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September 26, 2022

Further into the Darkness 18

By Lydia Manx

Chapter Eighteen

"Bethany, from the energy signatures being displayed on these screens," here Harry tapped the monitor in front of him with the pull down menus and miscellaneous humanoid shapes, "I don't see that there are any vampires amidst the creatures immerging from the four vehicles. Heat signatures register clearly as a variety of types of were creatures." I also saw what he had tapped on his keyboard was now displayed on my laptop monitor, while Harry was still clicking rapidly on his computer more messages to unseen folks.

Caleb quieted as he processed the use of 'were creatures' not just the expected 'werewolves.' Like I mentioned, my very human companion was new to the whole supernatural world and I hadn't briefed him on all the forms we took. Hell, let's be real, I hadn't 'briefed' him on anything. What he currently knew about vampires, werewolves, witches, and Zach, who was a strong null -- not that many folks ever knew about nulls -- was what my friend had witnessed firsthand; and he'd been quickly introduced to the rest of Harry's little band of merry makers and the powers of those kinds of supernatural flavor over the past night and day. Fortunately he remained silent as his unasked questions actively tumbled through his brain. Once this all shook out for good or bad, and the bigger 'if' he and I survived the coming hours, I knew I was in for a massive question and vague answer session. He was, after all, a huge history geek and major doctorate student from a nearby local university. I'd rather battle the bad boys and nasty girls from our current crisis than face his upcoming geeking out on all things utterly supernatural.

"Witches -- for sure -- they are definitely outside and from the gear I am seeing we can easily toss in a few special force types among a few of the humans," Harry spoke while pointing out on his screen what it was that he detected to his four companions. Morgan had grabbed Jasmine's hands and Eddie stood stiffly behind them on the loveseat while Valerie leaned against the back of the small couch and glared at me as if this was all my fault and thus completely my problem. I wasn't sure that she was wrong, but I certainly didn't plan on telling anyone my darker thoughts at the moment. I'd save it for when folks weren't actively trying to kill me -- whenever that may be.

Harry's comments had pretty much paralleled my quick read on the visible attackers aiming for us seven inside the house from both front and back. Then an evil little thought popped up and I asked, "Zach, can you recognize other nulls?"

Zach looked shocked and slightly ill at my direct question, but he remained silent until Harry nodded his approval -- I knew Zach was scared of me but even with that, he wasn't willing to automatically answer anything I asked without first checking with his buddy Harry. Looking over to me Zach said, "Ah, there aren't any that I can see standing outside yet. There may be someone inside one of the thickly magically cloaked vehicles. I really can't tell from here. I'd need to be closer." He looked more than a bit uneasy and quite a bit more nauseous at that notion. Big shock -- no.

So many questions flew through my brain and I kept my face as neutral as possible not wanting to freak out the shaky null. I didn't need to break Harry's toys before the approaching invasion. Those folks outside weren't dropping by to welcome us to the lovely, post-apocalyptic styled neighborhood. Hell -- quite literally -- only knew who'd sent them but distant sounds of Harry's unseen folks blowing up the still approaching automobiles wasn't diminishing in the least.

Instead of worrying about those folks, I concentrated on finding out the limits of Harry's program for the various cameras he had positioned outside by toggling quickly through the available popup menus. I know I was making Caleb and Zach even more queasy as I used my vampiric speed to scroll and click. I would've slowed down, but I wanted to know how bad it was. My screen was filled with blues, greens, reds, deep oranges and a scattering of purple here and there on the people-shaped incoming bodies. The legend that explained the program's color-coded key was buried in a menu I enlarged so all of us could see what was out there heading for us in here. Mostly his scans were using specific heat signatures, signs of colder than human body temperatures were another color and massive energy spikes showing a specific signature that meant creatures who showed up with that color were the ones pulling energy from the others in range. High tech as only I would expect from our government and Harry's extensive influence. Weapons had their own sketches that overlayed the shapes and colors. From there I had options to drill down and find out if the weapons were human-made, magic-enhanced or totally unknown therefore really bad. Isolating a few of those were the creatures that both Harry and I unspokenly and automatically agreed would be our best bet to bag and snag away from the rest. We needed information fast and somebody outside would be giving us that one way or another.

One of the desired creatures to us at the moment was in the backyard trying to access that egress while the other two were in the front as far as we knew from the heat signatures on Harry's fancy camera set up. In the front yard, we'd chosen another sort of were creature who was in human form, but covered from head to toe in the fat black shades of expensive commando gear; that one was standing by an SUV directly behind two who were either witches or just nasty ass people blocking the powerful creature from being attacked in the front by us. The were creature was barking into a throat mic in husky tones, directing forces in the front and back of the house from what I could detect. The second one we both liked as a potential informant was standing further back from the house by one of the SUVs blocking the home, near the sidewalk, on what was now freshly rolled out lawn, yay for Harry's remodeling. We both saw that one had lit up like a Christmas tree with various colors swirling around the human shape on our screens. Harry looked to me and said, "I guess we will be snagging three of these shall we say 'volunteers', agreed?"

"Sure, looks like. Let's send everyone but Zach and Caleb out front. See if they can vent some of that pent up energy, but they will have to take down everyone but the alpha, the one that looks like GI Joe, and the other reject from Men in Black. Hey, Jasmine, will your Dark Arts spell keep Morgan as only a werewolf and keep him free from, shall we say, full on sun damage?" She ignored me so I just disregarded her slight for now; I continued talking to Harry, "But first we need to destroy all four autos so nothing can slither out to join the known boys, girls and whatever else is currently on the ground."

Everyone quietly waited while Harry picked up his cell phone and began flipping through his menus and buttons giving orders to his unseen army with whatever sort of minions he was now utilizing -- human or supernatural. It wasn't like he was going to be sharing with the class what he was saying to his troops on the laptops as he'd switched back to his cell phone while we all were still glued to viewing the forms of the approaching bad guys shifting and huddling behind their vehicles' doors. While we all assumed the cars and SUVs to be presidentially reinforced if not better, it wasn't guaranteed because we knew, after all, not every president was well loved at any time in any given government. Harry texted me a quick message on my cell. I nodded as I read his brief text. He had simply commanded me to 'watch.'

I heard something rattle from inside the roof line of the old house, then a whoosh sound accompanied a rapid silver set of what looked like nasty short range missiles launched from both the front and the back of the house. All four vehicles were quite thoroughly and immediately vaporized by whatever was in those missiles. The wake of pressure from the payloads pushed against the former occupants who'd been huddled outside the vehicles, making them stumble flat despite whatever form of supernaturals they were. Inside the house we watched it all on the screens and I instantly felt the percussion in my belly but none of the windows vaporized or shattered into a million shards of glass. It was more than a bit impressive, I thought to myself.

Then I looked over to see a mischievous grin play across Harry's lips. He'd been making 'home improvements' far longer than just in the past few days. I knew in my gut that I'd find all my bolt holes similarly remodeled, unknowingly to me, by Harry. He took delight in his power games. Hell of a treat for me, I reluctantly thought. It also meant he'd seen everything I'd been doing in my basement for heaven or hell only knew how long, as well as whatever I'd been doing in my other abodes. Sneaking in and around my isolated world, all the while he was definitely changing things that went unnoticed by me. I was so slipping. He shook his head obviously knowing where my thoughts had flown.

"Bethany, you know damn well you were put in my care by your Master. I owe him my very life and I take my obligations quite seriously. Please, wait until we can talk freely. There is so much you need to know. Okay?" Harry spoke softly and seemingly serious about there being more to tell me. I had little time or choice but to play into his current game as well as this new one he'd alluded to in his plea. Damn it. I'd been left alone for decades, but with his comments I knew that just been a rather naïve illusion. All this was far too much to process right now.

We all saw the current invaders flee the total obliteration of their vehicles once they stumbled to their feet, as if the destruction was possibly contagious. Maybe if the missiles had been loaded with spells that would be true, come to think of it. There hadn't been anything magical to the loads, just straight out damaging. Jasmine looked to Harry and asked, "Now what do we do?"

She'd yet to answer me if Morgan could go out into the direct daylight without becoming a crispy critter. Harry replied, "Jasmine, you and Valerie knock the alpha were outside into submission, along with that colorful creature standing at the edge of the lawn." He tapped the screen of his laptop on the one he and I had selected as worth a second glance, then continued, "after those two are bound up feel free the destroy anything else trying to gain entry inside the house. Eddie, you go with them and assist them however you possibly can. We'll handle the ones coming in the backyard," he indicated the both of us. Noticeably absent was anything about her lover, Morgan the vampire masqueraded magically as a werewolf. Morgan wasn't jumping up to volunteer what exactly he was, but I knew more than most. Such a great spell if you weren't worried about the backlash from Dark magic.

Jasmine took another glance at the laptop facing them and nodded.

Naturally I felt like pushing, "So Morgan is staying inside with Zach and Caleb then?"

Looking pissed off, Jasmine admitted, "No, he can join Eddie, Valerie and me."

Whoa -- she really had dabbled deeply into the dark side of magic. I shuddered at the thought of how much she must have done to work that incantation. Blood and bodies came to mind at the very least.






Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2021-10-11
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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