May 26, 2000, midnight. Outside the New London Fine Arts Museum
Victoria Midori, private eye, shifted and straightened her legs as best she could in the van. Even being undead I still get stiff, the young woman mused to herself. Then again, patience is something I better practice, it doesn't make the stakeout any easier. It had started as a simple missing person.
Angela Tompson, age 17, undergraduate at U of NL. Her mother, Kate, hadn't heard from her daughter for over 32 hours. Odd and alarming since 8 hours ago was her best friend's wedding, Angela the maid of honour. The same song and dance from the police—"I am sorry she has to be missing more than 48 hours blah, blah, blah," and Mrs. Tompson was knocking on Victoria's door. This had started out as the usual run of the mill runaway. Talk with a few of her friends had painted the perfect runaway model. However, canvassing all the normal exits from town turned up nothing. A, ahem, Talk, with certain pimps and a few of street contacts also drew a blank. Finding out that Angela had a car that was still parked in her parking spot on campus put the finishing touch on an exasperating case. And then it took a turn to the weird. While taking her younger brother Jeff to the new Egyptian display at the museum, Victoria turned up a very unexpected clue. Angela's scent, was all around the exhibit but no where else. The scent had her puzzled. There and nowhere else? Very strange. As a firm believer in the supernatural, Victoria put it as an option, but one low on her list.
All which had led Victoria to her current position. No one had even approached either door, which she could see easily from her chosen position. She glanced down at the car's clock. 11:55pm. Eighteen dollars so far to Mrs. Fields for taking Jeff in. Victoria sighed and glanced back to the museum.
There was a man standing in front of the door. Impossible, Victoria thought to herself. I should have been able to see him or scent him approaching the building from any direction. It's why I picked this spot! Damn! OK, quick check with binocs, get a good look at the guy. I'm a good distance away, so the smell trick might not be working 100%, but I should have at least seen him coming! Damn!
Suddenly, Victoria spotted something else. It was large, about hip height and twice as long. It was a sickly white and the stench of the long-dead wafted in the open car window to lodge in her sensitive nose. Then an ululating sound rose from the beast. The sound froze Victoria where she sat. But not the man.
As Victoria watched, he spun around and held something straight out in front of him. She could now make out more. He was about six feet tall, black wavy hair, a black suit—perfectly tailored—and a pure white collar that encircled his neck. In his hands was a large silver cross.
The priest began to speak—or perhaps he was praying? The beast leapt, and the man's free arm went straight up to heaven. A blast of white light struck the man's raised fist and seemed to shoot out of the cross. The beam caught the beast and sent it whimpering end over end to lie still some 5 feet from its jumping point.
Victoria's gut reaction was, Oh, shit! I hope this guy is after someone else. I really hate dealing with fanatics, especially given my condition.
Quick on the heels of that thought another surfaced. What am I saying? Church-wielding believer versus evil undead? I should be on his side helping out!
The thoughts seemed to release Victoria from the fear that had gripped her. The priest took a few steps back, placed his back against the building, and made a circular gesture with the cross. A wavy blue light materialized, forming a bubble starting from the building wall. A few seconds later, Victoria could why the priest retreated, as more white shapes slunk from the surrounding foliage. Two, four, maybe six.
Feeling slightly ashamed by her previous thoughts, Victoria quickly switched to her 'monster' clip, slamming it home with a vengeance. She got out of the van.
Victoria kept her gun pointing at the creatures. This guy just called down heavenly power! And yet now he's acting cornered. I'm not completely certain of the situation, but I'd rather be on the side of the angels, despite a certain similarity with the beasts. This guy has already shown some power, so anything which splits the attacking force is tactically sound. Let's pray, Victoria continued her inner conversation with a wry grin at the unintentional pun, that he can pull the 'heavenly light' trick again!
May 26, 2000, midnight. Midland Park.
It had been a long day of trying to understand this foreign world into which Oomuri Kinuko had been thrust. Once again she had come to Midland Park just to walk the night and collect her thoughts. It reminded her so much of home.
As she walked, her steps started to slow. Something was watching her. The hairs on the back of her neck started to stand up. With little movement, she checked the throwing stars she had scattered about her western attire, which consisted of medium blue jeans and a sweatshirt. Glancing left and right, she kept her steps measured, and slowly but surely she slid into the steps of the The First Path – Avoidance. To her left she spied spots of bright red, about hip height. She counted three pairs of the spots. Wolves? Here in the middle of a great city?
She suddenly heard an ululating cry. A cry of the hunter, of prey found. And then a whimpering cry. The eyes vanished from the bushes. Both cries had come from behind the bushes…
Kinuko quickly and quietly, circled the bushes by the shortest path. On the way, she grasped her sweatshirt by the forearms, and issuing silent commands to the nanomachines which ran through her body, turned the nylon into Kevlar.
Spirits, let it be only animals... she prayed silently. But if it's people, the victims will get out of this alive.
In front of her an interesting scene presented itself. A man dressed in a black suit, was pressed up against the New London Fine Arts Museum. A shimmering blue light surrounded him, using the wall as an anchor. Six sickly white shapes were moving back and forth in front of him. There was one lying on the ground. As she watched, it slowly began to smoke. Within seconds there was only a greasy outline where the body used to be.
The woman was dressed similarly to Kinuko. In her hands was a large gun. There were several clips around her belt and she was wearing a shoulder holster. The gun was pointed towards the beasts and she was performing a slow stalk of her own.
The woman's voice slashed out through the night, breaking the spell the quiet seemed to have wrought.
"Hi!" she yelled from across the road, and slowly moved towards the priest. "Looks like you could use a hand".
The priest looked over in Victoria's direction, and shook his head. Two of the nearest beasts then turned and faced Victoria, two others turned and faced the bushes. It was uncanny, like they could plan and communicate without giving voice. There was no growling, no barking. And then they charged…
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