April 23, 2010

Giuseppe's Idea of a good time.

((Flashbacks. On the way to Mexico))

"Just drop it, Goule." I grumbled as I slipped the key into the lock of the motel room door. We hadn't gone far from home tonight. Giuseppe needed to get information concerning a priest from the owner of a nearby club.

I swung the door open and flipped on the light... and stopped dead in my tracks.

What I saw in my room was utterly horrifying.

There was a clothing bag on my bed, and laid out, nice and neat across the comforter, was one of the skimpiest school girl outfits I'd ever seen. It was barely shy of being considered lingerie. Knee high socks, heels, and all.

I stared dumbly at it for agood 30 seconds before the guys got impatient and pushed past me.
"Looks like you get to dress up tonight." White said, with a lecherous grin.

"No. Fucking. Way." I scowled and stomped past the bed and into the bathroom, slamming the door. I could hear the guys snickering. White called after me, "You know he won't take you inside if you don't wear it!"

If I hadn't already slammed the door, I would've done it even harder than the first time. That arrogant, self absorbed, bossy Italian sonofabitch. He expected me to wear that shit? Of course he did. And he probably would get perverse pleasure out of seeing me in it. Not because it was revealing, but because he knew it would make me ridiculously uncomfortable.

I stripped down, pulling off my clothes with jerky, violent gestures, and turned on the shower. The part that I didn't really want to admit was that it would certainly be effective.. which just pissed me off more. Giuseppe had this irritating way of doing things that not only annoyed the shit out of me- therefore satisfying him- but that also served a purpose, which made it even worse. It wasn't enough to just be the bane of my existence, he had to be right when he did it.

And this.. I should shoot him for this. Twice, even.

I stayed under the hot water until one of the guys knocked on the door.
'Will you hurry the fuck up?" Goule said, grumpily. As though he had any good reason to be grumpy. I was the one who had to go out in an outfit that made Britney Spears look virginal.
"Fuck off, Goule." I called back. But I shut the shower off and reached for a towel. We had places to be, after all. I cracked the door and stuck my hand out, and someone handed me the outfit, shoes and all.

As I examined the offending garment, I noticed that it even came with a fucking push up bra. I put everything on and tried not to look in the mirror as I did so. It didn't work. I caught a glimpse of myself and heaved a defeated sigh. The outfit was a knockout. I grumbled curses and grabbed for the small makeup bag. It would just look odd if I had the skimpy outfit, and no makeup.. if anyone bothered to look at my face, I mean. The push-up bra had to be something supernatural, giving even me an impressive amount of cleavage. I could still hear the guys making snide remarks as I slipped on the heels.

But when I opened the bathroom door and stepped out into the room, all the snickering stopped. They stared at me. Goule gave a low whistle, and White's gaze was a far cry from appropriate, practically eating me up. Jaleel looked me up and down and smirked. I squared my shoulders and walked past them all, putting a swagger in my step, causing the already dangerously short skirt to shift teasingly around my upper thighs. I felt all eyes on me as I left the room. I slammed the door behind me.

I may hate the outfit, but if I have to wear it, I'm damn well going to use it.


We pulled up to the club and parked in the already crowded parking lot. Everyone was dressed in their clubbing clothes, courtesy of Giuseppe. My outfit was the most eye catching of all of them, but the others didn't look too shabby either.

Giuseppe hadn't told us what information he needed, but then, he never gave many specifics. He was, as always, playing it pretty close to the chest. We walked into the club, and were immediately hit with a nearly palatable wave of noise. I could feel the heavy bass beat of the music in my chest. We all stood near the entrance and looked around at the throng of people. Jaleel pulled a cigar out of his suit pocket, lit it, and started puffing away.

We caught more than a few glances, either because of my outfit, or Jaleel's scars. I tried not to look too sour. It was challenging. Giuseppe scanned the crowd, leaned over to all of us, and muttered. "Create a distraction."

I scowled at him. "How do you propose we do that?"
He gave me a dry look. "Be creative." And he disappeared into the mass of gyrating bodies. I clenched my fists at my side. Maybe punching him in the face would have been a great distraction.. but now I had to think of something else.

Jaleel didn't seem phased. He just gave a shit eatin' grin and sauntered up to the biggest guy in the place, on the other side of the room. He was four inches taller than Jaleel, and probably twice as muscular. And Jaleel isn't a small guy.

He walked up and stood right in front of the massive man, pushing past the guys posse. I saw him take a big drag of his cigar, and without pulling it out of his mouth, he blew a giant mouthful of smoke right in the guys face.

The man's face twisted up into a sneer and he loomed over Jaleel, rage flashing in his eyes. "What the fuck?!"

Jaleel didn't miss a beat.

"This is the fuck!"

And he hauled off and decked the guy right in the face. The guys head snapped back like he'd been hit with a sledgehammer. Needless to say, a fight broke out on that side of the club. The bouncers had quite a few people to wade through before they could get close enough to break it up.

White looked at me and shrugged. "Our turn. Follow my lead."
I raised a brow at him as he stepped out into the crowd. The fight was going on on the other side of the large room, and there were still quite a few people completely ignoring it. White headed right for a blonde woman who'd been flirting shamelessly with everyone within arms length, male and female alike. She was gorgeous, and knew it. People were fawning all over her.

White walked past her and I watched as he grabbed her ass, rather forcefully.

She didn't jump in surprise, or smack him, as I would have done. Instead, she turned and gave him a sultry, come-hither smile, and winked at him.

Time to cue the fake crazy girlfriend. It wasn't hard at all to look furious. I just let go of the dam that had been holding in my anger since I'd put on this stupid outfit. With my eyes flashing, hands balled into fists, and face set in a scowl, I stomped up to the woman. "Get you're fucking hands off my MAN!" and I grabbed her wrist.

I felt, before I heard, the small bones in her wrist snap. I'd been channeling a little too much rage. I didn't mean to break her wrist.. but the anger was so intense.. and with my training, I knew just where to grab.. it was a rather unfortunate accident...

Because as soon as that bone made its unpleasant CRACK.. a noise that seemed to drown out even the heavy bass beat, the woman whirled and snarled at me, fangs bared right in my face, canines elongated and pronounced, and eyes flashing with a primal, bestial wrath that put my anger look like a kindergartner's temper tantrum.

Oh. Holy. Fuck.

I felt my eyes widen and I stumbled backwards, less than graceful in the 4 inch heels. It wouldn't matter either way, because she was on me before I could even draw in a breath to scream. She drew back her fist and I saw the punch aimed right for my temple. I felt a wave of pain and nausea, saw 8 different kinds of stars, and promptly fell unconscious, with the rampaging vampire out for my blood.


Jaleel sat strapped to a metal chair in the club owners office. He'd taken a couple good hits, but the marks were already fading. The other guy was tied up in a similar fashion a few feet from him, glaring. He was, apparently, the ghoul of the frenzied vampire that was currently screeching and clawing at the walls in the padded room with the reinforced walls, on the other side of the office. His name was Jackson.

The club owner, Donovan Wells, paced in front of them both, trying to control his own boiling anger. He stopped in front of Jaleel, moved in very close, eyes reading his face. His breathe smelled of mints, with a very faint scent of old blood. His voice was quiet, and spoke of terrible violence. "Who do you belong to?"

Jaleel set his jaw stubbornly and settled down in his seat. "I dunno what you're talking about."

Wells jerked back and clenched his jaw shut so hard Jaleel could hear his teeth creaking. He took a step back and picked up an empty metal chair, resting it on his shoulder like it was made of styrofoam. "Who. do you. Belong too. ghoul."

Jaleel could see the murder in his eyes, and decided maybe name dropping wouldn't be such a bad idea at this point, if it saved his ass. Dying would probably piss the boss off more than dropping his name.


Wells' eyes blazed, his muscles tensed, and he raised the chair to strike. He brought the heavy object down towards Jaleel's face... but swung around at the last moment, using his momentum and speed to bash the chair into the Jackson's head...and tear it clean off his shoulders. It hit the far wall and fell to the carpet with a wet thump. he tossed the chair over his shoulder into a corner.

The frenzied vampire shrieked louder. He stalked over to the padded cell, avoiding the arm that shot out and tried to claw him. "It is a shame when they can't be taught to control themselves.." Wells said to no one in particular as he opened a panel in the wall, and hit a series of small buttons. He took a big step back from the door. There was a loud whoosh, followed by a brief moment of high pitched shrieking, then silence.. followed by the smell of charred flesh.

Donovan Wells inhaled deeply, and exhaled slowly, presumably in an attempt to quell his anger. He turned to Jaleel, eyes narrowed. "Why'd he send you here?"

Jaleel just shrugged against his bonds, nonchalantly, like he hadn't just witnessed the man murder two people. "I'm supposed to give you a message."


I came too lying on the floor of the club, White unconscious on top of me, his nose bleeding all over my chest. There was a heavy glass ashtray on the floor, also bloody, presumably the cause of White's nasal hemorrhaging. My head was still spinning. A bouncer hauled White off and grabbed me none too gently by the arm, dragging us both into a back room. I wasn't expecting this to be a pleasant experience.

But when the door shut, the Bouncer held on to me until I could get my footing, keeping one hand hovering near by to be sure I didn't fall over. I was still pretty wobbly, until I kicked off the ridiculous heels. One guy started running smelling salts under White's nose.. and he came too sputtering and coughing. When he looked up at my breasts (because lets face it, he never looked anywhere else) he gave me a sheepish smile. My tiny shirt was drenched in blood.

One of the bouncers tossed me a clean white t-shirt. I saw the anticipatory grin start to spread across White's face, under the handkerchief he'd been given for the nose. I just glared at him and turned around. "Not even in your dreams, White."
"If only you knew, hot stuff." He said with a smile.

With my back to White, facing the door, I stripped off the shirt and let it fall to the floor in a soggy heap. The bra underneath was also soaked.. and would get the clean shirt gory if I tried to keep it on. So I took it off, and let it join the ruined shirt. I'd never be able to wear them again. Oh no. What a fucking shame.

I picked up the clean shirt and was just about to slip it on when the door opened, and Giuseppe walked in. He paused and raised a brow at my half naked self. I just glared at him, daring him to make a comment as I pulled the t-shirt on over my exposed chest. I made sure not to rush. I'd be damned if I'd let him think he could embarrass me any more tonight. So let him look. I doubted he even cared, so why the fuck should I?

I stalked over to a mirror to check my pupils. Concussions were never fun.

"Not exactly the kind of distraction I had in mind." Giuseppe said drolly, with a hint of irritation.
I scowled at him in the mirror. "Then I guess you should've been more specific. Where is everyone else?"
Right about then, the door opened and who I presumed was the club owner walked in, followed by Jaleel, then Goule, neither of which looked any worse for wear. The bastards.

Goule stood beside White, offering him a handful of clean tissues. "Sorry about the ashtray."
White grimaced and tossed the used handkerchief on top of the pile of bloody clothes. "Don't worry about it. Just learn better aim, shit."

"I hope none of you came to any lasting harm." The owner said, interrupting any further comments from the peanut gallery. His expression was bland and about as neutral as I think he could manage. We all shook our heads mutely.
"Good. Now please leave." His eyes stopped on Giuseppe, whose mouth twitched ever so slightly in what I think may have been a smile. He gave a small nod, and headed to the door.

We got more than a few looks as we left the club. I walked beside Giuseppe and grumbled softly as I padded barefoot over the sticky club floor. "Well I hope this little mission was beneficial to you."
He didn't look at me, but I saw the ghost of that I-know-more-than-you-know smirk that always makes my blood boil. This one was tinged with something slightly sinister. "Exceptionally."

I bit back my smart ass retort and drove us back to the motel in seething silence.

April 16, 2010

Late post

Post may not be up this week, or may be up tomorrow. I've had a really busy week, so I'll try to get it done Tomorrow, but I promise nothing. Back to our regularly scheduled flashbacks next week!

April 8, 2010

Infiltrating the Union of the Snake

(( More flashbacks. In this scene, Harper was waiting in the car as backup the entire time. However, this scene was awesome, so instead of doing it from her perspective, since she just sat there, It will be 3rd person. Asol and Goule were player characters that are no longer playing in the campaign.))

"So they're having you explore a 'haunted house'? What the fuck for?" Harper crossed her arms and leaned against the door frame of the confessional.

Tommy, Giuseppe, and Harper were gathered in the old church, the others either off doing other things, or in other parts of the church, unwilling to participate in this particular discussion. Giuseppe and Tommy had recently returned from a Union meeting, where they had posed as prospective members. Both looked the part, Tommy was only 19, and Giuseppe looked to be around 21. However, those in the group had quickly became skeptical that this was his real age.

Tommy was half sitting on the back of a pew, making a point not to look at Giuseppe, who sat on the steps to the altar, drawing in a sketch pad. "Not sure yet. We have to go in with a few other kids and check it out, and report back.."
Harper smirked at Tommy and Giuseppe. "Ghost hunting with Union kids. Sounds exciting."
Giuseppe quirked a brow at her over the top of his pad. "You're going to be our ride."

Her smirk wilted slightly around the edges, then finally dissolved into an annoyed frown. "So what's the deal with this Stone guy?"
"The kids talk about him like he's Jesus. Natalie got scared as shit when I asked her about him.. pretty sure he's our killer.. but no one, yet, knows where he is." Tommy said, thoughtfully.
"So why are all these kids so obsessed with this guy, if he's not even around?" She asked.
Giuseppe gave a small shrug. "He is, more than likely, supernatural in nature. It could explain the unnatural love the cult holds for him. Or they could just be brainwashed teenagers."
Harper snorted softly. "We're not lucky enough for it to just be brainwashing. What flavor you thinking?"
Giuseppe answered without looking up from his drawing. "Vampire, most likely. Maybe a mage.. but that is only speculation, as of yet."
Harper wrinkled her nose in distaste. "And what about this house? What's the deal with that place?"
Tommy just shrugged. "Supposedly haunted. Disappearances, noises, lights on at night when the house has been condemned for years.. the usual. That's all the info we have on it right now."
Harper fell silent, out of questions and smart ass comments.
After a moment, Giuseppe stood and walked back towards the rectory. "We leave in 20 minutes."


The house was an old, two story farm house. It looked sufficiently creepy, even in the middle of the day. The shutters were chipped and cracked, a few missing. Some of the windows were covered, others had no shutters over them. Oddly, All the glass was intact. There were even curtains. A once white rocking chair sat on the front porch, creaking in the breeze. It was disconcerting that the house showed no signs of vandalism.

Harper pulled the jeep onto the grass of the front yard, close enough for a quick escape, far enough back to survey the area. Not long after she pulled up, a beat up blue van pulled up and parked about 10 feet away, in the driveway. It was decorated with bad graffiti that was completely illegible to the layman, and was tattooed with numerous bumper stickers.

"Those your new friends?" Harper asked as she put the jeep into park. Tommy just grunted, and Giuseppe completely ignored the comment. They slid out of the car, and even Tommy looked grumpy.
"Keep your phones on. I'll call if I see anything from out here." She called after them as the car door shut.

Tommy and Giuseppe walked up towards the front of the house, pausing only briefly for the three kids who had piled out of the van to catch up. They all looked like goth band rejects, only one of which seemed like he wasn't stoned out of his mind, and instead, he wouldn't shut up.
"Hey, you remember the crew right? James, Kyle.. and I'm Asol. Tommy right? And.."
Asol paused, groping for Giuseppe's name. Giuseppe's eye gave one small twitch, and he turned towards the door. "Let us get this over with."
"Hey, sure man." Asol jumped up onto the porch and started prying off one of the address numbers with a pocket knife.

Giuseppe set his jaw, annoyed, and stalked up onto the porch, grabbing the door knob and turning. The door opened with a soft click. "Tommy, take the upstairs. You two, the back." The two teenagers turned, glassy eyed, and shuffled off to the back of the house.
"Hey, what about me?" Asol asked as he shoved the "3" into his pocket.
"Anywhere that is not close to me." And Giuseppe walked into the house.
"Whatever, dude." Asol followed on his heels.

The inside of the house was peculiarly clean. A layer of dust sat on everything, but the interior was completely devoid of the mess usually found in abandoned houses. There were no signs of squatters, or vermin, and the entire home was completely furnished with furniture and appliances that were several decades old.

Tommy went for the stairs. Asol crouched down and pulled a Crown Royal bag from his pocket. He dumped the contents onto the floor. A deck of tarot cards, a pendulum, and a few runes fell to the dusty wood. He cast the runes, picking up the pendulum and holding it by its leather cord. "Where should we look?"

The pendulum didn't move. It hung on the cord, pointing at the floor. Asol nodded once, put it down, and started digging at the floorboards with his pocket knife, trying to pull them up. All he succeeded in doing was raising the dust and sending himself into a coughing fit.

Giuseppe looked at him sharply from the living room. His voice was like ice. "Shut up and do something useful."

Asol shrugged, put his knife away, and started shuffling the tarot cards. He closed his eyes and drew one card, laying it face up on the dusty floor. It was the death card. He held the pendulum over the card. His eyes got rounder as the weight began to shake, then pulled forward, pointing directly at Giuseppe as he searched the downstairs. The weight followed him as he moved through the home.

Asol grinned widely, shoved all the tools back in the bag, and walked into the parlor where Giuseppe was inspecting the room.
"Hey.. are you dead?"
Giuseppe turned and stared at him incredulously. He pinched the bridge of his nose with two fingers and screwed his eyes shut. He spoke threw gritted teeth. "Go look in the garage."
Asol grinned as he turned to walk out of the room. "I'm gonna call you Deadboy!"
The only response was a monumentally irritated and restrained sigh.

Tommy moved through the upstairs as quietly as possible. The floor boards creaked and groaned in protest. The upstairs was just as pristine as the lower level, if not more so. The walls were covered with framed photographs of little girls playing outside. Oddly, the same girl never appeared in more than one picture. There were dozens of photos. The wall paper was pastel pink under all the dust. The place was eerily quiet.

He whirled sharply when he heard the sound of soft running footsteps.

Nothing. The dust hadn't even been disturbed. Nerves, probably. He took a deep breath and continued down the hall until something caught his eye. There was a bright spot of color on the door at the far end of the hall. He walked slowly down the corridor, a small knot forming in the pit of his stomach. He stopped in front of the door and exhaled a shaky breath. The door had a small, smeared red hand print.. in what might have been red paint, but was more likely drying blood. The door was also slightly ajar.

He drew his revolver from the pocket hidden in his jacket and stood to one side, pushing the door open slowly.

The sewing room was empty. Dying sunlight filtered in through the dirty window panes, refracting off the dust floating in the air giving the room a hazy, dreamlike look. A rocking chair sat in one corner, a bassinet in another, full of dolls. The entire room was white lace and pink trimmings. The sewing machine sat on its table, waiting for its owner to return. Beside it, sat a basket full of cloth, needles, and string. The whole room seemed to be suspended in time, simply waiting for someone to sit down at that machine.

Tommy walked over, frowning, and gingerly picked up one of the squares of cloth, squares that looked to be made for a quilt. But the cloth was too thick and heavy to be normal cotton or wool weave. It felt more like... very soft, thin leather.

Perplexed, Tommy shoved it in his pocket and walked out, eager to not be in the creepy, disconcerting room any longer than absolutely necessary. He couldn't shake the feeling that something was watching him.


Asol had finished with the garage, and had found nothing. He was quickly becoming convinced this place wasn't really haunted, which was a huge drag. What was he going to tell the others at the next meeting? Maybe he'd make shit up. Dead boy, on the other hand, was interesting as fuck. What luck being in the same group as that guy..

He was pulled from these thoughts by a faint sound of dripping. Dripping in a house that hadn't had water running in the pipes in years. Curious, he headed towards the kitchen. James and Kyle should've been done in there already but he hadn't heard a word from them. They probably went back to the van once Dead boy ordered them around the back. Kyle had been complaining that he was loosing his high. They probably never even came into the house.

He left the musty garage and turned down the short hall to the kitchen. Something smelled.. off. A faint wif of stank ass, with a weird underlying metallic scent. Maybe there was rotten food in the fridge. This place has probably been without power for awhile now. The other alternative never occurred to him.. until he stepped up to open the door to the kitchen. Asol's stomach fell into his feet when his shoe squeaked in the thick red liquid that was seeping under the french doors.


Harper sat in the jeep and waited. She was bored, and thinking about those kids annoying the shit out of Giuseppe had already lost its entertainment value. She sat, drumming her fingers on the steering wheel and watching the house.

But it was movement from the van, not the house, that caught her eye. She watched, and waited for it to repeat itself. Nothing. She frowned, pulling her gun out of its holster and laying it in her lap, safety off. The breeze picked up again for a moment, and she saw a tire swing swaying the wind and smiled slightly at her paranoia. But she didn't put the gun away.

She sunk low in the seat and turned back to the house. The dog tags beneath her shirt clinked softly, then turned ice cold. Cursing, she sat up and yanked them out to see frost forming on the edges. The stamped lettering had rearranged itself again.

It read, It thinks its alive. It's going to kill them.
"What? who? What the fuck are you talking about?" Harper's voice sounded silly to her, talking to no one in the car. But she knew he was there. He was always there. She just had no desire to use the drops to see and hear him. It was unsettling, and she had a limited supply. Or so she told herself.

The tags revealed nothing more. The stamped lettering reverted to normal, and the frost melted away. Harper looked back up at the house with a scowl. She let the tags drop, on the outside of her shirt this time, and sat low in the seat again, arms crossed. Driscoll never ceased annoying the shit out of her, even, or maybe especially, when giving her 'helpful' tips. But she focused her attention on the house again, scanning it more seriously than she had been before.

Which was the only reason she saw it. She bolted completely upright in her seat when she noticed a small figure, about the size of a 6 year old, dart quickly across one of the grime covered upstairs windows. What the FUCK was that? She grabbed for her cell and punched the speed dial with more than a little urgency.

When Giuseppe answered the call she didn't even give him a moment to speak.

"Unless you guys are having races on your hands and knees in the upstairs hallway, there is something in there with you. Get the fuck OUT. Now."


Asol slowly pushed the door to the kitchen open. It might have creaked, had the hinges not been dripping blood. The blood had not been seeping out from under the door, as he'd first though. No, its was a thick trail, like someone had been dragged through the doorway as they gushed the red stuff onto the tile. The trail led into the kitchen, more specifically, to the fridge. There were spatters all over the wall paper, smeared hand prints on the counters.. and a miasma of prints and smears on the door to the fridge. He could hear a soft dripping as the blood leaked out of the fridge and pooled below it. He approached the appliance slowly, the kitchen seeming to stretch out before him, so the walk was long and slow. The blood seemed to entrance him, and he had to see inside. The soft dripping had become a deafening roar. The rational part of his brain was screaming at him to run, but the morbid curiosity kept his feet moving forward, and kept his voice from crying out for help.

His hand was shaking when he reached for the fridge's handle. When he pulled, and the latch clicked, the door practically flew open from the pressure being exerted on it from the inside.

The smell got to him before his brain had the chance to process what he saw. Asol promptly vomited all over the gore covered linoleum. When he finished, and his brain caught up, he just started retching again at the sight. His band mates had been twisted and shoved inside the fridge, limbs, backs and necks at awkward and impossible angles, bones protruded from the skin in a dozen places. Kyle's eyeballs had popped from the sockets and hung like grotesque, lumpy, tears on his cheeks. The blood was everywhere, and the stench of voided bowels just made him retch harder, tears coming to his eyes.

He wasn't sure how long he knelt there, retching, but after what felt like hours, and was probably only a few seconds, Giuseppe ran into the room, Tommy on his heels, both skidding on the wet floor. Giuseppe cursed loudly, and Tommy barely managed to fight down his gorge at the gruesome mess. Giuseppe grabbed Asol under the arms and they ran from the house. Had Asol not been in a state of shock, he may have noticed that Giuseppe was running much faster than any person's legs should be able to carry them.

They burst from the back door, and Asol yanked himself from Giuseppe's grasp, stumbling onto the grass, and over to the van. Before anyone could stop him, he yanked open the sliding door. Mark was gone.

"Fuck me!" Tommy yelled as the kid tripped towards the van. He grabbed him by the waist, threw him over his shoulder, and fireman carried him to the Jeep, which Harper already had running. He dumped him unceremoniously into the back seat and jumped in after him.

"GO!" Giuseppe commanded from the front. Harper didn't need to be told twice. She slammed it into reverse and peeled out so fast that she probably left half her tires on lawn. She hadn't even given Tommy a chance to close the door. It wasn't until they were several miles away that Harper slowed the car to a speed that wouldn't get her pulled over.

Asol was sitting in the back taking in huge gulps of air, eyes showing mostly whites.

"Someone put a blanket on him and give him some water before he goes any more into shock please. Its all in the back." Harper said, watching Asol in the rearview mirror.

Once Tommy finished the doctoring, Harper glanced at Giuseppe. "So what the fuck happened in there?"
He opened his mouth to speak and Asol cut him off, babbling.
"They were in the fridge! something folded them up and put them in the FRIDGE! And it took Mark! He was asleep in the van, and he's GONE!"
Harper grimaced. So she had seen movement. She inwardly cursed herself and tried very hard not to think what would have happened if she'd been the target, not the sleeping teenager.

Tommy held out the small square of cloth to Harper. "I found this in the sewing room, with a lot of other pieces. Can you tell what it is? Feel like leather to me."
Harper scowled and took the cloth, examining it in short glances as she drove. "How should I know? I'm not a taxid...oh what the FUCK." She threw the cloth into the backseat at Tommy. "That's skin Tommy. Human skin. God, that woman was crazy!"

Tommy gingerly pick up the cloth and put it back in his pocket. "What woman?"
Harper rubbed her hand on her jeans vigorously. "The woman who lived there. I did some research before we left. There was some crazy old maid that lived there who was always trying to get the little girls in the neighborhood to come over. No one really paid it any mind, she was nice enough, and held little tea parties and shit.. but the little girls started to disappear. Rumor said that she wanted a daughter so badly that she killed them out of spite.. so others would be just as miserable as she was."

"And you didn't tell us this before?" Tommy asked with a frown.
She just shrugged. "Didn't seem all that important at the time." she said lamely.

"Apparently the rumors are slightly off. I believe Tommy's discovery would indicate she was doing something much different with those little girls." Giuseppe said without looking at anyone.

Harper and Tommy both turned a little green.
"What? What did she do?" Asol looked from one person in the car to the next, confused. "And who the hell is this?" he said, gesturing his water bottle to Harper. "We weren't supposed to involve outsiders you know. Who are you guys?"

Giuseppe rolled his eyes. "Harper, if you would?"
She smirked and nodded. "Tommy, in the med kit, 3rd one from the left. Just do it anywhere."
Tommy dug around and pulled out a syringe, sure to hold it where Asol couldn't see it. As Asol began questioning the stone wall that was Harper, Tommy jammed it into his shoulder and depressed the plunger. Asol was out in seconds.

"That was just a sedative right?" Tommy asked skeptically as Asol relaxed into the car seat.

"Yeah, sure." Harper said quietly. She cleared her throat and quickly changed the subject. "So what are we going to do with him?"

Giuseppe sighed, pained. "Take him back to the church. As idiotic as he seems, he may have information we could find useful."

"Just the way I wanted to spend my evening." Harper muttered to herself as she pulled onto the highway.


Asol was just coming around when they hauled him into the church. "Oh man.. I think I'm gonna puke.. where's the bathroom?" Harper pointed, and he bolted into the room and slammed the door shut behind him. They heard the lock 'click' softly. Harper perked an eyebrow at Tommy, who just shrugged.

"Who the fuck is that?" Goule grumbled from the front pew.
"Union member. May have some info on this Stone guy." Tommy said absently as he went to retrieve his toolbox.

After a few minutes, Goule frowned at the door. "He sure is taking his sweet time.."
"Mmm.." Harper nodded. There were no more sounds of vomiting, and no water running. Thankfully, that bathroom had no exterior windows for Asol to crawl through.
"Why do we keep picking up runaways?" Jaleel asked in a sour voice. Karl grunted in agreement. No one answered them.

After a good 10 minutes, Asol reappeared. The bathroom didn't smell of vomit.
"So who are you guys anyway?"

"That's not really important, Asshole."
"Asol." He corrected. Harper just rolled her eyes and continued.
"We need to know what you know about Stone."
"You're fucking spies! I fucking knew it. Well fuck off. I'm not talking." He crossed his arms and set his jaw, resolute.

Everyone looked at each other with the same bored annoyance. Asol took the opportunity to bolt for the church door.

"I am so tired of this shit." Harper growled. She unholstered her pistol, took aim, and shot him in the calf as he ran down the aisle. She expected him to fall with a minimum amount of damage to the leg.

But another shot roared from slightly behind her, and she watched as a .40 caliber round took Asol in the thigh. He fell with a scream and started bleeding out all over the floorboards. She whirled on Goule, then thought better of it and turned to help the kid.
"What the FUCK are you doing?!" She screamed at Goule, even as she bounded down the altar steps.
He shrugged and put the gun away. "I was aiming for his head..."

Harper slid to a hault next to Asol and started barking orders at people. He was unconscious and bleeding out quickly. In seconds, she had her kit, and a mess of other supplies to fix the gushing wound. It took 45 minutes, and two rounds of CPR, but she managed to get him stabilized. When she finally sat back on her heels and exhaled heavily, most of the eyes in the room where on her. She glared at them and wiped her sweating forward with the back of her wrist, her hands currently caked in blood.
"Yeah. There's a reason you keep me around." She said with a scowl. "Fuckers.." She muttered to herself.

"We need to search him while he's still out. Everywhere. And I ain't doin' it." Karl grunted from the back.
Harper glared at him, stripped off the dirty gloves, and grabbed a new pair. No sense arguing. He was right for once.

The cavity search was fruitful. Harper pulled a small, rolled up note inside a plastic bag from the kids ass. It was probably what he had been doing in the bathroom for so long. "Here Karl, catch." She tossed it at him, and he stepped to the side and sneered at her as the note landed on the floor where he'd been standing. He didn't move to pick it up. Tommy rolled his eyes at the exchange, retrieved a pair of gloves and picked up the note. He read it silently to himself, nodded, then read it aloud to all of us.

"We need to prepare the ceremony. I will meet you at the Temple of Tezcatlipoca. Dispose of the messenger."

Harper looked at the kid and sighed heavily, rubbing her eyes with now clean hands. "We can't let him leave, can we?" She asked no one in particular.

Jaleel shrugged. "At least we know where Stone is going now."
"We do? Where the fuck is the 'Temple of Tezcatlipoca'? Because I've never heard of it." Goule said as he cleaned his gun.
Harper raised a brow at him and scowled. "Fuck if I know, but if I were to make an educated guess, I'd say somewhere in Mexico, genius."

Giuseppe pushed himself off the wall he'd been leaning on and walked into the Rectory. His words filtered back to them as he shut the door. "To Mexico then."

April 2, 2010

Running with Driscoll

((More flashbacks.. more info on Driscoll. This guy was fun, and I miss him now that he's not haunting Harper anymore.))

The last week had been draining. I had learned so much more about the world than I ever wanted to know. Vampires ruling the New Orleans night life and vying for power, gang bangers being made into zombies, and Brigitte. Brigitte who knew more than any seemingly harmless old woman should. Brigitte who probably wasn't anywhere close to harmless in any sense of the word.. and Brigitte, who gave me the means to see and talk to the ghost that was haunting me.

I wasn't sure I wanted to.

Brigitte was a wealth of knowledge, and on our side, from what I could tell. She was Jaleel's grandmother, and lived out in the middle of all the gators in the swamps. her house was old, and decorated in mid period bayou fortune teller chic. Wind chimes made of chicken bones, pieces of dead things in jars on shelves, pouches, boxes, bags and satchels containing god knew what. It was fascinating, and a bit surreal.

But right now, I didn't want to think about any of it. I had been inundated with this shit for the last few days, and I desperately sought a reprieve, a return to normalcy, at least temporarily. I couldn't ever go back to my ignorant state of being, and to be honest, I didn't want to, but that didn't mean I couldn't aim for moments free from monsters that go bump in the night. I needed a break.

I slid into the jeep and tossed my duffel bag into the passengers side. I hadn't told anyone where I was going, but it didn't matter. I may be much more involved in all this supernatural shit than I would ever be comfortable with, but that didn't mean I had to report my every move to that damn Italian or anyone else. They had my cell number.

I started the engine and pulled out of the gravel and grass lot. We had taken to parking in the back of the church, instead of the front parking lot, to avoid sparking anyone's curiosity. Right now the lot was empty, everyone with a vehicle was off, presumably living the normal part of their lives. Jackie was still inside the church, and the rectory door had been closed as I left, which could mean anything, including that neither Jackie or Giuseppe HAD normal parts of their lives. The stereo was turned up too loud as I pulled out, blaring shitty New Orleans radio music. I clicked it off and fished my cell phone out of the duffel bag, holding speed dial number 3 as I turned onto the main road. It seemed to ring forever before anyone picked it up.

"You know, at first I was going to screen this call, I don't normally get calls from strange numbers. But then I thought, 'Who do I know who would be calling me from the ass crack of Lousianna?' How're you doing O'shea?"
I smiled for the first time in a couple days and immediately felt just a little bit better. Sergent Nel had been my superior officer in the Army, and he'd always looked out for me.
"Hey Sarg. How you doing?"
"Okay. Misses' got a bun in the oven."
"Hey, congratulations, your first right?"
"Yeah, but I'm not sure it's mine."
I just chuckled and shook my head, though I knew he couldn't see it. I was all too familiar with his sense of humor, and I'd met Nel's wife on several occasions. They were crazy about each other.
"So to what do I owe the pleasure of this phone call?"
I hesitated. I was reluctant to drag him into all this, in any way, but I'd already made the call. Too late to back out now. Besides, he knew shit, and I needed the intel. "Well, I was hoping you could help me out a little. Do you know anything about a group called 'The Union of the Snake'?"
"Just that they're a gang of yuppie teenagers running around in New Orleans. Fancy themselves as some New Age cult. They're relatively new. From what I can tell, its just another venue for emo kids to whine and complain about how their lives are so hard living in upper middle class white suburbia."
"Any clue what they.. believe?"
"Not really. Seems mostly to be a bunch of mismashed gibberish. I do know that there are a few brains behind the whole thing. It's too organized at times for the kids to be the only ones running it. That's the one thing that keeps me from saying they're harmless. They've supposedly pulled off some pretty shady shit, and got away clean."
I frown to myself, drumming my fingers on the steering wheel in thought. "No evidence?"
He laughed. "Oh there was evidence. These guys aren't subtle. I'm not sure how they managed it, but I can look into it for you if you want."
I grimaced. "Yeah, I'd appreciate it."
"Just give me awhile, I'll call you back."
"Okay, thanks for the help Sarg. I appreciate it."
"Sure thing. Hey O'Shea, can I ask you a personal question?"
"How are you doing, really?"

I paused, then sighed. I rubbed my bloodshot eyes with my free hand, steering with my knees. "It's been an... interesting week. Stressed, but coping."
He didn't really sound convinced. "Okay, well you take care out there O'Shea, I'll call you back if I find anything on your Union boys. And I'll tell the little whore you said hi. Later."

I shut my phone and sighed again. For a brief moment, I had wanted to tell him everything. And while he wasn't usually a skeptic, who wouldn't lock me up for psycho-babble like that? I was on my own, for now. Me and the other virtual strangers back at the church.

I turned into a gas station parking lot and turned off the engine. Across the street there was a small park cut into the denser marshland. I set the phone aside, pulled my hair back out of my face, tying it off with a rubber band. After some preliminary stretches, I took off at a slow jog that wouldn't cause my knee any unnecessary pain around the running paths that cut through the trees. I focused on my breathing, on my stride, on the stretching pain in her my, on anything besides vampires, ghosts, or bayou fortune tellers. I kept my pace around the trails for a little over an hour before my knee began to throb. I slowed to a walk and grimaced at the shooting pain that had started up my leg. I should really go back to that physical therapist.. I leaned against a tree to take the weight off the knee and regained my breath. I had worked up a light sweat, more due to the intense humidity than the physical exertion. I kept myself in shape, if only because I used jogging as a stress reliever. It helped me forget for awhile.

But I wasn't allowed to forget for very long this time. Once I stopped moving and the dog tags in my shirt settled against my chest, I noticed how cold they were. I pulled them out and examined them. Not frosted, but definitely colder than they should be. I clenched my jaw and walked back to the jeep. I fished the vial out of my duffel bag, and retreated back to the trees, stepping off the running trail and walking for a few minutes to be sure I was out of sight and hearing range of any unintentional eavesdroppers.

I took a deep breath to steel myself, and added a drop from the vial into each eye, and one to my tongue. The liquid felt odd going into my eyes, like a puff of air and there was no excess to leak down my cheeks. The world shifted into black and white, just as before, only this time I noticed the wildlife sounds became muted, as though someone had put cotton in my ears. I swallowed the lump in my throat when I saw Driscoll sitting on the log in front of me, looking just as he had when he died. He wore the same fatigues and the gaping part of his skull seemed to taunt me. The only thing he was missing was his dogtags, which I still held in my hand, and his normal smile. No, there was no smile now. His eyes screamed hatred and his lips twisted into a sneer. I wrapped my left arm around my stomach, still clutching the tags in my right hand. Some part of me hated to see him look at me like that, but I shoved it down and away.

"What do you want Driscoll?" I tried my best to keep my voice even.
His sneer turned up slightly at the edges, becoming a rather nasty smile.
"You dead, of course."
I visible shivered. My thoughts were racing, confused. "But why? You never hated me before."
"No, but you hated me didn't you?" He sneered again, his voice thick with scorn that I'd never heard in life. It felt like an ice pick in my back.
"What was it that bothered you so much O'Shea? That everyone loved me? That those same people never noticed you at all? Is that why you stole my name?" He paused to let it sink in. His eyes narrowed and his voice became dangerously low.
"You could have taken anything else for a sovereign, like the bullet. But you had to take my name."
I fidgeted, throwing my hands in the air, trying my damnedest to keep my cool. "Fuck Driscoll, it's not like it did anything. You got your damn hero's funeral, I've even been to your grave."
His eyes flashed angrily and his expression was angry and mocking.
"And I bet you couldn't stand that either. You know that's not the point."
I started pacing in agitation. "What the fuck do you want from me Driscoll?"
"I already told you. I want you dead."
I scowled and turned to face him, arms crossed. "Then why did you help me? Why etch that information on the tags?"
He smiled, rather unsettlingly. "Because I want to be the one to kill you, O'Shea. I can't let anyone else go and ruin my fun now can I?" He stalked forward until he was right up in my face. I took a step back involuntarily to avoid touching him. He leered at me, dropped his voice to a whisper and leaned in towards my ear. Goosebumps marched down the right side of my body. I had to close my eyes, his ruined skull was so close.
"And you won't ever see it coming, O'Shea. Do you have any idea how long I've been waiting for you to realize I was watching your every move? I'm not going anywhere, O'Shea, and I'll drag you down with me, if its the last thing I do."

I opened my eyes and took two quick steps back, trying to formulate a retort, but he was gone. The world was starting to slowly regain color. My eyes were watering so badly that tears were coursing down my cheeks like I'd been crying.

I released a shaky breath. All the good my run had done me was now gone. I felt a cold knot in the pit of my stomach that just wouldn't loosen. It felt bitter and sad, and i hated myself for it, and I hated Driscoll for it even more. I tucked the dog tags back into my shirt and walked slowly back to the jeep. They were my tags now, and I had no intention of parting with them. He could get over it. How much mischief can an incorporeal being cause anyway?.. I felt like crying, but couldn't really understand why. I ignored it. I clenched my fists tightly, fingernails biting into my palms. I slid into the jeep and grabbed the steering wheel so tightly that my knuckles were white. I nearly jumped out of my skin when my cell rang. I dropped it twice before I managed to answer the call, breathless.

"Damn, O'Shea. been running from the cops?"
I relaxed into the seat. God bless distractions. "Something like that. That was fast, Sarg.. did you find something for me?"
"I did, I don't know how useful it will be, but here it is. Apparently these Union guys have one helluva lawyer. That's why none of them have seen the inside of a jail cell for longer than a couple days. He always manages to get the charges dropped, evidence labeled as inadmissible, or just straight out-argues the prosecution. he's good. And he's not cheap."
"So who is bank rolling it?"
"Hell if I know. The brains behind the cult? What bothers me about all this, O'Shea, is that someone cares enough to keep these kids out of jail. It makes me wonder what they're planning. But then, I'm the paranoid type."
I sat up straighter. I'd finally found what could be a lead. "Don't think its they're folks?"
He grunted. "Doubtful. Most of the kids come from middle class homes, this guy is expensive with a capital "E". Too rich for most of these families. These kids seem to be his main source of income, as far as I can tell. I mean, he represents them so much, I don't see how he can have the time to do many other cases. And based on the way this guy dresses, it ain't pro bono work."
"You got a name for me?"
"But of course. Isaiah Collins."
I let out a low whistle.
"You've heard of him?"
"Oh yeah. I've heard of him. Thanks Sarg, you've been a huge help."
"Yeah yeah.. just do me a favor."
I smiled slightly. "You name it."
"Be careful. Something about this doesn't feel right, and I'd hate to have to come down there and pull your ass outta the fire because some punk kids are too much for you to handle."
I smirked to myself. "I have backup, don't worry about me."
"Backup eh? The kind that can take bullets to the chest? Because if not, I'm not impressed."
"Sarg, you have no idea."
"Not sure I want to. Take care O'Shea."
"You too."

I tossed the phone on top of my bag and dug the heels of my hands into my tired eyes. It was something, at least.. the name of the lawyer. Could get us somewhere.. I should probably tell the others...

I started the engine and pulled out of the parking lot, but I drove in the direction of my apartment. I wasn't ready to dive back into the surreal world yet. I needed a bit more normalcy. They could wait on the information. My apartment was familiar, providing me with decent food, a real bed, and enough morphine to help me forget the last hour, at least temporarily.