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The Blighted [Urban fantasy series] 5
Take it...Keep you safe
Pennsylvania Route 210, south east bound.
All Marshal could smell was blood. He restrained a gag realizing he could taste it. He was covered in it, sticking his fingers together and gluing his hands to the wheel.
He pressed harder on the gas trying more to distance himself from the nightmare then to save the women.
He let up on the gas and looked back at the badly wounded black women bleeding in the back seat. She was trying to sit up.
"Hold on." They were miles from the nearest hospital, unless he found a phone real soon she wasn’t going to make it. With all the blood back there it was amazing she was still alive.
She was trying to say something, he couldn’t make it out over the over worked engine.
"Don’t worry, save your str..." He jumped, sending the car into a spin nearly flipping it, when her hand clenched down on his shoulder.
He exhaled heavily, as the car stalled and settled from the near wipe out. He’d almost died again. They had to get help, he didn’t know how much more he could take.
"Calm down lady, I’m goin to get you to a Hosp.."
"Will you.." Jasmine reached up grabbing a tuff of blond hair and yanked his head to her. "Shut up and listen.." It came out broken and little over a whisper but forceful.
A little too forceful for Marshal. Yeah, she had saved his life, but she was obviously involved in whatever it was that had just cost his parents theirs. His first inclination was to fight his way free of her grip and just leave her and the car right there. He would have done just that if he hadn’t hesitated.
He hesitated because of her eyes. She had been beautiful, when he'd first seen her, most likely because she had been saving his life at the time. Now she was a mess. Her face was blood covered and graying, her hair was matted and caked to her face. Dressed as she was she looked insane...but her eyes didn’t...They were bright, sharp and patiently focused on his....
...but she had to be crazy. "Look lady."
She tugged his hair. "No hospital." her strength seemed to fade as she let him go falling back into her puddle. "Harrisburg."
"What?" Yeah she was nuts, she probably wasn’t going to make the nearest hospital definitely not Harrisburg. They needed a phone.
Jasmine mind floated in a peaceful place, his rapidly changing emotions filtered in easily. He had an anxious need for something. A phone no doubt, she had been threw this with so many newbie’s.
"What are you going to tell them?..."
He paused about to start the car. Who would believe...
"... We were attacked by werewolves?"
Werewolves? Could those really have been werewolves, there has to be some other explanation government experiments, or, or...
"Don’t try to fool yourself, that’s what they were. And the only people who’ll believe you, aren’t people and trust me when I tell you. You don’t want them to know that you know...
I...I’m not going to make it either way..."
She realized it as she said it, but had known on some level for awhile. She wasn’t afraid, now that there wasn’t any getting around it she was looking forward to the peace. She was a little surprised to have survived so much, just to take it on a routine strike. But she wasn’t complaining, she knew first hand there was a whole lot worse ways to die. Numb with shock she was pretty comfortable.
"...but if you go...to the authorities...you’ll be dead by morning."
Marshal sat a second staring down the road he’d just come down, and would have to go back to reach Harrisburg. He wanted her to be lying, he wanted to call the cops and for them to come and make it all right. They could investigate or whatever, he could morn his parents’ death, get a shit loud of therapy and every thing would be...
"Things will never be the same again. If you go to Harrisburg...I can’t promise your safety...but it’s your best option."
"I have a friend there...Has to know...what happened.....Trap....team lost.... Amber....Pack....
Marshal looked back, her eyes were closed but she continued to mumble something. He leaned back to hear.
"Take it...Keep you safe."
He looked, she was making an effort to lift the sword. He gingerly tock the bloody sheath not wanting to agitate any of her wounds, but she had passed out.
The whole vampires being real thing to worry about
27 miles south west of Harrisburg.
Vampires were cruel basterds. They got off on toying with their pray. That fact probably saved the kids, David’s life.
The one that hit him expected and easy kill. Its first blow had been a love tap. Just to cause pain, to torment. Donavan sneered to himself pushing images of the countless other wounds he’d seen out of his head.
Still his wounds were deep. It had caught him with what looked like a downward strike. Four ragged slashes ran from the top of his left shoulder down to his solar plexus. No bones were broken and the bleeding wasn’t to bad but he would need stitches, that is if Donavan didn’t want to use magic. Which he didn’t, he never did. But he had plenty potions and he needed the kid in shape...
"So what’s it looking like?" David asked as Donavan turned to rummage threw a gym bag laid on the floor in front of him. David sat on the front pew of a long deserted church. It was apparently the old duds hideout. When they had got there he’d quickly dug up three gym bags and a duffle bag he had stashed under some floorboards.
"I’ve seen allot worse.” Donavan said pulling a medical kit out. He prepared a hypodermic with local anesthesia.
"What you think you gone do with that?"
Donavan turned to study the kid. He was about five tin medium weight but with good muscle tone. Either he worked out pretty often or played some kind of sport. He had rich brown skin and alert light brown eyes that measured Donavan right back. Him and his cloths were dirty but Donavan wasn’t clean so he didn’t hold that against him, and his hair was dirty wild and badly in need of a cut. He looked healthy and clear headed more clear headed then most people after their first time.
"Are you on any drugs."
"I’m about to give you a sedative and I need to make shore its not going to counter act with anything in your system."
"Are you a doctor?"
"No...Now listen I’m going to say this to you as simply and plainly as possible If you don’t like what I have to say at any point you can get up and leave I wont stop you because I have Zero time for bull***t."
David just stared at him thinking this had better be good. He already wanted to leave but where would he go. The hospital, then he’d have to explain his wounds and the police would probably be called and there was the whole vampires being real thing to worry about. And now this cracker was calling him a drug addict. Yeh this had better be good.
"First off thanks for your help back there you handled yourself pretty good. And yes those were exactly what they appeared to be."
Donavan nodded. "How much do you weigh?"
"About one sixty three."
He began to draw the medicine into the syringe. "No I’m not a doctor. But I can treat your wounds, I'm going to give you this for the pain and then I’m going to apply a potion. Its weak magic, so you’ll need this for the pain for a while...
Or you can go to the hospital. I must warn you though if you tell anybody what you’ve seen tonight or if your recognized, they’ll likely kill you."
David thought it over for all of two seconds staring into the white mans pale stony face, it was a bull***t free zone.
"No... Go head."
Donavan nodded and gave David the injection. "Smart man.”
“Are you going to tell me what’s going on?”
Donavan grinned and shook his head. “No time. It’s way too much to tell, if the worlds still here when this is over Ill let you know whatever you want.
Can you feel that?”
He was poking around the wound with a needle. David shook his head. “ You got to tell me somthin, ah can’t just go back out there with out…”
“Just give me a minute kid, ah got some things on my mind.” Like Jasmine, Calvin, Roland, Amber, Sara and the rest of the team. He had risked a call to them on the way back, and ditched his phone when he received no answer. He had to find out what happed to them.
There would likely be survivors, they had Jasmine with them, and she had better odds of getting them out of a werewolf ambush then him.
Giovanni’s a liar, but if he’s trying to stop a sorcerer not only powerful enough to bring back and old one but also to hide magic strong enough to do so. Then the creature would need more then the bureaucrat, service level, lay about bloodsuckers in Harrisburg. He would need to replace his warriors which was suppose to be the reason for his stop in town. He’d also need those council members he sent to Akron.
None of it would matter if Bernardo couldn’t be stopped. He had to get a hold of another team.
Donavan finished applying the potion and the bandage and slumped down in a pew facing David’s.
“So..” David asked, numbed by the medication, but alert by necessity.
Donavan knew he had to tell him something, but there was so much to tell. His body hurt, his soul was tired and he had a lot of things he needed to be doing. He also needed a rest and sitting and telling the Newbie the basics was going to be as close as he was going to get anytime soon maybe this lifetime.
He looked at him. “ All right I guess we got a couple minutes I may need your help for the next few days... so you’ll need to know. Like I said if you don’t believe anything I say hay you know the way out. And good luck…”
A tragic place
Pennsylvania Route 210, north east bound.
Jasmine's side hurt she was laughing so hard. She doubled over, fat tears being squeeze from her clenched eyes as she surprised herself with a snort that just made her laugh harder. She couldn’t stop, and really didn’t care. She could feel Ah-bas arm around her, his body shaking as he chuckled.
She wasn’t even laughing at what he said anymore, she couldn’t even remember what it had been.
Jasmine was laughing because she was happy, and found that hysterical. She had never known she could feel like that. She leaned back against him, wiping her cheeks trying to catch her breath.
They sat under the shade tree on, look out knoll. It was their favorite place. Just a patch of grass behind Sanctuary’s asylum, as far behind the building as one could get. Because fifteen feet in front of their tree the ground began to get rocky, five feet after that was a two hundred foot cliff leading to ocean below.
She was fourteen he was fifteen so of course they weren’t allowed back there. Which only add to its appeal. Not that it needed it. There was always a stiff cool breeze, with a wonderful view. Nothing but sky an ocean as far as the eye could see. The sound of waves crashing, floating up muffled by the distance. Morning noon or night it was beautiful there. Never as much as that day, the day of her first kiss.
"It wasn’t that funny." Ah-ba smirked at her, his honest dark eyes searching her face for the real joke. She loved that, she loved for him to look at her, almost as much as she loved to look at him. He was just so handsome, even with his hair a mess like that. An uneven mini fro, she grinned knowing later she’d braid it for him.
This time she leaned in kissing him. His soft lips, his smell, the feeling she didn’t know existed pumping threw her, it all just made her head swim, soul sore and threatened to drowned her hart. She never wanted it to end. Then he pulled away.
"Come on." He got to his feet holding her hand. "We got to get back before they miss us."
She looked at him with exaggerated surprise. He laughed, a sound she never got enough of.
"I don’t like it either, but I got training soon and if we get caught, it’ll just make it harder to get out here again. There’s a meteor shower tonight I know you don’t want to get busted now and miss that."
She sucked her teeth and pouted. "Yeah, but its so depressing in there. I cant deal with those kids right now." Young survivors waiting to be mind wiped and adopted out. It would have worked that way with her too, but mind wipes didn’t last on young psychics, to many hormone changes.
She loved her family at sanctuary, but it was a tragic place, she hadn’t fully realized that until Ah-ba showed up and she found out how often one could really be happy. She just wasn’t ready to give their moment up.
He shook his head. "No it’s different in there now."
She scrunched up her face, and rolled her eyes.
"Will you just trust me? When have I lied to you?..Exactly, but first you have to get rid of that."
What? She looked down, surprised to find herself holding a sword with a beautiful black pearl hilt. Fascinated she lifted the weapon gently for a closer look.
An uneasiness worked itself through her being. What is it? She had never seen it but it was familiar. She felt an inappropriate emotion, love? She loved the thing but at the same time wanted nothing to do with it. It horrified her and she didn’t know why.
"Hurry!" Ah-ba was smiling looking anxious and exited. This pissed her off. I’m over here scared and he’s looking at me with that dumb grin. She stood and hurled the sword over the cliff.
Ah-ba flopped his arms to his side groaning rolling his whole head with his eyes.
"What!? You said get rid of it and I got rid of it." She jabbed him in the chest. “And why you laughing at me?"
He smiled; it was bright and melted her anger. "I’m not, but look. You can’t get rid of it that way."
She looked over at the cliff; well it was kind of late for that.
"It’s too important, you have to make sure it stays in the war."
She walked over to the ledge and looked over at the crashing waves, now they were made of blood. For some reason this didn’t bother her.
"But it’s down there."
He shrugged. "Got to go get it." And shoved her.
Panic-stricken she reached back grabbed his arm, balancing on the edge with one foot. Why? What the hell is goin on?
"But..." He was grabbing the hand she was holding on to him with. "Nooo" she moaned.
"Why are you doing this? I love you." She was crying now.
This gave him pause. "I love you to, but I’ll be here. Your works almost done, you just forgot something." Then he pried her hand loose.
"NOOOOO!!!!" and she was falling.
A shot of pain in the side. Jasmine landed back on the seat.
Blood covered upholstery, vibrations, and the sound of an engine. She bounced in the air again and came down with more pain. To tired to find anything, what could she have forgotten you can’t take anything with you. The car hit another pothole, more pain and then it came to her.
He didn’t know where he was going. Poor kid he was just running, and had no idea what he was running into. But she had to make sure he got there, or the Talon of Horus would be lost to the resistance.
She tried to focus on her healing one last time, but couldn’t find her reservoir of strength, there just wasn’t any left, she was spent.
Oh well what she had would do, it would have to. She reached in her coat and got the memo pad and pin set, a gift from Papa J.
Tears, sorrow, she really felt sorry for the old guy. News of her death would hurt him badly, and that hurt her more then anything the werewolves had done, it hurt her more then news of her own death.
It was dangerous to love in their business, but with out it what was the point, they would be blights. There was a price for everything and she guessed Papa was just goin to have to pay it. She just prayed he didn’t regret it, because she didn’t.
Then there was Donavan, her uncle would blame himself, PJ might blame him too. She would have to hold on long enough to write a note.
More of a bother then bogie men
Giovanni sat patiently on the twelve story balcony of the high-rise hotel watching the door of the two story shop five blocks away. His soldiers were in position. Ten surrounded the building watching the various exits, two more patrolled the rooftops to keep lookout for any surprises.
There were seven more teams on the way around seventy vampire warriors in all. The closest group wouldn’t arrive till tomorrow night. His Intel said the first opportunity for the ritual was tonight so he had to make do with what he had.
Of course he didn’t like it. What was there to like? He only had a few days to get ready for this strike. He knew next to nothing about his opponent, and would have preferred three times this number of troops for this type of operation, but what was to be dune? Bernardo had to be stopped before tomorrow night, or the days of man and there for vampires would be over.
"How long do we have to wait? We should just go in and get him."
He looked over at Emily warily and made a dismissive motion. She wasn’t one of his troops, she was a toy. Something he had created strictly for his personal pleasure. It had been less the two hours since he had rescued her from Donavan.
Well rescue wasn’t really appropriate. He had let her wonder the city while he rendezvoused with and deployed the vampire warriors. Then collected the council smucks that lounged in the pent house. He’d let her loose with little supervision, direction to kill off the homeless. Far from where he was operating. The local clan didn’t like it, but made sure they understood the necessity.
After deploying his forces, not wanting to risk any of his warriors Giovanni grabbed a couple local clans men to go check on his little bait. It had been a good plan, maybe too good, that’s probably why things had gone so wrong.
Then again maybe things had worked out for the best. Maybe he shouldn’t have destroyed the hunter’s team like that. Maybe he overreacted, but this Bernardo thing presented a unique opportunity. He knew his Donavan inside and out, knew his team couldn’t handle such a threat. He also knew under normal circumstances the counsel would never let him deal with the creatures.
Seemed like a good idea but for the last couple hours he had been reconsidering his actions. It was doubtful the hunters would have been able to stop Bernardo but they might have proven useful tools.
Anyway it was dun.
"Hand me that rifle." He mumbled to his toy lead back in his chair kicking his feet up on the railing. While focusing his attention on the door of the bookstore. Once comfortable he let his mind wander.
Donavan. Yeah It would have been good being rid o him, but it was probably for the best that he hadn’t.
Emily had told the damnable hunter about Bernardo, a fact that angered Giovanni at first. Secrecy was as much a part of vampire culture as domination. So it took the old General sometime that this was a good thing. If the unthinkable happened, and somehow Giovanni failed. Then the hunters could buy him the time he needed to put together the political, military, force he‘d prefer for a threat like this.
That was only if he failed. Something Giovanni never planed on doing. He could live forever, or he could die from one loss. The rule of nature, the rule of the clans. He had lost, more then a few times. That didn’t mater. Only his reputation. Something he‘d worked hard to build and maintain . His reputation helped was the reson he outlasted the stronger, the smarter, the more charismatic. Giovanni was a realist. He didn’t take anything from himself. He was stronger then most, smarter then most, and more charismatic then most. It took more then that to rise in the clans. No, he’d earned his possession being a vampire’s vampire.
Holding your own in a fight was a basic necessity. Secrecy, and caution were important, but proper husbandry of your reputation is what it took to accomplish what he had.
Giovanni wasn’t sure exactly how old he was, he’d stopped keeping up long ago. He’d held his current position for over forty years. In and before that time he’d faced and defeated allot of spell casters. They were the biggest threat to the Clans power.
According to the clans last study supernatural beings and men of magic made up around .01 percent of the world’s population.
Men of magic the majority and vampires the largest minority. Still the Clans are unified and much better organized then men of magic who either worked towards their goals alone or are members of small Cabals. Their goals varied but generally had to do with the acquisition of power in one form or the other.
For the most part the Clans and the Cabals stayed out of each other’s way, but often enough, usually in the arenas of Politics or finance their goals came into conflict. In those times he who hit hardest won. The spell casters aren’t the only competitors to the Clans but they are the ones they came into conflict with most often.
Still the Clans held more power in the human world then any other faction including the humans. Who for the most part went on with there existence, living, dying, breeding, warring, voting, protesting, blissfully unaware of how little control they have of there own societies.
Well mostly, of course the existence of the supernatural was discovered some time back, but by that point the clans had so much control of human society that it was child’s play to convince the masses that these stories were the things of fantasies, myth, and legend.
Then there are the self appointed hunters. All through out the clans recorded history there has been hunters of one kind or the other. Individual or organization, they were all short lived, until about fifty years ago.
Giovanni was the Enforcers east cost regional head when the rumors began. No one was worried, a new group of hunters big deal. Turned out it was.
Unlike the hunters of the past, this group seemed to be globally organized well funded, well equipped, and most importantly able to keep their secrets as good as any blight.
Since they made their appearance, scores have been killed but no one has been able to track down a base of operation.
The Clans have access to the most hi-tech tracking and surveillance equipment on the planet, and some of the most powerful psychic and magic beings alive and otherwise.
With all that little more is known about them then was known fifty plus years ago. They did know there was a base of operations known as sanctuary. Maybe more then one. Yet under, mind probe, torture or turning no captive can describe it or any provide any actionable Intel on the organizations workings.
The clans are fairly certain of the founders. A group of spell casters, a demon slayer and a half dragon. They had a fairly successful and large team of hunters. But the bounties on their heads were so high there was no where they could go. One day they disappeared, not long after the organization begin making its presence known.
Psychics and magic seers have scoured every inch of the planet looking for the originators. Armies of hells bounty hunters dispatched to track them down.
Fifty plus years and no success. This didn’t worry the elders or Giovanni either for that matter. If they were the founders they could never come out of hiding, they had to depend on humans a couple pitiful psy’s and spell casters to do their dirty work. They were only humans, which is what made it vexing, but they are mortal, so in the end the Clans have the advantage of time plus the power of authority. Eventually the blight hunters would make a big enough mistake and that would be the end of their little uprising.
Giovanni didn’t hate the hunters. He hopped to be there for their down fall, but he didn’t hate them. He respected them. They fought against impossible odds and pulled off a surprising number of victories, he turned them every chance he got just for their fighting skill.
Since his unsuccessful attempt to turn Donavan years back, he didn’t know how many times he’d been sure he’d rid himself of the man only to have him pop back up with a new team at the most inopportune moment.
Now Donavan, Donavan Giovanni hated. But he loved the hate. The Hate gave him something to look forward to. Donavan had made himself a nuisance, no not a nuisance, a problem in Giovanni’s well-oiled immaculately organized life from day one. He’d ruined some of his best schemes and made him look like a fool far too often.
He was just a human. Mortal! Cattle! The shame of it. But. How sweet it would be to end him. How sweet it would be to stare into his eyes and watch him realize it was all for not. That as skillful as he maybe, there was no artifact that he could posses, gizmo he could cobble together, no bargain he could make with his God, that could save him from his place on the food chain.
He’d thought that night would be tonight, but it was ok. After he Killed Bernardo there would be other nights. Until then, he’d enjoy the anticipation.
Being who he was, Most of his needs were met fairly quickly, he didn’t long for much anymore, hadn’t for some time. So he savored the feeling.
The rest of the blight hunters he just wanted out of the way. They were more under foot then any real threat.
The only thing the Clans knew for sure about how their operation worked. Was that they moved equipment and personnel vie magic portals, and that they travel in small nomadic groups. Some specializing in combating one blight type or the other but most just general hunters.
They keep good access to the most cutting edge technology. They use to communicate mostly through cell phones and the clans routinely traced their calls. Now it has been found out threw hostages that they only use chat rooms.
Although the clans have many hackers and the best computer equipment available they were yet to intercept a single message.
The only connection the field agents seem to have with their leaders is online. So as of late the last five or so years the hunters efficiency has picked up, but he knew it was only a matter of time before they returned to there rightful place as the hunted. They muddled matters but the clan was still firmly in control of things, to call what the hunters did interference would be giving them to much credit. They are still more of a bother then bogie men.
No Giovanni thought picking up the HK-Ps1 rifle and laying it across his lap. He still had the market cornered on that.
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