The Slayers Ch. 08bykalamazoo707©
Jack stood in the doorway of his house and looked around. He couldn't see anyone, but he knew that they were there. Again there was no real feeling of malevolence, but more of curiosity. Jack's hand rested on the butt of his gun as he stepped back into the house and closed the door locking it behind him. He wasn't frightened but angered that the thing whatever it was; was at his home. He found it ironic that it had appeared on the anniversary date that he had had to kill Emily. He waited a few minutes, went back to the front door and slowly opened it. Gun in hand he stepped out of the house and looked around. Whatever it was; it was gone.
Cherie watched Jack as he looked around and thought him attractive for a human. She liked his height, his dark good looks and the way in which he carried himself. She also felt his anger and knew that if given a chance he would try to kill her. But even so, she felt drawn to him and then she felt protective of him. She cursed under her breath and left. Her life had just gotten more complicated. Unable to stay away, she went back to watch the house. She thought better of it and vanished.
Jack stood watching and listening for a full five minutes before he went back inside. He changed clothes keeping his gun close by and went to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. While it brewed, he turned on his laptop and began to enter all of his notes so that he could save it on an external hard drive and a flash drive. The flash drive would go to Ben just in case anything happened to him and the hard drive would go into a safe located behind the refrigerator. It was a pain in the ass to move, but no one would think to look there for a safe. No one, not even Ben knew about it. His attorney had three letters that would be sent out in case of his demise telling where the safe was. The recipients, one of whom was Ben would know what to do from there.
He stopped entering his notes long enough to pour himself a cup of coffee and to take a sip. He was glad that he had gone over to Ben's. Ben's fresh eyes saw a few things that he had overlooked.
"This is an attempted coup," Ben said as they ate dinner. "Think about it- we know that there are clans in this area and that they're always bickering. We also know that some of the clans from the Midwest and other places are beginning to look in this direction."
"Shit," Jack swore. "The human woman was intentional."
"Yes and if it hadn't been her, it would have been someone else," Ben said. "Why he left a witness I don't know, but it wasn't planned. I think that whoever owns the lower rogue is the one behind this. I also think that he's going to have the rogue kill again and point the blame at one of the two major players here- Troy Cross and Xavier Dubois. If they're always at each other's throats, all he has to do is sit back and watch as they destroy each other. After that, he cleans up the mess and Pennsylvania's got a new boss."
It was beginning to make sense.
"I think that we're looking at someone from the Midwest," Jack said. "Philly has what the Midwest doesn't- major water access that is close by which means something else; he isn't going to stop here. He's got plans for any of the states that have ocean or river access."
"Probably," Ben agreed. "I'll make a few phone calls to see if anything pops up. My guess is that there have been some murders that have either been shelved as unsolvable or are being covered up. When the time is right, he'll have those clans at each other's throats too by using those deaths. He also knows that it will bring the slayers so he has to stay out of sight."
"He could be anywhere," Jack replied.
"True which means that we have to find that lower rogue if we want to know who's behind this," Ben said. "I think that it's time to call the slayers. I know that some of them are here, I just need to find out whom and then contact them."
"That sounds like a plan, but Ben; I don't need to tell you to be careful," Jack said. "My precinct has several people working for the monsters and you probably have a few in your office working for them too."
"I know for a fact that I do," Ben replied. "My boss is one of them as is my assistant and a few of the janitorial staff as well. They aren't aware that I know, but they are watching me because of my friendship with you."
"I don't like it," Jack said softly. "I think that you need to take a leave of absence or something. Come stay at my place or we can go somewhere else. The more we talk about this the more nervous I'm getting. We don't know who my captain or the medical examiner is working for nor do we know who your people are working for. For all we know it could be our unknown clan."
Jack kept talking when he saw Ben was balking at the idea of leaving work.
"Ben- I need you. You have been more than a friend to me, you're like a brother. If something happened to you, I swear to god; I'll walk into a bar and never leave. Take a sabbatical or something. Don't go in to the office tomorrow."
By the time Jack left, Ben had promised to think about it.
Jack was on his third cup of coffee when his cell phone rang. He answered without looking at the caller ID. The only person that would be calling him so late was Ben.
"Is the offer to stay with you still open?" Ben asked. He sounded calm, but Jake could hear the nervousness in his voice.
"Of course it is, but..."
"I'm on my way," Ben said and hung up.
Jack tapped his fingers on the table and made a decision. They couldn't stay at his house either. Ben's call combined with the fact that he had been watched when he got home told him that they needed to move to a safer place. He removed the hard drive from the laptop and placed it in the computer bag and packed the laptop up. He then moved the fridge, opened the safe and emptied it of its contents which included cash, an extra fire arm, ammunition and several external hard drives. On second thought, he left the flash drives. He had to leave something in case anything happened to the hard drives that he had with him. Everything else he threw into the laptop bag. He quickly packed enough clothes and toiletries for a few days and was ready to go by the time Ben was at the door.
"We're not staying here," Jack said when he opened the door. "I'll explain while we drive."
Instead of taking either of their cars, they took Emily's car that Jack had kept up but didn't drive unless it was to have it serviced. It was always hard for him to get into the car and tonight was no exception. The purple dream catcher that he had bought for her on their trip out west still hung on the rearview mirror. In fact, everything that she had left in the car was still there. He couldn't make himself throw them away.
Jack swallowed hard and blinked back tears when he caught sight of the red blanket that Emily always took to the movie theater with her. He started the car, backed out of the driveway and drove away.
"So tell me what happened," Jack said as he headed in the direction toward center city.
"After you left, I got to thinking about what you said about quitting and was about to call you. I picked up the phone and heard something outside. When I looked, there wasn't anything there, but there had been. I knew it, I could feel it. Something happened at your place too didn't it?" Ben asked.
Jack told him what happened and where they were going.
"Emily's parents owned a small storefront type building not far from downtown. When they died they left it to her. We had planned to sell it and put the money away for our kids, but after she... I couldn't do it. I come here every so often and spend the night here. There are a couple of sleeping bags and some basic food stuffs..."
"You stay there?" Ben asked. "Why?"
"I don't know," Jack replied with a shrug. "Maybe because it's the only place that I can sleep without thinking about her. We never went there together so I don't really associate her with it but at any rate, it's a safe place until we find something better."
Ephraim waited until Jack and Ben left before getting out of his car. He bribed a woman in personnel to get Jack's address. He was actually surprised to see Jack with someone as he was always alone. He had no idea of what he was going to do with the address until after he had it in his hands. If he could find something at the detective's house, maybe Xavier would allow him to quit his job. He had always hated the place, but it had gone beyond that. He was tired of it and his leech of a mother who he would murder in heartbeat if he could get away with it.
He stood outside of his car watching and waiting for what he didn't know. His heart pounded as he crossed the street and approached the house. He had never done anything remotely illegal and now he was going to break and enter into the home of a detective. He stopped at the driveway realizing that he didn't know if there was a security system or not. He took another quick look around to see if any nosy neighbors were peeking out of their windows. In his opinion, they were worse than any security system.
He cursed under his breath, took a few steps up the driveway. He yelped and then jumped when the motion sensor lights came on. He froze and waited for the sound of a barking dog. He finally decided that what he was doing was a bad idea. He went back to his car and called Xavier. It seemed as if an eternity had passed before Xavier came to the phone.
"What is it?" Xavier asked obviously irritated.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, but I'm at the detective's house. No one is here if you wanted to send someone," Ephraim said nervously. His nervousness compounded his mounting nausea. He looked around for something to throw up in and found an old fast food take out bag in the back seat.
"How long ago did he leave?" Xavier asked.
"About twenty minutes ago and I don't think he's coming back tonight. There was another man with him and they had overnight bags," Ephraim replied.
"Why did you not search the house?" Xavier asked.
"I don't know if he has a security system for the house. He does have motion sensors- it wouldn't do for me to be caught breaking and entering."
"This is true," Xavier replied. "Stay where you are- someone will be there shortly."
"Sir? May I ask a question?" Ephraim asked.
"You may," Xavier replied.
"When can I leave my job at the medical examiner's office? I think that I've proven myself invaluable to you."
"This is true," Xavier mused. "But I need you to stay where you are for the time being."
Ephraim threw up in the bag as Xavier continued talking.
"I do agree that you deserve to be rewarded for your efforts. Go home and your reward will be waiting for you."
"Thank you..." but Xavier was already gone.
Ephraim tossed the vomit filled bag out of the car window and sped home anxious to see what his reward was forgetting that he was to stay until someone came. He parked as he usually did and walked into the house. He paused at the kitchen door and waited for the usual greeting of. "What did you bring me?" When it didn't happen, he became concerned.
"Mom? Where are you?" he called as he walked through the kitchen.
There was no response, but he could hear the television playing in her room. He found that odd because she always watched television in the living room unless she was cleaning her room to make room for more purchases. He thought that she hadn't heard him because of the television and her door was shut.
"Mom!" he called as he banged on the door. When she didn't respond, he slowly opened the door. "Mom?" He called again and then he saw her feet on the floor at the foot of the bed. He rushed over to her and knew even before he touched her that she was dead. It took him several minutes to realize that this was the reward that Xavier was talking about. It took him another few minutes to pull himself together enough to call nine-one-one.
While he waited, he looked around his mother's room. Every inch of the room was jammed packed with things that she had bought and had never used. Suddenly, her spending his money had become insignificant. He realized that while she had been a pain in the ass, she was his mother and his pain in the ass. The saying 'be careful of what you wish for' crossed his mind as tears rolled down his face. He wiped his face when he heard the approaching sirens and went to let them in.
He went through the usual round of questioning regarding his mother's health.
"Yes she had a heart condition," he replied when a paramedic asked about her medical history. "Yes she took her meds..." and so on.
"So you came home and found her like that?" A police officer asked.
"Yes," Ephraim replied. "I came home after running an errand after work."
"Where do you work?" The cop asked.
"I'm one of the medical examiners for the city," Ephraim replied as he pulled put his ID.
"Oh... I'm sorry for your loss," the cop said as he glanced at the ID.
"Me too," Ephraim replied finding that he really was sorry. "I'll follow you down to the morgue."
There would be an autopsy because it was an unexpected death and they had to rule out homicide. Ephraim already knew what they would find. The ruling would be a heart attack but she had been murdered. Xavier had relieved him of what he- Ephraim had considered to be a problem.
On second thought, Ephraim decided not to go to the morgue. He didn't want the looks of pity that he knew were going to come. He didn't want to see his mother on the cold table knowing what was going to happen to her. He decided to call later to see when he could pick up the body. The good thing was that his mother wanted to be cremated. She wanted no memorial services and that only that her remaining sister and brother be told. The only thing that she hadn't addressed was what to do with all of her stuff.
Ephraim decided to go through it first to see if there was anything of sentimental or financial value before deciding what to do with the rest of her stuff. But not tonight he thought to himself. Tonight he would try to reconcile the fact that his mother was dead because he had wanted her to be. He lay on her bed looking up at the ceiling and let the tears come as feelings of guilt washed over him. He had done this.
Jian and Brittney started their run after a fifteen minute warm up although it was no longer necessary. Brittney could now jump up and take off at full speed even if she had been resting. The warm up was done out of habit.
"How far are we running?" she asked after they had completed a mile.
"As far as you like," Jian replied. "Do we need to adjust your weapons?" he asked. "They need to be easily reached but mustn't be visible or uncomfortable."
"They feel fine," Brittney replied. She hated the idea of having to wear weapons at all times but understood why. She didn't know how they were going to pull it off at work, but Jian had assured her that they would.
"I wore them and you didn't know," he reminded her. "The winter will be easier because you will wear sweaters."
"I thought that I wouldn't be affected by the weather," Brittney replied.
"That is true, but you must appear as you always have. You tend to bundle up more because you hate the cold and complain of being cold when others are saying that they are too warm. If you stop doing that, it will arouse suspicion."
"Do you think that someone in our office works for them?" Brittney asked.
"No," Jian replied, "but there are those in other areas of the college that do. They know me for what I am and if they had a suspicion as to who you were, those suspicions will be confirmed. That makes work more dangerous for us. You are not to go anywhere alone without alerting me first."
"That shouldn't be a problem," Brittney replied. "We did everything together anyway."
"That is true, but once those who work for the rogue realize that we are mated, they will take measures to try to isolate you."
"I don't suppose not saying anything about us being mated will help?" Brittney asked.
"No," Jian confirmed. "They will just know and you will be able to identify them too which is a good thing. Winona will begin working with you on changing your appearance in a few days."
"How hard is that to learn?" Brittney asked hoping for a challenge.
"Like all things, it depends upon the teacher and student. Winona is an excellent teacher and you are an excellent student. I anticipate no problems."
They ran the next five miles in a comfortable silence that it took most mated couples weeks if not months to achieve. Once again, Jian was grateful that they were friends before they became mates and lovers. They were at mile ten when Brittney stopped in her tracks. Jian stopped with her and looked around. Suddenly a pain filled howl filled the night air.
"Weapons," Jian whispered as he took out his 'sai'. Brittney didn't ask questions, but did as she was told. "My back to yours," he directed, "and if I tell you to run; you do it."
Another pain filled shriek rose and then suddenly died. Brittney closed her eyes and quickly opened them to see one of the ugliest creatures imaginable standing forty feet away from her. Another one appeared fifteen feet to the left of that one and another one to its right. Brittney understood what was happening- they were being surrounded. The other slayers were being kept busy- she could hear the sounds of the fighting.
One of the creatures smiled at her and spoke.
"Aren't you the lovely one?" it lisped.
Brittney battled nausea as the lower rogue's oily, gravelly voice reached her ears.
"Beloved, remember the sound of my voice and the nausea will dissipate," Jian said softly.
Brittney closed her eyes, listened and remembered Jian's voice and the nausea was immediately gone.
"I'm okay," she assured him as she watched the circle of lower rogues move closer. She had to wonder why so many of them were together. It didn't track with what Jian told her about the lower rogues. Suddenly, one charged her thinking her the easiest of two targets. Brittney's heart pounded as the creature approached her.
Jian was already fighting off two of them while trying to protect her. Realizing this, Brittney shouted again that she was fine. She felt Jian relax a little and focus a little more on the lower rogues that he was fighting.
"Are you the bastard that killed my sister?" Brittney asked through gritted teeth when the creature was less than three feet away from her. "Are you?"
The creature seemed surprised that Brittney had spoken to it. She took advantage of the surprise and lunged stabbing the rogue in the heart with the 'sai'. Brittney gagged as its dark red, foul smelling blood ran out of its body and onto her hand covering it like a glove. She pulled the 'sai' out and delivered a kick to the monster's abdomen that sent it sprawling backwards into one of its kinsmen. Seeing that Brittney wasn't as defenseless as she had appeared, two more rogue; one of them female approached her.
"Come on you ugly bastards," Brittney whispered. "Come on," she urged again her tone soft and luring. "Let me rid the world of you."
By this time slayer reinforcements had arrived and a retreat had been called. The female lower rogue hesitated to leave. She glared at Brittney with eyes that had once been blue as if marking her.
"I'll remember you too you ugly bitch," Brittney said out loud.
The female rogue blinked in surprise and backed away when she saw a male slayer running toward her. On her way, she stopped and glanced at the pile of dust that had once been the rogue that Brittney had killed. She took off when a barbed arrow hit her in her left leg. Another one hit her in the back and a male rogue passing her caught her and ran off with her in his arms.