Sunday, June 1, 2014

Angel of Death 1.07 A Smile That Never Fails

            Jack and Percy sat waiting for their associate to arrive.  Their organization was looking to establish a foothold in this territory, and wanted to do so quickly.  Up until recently, it had been occupied by a much lesser competitor, the Black Death, and it wasn’t valuable enough for gaining control of it to be worth the effort it took to expel another organization.  Now, though, it was free.  That is, if their organization could establish a foothold quickly, before anyone else did.

            Percy checked his watch.  “Dude, it’s after 1:00.  He was supposed to be here half an hour ago!”

            “Be patient man.  He’ll be here soon.”

            The doorbell rang.  “See,” Jack said, “told you.”

            Jack got up and opened the door.  A strange woman stood before him.  She looked to be around twenty, but was dressed in a “Hello Kitty” shirt which looked far too small for her.  It had been cut apart, and patches of black fabric had been added to make it fit better.  It was still quite tight.  The woman had blond hair, which was done up in two pony tails with large pink bows.  Her jeans were also too small, ending about half way down her calves.  Her entire outfit was sprinkled randomly with plastic jewels embedded in the fabric.

            “Hi there,” she said.  Her voice was high-pitched.

            “Um… are you the associate?”

            “No,” she said.  “He was mean, so I had to make his head go boom.”

            Jack’s eyes widened.  “What?” he asked.

Percy pulled out his pistol.  “What did you just say?”

“Aw.  Don’t tell me you’re a meanie too?  I hoped I’d have enough bullets left that I could spend some of my ammo money on a Princess Twilight doll.”

“You son of a bit--”

“Don’t be a potty mouth.  That’s not nice to do in front of a lady.”

“Who are you?” Percy asked.

“My name is Pretty Pink Ponytails,” the woman said.  She stepped out of the way of the door.  Percy fired a shot, but too late to hit her.  Jack pointed his gun at the door.  She reappeared with her own gun drawn.  It was spray-painted bright blue.

Percy and Jack kept their guns pointed at her head, and she kept her gun pointed at his.

“Don’t you do anything,” Percy said.

“Do anything?  Why would I want to do anything?” she said.  “It’s not like you’re trespassing into the Black Death’s turf or anything.”

“That’s right, we’re not.  The Black Death is gone.”

The woman shook her head.  “No, no, no, they just had a few things to replace is all; well, people.  You know, the ones that are all squirmy, but you can have fun making them scream?  Anyways, the Black Death has become a subsidiary of our organization, and they’re better than ever!”

“What organization?”

“Oh, wouldn’t you love me to tell you.  Sadly, it’s time for you to go bye-bye.”  She squatted down.  Immediately upon seeing her move, both Jack and Percy shot at the space where her head had been.  They both missed.  She shot Percy in the head before he could react, and then aimed her gun at Jack.  She giggled and stepped into the house.  The two moved around the room in a circle until Jack’s back was to the door.  “You know, if you leave, I might consider letting you live.  We could use someone to go back to your nest and tell the others about how anyone who comes in here is gonna have to play with me.”

“Not a chance.”

“Shame.  Oh well, I guess there’s nothing left to say but ‘Now.’”  Jack felt excruciating pain in his neck.


            “Nice job!” Pretty Pink Ponytails said.

            “Don’t… mention it,” Zachary said.  He was breathing in gulps.

            “No, I mean it big bro.”

            Zach smiled.  “Thanks,” he said.

            The two put their guns away and headed home.  While Zach walked, his sister skipped along.  She whispered a nursery rhyme of her own concoction.  “Pretty Pink Pony Tails leaves a lot of bloody trails.  Bones crack, at my attack.  It brings a smile that never fails.”  She repeated it for a while as they got in their car and drove home.


            Cody held the Birthday present Cherie had given him.  He ripped the paper off the box, and saw a cell phone.  His face lit up as he looked up at Cherie.

            “Thank you.” he said, smiling at her.

            “Woah, sweet, man,” Lester said.

            Cherie smiled back.  “It’s brand new.  It can get internet, and there should be a pair of head phones in the smaller box next to it.”

            “But what about the bill?” Cody asked.

            “Don’t you worry about that,” Cherie’s father said, “we’ll take care of it.”

            Cody’s mother looked at Cherie’s father.  “You’re not serious?”

            “Anything for someone who loves my little girl so much.”

            Cody and his parents lit up.  “Thank you so much,” Cody’s mother said.

            “Well, that’s the last of the presents,” Cherie’s mother said, “shall we move on to the cake?”

            “Can we do that in a minute?” Cody asked.  “I’d like to try out this phone first.”

            “Sure,” Cherie’s mother said.

            Cody grunted as he tried to force the box open.

            “Need some help with that?” Cherie asked.

“No.  Hold o--” Cody dropped the box

            “I’ll go get some scissors.”

            “No.  Don’t bother.  I can handle i--”

            Cherie had already gone off to get them.  Cody struggled with the box for a minute or so before she got back.

            Cherie sat down next to him and held up the scissors.  After a few more seconds, Cody gave it to Cherie, who opened it and handed it back to Cody.

            Cody looked over it for a second.  He pressed the only button he could find.  He then held it down for a second.

“The button to turn it on is there,” Cherie said, pointing to a thin button on the side of the phone.

“Oh, thank you.”

“No problem.”

Cherie walked him through the next several steps in getting the phone to access a YouTube video, and explained how to make a call.  Once Cody was satisfied that he had a basic command of the phone, they sat down to have chocolate cake.  Cherie’s father had to leave for work, but Cody, Cherie, Lester, Lester’s sister, and the other parents had a good time.


            Agent Lambert reported to his office at D.I.A.P.P., the Division for the Investigation and Appropriation of Paranormal Phenomena.  He sat down.  He smiled as he looked at a picture of his family that sat on his desk.  Another agent entered his office.

            “Agent Lambert,” she said, “did you deliver it?”

            “Yes,” he said.  “The boy has the phone.”

            “Good,” she said, “and who’s going to be in charge of sorting through all of the conversations he has about porn, or girls, or science fiction to find the bits which might tell us if he’s a Paranormal?

            “Put Nichols on that.”

            “Yes, Sir.”  The agent nodded and left.


            Zachary entered his sister’s workroom.  She had an agent from a rival cartel tied up and hanging from the ceiling by his wrists.

            “Now we’re going to play a game, alright mister?  I love games.  Do you love games?  I love games.  This game’s called ‘Tell Me When and Where the Shipment is Coming or I Use This Sander to Grind Off Various Parts of Your Body Before Bashing Your Head In.’ Now I love to know when and where the shipment is coming, and I’d also love to press this sander against various parts of your body before bashing your head in, so it really makes no difference to me.  It’s all up to you really.”  She smiled as she turned on the sander.  It buzzed.

            “Fuck you…”

            She wagged her finger.  “Sorry, wrong answer.  Don’t worry though, everything but your hand gets to guess again.”  Pretty Pink Ponytails grabbed the struggling man’s hand and held up to the sander.

            “Sis,” Zachariah said.

            Pretty Pink Ponytails turned around.  “Oh, hi bro.”

            “I need to talk to you about something.”

            “Great!  I’ll be there is a minute.”  She pressed the man’s hand against the sander.  He screamed.

            “I really think we should talk right away.  I’ll get Dice on this guy.”

            “Aww… C’mon, can’t it wait until I’m done playing?”

            “No.  Come right now.”

            Pretty Pink Pony Tails frowned, crossed her arms, and followed.  As he walked out, Zach motioned for one of the other gangsters to interrogate the man.  They walked into Zach’s bedroom.  They both sat on Zach’s bed.

            “Someone’s been killing our agents.”

            “Oh, that’d be me.  I caught the guy who runs the meth lab trying to scrape some product off the top.  He was scrumptious.”

            “No, not you, the Angel of Death.”

            “Oh, I know.  You knew he would too.  Didn’t you say it was one of the hazards of taking this territory?”

            “Yes, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do anything about it.”

            Pretty Pink Ponytails sat and thought for a moment.  “That’s true,” she said.  “Oh, how about this.  We kill him!”

            “That’s easier said than done.  He can do… things that normal people can’t and--”

            “So?  We’ll just find out how he works.  Throw some of our men at him, give them different weapons, and see which ones come back.”

            “And if none of them come back?”

            “Then we send more men with even more weapons!  Then one of them comes back and tells us exactly what’s going on--”

            “I don’t know how well they’ll be able to guess anything while fighting for their lives.  Besides, what if one of them figures out something useful but is still killed?”

            “Hmm… That’s true.  I know!  How about you go along and watch them.”


            “Yeah, you!  You’re smart and strong enough that you’ll be able to keep track of what’s going on, and get away.”

            Zach took a deep breath.  “I’m flattered.”

            “Great then, go create a crime in his area tonight, and keep trying until something attracts him.”

            “Couldn’t we find a plan which better handles our human resources?”

            “Probably if we thought about it long enough, but it’s not really worth it, is it?  We have plenty of new recruits to throw at him.  Ooh, get some of the ones we took in from the Black Death.  They’ll probably be more motivated.  A lot of their people have been killed by him!”

            Zach put his head down and took a deep breath.  “Alright,” he said.


            Cody went out of his room to go hunting.  He had grown used to the procedure of climbing out of his window and hunting for a soul to feast on.  As he set out, obeying his grumbling stomach, he smelled a strong fear coming from the East.  He had learned over time to tell which fears were genuine and which ones were from horror movies or practical jokes.  Generally, the stronger the fear, the more likely it was to be authentic.

            As he got close to the fear he had sensed, he saw four men cornering a woman in an alley.  They all had guns.  As he came close, he could smell another fear coming from across the street, where a man with binoculars was perched in a shadow, probably thinking that somehow concealed him from Cody.

            That was strange.  Was this a trap?  Probably, but Cody was confident he could handle anything of human origin.  Besides, there was a woman in danger.  If she were part of a setup, she’d not be this afraid

            Cody leapt into the alley in his shadowy cloud.  The four men turned around.  When they saw him, they took on an intense scent of fear.  Nonetheless, they all pulled out weapons.  One a pistol, another a grenade, another an AK-47 and the last a Molotov cocktail.

            Cody went straight after the man with the grenade.  The men with the guns were shooting at him.  Cody felt the gunshots slice through him, but it caused no pain.  No number of holes in his lich form would ever be a problem.  The man with the grenade was unwilling to arm it until he could safely throw it a good distance away.  Cody grabbed him and ate his soul before he got that chance.  The woman was still cowering in the corner.

            Cody pounced on and devoured the man with the Molotov cocktail.  The two men fired at him with their guns, but he was able to walk towards them uninterrupted, and eat both of their souls.  Next, he approached the woman, inflicted his usual amnesia and unconsciousness on her, and destroyed all of the men’s bodies.

            He turned around.  The man was still there.  Cody approached the man.  As Cody came closer, the man stood up and ran away.


            “Drat!” Zachary shouted.  The Angel of Death was on to him.  The cloud that raced towards him smelled like a noxious corpse.  After only five seconds or so of running, he was tackled against the pavement.  He could see nothing while inside the black cloud, but could feel a humanoid shape holding him.  He tried to wiggle loose of its grasp, but it was too strong.  Its smell was overpowering.

            “Who are you?” it asked.

            Zachary could feel himself sweating beads.  “Uh… I’m Zackar… I mean… fuck.  I’m Zachariah.  Zachariah Fischer!”

            “Don’t lie to me.”

            Zachary took a deep breath through his mouth, so as to avoid the Angel’s smell.  “I’m Zachary Shepherd,” he said.  “Please, don’t kill me.  I promise I won’t tell anyone about what I saw.”

            “Why were you watching?”

            Zachary thought for a moment, still sweating.  “I was peeping,” he said. “I get off on watching those kinds of rapes okay?”

            The Angel hissed.  “How dumb do you think I am?”

            “None!  I mean, uh, not at all.  Sir.”

            “Then tell me the truth.”

            Zachary thought.  After a moment, he thought of something.  He cried.  “Look, I can’t tell you anything.  If I do, they’ll kill me, okay?”

            Zachary heard nothing for a moment.  “If someone’s threatening you, you can go to the police.”

            “They won’t be able to help,” Zach said.  He couldn’t believe it.  It was working.  It was really working.

            “That’s rarely true.  Now, tell me what’s going on.”

            “I… I…”  Zach heard the sound of a police siren.  He had never been this happy to hear that sound in his life.  He heard the police cars stop within earshot.  “Help!  Help!” he shouted.

            After a few seconds, the Angel ran off.  Zach sat up, taking deep breaths.

            The police came over.  Zach told them a modified version of what had happened.  They told him to go down to the police station and file a report, which he agreed to do with glee.  When he asked, they told him they’d been called because someone had heard gunshots in the area.  After they looked around, one of them finding the woman his guys had been abusing, he went down to the station with them and filed a report, being sure to alter events to rid himself of any guilt, and paint the Angel of Death in the worst light he could.


            The next day, after school, Cody was at Cherie’s house.  The two were sitting on her couch watching television.  Cody’s phone rang.  He reached over to grab it.  He picked it up.  It was Lester.

            “Hey, man!”

            “Oh, hi Lester.”  Cody turned to Cherie.  “May I take this?”

            “Yes,” she said, pausing their show, “please don’t be too long though?”  Cody nodded as he left the room.

            “You said there was something you wanted to talk about?”

            “Yes,” Cody said.  “After I got home from Cherie’s,” he grumbled.



            “Okay then.  What was it?”

            “Last night, I was out hunting like usual, and I ran across a group of four people cornering a woman.  When I went up to rescue her, they turned around.  They didn’t seem surprised by my being there, and they all had different weapons.  One had a machine gun, one had a pistol, and the others had a grenade and a Molotov cocktail.”

            “A grenade?”

            “Yes, a grenade.  This was the first time I was ever afraid of a human, even though I wound up managing to eat all four of them.”

            “Where… where do you think he got it?”

            “That’s the thing.  The only way he’d have it is if he was connected to a big crime group, one with the resources to get something like that.”

            “Woah.  So, what do you plan to do?”

            “Well, I was going to talk to you about ideas.  Right now I’m already planning to ask Bavandersloth about some kind of combat training.”  Cody took a deep breath, and gulped.  “I’m also planning to interrogate one of the souls I got from that encounter.”


            “This is serious.  If they have grenades and Molotov Cocktails, and know I’m vulnerable to them--”

            “Wait, how would they know?”

“There was a guy across the street watching the whole thing with binoculars.  I wasn’t able to get anything out of him except his name, which turned up nothing, and the police showed up before I could eat him.  I had to run away.  If he was paying attention, he would have noticed how I ignored the bullets and went straight for the men with the grenade and cocktail.  It’s possible that they won’t figure it out, but I want to be sure I’m prepared if they do.”

Cherie called from the other room.  “Cody, you coming back?”

“Yes, Cherry.” Cody said.  “Look, can you call me back later?  Cherie’s waiting on me and--”

“Don’t worry bro, I got ya.”  Lester hung up.  Cody went back over to Cherie on the couch.  She continued the show.


            Zachariah called his sister into his bedroom to talk about what he’d seen.

            “What’s up big bro,” she said as she entered.  There were blood spatters on her clothes and face.  They looked fresh.

            “He came last night.”

            “He did?  What happened?  Did any of the weapons work?”

            “The Angel killed all of them,” Zachariah said.  He tried to hide the tear he shed.

            “Aww, don’t cry big bro,” she said.  “We have plenty more.”

            Zachariah took a deep breath.  “The cloud was hit many times with the bullets from both guns.  Neither one did anything.  The Angel went straight for the ones with the grenade and Molotov Cocktail.”

            “Aww… It didn’t get thrown at him?  I wanted to see what would happen.”

            Zack took a deep breath.  “Do you plan to go after him at this point?”

            Pretty Pink Ponytails nodded her head.  “Yep.  I’ll get away if it doesn’t work, so there’s no reason not to.  If he went straight for them that might be because he recognized that they were the biggest threats.  It might be that you can kill him with fire or an explosion.  I love explosions.”

            “Indeed you do.  So, how many do you plan to bring?”

            “Oh, I think four grenades and seven or eight cocktails should do nicely.  I’ll get started on making them right now.  Could you take care of the interrogation for me?  I’ve sanded off three fingers already and he’s still not agreed to talk.  I don’t know how much more of this he can live through.”

            “I’ll get there right away.”

            “Awesome.”  She skipped off, singing her usual rhyme.


            The next day, Cody went to see Bavandersloth.  Bavandersloth turned and looked at Cody when he entered the library.  “Hello,” he said.

            “Hello,” Cody said, setting down some books he’d checked out.  “There’s something I’d like to talk to you about.”

            “Oh?” Bavandersloth said.  “Would you like to go into the back room?”


            “Alright then.”

            The two went into the back room.  “What is it you want?”

            “Is there some kind of lich combat training or something like that?”

            Bavandersloth raised an eyebrow.  “Why do you ask?”

            “I find myself coming under threat over and over again,” Cody said, “I’d like to have some kind of training, something to make me a better fighter.”

            “I see.  Well, there are many, including myself, who are qualified to provide you with magical training.  All we’d have to do is come up with some afterschool activity to use as cover.”

            “Alright.  What do you usually use for cover?”

            “In your case, some school-based club.  Something your parents won’t wonder why they aren’t paying for.  Then you can come to it with me after school as often as is convenient, and we’ll give you your training there.”

            “Alright.  That sounds good.”

            “Of course, just because your parents won’t be paying for it doesn’t mean it’s actually free.”

            “Oh.  Well I don’t have much money--”

            “No, not money.  I have plenty of that.  Usually, when liches wish to pay each other for services, they lease their souls out.”

            Cody’s eyes widened.  “That’s not acceptable.”

            “I thought not.  I’m open to another arrangement, but I can’t think of anything else I’m interested in; nothing you’d have anyway, or be able to get.  I don’t really need access to your territory, and there’s not much you could do for me other than let me use your sou--” Bavandersloth stopped.  “Actually, I just thought of something.”


“You could agree to heal for me.  I don’t currently have anyone for that.  It won’t do me much good at first, but once you’re an adult and can move around the world freely, it could be useful.  A lot of liches have similar powers to yours, but they’re usually do-gooder types who don’t last very long - no offense.  I honestly thought you were going to meet the same fate back with Kaburlduth, but the fact that you didn’t shows that with training, you just might be able to last long enough to be useful to me.”

“Uh… okay.  Thanks, I think.”

“It’s the highest compliment I can give.  Anyways, do we have a deal?”

“Oh, Yes,” Cody said.

“Alright then.  When do you want to start?”

            “As soon as possible.  Ideally within the next few days.”

            “Alright.  I should be able to have a cover up and running by then.”


            Cody sat alone in his bedroom.  It was daytime, but the blinds were drawn, blanketing his room in twilight.  He had already done this once before, but he still hesitated.  How important was it that he knew exactly what was going on here?  How likely would it be that it’d make the difference between undeath and death?  How exactly would knowing who was behind that attack help?  Either way, he’d still be facing an ambush soon.  It didn’t take a world class detective to figure out that that encounter had been an attempt to probe him for weaknesses, and since Zachary had gotten away, he had probably been able to report his findings to whoever he was working for.  What difference did knowing who that was make?

            Well, it might allow him to make a preemptive strike.  Indeed, such a strategy might be advisable if he wished to preserve himself in operation.  Letting himself go out of commission for a month, his fate if his form was destroyed, would leave his friends and family vulnerable to both this new threat and Valthakar.

            Cody hung his head down, and cried for a few minutes before summoning one of the souls he had taken that night.

            The soul entered.  Cody never liked the look of digested souls.  When he took them from his victims, souls looked like glowing white orbs, and he was sure that they’d be pleasing to the eye even if it weren’t for how appetizing he found them.  Just thinking about them made him salivate.  After he was done with them, though, they were translucent globs about four times their previous size.  They were very lumpy in structure, and their lumps moved around and pulsated.

“What is it, Master?” the soul asked.

“Please do not address me as that.”

The soul bowed its head for a moment.  “My apologies, sir.”

Cody took a deep breath and looked up at the soul.  “I need you to tell me who you were working for on the night I ate you.  Be specific and detailed.”  A few seconds after finishing, Cody looked away.

“We were working for a gang called the Selechii Syndicate, a large group, with territories from along the coast.  It’s currently trying to establish itself in this territory--”

“It’s what?”

“It’s trying to establish itself in this territory.  This might not be prime turf, but you can sell things here just fine, and no one’s really guarding it.”

Cody’s eyes widened.  He had been under the impression that no one would go for this territory.  The last thing he wanted were bloody gang wars over his neighborhood.  The soul continued.  “Anyways, we were assigned by the leader of what’s basically the enforcement division to go after you and try to find your weak spots.  We were chosen because we were recruited from the Black Death after you forced one of my brothers to rat on its leaders.  Given that you had killed a few of my friends, I wanted to help kill you.  We were supposed to commit a crime of our choice every night.  We did so, and a few nights in, you showed up.  You saw everything after that.”

“Why were you probing me for weaknesses?  Is someone else going to ambush me?”

“Yeah.  Her name is ‘Pretty Pink Ponytails.’”

Cody squinted and tilted his head.  “Pretty Pink what?”

“I know she doesn’t sound like much, but trust me.  She’s a psycho.  She’s like, twenty, but she dresses like a six year old.  She talks like one too.  That might make her sound weak, but I’ve never seen anyone kill like she can.  If she knows about your weak spots, you’re going to die.”

Cody took a deep breath.  “Do you have any advice on how to beat her?”


“Can you tell me where she lives?”

“No.  They don’t give me that kind of information.”

“Very well.  Will she have any backup?”

“I don’t know.  She usually goes out with her brother, the leader I mentioned earlier, so I hear, and I’ve heard he sometimes helps her fight.  But other than that, she should be alone.”

Cody sighed in relief, wiping a tear from his eye.  “Very well then, you may go.”

“Actually, there’s one other thing I want to say, if I may speak freely?”

Cody looked up at the soul.  “What?”

“Fuck you,” the soul said.  “You’ve killed me and five of my friends, and you forced one of them to betray his brothers and sell out his leaders, people he looked up to, so you could kill them too.  I hope that Pretty Pink Ponytails kills the fuck out of you, and I hope it hurts.”  The soul seemed to look down, as though it were trying to cry.  “If I’d seen then what I’m seeing my mother go through now, watching her cry about me, I’d never have joined the Black Death.”  He seemed to look back up.  “But to you, I’m just some criminal for you to eat.  Please, do us all a favor and set yourself on fire.”  The soul left.

Cody sat there for a second before lying back.  He cried. Of course the world would be better if he could kill himself.  But he couldn’t, and he had to eat.  One day, he hoped, he would get to a place where his loved ones didn’t need him to protect them, and someone truly on the side of good would smash his cube.  That would be a wonderful day for everyone.


            A few days later, Cody was out hunting.  He sniffed a strong fear trail.  He headed for it.  As he neared its source, he heard a voice coming from the alley.  It sounded like a little girl giggling.  Cody crept as close as he could, hoping for a closer look.  He saw a woman wearing a pink T-shirt.  It’d been cut up, and black fabric had been sewn into it.  Cody wondered if this was the woman who planned to ambush him.  She had cornered another woman in an alley, and was torturing her with a knife.  She had evidently taken some measure to prevent her from screaming.

            Cody would have fired a magical blast, but that’d also have killed her victim.  He had to approach.  He spread his cloud of darkness as widely as could while still ensuring he wasn’t in the center.  He rushed in, trying to tackle her to the ground.  The woman with the knife was able to see him coming and step out of the way.  He fell on his face.

            “Oh hi there,” she said, “It’s nice to see you finally show up.  Finding a random chick off the street to make cuts in was fun at first, but it’s starting to get boring to have to work without my special room of toys.”

            Cody ignored her and got back up.  He fired a magical blast at her, but she was able to move out of its way too.  It left a crater in the cement where it landed.  She reached into her belt and got out a Molotov cocktail.  Cody started running away as she lit it.  She threw the cocktail, but the distance allowed him to dodge it.

            “Aww, you made me waste it,” she said, smiling and giggling.  “Don’t be sad though, I have plenty more.”

            Cody tried to hit her again while she prepared the next one, but he missed.  As she lit the cocktail she moved in front of the woman she’d been torturing.  “Try throwing one of those sparkly things at me now.”

            Cody looked around.  He had to figure something out.  There were some boxes piled up in the corner.  There was a puddle of water near the center of the alley.  There was a cell phone, presumably belonging to the woman Pretty Pink Ponytails had cornered, a few feet away from him.  That gave him an idea.  As Pretty Pink Ponytails hurled her next cocktail at him, he lunged for the phone.  He was able to pick it up.  He examined it, and it was still in good working order.  She hadn’t bothered to break it.  He ran around the corner.  He was able to figure out how to call 911.

            “Hello, this is 911, what is your emergency.”

            “I’m near an alley on 344 Barnel Street in Goldfalls California.  There’s a gravely injured woman here and someone is trying to kill me.  She has Molotov cocktails and is good with them.  I’ve been having trouble trying to avoid her.”

            Pretty Pink Ponytails emerged from the alley and hurled another Molotov cocktail at him.  He dove into the street to get out of the way.

            “Did you say Molotov cocktails?”


            “Police and an ambulance are on their way.  Please try to give me any useful details you can.”

            “She might have some grenades as well.”


            “Yes, grenades.  How many police officers did you send?”

            “Let me check.”  There was a pause.  “We sent five squad cars.”

            “That might not be enough.”

            Cody realized he was getting quite far from the alley.  “I’m running from her right now,” he said, “and we’re moving further and further from the original site.”

            “Please try to keep me updated as to your location.  The police are nearly there.  Where are you?”

            “Further down Barnel, exactly how long should it take them to get here?”

            “A few more minutes.”

            Cody ran and spoke for a few more minutes.  He moved with enough speed to force Pretty Pink Ponytails to focus on keeping up with him so she couldn’t throw any cocktails.  Eventually, he heard blaring police sirens.  Pretty Pink Ponytails did too.  She looked over at the police cars as they stopped.  The officers emerged.  There were ten in total.  Two of them pointed their guns at her, and eight at Cody.

            “Put your hands up, both of you” one of the officer’s said, “and you, remove that veil and let us see your pretty face.”

            “Bullets won’t do anything,” Cody said.

            One of the officers shot at him.  “Focus on her,” Cody said.  “She might slip away.”

            “Where’s the one who called 911?” the officer asked.

            “That was me.  As you can see, she has several Molotov cocktails around her waist, and if you go up the street, you’ll find a woman she tortured to attract me.  Now, arrest her.”

            The officer looked at her waist.  “Mam, possessing those items is illegal.  I’m afraid I’m going to need you to come with me.”  Pretty Pink Ponytails’ eyes widened and she gasped.  As the officers approached, she turned around and saw that she was backed against a wall.  She complied as the police handcuffed her.

“Ow.  These are too tight.”  Her complaints were ignored.  The cocktails were confiscated.  While she was being arrested, Cody ran off.  The Officers with their guns pointed at him shot at him, but it had no effect.  Cody smiled.  The woman in the alley would confirm his story, and Pretty Pink Ponytails would be held for a long time for torturing her.  She’d not be a problem anymore, and hopefully this event would discourage any other gangs from trying to enter his area.  Cody smiled for a while, but stopped when he realized that one of his greatest weaknesses was now known to the public, and Williams.  He also remembered that he still needed to feed that night.  The second of those things was worse, though he was more used to it.


            Agent Lambert and one of his underlings looked over a recording of one of Cody’s phone conversations.

            “Last night, I was out hunting like usual, and I ran across a group of four people cornering a woman.  When I went up to rescue her, they turned around.  They didn’t seem surprised by my being there, and they all had different weapons.  One had a machine gun, one had a pistol, and the others had a grenade and a Molotov cocktail,” he heard Cody say.

            “A grenade?” Lester replied.

            “Yes, a grenade.  This was the first time I was ever afraid of a human, even though I wound up managing to eat all four of them,” Cody said.

            Agent Lambert put his head down, and took a deep breath.  So it was confirmed.  Cody Giles was a Class 1 Paranormal Entity, also known as a devourer.  But he wasn’t just a devourer; he was the worst kind of devourer.  The stupid kid who tried to save someone he loved, and wants badly to do the right thing, but who D.I.A.P.P. still has to kill.  Even worse was what it would do to Cherie when she found out Cody had been the Angel.  She’d be more crushed than she already was from knowing that it was someone she loved.  Still, it had to be done.  No one, not even criminals, should ever be allowed to suffer the fate that befell a devourer’s victims.

            The Conversation continued.  “That’s the thing,” Cody said.  “The only way he’d have it is if he was connected to a big crime gang, one with the resources to get something like that, and based on the way they attacked me, I’m pretty sure I was their target.”

            That was bad.  The last thing D.I.A.P.P needed was for the criminal underworld to learn any more about the real one.

            “Weird.  So, what do you plan to do?” Lester asked.

“Well, I was going to talk to you about ideas.  Right now I’m already planning to ask Bavandersloth about some kind of combat training.”

            Bavandersloth?  So he was involved in this?  Of course he would be.  His name seemed to come up with fully a third of new devourers, and almost all of the ones who broke the rules.  They had already suspected that he might be in the area.

            He turned to the agent with him.  “Agent Brooks, I need you to check for any signs you can find of Bavandersloth.  Look for the usual effect he has on his neighbors.”

One thing that was known about Bavandersloth was that he had the power to destroy, or to give and take, information and knowledge.  This included the ability to infuse anyone with a false belief, often the belief that he had always lived in what was, in fact, the house of the first victim upon his arrival in a new location.  This wasn’t too hard to detect, it would always leave a missing person with a house registered to them, and any visitor to the house would come away believing that a tall white man in his thirties with brown hair and eyes lived there.

“I’m also planning to interrogate one of the souls I got from that encounter,” Cody could be heard saying.  His sadness was evident in his voice.  Agent Lambert hoped that Cody would be one of the ones who wanted to die.  In the past, he had gotten a thank you or two as he took out a guilt-ridden lich, who regretted his decision and wished to cease tormenting souls.

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