Hunting Shadows

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Chapter 11

It had been a week since her fight with JB. He hadn’t tried to contact her and neither she him. She was no closer to figuring out what the amulet did or was supposed to do. She had cleaned it as best she could and gleamed with a high shine. There was something ethereal about it and it was old.

It was time to call Jack Sterling; the man had an uncanny way of figuring out ancient devices.

“Hey Jack, it’s Eryn; I’ve got something here I need you to look at.”

“Sure, I’ve got time tonight. Come by the museum after 10?”

“Alright I’ll see you tonight.”

Jack was a friend of hers; she had met a few years prior. He was one of the only people she knew who knew what half the stuff she brought back was for or designed to do. The man liked to tinker and was pretty much a mechanical genius.

The night was dark and cold, Eryn walked down the dark street filled with closed shops and businesses. There were no people around on this street and save for one lone light above a doorway; the street remained dark and impassive. As she got close to the museum the dark stranger she met in the park walked out from behind a parked truck.

“I believe we got off on the wrong foot the last time we met, my name is Jayson Storm.”

He spoke calmly, standing still, his hands in the pockets of his duster, not approaching her this time.

“What do you want from me?”

“I would just like to explain myself, if you could spare a few minutes, I can explain what that amulet does”.

She watched him quietly considering his words, knowing that somehow her contact at the museum wouldn’t provide as much information as what Jayson could offer.

“Alright, I’ll give you a few minutes, but I’m not giving you back the amulet... Yet.”

“Basically, that amulet is from an ancient society that is not human, if a human put it on, it will give the human super speed, but it will completely drain said person physically and mentally after prolonged use.”

She nodded, her interest peaked. He could see the gears turning in her head as she thought things over.

“Had a feeling it wasn’t human made.”

He nodded in return. “What do you think it is then?”

She approached slowly, always keeping a wary eye on him. “First guess, Orc made-”

Jayson snorted with disgust “Those disgusting creatures? Are you kidding me?”

Judging by his reaction and her experience she responded with vampire made. He nodded and said yes, vampire made hidden in the human realm a millennium ago. Just then a noise at the end of the ally made them both turn. Two figures cloaked in shadow stood at the mouth of the street, preventing escape.

“Nice history lesson there, but we’ll be taking the amulet now.” They continued loping up the street toward Eryn and Jayson.

Eryn turned, crouching slightly, a growl in her throat. Jayson took his hands out his pockets and cracked his knuckles; smiling. “You clearly have no idea who you’re dealing’ with.”

The light above the doorway on the opposite side of the street flickered casting eerie shadows up and down the street. As they approached one of them rolled up his sleeves, revealing a tattoo of a five-inch dagger dripping with blood and a curling letter B on the handle. Her metal claws glinted in the light of the bulb across the street.

“Like hell. I really hate it when people try to take things from me.” She growled.

The creatures launched themselves at both Eryn and Jayson. Eryn ducked out of the way of her opponent coming at her with a right hook, coming out her crouch, she slashed him across the face. Her opponent staggered back, surprised with the wild cat’s speed.

Jayson stood calmly as his attacker ran towards him, just as he got in range; Jayson did a spinning back kick into his attacker’s stomach, sending him flying back a few feet.

Jayson took two steps toward the creature, spreading his legs apart, one foot in front of the other and his hands just below his chin, one hand tucked in, one out in front of the other slightly.

Getting up, the creature rushed Jayson, tackling him to the ground. Jayson brought his knee up to his opponent’s chest, giving him enough space to throw a devastating right hook into his attacker’s face, causing his opponent to roll off. Jayson sprang up to his feet, as the creature started to move to his feet, Jayson grabbed him by the back of his coat and drove his head into the front of the parked truck.

Snarling; the creature bared it’s sharp, deadly, needle – like fangs and kicked Eryn across the rib cage, sending her back to the opposite side of the street. He advanced toward her, blood seeping down his face in gruesome lines. With her claws fully extended, she sprang at her opponent, slashing forward in a deadly arc. The creature deflected the blow easily with his right, and with his left reached out, catching her around the throat.

He slammed her back into the wall, grinning viciously, as her head made a sickening cracking sound. Dazed she slumped to the ground, gasping through her bruised esophagus.

Jayson glanced over briefly to see how the human girl was doing. That split second was enough for his own opponent to send a flying back kick straight into his stomach. He slid back several feet, his face changing from human to demonic. His needle-sharp fangs slid from his gums and an enraged growl erupted from his throat. His opponent charged, aiming a right hook for Jayson’s face, Jayson deflected bringing his right arm up to block; while with his left he grabbed his opponent’s, shirt bringing him in close. Jayson snapped his neck in one smooth motion and looked over just in time to see the other creature send a side kick to his ribcage.

He staggered back, tripping over the body at his feet. Just as the vampire was advancing towards Jayson; a look of pure hatred on his face; a yowl rose from behind him. Glancing back, a large black cat landed on his back, sending them both sprawling to the ground.

Sinking her fangs into the vampire’s shoulder, she ripped apart muscle and bone, leaving behind a shredded mess of blood and tissue. Crimson coated her face and arms, splattering against the side of the building and running in a stream down the pavement. Jayson watched, warily from the side, a lit cigarette between his lips. The girl was savage, lost in her bloodlust as she decimated the vampire under her.

“You’re tougher than you look.”

“I’m tougher than most people.”

The scent of blood and metal hung heavily on the air, and the street looked like someone had splatter painted it in entrails and blood. Eryn grimaced at the blood on her arms, and as she wiped it off her mouth, she realized she was standing in the street, coated in blood and naked before a stranger. Glaring at him, she turned and picked up her backpack which had somehow gotten shoved under the truck.

“A little privacy?” She called over her shoulder. He chuckled and turned to face the opposite end of the street.

He looked to his left and saw a twinkle flash in the light of the light above the doorway. Going over, he picked up the small pendent. Inside was a picture of a young woman with shoulder length wavy brown hair, sweet green eyes, and looked startlingly like the girl who held his amulet now.

“I know this girl.” He mumbled more to himself, lost in the memory it evoked.

“She was my mother... I never knew her.”

She had come over, looking at the picture over his shoulder with a wistful expression on her face. She spoke quietly, her voice a mere whisper.

She was so close, he could hear her heart beating steadily in her chest; smell the scent of sweat, animal, and woman.

“I did.” He responded; frowning at the picture, trying to remember the full memory that was trying to surface.

“She was turned into an experiment by my father.”

Jayson didn’t miss the growl in her voice when she spoke of her father.

“I’m sorry for what your father did to you and your mother... I met them once... A long time ago.”

“It wasn’t just my mother and me; it was my daughter and my half-brother as well.”

“Would you like to go for coffee?” He asked tentatively, handing her back the locket.

Checking her watch, she sighed deeply and agreed; taking the heart shaped locket, she slipped it around her head letting it rest in the hollow of her throat. He saw the muscles of her throat move as she swallowed, and the hunger flared. It took a concentrated moment of struggle to not lean down and bite her; to sample the sweet flesh and taste her blood.

Struggling to contain the inner beast, he swallowed and leaned away slightly, his fangs retracting.

“It might be beneficial to tell someone else who’s not JB...” She spoke quietly to herself, looking away. “Can I trust you?”

“Yes, you can. Who’s JB?”

“JB is... Was my partner, now he’s just something... different.”

Setting fire to the bodies, they made their way to the cafe around the corner. Even though it was close to midnight the cafe was still crowded with night time patrons. The rich dark aroma of freshly brewed coffee greeted Eryn and Jayson as they entered.

“Find a table, what do you want?” She asked, moving towards the front counter.

“Large coffee; black two sugars.”

Eryn nodded and went to get their order at the front counter, while Jayson went to find a table in the crowded all night cafe.

Finally finding something in the back corner, he looked around watching the cafe. There were people at every table, some in groups with cups and plates of pastries; others with just cups; the table filled with papers and books. Eryn seemed at ease in the cafe, waiting for their order as she chatted with the waitress behind the counter.

A memory surfaced; her mother Samantha and Sirius sitting down to coffee and cookies with him, talking about brokering a deal. Sirius had grated against his nerves, pissing him off with his fanatical whims and his cruel experiments. Samantha on the other hand, had captured his interest with her quiet manner, and deep green eyes. Eyes that were haunted and pain filled; but quick and intelligent. He had been wearing a suit, and she had been wearing a dress; her stomach only slightly bulging.

Eryn returned then, carrying a tray of two coffees and a couple plates of warm apple pie. A corner of her mouth quirked up and in that moment, Jayson saw a younger version of her mother. He smiled back and got up to help her with the food.

“I know you said just coffee, but Chere’ makes the best apple pie in the city. I guarantee you’ll love it.”

Jayson chuckled; but obliged. She was still watching him when he took a bite. Agreeing it was the best apple pie in the city. She ate her own slice of pie and seemed to be waiting for him to talk first.

“So, what do you want to know... or more or less what blanks should I fill in for you?”

It took him a moment to answer; human food was always a struggle to choke down.

And he needed an excuse to gather his thoughts about what he had figured out already about the girl across from him.

“Well; I know your part panther... tonight’s demonstration not including. I knew your father... not well, but I met him and your mother once. You look just like her; passionate, fiery, and beautiful.”

Her eyes went wide with how much he revealed. She wondered vaguely, how long he had been following her. She blushed when he called her beautiful; this in turn made him smile. There was something about this girl that captivated his interest. That called out to him in some odd way.

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