Will raced down the darkened road, only the starlight guiding his way as he slalomed his motorcycle from apex to apex. He spared only a glance in his mirrors as the road straightened for a moment, looking for the telltale blue-and-red flash that would tell him they had guessed correctly at the last intersection. Nothing showed itself as the road curved again, and Will relaxed, releasing his tension with a whoosh inside of his helmet. He thanked his foresight at having installed a switch that would disable the sportbike’s running lights for just such an occasion. He piloted the sleek and powerful bike with the lights out for a few more minutes, relying on the bright starlight for vision.
Will pulled over at a scenic overlook, common in this mountainous and rural section of Washington. He yanked his helmet off of his head, breathing in the cool night air, staring across the wide valley towards the lights of Springfield. The moon was extremely bright tonight, sitting low and massive across the valley. He contemplated his situation, eyes clouded. Running into the state troopers while he was riding had been an accident, he had simply been moving through a 25mph area at 65 or so, but there was nothing Will hated more than getting caught at misbehaving, regardless of the circumstances.
Will was tall and wide, more than 6 feet tall and heavily built. He had close-cropped dark brown hair and a black goatee. When he said that he rode a motorcycle, most people pictured him plonked down on a massive chopper, apehanger bars above his head, throaty staccato grumble emerging from his pipes. Quite to the contrary, Will absolutely loved lean angle and g-forces. He frequently described typical cruisers as “underpowered sculptures, with the same turning radius as an aircraft carrier.” His personal ride was a black and silver sportbike, all reflections and aerodynamics, with several thousand dollars of aftermarket odds and ends dedicated to speed.
The reason he had gone riding tonight was to clear his mind, an activity synonymous with twisty backroads and excessive amounts of throttle. He had returned to his hometown after his college graduation, since the company he had worked for as “that IT guy” had folded shortly before. He was somewhat at loose ends at the moment, sans girlfriend, sans job, sans meaningful pursuits in life. His talents lent themselves to assisting a startup company with their basic networking and computing needs, but opportunities for an individual like that were thin on the ground at the moment.
Will sighed, removing his gloves and brushing his fingers through his goatee. He dismounted and placed his gloves next to his helmet on the seat of the bike, unzipping his motorcycle jacket with his other hand. He stepped to the overlook, placing his hands on the rail and gazing down at the sectioned farmland beneath him. Meaningless thoughts chased themselves endlessly through his mind, and he lifted his eyes to the tops of the hills on the far side of the valley. A sudden chill rushed through him, and he shuddered unexpectedly. He felt a pressure in the pit of his stomach, and he felt that he was no longer alone here.
He snapped his head around, searching for what had changed, and his eyes were glued to a ghostly image further down the overlook. A young woman stared back at him, translucent and white, dressed in some kind of bizarre costume, looking dirty and disheveled, her hand outstretched, panic seeming to grow on her face. A moment later, she flickered and faded, leaving behind no trace. “What the fuck?” Will muttered, jogging quickly to the point where he had seen her. He looked around, scanning the trees and the ground alike, but nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Will glanced back and forth, puzzled and annoyed. “Yeah, fucking ‘help me, Obi-Wan’ and shit,” he spat, gesturing angrily, “you must be joking! No, seriously, what the fuck!”
Will’s frustration increased as nothing further happened, and at last he gave up, returning to his bike. He zipped his jacket and pulled on his helmet and gloves, trying to memorize what exactly the girl had looked like.
Will would have recognized the face on the stadium display instantly, despite the fact that it was thirty feet tall, and that the girl’s expression was anything but panicked. She called out an anthem to twenty thousand screaming fans, her sultry voice filling every corner of the stadium. The noise was deafening, the bass thunderous and penetrating.
Deep inside the bowels of the stadium, the anthem was repeated from a tinny speaker, the singer shown on a small monitor. Two men watched disinterestedly as they stood in the small cinderblock room. One was a bald-headed, ripped mountain of a biker, easily six and a half feet tall, with jeans and a patched leather vest open over a light blue tank. The other was almost as tall as his companion, but rail-thin and wiry, with flowing black hair and a pointed black beard. He sported yellow shades and a button-down black shirt, hands tucked into his pockets.
The biker turned to the older man. “Okay, I get that she’s famous and hot, but... Why are we after this chick specifically? What are you lookin’ for this time?”
“Monster, she has that special...” The bearded man’s smile became predatory. “...special soul. She has a peculiar set of abilities that I have never seen before. I believe...” The man paused.
The singer on the screen started a new song, the crowd’s fury redoubling.
“Believe what, Isaac?”
“She may have the power to violate time and space.” Isaac’s teeth shone in his smile, seeming fanged and malevolent.
The crowd flowed from the stadium, ecstatic and fulfilled, almost as if from a religious experience. Monster and Isaac let themselves be pulled along by the crowd, heading out into the maze of vehicles. Monster kept glancing over at Isaac’s profile, easily visible as both of them were a head taller than the vast majority of the crowd.
“So... Why did we show up, if we’re just gonna leave?”
Isaac chuckled, glancing down at the sidewalk. “My friend, when was the last time I did anything at all without doing my research?”
Monster grunted and said, “Guess you don’t need to be very close to examine the security.”
Monster glanced over again. “...So?”
“The dressing rooms will be the weak point. There’s a path that only one security guard is posted at, and we won’t have any trouble bypassing the other bystanders- during the encore, they all came to a few points where they could see the performance.”
“Good enough, I guess.” Monster turned his face up, but the stars were invisible.
Will braked lightly, bleeding off the last of his speed as he turned his bike into his parents’ driveway. The sign on the mailbox read “Wise”, and the gravel crackled under his tires as he rode up the sloped driveway. He pulled his bike around the back of the house, and silenced it with the flick of a switch. He extracted the key and walked tiredly towards the door, yanking off his helmet and gloves. He slipped into the kitchen, stuffing his gloves into his helmet and lightly setting it on the top of the china cabinet. He took off his jacket, hanging it on the coat tree, and slipped his boots free, leaving them on the floor near the door.
The house was silent, and Will quietly padded his way through the hallway, glancing up at the enormous grandfather clock, nestled into its alcove. Two in the morning, he thought, dear lord, I hope I don’t wake them up. He reached the basement stairs without incident, and carefully made his way down to his temporary living quarters. He saw the comforting bluish glow of his monitors, happily pirating away, but as he reached over to check on their progress, his stomach dropped out from under him, and his upper body convulsed momentarily.
Again he snapped around, focusing instantly on the ghostly image against the far wall. That same ethereal young woman sat against the wall, hands wrapped around her knees. Her head was down, and she did not look up, unmoving except for a small tremor in her shoulders that suggested sobbing. No sound came from her, and Will approached quietly, trying not to disturb her, if indeed that was possible at all. As he came closer, he saw that she was wearing the same outfit, but she seemed less dirty and distressed.
“Who are you? Are you in trouble?” Will asked softly, crouching down and reaching out to touch her hand. Her head came up, her eyes unfocused, and hope seemed about to dawn on her face, but her image flickered and vanished. “Fuck,” Will breathed, sitting back down on the cement floor. “What the shit is going on here?”
Will slept fitfully, unable to stay asleep for more than an hour at a time. Finally, as the sun made its presence felt, he swung his feet to the icy concrete and contemplated food. Will was a big man, with big shoulders, big legs, and a big gut. He had fallen into the trap that hits most football linemen who don’t play past high school, and his power was now masked by a layer of fat. He had slept in his boxers, as usual, and he scratched at his chest hair and glared at the inadequate curtains. He pulled on a pair of gym shorts and a t-shirt, grabbing up a new set of clothes to take with him to the shower. He stumbled once as he came up the stairs, scrubbing at his eyes with his free hand.
“Good morning, Will!” His mother called out to him from the kitchen as he headed into the bathroom. He stuck his head back out long enough to return her greeting. His shower was hot and refreshing, although he knew he was probably going to need a nap later on. Oh well, he thought, show me that I have something more urgent to attend to and I’ll do it. He started in shock, nearly clipping his skull on the shower head. She, at least, seems pretty urgent, but I really don’t have the slightest idea of what to do about her. He dropped his head back into the water flow and sighed. If she needs my help, and it sure seems like it, I hope she figures out how to send a coherent message soon. I can’t do anything without more information.
Clean and mostly refreshed, he padded out into the kitchen. He was greeted by a delicious sight, and an even more delicious aroma: two eggs, over easy, with toast, sausage, bacon, and hash browns.
“Mom, you sure know how to spoil a boy,” Will said, a smile breaking across his face.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” She replied. “Were you out late last night?”
“Eh, not too bad. I did have a little trouble sleeping.” Will looked up, a massive hunk of hash browns dripping ketchup pausing on its way to his mouth. “Did you or Dad happen to notice anything out of the ordinary last night?”
“Well... No, I don’t think so. Your father didn’t mention anything to me when he left for the gravel yard this morning. Why, was there something wrong?”
“No, I must have dreamed it.” Will chomped down on the hash browns, thinking nothing of the sort.
Monster glanced across the loft at the back of Isaac’s head, mildly irritated by the noises and moaning coming from the sofa and the area in front of it. “Hey, Isaac, some of us are tryin’ to work here. Can ya keep it down?”
Isaac leaned his head backwards, looking out the corner of his shades with a vicious grin. “I could let you borrow one, that might reduce the noises a bit.” He gestured idly with one hand. A beautiful, naked woman stood up from in front of the couch, eyes downcast and hands clasped demurely in front of her pussy, which had the unfortunate side effect of squeezing her full and shapely breasts together. She was tall and blonde, with a soft, rounded figure, very attractive indeed. “Look at him, love,” whispered Isaac cruelly, and she lifted her head to stare into Monster’s eyes. Monster read the terror there, the lack of control that was forced on her with Isaac’s “punishments”, and turned his head away in disgust.
“Naw, Isaac, no thanks. You know that’s not my thing, man.”
“You don’t know what you’re missing, my friend. The most fun is when they give up, start to perform for you, instead of fighting. Isn’t that right, Isabelle?” He lifted his hand towards her face, and she lowered her head, hesitating a moment, and then she pressed her face against his hand, a tremor working its way down her back. Isaac’s laughter rang out, sadistic and free.
Isaac had his full harem working on himself and each other tonight, five women, all beautiful, all naked, all terrified. Two of them were licking and sucking on Isaac’s erect cock, while the other three engaged in a sapphic display for his amusement. Isaac relaxed on the couch, enjoying the show. After a few minutes, he stirred and spoke.
“Isabelle... I think I have something new for you to try.” A vicious smile crossed his features. “You should take those lovely fingers you have in your pussy and move them a little further south.” A look of panic crossed Isabelle’s features and she shook her head, mouthing objections silently. “Mmm... After I had just gone to the trouble of praising you to my friend, too. How discourteous.” His smile widened, seeming almost feral. “One chance, then you don’t have a choice. Well?” Isabelle began to comply, but as she tried to insert her fingers deeper into her ass, she shuddered and had to back off. Tears began to well in her eyes and she tried to stammer an apology, but Isaac hushed her with a word.
“I’m sorry you feel that way, darling.” Isaac’s eyes sparked with cruelty behind his shades. “Oh well.” Monster felt him gather his abilities for a moment, and then a lance of invisible power blasted apart the gates of Isabelle’s mind. She felt her connection with her body shudder, like a bell being rung, and then her body moved on its own, completely without volition. She felt her fingers sink into her ass, lubricated by her pussy, which was now soaked with involuntary arousal. Her tears broke, streaming down her face. She closed her eyes in utter humiliation, heartbroken.
Isaac watched with glee as she wept, frigging her ass against her will. “Why don’t you go ahead and cum for me, dear? Ladies, give her a hand.”
Monster stood up and left the room.
Monster joined two other women in the kitchen of their house, shaking his head at their leader’s proclivities. The other two women were Juliette and Eva, two beautiful women in their twenties. Juliette was a former librarian, and much of the old stereotypes seemed to cling to her. Tall and slender, yet with considerable breasts, her brown hair was pulled into a bun behind her head. With brilliant green eyes and striking cheekbones, she had a model-like beauty that was difficult to ignore. Her demeanor was reserved and her dress severe, but there was a liquid sensuality to her that defied all of her attempts to conceal it.
Eva, on the other hand, put an observer in the frame of mind of a flickering flame. She had bob-cut ash-gray hair and milky skin, with shocking blue-white eyes that seemed to rip through your spirit and pin your soul. Her movements were quick and sure, her touch unerring. Her frame was slight and short, barely five feet, but her figure was even tighter, the result of endless workouts and a destructively strict dieting program.
Monster, of course, out-massed both of them together by half again, but they were equals in truth as they sat together at the table, nursing coffees. He tried to close his ears, but he couldn’t avoid hearing Isabelle scream, followed immediately by Isaac grunting repeatedly as he spent his load into the mouths of his slaves.
“Fuck,” whispered Eva, grimacing. “I can’t understand what the hell he gets out of that. You have any insight into the male mind, there, Monster?”
“Huh, you’re askin’ me? As far as I’m concerned, the male mind has nothin’ to do with that guy. He’s just messed up.”
Eva snorted. “You’re disowning him, then? Easy for you to do, absolve your responsibility for the damage that’s been done to those girls.”
Monster turned to face her, angry, disgusted, and preparing to argue, but before he could respond, Isaac strolled into the kitchen, one of his slaves stopping to kneel at the doorway. He was completely naked, his razor-sharp muscles glistening slightly with sweat. He stopped at the fridge, opening it and extracting a handful of water bottles and a pair of energy drinks. He nodded to the three of them, a smile playing at the corner of his lips, and walked back into the living room. They heard him dispensing the water to his harem, saving the energy drinks for himself. The TV clicked on, and the three of them relaxed a little.
A quiet sound emanated from Monster’s vest, the ringtone of a cellphone. Juliette looked at him curiously as he extracted it, and as it came into view she was able to identify the song, the anthem that the mysterious girl had sang for her audience the night before. Juliette stared at him in disbelief. He raised his eyebrows as he looked back at her, and put the cellphone to his ear.
“Hey, Jacques. What’s the deal? … Great... Glad to hear it. Eva will be out to spell ya by dawn... Hasta la pasta, man.” Monster tapped the phone twice with his thumb, and set it down on the table. He looked back at Juliette, and raised his eyebrows questioningly.
“Monster, why are you using that ringtone?”
“...It’s a good song. What?”
“I can’t believe you’d do that. Do you realize what we’re going to do to that girl? He’s going to force her to conceive, probably more than once. What he’s done to those slaves he’s got now will be a trip to Disneyland compared to what she’s going to go through.”
Monster leaned forward, placing both hands on the table, and spoke softly and clearly. “I don’t see you trying to stop him.”
Juliette went white with fury, and both Monster and Eva felt her power focusing, spectral forms gathering visibly behind her shoulders.
Eva placed a hand on her arm, whispering in her ear, “Shh, I know, but you have to remember why.” She turned to Monster, face grim. “What did Jacques have to say?”
Monster watched Juliette for a moment as she composed herself and dismissed the apparitions. He turned back to Eva and said, “He’s been there since she woke up tonight, and she hasn’t twitched from her hotel room. I guess room service came a bunch, and he’s sayin’ that he can watch over her until you’re able to take over for him.”
“Good. I would hate for something to go wrong after all we’ve had to do.” Juliette nodded her head in silent agreement.
“Seven proxies, motherfucker,” Will mumbled to himself, sitting in front of his computer. Some internet tough guy had gotten his panties in a bunch on one of Will’s favorite message boards again, and the flame war had gone beyond the point of being amusing to just being repetitive. Will clicked mindlessly through a few different sites, but nothing held his interest enough to stop him from standing up to stretch. He loosened up his shoulders, clawed his goatee straight, and decided to head upstairs to see if his mother had started dinner yet.
Will emerged at the top of the stairs, sniffing expectantly. He was rewarded with a big whiff of red sauce, with hints of garlic and spices. He padded down into the kitchen, grinning at the prospect of spaghetti again. His mother’s spaghetti was a delight to sample, a true masterpiece that she had been refining and tweaking for a quarter of a century. “Aha,” he said, “Dad must be getting home soon?”
His mother glanced at him, smiling as she stirred the pasta. “No, sweetie, he’s been home for a while. He’s in the living room, watching the news.”
“OK, I’ll go say hi.”
Will stepped through the kitchen into the living room, and saw the back of his father’s head silhouetted against the TV. Will’s father was a much smaller man, less than shoulder height on Will, with thick, coke-bottle glasses, and a compact, workmanlike build. He and Will had always been good friends, but his career at the gravel yard had kept him from truly being a mentor to Will.
“Hey pops, how was your... Who is that?!?”
That same girl was on the screen, looking sexy and confident, dressed in an outlandish body stocking. She was singing onstage, one hand outstretched over the crowd, the other holding a microphone.
“Uhh, you okay there, Will?” His father asked, worried.
“Yeah, I’m fine, Dad, but who is that?” Will leaned over his father’s shoulder, staring at the girl’s face.
“That’s that singer... Kaila? I think that’s it. They’re doing a recap of her concert last night.”
“Wait... Last night?”
“Yeah, it let out late, like just after two in the morning, I think. Some of the night-shift truck drivers were complaining about the traffic.”
Huh... Will thought to himself. I know for sure that the first time I saw her was while the concert was still going, because I got home about the time it was letting out. Then was that actually her? But her dress wasn’t the same as what she was wearing last night... Hmph. Well, I still need more information, but at least I know who I’m looking at now.
“Well, anyway, how was work today, Dad?”
“Same as always. Retirement’s a long ways off, I’m afraid, and getting longer every day.” His father frowned pensively. Will patted his father on the shoulder and straightened up, heading back for the kitchen.
Will stood under the edge of the porch, having exited through the basement patio doors. The wind was cold, whipping his robe against his legs and biting through his t-shirt, but he barely noticed. His parents’ small chunk of land, a few acres outside of town, was far enough from the streetlights that the stars were still bright, if not as stunning as they had been the night before. His cup of highly modified coffee warmed his left hand, and his right hand stayed in the pocket of his robe. He mulled over the information that he had found scouring the bowels of the internet. Kaila was scheduled to perform again the next night at that same stadium, a few hours ride from Springfield. In doing a quick image search, he had found what he believed to be the outfit that she had appeared to him in twice. It was apparently one of her performance costumes that she used from time to time.
What are the odds that something will happen? What can I do about it? Is she just expecting me to be in the right place at the right time? Am I really who she was hoping to contact? What can I actually accomplish? Will thought of the katana and wakazashi that he had purchased online some years ago, but was forced to chuckle at the thought of trying to actually use them. I don’t even know the nature of the threat! Well, I suppose getting there will have to do for a start, I won’t give up without a fight.
Jacques was laid out on the roof of a skyscraper several hundred yards from from the massive Santana Plaza Hotel, a small selection of electronic devices laid out across the edge of the roof. The moon periodically showed itself behind the clouds, and the lights of the city were spread out in every direction. The sounds of traffic occasionally intruded on Jacques’ consciousness. He raised his hand to his earphones, readjusting the bulky equipment for the hundredth time. He listened to the conversation in the hotel room, Kaila going over her choreography and vocals from her previous performance. Despite her success, she was still very insecure, and she worked hard to make sure that every show was as good as she could make it.
From time to time, she would pause in her rehearsals and walk to the window, looking down at the city below. Jacques would stare at her face as she did, entranced. When she watched the streets, her expression unguarded, she had a sorrowful, sweet look, as though she understood the pain of every soul she regarded. But when someone in the room drew her attention back inside, her eyes would half shut, and she went from priestess to queen, smoky sexuality in every glance and movement.
She had shoulder-length blonde hair pulled back in a ponytail, so light it was almost white, with deep blue eyes and an angular chin. Her neck was long and shapely, and her lips were soft, pink, and seductive. Her body, clad now in a sports bra and bike shorts, was strong and lean, an athlete’s body. She turned back into the room, and Jacques took the opportunity to admire her rounded ass and flawless legs.
One of Jacques’ electronic gadgets beeped at him, and he flicked a switch to change audio inputs away from his laser mike. He tapped into the cellphone that had just begun ringing inside her hotel room, and he heard her voice again as she answered.
“Yes, this is Garrett Craft of Diversified Logistics Tactical, currently running security for you tomorrow night. You had asked to talk with me?”
“Oh, hello, Garrett. I’ve been having some bad dreams about the performance tomorrow, and it would really put my mind at ease if you could throw a few extra guys around, just as a favor, ok? I’m sure it’s nothing.” Her voice was sweet and innocent, doing her best to sound harmless and easy-going. Luckily for her, Craft took the bait.
“I can do that, miss. Are you worried about anything in specific?” Jacques grimaced. This would complicate things.
“No, Garrett, but it would really make me feel better.”
“Alright, then, I will tighten security up a little for the show. I will meet you at your room four hours before showtime, alright?”
“Sounds wonderful, thank you so much for humoring me about that.”
“No problem. Is there anything else I can do for you?”
“Nope, that’s fine, Garrett. See you tomorrow.”
There was a click as the line disconnected, and Jacques flipped his audio back over to the room mike. He listened as her choreographer walked over to stand with her, placing a hand on her shoulder.
“Are you really that worried?”
Kaila shuddered. “Yes, I just can’t shake those images. A tall man in black, with yellow glasses, and several other people too.” Jacques twitched in shock.
“Well, why didn’t you describe them to Mr. Craft?”
Kaila’s voice turned wry. “And say what, that I saw them in a dream? If I’d tried to make up some other story, it would have fallen apart. They wouldn’t take it seriously, and I’m lucky that he agreed to increase security just because I asked him to.” She sighed and walked back over to the window. “This isn’t like the last time, you know. I don’t get the feeling that it’s all going to be okay.”
“So, I guess Isaac really wasn’t kidding about her seeing the future, huh.” Eva crouched next to Jacques’ prone form as the sun began to shed light on the peaks of the skyscrapers all around them. He shifted his position, rolling onto his back, leaving his headphones on the gravel of the rooftop.
“No, ’e vas not. I cannot tell you exactly ’ow ’e knew zis, but ’e vas definitely right. Okay, you remember ’ow to use all of zis gear?” Jacques had a thick French-Canadian accent, especially when he was tired. He stood up, glancing down at Eva, then looking out across the skyline. He rubbed his eyes, thinking eagerly about some rest. Kaila had sent off her companions only a few hours before dawn, and Jacques had become drowsy since the activity has ceased.
“Sure, I’ve got her from now until she moves to the stadium. Go ahead and crash, Jacques.”
“I vill, but only after I get back,” he said with a crooked smile. Eva chuckled in response, placing the headphones over her ears.
Again, Will was forced to wake with the dawn. His sleep had been poor and easily interrupted, just as the night before. He stood from his bed and wrapped himself in his robe, turning to sit in the recliner that faced his flatscreen. He glanced at his computer, thinking about the ticket he had purchased for the performance tonight.
I sure hope I’m doing the right thing by entering the crowd, he thought. It actually isn’t very likely that the threat will emerge from the audience, but I can’t get access to the back-stage area. I’m just going to have to play it by ear to decide when to leave the audience and try to get to the exit so I can watch over her as she leaves. I still don’t know what she’s expecting me to do that a regular security guard can’t do better, seeing as they have firearms and all, but she must have called out to me for a reason... I hope. After all, if she’s dialed a wrong number...
Will sighed and shook his head. Such thoughts availed him nothing, and all he could do was his best anyway. His stomach grumbled, and he headed upstairs. He greeted his mother and grabbed a coffee mug from the shelf. He took a few minutes to prepare his coffee, patiently doling out sugar, cream, and a dollop of carefully hoarded caffeinated syrup.
“I don’t understand why you like that stuff so much, Will. It tastes terrible!”
“Ah, Mom, it’s just one of those acquired tastes. It’s something that one of my friends turned me on to way back in the day.”
She sat down with him, opening the paper she had been reading again. She adjusted her thin reading glasses, and looked over them at Will, who had pulled over the business section.
“I was about to make myself some cereal. Did you want something? I can whip up french toast or pancakes in just a couple minutes,” she said.
“Naw, I’m good, but I appreciate it. Cereal sounds great, let me help.” Will and his mother bustled around the kitchen for a few minutes, making small talk.
“So, Mom, just to let you know, I’m going over to the city tonight. I really liked that singer I saw on TV with Dad yesterday, I’m going to go check her out.”
“Okay, dear, do you think you’ll be back late?”
Will chuckled. “Yeah, I’m not expecting to be back until like four or five tomorrow morning. It’s a long ride out there.”
His mother looked pensive. “Well, if you think you can make it back okay. If you have to stay in the city overnight, just call and let us know. Don’t worry about waking me up, I’d rather know you were okay than to worry why you weren’t back. Alright?”
“Alright, Mom, I’ll do my best. It might get a little crazy, though, so try not to worry too much, okay?”
“Well, you know you’re very special to me. I’ll try.”
“Thanks, Mom, that’s all I can ask.” Will glanced out through the window, searching the sky for clouds.
Will jammed down the highway, relaxing into the wind blast. He carefully maintained his speed five over the limit, since sportbikes had become a favorite of cops looking to make their ticket quota. It was easier to ticket some squid on his rocket than to pull over a dentist or a lawyer on his mid-life crisis. He pulled at his helmet with his left hand, scratching an itch on his scalp. He slid to his left, passing a semi, and hunched momentarily into the windblast as he cleared its slipstream. I’ll be there in an hour, and the performance starts in about five... I won’t be in front but I should be close to the stage. Sunset’s in two or three hours, no chance of rain tonight, for once. He crouched lower, tucking his shoulders up to his helmet, unpleasant images spinning in his mind. What am I trying to do?
“There she goes.” Eva closed her cellphone and slipped it into her pocket, rocking back onto her heels. She brushed off the front of her black and red shirt and began packing the electronics into the small case sitting on the side of the roof. The police escort surrounding the limo flicked on their lights, and the convoy slipped down the street away from the hotel.
Eva closed the case and snapped it shut. She stood, brushing her hands clean on her pants, and picked up the case, heading for the stairway. The door opened at her touch and she stepped quickly down the stairs to the top floor, passing quietly through into the corridor. She stalked down the hallway, bootheels clicking, the electronics case swaying in her left hand. A few meters down the corridor, a uniformed security guard turned a corner and spotted her, and her lip curled in disgust at the sight of him.
“Ma’am, I’m sorry, but you can’t be up here with displaying a security badge. Do you have-?”
Eva flexed her right hand, drawing her power to her command. She brought it forth, and ribbons of liquid fire burst into being, trailing from her fingertips. She flicked her hand forward, quick as a snake, and the whips snapped out, wrapping tightly around the bewildered guard. He screamed as they began to burn and crush, and Eva grimaced, staring at him with wide, hate-filled eyes. She flung her hand wide, causing a pulse to rush along the whips, and the guard was blasted loose and thrown into the security station at the intersection. He crumpled into a heap at the foot of the desk, unmoving.
“Fucking pig,” she whispered, teeth bared. She raised her hand high, and snapped it down, the flaming tendrils following with a crackling roar.
“You did fucking what?” Monster pounded his hand on the steering wheel, staring at Eva in the rear view mirror.
“Fuck you, Monster, I can do what I want to!” Eva yelled, hands locked on the back of his seat. “That fucking pig, I could smell it on him, what he wanted to do.”
“You cannot ‘smell’ anything of the sort, you paranoid, impulsive, murderous bitch,” Juliette said quietly. She had folded her hands across her chest and was looking out the passenger’s window, refusing to look at Eva. Monster wrenched at the wheel, causing the SUV to lurch as it rounded a corner.
“It is not ’er fault, cherie.” Jacques sat next to Eva, behind Juliette. “She ’as been around Isaac too long, she is beginning to jump at shadows.”
“’Jump at shadows’? She murders a man in cold blood and you call it simply being twitchy?” Juliette turned to look over her shoulder at him, glaring angrily, but Monster thought he could detect a hint of jealousy in her look. Since Juliette had persuaded the four of them to assist Isaac, she and Jacques had no longer been lovers, but they still held deep feelings for each other. If Monster had been forced to try to pinpoint the reason for the breakup, he would have said that Jacques’ change in attitude from happy-go-lucky to retreating and pacifistic under the stress had been the catalyst.
“Wasn’t fuckin’ cold blood, anyway,” grumbled Monster.
Juliette turned to him, eyes flashing. “Well, what else should I call a completely unprovoked attack like that?”
Monster turned one hand up at his shoulder, shaking his head slowly.
“Fuck you, you self-righteous bitch. I’ve watched you kill a lot more harshly than that when you were in danger,” Eva said, folding her arms tightly across her body, leaning back against her seat. For a moment she seemed small and vulnerable, but she burst forth again, shouting, “I don’t want to hear any shit from any of you! You’re all fucking responsible- for every bit of it!” She went silent, tucking her heels against her rear and leaning her head against the window.
“Goddamn it,” murmured Juliette. She raised her voice. “You know why we have to do this, you’ve all seen the threat the same as I have. We have to protect him if we want to prevent... that. There isn’t any other way. I hate it as much as you do, I promise you, Eva. But we have to keep him safe for now. We can deal with him after his job is done.”
Monster glanced at her, surprised. “Why’d you say shit like that, Juliette? You know Isaac’s not stupid, he’ll know we were talkin’ ‘bout gettin’ rid of him. Leave that shit alone, he’s enough trouble without feeling threatened, ya know?”
The SUV went silent, rushing through the city streets.
Isaac touched her on the neck, and she rose from the neat row that his harem knelt in. “Everyone else is dismissed,” Isaac said. “Clarice, you will have my exclusive attention for the moment.” He grinned sadistically. Clarice closed her eyes, trying to prevent her body from shaking. The rest of his slaves stood up silently and backed away, heads bowed. Isaac began to walk slowly around her, pausing to evaluate her naked form from time to time.
Like the rest of his harem, she was quite attractive. Clarice was young, barely more than eighteen, and her body was slight but untoned. Isaac’s older slaves had become slender and taut under his constant monitoring, but Clarice still had traces of baby fat left. Her breasts were smallish handfuls, with firm pink nipples. Her hair was brown and cut in a bob, constantly straggling into her eyes, and she had to brush it behind her ear again as Isaac passed behind her. His eyes traced her heart-shaped ass, and he reached out to give it a friendly pat, and was rewarded with her frightened jump.
“Ahh, my dear, don’t be so afraid,” he said, placing his hand on her shoulder. She swallowed, trying not to cringe away from his touch. Isaac detected her shudder and smiled lightly, his expression softening. “There, there, now.” He turned her to face him, raising one hand a parody of the traditional oratory posture. “Today, we shall have a lesson geared more towards the mind than the body. There shall be some physical elements involved, of course, since I would never allow you to miss the opportunity to train up your body as well.” His grin hardened. “Today’s topic is the difference between terror... and horror.”
Isaac resumed his slow circling; a shark, lazy with power. “Terror is what you feel right now.” He reached out to cup her chin, and even as she prepared herself to be unresisting to his touch, her world shuddered inside her skull, and she felt herself lean into his caress. She tried to keep herself from shrieking at the unexpected violation, but her effort was meaningless.
Instead, she heard herself moan, and whisper, “Yes, Master.” She would have burst into tears if she could, but even this was denied her.
“This... is horror. What terror imagines, horror has revealed as truth.” He released his grip on her mind, and she collapsed to her knees, trying desperately not to sob. He smiled down on her, eyes invisible behind his shades. She hung her head, breathing as deeply as she could, but every breath caught in her chest, tearing at her like a saw-blade. “Now, now,” he said, slowly dropping to one knee in front of her, “I hate to see those pretty eyes red with crying.” He grinned viciously at his lie.
Again, Clarice experienced that mental earthquake that signaled her loss of control, and she found herself looking into his eyes, breath coming smoothly and eyes drying.
“There, isn’t that better?” Isaac whispered, bringing his face closer to hers. “Now, even though you’ve only been with us a few months, you still know me well enough to realize that I don’t play my whole hand at one time, ever. So what am I holding back?” Their noses were nearly touching. Her eyes were locked into his, blinking on their own, utterly unable to move. “What am I going to do, that’s worse than taking total control over your body? Even down to your eyes?” His words fueled the panic that was building in her heart, and she felt sick to her stomach. She wanted to scream, cry, kick, scratch, anything.
“This... is terror.” Isaac laughed, short and sharp, standing back to his feet. “Well, that’s enough lesson for one day. Time for recess!” His smile was light and carefree.
Clarice felt her arms rise from her sides, and she was forced to scoot forward on her knees until she reached Isaac’s feet. She rose up slightly, reaching for the buttons of his shirt, and she felt her face twist into a coquettish wink as she looked up at him. Her heart sank like a rock, and she tried to close her eyes, or at least look away, but she was forced to watch herself remove first his shirt, then his belt and slacks. She was treated to a long, desiring look at his hard-on pressing against the fabric of his boxers, and she felt herself lick her lips as she reached up to pull them down.
He forced her to place several kisses on his abs as she slowly removed his boxers, and his cock sprang free only inches from her face. She began to lick and caress it, each contact sending a dart through her heart. Now she was allowed to close her eyes, but as soon as they did, her mouth opened wide, and she felt herself try to take Isaac all in one motion. Her gag reflex rose almost instantly, but Isaac murmured a negative, and it was instantly gone.
A moment later he spoke, waxing poetic. “Do you know why I chose you, Clarice? Do you know why I chose all of my women strong and confident, like you were?” He smiled. “You have the most trouble killing yourselves.”
“Yes, Master,” she whispered, her features formed into a mask of adoration, contrasting horribly with her inner distress. She lowered her face onto his dick again, her head involuntarily bobbing up and down. He allowed this to continue for some time, occasionally changing her activities, forcing her to lick his shaft and scrotum, or jack him with her hands. Eventually, he groaned, and she buried his cock in her throat, causing him to explode, making her swallow over and over. She felt herself pull the deflating prick out of her throat, and she gasped involuntarily, her body forced to recover oxygen.
She felt her face form into a mask of adoration again, staring up at Isaac, as his own chest heaved, a benevolent smile cast down upon her.
“I’m going to release you entirely now, but I don’t want to see your expression change at all. If it does, there will be severe punishment. Do you understand?” She nodded, relieved to have at least a little voluntary control back. “You know,” he continued, smirking, “They say, as long as your face holds a specific expression, your mind and heart will change to match it.”
The venue was filling quickly. If anything, the stadium was going to be even more packed than it had been the first night. Will had found a parking place easily enough, since the dedicated motorcycle spots near the front were mostly empty. He had locked his jacket and helmet to the bike, and he fingered his ticket printout as he joined the steadily increasing flow towards the stadium. He looked around cautiously, worried about not fitting in, but as he started to pick out the different kinds of fans here- hipster, gay community, rave- he realized that it would be impossible for him to stand out.
He slipped through the crowd, heading into the stadium. Eventually he found his way down the floor, and reached the area he would try to stay in until the encore started. As he settled in, he smelled a distinctive whiff of marijuana, and glanced over to see a small group of... kids, he was forced to conclude, though they were only a few years younger than Will himself. They were huddled in a tight circle, laughing and chattering, occasionally illuminated by a flickering flame. Will sighed, hoping they wouldn’t become obnoxious. He took a deep breath, trying to settle into a state of vigilance.
Jacques was the first back into the loft that was serving as their base camp, setting the silver case of electronics onto the kitchen counter as he passed. He glanced over to the TV and saw Isaac sitting there watching as it droned, one of his harem leaning her head on his shoulder, although he couldn’t tell if it was consensual or not. He concealed his pity and distaste, and walked around the corner towards his bedroom. He was followed inside by the others, with Monster walking in the middle to keep the girls separated at least a little longer.
Monster and Eva turned into the kitchen, and Juliette walked past both of them to sit in an armchair facing the television. Eva pulled open the fridge, yanking out a large pizza box to set it on the counter. Monster opened the box, attempting to take a slice, but Eva smacked his hand away and gathered the several remaining slices into both hands, immediately beginning a savage assault on the first piece.
Isaac looked over his shoulder at her, a half smile on his face. “Is there something that you need to tell me about that happened during the observation?” He asked lightly. “I know your ability takes a lot of energy to use, and I know how much you hate to eat food like that, so something must have happened. What was it?”
Eva swallowed roughly, pausing only to say, “Nothing serious,” before demolishing another slice.
Monster looked up from the open fridge, saying, “Guard stumbled on her. She took care of him, it’s nothin’, really.”
Isaac looked at him for a moment, face unreadable, before turning his head to where Juliette was sitting. “How about you, Miss Zamora? You have anything you want to say to me?”
She closed her eyes lightly, but she showed no emotions as she opened them again. “No, Isaac. It’s nothing important.”
“Hmm, nothing, nothing, nothing at all happened out there, then? You must be bored, Juliette! Let me provide some entertainment to liven up your night.” The harem girl, dressed in a short black silk robe, raised her head from his shoulder to look Juliette in the eyes. Isaac’s hateful smirk threatened to crowd out her rationality, and she stood up, murmuring a strained, “No thank you,” before nearly bolting for her room. Isaac chuckled, and returned his attention to the television, the girl laying her head back on his shoulder. Monster watched silently from the kitchen, ruminating over a box of Chinese takeout.
Will waited patiently, and was rewarded as the lights finally dimmed. The thunderous bass began, and he could feel it hammering deep inside his chest. The sound blasted forth, a wall of music so layered and powerful that it almost literally pushed him backwards. The sustain was unending, a sonic Ragnarok, seeming to tear at the surfaces of Will’s mind. Like animals, tens of thousands of fans screamed to their feet, adding their voices to the maelstrom of noise. Unthinking, mindless, the floor seemed to tilt and Will found himself at the foot of the stage, crushed and crushing by an unimaginable press of bodies.
Then she appeared.
She stepped out of the center of the stage, blanketed in lights. One corner of Will’s mind saw them as red LEDs imbedded in latex or rubber of some kind, but his gut reaction was only one word- Goddess. He felt a yell tear its way out of the core of his being, and he knew that from that one sound alone he would have difficulty talking the next day. She was wearing the LED cloak, made from red material, and a red full-face mask studded with the same LEDs. She raised her hand, fingers outstretched, thumb holding the microphone tight, and within an instant the stadium was utterly silent.
The performance began.
They took two SUVs this time, Monster driving Isaac in the first, Jacques driving Juliette and Eva in the other. They rushed through the city streets, ignoring lights and cutting off other drivers. Lights flashed in reflection along the glossy black exterior of the SUVs, a meaningless Morse code, an unreceived S.O.S. to an uncaring universe.
Monster’s face was grim, his jaw set like iron. He glanced up in the rear-view mirror, searching for Isaac’s eyes behind the yellow shades. Isaac had laid across the back seat, shoulders resting on the door, seeming almost to be asleep. He lazily cracked one lid, and said, “Nervous? You shouldn’t be. This plan is... I won’t say foolproof, but I don’t believe there are any threats that can interrupt us. Or is your tension from somewhere else?”
“Naw, man, just the pre-combat shakes. Get ’em every time.” Isaac chuckled at that, but otherwise he was silent.
The stadium fell quiet again, for the first time in three and a half hours. Will shook himself like a dog, trying to feel where his own mind ended again. He began to move away from the stage, blinking repeatedly and shaking his head every few steps as he bumped and banged and apologized his way out. What the hell happened? I’ve never even heard of this chick before yesterday, and I’m going insane over her at a concert? I don’t understand what’s going on!
During her first set, Kaila had shed the red cloak and mask, and the gleaming black latex bodysuit and corset beneath had taken Will’s breath away, and he still felt the remnants of the massive arousal he’d experienced. Much of the second set had been slower-paced and acoustic, and he had sensed from the crowd an almost religious devotion towards her. She had worn a much different costume for the second set, something like you’d have seen in a George Romero remake of the Jetsons. She had already told the crowd that she was coming back to do an encore, and Will knew that he needed to be outside the stadium post-haste if he intended to stay near the stage door.
He reached the concourse area, and his head cleared a little. There were only a handful of people leaving now, and Will began to feel better as he jogged towards his bike. He unhooked the cable that had secured his gear, and began to kit up. He started the bike and sat for a moment, unfocused. When his attention returned to the world, he looked down at the bike’s display and discovered that he had drifted off for almost ten minutes. He shivered, but brushed it off, and pulled forwards, heading for the back of the stadium. He cruised through the parking lot towards the designated stage door area, and pulled up a few hundred feet away.
No one else was visible at the moment, but there were two large black SUVs parked near the door. Will switched off the bike, resting one elbow on the tank, ready to wait. The encore won’t take long, he thought. It might be over already, actually. But who knows how long she’ll take in the dressing room. I’ll just post up right here and get comfortable. But as he waited, something began to nag at the back of his mind- a tickling, buzzing sensation. He shook his head, adjusting his helmet, and froze. He swung his head back and forth, eyes closed, like a radar station. The feeling was directional, and it seemed to be pointing precisely at the two parked SUVs. He opened his eyes and stared at the vehicles, stomach sinking like a rock.
Isaac threw Kaira to the floor, enraged. “How dare you! How dare you try to control me?” She was wearing a strange costume, white and puffy, with massive sleeves and thigh-high leggings. The impact had knocked loose her ornate hairpiece, and she seemed dazed. Isaac pulled a fist back, snarling, preparing to strike her again.
Juliette placed a hand on his shoulder, whispering, “That’s not necessary, Isaac. Punish her when we’re away from here.” Isaac took a visible effort to calm himself, and released his clenched fist.
“Right. Well, I’m suppressing her empathic control, so we should be safe to transport her out. I can’t afford to be lenient with this one, I’ll have to break her completely. And quickly.” Juliette turned away, swallowing and releasing his arm.
Unnoticed by them both, Kaira had pulled herself into a ball, sitting against the wall. She looked up, eyes unfocused, and hope seemed to dawn on her face, but then her eyes clicked back to awareness. She glanced up at Isaac, and tucked her head back down between her knees, trying to breathe slowly.
Eva burst through the open door, blazing tendrils streaming from both hands. “We have to go! Those extra guards are gonna be a real problem us if we want to get away quiet-like.” Isaac turned, yanking Kaira to her feet, and shoved her roughly towards the door. She stumbled through into the corridor, and nearly vomited as she spotted a pair or corpses down the corridor, looking as though they’d been fed into a burning-hot industrial shredder. She lost her footing and collided with the far wall, cursing the slick stockings she was still wearing.
Isaac stood over her, glaring angrily. “We don’t have time for this. Juliette, drag her if you have to. Eva, lead the way.”
Will jumped as the SUVs started, one after the other. He started his bike in response, flicking the running lights off, heart trip-hammering against his chest.
Kaira slipped again, landing roughly on her knees. She rested there a moment before Juliette grabbed at her arm, pulling her upright and pushing her forward. Unexpectedly, Kaira hesitated, raising one hand, panic filling her face. One of her assistants rounded the corner, carrying a tray of makeup odds-and-ends. The tray fell nerveless from his hands as he saw the group, and it clattered to the ground only moments before Eva splattered him against the wall. Kaira leaned over against the wall, puking her guts out.
“Isaac, I think something might be wrong.” Juliette sounded worried. “You said that you’re suppressing her powers, right? I think she may have just used them somehow.” He looked back over his shoulder, eyes invisible behind his yellow shades.
“It’s possible. I can’t automatically suppress all abilities, only a specific spectrum. Right now I’m focusing on her empathic ones, so that we all remain ourselves. Is there a problem with that?” Isaac snarled the last sentence.
Juliette stared at Kaira’s back, worried.
Will saw the doors open, and four figures walk out, and the buzzing in his head tripled. He could clearly pinpoint each of the four newcomers, as well as the drivers of the SUVs, he realized. He was finally able to identify the woman dressed in white, and he sucked in air as he recognized Kaira’s outfit. He jolted his head up as he picked up a new buzzing point, seeming to scream towards them at an unearthly velocity.
His name was Gregory Cochran, and he knew he was overmatched. He could feel them, five fully aware Gifted, and one partially awakened. It was her he had come to save, he knew, she who had appeared to him twice. He was old now, still highly active in his early sixties, but he couldn’t imagine entering this fray and surviving. Still, he knew his duty, and he would give his life to protect the weak from the strong, the innocent from the corrupt. As he flew, he wished with all of his heart that there was some way to ensure that she had a plan that would take advantage of his sacrifice. The chunk of asphalt he had snatched up to use as an ablative shield against the wind was becoming difficult to hold together with his mind, and he hoped that it would last long enough to allow him to use it as a weapon at his destination.
At last, he cleared the urban obstructions between his flight path and his target, and he slowed, formulating an attack plan. He identified them by strength, and began his attack. He swooped down, releasing the fractured asphalt at the last moment, smashing it into one of the SUVs. The manhole-sized chunk knocked the SUV up on two wheels, crushing in the driver’s side door. Gregory landed hard a few feet in front of it, gathering his power into his hands.
Will tore off his helmet as the unbelievable sight unfolded in front of him. Some kind of missile nearly tipped over one of the SUVs, then some bulked-out, bearded old guy in a gray cloak landed on the ground, then he created a greatsword out of fire with his hands. Now this was some messed-up shit. The old guy flung out one hand and knocked over the second SUV, apparently only with the power of his mind. Then the fight really started.
“God damn you!” Eva shrieked, lashing out as she regenerated her flaming whips. The interloper blocked adroitly, then riposted overhand, sending her whips flying in all directions. He reached out, and Eva was slammed backwards by an invisible force, knocking her sprawling. Juliette’s ghostly minions slashed out, their hellish howl filling the air. He attempted to block the first, but it passed right through the sword, and he was left with a deep gouge on his forehead as he was forced to duck. He then slid to the side, feet several inches from the ground, and circled around faster than a man could run, then quickly popped up several dozen feet in the air.
Gregory wiped blood from his eye with the back of his hand, considering. The battle was going as well as could be expected, although he still didn’t know what the third of the active assailants could do. The man stood with his hands in his pockets, watching Gregory from behind reflective sunglasses. There was the girl he had seen, still held by the witch-woman. He wasn’t too worried about the Fire-aspected Gifted, since she seemed overly aggressive, and he could take advantage of that. The Water-aspect was a different problem, though.
She gathered her strength and sent a new wave of specters towards him, and he advanced, first feinting downwards, then arcing up and over, forcing the ghosts to turn quickly to pursue him. He swooped lower, and prepared to make a carefully-targeted slash against the witch.
Then the man in black made his move.
Gregory felt his flight ability leave him with sickening suddenness. He was now falling towards the ground at a potentially lethal clip. He had nothing to push on with his telekinesis, so he was forced to try to save himself with the flaming blade. Amazingly, he bounced the tip against the ground and flipped himself over, bleeding off speed. He hit the ground with an agonizing crunch and slid to a halt on his back, aching in every bone.
Just in time, he raised his blade to absorb the downward slam of blazing tentacles, and he allowed them to wrap around his blade, so that their disarm attempt would simply pull him to his feet. He was yanked upright, but as the grip would have overbalanced him, he easily dismissed and reformed the blade, sending her tentacles flying aimlessly through the air.
He tried to give the man in black a telekinetic slam, but the ability dissipated before it reached him. He felt the return of his flight, and briefly, he considered trying to fly again, but he realized that enough speed to be useful could be deadly if that power was taken in mid-maneuver. The man saw his dilemma and grinned, teeth bared. Gregory took a guard stance and began to watch both of his female opponents. As he scanned between them, however, a single moment froze him and stretched into eternity.
Will was shocked. It was like looking into a mirror across forty years. This lunatic he had locked eyes with looked exactly like him, except that the old man’s full beard and longer hair were gray-and-black, rather than the dark solid shades that Will still possessed. “Who are you?” Will whispered, unable to think or move, his helmet clattering to the pavement.
This was it, Gregory exulted. This was her plan. His son from a long-ago, nearly forgotten liaison, already present and waiting aboard a motorcycle. All he had to do was get her to him!
Eva turned and looked behind her, and she saw Monster’s enormous bone claw bash the damaged door from the frame of the SUV. He squeezed himself from the destroyed vehicle, and she saw that he had taken his full battle form. He was now nearly nine feet tall, with bone spikes and plating covering nearly every inch of his body. His right hand was a curved, razor-sharp bone blade, somewhat reminiscent of an Egyptian kopesh, and his left was broad and flat, shield-like and massive.
“You took your goddamn time,” she said, watching the interloper carefully.
“Yeah, well, first shot caught me off-guard.” He stepped behind her, looking past her to Isaac on the far side of the enclosed area.
Gregory sighed and relaxed, accepting that his death was now a foregone conclusion. He closed his eyes for a moment, allowing himself a moment of reflection on his personal history. He opened his eyes and focused again, preparing his final strike.
Oh shit, thought Will. He’s going to get himself killed. I know that look, that’s how I get whenever I make my mind up on something stupid. Goddamn you!
The intruder suddenly rushed forwards, flying straight at her, and Juliette panicked for a second, unable to believe that he would slash at her while she had Kaira so close. She shrieked and shoved Kaira away from her, trying to dodge the lethal blade. Isaac intervened before the man could scoop up the girl, though, and he tumbled again, landing in a heap. Much to everyone’s surprise, though, Kaira immediately soared through the air as though kicked in the chest. She flew straight away from them all, heading out towards the parking lot, her agonized cry piercing the air.
“Monster!” Isaac shouted, sprinting after the girl.
“Right!” He responded, running over to the downed knight, the pounding of his clawed feet making the whole area seem to tremble. Monster slid the last few feet on one knee, pinning the man’s hands with one foot and his shield-claw. The man closed his eyes and Kaira braked suddenly, then rolled the last few feet as the telekinesis was shut down.
Will gunned his bike forward, trying to calculate how long he had before the sprinting man in black reached Kaira. He rolled to a stop as she stood again, rubbing at her shoulder. “Get on!” He shouted, looking past her to the knight pinned under the unbelievable thing’s bulk. She quickly flicked her leg across the rear seat and wrapped her arms firmly around his waist. He laid the throttle wide open, and the bike laid smoke as it launched itself away.
The motorcycle’s wail had completely faded by the time Isaac stalked back to his companions. Eva had succeeded in cutting Jacques free from his rolled SUV, and they both stood next to Monster as he continued to hold the intruder. Juliette stood on the other side, her arms clutching her shoulders.
“Why didn’t you kill the rider?” Isaac asked, dangerously quiet.
“By the time I could, they were moving too fast. If I killed him, she would have died too. What about you? Why didn’t you stop him?”
Isaac went pensive. “I couldn’t. He must have some powers of his own, whether he knows it or not.” He stepped next to Monster, looking down at his prisoner. “And you, my friend. We are going to have a long conversation.”
The man smiled up at him, blood visible on his lips. “Oh, I think we may be pahst that point, sahr. That lahst fall seems to have knahckered something importahnt.” His accent was thick, Scottish or backwater English. He coughed, and blood splattered from his lips.
Isaac’s eyes snapped shut and he raised his head to the sky, furious. “Have it your way, then.” Isaac said, kneeling, gently wrapping his hands around the man’s throat. “We have other methods of interrogation.” Juliette shivered, trying to warm her upper arms.
The two of them sped along back roads, heading for home.