by Don Dadda
THE SAGA CONTINUES...
Gordy Palm locked up the Subway sandwich shop he had been Manager of for three years and headed across the parking lot to his 2004 Neon, ready for a night of Dog the bounty hunter re-runs and a six pack of non- alcoholic beer. The sun had faded into the west about an hour ago. He had great fantasies of himself fifty pounds lighter and with a full head of hair, slapping the cuffs on a bad guy just like Dog. It had been three months since he had lost his two best daytime employees, and he’d had a helluva time replacing them, but he had gotten the job done. He’d hired two girls that he had previously rejected, and though they weren’t nearly as pretty as Daisy had been, or as fast as Sean, they filled the empty slots, and one of them even put out for her favored work hours. Maybe he would give her a call mid-way through the Dog marathon. Gordy was half-way to his car when he heard the sound of running feet coming up fast behind him. He turned to see who it was just in time to catch a baseball bat across his jaw. Pain and stars exploded in his head and he felt the world tilt as his wire rimmed glass flew off into the night and the ground rushed up to meet him. Tears welled in his eyes as he attempted to sit up, spitting blood and teeth as he did so. Gordy tried to focus his eyesight and find his keys, which had somehow vanished from his hand, when he heard the foot falls again. This time the footfalls were many. Gordy stumbled to his feet, in a vain attempt to reach his car, but through the pain in his head and his hazy vision he found himself surrounded by a group of shadowy figures, all carrying baseball bats. Gordy was about to offer up all the money in the sub shop and all of his money to be left alone, but before he could unhinge his broken jaw to speak, they attacked. The beating went on until Gordy Palm was little more than a blood stained pile of cotton and polyester, beaten beyond all recognition. Pentagrams and “Satan rules” were written in blood all across the front of the sub shop , and the attackers disappeared into the night.
Officers Jim Green and Cleo Matthews had been partners in the Ipsilanti police department for ten years, veterans of the Ipsi streets. Tonight they sat in their patrol car in the gault village parking lot, a strip mall that sported a grocery store, a Hollywood video, a Mr. pizza, a beauty supply store, and an Ace hardware. It was not a real hot spot for crime in Ipsi, so the cops chose the spot to eat a late lunch and talk about they’re wives. The pair was known all across Ipsi as the “odd couple”, due to the great differences in appearance. Jim Green was five feet six, weighing in at one hundred and sixty pounds, with a high pitched voice and a quick temper when provoked. Cleo Matthews was often compared to the guy from that movie “The green mile” and was sometimes called John Coffee. Matthews was a giant of a man, six six and three hundred and twenty pounds easy, with a voice so deep Barry white sounded like his nuts had been caught in a vise by comparison. Not only were they partners, but they were the best of friends. Both were married, both were still as of yet childless, and both were happy as clams. They had just started they’re shift two hours ago, and after making the first of the rounds, Burger King double whoppers had enter the conversation and the car magically found its way to the nearest Burger King drive-thru. Early lunch acquired. As they sat and ate, they talked about their wives, they’re sex lives, and the bowling game they had won against the state police team last Saturday.
“You bowled like shit, man, it’s a wonder we won,” said Matthews around a mouth full of burger.
“Bite me, big boy,” replied Green, sucking on a strawberry shake, “I still helped.”
“ Yeah, with friends like you, we don’t nee
-” both cops jumped as something slammed into the windshield of the patrol car, smearing red in thick lumps and sliding slowly down from top to bottom.
“What the fuck???!!!” said the cops simultaneously. They jumped out of the car, drawing guns as they did so. At first glance, the lumpy stuff on the windshield looked like ground hamburger, until you saw the fur, and the eyes. A cat. A horribly maimed cat. The cops stared at the sickening sight, then at each other, and then out into the parking lot. Maybe twenty feet away stood a man in a hooded sweater and a ghost face mask, like in those Scream movies. The figure flipped the cops the bird, then ran for the alley behind the strip mall, through a small opening between the hardware store and the beauty supply. Green was on the driver side, so he jumped back into the car, and by unspoken agreement, Matthews took off on foot after the figure and Green would try to cut him off in the alley, which only had one other way out. For such a big man, Matthews was in great shape and quickly closed the gap on the perpetrator. Matthews caught up with the man and slammed him up against the alley wall, and covered him with his 9mm glock until the lights of the cruiser, bloody window and all, came flying down the alley. Green Jumped out of the car, drawing his weapon as he came. The two cops stood over the slumped body of the perpetrator and breathed heavily.
“What we got partner?” asked Green.
“A motherfucka that wants to go to jail tonight, I would guess.” said Matthews. Green reached down and turned the man over, and removed the mask. Both cops were stunned, the man was no more than a boy of 17 or 18 years old. Dirty blonde hair was plastered to his head with sweat, and with an insane light in his eyes, he screamed at them manically, his voice echoing off the surrounding buildings.
“The Lord of Hell rules! The Lord of Hell rules!” As the kid yelled at the top of his lungs, and the cops wondered what the hell kind of whacked out druggie they had caught, they didn’t see the shadow-like figures rising up all around them from dumpsters, dark doorways, and shadowy corners. By the time the two cops turned to see them, there where twenty bodies rushing at them from all directions, and more coming down the alley. They all held weapons of some sort, bats, tire irons, knives. The officers fired without warnings, knowing they were in trouble. Standing back to back they emptied they’re clips, but they had no time to reload. The mob fell on them from everywhere, pounding and stabbing even each other to get at the cops. Matthews roared like an enraged bull as he swung his nightstick, flooring one after another, barely feeling the hits he took, bad as they were. Green battled at his back like a rabid dog, until a tire iron smashed into his temple, dropping him instantly. As he fell, hooded figures swarmed over him until he couldn’t be seen. Matthews was unaware his partner was down until the attack came from behind him. A blade slid into his calf from the back, and then he heard his own skull crack as an aluminum bat whistled through the air to connect solidly with his head. Matthews began to fall, and suddenly bodies were all over him, and he screamed as he felt teeth tear into his flesh. Suddenly the pain was a distant thing, and all the tearing, stabbing, and clubbing seemed like a movie, watched on a screen, until someone turned out all the lights.
Aaron Cross leapt from his bed the second he heard the glass break. In nothing but his fruit-of-the-looms, he raced up the stairs and into the church sanctuary to find Father Roe battling four hooded assailants. Roe backhanded one and reversed the slap into a punch that dropped another flat on his back. With blinding speed the retired knight deftly spun under the swinging bat of one attacker and broke the jaw of another with a spinning heel kick. A leg sweep and an elbow to the temple took out another one. The last one standing, the one that sported the baseball bat, saw Cross standing there watching and thought to take out an easier target. With a yell to Satan, the lone Child charged Cross with upraised bat. Cross caught the bat in mid swing with one hand, and then drove his other fist piston-like into the attacker’s face, repeatedly until he dropped to the floor. Roe and Cross surveyed the damage to the church, finding a full gas can , and gas soaked newspaper the Children were going to use to speed the fire up. The knights knew who the Children were, but why they would attempt an attack on a Guarded church, they had no idea. Maybe the police could wring an answer from one of these lost souls.
Born stood at the scene of the cop killings in utter disbelief. Bodies were strewn all over the alley. Two cops dead, apparently half eaten by a mob of crazed teenagers, that Subway dude beaten to death and about five fires set at different churches around town. This wasn’t the work of witches or werewolves. What the fuck was going on?
Tala turned the TV off. She glanced at Marla with a look of studied coolness. They both knew what all the carnage on the news meant.
The Children had gotten orders. And the Chose would be here soon. Without a word, both witches got up and made preparations for the coming of Satan’s Chosen.
Born hung up the phone and called for M’vilitz’s attention. He had been working hard on calling the alien “Tab” in front of other people, especially other cops, but it just didn’t feel right. And that cold look in the eyes of his partner kept in his mind the fact that Tab wasn’t even in there anymore.
“ That was Steve Cummings over in Gang squad, and he says the body we found behind the laundry mat was a gangster named Chaz belonging to a local motorcycle gang called the Spiders. They sell drugs to support themselves and operate they’re day to day business out of a bar downtown called The Web. Let’s check it out. Then we can work on identifying good ol’ Chaz’s leather wearing killer.” said Born rising from his chair and grabbing his jacket. Born really wanted to find this Werewolf killer, maybe this dude knew what the hell was going on in Ipsi, and how to stop it. M’vilitz copied Born and put on his jacket also, and the pair headed to the door, only to be stopped by the Captain and two men in black suits.
“ Hold on fellas,” said Captain Slocum. “ We need to talk.” Born took one look at the two suits, and with a disgusted sound said, “ Fuckin Feds!” M’vilitz hung back to let Born handle the situation, realizing the detective was unhappy with whatever was happening. Slocum held up a restraining hand to Born.
“ Now wait a minute Born, before you go all batshit on me, just listen. Special Agents Cash and Brown are here to help in the investigation of the murder of Johnson Long, nothing else. This order comes down from nose-bleed heights, and I mean real high up, so save the turf shit and give them what they need, period. Good day gentlemen.” Slocum walked off with the posture of a man that cannot be compromised with. Born hung his head , cursing under his breath. Special Agent Brown , a slight built man with a receding hair line and emerald green eyes stepped forward.
“ Detective Born, Detective Tabanski, we are not here to step on any toes, just to help out. We will stay out of the way as much as possible, but we would like to get set up in a corner somewhere with all you have from the investigation so we can get caught up. Can we count on your help?” his voice was strong, and he sounded like a man used to being obeyed. This really pissed Born off. M’vilitz remained passive. When Born didn’t answer right away, Special Agent Cash took a brisk step that put him in Born’s face.
“ The man asked nicely, next time won’t be so nice.” Cash said in a low menacing voice. Cash stood maybe an inch under Born’s height, and weighed twenty pounds less, but one look at the way he moved told the tale of hours and hours spent at the gym. Born squared up with the FBI agent, undaunted.
“Fuck you.” Born replied with a cold smile. Things might have gone badly had not Slocum reappeared at that time. Slocum slid smoothly between the men, firmly directing Cash away from Born.
“ I have cleared an office just for your use, Special Agents, right this way. Detectives Born and Tabanski will bring you what they have on the Johnson case momentarily. If you will, gentlemen?” Slocum threw Born and M’vilitz a withering look that promised trouble if they didn’t cooperate. Born stormed off to get what had been collected on the murder of Johnson Long. M’vilitz trailed behind, curious about human behavior. The trip to the bar where the Spiders held sway totally forgotten, for the moment.
Aaron Cross watched as Father Roe directed the workmen in the repairs to the church. The Children where sloppy and unorganized, which was a great help in defeating them. It also helped that two Knights were present. The other churches that had been attacked had not fared so well. Two were total losses, and all had resulted in deaths of Priests. Roe gave Cross a nod, indicating he could handle the repairs from here. Cross nodded back and retired to his room. Sleep would not come easy. The dreams had started again. He had them off and on, and had done so since the death of his wife and daughter. That had been back in another life, back when he had been a cop.
Aaron Cross loved his job. Nothing gave him greater satisfaction than snapping the cuffs on a murderer. And sadly, in Chicago, there were plenty of murderers to catch. His wife Barb didn’t like living in the city at all, but it was a requirement of the CPD that to work in the city, you had to live in the city limits. The Crosses were originally from Gary Illinois , but had to move to Chicago for Aaron’s job as one of Chicago‘s finest. The Crosses had a daughter, Gloria, age six. She was they’re whole life. What Gloria wanted, Gloria got. It turned out one particular day Gloria saw on a commercial for a new kind of baby doll, one that grew hair and soiled itself and ate fake food, and she fell in love with it. She went into I-WANT mode and began pestering her mother for the toy. Barb put up the usual feigned resistance for a while, then made ready to take the child to the nearest toy store for the doll. Officer Cross was at that time in a bar celebrating the capture of a man that had murdered his mother and grandmother with a kitchen knife over thirty dollars he wanted for some crack. Cross wanted to go straight home, but his fellow cops wouldn’t hear of it. In a heroic move, Cross had faced the man down, disarmed him, and cuffed the criminal all alone. There was talk of awards, and parades, and even grander things as the drinks started flowing. Meanwhile, Barb and Gloria Cross were scouring the city for that special hair growing peepeeing doll until well after dark. Barb could see the start of tears as they hit store after store, only to find that either they didn’t have it yet, or they were all sold out. Finally, half way across town, they scored. In a Super K-mart, they found one, misplaced in the isle that had all the toy guns and swords. Barb gladly shelled out the forty dollars for the doll and got to see her baby girl smile that geez-I-love-you smile she loved to see so much. Gloria laughed and skipped all the way to the car. As Barb rummaged for the keys in her purse, a man in what looked to be his early fifties walked past, stopped and asked if they needed any help. Barb looked up, smiled and replied that they were fine. The man moved closer and told her no, you are not fine. The hammer came from nowhere. The first blow caught Barb a glancing blow to the head. Gloria screamed. The attacker swung again, smashing in Barb’s left cheekbone stunning her. As the man stood over Barb, measuring her up for the killing blow, little Gloria Cross latched onto his leg and bit down as hard as she could. The man howled in pain and tried to shake the child lose, to no avail. Gloria bit down and held on for all she was worth, until the howling man brought the hammer down on top of her head. Her mother heard her daughter’s skull crack. She rose from the ground like an angle of death and launched herself upon the man full force. She managed to poke out one eye and rip plugs of skin off of his neck before, in great pain, the man reversed the hammer and slammed the claw end into her temple. She died on the spot. Gloria died on the operating table four hours later. The killer was captured two days later when he went to an emergency room for his destroyed eye. An autopsy of Barb Cross’s body found DNA and optical fluids under her nails, and every hospital in the state had been told to report eye injuries immediately. A grief stricken Aaron Cross arrived at the hospital just as officers were hauling fifty two year old Ronald Guald out in hand cuffs. Cross didn’t hesitate, he drew his service weapon and emptied the clip into the man’s head. No jury was willing to convict Cross on anything more than discharging a gun in the city limits. He was unceremoniously dismissed from the police force, after which drinking became his new job. He lived in the bottle for two years. One night after a particularly long drinking binge, Cross stumbled into a church, prayed, then drew out an old .38 revolver , cocked the hammer and put the barrel in his mouth. Cross closed his eyes and pulled the trigger. When nothing happened, he opened his eyes to see a man with his finger between the hammer and the firing pin. That man was Pastor Brian Roe. Cross was taken in, and taken care of by Roe until slowly Roe drew Cross’s story out of him. Then Roe began slowly introducing Cross to another way of thinking, and living. And he introduced him to God. And even later, to the Knighthood.
Cross dreamed of this at least twice monthly, and when the dreams came, he avoided sleep. He rose and got dressed for a chat with Father Roe on his future plan of attack. What better way to dodge sleep than planning to smite evil?
M’vilitz silently raged. What was happening. Why couldn’t he sense the stone anymore? And why were he and Born wasting time on these FIB or FBI humans? M’vilitz was seriously considering just walking out and looking for the stone all on his own, when suddenly awareness of it’s use bloomed up in his mind. Someone was using the stone! M’vilitz rose and made Tab’s body move at it’s highest rate of speed towards the power source he could now feel again. Born looked up from his computer and saw the alien running and dashed after him. Born exited the police station to see the alien running down Michigan avenue at top speed. Born ran to his unmarked sedan and pulled off, chasing M’vilitz down the street.
M’vilitz was surprised to see Born pull alongside him and urge him to get in. He had forgotten all about the human when he felt the Xithra stone being used. But the automobile would be a faster way to his destination. M’vilitz stopped running and got in the car. The Alien gave Born unerring directions , leading to a two story house on Ipsilanti’s south side. Born had hardly stopped the car before M’vilitz leaped out of the vehicle and stalked towards the house. He had stopped feeling the stone’s power five minutes before reaching the house, but he knew this was the place. He feared the stone had been removed, but that wouldn’t stop him, he would find the Were creature one way or another. His anger built with every step, until he reached the door and with a thought blew the door in. The house was a wreck. Plaster and dust filled the air. M’vilitz cast his mind around the house, but got no feeling of the xithra stone. He did, however , feel two life forms alive in the house, though one was weaker than the other. Born came into the house, gun drawn, backing his “partner” up. M’vilitz moved towards the life forms he felt, anger building within him. The two gang members that lived through Cane’s “lesson” were surprised to see anyone else in the house. After seeing Tank and Slick killed, the two were eager to take their anger out on someone, anyone. M’vilitz stalked into the kitchen and came face to face with two fully transformed werewolves ready to kill. Like lightning they attacked, one going straight across the kitchen at M’vilitz, the other running up the wall and across the ceiling to drop down on the alien from above. M’vilitz reacted. To the Werewolves, the air in the house seemed to get thicker, like syrup, and they’re motions forward slowed to a crawl. Struggle though they did, they could not move any faster than people you saw in movies when they were in slow motion. M’vilitz slammed his will into the closest beast to him, meaning to mentally choke the werewolf’s brain into submition , bending it physically and mentally to his will. What he found in the creatures mind knocked him to his knees. It was beyond animalistic. It was a rage that bewildered the intelligent mind. It broke M’vilitz’s concentration, sending the Werewolves back into full speed. Just as they reached the prone alien, Born fired. Four well placed shots put both creatures on the ground, the transformation back to human beginning already. Born walked past M’vilitz, who was still trying to clear his head of the indescribable hate/rage that had assailed him, and aimed his gun at the first of the werewolves’ head and fired at point blank range. Born had not even believed he was doing what he was doing when he bought the silver bullets at the Orbital Novelty shop, but he was glad he did. As he moved over to the next one, he saw that it had reverted all the way back to human, and the man was around thirty, with dirty blonde hair and a spider tattoo on his chest, right where Born had put two bullets. As Born approached, the man tried to sit up, and blood pulsed out of his wounds.
“ Fuckin bullets ain’t supposed to work on us!” grunted the dying man. Born leveled the weapon at the man’s head.
“ Fuckin bullets probably don’t, but these silver bullets do.” said Born. “ You got one shot at not catchin the next one in the head. Tell me who your leader is, who turned you?” Born was surprized to see the man laugh through the blood coming out of his mouth.
“ Since I’m dead anyway,” he said through bloody teeth, “ I’ll tell you, cause I want you to get what you got coming when you find him. His name is Cane, and he is the leader of the spiders. Look for him downtown at the Web. He’ll gut you, you know. I wish I could see it”
“ You won’t.” Said Born. The sound of Born’s gun echoed through the house. They had a name , and a location, thought Born. Time to end this.
Tala and Marla exited the hotel, the limousine door held open by Shane’s replacement, a man named Rock, who was at least the same size as Shane. As they settled down for the ride downtown, as good a place as any to lay a detection spell or two, they both almost screamed when they realized they weren’t alone. Sitting across from them was a man they had somehow missed upon entering the vehicle. Spells began to spring from the witches in attack and defense, but all thoughts of spell casting fell from their minds when the man’s eyes flashed red, a glowing ,blood red. The Chosen had come.
The Chosen ordered the witches to tell him the whole story. Tala tentatively began speaking, the story coming out of her in spurts. She told the story as best she could, omitting only the parts that involved the Xithra stone. As she finished the story of the battle at the plating plant, Tala bowed her head to the Chosen, and was surprised to find a large hand around her neck, with a grip like steel. Her face was pulled close in to his, and she could smell blood on his breath as he spoke.
“Leaving out the Stone was a mistake, bitch. That tells me you want it for yourself. You gonna challenge me? Or our Lord? You had better wire your ass and your head together and join the winning team, or I’ll fuck you, kill you, and dismember you with a dull knife, and not in that order. Now start over and don’t leave anything out. Nothing.” Tala gasped for breath as the Chosen released his grip and sat back. Slowly, the story began to come out of her, as if it was being slowly squeezed from her brain, no detail left out. The Chosen even had her describe the dimensions of the stone, which made the evil man smile with delight.
“ Excellent!” Said the Chosen, “ Now, we must find this wolf, and the alien also. The Stone must be retrieved, at all costs. Since you want it so bad, Tala, I’m guessing you know what it is, and how important it is to our cause. Let us go back to your hotel room and discuss strategy , or at least get me a blowjob from you two fine witches.” Orders were given for the driver to return back to the hotel, and the two witches mentally prepared themselves for what they knew they must do.