tagSci-Fi & FantasyFull Moon Strays Ch. 08

Full Moon Strays Ch. 08

byEvil Alpaca©

This story is a bit wordy and fairly long, so if you are looking for immediate gratification, you might want to look elsewhere. It contains heterosexual and lesbian sexual activity.

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The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance between actual persons, living or dead (or just confused) is entirely coincidental. Please do not copy/redistribute the story, in part or in total, without the author's permission.

This story takes place in the entirely fictional city of Springfield, California, so don't go looking for it on a map. And in my little fictional world, there are no unwanted pregnancies or STD's, except as plot driving devices. The author encourages the practice of safe-sex. Finally, as the name implies, this is part of an ongoing series. It would benefit the reader greatly to examine the earlier stories for background information and descriptions.

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". . . shit!" Robbie shouted. He, the Strays and the Raptors were fighting for their lives in the jungles of South America trying to capture a magical jewel called the Heaven's Eye from a maniacal shaman. The adversary conjured up a set of massive earth golems to aid his followers in the defense of the jewel, and all hell had broken loose. Robbie found himself lying on his back, scrambling to get out of the way of the descending foot of a golem before it crushed him like an insect.

'If I let that thing step on me, Red will have my hide,' he thought absently. Then he felt hands on his shoulders and was pulled out of the way just before the foot came down.

"I'm not explaining to your sister that I let you get killed," Natasha said as she helped Robbie to his feet. She looked pissed. The Strays and Raptors were generally too fast for the golems but the golems were too tough to be readily destroyed. Most of the shaman's followers had been incapacitated or had run off, leaving a kind of roaming stalemate.

Besla and her Raptors had taken to trying to drop heavy objects on their earthy enemies, but they weren't able to lift anything big enough to do significant damage.

Natasha was strong but not strong enough to take on those things. She didn't much care if they hit her. The shaman himself had watched her casually let one step on her and she just got up afterwards.

"This guy is pissing me . . . off," Natasha said, trailing off. She noticed one of the golems step in a fire pit. Shortly thereafter, it took a step and she saw several chunks dropping off its leg. "BESLA!" she shouted. She looked at Robbie. "Fire," she said excitedly. "These things are flexible. Fire 'em up and they'll go stiff."

Robbie stared at her.

"What? Am I the ONLY one around here who took a ceramics course in college?!"

Robbie dodged a clumsy blow from the golem. "Never went to college, remember? And where are we supposed to find that much fire? I left my Greek Fire in my other pants."

"Is that what you told Besla?" Natasha said jokingly as she ducked another swat from the golem.

Robbie saw Besla bashing another golem over the head with a heavy stick, mostly to no avail. The quetzalcoatl were having limited success by constricting and crushing the enemy, but it was a slow process that left the feathered serpents vulnerable. Robbie waved at her frantically. After a moment she flew over, obviously exhausted.

"Yes?" she snapped.

"Sorry," Robbie said. "Didn't mean to interrupt your lack of progress!"

Natasha stepped between the two hotheads. "Besla, we think we've found something we can use. Can anyone in the Raptors produce fire? The dragons maybe?"

Besla snorted. "Dragons breathing fire? Where do you humans come up with these ideas?"

The three of them put some distance between themselves and the fray. "How about Lothar? Can he conjure fire?" Robbie asked.

"I don't know. He's been trying to get at the shaman and he's sweating up a storm. He's not used to this," Natasha said nervously. Lothar was well hidden, but eventually the shaman would find out where he was and send a golem after him. "We need to either take care of some of those things out or find a way of getting to the shaman. Where's he drawing all that power from? Lothar is no slouch, but he's sweating like a pig."

"The jewel maybe?"

"I don't think so. I don't think that's what the jewel does, from what Lothar told me." She looked at Besla. "See if you can get a good look at his surroundings . . . see if he's standing near anything or is protecting something." She turned to Robbie. "Sneak over to Lothar and see if he has anyway of conjuring fire. Tell him what we saw with the golem."

Natasha watched her comrades take off. She figured she'd make another play at the shaman. It wasn't like he had anything that could actually hurt her. She tore off across the field, dodging her earthy adversaries. She got within fifty yards and ran into a new problem. More specifically she sank into it.

"Holy fuck!" she shouted. The ground around the shaman had been softened, and Natasha quickly sank up to her knees. It seemed to have little effect on the powerful golems, but the ground-based attackers were slowed anywhere in the shaman's vicinity. "I'll give the bastard credit. He's clever," she muttered. Then she almost smiled. 'It's VERY soft,' she thought.

Meanwhile, Robbie had found Lothar hidden in a grove of trees. He had a narrow view of the field of battle, but it was all he needed. The nerd-turned-hero was sweating from pores he didn't know he had.

"I can't get through, and he doesn't even seem to be getting tired!" Lothar gasped.

"We think he may have some kind of power-source," Robbie said. "Besla is looking for it. Listen, can you . . . like do fireballs and stuff? Fire makes the golems brittle. We might be able to start breakin' 'em up."

"Fire is tricky and potentially dangerous. It'd be easier to localize it than to try to fill the air up with it."

"There's a bunch of ceremonial fire pits out there. Will that do?"

"Yeah, but I don't have much juice left. If you can get them all close together . . ."

Robbie nodded. "Leave that to us. Don't worry about the shaman for a bit. Let's take his guards out. Keep an eye open. I've got an idea." Actually, he didn't have an idea. He just wanted to sound like he did. 'Fuck, how am I gonna manage this?'

He bolted out into the open, headed straight for one of the golems. He kept an eye out for the biggest of the fire pits.

"Do you have a plan YET?" came Besla's screech as she swooped in next to him.

Robbie was annoyed. Couldn't she at least wait to be critical of him until AFTER they had won? Or died? "We need to get 'em near a fire pit," he told her. "As many of 'em as possible."

"Very well," she replied. "He seems to be drawing power from three stones on the alter, but he has golems doing nothing but guarding them. And . . . wait, your friend!"

They both stared as a golem raised its foot and prepared to squash an unsuspecting Natasha. They tried to yell at her, but she didn't seem to notice them. The foot of the creature came down and smashed her into the muck. The last he saw of her was her hand sinking down into the mud, grasping a handful of some kind of straw.

"NATASHA!" he shouted, moving to help her.

"Isn't she incapable of being harmed?" Besla asked.

"Yeah, but she still needs to breathe!" He looked pensive. "Try and draw the golems toward that pit. They know you're a threat. Trying playing injured. Then . . ."

"Finally," she interrupted with a smile. "I think you have a plan." Besla flew off, screaming orders at her fellow Raptors.

Slowly, the plan started to come together. Besla "was injured" and landed near the fire pit that Robbie had pointed out. Robbie went and lured the one that had smashed Natasha away and towards the meeting spot. Finally, a handful of the allies had the majority of the golems in a circle around the pit. The shaman was screaming at his minions, mostly likely telling them to kill off the intruders or something like that. No one understood a word that he was saying.

"Scramble!" Robbie shouted. Suddenly, the "tired and wounded" Strays and Raptors scatter, taking to the sky or rushing between the legs of their attackers as fast as the soft ground would allow. "Now!" he shouted when they were all clear. "LOTHAR!"

In the thicket, Lothar concentrated. Most people didn't really understand magic. Magic wasn't about violating the natural order. In fact, that was impossible. Magic was about manipulating the world as it was. A sorcerer could not create something from nothing, nor could he destroy something absolutely. He could simply push and pulled at the fabric of what was to make the universe more compliant with what he wanted. What Lothar wanted was to move particles around, causing the air above and around the fire pit to be saturated with oxygen, feeding the flames until . . .

It was quite a sight really. Robbie wished he'd brought a camera. The air above the bit shimmered and glowed for a moment, and then a column of fire erupted out about ten yards from the pit and up to the sky. Flames engulfed all of the nearby golems and for a moment hid them from view. The towering constructs emerged from the flame, but their surfaces were cracked and scorched.

"Now tear 'em apart!" Robbie shouted.

The tide of battle turned sharply in favor of the challengers. The quetzalcoatl were smashing great chunks from the now-brittle golems with their powerful tails. The Raptors were finally able to started ripping substantial chunks from those earthen forms, and the Strays began swarming one enemy at a time and tearing them up with claw, tooth and tusk. Arthur rushed to the thicket to check on Lothar and give him an energy boost.

The shaman looked panicked. He grabbed one of the stones he had been using as power sources off the altar and raised it over his head, and the ground around the shaman began to swell.

"Not again!" Robbie panted.

"How many times can he do this?" Mindy said next to him. She was tired as all get out.

But just as quickly as the fight had started, it stopped. Up from the muck, a form arose. There was a length of reed in its mouth area. The figure spun the shaman around and belted him straight in the mouth, forcing the sorcerer to collapse to the ground in an unceremonious heap. When the shaman went down, the remaining golems ceased movement. The figure wiped the mud from its face.

"Natasha!" Mindy screamed delightedly.

Natasha spit the hollow grass stem she had been breathing through from her mouth. It had taken her a while, but she had managed to creep up on the shaman and past his guardians. "I SO need a bath," she muttered, mostly to herself.

Slowly, the Strays and Raptors all gathered around the altar. Lothar grabbed the power stones and shoved them into his bag.

Robbie looked at the giant pearl-like jewel that they had come for. It was pretty, but didn't look too special. "I don't see what the big . . ." Robbie picked up the Heaven's Eye and, deep in his soul, he heard it hum. He slowly put it back on the altar. "You take it," he told Lothar.

There was a moment of quiet content amongst the allies, and Natasha and Robbie both got some pats on the back.

"Let's get back home," Robbie said at last. "There's work to be done."

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Back in Springfield . . .

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Red was sitting back in the cave that she and Jane were going to share. She couldn't believe that the Strays actually owned the land they now stood on. Anya's career was on the verge of exploding (in a good way) again. A supermodel apparently rising from the dead had gotten some peoples' attention. Talia was also talking about going back to work as a crisis counselor to help make some money, and Jane was currently interviewing for a cashier's job at the closest gas station to where the slaughterhouse was located.

She was looking around, trying to figure out how to make the cave more habitable and wondering if Jane might be more comfortable in the main building. But there was plenty of room for a bed and she knew she could build up the front and . . .

"What am I doing?" she muttered. She was playing house . . . she was becoming the woman who stayed at home while her mate went off to work.

She walked down the trail to the main building. She found Tarloh, Johan, Talia, Croc and Shield were laughing amongst themselves.

"You think that would work?" Tarloh was asking.

"What's going on?"

"Talia," the big man said, "thinks I should get a bouncing gig at a strip club. I could think of worse things," he chuckled.

"You're getting a job?" Red asked, her voice edged with incredulity.

"Yeah," Tarloh said, missing his partner's tone. "We were also talking about fixing up the road in here and maybe getting a communal car or two. Talia pointed out that it might help some soon-to-be-employed folk out a bit."

"What about patrolling?" Red said, trying to keep her cool.

"Don't worry," he said almost absently, turning back to the crowd. "We'll set up a schedule."

Red turned and quietly left the building, standing on the edge of the woods and glancing at the sun low in the sky through the trees. Her breathing was hard and fast. She was angry.

"What's up?" came a voice from behind her. Talia came up and tried to put an arm around her best friend but, for the first time that she could remember, Red quickly pulled away. "Red, what's the matter?"

"How can you even ask that?" Red hissed. "What the hell is with you people?!"

"What? You're not making sense."

Red shook her head. "Am I the only one who's still actually interested in protecting the public? You're all looking past what the Strays are supposed to be about! Everyone is getting jobs and thinking about cars and what . . . patrolling gets relegated to 'We'll get around to it eventually'?"

"Don't start with this again," Talia started. "You're not the only one . . ."

"Yes," Red growled. "Apparently I am the only one. We haven't even stopped the Elder God, and you people are already retiring!"

Talia was confused, but she was also getting defensive. "We're STILL going to patrol! But damn it, we need to change! We don't have the manpower . . ."

"How does going domestic help? How does spending less time on the streets with fewer people make the city safer?!" Red was so mad that her face was almost matching her hair.

Talia couldn't remember the last time she'd seen her friend this unhinged. "We are NOT abandoning our mission!"

"No, you're just penciling it in on your day planners between work and soccer practice," Red said, turning on her heels and walking off into the woods. "Tell Jane I went for a walk," she shouted behind her.

Talia was dumbfounded. "Where the hell did that come from?" she asked of the trees.

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Several hours later . . .

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Red found herself in the worst part of Springfield, an area simply called the Row. She had left the slaughterhouse and just kept walking for hours. Anyone who saw the stunningly beautiful redhead walking through that area with the sun having set would say that she was just asking for trouble. They would've been right.

She had noticed that a lot of the normal paranormal traffic had died down. It had started during the war with the Dark One and its Hellspawn, and the mystical world still seemed to be uneasy. It knew something was up, even if it wasn't sure what the trouble was. Red had been tempted to go to the mine area wear the Elder God was trying to break through. But even in her current state of mind, she thought better of it.

Red wanted a fight and she wanted it bad. She knew she was probably overreacting, but she couldn't help herself. Her blood was boiling in her veins and her mouth was dry. "I need a drink," she told herself. She found her way to a bar she knew to be seedy and to house unholy elements. Normally, she went there with a crew. She'd never been there solo.

The moment she walked in, she realized that she'd found what she was looking for. Behind the bar was a suave looking man whose face looked concerned when Red came in the door. Red noticed a group of three men in the otherwise deserted establishment sitting at a back table . . . black suits, black gloves and sunglasses indoors. 'Hellspawn,' she thought with almost sadistic satisfaction.

"Hey, we don't want no trouble in here," the bartender said.

"Get used to disappointment," the redhead said as she closed the door behind her.

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Early the next morning . . .

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Jane had been wandering around the slaughterhouse and pacing the trail between the building and the cave. Talia had told her about Red's explosion and Jane's girlfriend still hadn't returned. On one trip back down the trail, Jane ran into Tarloh and Talia.

"Still nothing?" Talia asked.

"No," Jane whispered. Things had been going so well, except for the looming threat of an apocalypse. Like Talia, Jane hadn't seen this coming at all. She had been so proud that she'd gotten the job, as unimpressive as being a cashier was. She'd wanted to tell Red all about the interview and everything. Now, she was gripping the bright yellow smock she would be wearing and wondering where her lover had gone. "Was there anything else you said? She couldn't have . . ."

They heard footsteps further down the trail and they all turned their heads. Stumbling up the trail was a dark figure. Talia didn't need to see the face . . . she and Tarloh both recognized the scent. And Jane just knew.


"What . . . what're y'all doin' here?" came Red's voice. But her words were slurred and were tinged with the reek of tequila.

"Sweetie," Jane said, taking a step forward. Red started to topple and Jane's magical hair extended instinctively, catching her girlfriend and pulling her closer to the front of the cave where the lantern could illuminate her.

Red was bleeding from her nose and mouth and from cuts on her arm. She was heavily bruised and her red leathers were torn. She was also stinking drunk. Her eyes were glazed over and she had a lopsided grin.

"S'okay," Red said absently. "You should . . . should see the other guy . . . guys."

"Oh God, what happened?" Jane asked, her voice breaking. "What . . ."

"I was patrollin'," Red said. She started to look more agitated. "I was doin' what we're s'pposed to be . . . " Red's eyes rolled back in her head and she was out, and the only thing that kept her from crashing to the ground was Jane.

The three of them took Red into the cave and placed her on the makeshift bed. Talia looked her friend over.

"She's beaten up pretty bad, but nothing life-threatening. Maybe some breaks. Tarloh, go get the first aid kit." Talia sent Tarloh because she knew just by looked at her distressed face that Jane would never leave Red's side.

"She's going to be okay?" Jane whimpered.

"Physically, yeah," Talia said, rubbing her eyes. "But mentally . . . I don't know what set this off. I knew she wasn't happy about the move out here but . . . I've never seen her like that. And I've never seen her drunk. Not ever."

Tarloh returned and they cleaned up and bandaged what they could. Tarloh built a fire in the center of the cave while Talia and Jane tucked Red into bed.

"I'll stay in here until she comes around," Talia told the big man. She looked at Jane. "I know you'll be here, but I should be around if she needs more medical help. I'm the best we've got until Arthur gets back."

Jane nodded. She didn't care who else was there. She curled up and tucked herself into the crook of Red's arm, her hair wrapped up Red's body and keeping her warm.

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