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GM

 

Doctor Adriana Aparo stood in the cemetery outside the Saint Fabian's Catholic church on Stark Hill, holding two bouquets of roses, one red, the other white. She crouched down under the moonlit sky and laid each bouquet down in front of the two tombstones resting in front of her. The white roses, she placed upon the grass in front of "Father Rafael Giordano, Beloved Son, Dear Brother, Good Shepherd". The red roses, she carefully put in front of Rafael's neighbor, "Gaetano Giordano, Beloved Son, Dear Brother, Devoted Husband". Her companion and former sister-in-law, Flora Russo, extended a hand to help her stand back up, and then rested that hand on Adriana's shoulder, squeezing it. The two women exchanged a brief conversation as they lingered over the graves for a couple more minutes. Then Flora took Adriana's hand and walked her out of the cemetery. On their way out, Adriana stopped once, turning to look back over her shoulder. After a few seconds, she turned back and resumed her exit.

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Mister Strix

 

The man in white froze for those few seconds, his muscles tensing up. Does she see me? When Adriana kept walking, he relaxed. No. No. Of course not. Good for her. His widow and his sister were two of the last people he wanted to know about his unholy resurrection. He would have breathed a sigh of relief, if he still breathed. In the many months since he had returned to Bedlam City, Guy Giordano, now known to the Bedlam City underworld as "Mister Strix", had grown adept at using his hypnotic powers to cloud the minds of the mortals around him. He could stand in the middle of a crowded bar on a Saturday night and no one would see him unless he willed it. Two people at a cemetery shouldn't have been any challenge, even with the headache and the itching he'd suffered since first entering the graveyard. The crosses, the proximity to the church, and the surprisingly little but still present amount of consecrated ground inflicted significant discomfort on the young vampire. I don't know how to keep her safe. Do I keep watching, in case someone like him decides to use her to hurt me? Or do I stay away and hope they'll leave her alone if they think I don't care?

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GM

 

Mister Strix's brooding was cut short by the wooden stake erupting through the back of his heart and out his chest. He choked on the dark blood spilling out of his mouth while more of it gushed from his chest. The last thing he remembered before losing consciousness was a familiar, heavily German-accented voice whispering into his ear, "Happy birthday, my child."

 

Strix gasped awake as the stake was pulled out from between his ribs. As before, he had no idea how much time had passed since the stake had driven him into that unholy slumber. The hand which had been pulling on his cape to hold him upright let go of the fabric, letting him fall face-first onto the floor. He coughed up more black blood as his blurred vision gradually sharpened and revealed the night sky around him, peeking through the half-erected skeleton of a room. He was still out in the open air, but it was metal and concrete, not dying grass, beneath his feet. One look in the right direction showed him the edge of the half-built floor which was never meant to be the roof, and a quick peek over it told him that he was in Downtown Bedlam City. He was looking down at everything and up at nothing. Johann must have dragged him to the top of the Gorman Tower.

 

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Mister Strix

 

Talons erupted from Mister Strix's hands, almost as long as the fingers from which they sprouted. He dug them into the stone and metal around him and heaved himself up to his feet. He felt weak, dizzy and nauseated from the blood loss. Not that it makes any difference. At the height of my power...on a full stomach...on my best day...against him, I may as well still be mortal.

 

Slowly, the realization dawned on him, and his shoulders sagged under the weight of it. ...But he isn't here to kill me. No, he thinks he can use me to replace the monster my brother sent screaming back to Hell. He still thinks he can turn me into his own reflection. I'm not his prey. I'm his pet.

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GM

 

The German man of seeming middle age wearing the $50,000 designer suit chuckled as he watched his vampire spawn struggle to stand. "Gaetano, my friend, my son, it is so good to see you again! Oh, put the claws away, I'm not here to fight. This is a joyous reunion!" He strolled whimsically back and forth across the Gorman "roof", almost dancing. "I must say, of all the things you could have done with my gift and your misguided impulse to wash and bandage every little boo-boo on every single head of cattle in the herd, this..." his open hands moved up and down, regarding the white costume which was now torn open and drenched in blood. "...This was a surprise! You used to be such a gentle boy. The Gift has already changed you so much." He sauntered over to Mister Strix. "I had to keep my distance, you understand. Mustn't clip those wings of yours, or you'll never learn to soar! But I wouldn't miss your birthday!" He grabbed Mister Strix by the throat and pulled him in close. The whimsical tone of his voice vanished, replaced by a hateful glare. "I will never miss it," he hissed. "Do you understand? You will always have this to look forward to." The relaxed smile returned to his face, and he dropped Strix back onto the ground.

 

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Mister Strix

 

Strix thudded back against the floor, the impact disorienting him. His claws remained defiantly unsheathed, and he made fresh gouges in the stone around him as he staggered to his feet for a second time.

 

"You're pathetic," he growled. "Forgetting for a moment that you're an abomination so disgusting that the entire world closes its eyes and pretends you don't exist because it can't stand the sight of you, the thought of you. What if this curse really was a gift? Then you've squandered it. Eternal life, power beyond imagining, and all you do with it is play these stupid games. You're not a god, Johann." He spit blood onto the ground at the mention of the name. "You're not even remotely interesting. You're just another rich parasite who couldn't think of anything better to do with his wealth than hoarding it and torturing the people he stole it from. Throw a stick at any country club and you'll hit three people just like you. My brother was worth a hundred of you. Raff didn't 'murder' your child. Raff exterminated him, because that's what you do to vermin. That's what I'm going to do to the entire stinking litter you polluted the world with."

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Posted (edited)

GM

 

Johann's black eyes widened as his vampire child expressed his disdain, his contempt. He surged forward, faster than even Strix's own black eyes could follow, grabbing Strix's neck again and lifting him up off of his feet. He walked over to the edge of the Gorman roof and dangled Strix over it.

 

"How dare you?! HOW DARE YOU?! You ungrateful, insolent whelp!" He bared his fangs and growled like a tiger. "You could not possibly know of that which you speak! We watched empires rise and fall! Your tiny mortal mind cannot conceive of a bond such as ours! And all that glory was snuffed out like a candle flame by an insignificant speck! It's unthinkable! It's unforgivable! You have not yet begun to suffer in kind!"

 

Johann pulled Strix's face toward his own until their noses just barely touched. "You will learn, my child. I will teach you how little mortal life matters. You will try to save them, and they will break you with their failure. Their cowardice. Some day, you will come to me, crawling on your hands and knees, begging me to let you take my lost child's place at my side. You will look back on your pitiful little crusade to save a city so beyond saving, so undeserving of the effort, and you will laugh. But for now, a lesson. You clearly do not appreciate the wondrous Gift I have bestowed upon you. You do not appreciate me for giving it to you. So I will show you how lucky you are. How much worse it could have been."

 

He kissed Strix on the cheek. "See you next year, my child." One hand still strangled Strix, while the other grabbed the top of Strix's head. Johann's fingers punched holes through Strix's skull. He yanked, and tore Strix's head off. Strix caught a glimpse of his own headless corpse, the stump of a neck gushing black blood like a fountain, before he lost consciousness again.

 

Later, Strix woke up in a sewer.

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Mister Strix

 

As he regained consciousness, Strix's hands shot toward his neck. The fabric linking his cowl to his shirt was completely ripped apart, but his flesh felt whole. His head had been torn off, but then reattached.

 

Heh, he mused to himself. Like he said. He taught me something after all.

 

The wry amusement quickly curdled into genuine despair. Oh no. Not even beheading is enough to finally kill me.

 

Looking around, he realized that Johann had not dropped him in just any random sewer, but right outside the secret sewer entrance to the Twilight Lodge. So he knows everything. Strix dragged himself up into the clubhouse. Blood. And rest. Then I'll figure out what the bastard was talking about.

 

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GM

 

One small room in the Twilight Lodge was dedicated to the monitoring of an old radio which had been illegally modified to pick up police and emergency service bands. Two of the damned servants were in the room at all times, listening for any events which might require Mister Strix's intervention. The electromagnetic interference generated by the clubhouse caused frequent static, and the overburdened channels were frequently jammed with traffic, but occasionally, something slipped through.

 

One of the spectres on monitor duty rose from its perch in the radio room and drifted through the walls of the Lodge. She stopped in front of the first club member she happened to see: Burt Lee.

 

"Excuse me, Sire." The translucent image of a woman in a hundred-year-old maid's uniform floated in front of Dead-Head. There were no legs sticking out from under her dress, which was splattered with blood. It was difficult to make eye contact with her, since her neck had been almost complete severed, and her head rested on its side, perpendicular to the rest of the body to which it was barely attached. "The radio picked up a dispatch I think The Prez'dint would wanna know 'bout. Domestic call. 'ardwick Park. Some lad says his da's turned into a monstah. The wight working the radio room with me, he's writin' down the address now. I'm not that good with a pen yet, what with 'avin' ta use me mind and all."

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Dead Head was in the Lodge's library, in a plush chair by a roaring fire (which only sometimes resembled a leering face), reading one of the journals of the original owners of the estate.  He wanted to know more about who'd built the place, and the magics they'd used.  This particular one was bound in flesh and inked in blood.  However, as the writer was a teen at the time, who was just starting to dip their toes into the darker aspects of the occult, it used components from neighborhood pets, not humans. 

 

When the spectral maid appeared and delivered her message, he seemed more annoyed than surprised.  "I done told y'all, Bee," he said as he rose, setting the book down, "y'ain't gotta use this 'Sire' stuff with me.  Just plain' ol' Burt'll do."  Beatrice Bavier had been a servant in several estates throughout New England, all of whom had at least one child die of a mysterious illness.  Police eventually realized they'd all been poisoned, but she'd moved out west before they could question her.  By the time she got to Bedlam, she'd exhausted the last of her stolen funds, and was living on the streets.  That's when a charming man from the Twilight Lodge found her, revealed her knew all about her sordid history, and offered her a position in his estate.  She was, after all, still a decent cook and cleaner; her knowledge of poisons was a bonus.  She served them faithfully for several months, until she "accidentally" used too much sedative on one of the sacrifices and killed them before their time, and was chosen as a hasty replacement.

 

"An' ya done good tellin' me," he nodded, hoping positive reinforcement would help these damned souls to continue serving penance.  "Okay, let's go see that wight with th'address."

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GM

 

Meanwhile, on the other side of the Manitowoc River, Esperanza Azul heard the same dispatch come over her own police radio. A child, Esteban Delgado, had called 911, stating that his father Javier had attacked the boy's mother. The child described his father as having "turned into a monster", which the operator assumed was exaggeration. They were treating it like any other domestic disturbance call. One car supposedly was on its way to the residence, which happened to be a townhouse right there in Hardwick Park. But it sounded like they were taking their time. Unfortunately, domestic disturbance calls weren't unusual in any part of Bedlam City, and between the low likelihood of collecting any kind of bribe and the average Bedlam patrol officer's tendency to vent their daily frustrations on their own family, they were rarely made a priority. There was no guarantee the patrol car would show up at all.

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"Hmph." Esperanza normally didn't care very much what people did to each other when she couldn't see it, but she had a soft spot for kids. Setting aside her tracking program for Hammer of Justice sightings for the moment, she dialed her mentor's number and gave her the report. She was just about sweating through her tanktop as she worked, and glad for the opportunity to take a break. She and Anna had turned their headquarters on Belcher's campus into a nice little home away from home, but it was hot as balls here.  Maybe I should suit up and head out just to get some $(Ing fresh air. 

 

"Ah, jeez..." Anna listened, thinking of her own son when he'd been that age. "On the way. I'll call you if I need it." She'd been on her way home from the grocery store when the call had come, but luckily nothing she had was perishable. Setting aside her phone, she glared truculently at the people nearby her on the county bus line, then took the opportunity of the next stop to vanish. Once she was out on the street, she headed quickly for an unoccupied, garbage-strewn alley, where she opened up her big purse and pulled out the Helm of Horus, the magic hat seeming to grow to its full size once it was out in plain sight. With a sigh she settled the helmet on her head, unable to stop the smile of triumph as she felt the warm, solar-hot flash of empowerment through her.

 

The nice thing was, the linen skirt on the costume actually made a lot more sense in this weather! Twirling her ankh, she took off, taking a moment to set the flour and summer sausage she'd bought on a high rooftop, before zooming towards the child in danger. She let herself go invisible as she went, slipping just a touch out of time - the better to make sure she got there in time. 
 

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Mister Strix

 

Guy had "slept in", still not back to his usual routine after having taken a night off to rest and recover from his latest ordeal. He hadn't even gotten dressed yet when Dead Head knocked on the door to his suite, which Guy answered with wet hair, wearing nothing but a towel. Before Burt could tell him what was going on, Guy interrupted him with an odd question. "How does my neck look?" He pointed his head up toward the ceiling, exposing skin below his jaw that was as pale and unblemished as the rest of him. "Mirrors," he muttered as the sole initial explanation. A few moments later, he he added "I found out the hard way the other night that cutting my head off doesn't actually kill me. It's like the stake; just puts me to sleep."

 

When he did finally let Burt get a word in edgewise, his face hardened at the news and he sprang into action, pulling a fresh costume from a hanger in his closet, where it had dangled next to half a dozen more just like it. He went through so many of them that he'd had to reassign two of the damned souls to assist the Lodge's in-house tailor. "I'll head straight over and meet you there."

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GM

 

The Hardwick Park townhouse was quiet when Lady Horus arrived. It was one in the middle of a row of several just like it. The car parked on the curb in front of it was obviously a rental. The lights were still on inside. As she got closer, she could hear voices arguing. It sounded like an adult man and a child. In calm, even tones, but with a voice raised loud enough to be heard through a closed door, the man pleaded with the child to "Be reasonable" and "Open the door". Mention was made of dinner having gotten cold, of it already being past bed-time, with school in the morning. "Your mom will be OK." When the child responded at all, it was to yell things like "GO AWAY", "NUH UH", "YOU'RE LYING", and "IF I OPEN THE DOOR YOU'LL EAT ME, TOO!"

 

Surprisingly enough, Lady Horus then saw the flashing red and blue lights of a Bedlam patrol cruiser pull up toward the townhouse.

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This was by no means the first house like this Anna had broken into. 

 

She considered her options and in a flash took shelter behind the house, keeping it between her and the police out front. It wasn't that she feared the cops, really; no Bedlam squad car had enough firepower to break her skin and most of them couldn't even hit her. But it never hurt to be careful. In that spirit she looked up at the bulk of the house nearby and stepped into the past, getting a quick impression of ash and oak trees before she reappeared inside the first floor of the townhouse. She concentrated for a moment and was invisible again, phased out of the space-time continuum. She knew she could get upstairs before anybody broke down a door, so between the ticks of the clock she flew quickly through the downstairs. You're going to eat me? Anna had heard a lot of things in her career - and none of them promised anything good right now.

 

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Poor Guy, Dead Head thought as he ran over, with Mutt trailing behind, wonder what it was what happened to tear his head off?  He weren't too forthcoming on that, an' I weren't about to push, not now that we's on a case.  Maybe I can ask later, though.

 

As soon as he saw the red and blue lights, he ducked behind the townhouses and crept along, giving Mutt time to catch up.  He wasn't worried about what their guns might do to him, but was concerned about stray bullets hitting neighbors and other bystanders.  When he heard the voices from the second story window, he turned to his invisible companion.  "You can get in quicker'n I, so g'won in an' see what's what."

 

Mutt nodded, and the spirit hound flew in, seeking out the sound of the voices.  Meanwhile, Dead Head looked for any opening -- a dog door, a vent, a busted window, anything he could contort his way through.  I think I could make the jump to that second floor window, but if it's locked, I ain't gettin' in quiet.

Edited by Dr Archeville

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Mister Strix

 

The man in white ran as fast as a car could drive, sometimes faster, since he didn't have to worry about traffic. He could jump over any intervening cars or pedestrians, and most of the buildings in Bedlam. When a building was too tall to clear in a single bound, he could cling to the side like a spider. He used his hypnotic power to cloud the minds of everyone around him the whole way. He wasn't as fast as Lady Horus, but he still made it across the river and into the heart of Hardwick Park in a matter of minutes, and no one saw him either.

 

Still hidden from the minds of others, he made a quick circuit of the block, and still reached the front door of the Delgado residence before the two uniformed police officers, but he waited for them, crouching against the wall beside the door.

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Mister Strix's mesmerism never fooled Dead Head. When he ran around the block, Dead Head saw him go by, a white blur.

 

When Dead Head first reached the townhouse block, he felt the familiar tingle in the back of his head that magic always caused. The closer he got to the Delgado residence, the stronger he felt the presences, and the more clearly he could separate them. There were three in total. The first, he couldn't identify, save that it was by far the strongest, and nothing like the other two. Of those, he recognized one as Mister Strix immediately, even before he watched the vampire run by. He'd become quite familiar with that presence. The third and final one, he could have mistaken for Strix if he didn't focus more intently upon it. The two weren't identical, but the differences were slight. When he thought about Strix, the first thing that always came to mind was a canvas, painted completely black. This new presence made him think of a similar same canvas, but with a layer of red paint underneath the black, peeking through it in cracks and splotches, as though the black topcoat weren't as thick.

 

There was a back door on Dead Head's side of the townhouse, and it did indeed have a dog door. He would be able to contort his way into the kitchen without alerting the cops, or probably anyone else in the house.

 

The downstairs area had a living room in front, a kitchen in back, and a dining area between them. Lady Horus was able to take stock before the cops had even stepped out of their vehicle. It seemed like an ordinary family home. There were pictures on the walls, books on the shelves, and toys on the floor. The pictures showed a man, a woman, and a child, a little boy. The man hadn't even been lying about the cold food sitting on the kitchen table. There were three chairs, but there was only one plate of food.

 

The only truly unusual part of the house was that the pictures also included a dog, a mutt that looked like he had a lot of Chow Chow in him. There were bowls for him in the kitchen, near the back door. There was a leash for him hanging by the front door. But the dog was nowhere to be found.

 

When Lady Horus creeped up the stairs, she saw the adult man from the pictures in profile, sighing and resting his head on the crown molding around one of the bedroom doors. The child's voice was coming from the other side of the door, which he didn't try to open at any point during the negotiations.

 

Mutt, meanwhile, being able to fly through the walls, could take in the whole scene. He telepathically relayed everything he saw and heard back to Dead Head. The person on the other side of the bedroom door was indeed the little boy shown in the photographs, and the room was clearly his room, filled with all the usual trappings of lower middle class American childhood. The kid was hiding under his bed, staring at his bedroom door. He'd been crying. He had bags under his eyes, like he hadn't been sleeping.

 

The older of the two patrol cops banged his fist on the front door. "POLICE! OPEN UP!" he shouted, but his relaxed posture didn't show any of the urgency suggested by his voice.

 

Inside the house, the man calmly made his way downstairs. Lady Horus was able to stay out of his way, and he showed no signs of noticing her. He walked over to the door, opened it, and smiled warmly. "Good evening, Officers. Can I help you with something?"

 

The older cop spoke up first. The younger one kept glancing at him. "We got a 911 call from this address about a possible assault. You know anything about that? Mind if we come in and take a look around?"

 

The man's eyes widened. "'Assault?' '911?' No, I don't know anything about that, but please, come inside. I think there's been a misunderstanding." He stepped aside, and the two cops walked through the door. Mister Strix walked in behind them, slipping through before the man closed the door.

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Anna listened to the man's conversation with the police just long enough to realize she needed to work quickly, then she moved back upstairs. Staring at the boy's door, she stepped through the past to a time when there'd been a happy family here - and then she was through. Knowing she'd be visible to anyone hiding inside, she looked quickly for the boy. Her eyes wide, she held a finger to her lips. "Sssh." She badly wanted to take off her mask, but some old bottle-blonde lady wasn't going to reassure that poor terrified child. 

 

"I got your message, small one," she whispered in the resonant voice of a living god. "What happened?

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Hunh, another vamp here, but not the same as Strix.  Less shadowy, more... bloody.  If that's the monster the kid's dad's become, an' those cops walk into it, things could get real messy real quick.

 

All this passed through Dead Head's mind as he contorted and squeezed his way through the dog door, with a few sickening POPs are joints dislocated and later popped back into place.  He just managed to get a quick look around when he heard the cops pound on the door, and dove back into the kitchen, crouching behind the counter.  He saw the man approach and the two cops enter, and Strix slip in after them.

 

I really need to figure some way to communicate with him, all quiet-like.  Maybe- no, no, focus.

 

Hey, Mutt, whatcha see-  oh.  Oh!  She might be just the kinda help we'll need, if this fella's what I think.  Though I'm sure Strix won't be happy 'bout 'er.  Okay, stay with 'em, keep outta sight fer now.  We got the guy down here.

 

He peeked up just enough to keep an eye on the four.  Okay, but where is the wife, an' dog?  If he fed on 'em, it were recent, there'd not be time for 'er to rise, so where's the bodies?  Didn't see a shed outside.  Could be a basement, they's more common out here than back East.  Or an attic?  Crawlspace?  Assumin' they's still here, of course.

 

Hey, Mutt, scratch that -- look around up there an' see if you can find anyone else.  That boy's got a mom and a dog -- a Chow Chow, I think -- see if you can find 'em up there. 

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Mister Strix

 

After he slipped inside the Delgado townhouse, the man in white put his back to the wall, and then started crab-walking backwards up the wall, his hands and feet clinging to it. He went up the wall, and then further up to the ceiling, where he rested above Javier Delgado and the two patrol cops. He quietly sniffed the air, and listened. The most of the scents he picked up were familiar ones. That must be the boy. Dead Head's in here somewhere, good. And is that...? The sound of her whispers above him confirmed it. Lady Horus. She really does seem to be everywhere at once in this town. His gaze washed over the room while the men below him spoke. That must be Mrs. Delgado in the pictures. She and the dog have both been here recently...but not that recently. Not for at least a couple of days. Where did they go? If they're dead, he's not hiding them here...no putrefaction...I'd have been choking on that before I walked through the door...

 

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GM

 

Mutt quickly replied to Dead Head that he'd already checked every room, and neither the woman nor the dog were anywhere to be found.

 

Little Esteban Delgado whispered to Lady Horus. "Papa, he ate Pacho...he tried to eat Mama...he's gonna eat me too..." Then he heard the police come in. "They're here!" He started scrambling to his feet. "The police-man will save us!"

 

The older cop glanced around while he talked with Javier Delgado. "Anyone else live here, except your wife and the boy?"

 

"No, just us" Javier replied. "Like I said, this is all a misunderstanding. Our family was in a car accident earlier this week. Esteban, my son, and I, were both fine, just some minor bumps and scrapes, but my wife, Carla, she got the worst of it, her and our dog, Pacho. Carla's in the hospital, and poor Pacho, I had to have him put down. It's all been too much for Esteban, so he's been acting out and telling stories. I'm sure you know how it is with little kids and trauma."

 

The younger cop spoke up, chuckling. "The kid said you'd turned into a monster and were trying to eat him."

 

The older cop turned and glared at his younger counterpart. Then he turned back to Javier. "It's probably nothing, but we should get a look at the boy, just for our report. You understand."

 

Edited by Grumblefloof

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Oh geez this kid hasn't lived long in Bedlam has he. 

 

Her own son had known the cops were his enemies by the age of seven - but most parents hadn't been like Anna Cline. With all that in mind, Lady Horus kept herself between the kid and the door. She didn't know exactly what was going on below, she just knew that getting into a fight with the police would overcomplicate whatever was going on with the little tyke. She looked at the door and hesitated. Wait a minute. The door isn't locked. Why wouldn't the father come in? What the hell kind of parent would just let their kid do that? 

 

With her nerves jangling from a situation that was growing more and more bizarre, she made a rapid decision. "This is no place for a boy, brave he might be." As she spoke, she moved to the bedroom window and forced it open, wincing a little at the noise the glass made as it slid along its casters. "Have you family here? Friends?" With casual ease, she pushed the screen out, then caught it before it fell. 

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Was there really an accident?  Something attacked them on some lonely road, took his wife?  And dog?  But left the father, infected, and the kid untouched?  Somethin' ain't addin' up.

 

Hey, Mutt, good job.  Keep an eye on the kid.  What's that?  She's openin' the window?  Oh, probably goin' t'let him out.  Right, okay, kid likes dogs, so maybe you can help 'em.

 

Outside, hovering just in front of the window Lady Horus had opened, a great dog appeared.  He appeared to be a mix of Mastiff, Newfoundland, and St. Bernnard, powerfully muscles, with fur the color of a midnight sea.  He was looking at the two, smiling as best he could.

 

"Hello," the hound said, in a very rough and shaggy voice.  "My name is Mutt.  I am a Hound of Legba.  We heard about the monster, and came to help.  Can I help you down?"

 

Back downstairs, still crouched behind the kitchen counter, Dead Head continued to watch Mr. Delgado and the two cops.  Wanna get these cops outta here, but how?  If I spook 'em, they might start shootin' up the place, hit the kid or some neighbor.  Ohh, I think I know.  He grabbed his right wrist with his left hand, snapped it off, and placed his right hand down on the floor.  IT sprang to its fingertips and scuttled about a bit, then scurried out around the kitchen, and under the table in the dining area.  If I can play this right, I can get at least one'a them cops to investigate what's scurryin' around in there, an' Strix can mind-whammy th' other.

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Lady Horus damn near took off the dog's head in a super-speed reflex before a divine voice in her head reassured her. Legba's Hounds are fine beasts. You can trust him, thief. 

 

Oh sure, now ya tell me! Anna had always been more of a cat person, anyway. 

 

"Yesss," Lady Horus extemporized a fabrication with the sound of one with great experience at the task, "Mutt is an old friend of the Sunhawk.You better not be giving me a bad apple here, Neppy! "If you have no place to go, I can send thee to mine own home."

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