The men weren't quiet as they entered the bungalow since the girl had failed to respond to the doorbell or the heavy knocks; they figured she was sound asleep. Soon their various conversations drifted to Charlotte where she was hiding by the side of the house. Her sprint across the neighbor's yard had been vampiric swift, but unfortunately one of them saw her move.
"What the fuck was that, Tony?" the dark sunglass-wearing man snarled. Charlotte was pretty sure she had been undetected but apparently not. She wasn't surprised when the Italian curly-mopped man answered to the name 'Tony'.
"Kevin, fuck if I know. A damn cat probably. The sneaky bastards are always outside taking down birds and leaving turds in my flower beds in the yard," Tony for all of his foul language apparently had a home with a garden. Came as a surprise to Charlotte since she figured they all just got out of prison. Color her surprised.
"Hey, Pepe," Kevin called out. Their voices were no longer soft but the rumbling tones of men used to bickering and arguing. Charlotte winced but the little girl stayed upstairs.
"Man, I aint no Pepe -- I keep telling ya. My name is Carlos. How many times I have ta say it?" The Mexican guy replied with boredom --obviously a common theme to their conversations. She couldn't see but heard some shoving and slapping. A thread of barely contained violence surrounded the gang.
"Whatever. Go check it out. Brian, go with him -- we'll wait at the top of the stairs." Brian proved to be the remaining shaved-head thug. He had yet to speak. Charlotte saw him caress his gun as he came around the corner. So she ducked back into the shadows and popped up onto the top of the fence -- like a cat.
"Brian, why do we get all the shit jobs?" Carlos whined. Brian ignored Carlos and paced quickly towards where Charlotte was. His mistake was in looking down towards the ground for a cat. She waited until the fence and gate separated the two men. Hopping down as fast as she had jumped upwards, she trapped Brian with her while kicking shut the gate, appearing to Carlos it was an accident or gust of wind. Brian didn't make a sound as he died.
No, she didn't fang in, as much as she wanted to, because she had no idea if they were linked with Kenyon through a lesser vampire. An entirely likely scenario given they were sweepers and the nonspecific but definite vampire flavor to the area; her supping on one of them would have been like a fly smacking into a spider web -- the tingling senses of the panicked insect running back the webbing to the spiders, alerting them something was trapped. She would have been just as trapped with the blood. She had to be content with simply snapping his thick, overdeveloped neck. He had spent his prison time at the free weights and it was obvious to Charlotte. Add in that the guy wasn't small, so when there was an audible crack as she popped his neck freeing his head from his spinal cord it came as no shock when he slumped down dead. It was the sound that satisfied her in a minor way. She smiled.
"Damn, slow the fuck down! Brian, this crappy gate's stuck. What was that noise? You find something?" Fear rose from Carlos and he struggled with the latch while Charlotte quickly rolled the corpse off the concrete and pebble-lined sidewalk that ran around the house. She wedged him between the nearly full trashcans and quickly launched herself behind the swinging gate as Carlos finally freed the wayward handle. Her kick had been a bit harder than she thought and the force had caused the rusty gate latch works to freeze up. It gave her time and frustrated Carlos into carelessness.
"Brian, you mute asshole, where'd ya go? We need to get back in the house. We're goin' to miss all the fun. That damn cat is long gone. Brian?" Carlos was pacing down towards the backyard unaware of Charlotte at his back. Just for the hell of it she tapped him on the shoulder.
She grinned and bit back a laugh as Carlos shot straight up in the air a good foot. He spun around while saying, "Damn it, Brian, why the fuck can't you talk?"
His eyes went huge when he saw Charlotte standing behind him.
"Lady, you lost?" His face looked confused. His brain was already scrambling for an explanation.
She smiled showing her fangs. He went dead white and emitted a loud squeak. She sucker punched him in his ample stomach and when he doubled over she cracked her knee into his face and bits of his teeth flew. Slamming both elbows into the middle of his back smacking the wind out of his lungs, he faltered, trying to stay upright before crumbling to his knees. A decisive kick into his groin sent him back on his heels and she planted both her feet into his exposed neck to finish him off. She leaned down and breathed in deeply while his fear raged and he tried to get out a sound.
With his windpipe being slowly crushed death was quickly approaching. He was struggling to make any sort of noise. The blood freely ran from his mashed split lips.
"No, mustn't have that." She wagged her finger in front of his battered face. His eyes couldn't follow since they were spinning in opposite directions. She slapped his face quickly.
"Okay, fine. We'll do it your way. Call out to your friends to come out here. Say that you found something they need to see." He mumbled and spit out a jagged white piece of a tooth. That wasn't going to work. She sighed and twisted his head around killing him. Too bad. It would have kept things outside and not bothered the little kid upstairs. The girl was still unaware of the invaders and was still busy clicking and messaging her friends.
She went inside the house from the backyard. The glass pane had been shattered by Tony, the Italian gangster, when he had busted into the home. She shook her head at the mess of glass shards covering the floor. Men were so clumsy. She swept the larger pieces away from the pathway with her foot slowly. Every instinct screamed at her to get out and leave it alone. Two down, two to go -- she couldn't. Hell, she wouldn't. What was so important about the kid that Kenyon sent four of his bruisers to collect her? She was assuming the kid wasn't going to be killed but wasn't sure. She figured it was time to find out.
Kevin and Tony weren't at the stop of the stairs. They had gone back to the front of the house to see what was keeping Carlos and Brian. She watched them heading out the door as she entered the hallway leading to the stairwell.
Their remarks floated back, "Fucking losers. Out chasing tail," Tony snickered at his cat joke. Kevin pulled his sunglasses down his nose and shook his head. Glaring at his pal he disgustedly replied, "Man, you are so not funny. Stop with the bad jokes already. I told you those fags on Last Comic Standing kicked you for a good fucking reason. You aren't a damn comedian." Kevin pushed Tony further out, closing the door nearly all the way without seeing Charlotte standing in the shadows.
She heard Tony protest, "I wasn't at the top of my game that day. We had been out the night before at the club, and I wasn't ready. Those guys aren't fags. They're just Hollywood types."
Kevin's bark of laughter chased after them as he said, "Sure, dude, you keep telling yourself that."
Charlotte flew up the stairs and headed for the girl. She found the door closed and decorated with cutesy girly-girl stickers and signs. It made her queasy. She didn't like children. The pink and purple glitter spackled mess was unfamiliar territory for her. Nevertheless she had to get the kid out of there fast. It wasn't like she had hidden Carlos. Brian's body might take them a full minute to find. Reigning in her desire to simply leave she grasped the doorknob. Tingles ran over her skin. This kid had some weird alarm system. The vibrations ran over her then were gone.
Rapidly opening the door she put a finger to her lips as the kid spun around in her chair yanking her headset from her ears. The music relentlessly pounded from the foam ear pieces giving Charlotte a strange sense of deja vu. There were some elements of familiarity to the scene that nagged at her. The child wasn't more than ten or twelve. Charlotte never could guess ages. She was wearing pink fuzzy bunny slippers and a flannel pink and yellow pastel night shirt and purple sweat bottoms. The girl had silver glasses on her face which she automatically pushed up her nose when she looked at Charlotte. Her light brown hair was pulled into two thick braids and pink fluffy scraps of cloth were knotted at the bottom of each braid. The lenses on the eyeglasses weren't very thick so Charlotte could see the bright blue eyes clearly watching her. She wasn't in the least afraid of Charlotte.
Whispering Charlotte said, "I don't know what you are but you need to leave now!"
"Why?" The voice that whispered was calm but squeaky cute. It made Charlotte very edgy. There wasn't the usual kid freak out but a surreal calmness that was not natural.
"Because some bad men are after you," she snarled. The whole thing was making her skin crawl. The child didn't care. Instead she tilted her head to the right making her glasses slide down her nose. Automatically she pushed them back in place and continued to stare at Charlotte.
"But you killed two of them already." It wasn't a question but a statement. "Just take care of those two and then we can go."
Okay, that was definitely a first for Charlotte. Most humans and vampires alike tended to tell her not to kill. So to have a child urge her to give into her baser instincts was unusual. If she hadn't been positive the kid was human she would have checked her for fangs. What flavor of human was left to be discovered. But with the sounds coming up the stairs that information would remain to be seen.
Charlotte hissed, "Quick hide in the closet!"
She began tossing stuffed animals into the middle of the bed and shaped it to resemble a sleeping body. She punched the monitor off so the flowing conversations wouldn't be noticed. Still hearing the music pounding out of the earpieces she resisted yanking out the wires figuring it would be bad. The kid was standing, watching her lightning-fast movements. Without a sound the girl went to her computer and keyed something and the music turned off.
As Charlotte indicated the closet with a jerk of her head, the kid reluctantly went into the mess. A click and the door was closed. The miniature human wanted the two thugs dead? She would be happy to oblige. Instead of standing directly behind the door she went for the fun spot. Sliding next to the wall just in the shadow of the bed she waited.
The T-zone next to the bed was one of the 'safe' zones in an earthquake she had once been told. It was a great place to leap up from and scare the hell out of folks she had found. Charlotte watched the door fly open. Then Kevin pulled out his gun and fired four times into the pillows.
Not good. They didn't want the kid alive. That made her more desirable to Charlotte instantly. She sprung up and began to move. Without a thought, she spun and kicked a shocked Tony in the balls. The cry from his throat was cut short by her hand. She crushed his windpipe.
Pulling Tony's corpse around with her she slammed the body into Kevin's gun hand. Kevin still had the time to pull the trigger once more. She didn't flinch when the bullet plowed into her upper thigh. She could feel the hole in the back of her leg as the bullet exited her body. Growling softly she said, "That really wasn't nice."
His face was ash-colored and Kevin's sunglasses fell off when Tony had hit him. His eyes widened as he noticed she hadn't fallen to the ground or even grabbed the open wound. Kevin pushed Tony off of him and brought his gun back up. He didn't look very pleased to be the last one left in his raiding party.
"Want another, Bitch?"