"London," the blonde snarled, "why did it have to be London?" Simon switched his gaze from the wet road to the rearview mirror.
Sitting in the passenger side rear seat was a small woman dressed in jeans, black shirt, a leather jacket, and gloves. Perched on top of her yellow hair were sunglasses, incongruous to the gray drizzle outside the cab.
"Aw, c’mon Scully, be glad it isn’t Roswell," her companion grinned. The man was built like a pro wrestler or football linebacker, but with long black hair pulled back in a ponytail, the scruffy beginnings of a beard, and blue eyes that never settled on one place for long, he looked more like a bouncer from a seedy bar.
The woman turned to give him a look with blazing emerald eyes that should have put him twelve feet under. "Luke, for the last time, don’t call me that. Geeze, why d’you watch that junk anyway?"
He shrugged. "For giggles. ‘Sides, they might be onto something. There was an episode the other night about werewolves."
She raised an eyebrow. "And?"
"I nearly laughed myself sick." The woman sighed and turned back to the window.
Simon cleared his throat. "’Scuse me, but... you two planin’ on stayin’ ‘ere for very long?"
The man shrugged. "Dunno. We’re here on business."
"Ah. Well, ya might not want to go out and about after dark." At the man’s curious look, Simon gave them a self-conscious shrug. "There’s some sort of barmy on the loose. Goes around and rips people apart before the coppers can do a thing. Nine people are already dead, poor sods. Never did find some of the organs."
The woman nodded, obviously not believing him. "Look, at least be careful. Even if there isn’t some nutter goin’ around, it ain’t safe for you to be walkin’ around, especially not Americans that don’t know the bad areas."
The man nodded. "We appreciate the tip. And believe me, we can take care of ourselves."
"Ah. Well, ‘ere’s yer stop."
The couple got out and the man paid him (adding a generous tip) while the woman squinted and winced before pulling down her sunglasses as if it were midday with not a cloud in the sky instead of mid-afternoon with rain everywhere. Simon hesitated, then the tip decided him. "’Ere." He handed over a business card. "You need to go somewhere, call me. Be ‘ere in ten minutes." The man hesitantly took the card.
Kira watched the cab race off, pulling away at break-neck speeds. "Weird," she commented. Luke simply nodded. They headed inside and checked with the desk clerk. Like normal, they were already registered. As Luke opened the door to their room, she sighed. At his curious look, she managed a small grin. "Jetlag. Lemme sleep to sundown, then let's go after the beastie." He nodded and moments later she was flopped down on the bed, fast asleep.
"C’mon, partner, rise and shine. Wakey wakey."
"Cut down on the caffine," she mumbled into the pillow, "and go away. Got a few more hours."
"No, you don’t. We’re in England, remember?"
"No. Go away."
"Kira." Luke’s voice changed from teasing to deadly serious. "If you don’t get up now, I’m going to douse you."
The woman shot upright to glare at him. "You wouldn’t dare."
"Try me. Now let’s go."
With a reluctant sigh, the two set out to prowl the streets of London. Despite the cabbie’s warnings, the streets were startlingly empty of life and completely devoid of any sort of threat. After searching for several hours and finding nothing, the two were getting discouraged.
Luke growled and kicked a hapless can that got in his way. "Ya know, for a nutcase killer, this dude doesn’t make much of an appearance, does he?"
Kira shrugged, then froze. "Listen. You hear something?"
Luke cocked his head this way and that. "No."
The woman pointed to a cobblestone road. "That way," she hissed, moving off in a silent run. They came around the corner and skidded to a stop. Through the drizzle that continued even after sundown were two murky figures, one almost fuzzy that was crouched over the second. The first reached down with hands that looked more like elongated claws. There was a faint ripping sound. Unable to get a good view, Luke turned a questioning gaze on his partner. She stood almost quivering, eyes closed. For a moment, he could have sworn her tongue flickered out to run over her lips. "Blood," she whispered. "The one on the ground. Lots of blood. Can smell it from here."
"Then we have to help him."
"No." She stopped him before he got a few paces away. "Too late already."
"Still, we don’t know what it wants. We need to stop it now." Almost reluctantly, she nodded. Luke stepped forward. "Hey!" he called.
My prey’s blood still pulses faintly; still hot and sweet even though its heart stopped moments ago.
I tear open its stomach, lapping up the sweet red liquid that spills forth before searching among the inner parts for the piece I need; not just want, but must have.
I find the organ and pull it forth from its warm nest, gloating. The past few nights the prey has been hard to find, and even then, some, although their flesh is just as delicious, do not have the vital part.
"Hey!" a deep, male, human voice cries out, a new scent assaulting my nose. Before I have time to think or plan my feet are already moving, sending me in a fast lope. There is no specific reason, but simply instincts too strong to ignore... wait.
I risk a quick glance back. There are two humans there, male and female. The female has stopped by my prey. She is no concern. The male, on the other paw... He is apparently insane. He races after me, feet pounding on cement as he struggles to keep up. I let out a brief howl, mocking him. He cannot catch me. What will he do with me them, even if he does?
Then a breeze swirls up, sending his scent my way. My speed increases, running full out. I do not recognize his smell, other then the simple fact that it is wrong. I do not know how, or even how I know this, but it is not right.
Impossible! His feet pound on the ground faster, and somehow he is catching up to me! No one can do that! No human can catch me! But incredibly, impossibly, he continues to gain ground. A sudden realization surges my pace, pulling me ahead. Now, I am no longer the hunter. I am the man’s prey.
The chase continues for several minutes, an eternity for the hunt. But neither of us can keep up this pace. His feet slow, like the prey’s heartbeat. Somehow I manage to keep running, pulling away. He does not give up.
For a few precious seconds, I lose him in a maze of buildings. This is my chance. I lift up a sewer grate, wincing at the smell. But it is unimportant.
Moments after I lower the grate over me, I hear his feet pound to a stop almost overhead. He pants like a house dog, and searches for me. He finds nothing, and eventually leaves. When it is safe, I come out. I still have the organ. The hunt, for tonight at least, is over.
Luke stomped back into the hotel room, ignoring the mud and slime he dripped all over the carpet. He shot a dirty look at Kira, who was perched in the room’s armchair, looking as pristine as if she hadn’t been out at all, every yellow hair in place and leather jacket not even looking wet. She winced at his snarl. "How’d it go?"
"How d’you think it went? All I could see was human-sized, furry, and left bloody little pawprints for awhile. Then I lost him. You?"
"DOA. Average John Doe. Worked at a butcher’s shop, of all things. The blood from his job might have attracted the thing. Was also missing his appendix."
Luke blinked as he settled down on the bed. "So? Lot’s of people get ‘em removed."
"Yeah, well, take it from an expert. His appendix was just removed, and by Fuzzy. The cab driver, what’s-his-name – "
"Right. He said that some organs were missing. Might be a trail."
He snorted, but he knew about Kira’s rather strange past. If she said it was just removed, then it was just removed. The idea of some sort of creature running around removing appendixes from dead bodies, though... that was a bit strange, even for him. Luke sighed, and leaned back. "Nearly sunrise. Can’t believe we spent all night looking for that thing."
"Mmm. Well, I’m planning on spending the day asleep. You may be able to change time zones whenever your furry little heart desires, but I can’t. Wake me at sunset." Luke whole-heartedly agreed. Chasing after the critter through the streets of London wasn’t his idea of fun. But someone had to check out what was going on during the daylight...
After a few hours worth of sleep, Luke managed to rummage up the business card he’d gotten the day before. An intense session of haggling later, he had a rented taxi and chauffeur for the day. Simon proved to be a font of knowledge, babbling merrily to himself about the various sights until they came to the area of last night’s killing. When Luke asked him to pull over a block from the scene of the crime, the man was noticeably silent. "You want I should come with you, guv’ner?"
"Nah. I’ll be fine." Unfortunately, he found nothing. The police had already come and removed any sign of the incident. Luke spent the rest of the day wandering the streets mostly around the area where he lost the critter, suffering déjà vu from last night. The conditions were much the same; although the rain clouds had finally broken, yet his companion was equally silent. He returned to the hotel at noon to eat and get as much sleep as possible.
That night followed much the same pattern as the first. After rousing a much less grumpy Kira, they again prowled aimlessly through the back alleys and side streets. It was well past midnight before they saw the beast. The rain still held off, allowing them a better view. The creature looked much like a man, but with a shorter neck and longer face that could better be called a muzzle. The creature was covered in reddish fur, now speckled with red, the blood of its latest victim. Once again Luke gave chase.
I have nearly finished tonight’s prey, about to eat the vital part, when once again that strange scent hits me. The man is back! But tonight, the wind favors him. He is nearly upon me when I finally scent him. I try to run, turn and manage to get a few paces away when he grabs me, pulling out hairs as he spin me around. No! I will not be his prey! Instinct again hits, and I lash out. My claws hit meat, tearing it. The man cries out and pulls away. This is my chance. I run. But as I turn, he slices me with something, catching my thigh. When I finally limp to a stop, I pause to eat. I still hold the organ. But the meat on my claws interests me more. It is strange, but good. He is not invulnerable. He can be hurt.
He can die.
"Luke! Dammit, what happened? What – oh no. How bad is it?"
He clutched his arm tightly, breath hissing through his teeth. "I’ll live," he growled, "and I got it, but it got away."
Kira cursed under her breath then moved over to the still faintly steaming corpse. "Appendix missing," she called. "Definitely a pattern."
She shrugged. "Dunno. Come on, let’s get you to a doctor."
"Don’t you mean a vet?"
"I hate it when you get hurt. You get too damn punchy."
Kira slumped back into her seat, glaring out the window with her shades firmly over her eyes. The sky was cloudier then when they first arrived, impossible as it sounded, and looked to be a real thunderstorm before the day was done. Luke, despite his wound, had insisted they search the city again by daylight, painful as it was. So they had called the now silent cabbie to go on a pretend shopping trip.
She hated shopping.
Their cabbie pulled over suddenly several minutes before blessed sunset, when the gray day would turn to the peaceful blackness of night. "What’s wrong?" Luke called to the driver.
"You don’t understand!" the man replied, almost hysterically, as he limped out of the cab. Inspiration struck, and both shared a disgusted look as they got out.
"Moonrise in three, two, one.... Oh shit," Luke declared.
The moon rises over the horizon, bringing with it The Change. Worries and guilt about the two people, thoughts of driving and my cab, it all goes out of my mind. There is only predator, prey, and the chase.
I howl in pained ecstasy as my bones break and rearrange, my muscles grow and stretch. My clothes snap and shred as they become too small. The bandage on my leg is rent into rags, the wound beneath gone with the Change.
I howl again, for the sheer joy of it, then leap for the two. They are my enemies.
They are my prey.
The man darts forward, in front of the woman, and grabs my wrists as I try to tear his arm again. We push and pull each other, dancing back and forth for several seconds.
Then I smile, letting him see my fangs for an instant before I lunge. My teeth close around his throat, and the coppery taste of his blood fills my mouth. The last blood the heart pumps is always the sweetest.
I release him and as he crumples to the ground, I turn to the woman. I expect the sharp tang of fear, to see her running in the vain hope of escape, of survival. Apparently she is made of sterner stuff. She leans against a wall, fumbling a gun from her purse. Fool. Many have tried to shoot me before, but I am immortal! These two have denied me for two nights, nearly three, the pleasures of my prey. One is dead, and as for the other...
I let her see her companion’s lifeblood on my fangs as I lash out with my claws, feeling skin and muscle rip and tear away from bone. She collapses to the ground, blood pouring from her leg, but without the scream I expect.
Her face distorts with pain, yet she raises the gun and pulls the trigger.
The bullet hits me in the chest. For an instant, nothing. Then pain roars through my body and veins like liquid fire.
Impossible! I think as I fall, blackness spotting my vision. However, I know the truth. Somehow, against all logic, she managed to kill me. My last sight is her leg; red blood, black in the moon’s light, staining the ivory of bone. It is my only consolation: I take my enemies with me.
A slender, cloaked figure glided through the dark morgue, long-fingered hands drifting near – but never touching – the steel doors that contained frozen bodies of the dead. Finally finding the right door, about halfway down the room, the figure shrugged off its backpack and pulled on a pair of gloves. It opened the door, drawing back slightly at the blast of cold air, then pulled out the slab. Lying on top was the pale naked body of Kira. The figure pulled a loose robe out of the backpack and laid it over her body, then leaned close to the corpse’s ear. "Kira Vampyre. Awaken. You must report your findings. Awaken, Kira."
For a moment, nothing. Then emerald eyes opened and the corpse’s nose wrinkled. "Take a breath mint," Kira snarled. "Or at least, eat some meat. Gah, do you only stick to veggies or what?"
The figure managed to look insulted. "Kill an animal?"
She shrugged as she sat up, pulling the robe unselfconsciously over her head. "Every time you make a salad, you kill a head of lettuce, some carrots, and other rabbit food."
The figure sniffed and handed her a thermos bottle before pulling open the door next to her. Kira opened the thermos and sipped. "Ahh, type A. My favorite."
The figure turned back. "There’s a difference?"
"No." She winked at him. "But I love to see some expression on your face, tree-hugger."
The figure pulled out the slab holding Luke’s body. "Lukas. Awaken. It is time to report."
Kira prodded her partner’s arm. "C’mon. Up."
"Go away. You’re already dead, doesn’t hurt you to die again. Totally different case for me."
It was Kira’s turn to snort. "Oh, and you think it’s a bed of roses to go around missing half a leg? You try it sometime, furball. ‘Sides, I had to wake up with Dandelion’s wonderful good looks. You at least have me."
He made a face at her, but slowly sat up. "Gimme some clothes, at least," he growled. The figure handed him a robe before pushing back its hood. The face was more pointed that a normal human’s, with almond shaped eyes and ears that came to a point several inches over its blonde hair. "Report," he demanded.
Kira sighed, rolled her eyes, and took a sip from the thermos. She wiped off a bit of red liquid from her upper lip. "Twelve civilians dead, and so’s the perp; infected werewolf, former cab driver known as Simon Bedvere, with silver bullet. Also reported deaths of our identities, as you can see."
"This is the third incident in the last six months! No one has near your ‘death count’. Just because you two are harder to kill doesn’t mean we encourage pretending deaths!"
"Neither do we. Besides, does anyone else have our success rate either?"
The elf sighed. "No. There’re reports of vampires in California. That’s your next assignment." He handed over plane tickets. "This time, don’t get yourselves killed, please."
"Red tape," Kira hissed quietly, spitting to the side. "C’mon, no rest for the weary."
A bat and a wolf raced away from the London morgue, heading for the airport. They had a plane to catch.
Let me out of here!!!! A.K.A. Home
I want to read more! To get back to the fic archive
Any questions? Complaints? Screams of outrage that I actually consider myself a writer and/or dared to show this in public? Tell me! Send it all to Norcumi@backtick.net! I love mail!!!!
Once again, all of this belongs to me. If you want to use it for some odd reason, you need to send me an e-mail asking for permission. Well, ok, I don't own X-Files or the related stuff. Hmm. I don't know who does, but it's not me, and no infringement is intended to whoever does own it.