May 28, 2010

The Unholy.

((short scene this week. I wasn't going to do this one, because not much happens, but felt it important to chronicle the first encounter with the Unholy, since she pops up again later.))

"Who the hell are these guys?"

I was standing outside the hotel, next to the jeep, glaring at the two men standing opposite me.

"Bob, Bob Johnson." The blonde man extended his hand with a friendly smile. I just stared at him until he lowered it. He affected mild surprise and a tinge of resentment that I didn't shake his hand, like most people would. He looked normal enough.. like he could've worked middle management at any corporate job in America. He was utterly unremarkable... average height, average build, a face that was attractive enough to be charming but not attractive enough to be that memorable.. if a sketch artist ever tried to sketch Mr. Johnson from eye witness reports, he'd come up with a photo that looked like any one of thousands of men in America. Maybe that's what put me off about him. I wasn't used to seeing someone so.. normal.. approach us. His utter lack of remarkable characteristics struck me as suspicious.

Or I was just being paranoid, which seemed likely.

The other guy didn't bother to offer to shake. He just stood there grinning at me. He had training.. and a lot of it. I had watched him walk up with Stepping Feather, watched him make a quick perimeter check, watched how he kept his gun hand lose at his side, and though he was giving me the most ingratiating grin, he was taking in every little detail about me and everyone else, and his eyes kept flicking to the areas of the parking lot that could house enemies waiting to fuck us over.

He wasn't just military, he was special forces. He looked about 30, bore what was probably a perpetual 5 o'clock shadow, stood about 6'1, and was deceptively muscled.. the type where you didn't get a good idea of exactly how ripped he was unless he was walking around without a shirt on. Not that he was shirtless now, but I knew what to look for.. and as annoyed as I was, I didn't mind looking.

"Theo Korbin."

I rolled my eyes, "Right, great, fantastic.. but that doesn't answer my question."

I was eying Bob more than Theo. Theo I had a read on. Bob was much more difficult.. and that bothered me. He seemed so mild mannered and polite. I was also pretty sure I'd seen him studying me like a scientist with a lab rat the last few days in the hotel. Bob just shrugged. "I'm a lawyer? My boss sent me out here.."

"He will be helping us locate and deal with Stone. You will play nice." Giuseppe said, cutting off Bob's explanation. 'Play nice' wasn't a request. He leveled a hard glare at me as he said it, and I glared right back. "Now who's bringing in strays?" I shot back, but he said nothing.

Not able to take it out on Bob, I turned back to Theo. Stepping Feather cut me off before I even started. "I can vouch for him. Don't worry."

I frowned at him but said nothing. Theo just kept grinning at me, and everyone else. How attractive I found him was inversely proportional to how annoying he was. And that grin was grinding on my nerves more and more with each passing minute. I looked at the others, seeking some kind of backup, but they looked significantly less vexed than I was, or were hiding it better. I threw up my hands in defeat.

"Everyone ready?" Stepping Feather asked, breaking the silence. He looked.. nervous. Which made me nervous. What the hell were we doing tonight that would make a werewolf nervous?

"Ready to go where?" Tommy asked.

But no one answered, they just moved to the cars. I sighed and followed. The sun was nearly set.. and I wasn't looking forward to meeting someone at night. It raised the likelihood of the thing we were meeting having a predisposition towards eating my face.


We parked the car and the bikes at the very edge of something that could barely even be called a footpath, let alone a road. Night was in full swing over the Mexico jungle, yet the spot was freakishly quiet. It made me nervous. I watched as Stepping Feather, Roxanne, and Giuseppe began to strip off weapons.

"Leave everything here. Do not bring any weapons, not even a pocket knife. If you do, you will kill us all. Do not make any threatening gestures, sudden movements, or show any fear." Giuseppe said quietly as he removed him knives and stashed them in the back of my jeep.

The rest of us exchanged glances, hesitating. He sounded like we were meeting with a wild animal that we didn't want to spook.. in which case, I wanted weapons.

For me, it took Roxanne taking off the huge shard of glass she carried and slipping it away, unseen on her bike somehow, and then turning and eying us to get me to start stripping off weapons. If she was leaving that thing, which she seemed absurdly attached to, I could leave my gun and combat knife behind.

But it made me jumpy. My skin was crawling with goosebumps, even as the Mexico heat caused sweat to slowly drip down my forehead. The humidity wrapped itself around us like an uncomfortable blanket, but I felt cold.

It took a good five minutes to strip down. (and that's what it felt like..going in naked) Mr. Bob Johnson had a ridiculous number of knives for a lawyer. Tommy watched him, then glanced at me, his expression pensive. I frowned at him and perked a brow in question, but he just shook his head and turned to stash his revolver in the car. What I wouldn't give to have been able to read his mind at that moment..

Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small brown pouch pass from Stepping Feather to Theo.

Once that was done, we followed Giuseppe and the wolves into the jungle. We were all (except Giuseppe and the wolves) panting and covered in sweat when we reached the small clearing. It was obviously man made.. and very dark.
I followed Stepping Feather's lead and sat on a fallen log, trying to calm my racing heart.

No fear.. no emotion.. nothing. I had no idea what to expect, which really, just made it more difficult to maintain control.

We waited. We didn't talk. I tried not to jump at every little sound coming from the jungle around us.

When she finally arrived, we knew she was coming. What little natural noises the jungle was making, ceased completely. It was an eerie silence that only served to heighten our sense of dread. Then, slowly, crows began to circle over us until the flock became so thick that they blotted out the light from the moon. And when she stepped out of the underbrush, it took all my resolve not to bolt through the trees like a scared rabbit.

It wasn't that she was frightening to look at. She was actually rather attractive, wish the exception of her arms, that curved up and ended in hands that looked more like talons. She was tall, busty, beautiful, and utterly terrifying. She wore a cowboy hat crooked down over one side of her face, and she watched us with the intensity of a predator.

And that's what made us fight not to run. She felt wrong. Every instinct screamed at me to run, to get away from this thing.. this unearthly predator. Her expression and body language was completely foreign, except to scream hunter. I knew, just by looking at her, she had hunted and killed more people than I'd probably ever met. She was more than just an animal in human skin..she was a force of nature.

But no one moved. Everyone managed to control themselves. I knew then, that if anyone had even tried to bolt, she would've disemboweled them in under 3 seconds. Her head jerked in a bird like fashion towards anyone who moved at all, in anticipation of a runner.

Her gaze stayed longest on Roxanne. Roxanne looked as close to a wolf bristling as a human can. I thought for an instant that Roxanne was going to get into a pissing contest with the woman.. but the instant passed, and Roxanne's face showed tenuous restraint.. but at least it was restraint.

"What do you offer." She said. It was shocking to hear her speak. I didn't expect word to come from something like her.. and she seemed to know why we were here. It occurred to me, now that I'd seen her, that so did I. We were in her territory. We were bribing her not to kill us. But I didn't know with what.

Stepping Feather looked at Theo and nodded. He looked confused for about a half second before reaching into his pocket to reveal the little brown bag that I had noticed being exchanged earlier. He tossed it at her, and she snatched it from the air with disturbingly quick reflexes. My mouth went dry.

She held it up to her face and inhaled, an unpleasant smile breaking across the alien expression. She tossed it back to Theo, who caught it, and again looked confused. She stared at him, waiting for him to do something. He glanced at Stepping Feather for some guidance, but all the werewolf did was nod at him.

So, lacking any other guidance.. he just shrugged. "Anyone got a credit card?"
We all looked at him like he was fucking crazy.. but I slowly reached into my pocket and pulled out a card and handed it to him. For once, I didn't include a smartass comment either.

To my surprise, Theo found a flat surface, dumped the contents of the bag onto it and started cutting it with the card with... well.. lets just say this wasn't his first time at it.

I watched, surprised and more than a little confused, as he cut several lines of cocaine, and snorted them. When he turned back to face us, he was obviously high as a kite.

"Whew! wow.. okay.. so now what?" He said, much less terrified than he should have been.

She lunged at him. Several of us recoiled, but managed not to lose our shit. before we could even blink, she'd trapped him against her, one bird arm snaked around his chest, the other tangled in his hair, pulling his head back at an awkward and uncomfortable angle and sunk her fangs into his carotid artery.

I hadn't even been sure she was a vampire until that moment. I watched with a sickening fascination as she drank, throat convulsing, blood running down her chin and his neck. I wondered if she would stop, or jsut drink him completely dry.

He didn't seem to mind. IN fact, his face said he was having the time of his life. I felt downright voyeuristic when he started making noises.

But she didn't kill him. After a few minutes, she withdrew and threw him to the ground in a not so gentle manner. He laid there, and I swear to God he was basking in the goddamn afterglow.

She licked her lips and looked at all of us in turn, examining us.. then she headed to the edge of the clearing.

"Hey! Wait! Don't you want another drink!?" Theo was struggling to his feet. I looked at him like he was completely fucking insane.

She paused, glancing back at him over her shoulder with one eye. He stretched out his neck again.

"C'mon! You know you wanna."

I saw her bloodied mouth twist up into a disturbing smile, and she quite literally exploded into about 1000 crows that overwhelmed the clearing with their wings, then disappeared into the night.

"Aww.." Theo groaned, and looked rather dejected. I waited until I saw Giuseppe and Stepping Feather both exhale and stand. We got out of that fucking jungle as fast as we fucking could. We stood by the vehicles and rearmed ourselves. The weapons felt like security blankets, even though they wouldn't do jack shit to stop her.

"Who the fuck was that?" Karl asked, voice gruffer than usual. I'm sure he wasn't used to being scared shitless by a woman.

"The Unholy." Giuseppe said, as he slid knives back into invisible sheaths on his person. "She is a very old, very powerful vampire. What we did, we did to avoid angering her, in hopes that she will choose to allow us to live while we are in her territory?"

"'In hopes?'" Tommy asked, voice shaky.

Stepping Feather answered him. "She doesn't really play by any rules you or me would recognize. She's unpredictable.. shes like a fucking tornado. You can't stop her, just do your best to prepare for the inevitable destruction."

I let out a little shiver. It was a good reminder... It solidified in my mind the idea that monsters rarely play by the rules, and the faster I got used to that, the less likely I was to die because I thought I was in for a fair fight.

Once rearmed, we drove back to the hotel, and I tried not to notice how Bob watched everyone in the car with a look in his eyes that reminded me of an extremely watered down version of the Unholy's predatory gaze.

Maybe the weapons would end up being more than security blankets after all...

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