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Chapter 5: The French Job (Prequel Story)
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KitKaramak
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Chapter 6: Judgmental (Prequel Story)

Out Of The Frying Pan... (Chapter7 - Prequel)
chapter_6beta2.doc
Keywords male 645471, female 525707, human 47596, fantasy 11777, sci-fi 2587, succubus 2345, creature 2330, unknown 1729, scifi 1465, science fiction 657, sci fi 206, paradoxical invention of the usb drive 1
Judgmental


June 20th, 4am Local Time
Lyon, France

Karla licked her lips like a well-fed lioness and eased up onto her elbows from beneath the comforter.  She glanced back at a digital clock on the nightstand than reached beneath the blanket and buttoned Chance’s pants.  She leaned in close and put her ear near his face.  He was still asleep.  A grin tugged at the corner of her lips, unseen in the dark, then she slid out of bed and carefully made her way to the bathroom.  

Once the door was shut, she turned on the light and stood in front of the mirror with anticipation on her face.  All at once, a powerful rush of warmth and energy bubbled up from within.  Her voice was breathless. “Jesus!  That boy was really pent up.”  She began to pant, growing flush in the face.  

She put her hands on either side of the mirror, leaning towards it.  “Now that was the easiest lip service of all times.  I’m pretty sure it was only three licks to the center of that kid’s lollypop.”  She began to hop in place then immediately winced from the soreness in her ribs.  

Her heart raced, hyper from the feeding, like a toddler having a sugar rush.  She leaned back against the white wall, her left leg shaking from restlessness.  “Whoo.  That’s what I call room service.”  

Karla opened her blouse, one button at a time, then inched up her bra.  The succubus looked over the bruise on her ribs then eased her bust back into place.  She slid her hand into the fabric cup from above, adjusted herself, then buttoned her blouse and exhaled deeply.  “Poor kid made it to third base and didn’t even know it.”  The rush was move overwhelming that usual, having never gone a full week without feeding before.  She cupped her breast carefully, to keep them in place, and began hopping again to run off the extra energy.  

She bounced for another moment or so, still sore in the ribs, then she visibly flinched as a chill ran down her spine.  In a soft, semi-scolding tone, she told the mirror, “You’re a perv, girl.  Don’t be one of those cliché succubae, attacking virgins in their sleep – you’re above that, Karla.  How’m I going to sleep when I’m this hyper?”

She tried thinking about something else to relax her mind.  Her thoughts turned to the money promised to her from Natalia Kincade.  Karla turned off the light and opened the door just in time to hear Chance’s voice, soft and muffled.  “A half-million bucks.”  

With a blink, she turned towards the bed, still unable to see it from having come from a well-lit bathroom.  Chance said something else aloud.  “Is the boy talking in his sleep?”  It was her thoughts in his voice.  He began breathing deeply once more.  After a moment, Chance murmured, “That puts a new spin on sleep talking.  I wonder what I could make him say?  Shit, tits, big bouncing boobies.”  

The demoness smiled, easily amused.  She thought again.  Again, Chance spoke.  “Hi.  My name is Chance.  I like long walks on the beach.  I’m training to become a lady-killer – the future gift to women, who knows what they want and how they want it.  Karla is drop-dead gorgeous.”  

Without thinking on the matter Karla spoke aloud in reply.  “Why thank you, Chance! I agree!”  She quickly brought her hands up, covering her mouth.  

A soft groan came from the boy.  He stirred and eased up onto an elbow then reached over, across the bed, patting it.  In a soft voice of concern, he asked, “Karla?  Karla, where did you go?”  

“Aw.  Did you miss me?” she asked from across the room.  Karla’s left palm incandesced, adding subtle illumination to the room.  “I’m right here.  I just went to use the bathroom, hon.  I heard you talking in your sleep so I decided to listen.”  

“Uhm…” He held his breath, nervous about what he might have said.  His thoughts raced back to the dream he just had.  “I, uh, I didn’t say anything tacky did I?”

She smiled.  “Just that I’m drop-dead gorgeous.”

“D…did I really?”  

“Yup.  Sure did.  Wish I recorded it on micro cassette.”  

“Well… I mean, uhm.”  He rubbed his face and sat the rest of the way up.  “It’s true.  Is that all I said?”  

“Why do you ask?  Did you have another dream like the other day?”  

“I, uh… Yeah, I think so.”  

“Was it about… me?” she asked with a teasing tone of voice.  

His shyness immediately returned.  He spoke with a muffled tone, biting his lower lip.  “You’re the only girl I’ve met since I woke up.”  

“That’s not how you compliment a woman,” she said in a matter-of-fact voice.  

“You… you’re right.  I meant to say, you’re drop-dead gorgeous, and then I would, uh, smile in a somewhat mischievous way to let you know it was about you without actually saying anything incriminating.  That’s how you do it, right?  The playful teasing thing?”  His shyness began to subside, but only slightly.  

“Well, now.  Aren’t you just an advanced student in the ‘Cougar Karla’s school of boy-toys,’ huh?  So, Chance, did you dream that I went down on you?  Or did you make it to home plate?”

“K-Karla!”

She grinned brightly enough that he could see her teeth in the dim glow of her incandescent palm.  “I like being the center of your affectionate thoughts and dreams.  But talking about it is making you nervous, you poor thing.  So… MOVING ON!  Nathanial should be here within the…”

A flash of lightning illuminated a square boarder around the drapes.  Three more quick flashes brightened the sky outside of the hotel room.  A violent crack of thunder caused Karla to recoil, despite being ready for it.  “Speak of the devil and he appears.”  She walked to the window and opened the drapes.  Karla placed her palms against the window and focused, causing them to brighten with a pink glow.  

Another flash of lightning arced the sky in the distance.  Karla stepped back from the window, expecting Nathanial to appear in front of it… but nothing happened.  “Well, I could have sworn that would be his sign.”  

A moment later, there was a knock at the hotel door.  Karla arched her brows in curiosity.  “It’s not like him to make a normal entrance.”  She trudged back across the dark hotel room, careful not to step on wherever she’d left her purse and the binoculars on the floor.  She peered through the eyehole then blinked.  “What the…”  She opened the door, face to face with a man who appeared to be in his late forties or early fifties.  “Michael Richter.  Nathanial sent you?”  

“I’ve got nothing to hide from a telepath,” said the man with a wan smile.  He ran his hand up, through his short peppered hair and smiled.  “I haven’t seen you since you were on the run from the United States Navy.  And yes, The Reaper sent me.”  

She rolled her eyes.  “That is the dumbest designation of all time.  Our kind shouldn’t have superhero names.”  

“Now, now.  I actually prefer being called Judge.”  

“Isn’t your last name the German word for ‘judge’ or something?  That’s not very original.”  

“I am German.  And you know what we did.  I judged.  Nathan reaped.  Kalen drained and Ethan…”

“…Is dead.  He flipped out.”  

“Yes, it’s a shame, God rest his soul.”  The man glanced around the hallway then looked back at her.  “Nathanial is here.  But he wants nothing to do with the boy at this time.  He has some sort of information that he said would cause a paradox of sorts should the boy learn the unknowable.  His words.  Plus it would make the kid a target.”  

“Where is that old bastard at?”

Nathanial stepped from the stairway and folded his arms.  “Karla.  I can’t stay here.  I can’t be near him.  It’s too important.  Judge, here, already knows too much about me, due to what limited telepathic powers he possesses.  And that’s bad enough.  But for a young kid with no active abilities… no.”  He looked Karla over for a moment then asked, “Have you fed, finally.”

“Oh hush.”

Chance’s voice came from somewhere behind Karla.  “I can’t even use my ability.  And if I can, I don’t know how to actively use it.  So I’m not going to read your mind or whatever.” He came forward into the light of the hallway.  

The old man wore dress slacks, a burgundy button up shirt and a pinstripe vest.  He glanced at Karla then back at Chance.  A smirk crossed his gnarled old lips.  “Zip up your pants, kid.”  

Chance blinked.  He reached down where his jeans were buttoned, then fidgeted with the zipper.  “I, uh… I have no idea how they got…”

“It’s called getting a hummer.”  

“What?  No, we never… I didn’t…”  

Karla lifted her hands, innocently.  “The boy still has his flower,” she told Nathan with angelic looking eyes.  “Ask him yourself.  He’ll tell you; he never experienced anything beyond first base.”

Nathan looked her over for a moment then moved closer to her.  He lifted his gaze, lowered it, then lifted it again.  “Yeah.  Your horns are making your halo crooked, kiddo.”  He closed his left eye, staring at her with his right for a moment.  The old man relaxed, and offered a wan smile, then drew her into a hug.  “I’m glad you’re okay.  I got here as fast as I could.”  

“How fast can you go, anyhow?” she asked, returning the family-like embrace.

“Fifty miles from the parent storm per flash. I had Judge meet me here. Where are your attackers?”

Karla eased back from the hug then smirked at the two men.  “Considering you just put on a low-power lightning show and then I signaled you by making my hands glow in the window… I’m going to assume they’re…”

Chance looked from Karla to the men in the hall. Without thinking on the matter, he blurted out, “…On the elevator, locking and loading.”  

Nathan Carrington narrowed his aging eyes.  “I’ll handle that.”  A flash of lightning illuminated the window, in conjunction with an obnoxiously loud crack of thunder.  It shook the building and the power went out, leaving them in the dark again.  With the drapes open, the streetlights of Lyon provided dim illumination in the hotel room.  “Now they’re trapped.”  

Karla laughed in delight.  “Damn.  I’m all riled up and ready to fight, but… at the same time, that was awesome.”  She lifted both her hands, palms facing up, and focused them to glow, creating just enough illumination for everyone to see her face.  

Nathan turned back to her, his eyes adjusting to the dim glow.  “Uh-huh.  Riled up, are ya?  Who’s the lucky guy?”

“Oh, shh!” She gave him a quick scolding glare then said, “Let’s fight these bastards.  My rib is only sore, now.  It’s mended.  I’m ready.”

Nathanial shook his head.  “The boy just proved his ability and his impressive range.  I cannot be here with him.  Judge will help you.  Then you need to lay low so you can retrieve that mirror in eighteen hours for the Kincade family.”  

“Nathanial…!”  

“I’m sorry, Karla.  I can’t explain it to you.  It would mess things up.”  

“Wait,” she said.  “Before you go… I need to ask YiaYia something.  It’s important.  It’s about the boy.  It’s really important.”  

Nathanial grimaced.  He stepped into the hotel room, placed his hand on Karla’s shoulder and guided her over towards the window, away from Chance.  He withdrew a prototype Inmarsat handset satellite phone and extended the antenna.  “You’ve got to stay by the window.  Don’t talk long, it’s several dollars per minute.”

“Just give me the damn thing,” she said.  “Dial it for me – you know the number.”

“Karla,” he said with a sigh.  Nathanial thumbed the keypad then handed her the phone.  “Keep it short.  And she’s been having moments where she spouts cryptic…”  

Karla snatched the phone and brought it to her ear. “Hush.”  Three rings.  Karla smiled when a woman picked up on the other end.  “YiaYia!  How are you, grandma?”

“Why, Karla, I haven’t heard from you in ages. Chance is paramount, by the way.  I do apologize that this isn’t going to be easy. And tell Nathanial to stop glaring at you.  He’s just being overprotective.  So!  How are you, my dear?  It’s like you’re telepathic – I was just making double chocolate Baklava cheesecake.  I know how much you liked it last time you had it.  Are you calling about the mirror against Nathan’s wishes?”

“Exactly right.” She put a hand over the receiver at the bottom of the phone and said, “She sounds lucid to me, and called you out on being overprotective, Nathan.”  Karla cleared her throat and began speaking into the phone again.  “What’s going on in the world of YiaYia-vision?”

“Oh, sweetheart.  It’s never anything but dismal and covered in layers of confusion and disinformation.  For example, my last vision was quite troublesome... the day the US fires more missiles at Kosovo than any other day in the entire occupation, the news will instead choose to focus in on two teenagers who bring weapons to school, which aids in a political agenda that the Democrats wanted to focus on, leaving people to speculate about hidden ulterior motives.  Word finally starts to get out, but the media again covers it up by talking about Marylin Manson.  And then the next democrat to take office will follow from that very same playbook in order to achieve objectives of political agenda, but through a shooting at an Elementary school.  Shameful state of the world we’ll be living in.  And don’t get me started on where the economy is going to go.  Be glad you don’t invest in the stock market, my dear.”

Karla’s eyes widened.  “Wait, what?”  

“It’s many years away.  Sorry, my dear, but you’re the one that asked.  And I’m off topic, aren’t I?  Because you’re obviously calling about Natalia’s mirror.  It belonged to Niall and was taken when he died.  Natalia wants it back.  She notified the council of its whereabouts after being tipped off.  She orchestrated it to be taken through France in hopes that Jonny Parker would retrieve it for her… little did she know that Parker would refuse the job due to the importance of his current one in Rome.  That leaves you.  And thus, you’ve called me.  And I’m glad you’re not in New York anymore.  Two years from now, you should really stay in California.”  

Karla placed her hand over the receiver again.  “Okay, maybe she is a little out there, today,” she whispered.  She drew her hand back and spoke into the phone again.  “I wanted to ask about Chance.  Is it safe to take him with me?  I don’t want anything to happen to him.”  

“I answered your question when I first answered the phone, my dear girl.  You should listen more carefully!  You need him.  Don’t betray him like you’ll do to Rufus.  But I’m sorry for all that you’ll endure before it’s over. Also, tell Nathanial he’s stubborn for choosing the wrong course.  He’s a fool for not following what was on the flashdrive.  But I applaud him for making that notation list.  And tell him I said it was brilliant that he’s going to put it into the Chevelle.”  

“Wait, who is Rufus?  And… Do what?”

“No matter.  At least Nathanial is making enough of a change this time around that it will help save Nevada in the future.  Or perhaps the word ‘future’ isn’t exactly the right way to describe…” She trailed off over the phone, then, in a pleasant voice, said, “Karla, my dear girl, I cannot answer your questions right now.  You’re in danger from the men coming up the stairs.  Tell the boy to stop focusing on listening to how much he likes the sound of your voice, and to start clearing his mind so he can hear them coming.  Take care! Antío!” And with that, the call disconnected on the other side of the line.

“What?” Nathan asked, seeing the confusion on Karla’s face in the soft lighting from the window.  “What’d she say?”

“That you shouldn’t have ignored what was on something called a ‘flashdrive.’  Not sure I know the term.  She also said you’re going to save the state of Nevada or something.  Not sure I followed her.  Oh… and she said the bad guys are on the stairs.  Must be the ones that weren’t stuck in the elevator.”  She handed the phone back to Nathanial and turned to Chance.  “Stop listening to the sound of my voice and clear your mind.”  

After a brief pause, Chance’s eyes shot open.  “I think they’re coming out of the stairwell.  God.  This doesn’t make sense.  I think I just have an overactive imagination.  You people are making me want to believe in this nonsense.”  

“Great.”  Nathan ground his teeth together.  He stomped over towards the bed and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder.  They both disappeared from the room in a flash.  The window shattered.  

Karla looked up, having her hands over her ears, just as the hotel room opened.  The two men from earlier stepped into the room.  They both held their hands outwards, palms up, as though holding invisible orbs.  “Where is the boy, and why have you come for the mirror?”  

“Whoa.  Interrogating me on my vacation?  I just came to find some sexy French boys.”  She hooked a thumb over at Mike Richter and said, “That’s my pimp, Big Mike.”  

“Last chance,” said one of them.  “We know who you are.  We’re ready for what you can do and have prepared to defend ourselves from your ability.”  

“Oh.  You have me at a disadvantage, then.”  

“Stay back. We’re going to search the room for the boy.”  

Karla waved towards the bed.  “Go ahead!  I’ve got nothing to hide.” She reached to a nearby dresser, put on a narrow-brim hat and stepped to the side.  

Michael smirked at her.  “Nice fedora.”

Karla smirked back. “It’s a trilby,” she replied.  Meanwhile, she cut her eyes sidelong at the men stepping into the room.  He nodded; she nodded back.  They both smiled and tensed up.  

One of the men pulled a radio up and spoke into it.  “Stand by, we’re searching the premises now.”

A reply came over the radio.  “We’re all clear in the lobby and stairs.  We’re going to send someone down to the elevator car.  It’s stuck between the second and third floor.  Let me know if you find the boy.”

Karla held a finger up to Mike, gesturing him to wait for them to search the room, first…

X
X


Meanwhile…

Nathanial narrowed his gaze then pulled his phone back out again.  He dialed a number and waited a moment then said, “Shimon… I’m going to need your help looking at the device I showed you recently.  I’ll try and come by IBM soon.  I’ll call you when I have an exact date.”  Nathan exchanged brief pleasantries then ended the call.  He looked up at the window of the hotel from outside on the street, and dialed another number.  A moment later, he said, “Dov, shalom! Be’vakasha, I need your help taking another look at the device I showed you last Autumn.  We may have missed something while trying to look at what we were able to decrypt from the file.”  

A moment later, Nathan said, “Toda.  I appreciate it.  I’ll call you soon and we’ll meet up.”  A pause, then he said, “Le’hitra’ot,” and ended the call.  Nathan put his satellite phone into its secure holster on the back of his belt then turned to Chance.  “What?  It was Israeli.”  

“Who are Shimon Shmueli and Dov Moran?”

“That’s none of your business and it’s the exact reason why I didn’t want to meet you in the first place.  You’ll learn far too much, making you a target to dangerous people.  You can’t protect yourself, kid.  Now stay out of my head.”  

“But… I thought you just said their names aloud?  I’m not in your head.”

“The hell you aren’t.  I never said their last names.  Now stop asking questions.  Let’s wait for Karla, then…” Nathanial was cut off by an explosion that came from the window frame on the fifth floor.  

A broken digital alarm clock slammed on the ground and shattered across the pavement.  The snooze button came to rest in front of Chance’s bare feet. He frowned and looked back up at the room high above.  “She’s okay, but I have a feeling my shoes are done for.  I should have grabbed them before we left.”  

“You’re sure she’s okay?”

“She’s okay.  You should be more optimistic.”  

“How can you fool around with that girl?  She looks like a child,” Nathanial grumbled.  “Nevermind.  You’re probably around sixteen, yourself.”  

“What about you?” Chance snapped back.  “You suffered from Ephebophilia once upon a time, after all.”  

“Look at you and your fancy words, kid.  Yeah, when I was younger, back when I met her… I flirted back with her.”  

“I’m just saying… she doesn’t age.  She thinks of herself as a cougar for flirting with me.  It’s the only thing that has held her back from doing anything more with me than kissing.”  

Nathan looked back at the boy.  “What we did happened in December of 1906, only lasted for a little while, and was completely over by the end of 1908.  I grew out of that nonsense.  She’s too young looking for me.  I’m a hundred ‘n twenty goddamn years-old, kid.  Karla is almost four times older than me and I still wouldn’t.  Not in ninety years.”

“Not that she would with you anymore.  I don’t think she’s into Gerontophilia, anyhow.” He swallowed, seeing Nathan’s eyes glow softly.  An electric charge sizzled in his pupils like something out of a Hollywood film.  “We, uh, didn’t do anything, y’know.  Her and I.  All we did was kiss, so why don’t we just drop this?”  

“Look, kid.  I don’t have a Lolita Complex.  You need to understand something important, here:  I’ve known Karla most of my life,” said the old man.  “As soon as I saw her tonight, I knew she’d fed.  So don’t lie to me.  You’ve either banged her, or she went down on you.  Either way, she’s bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.  She fed.  And it was recent.”  

“Well it wasn’t with me.  And we’ve been together every minute of every day for the past week.  Including tonight.  The last time she’s run errands without me was a week ago.  That’s the last time she’d have had an opportunity.  So, while I appreciate that you know her well… this time you must be wrong.”  

“Yeah, whatever.  Judge and Karla will wipe the floors with those punks, but you’re in no condition to fight.  So stay here.  I have to go before you wind up learning something that is dangerous.”  

“But I can be helpful if you people would just let me.  Either that, or I’m going back to New York to find out who I am and where I came from.  I don’t like feeling useless.”  

“Kid, cut it out.  It’s dangerous up there.  Stay here.  Do whatever Judge tells you to do.  I trust him with my life.”  Nathanial disappeared, leaving only a burn mark on the pavement where he had been standing.  

Chance tightened his hands into fists and hurried towards the front of the building.  He made his way up to the lobby and pushed the door open.  The main entrance was flooded in soft white backup lighting from an emergency lamp above the concierge.  The man at the front counter opened his mouth to speak but Chance cut him off.  “My room's on four.”  He pulled a flimsy plastic card out of his pocket and held it up.  “Nevermind, you don’t speak English.”  

The boy made his way to the stairs, opened the door and headed up the steps two at a time in pitch black.  He kept his hand on the metal rail, stumbling every so often.  He counted his way to the fifth floor, pushed the door open, and came to the nearby room.  By the time he approached the door, his sense of urgency disappeared sensing the calamity was over.  He knocked on the door.  

Karla opened it with a brilliant smile.  “They couldn’t handle the Nymphic Demoniac creature you see before you.” She curtsied.  “I didn’t even give Richter a chance to throw any punches.  Man, I am on fire this morning!”  

Chance gestured with his hands for her to lower her voice.  “People are awake because the thunder and the noise from earlier.  They can hear you talking.  And… you’re not a nymphet.”  

“Sure I am!  Let’s go for breakfast!”  

“Karla…”  

“Oh stop worrying.  Where is Nathanial?”

“He freaking bailed on us.”

“No biggie.”  She opened the door wide.  The hotel room was a wreck with the window missing on the far wall.  “Sorry, I know it looks like Dana Barrett’s apartment at the end of Ghostbusters, but… trust me, it could have been a lot worse if I didn’t have any…”

“You did feed,” he said.  Chance frowned.  He lifted his hands, abruptly and said, “I am not judging.  I’m just… Sorry for the outburst.”

“Aww, muffin, are you jealous?”  

“Well, maybe… a little.”  

“Of yourself?”

He blinked and stared at her for a moment.  “You… while I was asleep?  Oh my God, are you serious?”

“You really need to tell me about those wet dreams you’ve been having.  While you were outside, a third guy showed up.  Richter has him tied up to the recliner right now.  Guess what?  It’s the security guy from across the street.  We’re going to pump him for information.”  

She gestured Chance into the room.  Judge had a flashlight over the other man’s face, walking in circles around the recliner, which was now in the middle of the room.  

The bouncer looked from Karla to Chance, struggling against the ropes.  He swore at Karla in French and she rolled her eyes then looked back at Chance and said, “He’s brave.  He called us both children.  Which is understandable.  Then he said something I’d rather not repeat.”

Chance looked from the man back to Karla then back to the man.  “I… I don’t hear people’s thoughts.  I’m just being upfront about that.  But, uh… did it concern your mother, and did he call her a prostitute?”  

Karla’s eyes widened.  “Did you get that from him?”  

“I just… I looked at you and… I felt like that’s what you might have… heard?  Does that make sense?”  

“Wow.  Because I speak fluent French, you can understand him through me as an intermediary.  Neat.”  

“Don’t look at me,” said Mike.  “I speak German and English.  My limited telepathy works very differently from yours, young man.  I can sense people who are supernatural and I know what their ability is and what kind of immense burden they carry.  That is why I am the judge of our group.  It’s why I was a judicial judge during the thirties.  That’s why I was a Catholic Priest before that.”  

Karla glanced back at Mike and furrowed a brow.  “About that.  You never did tell me why you quit serving God and started serving law.”  

“I lost my faith.”  

Chance frowned, glanced at the man struggling in the chair, then back at Mike Richter.  “What happened?”

“A lot.  But in short, how can people say God has a plan?  I’ve seen people nearly die in a car accident, get placed into an ambulance, then the ambulance is in a car accident that killed the man.  If God is so infallible, why did the man survive the first car accident?  If he was fated to die, why make him suffer before the second crash?  If God so so loving and forgiving, then why did the man survive the first accident only to die in the second one, minutes later?  Do you see a ‘plan’ in that?  No.  That’s natural chaos.  What happens… happens.  There’s no fate or freewill.  Things happen however they happen.  Causes and effects that aren’t controlled by some All Knowing God.”  

Karla put her hand on Chance’s shoulder and said, “Focus.  Listen to the bouncer, see if you can pick up something that I miss when I talk to him, okay?”  

Chance glanced at the bitter, aging man, then he looked back at Karla and nodded.  “Uhm, yes.  Right, okay.  I’ll do my best and tell you whatever pops into my head.  I still need to see something more obvious to feel like I believe this stuff about myself.”  

Karla brought her hand behind her back and wiggled her fingers.  Chance stepped to the left, eyes wide and alert.  A bottle of Perrier sailed into Karla’s palm from inside the nightstand where the digital clock used to be.  She held it up and said, “You just side-stepped a sneak attack.  You can stop worrying.  You’re legitimate.”  

“Like I said, I might just be really perceptive and…”  

“Shut up, babe.”  She opened the bottle and took a sip from it.  She then offered it to the bouncer.  He accepted the drink, which she held for him.  “See?  I don’t torture people when I want information.  I just need to think outside the box.”  She drew the water bottle from his lips, put the cap back on and handed it to Chance.  “Hold this.”

She spoke to the man in French and he replied.  She replied again, speaking a dialect that mimicked his own.  “What time is the shipment for the mirror?  I’ll let you live, I promise.”  

The captive responded in kind, his French articulate and smooth.  Chance abruptly said, “He’s lying.”  

Karla looked back at the boy.  “About what?”  

“I don’t know what he said. I just know he lied to you.  I’m sure of it.  Well, actually, I’m not sure of anything, but I just… I really feel like he probably just lied to you.”  

“Chance, I believe you more than you believe yourself.”  She turned back to the man, took his hair in her palm and pulled his head back, looking down into his eyes from where she stood over him.  In eloquently spoken French, she said, “I know you’re lying to me.  See that boy right there?  He’s a human lie detector.  He doesn’t even speak French but he knows you just lied to me.  Impressive isn’t he?  Now… I want information.  Then, when we have it, we will leave and house keeping will find you.  Come now, don’t make this difficult.”  

The man replied to her.  Karla looked up at Chance and said, “He just said the truck is a decoy.  Is he being honest?”  

Chance nodded.  “I think so.  Whatever he said was genuine.”  

Karla kissed the man’s forehead and let go of his hair.  Then she told him, “You see, monsieur? If you cooperate, so do I.  Where is the mirror at?”  

He replied in the Romantic language, which Chance couldn’t understand.  But through Karla, he felt like the man’s intended message may have become easier to understand.  The boy cleared his throat then asked, “A science laboratory?  Is it here in Lyon?”  

Karla looked back at the man and translated the inquiry.  The man clamped his mouth shut.  She closed her hand into a fist.  “Fine.  I’ll just have to…”

Chance uttered the word, “Marseille.  That’s… that’s a city in France right?”

“Uh… yeah.  Gee, it’s only the second largest in the country.  Time for you to go back to Social Studies, kiddo.  It’s about two hundred miles south of here.”  She turned back to the man and spoke in French again.  In their dialogue, she claimed she knew the mirror was in Marseille, and wanted details, else she would consider him useless and replaceable.  

The man refused to speak.  Chance glanced at the quiet friend of Nathanial, then back at their captive.  “Keep asking him stuff, Karla.  He’s thinking in French but if you can get him to think about, say, a street address, we’ll find out if I’m legitimate or not.  And then I’ll believe you.”  

“You only need to believe in yourself,” she said.  She turned back to the man and began asking questions again.  

Judge pulled out a European cellular fliphone and announced, “I’ll be outside.  I’m going to keep watch for more people.  I’m also going to make a call to arrange transportation to Marseille.  We’ll get two rooms and I’ll give you kids your privacy, rest assured.”  

Karla smirked. “Kids huh?  Well thank you, Mikey.  I am glad you respect my privacy.”  She took the flashlight from Michael and held it above the bouncer’s head.  “I can’t wait to get to Marseille.  It’s been too long since I’ve hit the beaches of the Mediterranean.  Now... to get some answers out of this man.”  She cracked her knuckles and waggled her brows suggestively.  “It’s time to break some Esoteric Laws and scare this guy into giving us what we want.  Chance, I’m going to ask him personal questions.  I want you to tell me if he has a family, a lover, or anything else I can use as leverage to make him talk.”  

“Oh God… Karla…”

“Just stop worrying and start role playing, Chance.  He’s our best lead.”  

“O…Okay.”  

X
X


June 21st, 1999, 11:00am
Marseille, France…

Chance sat up in bed and stretched.  He slid off the king-sized mattress and walked to a window facing the sparkling blue Mediterranean Sea.  “Oh my God.  It’s beautiful.”  

Karla stretched, sitting up in bed.  Unlike Chance, who wore clothes, she wore nothing except underwear.  “According to the paper I saw in the lobby last night, it’s going to be pretty warm here this week.  It might hit ninety Fahrenheit, if I remember the Celsius conversion right.”  She slid out of bed and walked over to the window besides him.  “Nineties is beach weather.”  

Chance glanced in the reflection of the window, seeing her with nearly nothing on.  His heart began to race and he froze, facing the water.  “Y…yeah.  Hot.”  

“Oh stop gawking.  This covers more than a bikini.  Which I fully intend on wearing when we hit the beach before we go home.”  

“Right, s-sorry.  It’s just…” He looked back at her and licked his dry lips.  “I didn’t know you stripped down last night.  I’m trying to get over this hangup, I swear.”  

“So help me God, I’m taking you to Montalivet after we leave here.”  

He stared at her for a minute then looked back at the Mediterranean.  “A nude beach…?  Is that what you’re thinking in your head?  I don’t want to see a bunch of ugly or average looking nudists – and I’m too nervous to see you without clothes.  And you wouldn’t be allowed on a nude beach, because you’re… well…too hot.”  

“That’s not true, silly.”  

Once again, Chance found himself secretly smiling away from her at the way she said that word.  

Karla added, “I’ve been to them before.  And there are plenty of people who care enough about their image on any beach, clothes or not, that they want a beach body.  By the way, I think they like being called ‘naturalists.’  And some of them look downright scrumptious.  But, uh, you know… my kind of flirty behavior is frowned upon there.  And what can I say?  I can’t help it.  I get around naked people and I become a predator.  It’s in my nature.  Lot of good eats… but MOVING ON!”  

With the topic dropped, she saw a look of palpable relief come over his face.  “So, are you ready?  We’ll go get some grub then we’ll get to work.”  Her eyes sparkled in the sunlight.

“I’m telling you… when you interrogated that guy last night… I felt like he was confident, even after we got the information about coming here.  I think it’s going to be well guarded.”  

“Yeah, yeah.  Nathanial is still in the country.  If we get in trouble I’ll just call his sat-phone and we’ll be okay.”  

“What about the other guy?”  

“Mike Richter?  He’s what we call an “instinct telepathist.”  No matter how good you are at faking a left jab, if you go for a right hook instead, he’s ready for it.  But the council decided he was useful because he could chase down wayward supernatural people.”  

“So why are they okay with him and not me?”  

“He can’t read thoughts or sense feelings.  He perceives people’s next physical move even if it’s not telegraphed.  He senses people’s ability, and detects guilt or immense pride from someone and it gives him an edge against people who lie about their intent.  I don’t know his story, though.  Just that he’s old and he ran with Nathanial, Kalen and Ethan.”  

“Does he know I feel guilty for killing Ethan?  I only meant to knock him down or out.”  

“Are you worried he’s going to hunt you for the council?”

“Well, actually, now that you mention it…”

Karla stretched a bit, leaning back.  She lifted her arms up above her head and grunted a bit.  She hunched her shoulders up then dropped them to her sides.  “I still ache from the other day.  Sore.  Stiff.  Blah.  And to answer your question, hon, he hasn’t worked for the EC in ages.  Neither has Nathan.  Nor Kalen.  Things they learned made them not trust the council.  Ethan, on the other hand, stayed extremely loyal to those goons.  The thing is, those four men could hold their own against one another… so together, they were unstoppable against anything you could think of.”  

“Kalen… he’s the vampire guy right?  How does a vampire hold his own against those other three?”

“He’s undead.  You can zap him with lightning but it won’t stop a heart that already can’t beat.  If you teleport in and throw a quick jab, well… he’s undead.  Blunt trauma attacks barely bruise him.  And Mike can go toe-to-toe against Kalen if they’re fighting, but Kalen is damn strong.  All four of them could hold their own against the other if needed.”  

“So if that happened, who would eventually win?”  

“Nathanial.  Sure, Kalen can take a beating, but fire works.  And lightning can be used to set things on fire  Nathanial was the group leader.  He’s well respected because he was the only one who managed to stop the battle of Tunguska in its tracks.  The old man is badass.  You’ve never seen anything like what that old fart can do.”  

“So what’s the game plan after we eat?”  

“We get something to go, then we go to that address and clean house.”  

“I hope it’s not going to be a lot of trouble.”

“You’ve got two old-school warriors, Chance.  What could go wrong?”  

“Murphy’s Law.  So stop trying to jinx us.”  

The door to the hotel room opened and Judge walked in then shut it behind himself.  He arched his brows at Karla’s state of undress then said, “I just got back from having a look at that address.  I saw one rent-a-cop standing guard.  Every ten minutes, he walks a six-point patrol around the perimeter, lasting six minutes.  He writes the times for each checkpoint in his logbook, then stands by the main entrance for four minutes.  Rinse and repeat.  The location is a small warehouse with a private road leading to a pier.  The company owns a small container ship, which is docked and has a skeleton crew.”  

“Surveillance equipment?” She tilted her head and turned to face Judge.

“Actually, two cameras.  They’re on the other side of the building from the guard.  There’s one more above the main entrance but it doesn’t work.”

“How do you know?” asked Karla.

“Because they have spikes on the other cameras to keep birds off of them.  The fake above the main entrance doesn’t have bird control.  In fact, it had a bird on it when I went by.  Tail feathers were down in front of the lens, and nobody notified the guard to clear it.  So it’s there for looks, or it’s simply not in use at the moment.  So that’s our point of entrance.”  

“Is Nathanial nearby, just in case?”  

The middle-aged man put his hands on his hips.  “He’s not terribly far, but we won’t need his help.  Let me get my hands dirty, kid.  I’ve not seen action in a while and I miss it.  I can hold my own.”

“Fine, prove it.” She approached him, drew her fist back, supercharging her forearm with telekinetic energy.  She launched her fist forward towards the man.  

Judge stepped towards her and to the left.  He put his hands on her shoulders and guided her to the wall behind him.  Karla’s fist went straight through the wall to her elbow.  He turned to her and put his palm on the back of her head.  “I’d just push your face into the wall with a quick thrust if you were an enemy at this point.”  

Karla gingerly withdrew her hand from the wall and looked back at Michael with a wan smile.  “Okay.  You can play on my kickball team.  So, what about your friend I met back in the eighties?  Where’s he at?”  

“Which one?  Amir or Saajid?”  He cut his gaze to Chance and said, “After the fearsome four retired, I kept going.  I found help from the two most unlikely allies ever.  People made jokes all the time.  A German ex-Priest, Jewish professor named Amir, and a Saudi Arabian mechanic named Saajid.”  

Karla grinned.  “I started that joke when you three walked into a bar of human hunters.  I announced to the room, ‘Did you hear the joke about the Catholic, the Jew and the Muslim who walked into a bar together?’  Then you guys tore the place down.  So what happened to those guys?”  

“They’re living normal lives, Karla.  Amir went back to school to get another degree.  Saajid operates a repair shop and teaches mechanic classes somewhere in Riyadh.  I’ve not spoken to them in years but last I heard, Saajid was suffering from diabetes.”  

“Wait, seriously?  Supernatural immortals that have normal people problems?”

Mike furrowed his brows.  “Considering what goes into food these days… does that seriously surprise you?”

“Uh, a little, yeah.  So what do we do now?”  

“We go deliver some unholy hell.  And don’t worry about it, kiddo.  Saajid was the only one of the three of us who was religious.  And he’s the only one suffering with an ailment.  It’s crap like that, which cause me to question the validity of God.  You’re not religious are you, kid?”

“I, uh… have no idea.  I don’t remember anything about myself.  And since I woke up, I’ve been so caught up with running for my life that I haven’t stopped to think about anything else lately.”  

“Well, let’s go.  I rented a cargo van so we can haul this mirror when we get it.  Kid, you’ll have to sit in the back on the floor.  Sorry.”  

“He’s a minor,” Karla said with a grin.  “I’ll sit in the back.”  She walked to the closet across from the bathroom and pulled out an outfit.  She glanced back at the two males and smiled.   “What?  I had it delivered early this morning.  Natalia’s dime.  I couldn’t go out in what I wore yesterday.  That won’t fly.”  She carried the outfit into the bathroom and shut the door.  

The older man turned to Chance and shrugged.  “She’s a trip, huh?”  

“Yeah.”  

“What’cha think about Marseille so far?”  

“Neat.  Almost the whole town has red roofs and buildings.  At least what I’ve seen so far.  Which isn’t a lot.  But it’s neat.”  

A sly grin found the man’s face.  “Neat, huh?  You kids and your chic one-word replies.  Cool, neat, rad, awesome.  Can’t things be breath-taking or awe-inspiring?  Or cheerfully quaint?  Something with some personality.”  

“I just… It takes me a little time to warm up to people, sorry.  If you want smalltalk, I appreciate that.  I’ll do my best.  So, uh… what are you doing after you’re done helping us?”  

Judge offered a wan smile then walked over to the window and pointed out over the glistening sea.  “I’m going that way.”  

“Uh…” Chance walked to the window and looked out across it.  “Where?”  

“Directly in front of my finger, kid.  Barcelona.  And no, I’m not Karla. I don’t speak French or Spanish.  Just German.  But there’s a spot in the sand on Barceloneta Beach waiting for me.  Beautiful palm trees, beautiful women….”

“I thought Spain was up too high for palm trees.”  

“You thought wrong,” said Judge.  “The world is tilted, son.  Florida is even with the Sahara Desert on a flat world map, but it’s not desert-like.  Did you fail Social Studies or something?”  

Chance sighed and stuffed his hands into his pockets.  

“It’s a little like San Francisco, not too hot and not too cold.  Less fog, though.  And yes, they put palm trees on the beach this time of year for tourists like me.  They’re charming.  We don’t have them in Germany.  And it’s less crowded there than Catalans, the beach around the corner from here.  What can I say?  I like beaches.  You ready to go?  Because I wanna get moving when she gets out of the bathroom.”

“I’m ready.  What’s the plan?”  

Karla stepped from the bathroom.  “Here’s the plan, gang: We go out to the van,” she cut her eyes to Chance, “and you ask why a French Road with a seaside vista is named after JFK.  Then we drive, we hit a tunnel, and we pass trains, boats, and eventually come to a building.  Is that about right?”

Judge glanced back at her and nodded.  “Let’s get started then.”  

“In broad daylight?”  

“Ja, in broad daylight.”  Michael opened the hotel door and held it for Karla and Chance then led them out to the parking lot of the hotel.  The van was ready and waiting.  

She gave Chance a pat on the rump and said, “After all this mess, I’ll teach you to drive.  We’ll make up a temporary alias – yes I know people who can help with that – then I’ll make sure you get your license.  Sound good?”

He nodded emphatically.  “Sure does.”

X
X


June 21st, 2:30pm
Marseille, France…

“Dear God, what is that thing?”  Chance backed slowly away from the broken glass stasis chamber.  It went from the floor to the ceiling, permanently fixed in place. Soft mist floated about the broken glass tube from the nearby cooling tanks, which filtered in through metallic hoses that attached above and below the unit.  

Congealed blood lined the break in the glass.  Michael knelt down by a puddle and used the backside of a ballpoint pen to dab it.  “It’s coagulated.”  

“What’s that mean?” asked Chance.  

“I thought you were a mind-reader, kid?”

“He’s in training, and he doesn’t understand your infatuation with the viscosity of blood,” Karla announced.  She glanced to Chance and, in a more personal tone, said, “It means it’s sludgy; not runny anymore.”  She looked around the sub-level laboratory with a pensive frown.  “This is the first one that doesn’t have a body in it.  This place just gets creepier by the minute.  Why would the mirror be here?”  

“No idea, kiddo.”  

“Don’t use Nathanial’s pet names for me, please.”  She tilted her head, glancing at more equipment off to the left.  “Talk about science-fiction.  This place is overkill.”

Michael kept a stern look on his face.  “Fine.  But you still look like a kid.  Anyway, we should find this mirror quickly before we find more than we’ve bargained for.  This place gets weirder the deeper we go.”  

Chance bit his lower lip.  “Other than the guard out front, I’ve not seen a single person here… and this place is a maze.  It’s freakishly dim in here.”  

Karla lifted her head, looking up at the pipes and cables that ran across the ceiling.  “Yeah… look at it from the perspective of the owner.  If no one is inside this facility, why run the electricity bill up?  I’m sure they’re using enough as it is to power these glass pods.”  She glanced back at the broken tube.  “The glass is on the floor, not inside the goop at the bottom of that tube.  It looks like whatever was inside… came out on its own without help.”  

The old man narrowed his eyes, suspicious of the quiet. “Seems that way.  Something nearby has abilities but…” Mike tilted his head, listening to the empty room and electric hum.  “I can’t get much of a reading on it.”  He moved closer to the tube and looked it over carefully.  “Cloning?”  

“Let’s hope not.  That’s all we need.  People cloning supernaturals.”  

“Ja.  Let’s hope that’s not the case.”  

A strange noise caught everyone’s attention.  It didn’t sound close, but certainly sounded animalistic, and came from somewhere else on the first sub-floor.  A metallic object warbled in the distance, sounding like a hubcab on a tile floor.  

“Maybe sixty feet away,” Mike said in a hushed tone.

“I feel hungry.” Chance’s voice was a soft murmur.  “Not sure why.  I know I just ate on the way here.”  

“Could be sympathy sensations,” Karla whispered, turning to the left.  

Michael turned right, his back to Karla’s.  Chance saw they way they came together to keep anything from sneaking up on them.  He turned about, his back to theirs, so the trio faced in all directions, ready for anything.  

And that’s when the boy saw it… a grotesque creature with two arms and two legs.  Deformed and deeply flawed, ribs jutted from the flesh of its chest in several places.  It had claws on its hands, several inches long.  

Karla tensed up.  “Mike, over here.  …God, and I thought my rib hurt.  Look at that thing.  It’s coming towards us.  What now?”  

Michael turned about and came alongside of Chance.  “I don’t know, kiddo…er… Karla.  That thing looks like it got friendly with a shrapnel bomb and lived to tell.  Boy, I hope your hunger isn’t sympathy sensations.  I don’t want that thing to be hungry.  I’ve seen too many damn zombie flicks to want that thing to be a zombie.”  

Karla closed her hands into fists with a frown.  “Get ready, guys.  Whatever it is, it’s coming right towards us.”  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Uh oh, what did our heroes stumble onto now...?

Keywords
male 645,471, female 525,707, human 47,596, fantasy 11,777, sci-fi 2,587, succubus 2,345, creature 2,330, unknown 1,729, scifi 1,465, science fiction 657, sci fi 206, paradoxical invention of the usb drive 1
Details
Type: Writing - Document
Published: 5 years, 5 months ago
Rating: Mature

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