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Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Ware house

            Timeaus’ hands were shaking so badly that he couldn’t keep the desk from rattling beneath them. He pulled them back and pressed them together in his lap, trying to focus on the folder of information that Achan had just set on his desk.
            “How bad is it?”

            “Bad.” Achan cleared his throat, his eyes fixed on his master with concern, “The director got back to us with the initial report, and I’m afraid that the entire city of Liberty Cross has been compromised.”
            “How is Ol’ Papa reacting to this?”
            “So far he hasn’t sent any word, but we are assured that his agent rendezvous with our team on arrival.” Achan added, “Are you alright?”
            “I’m fine.” Timeaus set his hands in his lap and scowled, “I need to feed is all.”
            “How long are you going to go this time before you drive yourself to slaughter streetwalkers again?” Achan’s voice held a note of pity mixed with disdain, and when Timeaus lifted his eyes to the man’s face, he saw a nasty sneer forming on his perfect lips.
            “Bring me one of the blood bags and stop your nagging.” he was interrupted by the sudden loud wail of the phone on his desk, which he impatiently snatched up, “Hello.”
            The other end crackled slightly and then the unmistakable voice of Ol’ Papa oozed through the line, “Timeaus. We have a problem.”
            The White Collar vampire sat straight upright, his eyes open wide, “Speak of the Devil,”
            “And he shall appear. Unfortunately, we are dealing with someone far less pleasant.” Ol’ Papa paused for a minute and Timeaus could hear him exhaling a cloud of smoke from one of his cigars, “Liberty Cross. Does it live or does it die?”
            “It is dying now.” Timeaus said softly, “From the initial report, there is little hope.”
            “And what will keep this cancer from spreading if we cannot end it here?”
            His stomach rushed up to meet him, and the shaking in Timeaus’ hands grew into a full-blown palsy. He squirmed in his chair, and tried to ignore the sweat beading on his brow, “It will be contained.”
            There was an ugly silence, and finally Ol’ Papa responded, “We are being watched, you know? There are ancient eyes watching from Europe, and if they sense weakness here they will take advantage of it.”
            “I know. One of their agents is already here.”
            “Yes. Let’s not le this get out of control, friend.” the line went dead, leaving Timeaus to ponder the Southern vampire’s particular definition of the word.
            When Christie regained consciousness it was to a head that felt like it had just gone twelve rounds against a heavyweight. She blinked hard but it took a while for both of her eyes to agree on what they were looking at. She was on the floor inside of a warehouse, but she immediately realized that it was not the same one that she had walked into that morning. Instead, this one had no windows at all, and was stacked from floor to ceiling with pallets of construction barrels illuminated only dimly by a few fluorescent lights in the ceiling, which made something of a maze out of the place.
            There was no one immediately around her, and she panicked, her hand going immediately to the empty holster at her hip. When her hand slapped empty leather, she cast about on the ground, her head throbbing so hard that she nearly retched.
            “Are you looking for this?” A voice asked from above her and to her right. Christie’s head jerked up towards the sound and she instantly regretted it. The oatmeal she’d had for breakfast erupted out of her and she doubled over.
            Agent Thomas jumped down from where she’d been perched on the top of one of the pallet stacks with her rifle pressed to her cheek and Christie’s handgun thrust in her belt. She knelt next to Christie and helped her lean against the wall, “Sorry that I had to hit you so hard.”
            “What the fuck, Thomas?” Christie managed, her eyes watering hard, “Why the hell did you-?”
            “I’m sorry, Agent Steele, but your security clearance only goes so high. What you were witnessing was top secret, way beyond your pay grade. I had my orders.” She pulled out Christie’s pistol and set it gently on the ground; “Here’s this back, if you think that you can manage it.”
            Christie’s hand quested up to the huge bruise that was spreading across her brow, and her fingers came back bloody. She looked at Thomas questioningly and the senior agent shrugged, “I split the skin a bit when I hit you. Don’t worry, the damage isn’t permanent and you don’t have a concussion, you will probably just have a hell of a headache for a while.”
            “You could have just told me to get out.”
            “Would you have?” Thomas shook her head, “This was quicker.”
            Christie’s mind flashed back to the horror that she had witnessed before being knocked out and she closed her eyes slowly, “So, Chevalier and Agent Jones are dead now, aren’t they? I’m not surprised that Chevalier is dead, but Agent Jones seemed fairly tough. They got killed by some sort of…necrotic chemical agent?”
            Thomas burst out laughing, and Christie just stared at her, shocked by the woman’s reaction. Finally, Agent Thomas pulled herself together, “No, sorry. First of all, there’s no ‘necrotic chemical agent’ that I know of that can do what you saw. Also, no, they are not dead. I can’t explain, but they are both fine.”
            “You can’t explain, or won’t?”
            “Both. Ask only questions that I can answer and you’ll be more satisfied.”
            “Okay, fine. How long was I out?”
            “I can’t answer that.” Thomas laughed again, “You should see your face! I’m kidding! You were only out for a few minutes.”
            Christie nodded, “Where are the others then?”           
            “Here.” Said a voice from behind a wall of traffic cones to her left. Christie glanced over sharply and retched again as Chevalier stood up and looked over at her. The lack of natural light made him look closer to human, but his skin was pale as a corpse and the edges around his scalp, eyes and mouth looked almost burned and blistered, and his eyes glowed unnaturally bright, “Listening to everything you said.”
            Christie flushed, embarrassed both by what she’d said about him and at the fact that she had recoiled at the sight of him. He stared at her evenly, and she swallowed hard, “Oh. Hi.”
            “Hello.” Chevalier cracked his neck and smirked, “Why is it that you weren’t surprised that I would be dead?”
            “No reason.”
            “Enough of that, you two.” Agent Thomas stood up and lifted her rifle strap across her chest, “Once Agent Jones gets back, we’ll move to the sewers.”
            “The sewers?”
            “The best way to get around the town without being seen are the sewers. We don’t have any time to lose.” Thomas glanced up at Chevalier harshly, “Can you move?”
            Him?” Christie snorted, “He’s up and moving, I’m the one with the head injury.”
            Chevalier looked over at her, and she noticed the blood trickling from his ears and tear ducts for the first time, “I’m fine. I’m just a little hungry.”
            “Not now, Chevalier.” Thomas glared at him meaningfully, “I’ll pick you up something later.”

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