Casey Gavin: Me
Gerard Houseman: Terry Mixon
Story, Setting and All Other Characters: Aron Head
Casey’s telepathy had bought her some time before; it might work again. She gathered her focus, filling her mind with an image of stinging wasps, swarming, covering her assailant. She’d never used her powers for anything like this before, but desperation lent intensity to the attempt. She sent the image to the man in front of her: hundreds, thousands of venomous stings piercing his skin with agonizing pain.
He was unaffected. In a blur of motion she was out of the truck and in his arms.
Sheer panic overwhelmed her. She struggled wildly against him, no thought in her mind but a frantic need to free herself.
With a massive hand he bent her head back, revealing her bare throat. His head lowered toward her neck…
Awareness of his intent penetrated through her mindless terror, and snapped her abruptly back to clarity. She had succeeded in pushing him away once, it must be possible again. Knowing that she was staring immediate death literally in the face was considerable motivation to succeed. She gathered her thoughts and aimed a second psionic blow to his mind, this time with the raw edge of desperation adding force to her efforts.
With an audible CRACK, his head snapped back once again. Casey dropped to the pavement as her opponent stumbled back. She landed on the balls of her feet, flushed with a fierce sense of power.
Black blood streaked from his ears and eyes. He staggered to a stop, head rising. He glared at Casey… and HOWLED! Like a lion, he charged her…
She was getting the hang of this. Two successes had taught her the feel of this new skill, and her opponent’s inhuman tenacity removed any qualms she might have had about taking his life. In fact, she’d become determined to do just that, by whatever means necessary. It had become personal. She closed her eyes and sent a third burst of destructive power tearing into his mind.
He leapt at her as she sent forth her bolt of power!
A tremendous CRACKT reverberated through the garage. His head spun about on his neck like a top. His body crashed to a stop on the deck beside her. His head turned at an awkward angle, his legs twitching.
The elevator doors opened as three more suit wearing men flowed out.
“Casey!” Falco called out from the other side, “Get in the truck and get us out of here!”
He didn’t have to tell her twice; she sprang into the doorless driver’s seat and threw the truck into reverse. Slamming the accelerator, she roared back toward Falco and the men with him. Smoke plumed up from the tires as they lay rubber.
The three other men brandished firearms, taking positions in around the front of the truck.
The windshield shattered.
When the pickup reached Falco, he unceremoniously threw Houseman into the rear bed, and leaped back there himself.
“Spence!” Gerard made a grab for his man but was too weak and slow.
“Go! Go!” Falco stood tall in the rear of the truck. Bullets whizzed by his head…
Casey could feel something not unlike electricity in the air as he gestured and pulled with one hand at the charred figure on the deck. The body answered by flying across the garage and into a heap in the back of the pickup.
With his other hand, Falco pointed at the two flamethrower wielding men, who were still sprawled out. He then made a throw-away movement in the direction of the three gun shooters.
The two flew through the air and as they approach the three, their fuel tanks EXPLODED!
Falco crouched to avoid the ceiling while, still in reverse, the truck roared up the drive and away from the office building, a ball of flame following it. He patted the top of the cab, “Well done, Casey. Well done.”
Casey grinned. As unnerving and surreal as the night’s events had been, her success against her last assailant had left her with a new sense of confidence and power.
Houseman, still weak as a kitten, lay next to Spence. The ghoul’s breath was ragged and pained. His eyes never left Gerard’s though.
“Well done, Spence.” Gerard was answered with a pained groan. He looked up at this new man.
“Brandon Falco,” he introduced himself.
“Thank you. I don’t know who betrayed us but I never expected it there.”
Once they were well free of the garage and any pursuers, Casey took the first opportunity to pull the truck around and continue forward rather than in reverse. **So where are we going now?** She sent the thought back to Falco.
:: We shall relay Mr. Houseman to his in-town residence. Turn here. ::
Casey made the turn indicated, motoring through the downtown area. She fastened the truck’s lap belt, a little bothered by the absence of her driver’s side door. Hopefully it wouldn’t attract the attention of any patrol cars; it would be hard to explain the unusual group of people in the pickup bed.
Now that the rush of fierce excitement was wearing off, Casey was beginning to feel a little overwhelmed again. What was that thing she’d just fought? To all appearances, a vampire. The real thing. He had gotten back up after she’d crushed him under her truck, he had effortlessly overpowered her physically — and despite her slender build, she was no weakling herself — and he had gone for her jugular with a truly inhuman set of teeth. A vampire.
Falco’s words echoed in her memory: “There are some things you need to accept sooner rather than later…Vampires are real. Wrap your brain around that.” She hadn’t given those words much credit at the time, but they were sounding a lot more plausible now. She’d seen at least three vampires tonight, hadn’t she? Maybe more. Austin was apparently infested with them. Casey wondered if it was possible to learn to recognize them on sight; she suspected that Falco probably could. One more thing for her to learn.
At some point a subtle shift had taken place in her outlook, she realized. She’d accepted the reality of vampires, and was determined to do whatever was needed to ensure that she would not be victimized by their kind again.
Gerard looked at Spence, deeply concerned. “He needs help. Please. Help him.”
Falco leaned across to Spence, his hand hovering over the ghoul…”I’m…” He scrutinized Spence, “…I’m not sure that I can. He’s one of yours, I assume. He’s not altogether human. I could try… but I could mess him up. Bad.” He looked to Houseman, “Your call, though.”
“If you can get me to a safe house of mine, I will help him. He is important to me.”
“I’m taking you to your…” He searched for the word, “The Archive.”
Gerard nodded, looking up at the mysterious man. “Your pronouncements were a bit oracular. Who is doing this? Who betrayed me?”
“Prince Bronwen,” Falco said simply. “Your longtime friend has sold you out. He had hoped to remove you under the RADAR, but since that failed, I fully expect he’ll call a bloodhunt on you tomorrow night… er…tonight. You haven’t got much time, my friend.”
“I wish I knew that before we sent ourselves into his keeping.”
“If wishes were horses…”
“We’d be even deeper in horse crap. Dammit. The whole city will be after me but he made a bad mistake when he picked me for an enemy. Is he the one pulling the strings with all the goings on with the Fae and other supernaturals?”
“I do not believe so, no.”
“Then I really wonder what potential I have that someone fears. Is this something more mundane like going over to the Sabat?”
“No… I think there is another purpose, another entity at work.”
“With time this short I wish I knew what you knew.”
Falco smiled at that. “I wish I knew as much as you think I do.”
Gerard smiled weakly. “You know more than I do.”
“Perhaps Honeywell isn’t the enemy I thought. He might be an ally.”
Falco laughed, “If that’s the case, don’t tell him you know me.”
“I suspect, actually, that the information I have on Honeywell probably made him call the hit.” Gerard looked at Casey. “Who is your friend? I owe her some thanks as well.”
“That’s not for you to know just yet.”
“As you wish.”
Casey pulled the truck up in front of a modest office building. At once, men in black security uniforms raced out to their master. Walt was there as was Aldo. Kent directed them all. Walt and the security guards bundled Spence into a blanket, whisking him away. Aldo assisted Gerard out of the truck.
Casey watched it all with interest. She’d like to have known what was going on, but she could see that it wasn’t a good time for questions. Realizing that Falco didn’t intend to stay here — wherever ‘here’ was — she reached over and brushed bits of shattered windshield off the passenger side of the seat. Her truck didn’t seem to be faring as well as she had…so far. Looked like the field trip wasn’t over yet, though.
Falco stepped from the rear of the pickup to the passenger side of the cab. “I’ll be in touch, Mr. Houseman,” he called to the vampire. “Get your house in order!”
“I look forward to that. I owe you and your young friend. Remember that.”
“I will!” Falco turned to the girl beside him, “Drive, Casey.”
She obeyed without comment.
As the truck motored away, Kent flipped out a notepad to jot down the pickup’s license plate number…
“Gah!” His hands darted to his eyes. He staggered for a moment. “Man… that headache came out of nowhere.”
The truck disappeared around the corner.