I walk a few feet behind the girl with my head down, passing the black neon sign that lists the drinks on special for the night, knowing just grabbing her is not going to solve any problems. First of all, we have rules. One of the most important is not to do anything in the public eye if possible. Sure, every once in a while a situation will unravel and it will find its way in the papers. Those stories are usually the ones on public transit of some sort and concentrate on the perp having some mental psychosis. An innocent bystander usually restrains the bad guy who has gone berserk and saves the day. Yeah, that’s us, trying to rescue a busload of oblivious humans from an Unnatural that’s gone nuts from hunger or the monotony of a ridiculously long life and wants to end it all.
Harry stops just outside the door. He’s still in the entryway on the beaten up mat that says Doozies, which is the name of the bar and advertises the house beer. Standing there where the mat meets the gravel he gives the girl a deep, sloppy kiss. I cringe in disgust and mentally move her status to mid-phase C, damn Bronco and his categories. Physical contact, especially when bodily functions are involved, makes things progress more quickly. Listening carefully through the drum solo that’s playing inside, I can hear him saying how beautiful she is as he guides her away from the building. He’s breathing deeply and I know he can smell her real smell over all the perfumey stuff she’s wearing because I can smell her too. To a Were it’s just as intoxicating as alcohol. Right now I want to knock his head around in a complete circle. The arrogant bastard really thinks he’s going to have her. I walk just out of the security light and pretend to be looking for my car keys as I count to ten in my head to stay in the right frame of mind. Auburn really is the right color for me, I guess.
Scanning the parking lot to take in its potential, I deem it adequate for damage control. It’ll have to do. It’s a typical bar lot on the edge of town, surrounded by dense trees with only one street light that flickers on its way to being blown altogether. There are several cars scattered about that would provide cover and protection, no one has come or gone in awhile, and closing time is still hours away. My first mission is to separate the Were from the victim and keep her safe while the effects wear off. It’s actually easier if the victim is completely subdued and can be hidden. While this can be done with only one person, my situation tonight had the variable of another person and that’s why calling in Bronco was helpful. It’ll slow me down but isn’t unmanageable. Sometimes it’s a matter of distracting the client and victim to buy time, sometimes the victim can literally be pushed off to the side while the client is being engaged. The victim won’t remember anything anyway and if they did it’s so outrageous to suspect that it’s usually blamed on too much alcohol.
The girl has been led to the far corner of the lot heading for the woods, away from the road and street light. She has slowed down and wobbles like someone who’s beyond tipsy. That’s probably partly true and doesn’t help her cause. She’s rapidly advancing to phase D and the monster is now casing the place. I turn as if I’m going back inside and stay in the shadows by the dwarf shrubs that hardly ever look healthy due to all the vomiting on them by overindulgent patrons.
He doesn’t look my way again and turns his attention back to the girl who is not much more than standing jelly that follows basic directions and life functions. That kiss really did her in. She’ll be a push-off for sure and I’m hoping I can get to her in time. He’s at least sixty yards away from me and is going to make his move soon so I’m going to have to act alone. I modify my plan in my head and adjust my feet in my flat leather lace-up boots which have silver toes (a personalized alteration of which I have several). My stretchy black pants and thin shirt under my jacket will allow me freedom to move without overheating.
A car rumbles down the main road towards the bar. Luckily my hearing is far more sensitive than any regular human and I can identify it as Bronco’s. Close but not close enough. My adrenaline spikes again from the Were and my attention focuses as I take off at a sprint much faster than anyone should be allowed to do without being accused of steroid abuse. Bronco will just have to catch up and jump in.
Within seconds I’ve caught up with the Were who has now figured out why his instincts have shied him away from me all night. He lets out a guttural howl that pulls at my insides in a weird way and the girl’s mouth opens as if to scream but can’t. Some much needed interrogations when I first started this job helped answer a lot of questions I had and according to the Weres I captured, blood actually does taste better with the adrenaline of fear running through it.
I take in one last glance of the area and am satisfied that we’re all alone. I move and he counters, earning me an advantage because in doing so he leaves the girl and I get closer to her. I push her off to the side, a little more forcefully than intended but she’s a noodle and adrenaline in the moment is hard to gauge. Taking out my knife gives me a feeling of complete control that I get a buzz from and I can tell my vision has heightened as details are more vivid and sharp. Under the bright light from the moon above, my world consists only of him and me.
Harry, who had begun to salivate, is now more than a little put out having his dinner taken away from him just as it’s served and now his eyes are on me, burning red hot. Literally. It can be compared to how an animal’s eyes glow a bit in the dark, only this is blood red. It’s downright terrifying if you aren’t expecting it and even when you are, it’s freaky. I size him up at about five eleven, just under six feet and make a face as if to say, ‘not bad.’ I can handle it. Unlike dating, I’m very good in stressful situation and calm as a cucumber in a fight, especially with a loser like this. It’s the only time my energy rush and my mood work together. Or so my buddy Bronco says.
He lunges at me attempting force, and I swiftly dodge him with my lithe figure just out of his reach. He’ll need to come at me in a way I’ll be able to use my knife and he senses that. I wait for him to get frustrated and lazy and slip up. Most of them do. As long as the victim remains safe and I stay alive, I’ll dance all night if I have to. Three such instances like this one pop into my head without thinking about it and within a millisecond I recall what did and didn’t work and interlace it with my current plans. I taunt him with the things most Weres hate to hear. I’ve also resorted to pettiness. For all of them except the elders it irritates their pride and thus gets them to make a move motivated more by emotion than by physical intention. Is it petty? Sure, but what the hell if it gets the job done.
“What, couldn’t find any of your own kind who wants to help you out?” He growls some more and makes a move I believe may be in a football playbook somewhere. It’s too easy to forget these guys had a life somewhere once upon a time. I need to be on my game here.
“Oh, too bad you’ll go hungry tonight. She did smell really good.” He stands up full and tall. The Were part of him has become more dominant. When he takes in a huge breath of air I have a moment of self doubt as this guy now seems twice as big as before and he probably is. I’m in for the whole shebang as I dodge his attacks which are mostly messy. Maybe he was home schooled. Whatever.
The minutes drag on as we dodge and parry, each getting in a few good moves. He enters my personal space and I reach out even though I know the angle is wrong in the hopes of taking him off guard. The knife glances across his large hairy forearm as he lands a blow over my right ear and I teeter and fall despite my attempts to stay righted. My equilibrium is thrown off and I’m still by myself. Where the hell is Bronco?
“I’ll have you last for dessert and I don’t care if I’m full and have to waste you,” he says standing over me, his arms out to the side in a very Hulk-like stance. “I’ll do it anyway just because you’re a pain in the ass!”
The knife held out in front of me keeps him from attacking for at least the moment. It took him a while to come up with those remarks and I actually tell him what grade I’d give him for creativity as the unwavering edge follows his every move as I get up. This of course infuriates him further and his emotional hold slips a notch. I gain a teensy bit more leverage.
The parking lot is still spinning but starts to settle as I see Bronco running towards us so I let loose my uncensored opinion.
“You won’t live longer than appetizer, let along main course or dessert, loser.”
Finally Bronco joins the fray. I’m sure Harry knew enough to peg him as a threat, but apparently I looked more incapacitated and an easier target because he turns to face me. Hearing what Bronco’s move will be, I hold my blade out with both hands as if to protect myself at the same time Bronco attacks the Were from the back with his own knife. The Were loses his balance and falls forward on me, catching my knife first before the bulk of his weight crashes down.