Wednesday, December 16, 2009

"They Fight Crime!"

This is a story that comes from an idea generator on the website Here's what the generator gave me....

"He's a globe-trotting ninja vampire hunter. She's a cold-hearted streetsmart fairy princess with the power to see death. They fight crime!"

....and here's what I came up with:

* * * * *

She paused just out of the circle of light cast by the street lamp. It was dark tonight. Dark and wet. Those few individuals that had decided to brave the rain streaking in sheets from the gloomy sky walked briskly under their umbrellas, their eyes focused on the slippery pavement. One of these people passed Jehanna so closely that his briefcase brushed the soft suede of her trousers. It left a wet smear on the otherwise dry fabric.

Normally, Jehanna liked the rain. She liked the way the earth smelled when wet. The fresh loamy odor reminded her of her youth. But that was long ago, and in a city the size of Chicago, the heady scent of nature was overpowered by the fetid stench of human habitation.

She sighed and pulled the hood of her long coat tighter around her face. She would have preferred the heavy woolen cloaks of her homeland, but such clothing would have marked her as out of place here. She almost laughed at the thought. Had anyone actually stopped to study her in their mad dashings they would have noticed immediately that she was different, and not only because the raindrops stopped just shy of hitting her.

A car turned the corner and Jehanna caught her image reflected in the darkened window of a nearby store. Yes, she was different. It wasn't anything obvious about her. Her eyes tilted a tad too much. Her cheekbones were a touch too sharp. Her nose was just a bit too straight, her chin too pointed. All of these elements added up to a picture that was not quite human. If only they could see her ears.

Or her wings.

Her musings were interrupted by a sharp keening sound, well beyond the range of human hearing. It started off soft, but gradually increased in intensity until it practically pulsed in her head. Jehanna put a finger to the microphone attached to the collar of her blouse and spoke quickly.

"Jarius, it's happening. I'm standing near the corner of Wacker and Jackson. I'd estimate the action is taking place somewhere on Quincy."

There was no answer over her receiver. Not that she had expected one. Jarius wasn't much for conversation, especially when it was action that was required.

Jehanna was moving now herself, walking briskly to a nearby doorway. She stepped into the darkened space, glanced perfunctorily at the surrounding sidewalk and Transformed. Raindrops glistened momentarily with the reflected light of magic, then a small shape was winging its way to the northeast.

* * * * *

Jarius squatted on the roof of the apartment building, absolutely motionless. Passersby who looked up - as unlikely as that event would have been in the pouring rain - would have mistaken him for a gargoyle, an immovable stone statue left over from another time, set to watch over and protect the building's inhabitants. They wouldn't have been far from the truth.

As still as he was, behind his wrap-around Raybans, Jarius's eyes missed nothing. He saw the teen-ager slip out the ground floor widow across the way and escape in a friend's awaiting car. He saw the elderly couple, arm in arm, strolling down the sidewalk, looking for all the world as if they had just recently discovered love. He saw the pigeons descend on the remains of a hot dog bun, tossed carelessly out the window of a passing SUV. He saw the man in the Lexus park in the space vacated by the teenager's friend. He watched the man step from the vehicle, heedless of the effects of the rain on his Armani suit, and walk purposefully up the steps of the nearest building. The man took a key from his pocket and entered immediately.

Jarius was up and moving before the door completely closed. He took a step forward and dropped off the edge of the roof. He landed on the steps three stories below with a lightness that belied his size, and was sprinting across the street almost instantly. He didn't bother with the intercom system or the lock, choosing instead a more direct method of entry. One gloved fist shattered the window next to the door and turned the knob from the inside. He was stepping over the threshold when Jehanna's voice spoke to him through the receiver in his ear. He didn't bother to answer. He knew instinctively that he was in the right place, that the man he saw entering this building was the one they sought.

Five quick strides placed him before the door to the apartment. He grasped the knob and turned. The door was locked. Jarius gave the door slight push just above the knob. The lack of give confirmed to him that the dead bolt was also locked.

Jarius chafed at the delay. It had only been a minute since the man had entered, and only seconds since Jehanna's warning, but his instincts screamed at him that if he did not hurry he would fail in his mission. He stepped back, took a deep breath to center himself, and launched a sidekick at the door.

There was a large CRACK as the door flew open. Jarius stepped through the shattered frame and scanned the apartment.

The man was standing in the living room, straddling the limp body of a woman. Sanctius snapped from its scabbard as Jarius leaped forward, swinging for the kill.

The man moved so fast he was almost a blur. Sanctius swept through the empty space above the woman's body. Jarius spun instinctively, the holy blade carving an arc through the air designed to stop the inevitable counterattack.

The attack never came.

Jarius fixed the figure in the corner with a stare. The vampire's eyes glowed slightly red, but he otherwise showed no sign of aggression.

"Hold, Hunter. I did not do this."

"I find that hard to believe."

"It is the truth. Search the body."

Jarius glanced down at the woman who lay at his feet. Blood pooled thickly around the body. The source was easily identified - several stab wounds were in evidence in the woman's chest.

"The woman was like that when I entered. I was not involved. You have no jurisdiction here."

"You came here intending to feed," Jarius said. "That's makes it my jurisdiction." He raised Sanctius to the ready.

"Whatever intentions I may have had are irrelevant. By the Accords, I am innocent of any wrongdoing."

Blood and stones. Jarius wanted this vampire, wanted him badly, but the creature spoke the truth.

"Begone, then, vampire."

"What I came for is not here anyway, Hunter." It smiled, showing perfectly white human teeth. "Happy Hunting." With a blur, it was gone.

Jairus slid Sanctius back into its sheath. What did the creature come for? Jehanna's visions were never wrong. The vampire had intended violence here. It hadn't had time to search the apartment, so what it wanted must have once been on the person of the woman.

Jarius bent down and inspected the body. He found it almost immediately: a fine red line around her throat, evidence that a necklace had been torn from her before her murder. The body was fresh. Only one person could have done it - and he had what the vampire wanted.

"Jehanna, you need to find an old, black Cadillac Seville, some rusting on the hood. License plate IL- UL 2532. Find it now."

He was already moving out the door to the building as Jehanna's questioning reply came over the radio. He didn't bother to answer it.

* * * * *

Jehanna perched high on the railing of a fire escape watching the scene below. The old Seville was parked at one end of the alley, its teen aged occupants arguing over something. Jehanna couldn't hear the conversation from this distance, but it was evident things were getting heated.

A second car pulled into the opposite end of the alley, the light from its lamps fully illuminating the two kids. They stopped their arguing, forced to shield their eyes. Jehanna tried to identify the new vehicle. Was that a Lexus? She wasn't sure. She had never gotten the hang of identifying vehicles. Without license plate information she would never have found the Seville.

The driver of the Lexus killed the lights and got out of the car. The two boys followed suit.

"That you, Sanchez?"

"Shut up, you #*%@ fool! You want I should off you now?"

Jehanna saw the gun in Sanchez's hand. Evidently the boy did, too, as he stopped talking and held up his hands.

"You have the stuff, or not."

"We got it."

"Then hand it over before I get more pissed."

The keening started again. Where was Jarius? She was forbidden to intervene directly and someone was going to die by supernatural means in the next minute or two.

The second boy walked forward, a necklace with a charm dangling from his fist. He stopped six feet short of Sanchez.

"I...I want to see the reward first."

Sanchez chuckled. It was an oily sound. "You have guts, kid. I'll show you the reward."

Sanchez moved so fast he must have appeared as a blur to the kid.

He was a vampire!

The vampire held the kid around the throat with one hand and lifted him several inches off the ground.

"Your reward is a quick death."

A crossbow bolt embedded itself in the vampire's left breast. It staggered, glowing red eyes searching for its attacker.

Jarius sprinted from the shadows of the alley, Sanctius poised to strike. The vampire dropped the boy and attempted to defend itself, but the holy water coating the bolt was doing its job. The fiend was too slow. Sanctius sliced down, severing its head from its body. There was a flash of brilliant white light, and the vampire exploded into dust.

Jehanna smiled. Jarius always arrived in time.

A siren sounded close by as the boy attempted to get to his feet. Jarius promptly punched him in the face. He hit the ground hard.

Jehanna watched the first boy scramble back into his vehicle and flee the scene. She waited until he was gone before joining Jarius in the alley below.

"Why did you do that?" she asked, pointing to the unconscious kid.

"He killed his own mother tonight. All for this." Jarius retrieved the necklace from the boy's hand. "I'm not going to kill an innocent, but I'm not going to let him get away with murder either."

A reasonable explanation. "What do you think the vamp wanted with the necklace?"

"No clue, but we need to find out." Jarius sheathed Sanctius. "The cops will be here soon. We better be going."

Jehanna nodded. Without a second look at the boy she shimmered and flew out of sight.