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April 15, 2024

Strange Bedfellows 26

By Lydia Manx

Harry was still rolling with anger at Archer's intended ambush. Both Renee and I were holding onto our control by a very thin thread. And from the rumbling deep in the three werewolves' chests they weren't even trying to keep their tempers in check. Werewolves weren't known for their emotional control; I'd heard they tended to give into their violent side with a berserker's level of energy. The doors were closed to Archer's study. Nearly in step, the werewolves, in fur form, paced ahead of us. Three by three -- werewolves, then vampires on the way to see the wizard or at least the sorcerer who'd been playing in the personal catacombs beneath his land. Archer didn't have a clue what was going to happen once we hit him. Renee had fangs out and I had mine a whisper from extended and ready to rip. Naturally Harry was pretending to be calm, cool and collected. If I hadn't known from our shared blood how he felt I wouldn't have had a clue. I had to admit having Harry on our side was more than a bit reassuring. Three vampires against a dozen or so werewolves -- a challenge, but what the hell, it wasn't like we had anything else to do. I relished the idea. They weren't lovely sweet puppy dogs wagging their tails to be petted, but nasty werewolves that had been feeding humans to an evil little goddess deep down underneath their territory. The goddess was one from long ago and their offerings were being used to keep their family blood flowing. The child Archer had hidden beneath us in his home's basement proved that it was successful, but still, Archer had much to answer to and we weren't going to let his transgressions go unpunished.

"So we're ready to go into the fray, Natasha?" Harry asked me as we neared the door to Archer's den. That was the best word for it. The werewolves from Archer's pack were inside and waiting for us. It wasn't going to be pretty that was for sure.

"Always. So open the Wind baggie at the first sign of stupidity, Renee, and we'll all do our thing." She nodded briskly but I could see the gleam in her eyes. She was as hungry for what was coming as any good vampire. She had to be worried where Carlos was being kept. I knew their arrangement wasn't a love connection but still she seemed to have some sort of concern for her intended partner. She radiated energy and exhaled softly. Harry gave her a brisk nod and I watched the werewolves' hackles rise. They weren't immune to what was flowing around our group.

The power surged between us all. I tasted a bit of earth and forest and knew that somehow the werewolves with us had tapped into our strengths. Marcus was walking shoulder to shoulder with the other weres firmly in between Desiree and Bruno. He looked back at me over his shoulder and nodded his muzzle to me. I guess that was as close to an okay as we'd be getting.

Harry kicked open the doors over Marcus' shoulder to the stunned dismay of the werewolves huddled inside. There was a shout and scream and Renee took that for the high sign and opened the baggie. Even as Renee and I did our assigned duties and rolled out of the way and looked away we were still drawn to see the spectacle as it unfolded once the screams began. Vampires never could resist a nice hysterical scream or seven. Something from another level of life and death rolled over the werewolves. Harry literally tossed Desiree, one of Archer's werewolves now on our side I guessed, out of the room. That was what probably saved her hide. The screams and shouts were pain filled and horrified. What he'd summoned or cast wasn't some nice little safe spell wishing everyone happiness and joy but from rather more along the lines of something from the depths of hell. Dumbfounded I saw metal blades and sharply toothed saws rotating in the air. It was like the air took on its own form -- and no, it wasn't at all pretty.

My little curved blade unused in my right hand was a miniature of what was being used by the spell Harry had put inside the baggie. A spray of blood and sinew followed all of the magic constructs. The glimpses out of the corner of my eyes were even more wicked than what I saw directly. It seemed Harry had cast a spell with some teeth -- literally. The werewolves howled and died in their tracks. A few tried to get us but whatever Harry had released quickly made short work of them. The blood dance was sexy and exotic and deadly. I simply drank in the dark flowing emotions. None of the werewolves were spared. Once they all were dead, the magically summoned slayers just disappeared. They went no further than the walls of the room. Desiree was spared but both Renee and I were drunk with the emotions of the slain. I knew why Harry had told us to look away. It was hypnotic and tainted. I fell to my knees stunned by the overwhelming flow.

Marcus changed back again to his human form and was naked at the doorway. So was Bruno. Both men were stunning, if gooey and bloody. I didn't know where the blood was from then I saw they'd clawed at their very skin trying to escape from the exotic twist of magic Harry had summoned. I was still swaying from it all.

"Damn, Natasha, they are fine men," Renee spoke softly and somewhat stunned. I knew she hadn't realized what she'd said. It was instinctive and correct. They were handsome men. Just then Carlos came in with two werewolves hanging from his fists. He was clothed and the werewolves were quite dead.

"Harry, I think this was a rather vicious trap," Carlos seemed undisturbed by the carnage around the room and tossed the dead weres to the middle of the bloody room with a causal disregard for their deaths. Desiree came in naked and subservient. She literally licked Carlos' ankles. She was human but just whimpered and whined. Her eyes were even more blown out than earlier. The last transition may have unhinged her mind. Renee flew to Carlos' side and said, "Guess we were part of the hunt?"

They shared a look and Carlos traced her lips. Her fangs snicked back into her mouth and she kissed his thumb. I looked away. The raw emotions of their concern was touching and a tad uncomfortable given Desiree was still licking at Carlos' heels. I figured out that Desiree had been the fourth in Carlos' scavenger quest crew and with her groveling that she'd been spared by him and not part of the ambush.

Harry walked over to the desk and tossed off bits of dead werewolves while searching for the box we'd seen earlier. An arm landed half fur and half human in the middle of the room when Harry finally discovered the hand carved box underneath a chunk of blood covered pelt. The box when we'd last seen had held Solomon's Fang. He opened it up slowly then exhaled heavily and turned around the box to show us the relic was still inside. Now that we had the vampire artifact I could breath a bit easier myself because at least that part of the evening wasn't ruined. We hadn't dragged our selves through the nasty tunnels for no reason.

"What are we going to do about the humans in the basement?" Harry pointed out the obvious.

"I get a pint or five from Ginger." I said in all seriousness. I owed the bitch of a housekeeper for dressing me funny. I didn't care for attitude from humans as a rule but Archer's prized housekeeper had stepped well over the mark of what I usually would put up with. She should've been very happy I hadn't drained her earlier just for stupidity and giggles. I didn't find pink very funny much less being mocked by the help.

Harry chuckled. "I doubt she has that much real blood in her. And what flows through her veins is more than likely tainted by her exposure to the werewolves."

"You lie, I smelt her. She's all human and no werewolf." I stuck to my guns.

He laughed ruefully and added, "That may be but we need to head out to Dark Whispers and see what's happening with Kenyon and his minions. I think the werewolves need to handle their mess." He was gently reminding me about the mess we had left back in the city.

Carlos looked up from where he held Renee loosely in his arms and said, "Thank you, Harry. I appreciate all your help." He didn't mention the magic Harry had used to slay the werewolves. That was a little secret we hoped he'd keep quiet.

"So are you going right to Dark Whispers?" Renee asked.

"No, I think I need to make some phone calls. How long will it take to clean this up?" Harry looked to Carlos.

"A bit. Want to meet up tomorrow night?" Harry nodded. He knew we'd have to find out what Carlos thought about all that had happened and Marcus would have to fill him in on why we'd come loaded with death magic for Archer.

"Renee, you going to stay here or come with us?" Harry asked.

"I think I'll stay."

We nodded. "So where do we meet and go to next?" I asked the next logical question.

"I have a place." We looked at Renee. She seemed to be making some deep consideration. "Meet us over by at the coffee shop near Dark Whispers at dusk okay?"

Harry and I agreed. We knew which one she meant. It was a half-mile or so from the club and a good place for some privacy. It was too kitschy for the cool club kids and most vampires didn't head out to grab a bite to eat at a coffee shop before going to Dark Whispers with the hot and cold running blood donors.

We walked outside leaving behind all the death and destruction and I said, "So where do we spend the rest of the night?"

"I have a place," he grinned and laughing we went further out into the night. I was happy to not be dealing with someone else's mistakes for a change but knew that wouldn't last. Ever since I'd shown up all I'd dealt with was other people's messes.

"You know the werewolves have some serious crap to clean up?" I said while following closely on Harry's unlicked heels.

"Yep, but Carlos needs to prove himself. Marcus will be able to guide him if he gets off base and I've heard good things about Bruno." His tone didn't change as he picked up his pace. He was thankfully headed to the garage so we weren't going to run the miles back to the city. Assuming we were heading into the city which wasn't guaranteed with Harry.

"And Desiree? Why didn't she die?" I asked the obvious.

"She wasn't part of the offerings, she was too subservient and too feral. Archer couldn't risk her tainting the magic with her closer tie to the werewolf side. They kept balanced werewolves, if you could call it that, inside the chamber. Archer knew what he was doing. Desiree wasn't completely controllable as illustrated by her switching sides." Harry found our car and I let him drive.

We were halfway down the mountain when I saw a huge fireball behind us. Looking at the glowing sky I said, "Damn, they are torching the place?"

"They have to. There's no way to clean up the mess. I bet they used the propane tanks to start the blaze." Harry sounded knowledgeable about such things.

"Ah, Harry, it's high fire season. There's no way that's a control burn." I felt itchy beneath my skin. Harry wasn't local to California and I don't know if he realized how much fuel lined the highways and byways of the state. Every few years a camper or pyromaniac would light up the hills and for weeks the universe would burn. The moon would glow orange and bodies would stack up like wood at a bonfire.

"That's true. But then it makes the deaths more believable. The werewolves need to rid the ground of any signs of the werewolf world in the local hills. The underground cavern will probably be blown to hell," the car rocked as a rumble shook us nearly off the road and down a canyon.

"Yep, Marcus found the ammo and started working on the tunnels." Harry seemed fine with the choices being made. I still glanced over the backseat to watch the glow with a healthy respect. There was no way the local firefighters would make it out in time to control the burn. The werewolves were definitely cleaning house.

"I wish they'd let me drain Ginger first. What a waste of blood." I knew I was being petty.

"I'll call for Chinese, okay?" I smiled.

"What's going on with the werewolf child?" I asked still watching.

"Carlos and Marcus will send the child somewhere outside the territory in case all of Archer's pack weren't at home. The rest will be slain. Hell, they were probably dead before we cleared the pack land." I sighed and turned back around to see Harry had sped up. I guess he wasn't as sure of how fast dry tinder and grass burned. The sky was nearly sunlight bright behind us. I wiggled deeper into the passenger seat and kept my mouth shut.

To be continued ...

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2009-09-21
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