ASN 4.4 A Bump in the Night

by Matt P.

“So…I lost track of you guys during the fight in the High School,” Siobhan explained. “But outside, my dad shanked the King of the Faeries.” Both other girls, in the process of sitting down on the couch next to one another, froze and stared at them. “I know, he’s such a show-off,” she offered with a theatrical sigh.

“We knew it involved Faeries, you told us that much…” Lacey offered, plopping down heavily with wide eyes. Monica sat down, and reached out to take her hand casually.

“The King of Faeries had been having people murdered across the country,” Antigone explained, “Maybe the world. It was…Faerie politics, apparently, trying to draw an opposing group out of hiding. It’s weird, byzantine stuff, with magical nonsense that drives Dad crazy.” She grinned. “He hates magic, it turns out.”

“And he was back at the hospital?” Monica asked, brow wrinkling. “If so, your dad doesn’t seem like he’s very good at shanking, no offense to him.” Siobhan held up a fist to shake at her for a moment, and laughed—which felt good, and normalizing, and all sorts of other positive feelings. She smiled, and shook her head.

“No, but when he died some of his power…blew up, vented out in to the world and formed these crystals of power,” Siobhan continued explaining, albeit smiling now. “One of those crystals ended up in the basement of a hospital, and a demoness used it make Death go crazy,” she summed up. From the stunned looks on her friends faces, she was forced to admit that she may have summed up a little too much for them.

Antigone rescued them by leaning in and continuing. “We really don’t know the specifics, because nobody knows exactly what happened or why. But about thirty years ago it happened, and with the Oberon crystal a demoness was able to make it happen again. Two kids named Matthew and Natalie managed to stop it in the 1980s, but we had to stop it for good this time.” Both Lacey and Monica looked very solemn.

“You stopped it?” Monica asked seriously. “Whatever it was that caused the Plague of 86, you stopped it so it won’t happen again?” The sisters nodded solemnly, and almost gasped as Monica made the sign of the cross and looked down for a moment. Lacey took both of dark skinned young woman’s hands in hers and squeezed them.

“Do…do you think there’s a way to tell your mom?” The blond asked softly. “I can’t think of any way that won’t make us sound like crazy people, but I’ve been called worse things than a crazy person,” she offered. Monica gave a little smile at that, and leaned back.

“A lot of people lost somebody during that plague,” Monica explained with a sigh. “My mom lost her younger brother. I never met him, obviously, but she still misses him incredibly. I wish there was some way to tell her, but…I’ll just know it, and not tell them.” She looked seriously between Siobhan and Antigone and gave a small smile. “But I will know—so thank you.” She took another moment to compose herself, before she met their eyes again. “So what happened.”

Now Siobhan glanced away, shaking her head. “There was…fire, and darkness, and pain…and we saw our mother…”

**** ****

All around Walter there was darkness and pain. He didn’t have any memory of what happened between the beginning of the impact and being on the ground, but whatever it was hurt. He saw his gun and its light a foot away from him, and he reached out to grab it just as something barreled in to him again. Together the two of them slid across the dirt, as he saw Ryan struggling with something and Andre and Leah behind running toward them.

Walter brought his gun across and clubbed whatever it was on top of him somewhere that felt like it should be head-level, and then did it twice more for good measure. He didn’t know if he was really injuring it, because it was almost impossible to tell in the dark in specific and Border in general, but it pulled away from him with a hiss nonetheless. That let Walter bring his gun and flashlight up, and fire off a round. In the light of the flashlight, less steady than he would have liked, all he saw was a dirty figure with blood splattered on him in places. Walter was reasonably certain he had hit the man with his bullet, and he was damned sure that he had clubbed the man about the head and shoulders a couple of times, but he didn’t seem any worse for wear. “Some day,” he panted as he scrambled back to his feet, “Guns are going to work again and I’m going to be so happy.” He didn’t have time for further quits as he was being charged again, but this time he was prepared.

One of the fundamentals of training is that as you train at a higher level, you forget how much of a higher level you’ve been training at until faced with someone at a lower level. Before he had been in the business of fighting Sidhe blooded Faerie nobles, he would have thought the man charging him was faster than belief; now he recognized he was fast, and way faster than Walter—but he knew how to deal with it. As the man snarled and rushed in Walter was already ducking under his arms and off to the side, neatly avoiding him and also gaining a clear shot. “Police! Get down—shit!” Walter tried to shout at the man, but the man pivoted to come after him. He slipped on the loose ground, and came after him on hands and feet for a few steps like a wild animal.

It wasn’t Walter who fired before the man got to him, but Ryan coming up to support him. The other man’s pistol barked three times, flashing in the night, and the light blinded Walter so he couldn’t see if they hit or not. But he heard a snarl, and when Walter could see again all he could see was the man retreating with more speed then he had shown even in the fight. “You missed,” Walter commented, as the man disappeared into the night.

“No,” Ryan said simply, keeping his weapon at a low ready in case there were more. “I didn’t.”

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