Thursday, August 17, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 58



That piqued the partners’ interest and Daniel quickly finished making his sandwich and came back to the table, asking his brother as he sat down, “How small?”

“There’s a Chupacabra running loose in the wilderness near where I’ve been living.”

“Hardly a ‘small’ problem,” Jared stated, recalling what he knew about the elusive creatures. They were bipedal, standing somewhere between four to five feet tall. One description compared their bodies to those of an erect dinosaur having small arms and hands with three claws each. Their legs were almost reptilian, again with three claws on each foot and there were spinal quills down their backs which they used for flying. The head was somewhat bird-like with red eyes and an elongated jaw with fangs. “How long has it been there?”

“As far as I can tell,” Norris replied, “it showed up about six months ago. I found the remains of a deer with strange bite marks on its body, primarily the stomach area. Then, a few days later I came upon the body of a puma. There were puncture holes straight into the brain that must have killed it instantly, and then some of its internal organs were removed.”

“Why do you think a Chupacabra is involved?

“Because in both cases what blood that had been left in the bodies hadn’t clotted or coagulated. That told me they weren’t killed by any normal predator. And then,” Norris leaned back, smiling almost gleefully at them, “I actually saw it. Only briefly but long enough that I knew it was a Supe. Once I had, I made a trip into town, to the local library, and did a bit of on-line research.”

Jared nodded, his forehead creasing in a frown. “Is it still in the area?”

“It was two days ago. I found the fresh corpse of another deer. It was the fifth in the last month. It might not have bothered me, but that one was much closer to inhabited areas than any of the rest had been.”

“That’s not good,” Daniel stated as he picked up what was left of his sandwich and headed to the computer in the living room.

Norris watched him leave, cocking an eyebrow in question.

“I suspect he’s letting the Council know and telling them we’ll be handling it.”

“What if they want to send someone else besides the two of you?”

“They won’t,” Jared told him with certainty.

He was correct. Daniel returned almost immediately with the news that they were to leave as soon as possible, with the Council’s blessing.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 57



“About time you woke up,” Norris said, pulling Daniel into a bear hug.

After hugging his brother back just as hard Daniel grumbled, “If someone who shall remain nameless had let me know you were here, I’d have been up much earlier.”

Stepping apart the brothers looked at each other.

“You’ve changed,” Daniel said after a few moments. “You’re…harder, more dangerous feeling.”

“Living rough will do that. You on the other hand, under that hippie look, seem more adult than the last time I saw you. There’s knowledge in your eyes that wasn’t there before.”

“Knowledge?”

“Maybe not the right word, but your eyes say you’ve seen it all, maybe too much, and have learned how to deal with whatever happens by thinking rather than just jumping pell-mell into the fray.”   

“Okay, you’ve been talking with Jared about me haven’t you? He said the same thing just a day ago.”

“About thinking first?”

Daniel chuckled. “No, about the jumping in.”

Norris looked over to where Jared was standing, raising an eyebrow. “He still does that?”

“On occasion, but he’s gotten a lot better about thinking first than he was when we started working together.”

“You two work together too? Doing what?” Norris sat back down at the table, looking at them.

“We’re enforcers for the Council of the Supernaturals,” Jared replied as he joined him while Daniel began fixing himself something to eat.

“Really?” Norris smiled slightly. “How interesting. I was going to check in with the Council while I was here. Now maybe I’ll just by-pass that and tell you instead.”

Daniel turned to look at him. “Tell us what? Are you in some sort of trouble?”

“Not at all, so don’t worry that pretty little head of yours.” Norris ducked back when his brother took a swipe at him before continuing. “Actually I was going to petition the Council for some help with a small problem.”

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors - 56

“Why did you let me drink so much?” Daniel growled as he sat up and then instantly regretted it.

“You’re a big boy, I figured it was your funeral.”

“A funeral’s about what I’m ready for at the moment. Just let me die and bury me in a silk lined coffin.”

“Gods, Daniel,” Jared said, laughing. “I don’t think things are quite that desperate.”

“No,” Daniel admitted, smiling a bit. “But you gotta admit it was a dramatic thought.” He started to get out of bed and then stopped, sniffing. “Okay, where is he? And why is he?”

“Why is he?” Jared shook his head in amusement.

“Yeah why is there another male in the apartment, and a were to boot?” Daniel scowled at his partner.

“I wanted a matched pair?”

“Jared, I swear as soon as I can move I’m going to put myself out of my misery and kill you.”

“As I’m already dead I don’t think that will do you much good.”

“Gods, a damned comedian at the crack of…” Daniel cast a look at the clock, “three the hell in the afternoon? Damn.”

“Yep. I’ve been up for hours.”

“Riiight, sure you have. Doing what, entertaining your guest?”

Jared sat down on the edge of the bed, drawing Daniel to him with a smile. Before answering he kissed him gently after pushing his hair back off his face. “You need a shower,” he muttered.

“Don’t try to sidetrack me, mister. I want to know who’s here and why.” Pulling away Daniel glowered at him.

“I think you asked that earlier.”

Gritting his teeth Daniel muttered. “And you didn’t answer then any more than you are now. So give.”

Taking pity on him Jared said, “Someone who came looking for you.” When Daniel looked puzzled and a bit worried he added, “Norris.”

“What the hell, why didn’t you say so. Damn it Jared.” Daniel stood up quickly then grabbed the headboard until the room stopped reeling. “Where is he?”

“In the kitchen the last time I saw him. Slow down, breathe, he’s not going anywhere.”

Guardian Angels – An Interesting Life (5)

Evan spent most of the day, while Vic slept, on the computer and the phone, staying in touch with the people who worked for him. At this point he was glad he could run his business from the house when necessary. He also checked on Vic at regular intervals. So far, the man had done nothing but sleep, it seemed, although at one point Evan noticed the bottle of pills had been moved.
It was late afternoon when Evan heard movement in the living room. Shutting down the computer, he went in and found Vic was sitting up.
"Bathroom?" Vic said succinctly.
"Upstairs."
"Of course it is." Grimacing in pain, Vic made it to his feet. He staggered, his injured knee obviously protesting.
Evan moved in, putting one arm around Vic's waist. "Lean on me and we'll get you up there." They made it to the top of the stairs and to the bathroom. "Need help?" Evan asked when Vic was inside.
Vic chuckled low. "I think I can deal with the basics on my own."
With a nod, Evan closed the door but waited a few feet away, just in case. He heard Vic flush, then the sound of water running. "Feel free to use the towel and washcloth," he called out.
"Am," Vic replied shortly. "I'd give my right arm for a toothbrush," he added.
"There should be a couple of spares in the medicine cabinet."
There was a brief pause before Vic asked, "Do you have overnight guests a lot?"
Evan laughed. "Nope, I just like to be prepared."
A few moments later the door opened. "I feel like a new man," Vic said. "Or at least a cleaner one."
"Cleaner is good. Are you hungry?"
Vic nodded. "Very, but you don't have to feed me. I really should get out of here, now that I'm mobile." His words were negated when he grabbed the doorframe to stay erect as he started out of the bathroom. "Okay, maybe no so mobile yet," he said wryly.
With Evan's help, Vic made it back downstairs and into the kitchen. He watched while Evan got out the ingredients for supper. "You don't have to go all fancy."
"Lemon swai and vegetables is hardly fancy," Evan replied, setting a skillet on a burner then putting butter, lemon juice, and lemon pepper in it to heat. He cut up the fish while waiting for the mixture in the pan to simmer then added the fish to it. Next, he made instant rice and microwaved cauliflower. When everything was ready, he dished it out onto two plates, setting one down in front of Vic. Once he'd gotten silverware and drinks for both of them, milk for Vic despite his wrinkling his nose, and coffee for himself, Evan sat down.
Vic ate slowly and carefully, which didn't really surprise Evan. He suspected his jaw hurt from the pounding it had taken. It wasn't until they were finished and Evan was cleaning up that he said, "I think it's time you told me what happened."
"The less you know, the better."
"I can't help you if I don't know."
"Why would you want to? For all you know, it was something illegal and I just got on the wrong side of someone."
"I'd say the wrong side is a given. Still, for whatever reason, I don't think you were doing anything illegal. Call it instinct or whatever, but the way I see it, you wouldn't be sitting here now if you had. You'd have taken off as soon as you woke up the first time to take more pills." He chuckled. "And taken them with you. So the question still stands, what happened and who beat you up?"

Friday, August 11, 2017

Smoke and Mirrors – 55



Jared studied the man for a long moment, reading the emotions crossing his face. Finally he said, “You’re Norris.”

“That would be me, which means you know Daniel.” Norris looked him over before chuckling softly, almost to himself. “You’re the vampire he told me about, the one he said was a good friend.”

“I am.” Jared stepped back to let Norris enter. “I’m afraid Daniel’s a bit under the weather at the moment,” he said, pointing to the comatose man sprawled out on the sofa.

“The kid never could hold his liquor if it was the good stuff.” Norris crossed the room to kneel down by the sofa, brushing a strand of hair off Daniel’s face. “He looks older, but I guess that’s not surprising. I haven’t seen him in well over fifty years and then it was just briefly.”

“The time he returned home because your mother had died.”

“Yes. That’s when he mentioned you.” Norris looked up at Jared. “Can I assume the two of you are more than just friends, since you seem to be living here too, if the bathrobe is any indication?”

Jared chuckled. “We could be just roommates.”

“Umm hmm, and I could be Sasquatch. Look, I know my brother’s bi and it doesn’t really bother me. Not like it did the rest of the pack. I figure it’s his business and no one else’s.”

“Well thank you for that,” Jared said a bit dryly. “I know he wasn’t expecting you, so may I ask why you’ve suddenly shown up here after all these years.”

Sitting back on his heels Norris considered the question. “Other than to find him? Would you mind if I wait and tell you both at the same time?”

“Not in the least. Are you staying somewhere close to here?”

“Actually,” Norris admitted, “I was hoping…” He shook his head. “I can’t ask that. Is there somewhere you recommend?”

“Yes. We have a spare bedroom. It’s small but you’re welcome to it, for the time being at least.”

“You’re sure? I mean you don’t even know me.”

“You’re Daniel’s brother, that's enough of a recommendation.” Jared smiled. “Besides, I think if you decided to cause any trouble I’d be quite able to handle it. I’m not as young as I look.” 

Norris chuckled. “Which of us are? All right, I accept your offer with thanks.” After standing up he looked down at his brother and asked, “Are you planning on leaving him here?”

“I was going to, yes, but I guess upon further consideration I probably shouldn’t. He’ll wake up grouchy and sore which is not something either of us want to deal with.”

“Been there, done that with him in the past. Allow me.” Norris hauled Daniel up, tossing him over his shoulder. “Which way?”

Jared led him to the bedroom, where Norris unceremoniously dumped Daniel on the bed, laughing when his brother muttered, “How rude,” before falling back to sleep.

After giving Norris a brief tour of the apartment and helping the were settle into the guestroom, Jared returned to his bedroom. Stretching out next to Daniel he wrapped an arm around him so that his head rested on his shoulder and was soon asleep, despite the low, rumbling snores echoing in his ear.