7.4 Another Night

by Matt P.

Gabriel Shepherd didn’t like not knowing things. He wasn’t, despite some of his more show-offy moments, actual a prophet. He just sometimes knew how things were going to happen really, really well. But even when he couldn’t see how things were going to go, he still prided himself on foreknowledge. And so when he didn’t know a damn thing about what he was doing, it didn’t make him happy in the slightest.

Far from being not happy in the slightest, he was now pissed as hell.

His contact had told him that there would be some information in Denver, and so to Denver he had gone. He had even had a good couple of days of it so far. The city in autumn was lovely, and there was an ironic upscale dive bar on the 16th Street Mall that he loved despite the hipsters that served local beer and had $1 oysters during happy hour. It had been nice.

He hadn’t been drunk, honestly—he didn’t get drunk really easy, and he hadn’t been feeling apocalytpic. But he had been complacent because the information here was in the form of an artifact, and artifacts didn’t tend to jump you on the way back to your rented Honda Civic.

Which was how he found himself crouched behind said Honda Civic, which was now a former car because it lacked an engine, wondering whether or not a rampaging faerie would count as an act of God for his security deposit. He figured not.

Reality seemed to warp, and a lance of vermilion streaked out and bored a hall through the front and rear windshields, sending a spray of dischordantly tinkling safety glass to the ground around the car. Gabriel sighed a little bit, a long-suffering sigh. “Why is it always the car.” He murmured to himself before he reached in to the trunk of the car and pulled out a six inch long knife in a sheath. He was going to close the trunk, because he was polite, when instead the whole of the car ripped away from him and went skittering away.

He was left staring at a hulking figure. Almost seven feet tall and, mind-bogglingly almost as wide as he was tall, it was also apocalyptically ugly. The car finally skittered to a sideways stop and tipped over, landing with a creak followed by a crash followed by the car alarm finally going off in the most unelpful manner possible.

“Ogres.” Gabriel muttered. The ugly bastard opened his mouth in a wide grin, and started to bellow in triumph—which was when Gabriel, suddenly standing, lunged forward.

The knife slid in to the Ogre’s groin with the hiss of hot metal and burning flesh, and the creature howled in pain. “If you move I’ll take it off. Swing and maybe you’ll kill me, but you’ll be a very dickless ogre indeed.”

At that the Ogre went very still, and Gabriel was glad that most mammalian things had an equivalent spot, although Ogres had some interesting other genetics as well. It hissed, but Gabriel ignored that.

“I’m sorry, this is so cliche, but tell me who you work for or I’ll turn you in to an Ogress.” Gabriel offered somewhat apologetically. The Ogre winced, and started to move forward again until Gabriel put a little bit more pressure on the iron knife. “Ah ah, what will your wife say when the only useful part of you is gone?”

That drew him a heavy lidded glare, but the Ogre apparently decided that he was going to take the safe route today. “I can’t tell you who.” His basso voice rumbled out. It got a little bit higher with a slight twist of the knife to bring the edge more in to flesh, and he continued quickly. “But if you promise thrice my safety and…interest to my wife, I can tell you where something is in the town.”

Gabriel eyed the larger figure. “If you swear thrice you will not come after me for three days time?”

The ogre huffed a bit, almost frustratedly that Gabriel had thought of it, before he nodded. “I so swear, on my name, my clan, and the honor of my father.”

Gabriel nodded in return. “I so swear on my name, my blade, and my charge that this will not be your time.” The Ogre considered this for a moment, is if he was weighing the words and what Gabriel held most sacred, before he nodded.

“There is a location in the town…”