Demon Night


Finally, they pulled into a driveway and pulled through between two close-set houses. The two goons got out of the car, came around to the side Vivienne was on and opened the door. The big one reached in and grabbed her arm, yanking her out none too gently. The little one already had his gun trained on her.

A flood light had come on in back of the house, illuminating some dirty and broken toys in the yard next door. Vivienne felt her stomach sink, considering where she suspected they were going. She'd been to a few trap houses, looking for her sister. They often made drugs there as well as selling. One, she'd barely come out of by the skin of her teeth and each time she'd felt the need to shower for copious amounts of time after returning home.

The big man pulled her away from the car while the little one kept the gun on her. "Come on out here, Jack, and don't try nothin' funny."

Jack slid across the seat and stepped out of the car slowly, his hands held out. "Listen, guys, I'm not about to do anything heroic, not my style."

Vivienne considered her options. She may not have been overly proficient with her magic but after her parents had been killed, she had been brought up by her guardian learning several different forms of self-defense. But she needed to get into the house and find Tasha, so she meekly submitted to the manhandling.

Vivienne and Jack were pushed up the rickety back steps of the porch. Vivienne could feel the peeling paint on the railing under her hand and heard the skitter of something on the porch, as though there were rats or mice in the shadows. The door opened in front of her with a creak and a flood of light poured out, illuminating a muscular young man in a white tank top, a ball cap on backwards and a gun in one hand.

"These the two the boss asked for?" he said.

"Whattaya think? We're bringing people back here at gun point to force feed 'em drugs? We got enough customers! Of course these is the two. Now let us in. The neighbors ain't likely to call the cops but let's give them an eye full, huh?"

The young man backed up and Vivienne stepped across the threshold, feeling a slight resistance that told her there was some kind of magic in use here. She walked into a small kitchen with dirty white linoleum and a table filled with the paraphernalia of drug packaging -- scales and baggies. The counters were a mess of empty food wrappers, dirty dishes in the sink and two people, a young man and woman, sat wearing plastic gloves and repackaging a white powder into small packages as carefully as if they were pharmacists doling out prescriptions for patients.

"Been a busy night, doors been ringing regular with neighborhood dealers needing supplies, everybody's partying tonight," the young man complained.

"Yeah, he ain't been able to watch one episode of his show straight through," the woman at the table scoffed.

The young man growled at her and she sneered right back.

"Come on, come on, let's go. Boss wants to know what they know," the smaller of the two suited goons said.

Vivienne felt her pulse speed up. Were they actually going to meet their regional drug contact or something? That seemed particularly bad. The higher up they went in the chain, the less likely they had any intention of letting them out of there alive.

"To the left," the smaller goon said, pushing his gun into her side and nudging her forward.

Vivienne stepped forward, forcing Jack to move to the left through a doorway, where she could hear the television, a game show, and smelled the oily heat and spice of something like Chinese take-out. The smell made her realize what she had not smelled on entering the premises, the chemical smell of drugs being cooked. Just dirt, mildew, and the plastic of packaging materials. Light flickered ahead on the television screen and her eyes adjusted to the room. It was fairly dark as she looked around.

There was a dining table that someone had probably once prized, surrounding by chairs and piled high with papers and things she couldn't make out in the dark. A couple couches sat to either side of the long room, with pillows and blankets suggesting people sometimes slept there, perhaps the drug packagers. There was a fireplace behind one of the couches, clearly not used anymore. The television was in the far left corner, the room running the length of the house it seemed, and a recliner sat near it. A large blind was pulled down over what must have been a picture window at the front of the house.

They passed through to a stairway, lit only by a weak bare light bulb at the top. Vivienne could see through an arch into a small empty room. The layout of the house was fairly simple and not too big.

"Up!" the little goon said.

Vivienne started to climb the stairs but the toe of her shoe caught in a rip of the carpeting on the stairs and she stumbled forward. She caught herself and extricated her foot.

"Come on, come on," the little goon said.

Vivienne resumed her climb and reached the landing. Closed doors to the left and right indicated four rooms. Maybe one was a bathroom? They had to have one somewhere.

There was a muffled thump, to the left and Vivienne's head whipped around in that direction. "Is there someone else here?" she asked.

"None of yer business," the little goon said, grabbing her arm and giving her a yank to the right as he opened the door into a bedroom.

Vivienne walked in and found it looked like it had once been the master bedroom. As below, it seemed like most of the former owner's possessions were still there, stuffed into the closet and tumbling out. A bed sat in the middle of the wall to the right and a dresser straight ahead. A loveseat faced it near a window.

One meaty paw descended on her shoulder and Vivienne was pushed onto the bed, none too gently. The little goon sat down next to her and pushed the gun into her side. "Have a seat, Jack," he said, nodding to the loveseat.

Jack, his hands still held at waist level and slightly in front of him, sat down. The two drug packagers came in carrying a syringe and wrap. The men grabbed Jack by both arms and the big goon held his legs down. They all chuckled as he bucked. "Now, now, sweetie," the girl said, her blond braids swung around her head and the beads on the ends clacked. "All that's gonna do is make this hurt and maybe break the needle off. The big boss wants some answers, wants to know for sure that you're telling the truth."

Their chance for making a break for it was swiftly diminishing but she didn't like their chances against five people, two with a gun. She could take the gun away from the little guy but getting to the other guy before he got a shot off didn't seem particularly likely.

The girl with blond braids had sliced the sleeve of Jack's shirt and wrapped the tourniquet rubber around his arm then jammed the needle in using swift, efficient motions. They held him down for a minute but he quickly settled and they let him go, turning on Vivienne. She opened her mouth to protest but the little goon reached up and grabbed the back of her hair. "Yelling ain't gonna do no sorta good so let's just get this over with, huh?"

They were just as swift and ruthless with her and she felt a burn as the drug rushed up her arm and into her system. Then they simply released her and walked out the door.

"We'll be back in a little bit. Just try to relax and enjoy," the little goon said with a chuckle and the others laughed.

Vivienne heard the key turn in the lock and slowly got to her feet to go to Jack. Her head was swimming a bit. She sat down next to him and placed a hand on the side of his face. "Jack? Jack, are you okay?"

His eyes fluttered open and she was surprised to see him smile up at her. "Vivienne," he sighed. His left arm curled around her and pulled her against him. "I feel . . . really, really . . . good."

"Jack, we've got to see if Tasha is in one of the other bedrooms and get out of here," Vivienne whispered. Her head really throbbed now.

Jack just pulled her over on top of him and she could feel him breathing deeply under her, his chest rising and falling. "Vivienne, Vivienne, I've missed you so much." He reached up and cupped her face as his mouth opened under hers.

Under normal circumstances, she found it very hard to resist Jack. Her body was a mass of confused signals. She was intensely aware of him and eager for his touch but her head hurt more and more. Her mind felt separated from her body somehow. It was a strange mixture of ecstatic pleasure and pain.

She held on to his shoulders as he rolled over her and they struggled to pull off their clothes in a panting race that ended with him naked on top of her.

Then he went still.

"Jack? Jack?" she whispered, wrapping her fingers in the hair at the back of his head and tugging. Nothing. She let go and got her hands between them then shoved him away, as gently as she could.

He groaned and rolled back against the love seat. "Viv," he protested.

She sat up. What was she doing? She had to find Tasha and get them out of there! She got up and dressed hurriedly, glancing over at him. "Jack, come on Jack, you've got to snap out of this." She didn't understand why she was coming out of this so much faster than he was. Could it be the demon versus witch thing the doctor had spoken of?

"Jack? Jack!" She buttoned her shirt. Leaning over him, she grabbed his shoulders and shook him.

"Mmm, you always did like it a little rough," he said, grinning up at her. He reached up to pull her back down but she released him and slid out of his reach.

"Okay, listen," she hissed. "I'm going to try to find Tasha, she's got to be in one of the other rooms, then I'll come back for you."

Jack sighed and mumbled, "C'mon, Viv, come back to bed." He grabbed his own shirt and pulled it over him, snuggling it up to his chin as if it were covers, not even seeming to notice that it didn't cover his lower half.

"Jack? Jack!"

The only answer was a slight snore. Vivienne sighed in exasperation. The long term effects of this drug sounded awful but he seemed fine right at the moment. Had they even given them the drug that they had given Joseph? She had no idea. The first thing was finding Tasha, if she was here, and getting out of the place intact. "I'll be right back."

She walked as softly as she could over to the doorway, hoping the floorboards wouldn't creak and the carpet would muffle the sound of her moving about. The doorknob turned but not very far and the door did not budge. She didn't bother to try again. Of course they were locked in.

She put her cupped palm over the door lock and concentrated on sending a little burst of aligning energy through. Nothing happened. Damn, I'm terrible at magic without focusing agents. She closed her eyes and tried to relax. Nothing. Her head began to hurt again. Shit. Once more. This time she felt the build-up and the energy shoot out but it was draining. Her head throbbed now but it had worked. She pulled the door open and went out. She looked at the other doors in the hallway. She had no idea who was behind any door . . . or what. Any one of them could hold one of the goons or something worse.

She took a deep breath and tried the first door knob. It turned easily and she opened it slowly. Bathroom. The shower curtain was missing and the rug was wadded up in the corner, the toilet lid missing and the stench reminded her of the outdoor privy she'd had to use when she was at camp as a child. She closed the door.

The next doorknob also turned fully and she eased the door open. She pushed it gently and peeked inside. Someone lay on the bed. She quickly realized it was the little goon, snoring softly, and eased the door shut, wondering if he was supposed to be standing guard or if they just assumed that there was no danger of them leaving.

There was one more door.

This one was locked, just like theirs had been. She put her hand over the lock and concentrated, the pain behind her eyes building until she was able to send a burst of aligning energy through. She stopped and leaned her head against the doorjamb to breath for a minute before she actually opened the door. She pushed it open slowly and poked her head in. There was a figure on the bed in here too but the light from the hallway showed her the hands and feet were duct taped. She walked quietly over and stooped to look. "Tasha!"

"Viv?" Her voice was pained but clear.

"Are you okay?"

"Oh my goddess, I can't believe you found me."

Vivienne heard a little hiccup and sob. "Shhh now, it's okay. I'm gonna get you out of here."

There was a sniffle. "I'm duct taped."

"I know, I'm going to find something to cut that with."

Viv looked around for something to get the duct tape off with. "Hold on." She eased back down the hallway to the bathroom and found some small scissors in the medicine cabinet. They were rusted but they would have to do. She went back to Tasha and carefully cut the tape off.

"Thank you!" Tasha said when she was finally free. "How did you ever find me?"

"Jack is here with me. He helped me find you but, really, they found us."

"Jack? Where is he?"

"He's in the other room. He's . . . not coming out of this as quickly as I did." She helped Tasha off the bed.

"Are you okay, physically?"

Another sniffle. "I'm okay. Just a little banged up."

Viv took Tasha by the hand and led her to the door. "We have to get Jack and get out of here. They said the big boss guy is coming and I think they plan to interrogate us and get rid of us."

"What about Joseph? Did you find him?"

Viv nodded. "He's in the hospital, not great but doing okay. How's your magic?"

"I . . . I don't know."

They stopped just inside the door and Tasha held her hands a few inches apart, palm facing palm. A little bolt of blue electricity arched between them.

"Good," Vivienne said. "Mine is weak but I think it'll be coming back if yours is. I'm more worried about Jack. We need to get him to a hospital. But we're going to need transportation, once we get out of here."

A smooth, oily, voice came from the stairs. "Well, I'll be sure to make sure you get to the hospital. Or, at least, the morgue part of it."

Tasha whimpered and gripped Vivienne arm. A tall woman in a green silk dress had come up the stairs and stood staring at them with her arms folded. Her hair was swept up in an elegant style and Vivienne would have taken her for the matriarch of a family but her eyes . . . her eyes were very strange and there was a cruel set to her features. This was a woman who enjoyed making living things squirm.

"The big boss, I presume?" Vivienne said.

The woman smiled imperiously. "You're very perceptive, my dear. Forgive my lack of introductions but I don't really care who you are, just what you know. Let's find out, shall we?"

She reached up with her right hand, her left on the pendant on a chain around her neck.

Vivienne didn't give her a chance to do whatever she intended. She rushed forward, grabbed the outstretched hand in her right and wrenched it over, turning to bring her elbow down on the woman's arm and heard the bone break with a satisfying crunch.

Her magic might be adversely affected but she still remembered everything she'd been taught for self-defense.

Behind her, Vivienne heard a door open and the little man say, "What the . . . " but that was as far as he got. Vivienne heard Tasha grunt, a wet crunch and the little man cried out. There was a heavy thud and the door slammed shut.

Vivienne looked back to see Tasha breathing more heavily, but looking triumphant. Apparently she remembered her lessons too.

Vivienne reached down and yanked the chain from around the woman's throat as she rolled on the floor in pain.

Voices came from downstairs and then the sound of running feet. Vivienne grabbed Tasha's hand and yanked her into the room where Jack was then slammed the door behind them and put her hand over the door lock. She breathed deeply and put everything she had into telling the door to stay shut.

As she drew whatever magic she could find to tap into, an unexpected link opened between herself and the pendant in her hand. Vivienne suddenly found herself funneling more power than she had controlled in any ritual ever. It flooded through her like an electric charge, flooding all her senses and she cried out, her hand constricting around the pendant. A bolt shot out of her hand into the door. The wood petrified into something approaching iron and melded with the wall around it.

For a moment, she was blinded. She blinked rapidly and her vision returned. Her palm was reddened where the energy had left her. No one was going through that door again, ever.

"Viv!" Tasha shrieked. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Vivienne unclenched her fist and let the pendant run out to the end of the chain, as far away from her hand as possible. "I think I know where the magic people have been losing after taking the drug has gone." She couldn't begin to fathom the power she held in her hand. It couldn't all be stored in there, it seemed more like a . . . a link. She shook her head.

"We've got to get out of here."

"How?" Tasha asked.

They both looked at the door. Vivienne looked around the room. There were two windows. She pulled the blinds open on one then the other. There were no bars on the windows but no fire escapes either.

She looked over at Jack. He would have had an idea. If he were awake. She glanced at Tasha. She was drained. Vivienne, on the other hand, felt surprisingly good after the charge she'd just gotten. It was clearly up to her. "First, let's get Jack into his clothes."

It was a struggle but it didn't take long between the two of them. Unfortunately, he had gotten a bit gray and was breathing entirely too rapidly for Vivienne's comfort. She buttoned his shirt. "I swear, if you die, I will . . . I will séance the hell out of you!" she muttered.

Tasha giggled and Vivienne looked up in surprise. "What I wouldn't give for a holocaust cloak," Tasha quipped.

Vivienne smiled and shook her head. They might die trying to get out of there so what was left to lose?

She stood up and looked at the doorway. "Okay, if this pendant can do that based on a little request, let's see what else it can do."

She hung the pendant around her neck and put the fingertips of her left hand on it then raised her right hand, palm face out to the window and gently pushed with her mind. Power whipped through her and surged out of her palm. The window and part of the wall exploded outward.

"Holy shit!" Tasha exclaimed.

Tools and bodies had been hammering at the other side of the door for a while but Vivienne hadn't been concerned. Now the sounds died and she heard voices. Then the sounds resumed, thumping against the wall a few feet to the side where it was considerably weaker. They were going to get through soon. She turned away, feeling oddly invulnerable and unconcerned.

Now, how to get down? She took a blanket from the bed and cast the far end out of the window while holding one end then went down on one knee at the edge of the opening and pressed the end she held to the floor. She closed her eyes and pictured it firming and turning into a slide of sorts. Nothing. Apparently she had to be touching the pendant. She released the blanket with one hand, touched the pendant then repeated the image in her mind and felt the power flow through her, sliding down into the fabric. It melded to the floor then extended down and out into a solid slide capable of supporting them. She was about to anchor it at the bottom when something thwacked into her left shoulder, sending her reeling backward.


She lay back, stunned, looking up at Tasha. "What happened?"

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