April 27, 2014 - Posted by | Fiction | , ,

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