“Who are you?”
We where sitting in his car, waiting for the lights to turn green. Michael had insisted on driving me home, and I had let him because I didn’t feel comfortable leaving him alone. It was obvious that he was still in shock. And so far he was my only single lead to finding the Angel of Death.
“How long have you been able to see demons?” I asked instead of answering his question.
“A little over a year.” He momentarily pressed his hand against his chest, just above his heart where the star-shaped scar was. “But I didn’t see those… things until a couple of weeks ago, and they’ve never outright attacked me before.”
“So, you’ve seen those with the demon’s touch since you got shot?”
He gave me a quick glance before putting the car into gear, rolling the few meters to the next set of traffic lights. “How do you know I’ve been shot?”
Another question to be avoided at all cost, unless I wanted to explain to him that I had seen the scar while spying on him during a very private moment. I just shrugged. “You’re a cop and cops get shot.” He gave me that I-know-you’re-lying-but I’m-going-to-let-it-slide-for now look that I was rapidly getting used to.
He turned his attention back to the road just in time for the lights to change from red to green. “I died on the operating table”, he said, putting the car into gear. “The doctors told me that I was technically dead for two minutes before they could bring me back. After I got out of the hospital I started seeing things. Hallucinations… or so I thought.” He glanced at me. “How come you can see them, the demons?”
Another question I really didn’t want to answer, so I settled for another shrug and a: “You need to turn right at the next traffic light.”
He gave me a glance. “You know, one day you’re going to have to give me a straight answer, Ms. Worthy.”
“Mary, please. We’re way past using titles, don’t you think?”
“All right. I’m Michael.” He turned on to Barrack Street were the buildings had that depressing, derelict appearance that spoke of neglect, poverty and hopelessness. With the introductions out of the way, he fell into a brooding silence. Not that I could blame him. Questioning your sanity was hard enough without having to deal with demons’ to be or not to be on top of that.
“So, why do you think that hellhound was tracking you?” I asked.
“I was hoping you would be able to tell me. This is fucked up!” He slammed a fist against the steering wheel as the shock and confusion gave way to anger. He processed things quickly this one. Good to know. He gave me a pointed look. “You know more than you let on, Mary. I know you do.”
I dipped my head, hiding behind a veil of hair. “Maybe. But I don’t know why you can see demons, or why you had a hellhound on your trail, and that’s the truth.” Once again that tense silence stretched between us. I took a deep breath. “Look, maybe I can try to find out why this is happening to you?”
He glanced at me. “Now, why would you do that?”
“As a favor.”
Michael raised an eyebrow. “A you scratch my back and I scratch yours kind of deal?”
“Something like that.” I expected him to ask questions but instead there was another stretch of silence, and another set of traffic lights.
Then Michael cleared his throat a little and gave me another quick glance. “What else is out there? Vampires?”
I shrugged. “I’ve never seen any.”
“So, just demons then?”
My shoulders rose and sank in a shrug that could mean anything. “More or less.” The reply earned me one of those sharp looks. I sighed. “What do you want me to say, Michael? That there’s a secret world within the city, with shape-shifters, witches and trolls and shit?”
“No… not really.”
A small muscle started to twitch in his jaw. “Jesus fucking Christ, can’t you give me a straight answer, just once?!”
Annoyance bubbled up inside up me. Michael wasn’t the only one having a rough time lately. “You can stop the car right here and let me out. Is that straight enough for you?”
He glared at me. “I’m not letting you out in this neighborhood. It’s not safe.”
“I live here, you jerk!” I snapped. “Besides, I can take care of myself!” I started tugging on the door button-thingy. “Damn door! It’s stuck!”
“It’s locked.” If Michael’s voice had shown just the tiniest bit of amusement, I might have ripped his head off, or shoved him into the rear-view mirror. As it was, he sounded calm and collected, which was even more infuriating. He pushed a button on the panel next to the steering wheel, and the door clicked open causing me to tumble out of the car.
I landed in an ungraceful heap on the sidewalk, the short skirt pushed up, revealing my yellow panties with pretty pink daisies. “Shit!” I grabbed hold of the car door again and hoisted myself up on my feet.
As soon as I was vertical and somewhat steady, I slammed the door shut, pivoted around and headed for the dark entrance of my apartment building.
I glanced over my shoulder to see Michael exiting the car. “G’night, Detective Malak.”
“Wait!” He caught up with me before I managed to make my escape. “Do you smell that?”
“What?” I started, but then I got a whiff of Eu de Demon. Thunder rumbled over head and the last working lamp post started to flicker. “Fuck!”
“You don’t happen to have another bottle of Holy Water on you?”
I shook my head.
“Then I suggest we get back to the car and get the hell out of here.”
“Works for me.” We ran, Michael helping me along so I wouldn’t trip on my high-heels. I was more or less shoved into the car, the door slamming shut behind me. Michael threw himself into the driver’s seat just as the street lamps went out completely and the street turned dark.
Michael started the car, leaving a hopefully very disappointed demon behind.