Monthly Archives: July 2015

Chapter 14

Vibrating in her pocket, her cell phone started to ring. The ringing wasn’t a conventional tone, Alix had changed it when she had got it as a replacement for the one she lost in the vampurist attack. It was the sound of a purring cat, over and over in a loop.

“Hey, you’re speaking with Alix.” The phone came up with a number but no name.

“Alix, It’s Doctor Calms. If you’re in the refuge I need to you go outside.”

“Okay?” Reese looked at her from across the table, questioning with his face.

“It’s imperative that we talk in private.” Alix waved off Reese’s looks and got up. She covered the bottom of the phone.

“I need to take this.”

Standing outside in the shade of the refuge bar she uncovered the phone. “What’s up doctor?”

“We know where the stitch is.” Alix made a little choking noise. “The guard it ran off with, it added him to itself. The guard was a Manananggal.”

“Managal?”

“Manananggal, a soulless.”

“But the stitch can only add complete souls to itself, how could it add a soulless?”

“That’s the point Alix, the outer soul layer that the guard would still have was added.” “What does that mean?”

“It would appear that it has made the Stitch more lucid. It came here and stole the artefact we were planning on using on it. A ring made by the Baron Om that was supposed to be able of breaking any runic seal.”

“You mean, an insane, powerful creature now has the ability to take apart any seal we could place on it?”

“That’s what I’m saying yes.”

“Jesus H. Fuck. I need to tell the Mr Red about this.”

“No, you can’t do that.”

“Why not?”

“Because I know what the refuge does.” The doctor tensed over the word ‘know’

“What are you implying?”

“Alix, the refuge gathers and hides all powerful artefacts. I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing in all cases but that ring is the only chance we have to separate the Stitch. I’m not having it sit in a hole for the rest of time.”

“But I have to tell them, they’re hunting it right now if they don’t know…”

“They won’t find it. It’s thinking now, it’ll be hiding properly, with all the knowledge of the souls it has.”

“Then what am I supposed to do?”

“Get Sam tell her, have Reese help you. Don’t tell him about the ring.”

“Reese is my friend, I can’t just not tell him about something that could get him killed.”

“Reese is the reason the refuge exists, he will make sure that ring gets disappeared.”

“What are you talking about, Reese is just another werewolf?”

“Reese created the refuge. Never mind that, I have to go, I’m trusting you on this Alix, you and Sam. I know you won’t let anything bad happen just don’t tell anyone else about that ring.” The phone cut out.

‘Reese is only sixty, the refuge is hundreds of years old, what was she talking about…?’ Alix’s thoughts were cut short when she saw Sam run into the refuge from down the street. She hadn’t noticed her pacing as she had left the bar.

Alix jogged back to the refuge reaching the table Reese and Naz were sitting at as Sam did.

“I need to tell you guys about some…”

“Vampire.” Sam cut in.

“What?” Alix’s mind did a cartwheel.

“Sam, what are you talking about?” Reese cut in as well.

“There’s a Vampire working at Isaac’s shop.”

“Oh. That.” Reese settled in his seat, previously ready to jump out of it.

“What do you mean; Oh. That?” Alix shot him a look her thoughts coming back in a darker shade.

“That’s Sarah.”

“Sarah?”

“She’s one of the last Vampires…”

“You mean a, real, actual Vampire?” Sam found her way back into the conversation.

“Yeah, like my roommate. One of the three last known Vampires.”

“But didn’t you guys kill all of them like a year ago?” Naz contributed seeing as both Sam and Alix had put blank looks on.

“Nah, that was the Vampurists. They were calling themselves Vampires for the most part but they were so far from it.”

“So you mean? I ran over here? For something you already knew about? And wasn’t such a big deal anyway?” Sam started to take deep breaths, her body only just realising it had run across town.

“Pretty much.” Reese chuckled.

“Damn it.” Sam found a seat at the table, continuing to take large gasps of air. “And I left a perfectly good boy in my bed.” Reese chuckled again.

“Do you want some water Sam?” Naz tapped her shoulder.

“That would be lovely dear. Are you a waitress now Nashul?”

“That’s the third time today. Heh, yeah I am.”

“Oh cool.”

Alix, Sam and Reese were now left in silence as Sam attempted to get her breath back. Reese had gotten himself some breakfast while Alix had been out. He went back to devouring it. Alix thought to herself. Not liking the restrictions the doctor had given her but sure they had a reason. Even if that reason didn’t seem to be based on a correct fact.

“So. What did you want to say before I barged in Alix?”

“Stitch.”

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Chapter 13

The refuge bustled. More and more people arrived every day. Only increasing since the recent successes they had against the vampurists and stitches. Even the most powerful of Children of Cain had something to fear and word was quickly spreading that the refuge hideouts were capable of doing something about it. Especially the one that Isaac, Maeve, Sam and Alix frequented.

Alix didn’t bother writing her name in the sign in book. Swearing the oath allowed her permanent access through the runic shielding so long as she upheld the promises. She moved through the crowd surrounding the bar. Over hearing orders for food and drink. Mr. Red spotted her and waved her around the end of the bench.

“Can you spare a minute to help?”

“I really can’t.”

“I just need you to train the mermaid.”

“Naz?”

“Is that your name?” She poked out from behind him nodding her head, making herself as small as she could.

“What will she be doing?” “Taking orders, we’re going to need more help if this keeps up.”

“Okay. Naz come over here bring the pad.”

She waddled over, still unsure how to use her human legs. Made sense seeing as the only time she had really used them was while she was pregnant. Alix gave her some pointers on how to write orders. Making sure to write them clear enough for the Golems to read, so they cook the right things and send them to the right table. Golems perfect for that, much like a robot, only taking certain inputs.

It seemed that having Alix here had instantly increased her confidence. She was standing straight now, speaking clearly to the customers. Looking over at Alix every time she passed an order out back.

“Looks like you’re a natural. I’ll be over at the far table, come over if you need any help okay.” Alix handed an order for herself through the kitchen window. She vaulted over the counter on the side where it was clear of people. Making sure to look awesome as she did it, if Naz wanted a role model in Alix she was going to make sure it was a cool one.

She sat at the table. Reese said he was going to be here ‘after sorting out things with Lucifer’ in a note he’d left for her. Sam had yet to text her back, she wasn’t too worried knowing that she’d be sleeping off a hangover. Unlike Alix who was lucky enough to have the water forced on her by Reese the night before.

The place was still crowded but everyone had moved away from the counter now. Not including two people Alix recognised as other enforcers, they were talking to Mr Red. Naz came over with a large jug of water, sitting down across from Alix. Alix pushed her empty glass out. “Oh, you don’t want any of this. It’s salt water.”

“Ah, should have known.” She pulled her cup back. “So what are you doing here?”

“Working…” She gave a quizzical look, not sure why that wasn’t obvious. “Yeah, but the children?”

“Bluh. I drew a blank there for a moment. Um, my parents are looking after them. It’s normal for us, Grandparents looking after the next generation.”

“But breastfeeding?” Alix had the same look as Naz had.

“Hah. They’re already way past that, these babies are just for show.” Naz sucked in her stomach, pulled her arms behind her back and twisted her torso from side to side.

“Lucky…”

“Naz?”

“Reese!” Naz jumped up from her seat and wrapped herself around him rubbing her head into his chest with almost sisterly affection.

“Are you working here now?”

“Yeah. Red’s got me taking orders.”

“Nice. Did we find a room for you guys?”

“They’ve got me, the kids and the parents in two apartments that are connected together.”

“You getting enough sleep? I know parenthood is hard on the body.”

“Yeah, my parents are being really helpful. And Sadir is going to move in and help with the Selkies that I’ve got.”

“The boyfriend?”

“Yeah.”

“Looks like you guys are going to be okay.”

“All thanks to Sam and Alix here.” Naz turned and smiled at Alix. Alix smiled back, she couldn’t help but wonder if this was a ploy by Reese to make her feel better. Reese was pretty good at it, she was actually feeling better.

*

Slowly waking. She felt the hand over her waist. Her hand lay over it. He was pressed up against her. His skin softly and gently nudging her as she breathed. She took a sharp breath of shock before realizing the reason he wasn’t breathing was because he didn’t need to.

Sam looked out from under her covers. The sun was a white patch through her curtains even though they were the darkest ones she could buy. Her room was clean, apart from the clothes thrown around in a hurry to remove them. She rubbed the hand on her waist as he stirred behind her.

“You awake?”

“Yeah.” Her voice harsh from drinking and smoking. “Wow, I really need some water.”

“I’ve got something better.”

“This a ‘bite into your arm and drip blood into my mouth’ thing is it?”

“Nah, that wouldn’t help anyway. Unless you wanted to be a shaphist.”

“Yeah, nah. What have you got then?”

“In my pants pocket, mermaid scales.”

“Curious.”

“Huh?”

“Sorry, I’ve just been seeing a lot of mermaid related things lately. Where did you get them from?”

“Uh, the magic shop? Are you interrogating me?”

“Just checking, mermaid scales are expensive and I am part of the refuge you know? Isaacs magic shop?”

“Yeah I know. That’s the one but Isaac’s never there, it was a Vampire working there. Never thought I’d see one again.”

“A vampire? Sonofabitch, I need to go.”

Sam dressed herself in minutes. She grabbed a scale out of his pants, breaking it in her mouth.  It cleared her headache that was just starting to settle in. A runic seal just behind her ear activated with a touch. It lit up and glowed for a moment as it re-applied her makeup and combed her hair out.

She grabbed the door handle to the apartment exit, stopping for a moment.

“Damn.” She whispered under her breath. “Hey, there’s food and stuff in the fridge! Leave your number somewhere! Sorry about this!”

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Chapter 12

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?”

“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…?”

“Puma.”

“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.

“Feel better?”

“Still drunk.”

“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 what?”

“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.

“No?”

“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.’

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Chapter 11

“I’m like this because I was counted on to transport, possibly the most dangerous thing on earth, safely and I failed. Because of me many people died and will die. And all because I went to the toilet.” She lifted her head to rub her forehead. “How am I supposed to just sit idly by when that thing is running around thanks to me?” Reese squinted in thought. Sam turned and rubbed her back.

“Are you a god?” Reese asked after a long stare.

“Huh?”

“Do you have the powers of an angel or demon?”

“No, what are you playing at?”

“You don’t have a greater power over the cosmos that extends further than your own transformation magic?” Alix put a puzzled look on her face. “Then you cannot be held responsible.”

“I… but it’s my fault.”

“It’s not. It’s the person who fired the grenade’s fault. It’s the Angel’s and Demon’s fault for not stepping in when they’re actually needed.”  Alix put her head back into her hand. She knew he was right but that didn’t stop her from feeling like she could have done something. “Let me tell you a story.”

“A few years ago. I was given a job to look after a large group of fairies. As you well know fairies are known for devious behaviour so I should have suspected that something like this would have happened. It went down like this. Transporting them on a train across the country as prisoners. Now we got most of the way relatively unscathed. Last stop before we’d be home free, it was a longer stop than the rest as many people were unloading large luggage. So me and the boys go and get a bite to eat in town, stretch the legs and stuff. We get back, last few things are getting moved on. And I need to go to the toilet, yeah same as you did.

Now when I said me and the boys I meant, Mister Red, me and a couple of mortals to make us less suspicious. When I go the toilet Mister Red goes for smoke out the front of the station. Train leaves without us. You’d probably think well that could be worse, and you’d be right. Without us there the fairies escaped, but even that’s not the worst thing. I managed to catch up with the train. Me being a werewolf and Mister Red being a Chimera meant we caught up with the train. Thing is, I shredded my clothes when I changed, I didn’t have a clothing charm. Yeah, I made that face too. I attempted to put the fairies back in their cage, whilst naked, and it didn’t work. They still escaped.”

Alix leaned back in the chair. Both she and Sam started giggling profusely.

“See once you’ve lived long enough past something you realise that it’s not so bad.”

“But this’s bad.” Alix started to slur her words. “I got people killed”

“No you kept people alive. It’s really not bad. You know why more and more people are hearing stories of you guys?”

“Oh yeah, I’ve noticed that. That Wraith woman, Doctor Calms knew me.”

“It’s because unlike the most of us, you girls have come up against mind shattering things. And retained your moral compass as well as minimal loss. Like your first big job, those titans.”

“I lost an arm in that battle.” Sam chimed in.

“Yeah but you didn’t die, and arms are easy to replace. And even though you could have easily given up on protecting people you didn’t. You found a way to put the titans down without hurting anyone, something that most us didn’t think was possible.”

Alix rubbed her face with both hands then pushed her hair behind her ears, her face getting hot. She realised that was knocking back drinks on an empty stomach.

“So what, we’re hero’s now?” Still slurring words.

“Kind of, yeah. Us magical folk are looking at you guys because you’re what we wanted to be. Strong, smart and stubborn with your ideals.”

“But we constantly kill the bad guys.”

“I never said you were superwomen, and we all kill the bad guys. You girls still feel bad about it though. I can tell you that I haven’t felt bad for killing a person for a very long time. And that’s saying something even if I’m only killing things that deserve it.”

They sat in silence for a little while again. Sam went back to watching the crowd. Alix was just stuck trying to think straight. Reese focused on his drink.

“Alright, I’m going to go get me some of that.” Sam pointed at a tall pale man that was beckoning her over. “I’ll see you guys later.”

“You’re just leaving me.” Alix looked up at her, eyes glistening.

“You’ve got Reese here and besides, I think you’re a little drunk.” She looked over at Reese. “You might want to take her home.”

“Yeah, come on Alix. I’ll take you back to mine so you’re not alone.” He grabbed her by the hand, she gripped him back just as tightly and allowed him to drag her out from the table.

“Okay, you going to be alright with her?”

“Yeah she can still stand so that’s something.”

They waved their goodbyes to Sam as she made her way over the pale guy. Reese decided it would be better to take the back exit into the alley then walk through a busy street. He’d let go of Alix’s hand and she followed close behind him. As he passed by the bar he noticed Claire waving at him from the upper level. He waved back as he opened the alley door. The door shut behind them and there was a sudden bang followed by a high pitched scream. Two masks jumped out of nowhere and pushed Alix to the ground. Reese swung his arm out and landed his elbow into one of them throwing them back. Alix attempted to get up but her drunken state made that difficult. The masked assailant he’d hit conjured a ball of light. Both Reese and Alix exclaimed as they saw it ‘Magic’. Reese had informed Alix that with her spirit in a repairing condition any form of magical attack would do a lot more damage possible irreparable. The ball flew from the assailants hand into Reese’s stomach throwing him to the ground. With both Reese and Alix on the ground, seemingly unable to get up the assailants embraced in a celebratory hug.

“You really messed up.” Alix groaned as she tried to steady herself through her drunken stupor.

“Oh! And how was that?” The assailant that talked was clearly female, her voice shrill and her body curvaceous.

“Okay, so admittedly, I’m a little drunk and not really in the best shape. But my friend here…” As if to respond Reese let out a growl. It grew deeper and louder as he curled up. Alix looked up at the sky, the moon, that was just coming out of being full, filling the space between the buildings. “Sick ‘em boy.” Reese flicked up off the ground, his whole body in the air flipping over itself. Alix blinked and missed his change. He landed paws down. His black and white fur thick and sleek after such a quick transformation. The assailants backed up. Reese lifted his front claws off the ground. Alix hadn’t seen him in full transformation before, to relieve the pressure Reese normally turned into a Grey Wolf.

Now that she had finally seen his true form she likened it to more of a Bear that was less fat and more muscle. He turned his head partially catching Alix in his shining red eye, she nodded at him. One of the assailants turned to run. One thing to note about werewolves such as Reese is that while in full transformation they rival the soulless in speed and strength and that power only grows as the moon is closer to full. Reese grabbed the male assailant with one claw and pulled him in. He grabbed the female and held her off the ground. He stuck his nose into the belly of the male assailant taking a large sniff. Reese threw him to the ground smashing his face into the concrete. He sniffed the female assailant somewhat more gently.

“You have never used magic. And he has only just come into it. I suggest you forget what happened here tonight and never come back.” Reese’s voice was displaced but still sounded like it came from a large powerful animal. She nodded as he put her back down. She started to run, stumbling and falling on her face. She got up and continued running. Reese watched her until she rounded the corner. Alix had managed to pick herself up. She stumbled over to where the male was laying. Reese picked him up, his mask broke of his face, he groaned through the blood pouring from his nose but he was mostly unhurt.

“You’ve been using magic. As we all know it’s not a drug you can go cold turkey on.” Alix poked him in the ribs as she spoke.

“What do we do with him Reese? He’s seems to be a common criminal.”

“I would say, mages guild. But I’m pretty sure they don’t take fondly to mortal thieves.”

“You’ve put us in a bit of a pickle. We could put you in the refuge?” She aimed the question at Reese.

“I don’t like the idea. And just because our morals are skewed thanks to Cain’s curse doesn’t mean we associate with criminals.”

“We could put him back in line. That is kinda’ the point of a refuge isn’t it?” Reese went into thought as he slowly morphed back into his human form.

“Okay, here’s the deal.” The assailant was suddenly attentive. “Tomorrow you will go to bar on the corner of Broke and Willis, You will sign your name in the book and tell the bar manager what happened here. He will put you to work and you will accept whatever it is. If you do not turn up we will consider your life forfeit and if we see you again we will not hesitate to kill or maim you. Got it?” The assailant nodded his head quickly. Reese released his collar. He fell onto his knees. Alix started to feel the effects of the alcohol again and put her arm over Reese’s shoulder to stop from falling over.

“Take me home now?”

“Yeah.”

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Chapter 10

“Why did you bring us here?” Alix pondered out loud.

“Couldn’t we drink at the refuge?” Sam continued.

“As you well know, I don’t throw stones unless I’m killing at least two birds.” Reese patted them both on the head. They were standing in line outside of a large building in the centre of town. The neon lights from the sign above them flickered and buzzed unheard through the dull thumping from the music inside.

“So you didn’t take us out for my benefit.” Alix now facing him.

“That was one of the reasons. I’d imagine being told that you can’t use magic made you want to spend a little time away anyway.”

“Well yeah. Okay.”

“But why here Reese?” Sam turned as well.

“I need to see a guy about some nightshade.”

“Oh this little Lucifer problem.” Alix turned back around as she spoke. She knew Reese well enough to not go into details about Lucifer. Sam gave Reese a disapproving look but shrugged a defeat. The line moved forward and they made it to the bouncer. Reese pushed between them and showed the guard his tongue against his ultra-sharp teeth. He let them all in without question. The club had a fantasy theme, everyone dressed up like their favourite creature from Vampires to Werewolves. This allowed the real Children of Cain to party amongst them, they also got in for free.

Reese pushed through the crowd of dancers, he smelt the true nature of every person he crossed even through the makeup and perfume. Most of them were human, those who weren’t were of the soulless breed. This club was intended to cater to all Children of Cain, but due to the reclusive nature of the pre-vampire kind it was only the soulless who took the offer. Everyone in the club was dressed in various shades of black, Reese Sam and Alix didn’t stand out. Reese found them a round table with wide red plastic seat build around it. Alix sat between Sam and Reese. What could be called a waiter, if he didn’t have fake fangs and false neck bites, came over and asked about drinks. Reese got a beer while Alix and Sam both ordered Rum and Coke. The waiter trotted off making sure to show off the cherry sauce on his neck, proudly. Their drinks arrived promptly, leaving them to watch the crowd, silence descending upon their table.

“Reese. Girls.” A tall woman snuck up to the table without them noticing. Soulless breeds made a habit of outshining the super senses of the other Children. Her hair was white and long flowing over her black dress all the way to her knees. The pale skin and shining purple eyes gave away her Shaphist breed more than any of the three could smell.

“Claire.” Reese motioned her to sit, she did, right next to him.

“How have you been? Haven’t seen you since that Maeve thing. Oh and how she, being part of the refuge now instead of us?” “I’ve been good. Maeve’s working with Isaac now.”

“Oh good, at least she’s got a purpose I suppose. Are you going to introduce us?”

“Of course, this is Alix and this is Sam.” They waved respectively. “The Chatesque girls I’ve heard so much about?”

“What have they been saying about us?” Sam spoke up.

“Oh nothing bad I assure you. You girls have done some great work protecting all the Children, I know some of my own kids look up to you. They would scream if they knew I was talking to the Titan slayers.” Cringing at the memory, both Sam and Alix had almost forgotten the injuries they had suffered when they took on that job. “So Mr Blackwood. You’ve come for some Nightshade.”

“Why do Shaphists have an abundance of Nightshade?” Alix asked, Claire laughed.

“Nightshade is a poison. We cannot die by poison especially not when self-medicating.”

“They use it as a drug Alix.” Sam cut in. Alix mouthed “Oh”

Reese handed Claire a large box that he pulled from his jacket.

“It’s the price we agreed upon.” Claire handed it to a waiter as he passed by, he grabbed it and kept moving without pause.

“With a reputation like yours there’s no need checking.” Another waiter passed by and she grabbed a black satchel off his table, so quickly he was undisturbed again. She passed it to Reese who put it in his coat. Alix and Sam marvelled at the waiters, they were marked with false bites like a vampire’s thralls. However the way that a Shaphist makes a human completely bow to their will is not so simple. Having every server in the club under her spell was completely unheard of. “I’ll leave you to mingle then. Thank you for coming. All of you.” Claire bowed as she left them.

“Wow, she’s amazing. How do you know her?” Alix got it out before Sam could.

“She’s part of the Shaphist council, have to talk to them when the refuge does anything concerning Shaphists as a whole or as an individual.”

“Oh… Maeve.” Alix snapped her fingers “She’s a Shaphist. But then why is she with the refuge?”

“Look at you. If I’d known a little detective work would have cheered you up this much I would’ve called my friend in the CSI.” Reese smiled at her. An image of the stitch popped into her head, putting her face back onto grim mode. Reese had looked at Sam before he could notice the clouds around her head.

“Looks like you’re enjoying the view.” Sam shot her head back to Reese realizing how long she had been staring.

“I… Hey, not cool.”

“What’s not cool?”

“They’re nice to look at. That’s why we came here, isn’t it? You can’t sass me for enjoying it.”

“I can and I will.” Reese showed a toothy grin. Sam crossed her arms and went back to looking. Reese turned back to Alix finally noticing her sliding under the table. “Alix.”

“Yeah?” Still inching down.

“Get back up here, talk to me.” She pulled herself up begrudgingly.

“What do you want to talk about?”

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Filed under Cain's Children in the New Age - Sam and Alix