The music thrummed in her ears. Her feline hearing doesn’t increase volume only range and range of frequencies she could grasp. She was ever glad of that every time she entered a club. Especially because that meant she could hear what people were saying over top of the music. Sam made sure Reese had left with Alix before changing her attention to the pale man who was apparently still interested. The commotion only she could hear outside made her pause her dancing for a moment. Her worries were put to rest the moment she took in the sound of Reese transforming ‘he would be able to deal with anything lurking in that alley at this moon cycle’ she thought to herself.
Letting her body move in time with the music she went into thought. She wondered if she should have gone with Reese and Alix. Then she remembered her promise to herself that she had a knack for breaking ‘Stop babying Alix. We’re both in our forties now.’ Her mind and body quivered ‘God, I’m so old.’ She looked at the twenty-ish looking man that was getting ever closer. ‘Thank Cain.’
She counted her drinks in her head. ‘One while waiting for Claire, one during her meeting. Two after that. Four should be enough to keep me from over thinking this.’ She noted the irony of that. ‘Did Alix really drink double what I had? No, more.’ The pale man was close enough for him to get a good look at her. She’d could have seen him perfectly from any part of this club, darkness only improves her sight. But she’s always thought that it was impolite on a social stage to know more about someone than they could know about you. Only now did she really look. He had stubble, long enough to be soft but short enough to keep him from seeming unkempt. He was definitely pale as she had first suspected not just a trick of the light. He was now close enough to touch. She reached out and grabbed the base of his shirt touched his hips pulling him closer, the slow dance over driving her mad. Stunned, he practically leaped forward. Sam spotted what he’d been hiding in that moment. His glowing purple eyes hidden by sheer force of will.
“Oh so you’re not a mort then.” Sam continued to dance with him within breathing distance.
“And I guess you’re not either.” It took him a few moments to get back into rhythm.
“Where you hoping to sway one were you?”
“Not in particular. It’s just not often we see the breathing cursed in here.”
“Is that really a thing? Do you guys not breathe?”
“We don’t have to.” He smiled at that. “So?”
“You saw mine.” He put his finger on his cheek pointing to his eye.
“Sorry, not sure on the rituals here.” She laughed under her breathe ‘Rituals expert my ass.’ Sam moved her hair off her face and looked into his now average blue eyes. She pushed her energy to her face turning only her eyes. The club no longer so dark to her.
“Chatesque. House cat or…?”
“I like.” She smiled back at him.
Blood. It covered the walls and the floor. The stitch marvelled at how it stuck to its hand. The new addition it had made to itself stretched the skin and thread where its chest plate met the belly. It pulsated, the beating heart would become one with the rest of the organs soon enough as the magic imitates the external threading. Every voice within itself spoke, unusually calm. When its added parts before the pain was reduced to a dull moan from the voices. Now, after adding this one the dulling off the pain has allowed the spirits within to think with only minimal pain. The stitch itself took no heed in what was being said. The magic that bound the souls constructed a mind from all the primal instincts of the victims. Devour, destroy and live.
The hand covered with red paused as the voices became one. It pushed itself up stretching out its back, clicking at every bone joint. Moving slowly it picked up the remains of the body it had opened and flung it over its shoulder. It walked out of the building with little noise placing the carcass down by the entrance in full view of the rest of the street. Little beams of light cut through holes in the buildings on the east side of the street. The stitch lowered itself, bending its borrowed knees. It launched upwards grabbing the roofing tiles to pull itself up. It bounded across the roof tops and scrambled up walls, leaving the denser part of the town.
Doctor Calms had recovered quickly. She had taken up her wraith form when the explosion had happened protecting herself from the spiritual damage and the damage done to the truck that she had been hiding in. She had refused to leave the cab when the fighting started. Her ethereal powers would not have helped much in the battle even if she did know how to fight.
She had gone back to work as soon as she had been cleared by the refuge medics. The loss of the stitch had been a blow to the plans of the research facility. They had been testing the medical applications of various magical artefacts. Mainly those capable of curing magical borne ailments. One of those artefacts had shown promise for removing the magic holding the stitch together. It had succeeded in all other trials, the next step would be using it on the abomination.
Calms sat at her desk. She looked over the documentation in front of her. Test results for other artefacts sprawled in a messy heap. But she wasn’t looking at that. She was looking at the first hand reports of those who had seen the stitches in action.
‘This magic that holds each of these stitches together is an old one. However it was heavily modified. From first looks I would be forced to guess it was a mix of the African necro-magic and Baron Om’s binding runes. Yet I know that Baron Om was active way after the era this magic came from.’ This wasn’t new information for her, yet even now she didn’t like its implications. The artefact they had so much luck with was one of the Baron Om’s creations. Having been created years after would normally give hope for an artefact. Om had never expressed an effort into undoing old magic, just to thwart the efforts of death at every turn.
Rubbing her eyes, she got up to get more coffee when she heard the alarm sound. It was a fire alarm, it was put in when the building was built. With the help of magic runes fire danger was non-existent within the lab complex. The alarm would only be sounded in a real emergency. The blaring siren woke her up better than any coffee the facility gave its staff. She put her cup back on her desk.
There was running down the hall. She tiptoed out the door looking down the hall. She froze to the spot. There it was. The stitch in full view. She tried to go to her ghost form. She couldn’t muster the energy through fear. It leaped down the hall it large paces. The Doctor went white as it passed by her. It looked at her as it went, seeming to shrug her off.
Sweat beaded up on her forehead. Her first move was to wipe it away. Then she turned to see where the stitch had gone. It was only then she realised the direction it was moving. The artefact vault. She gathered her wits and ran after it.
As her feet slapped the linoleum floor she wondered why the stitch would have come. And why it would be after the artefact. From all the documentation she had read the stitch showed no sense of reason. No ability for true thought. Only the desire to claim more souls.
She rounded the corner. The walls on both sides were torn apart. A dragon in full form stepped forth from the settling dust.
“It’s gone ma’am. And it’s taken the ring.”
“Something is very, very wrong here.”
The walk back to Reese’s apartment was short. He lived at the bottom of an apartment building close to the refuge with two other children of Cain. Alix stumbled through the door, thankful that they were away with the amount of noise she thought she made. The smell of dragon and vampire in the house made Alix realise how much time Reese had spent there his smell minimal surprising for a werewolf’s living space. Reese raised his hand in front of her, it glowed blue for a moment, disabling the protective enchantments on the house to allow Alix in. He took off to the kitchen to fetch her a glass of water and some bread as she slumped into the nearest couch.
He pushed the glass into her hand. Holding the bread ready for when she had it down.
“Do I have to?”
“If you want to feel like death warmed up in the morning I can fetch you a stronger drink.”
“Okay, maybe not.” Even with an enhanced metabolism, hangovers were still a consequence. She pushed the water and bread down, with her body protesting with every mouthful. Reese sat down next to her. She leaned into the arm of the couch putting her hand out to grab Reese’s.
“You know what I mean.”
“Well the whole thing feels distant at the moment.” She hiccupped “You’ll have to ask again in the morning.” He laughed at that rubbing her hand. “Why do you care so much?”
“About us, me, Sam… You know, everyone?”
“That’s a story for another drunk escapade. But for you and Sam. You guys are my friends, more than that even.” Alix used her grab on his hand to pull herself onto him. She brought her face close to his.
“More than that?”
“Okay no.” He backed his head away.
“Friends but really good friends. And no that’s not happening, not even if I was drunk as you are.” Alix breathed heavily and nodded at that, in a second of clarity she realised she would regret what her drunk self was pushing for.
“I’m really tired.”
“I’m not surprised. Come on.” He got up and pulled her up with him. “You can sleep in my bed.” She held on to him with both hands for stability.
“Where are you going to sleep?” Looking around.
“I’ll find somewhere.” He smiled at her as he pulled the covers up for her. She fell onto the mattress as she let go of Reese. “Sleep well kitty.”
“You too puppy.” She hiccupped and sneezed while pulling the covers over herself. Two black ears popped out of her hair flicking like little wings. Reese’s smile turned into a grin, leaving the room.
Alix wriggled in the covers, luckily the bed barely smelt of dog, otherwise she was not sure she would’ve been able to sleep with her senses on edge. Her mind glanced over the battle in the car park. She dismissed the thought easily. Other images came. The huge figures of the titans. The battle with the Vampurists. And Thras in clothing.
She remembered that after a good sleep she would be able to use some of her magic again. Pulling her phone out of her pocket, remembering all the alarms she had set on it. Keeping a sleeping pattern was hard when her job involved a lot of late nights. She put the phone back in her pocket then removed her pants, mainly just worried she would overheat in Reese’s old timey duvet and quilt. She had a message. It was from Sam.
‘Hey bby, luv u long time. Hav a gud sleep ill see you in the morning.’ She smiled and typed in a reply.
‘Make him work for it. Night xo.’ The house was silent except for Reese trying to get comfortable on the couch.
‘I’ll call that Doctor in the morning, see if she can give me some insight into the stitch. Hell I’ll even call Maeve see if she knows something.’