The troll I was caged with was called "Charlie Woodvine" by the cops and "filthy crappy ass loser" by my boss Sam Fortuna. Sensing my eyes on him, he then tugged his handcuffs upwards illustrating his current predicament. If I hadn't seen him in his true state it probably would have looked sad and pathetically confusing. Instead I saw his massive fists barely contained by the large handcuffs and the crackle of blue-green zips of energy running angrily against the iron anchoring him to the middle table. He wasn't going to stay constrained too much longer no matter what I did. I could smell the sizzle of his flesh against his bonds. My stomach flip-flopped at the disgusting scent of searing hair and burning meat.
I stayed in the doorway and quickly blinked back my dual vision. The troll was horrific and straight out of a dark nightmare. And by a nightmare, I didn't mean some cutesy Tel-a-tubby marshmallow fluff sort of dream, but more along the lines of something Tim Burton and Danny Elfman conspired together to create, movies that pretty much would damage kids as they tried to sleep -- well into their adult years. Yeah, Charlie Woodvine was most definitely a new breed of troll. At first glance I could see the mountain troll influence, but as I looked, his narrow lips and sloped forehead were more like the forest trolls. Neither was a good thing, and combined, it spelled out to me that old Charlie was nothing to be messed with on a good day and fully armed. His human form was at least a third his actual size and old crafty Charlie looked frail and innocent.
Looking again through half-closed eyes at the troll, I didn't precisely know how exactly they had captured him; but my boss' instructions on restraints were more than just for the normal drug-crazed suspect cops usually caught and called in as supernatural creatures. We were the last resort, and whenever I ended up on such calls, typically the creature was some coked-up fool or a crystal meth-head with delusions of immortality coupled with far too many bad comic book villains fueling their rages. Yet from what I saw, Sam had given them a few guidelines to safeguard me in the event they had actually had found a troll for the first time in any known legal set up. Trolls weren't normally found in jails, but out in the wild perfectly content with rendering humans into gristle and bone shards. He'd told them how to precisely bind the suspected troll, and I was really relieved at the old-fashioned iron in the room.
The set up that Sam had told them was actually deceptive enough; they probably figured it was a new method, custom designed for the drug-crazed unsubs, like the one that they thought they'd found chewing on a homeless man's leg bone. That had caused a few veteran cops to vomit rather violently from what I'd heard from Sam.
On my way into the jail I was given a quick breakdown, but nothing like I'd heard the night before arriving in California. From what I'd been told, he'd yet to give a true confession other that to say he'd been very, very hungry and had been sold a bad bit of meat in the back of an alley behind some less than quality restaurants. Soon it was found, by the cops who'd captured the troll, that the rest of the dead man's remains had been found on a carrion pile deeper in the woods behind the troll's nest. From the various reports that Sam had relayed to me on the phone about the case last night -- which seemed a million years ago now -- I gathered that it was thought that the possible troll had kept tidbits from at least a dozen or so victims. There had been at least two different reports sent to Sam -- or that Sam had hacked and acquired. My boss was often vague on how he got more information than the cops ever handed to me when I arrived.
Charlie Woodvine simply smiled and said, "Aren't you my lawyer?"
With my bounty hunter vision back in focus I could easily see the sparkling joy in his eyes as he thought I'd bought the kindly old uncle charade. If I'd been simply human, I would have only seen his glamour persona: that of an old uncle with toffee and peppermint treats in his pocket. Weak and innocent, not to mention confused, Charlie didn't appear to humans as anything more than an elderly, needy man who'd been caught up in something beyond his control.
My heart thumped slowly as I saw both faces -- like one overexposed picture with two faces on top of each other. His troll face was positively salivating at me getting close enough to him that one more step would allow him to rip my face off. I knew it and saw that at the same time the old man's glamoured human face had his lips trembling and eyes looked weepy.
After that quick glimpse I kept my eyes downcast. I hadn't worn my trademark dark sunglasses inside since it had been nearly dark when I arrived. I knew perfectly well that my eyes freaked folks out. They were not normal, I'd been told more than once in tones laced with fear and disgust -- it all depended.
Growing up before my family had been slain by that, in my personal history, nasty troll, my eyes had appeared to be walnut brown and lively from the few pictures I'd seen. Sam had taken the time to dig up enough pictures to fill a small photo album that he gave me one birthday. I never asked how he found the pictures -- tattered and worn in some cases -- but it didn't matter because I really appreciated the gift. After my family was gone my eyes had grown darker, nearly charcoal, and flat. Predatory flat -- you know that animal shine you see when you are driving down an unlit road and an animal is on the fringe of the highway and your headlights catch the gleam? Flat shine and predatory -- yep, that was what I'd been told. I normally kept my dark sunglasses on my face, and told any nosy sorts that I was very light-sensitive. Some people actually thought I was nearly blind and just ignored me as just another pathetic human being, the dregs of society or the misfits that deserved whatever life dished them. In spite of all that, I had to love humans and their own blind ignorance of anything they didn't feel comfortable with -- real or imagined.
The San Diego cop who'd called me in had been prepared by Sam for the chance that he'd really found a troll. And damned if he hadn't. I still was stunned by that, but I had a job to do. The troll was still practicing his look of utter confusion while I could see his livery lips were dripping with drool onto his lap. I kept my thoughts to myself and resisted shaking in disgust. I hated trolls with a hot passion.
Charlie Woodvine smiled at me, softly asking, "If you aren't my lawyer, pretty girl. Who would you be?"
"Delilah Monroe," I offered, and watched his face -- hell, both of his faces -- drain of all color. I guess my reputation preceded me even with the bad guys. My eyes flickered flat ... I could tell by the shudder that danced down the troll's frame. I hadn't bothered to curb my thoughts and he'd finally noticed my eyes meeting his.
I weighed my current options; Sergeant Dale had gotten me into the jail, but he'd already left. It wasn't like I had the key to escape this isolated cell at the end of a corridor. He'd been right thinking that the locals had caught a slice of hell on earth when picking up Charlie. He'd called in Sam and the Amber Consulting Firm without asking his superiors permission. Once he passed me into the jail, the links between reality and cop control meant I was on my own. Sergeant Dale had family connected to Ruby Galloway's bloody mishap in New Mexico, and that was a whole different set of problems for me with my bosses. He, too, it seemed, had issues with his bosses for calling me in without asking.
His glamour faded and he said, "Ah, I thought that you'd be older."
I shrugged, seeing no reason to add a word to his assumptions.
Without a word, he lunged towards me, but his hands were shackled and the iron held, so he was unable to touch me. That didn't stop him from snarling and hissing, "You fucking bitch. I will kill you."
I worked to keep a smirk off my face when I said, "Doubtful."
Then the unthinkable happened. He yanked hard enough on his shackled arms that the iron clasp that had the chains hooked down on the table was pulled out -- and he was free. Mentally I cursed the California weather that allowed for the table to have become weak enough for him to be able to pull the iron out. But with my normal crappy ass luck, it didn't greatly surprise me. Sighing, I assessed the situation; okay, he was not completely free, but enough for him to leap towards me with chains between his massive fists. I didn't hesitate, but snapped up the Taser in the room and launched the weapon at him. The prongs caught him on the neck -- trolls weren't protected there as much as the rest of their sorry ass bodies -- and stuck. I pushed the button and sent power coursing down the lines. He jerked and sputtered a bit, his eyes briefly rolled back, but he screamed as he swung his chained fists towards me. One of the lunges succeeded in hitting the lines between us and the weapon fell uselessly to the ground between us. His follow-up swing ended up clipping me on the shoulder with a loud thump, and I was hurting even while my adrenaline raced through me, deadening how truly traumatized I was.
I didn't bother to scream, since I knew perfectly well that the guard on the other side of the steel door -- even though he was huge, wrestler-sized -- had made it abundantly clear that he hadn't give a damn about me and why I was visiting. Mentally snapping my fingers I remembered his name was Lenny, and he had some name of Polish or Slovakian extraction that I wouldn't even begin to scream loud enough for his attention. He'd probably wandered off down the hallway to get coffee or a candy bar from a vending machine anyway. He'd really not liked me, and had made it abundantly clear he wasn't going to help me in any way. Besides, there was another set of locked doors past the corridor for me to get through, even if the closely-shaved-headed Lenny was willing to let me out.
Even with the leg shackles and 'standard issue' handcuffs keeping Charlie somewhat contained, I knew it wouldn't last. I watched the rage surface, and his three hundred pound troll physique wasn't good news for me. The Taser was out of reach, but I still had my bag with me. I'd dropped it to the floor when sitting down, and the Taser had been the closest weapon for me. The troll hadn't noticed it yet, but if he got any closer, I'd definitely let him know I wasn't as defenseless as he thought. I could tell by his smirk he hadn't thought past breaking free from the table. Quickly I decided that I was going to use that in my favor.
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