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Urban Arcana Story: Rated R

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#41 Nikki Peppermint

Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 03 April 2005 - 09:10 PM

Langford’s Used Books for a New Age sat well-worn and comfortable-looking at the end of the block, contrasting with the row of modern shops.  The eclectic mixture of businesses lined one side of the street of a relatively quiet part of West Los Angeles.  The inhabitants of the surrounding neighborhoods came from all walks of life and were of differing personalities, ages, and races, but the one thing most had in common was a tolerance of those things which were unusual.  And they minded their own business for the most part.

A hip beauty salon featuring multi-colored wigs and funky hair styles was owned and operated by a 30-something woman whose hair color changed at an amazing rate. Next door, with the rich, fragrant smells of imported and homegrown coffee emanating out from the open door, the local coffee shop was always bustling.  Their pastries were to die for; although, they preferred that claim not be take literally. Two more businesses, a dry cleaners with the best prices around and gift store complete with cards and balloons, filled up the remaining spaces before the block ended at Langford’s.

Adam cruised slowly down past the shops watching the addresses come closer to the one he was searching for.  Daylight still hung in the air, creating longer days and shorter nights—but evil did not always need the cover of darkness to spread.  Spotting the bookstore, Adam turned his van into a long driveway which ran the far length of the building.  Once in the parking lot, he noticed it gave way to an alley that ran parallel to the main street.  Two ways to enter and exit was always an optimal situation.

Another car entered the driveway just as Adam switched off his engine.  He used one of his large side mirrors to peer inside the fancy sports car pulling slowly into the parking lot.  He recognized the elf from earlier.  Well, at least there were two of them now, Adam thought, as the driver of the car pulled in next to his van.

Putting her gear shift in neutral, Rhianna turned off the engine and placed the car in park.  Of the five parking spots designated by freshly painted white lines, Rhianna saw there were two empty places left.  A gray van, which she could not see inside of, and an older Volkswagen Jetta took up two of the spots.  The elf had parked in the one closest to the building.  Rhianna peeled off her faux-leather driving gloves and deposited them on the passenger seat.  Taking a deep breath, more to calm herself than anything, Rhianna opened the door of her car just as the man with the stormy blue eyes came around the back of his van.

When Danica entered the driveway, the elf and the man who’d had the gun were standing behind a gray van. It was barely past seven, so Danica assumed they hadn’t been there long.  Feeling strangely comfortable in this situation, the young woman with the gold and copper hair still in its bun, climbed out of her car, activated the car alarm with her key ring, and joined the other two.

Adam broke the strange silence by smiling encouragingly.  “Well, here we all are…almost all of us,” he commented, not really knowing what else to say about the one who was missing.  

“Yes, here we are,” Rhianna agreed lightly, glancing around as if something would tell them what to do next. But all she saw was the back of the bookstore.

“Perhaps we should just go into the bookstore,” Danica suggested quietly.  “I’m Danica, by the way.  We never had a chance to introduce ourselves….earlier.”

Adam led the two ladies around the side of the building toward the street.  “Adam,” he introduced himself as they walked.  “And you? I feel I should know you,” he remarked to the dark-haired elf.

“You’d know me if I wanted you to know me,” Rhianna said mysteriously, winking at Adam.  Her brown eyes lit up for a moment.

“Oh! You’re Rhianna Sheridan!” he suddenly exclaimed, wondering why he hadn’t realized it before.

The three had reached the sidewalk and the front door of the used bookstore.  A black truck came out of nowhere it seemed and squealed to an annoyed stop along the street in front of the bookstore.  Adam made certain he was standing in front of the two women.

“I knew who you were,” Danica admitted to Rhianna.  “I just wasn’t sure what to say.  I mean, well, considering everything that happened earlier, there really wasn’t a graceful way of bringing it up.”

Rhianna laughed musically, sending small tingles up Adam’s spine.  Danica smiled. Then they all watched as the powerful, bald, dark-skinned man from earlier walked up to them.  Silently, they all stood out front for a few seconds looking at each other. Now that the group was together again, they were caught in that strange connection, only this time Adam had been included.  

Zane had had no intention of showing up tonight—yet here he was, much to his surprise.  

- - - - - - - -

Once he left the mall, he’d managed to bring down the mental veil that blocked out anything to do with Shadow, or so he thought.  He was thinking so hard about not thinking that even when he’d run over a large pothole and bumped his head on the roof of his truck, Zane didn’t even notice.  The next few hours had been spent in his office denying everything that had occurred in the store room. Zane had thrown himself into his work—except he’d kept doing everything wrong or would find himself just sitting and staring out the window, unsure of how long he’d been doing so.  Finally, Zane had had enough and something welled up inside and burst forth.  He grabbed his phone and launched it across the room where it smashed into the plaster, left a rather good-sized dent, and broke into several pieces.  Breathing heavy, Zane glared out at the sun, the good-Shadow symbol of the god Pelor.

“Fine!” he had yelled at the sun in the sky. For some reason he had yelled at something he had no belief in whatsoever. “You want me to go tonight? You want me to admit Shadow exists, don’t you?”

Something snapped inside the ex-Navy Seal who had tried so hard to deny what he was part of, who had only wanted to belong to something larger than himself and do good in the world. He’d found that in the military before it was wrenched away from him and sent him restless and searching out into the world.  All the visions of Shadow he had witnessed over the years, the good and the bad, came flooding into his mind.  He glared at the sun.

“You win,” he said, partly in relief and partly in anger—at everything and at nothing.

- - - - - - - - - -  

“What?” Zane heard himself say, a bit too abruptly, bringing his attention back to the present.

“I said,” Rhianna laughed again, noticing that the tall man in front of her relaxed slightly. “I’m Rhianna, this is Danica, and this is Adam.  Who are you?”

“Oh….I’m Zane.  So, are we gonna to do this or not?”

He reached out and pushed open the wooden door to Langford’s Used Books for a New Age.  A small bell jingled in greeting as the women stepped in first, then the two men.  The shop appeared clean and the setting sun shone its light in from high windows around the shop and the front window.  Except for books and furniture, the large store appeared to be empty.

(Coming soon……..the bookstore and will the team be formed? :wink: )

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 30 May 2007 - 06:33 PM.

#42 Nikki Peppermint

Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 10:20 PM

Landford’s Used Books for a New Age seemed to extend back quite a ways from the door; but that was simply an illusion brought about by the tall bookshelves obscuring a clear view of the back of the store.  In any case, the building was rectangular since three of the visitors now standing inside had walked the length of it as they came down the driveway.  

“Mmmmmmm, smell that?  That’s some fine coffee brewing somewhere in here,” Zane commented, momentarily drawn out of himself.

“I like the smell of the books,” Danica said, smiling as she gazed around at the old wooden bookshelves, their dark wood polished but chipped and scratched in places.

The bookstore had a comfortable, old paper smell—dry, crisp, and a bit musty.  Hanging on the walls, underneath the high windows, were velvet-lined display cases containing ancient weapons, mostly knives and swords.  There was an attempt to organize and label the multitude of books, but Rhianna noticed there were scattered stacks on the floor and piles on the tables.

“I hope the owner can find everything in here,” Adam said, following Rhianna’s glances.

The brunette elf smiled and replied, “Oh, I love how it looks.  Everything is so casual and disorganized, but I bet the owner can put his hands on anything he wants.  I just have a feeling.”

Rhianna felt Zane move up beside her and tilted her head up to look at him.

“Speaking of the owner, “ Zane said restlessly.  “Is anyone actually here, or is this some sort of joke?”

Without warning, an older man, just barely of medium height and slender—almost frail but his head of thick white hair and his twinkling blue eyes giving him an ageless air—, appeared from the dimness of an aisle to their right. “Indeed I am here, Sir!  And I assure you, none of this is a joke.”

Zane, Adam, Danica, and Rhianna all watched the pleasant-seeming man walk around them and lock the front door with a key.  He slipped the key ring back into his pants pocket and turned around.

“We don’t want any unexpected customers.  We have much to discuss, you understand.”  

He seemed quite pleased with their appearance in his bookstore.  None of the four had any sort of cautious feeling about him right offhand.  

Flipping a switch that dimmed the front lights, the proprietor put his palms together and touched his index fingers briefly to his mouth, beaming all the while.  “Come in, come in and follow me,” he motioned with his hand for them to follow and nearly disappeared  down an aisle of books.  This unexpected departure forced the others to hurriedly follow him.  Their footsteps were soundless on the worn, dark green carpeting.

Although Zane did not feel in any danger, he knew the tricks that could be played on the mind, and he kept alert and wary; Danica loved the bookstore but was cautious about this whole situation, and her slight shivering in the warmth of the establishment was merely her usual cold state of being; Rhianna had a million questions to ask; and Adam was of two minds—he wanted to find out everything about this old man and what this was about, but he also reached into his jacket and maneuvered his gun slightly for better access.

The rear of the bookstore contained, surprisingly, a quaint little café.  Surprising both because there was a coffee shop two doors down the block, and because this place just didn’t seem the sort to have such an amenity.

“You’ll have to bear with me waiting on you,” the white haired man apologized as he made his way around the back of the half-circle bar surrounding the small serving area.  “Please, sit at a table.  They’re much more comfortable.”

Rhianna, Zane, Danica, and Adam claimed a chair at one of the four round tables arranged on a hardwood floor.  Adam held the chairs for the women, much to Rhianna’s delight and Danica’s surprise.

“And I’ve been rude not to introduce myself so far….forgive me.  My name is Baron….that’s my first name, not my title,” the white-haired man explained. “Baron Langford, at your service.”

Baron Langford had prepared a snack of homemade cookies, muffins, and dessert crackers and had placed them on a large plate.  He removed the plastic wrap for serving. “I’ll just have some coffee poured and hot water for tea ready in one moment,” Baron continued as he delivered the food.  

Danica pushed her chair back, despite Baron’s protestations as he poured the liquids into containers, and brought the tray of beverages to the table.  Soon, the five inhabitants of the bookstore—as least as far as they knew—were seated around a table.  The silence was a bit awkward but busy while food was taken and fragrant coffee or hot water was poured into various colored cups.

The slender host casually studied his four guests as they served themselves.  He carried on a friendly conversation that ranged from the bookstore itself, the weather, a bit on sports, and even the traffic.  Baron watched as the large, bald man sat alertly in his chair, his back straight and his arms crossed on his chest. He’d quickly poured a cup of coffee but took no food.  He sat thoughtful, silent, and restless.  The beautiful elf moved gracefully and almost as if she were made of liquid as she settled herself comfortably back in the chair with a tea bag hanging out of her cup—herbal tea, at that.  She already felt at home in the bookstore and had drawn her legs up under her.  The blue-eyed man helped himself to a few cookies and his own tea, then sat with his forearms resting on the table, also alert but more relaxed. The tea steeped on the table between his hands. Finally, Baron smiled inwardly at the other young woman—such an unusual hair color—as she couldn’t help but gaze around longingly, ignoring the three muffins she’d placed on her plate.  He thought he’d perhaps found another lover of books. Although, along with her interest in the books, he sensed an uneasiness and could almost see the contemplation going on behind those almond-shaped eyes.

“Well,” Baron Langford finished up his rambling and seemingly-absent minded conversation. “I can’t tell you how pleased I am…truly pleased, that you all showed up.”

“Yeah, exactly why did you…or whoever…want us to come here?” Zane asked bluntly.  He was tired of being in the dark.  It had been a very long and very strange day.  A day Zane would just as soon forget but knew he’d never be able to.

Baron Langford smiled understandingly. “You do deserve an explanation, and so you shall have one.”

Zane was more than ready for this revelation, and the other three at the table turned their full attention to Mr. Langford and his kindly face.

“But first, a round of introductions is in order.  You have me at a disadvantage in that I don’t know your names.”

“Oh!” Rhianna exclaimed.  She had completely forgotten they’d not even told Mr. Langford who they were. “I’ll start.”

She smiled at the older man, and he couldn’t help but smile back at the beautiful elf.  Baron felt a warmth steal over him, and he nearly blushed.  

“Ah, but I know who you are, my dear.  The talented, lovely, and charming Miss Rhianna Sheridan—model and actress extraordinare!”

“Oh, well, you make me blush, Mr. Langford!” the actress said truthfully.  “And that doesn’t happen too often,” she winked.

“My dear, your talent is legendary.  It’s said you’ll go down in cinema and stage history as one of the great stars of all times,” Baron said with a serious expression on his face. “Tell me, by what magic do you keep from being recognized?”

The elf’s embarrassed expression turned to amazement.  “How…how did you know I can keep people from knowing who I am?”

The older man just raised his eyebrows and gave a small smile. “It’s inevitable, my dear, Rhianna.  You couldn’t possibly have the freedom to go about as carefree as you seem without some sort of “help,” shall we say?”

Rhianna laughed finally. “Don’t ask me what exactly it is, because I can’t tell you,” she glanced around at the others who were giving her their full attention. She shrugged. “It’s just something I can do.  I can influence people sometimes, as well as make them not really “see” me, if that makes sense.”

“It does,” Adam nodded and chimed in. “Back at the mall, I could have sworn I knew you, but I just couldn’t place your face with a name.”  

“I’m surprised you even guessed that much,” Rhianna admitted.  “Usually people have no idea who I am if I decide not to be noticed.”

“Hmm, this is good,” Baron Langford remarked, mostly to himself.  Then before anyone could speak, he questioned Rhianna again. “You’ve been in this reality, what, about ten years now?”

The other three, especially Zane and Danica, stared at the actress.  Adam’s thoughts returned to his childhood, but then the memories faded quickly.

“Yes, about ten years now.  I was lucky,” Rhianna smiled at the thought of her adoptive “family.”  “I was taken in by mundanes and taught how to live in this reality.  I managed to use my talents to my advantage and succeed where I know many Shadowkind have failed.”

Baron nodded, pleased with the elf’s apparent knowledge of Shadow.  She would take well the information that he needed to impart.  Then Baron turned to the private investigator.  “And you, Sir…..you are?”

“Huh? Oh, I’m Adam Kenton.  Um, Private Investigator and Sha…,” Adam began then cut himself off.

“Please, go on, Adam…what else do you do?” Baron encouraged.

“I’m a Shadow Hunter……I hunt, well, “things and creatures” that others want found.  However,” he added quickly. “I only take clients who are…shall we say, working for the good of this reality.”

“A what?” Zane asked confusedly, shaking his head.

Baron interjected, “A tracker, a stalker, a finder of lost things and people that come from beyond Shadow.  A most useful occupation indeed.”

“One more question, if I might, Adam?”

Adam nodded.  This was interesting to him, and the PI didn’t mind answering questions this one time.

“You, too are, Shadowkind, are you not? When did you cross over?”

Rhianna, Zane, and Danica looked at Adam in surprise.  They’d had no idea he was Shadowkind—there was no indication.  

“Are you?” Rhianna asked, interested in which race.

Adam nodded and frowned slightly.  The last time he’d tried to speak of his past was to his wife…ex-wife…and look where that got him.  A divorce and separation from his only daughter.  But these people were different, Adam thought, especially Rhianna.  “I am a Shadowkind Human.  There are many realities where the inhabitants are human, the same as here in this reality.  My family and I, and a few other families, came over somehow when I was just a small child.  My original home was quite far behind in technology, but this reality is all I remember clearly.”

“But,” Danica leaned forward. “You seem so…normal, so human.  No offense, Rhianna, I just mean I can tell you’re an elf, but Adam just seems like a mundane.”

Rhianna smiled to show she had taken no offense.

“Hey!” Adam said.  “Watch who you call a mundane,” he teased Danica who blushed but grinned.

Baron smiled indulgently, pleased to see these four getting along.  Well, three of them, at any rate.  He turned to Zane, still with his arms crossed and a crease on his brow.  The older man nodded encouragingly.

“And your name is…?”

“Zane Merrick.  I work at a church doing the administration work.” He glanced sideways at Danica, wondering if the young woman had ever seen him there; however, she gave no indication if she had.

“Yes, that’s what you do now,” Baron nodded.  “Tell me, Zane, how long has it been since you’ve been out of the military.  It would be good to be part of a team again, don’t you think?”

For a moment Zane stared at the old man.  He shook bald head slightly as if to clear it. “How’d you know…never mind, don’t tell me.  Yeah, I was in the military for quite a while until I got this.”

Zane rolled up the short sleeve on his left arm to expose his very muscular bicep.  A large jagged scar wound its way around the arm as if someone had tried to literally slice off his arm from multiple directions.  “It healed completely, but not before the Navy honorably discharged me.”

The ex-Navy Seal gave no response regarding Mr. Langford’s comment about being on a team again, but Zane had to admit to himself it sounded a hell of a lot better than just wasting his days the way he had been these past years.  

Baron nodded understandingly and turned finally to Danica.  She blushed suddenly and looked shyly down at the table then returned to meet Mr. Langford’s kindly blue eyes..  She still hadn’t come to a decision about this situation, but she was liking these people at the table a great deal for some reason.  Her brain and her heart continued to drag her in opposite directions.  She self-consciously picked up her tea, her claws making a clicking sound on the ceramic.

“My dear,” Baron said gently. “It’s no use thinking so intensely about what is meant to be.  It’s going to happen with or without you worrying over it.  Now, who are you?”

A liberating relief flooded through Danica, and she smiled.  “I'm Danica….Danica Owens.”

“And you are a Dragonblooded Human, yes?”

For the first time Danica wasn’t hesitant to admit this fact.  Rhianna said ‘ah ha’ because she’d known the girl was some sort of Shadow Creature.

“My ancestors…many generations ago…were gold and copper dragons.  They’re part of the ‘good’ ones,” she explained, knowing the reputations of dragons. “They intermarried in their human form with Shadowkind humans and those mundanes who understood until most of the offspring just had certain dragon features.”

She waved her claws in the air.  “Most mundanes just see very long, gold-painted nails,” she explained.  “But what about Zane?  He’s some sort of Shadow Human, isn’t he?”

Everyone turned their attention to the man with the caramel-colored skin.  Trying to lean back further in his chair, Zane sighed and resigned himself to explaining. “Yeah. Snakeblooded Human.  But I don’t know anything about how or why.  I never asked.   I…I’ve tried to deny the fact for most of my life,” he admitted.

Everyone was silent for a few minutes, digesting everything they’d heard so far.  Tea and coffee were sipped and a few bits of food were nibbled upon; but mostly everyone was now incredibly curious as to what was to come next.  A clock in the bookstore chimed 8:00, but no one paid much notice.

Baron rubbed his thin-skinned but strong-looking hands together, then took another sip of tea.  “Now, you need an explanation of why you are here.”

“Finally!” Zane said.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 10 April 2005 - 07:11 PM.

#43 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 09 April 2005 - 10:25 PM

Danica glanced over at him in exasperation.  This time Zane looked somewhat apologetically at her and shrugged.  She shook her head but gave a small grin.

“Ryon, one of the half elves from this afternoon, informed me of your…heroics, shall we say, in saving Neda this afternoon.  You may or may not know a bit of the story, to one degree or another, that I’m about to tell you; however, I think you all will find it very interesting.”

“As you may or may not know, the fabric of reality is not always stable.  And lately the wall of reality has become thinner—fantastic creatures, powers, and items are passing into this world through a boundary known only as ‘Shadow’.  Some new arrivals are good,”  Baron glanced at Rhianna and Adam and smiled.  

“Or at most, frightened and confused, and these beings sometimes need help. But others…others, I’m afraid are pure evil.  And all of them are here to stay—the trip through Shadow is one way.  Now, whether good or evil, these new arrivals only dimly recall where they originally came from; indeed, passage through Shadow robs them of all but the most superficial memories. Is this correct?” Baron questioned Adam and Rhianna with a look.

Both the elf and the Shadowkind Human nodded in agreement.

“This has been going on for a long time now, hasn’t it?” Danica asked.  “I mean, if my dragon ancestors have been here for hundreds of years…..,” she trailed off.

Baron nodded.  “Indeed it has.  The walls of Shadow between worlds seem to thin every few centuries.  My family began working to fight the evil of Shadow back in early Greece and Rome.  We were once Shadowkind ourselves, but through intermarriage with mundanes, my family lost many of its Shadow qualities.  But we’ve never stopped working against the evil.  This brings me to why you four are here.”

Zane, Danica, Adam, and Rhianna waited nearly breathless.  They now had an idea of why they’d been asked to visit the bookstore.

“Recently, in the past few decades, another shift in Shadow occurred.  The world is changing, my friends, it’s the dawn of a new era.  And most people don’t even realize it.  They go about their mundane business while magic again becomes real, monsters walk the Earth, and creatures began to pass through new portals of Shadow. Ancient arcane and divine weapons, devices, and artifacts are again infused with magical powers.”

Danica gasped when Baron said ‘divine’.  He looked at her curiously.

“Yes, my dear?”

“I……well, it’s just…I can do divine spellcasting,” she admitted hesitantly.

Baron’s blue eyes lit up. “Ah!  This is wonderful.  Our very own Acolyte.  This is indeed a good thing!”

Danica blinked but seemed vaguely pleased that she might actually be able to do something useful.  

He paused and looked at each of them.  “So, are you four willing to work together to join us to fight the evil of Shadow?”

Before anyone could answer, the sharp crash of breaking glass from the front of the store caused everyone to leap up from the table.  Chairs were overturned and lukewarm coffee and tea tipped over onto the table to slowly drip to the hardwood floor.  A sharp, pungent odor, like a very large spice cabinet with all the spice jars missing their lids, wafted through the store.  Everyone grimaced at the strong odor. Baron sniffed deeply and turned to his four guests with a horrified expression on his face.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 30 May 2007 - 06:43 PM.

#44 Nikki Peppermint

Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 01:40 PM

“Mummies!” Baron whispered.  “Follow me!”

The proprietor led the group quickly from the café.  They darted down an aisle formed by three bookcases running the length of the store with gaps between their ends and the case against the back wall.  Between the café and the rear bookcase they hurried toward a curtain leading to the storeroom in the rear of the store.

“Are we leaving out the back way?” Danica asked hopefully.

“Quickly now, we’ve no time to waste,” Baron urged the group along. “And no, dear, we’re going to have to fight them.”

“Mummies?” Zane finally growled incredulously.

“Yes,” Baron replied, peeking lengthwise along the first bookshelf.  “You know, preserved corpses animated through ancient, secret rituals.  Mummies.  But more than likely low level mummies resurrected simply for killing.”

Rhianna raised her eyebrows at Adam, a look that said, *Oh, well, of course…mummies!*

From the front of the store came the slow, dragging footsteps of creatures shuffling through the store.  Horrid, long groans announced the resurrected creatures’ burden of carrying the weight of ages on their shoulders.

“Sounds like someone had a bad day,” Adam tried to joke.

But the shadow hunter withdrew his concealed gun and released the safety catch.

“I’m afraid that won’t do much good against mummies,” Baron warned as they reached the second bookcase immediately past the curtained storage area.  “And remember, don’t come in contact with them—you’ll get mummy rot—nor should you look directly at them.”

“What? Just how are we supposed to fight them?” Zane asked in disbelief.

Rhianna shrugged, “Just use our noses?”   She was perplexed herself as to how one fought mummies.

"Try not to look directly at them," Baron clarified.  "And chopping off heads or slicing them in half should kill them!" He spoke encouragingly to the group.

“Excuse me,” Danica suddenly piped up.  “I hate to tell everyone this, but I have no idea how to fight.  I don’t think I’ll be much use.  I’m sure to be killed…or something.”

Without warning Baron halted and turned around. Everyone skidded to a stop as they bumped into him and each other.  

“Nonsense, my dear.  Tell you what.  Go back to the curtain, quickly now, and hide in the storeroom.  You should be safe there!”

Seeing as she had no choice, and with the other three urging her to keep safe, Danica backtracked the few feet to the back room entrance and ducked inside.  She heard the others move on.  Then there was silence as she stared around in the darkened room.

#45 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 12 April 2005 - 01:45 PM

With the older man leading, the group continued to the opposite side of the bookstore.   On the wall ahead there hung a rectangular display case.  Protected by glass, several sharp, ornate knives were attached to a velvet backing .  An ancient longsword was suspended below the knives.  Just as the group reached the case, Baron gestured to Adam’s gun.  Nodding, the private investigator gripped the barrel of his gun and raised his arm to smash the glass.  Without warning there came from behind them low, resonating groans, and the pungent smell, bitter up close, nearly overwhelmed their senses.  Three ungraceful but powerful mummies suddenly lunged.  Tattered funeral wrappings displayed sections of withered skin, preserved to a dark, gleaming sheen.  The resurrected creatures had hunted down the group from the direction of the café. Ancient artificial eyes, orbed and unblinking, stared from sunken eye sockets.

“Run!” Baron yelled suddenly as the mummies grasped for them with long, leathery fingers.  The arm joints cracked with each movement of the hands, evidence of the dead newly resurrected.  Each mummy carried a long, sharp sword.

The group split apart and headed in different directions, trying to avoid looking directly at the mummies for fear of paralysis.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 21 April 2005 - 11:09 PM.

#46 Raeven


    Having a Mads moment

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 06:22 AM

interrupting again ;) how will I survive two weeks without knowing what happens to the gang - don't write too much Nikki :D

LOL!! I shall try to wait for your return :wink:.  But just think of all that you might get to read once you return!  :angel:

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 13 April 2005 - 05:59 PM.

It's very complex. If the pizza man truly loves this babysitter, why does he keep slapping her rear? Perhaps she has done something wrong ~ Castiel

#47 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 10:07 PM

Backed up against the rear wall bookcase, Adam was blocked from escaping by a towering mummy which was clumsily advancing on him.  Knowing that any upper body martial arts move would entail him touching the creature, Adam instead leapt upon the top of a high table under the display case.  He clutched his gun tightly in one hand, having been unable to put it away. A withered arm swathed in ragged bandages and heaving a sword approached too close to Adam’s leg, and he was forced deliver a swift, powerful sidekick to the mummy’s head.  

“Ha! Gotcha there, corpse face!”

He just hoped that his shoe would protect him from mummy rot.  He watched  with pleasure as the mummy’s head whipped backwards with a loud crack of the neck.  The creature slammed backwards into the tall bookcase, ragged pieces of funeral wrapping flying around the body.  One round, staring eye popped out of the mummy’s skull, and the creature howled with rage.  Taking advantage of those few precious seconds, the shadow hunter bent his knees low, tensed his muscles, and launched himself toward the top of the nearest bookcase.  He landed with his chest and elbows flat and his lower body hanging downward.  Adam immediately released his gun to free up his hand.  Clinging tightly, he scrambled for a foothold on an upper shelf. His lean, strong muscles working overtime, Adam hauled himself up, sneezing from the dust he stirred up.

A violent shaking nearly caused Adam to topple sideways back to the floor.  He dropped to his hands and knees and peered over.  The huge mummy was angrily shaking the bookcase.  Staying low, Adam reached for his gun and jammed it back into the holster inside his jacket.

#48 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 10:09 PM

Baron maneuvered Rhianna in front of him and the two sprinted the length of the nearby wood paneled wall.  They remained between it and the bookshelves until reaching another display case.  Rhianna fleetingly thought that it was lucky Baron was apparently interested in archaic weapons.

From behind, a mummy’s ungraceful footsteps thudded on the carpet.  A low groan escaped its mouth, frozen open—as its former life had been taken in violence.

As they reached another set of knives, Baron nudged the elf and pointed up and behind them. Adam was balancing precariously on the top of a high bookshelf.

“Watch yourself,” Baron warned Rhianna as he hefted a decorative rock from a shelf and smashed the case’s glass covering.  Shards rained down and cracks spidered through the glass at the edges.

He snatched out five, ornate throwing knives, and handed the first two to Rhianna. Quicker than expected, the mummy, just a bit taller than the elf, lurched up behind Baron.  Rhianna seized the old man’s shoulder and nearly threw him down on the floor.  With lightening reflexes she maneuvered a knife into a throwing hold and launched it directly at the mummy’s head.  The sharp weapon lodged itself deep into its artificial eye.  The tip protruded out the back of the withered head.  The reanimated creature screamed and wrapped one leathery hand around the handle of the knife. It clung to the sword fiercely.

#49 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 15 April 2005 - 10:13 PM

At the approach of the mummies, Zane had at first followed Rhianna and Baron, but then cut left toward the middle of the store.  He could feel one of the lumbering creatures of evil breathing down his neck.  Taking a sharp right down the center of two bookcases, Zane headed for the front of the store. The ex-soldier remembered seeing a display case of longswords on the wall.  

Zane skidded to a halt, his powerful frame nearly propelling him forward.  He came face to face with a fourth mummy standing guard at the door.  

"Oh, sh**!"

At the sight of the tall, bald man, the creature roared and raised its sword, slashing and coming toward Zane.  The mummy’s withered, desiccated hand almost raked its pointed gold finger-caps across Zane’s bare arm; but instead only the visible black palm came in contact with human flesh.  Zane swore heartily and heavily for a moment.

Knowing there was an undead creature behind him as well, Zane lunged toward the floor and rolled out of harm’s way—for the moment.  Just before he managed to reach the case near the broken front window, he felt on his neck the sickly sweet breath of the two mummies.  With a swing of his massive arm, Zane thrust the books and shattered glass off the heavy wooden table by the window.  Heaving the piece of furniture up into the air with a grunt of effort, he pivoted around.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 21 April 2005 - 11:12 PM.

#50 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 12:23 AM

Inside the dimly lit storeroom Danica peered around as she unconsciously chewed on a fingernail.  Her stomach turned over in knots from fear, and her body wouldn’t stop shaking.  A frantic search for any sort of weapon to protect her only yielded a thick, metal bar.  Danica lifted the bar in two hands and decided she could probably swing it if need be.  The frightened young woman wanted to hide away but saw no spot that wasn’t taken up by boxes, so she perched tensely on a case of books.  

“Oh!  The back door!” Danica whispered excitedly to herself and unfolded her legs back to the floor.  

If she could unlock the back door and alert the others, perhaps they could all escape.  Danica wondered why Baron hadn’t just led them this way in the first place.  As the young woman approached the back door, she halted in disappointment and sighed.  The door leading to the parking lot where their cars were waiting for them was blocked with heavy crates—too heavy for Danica to even attempt to move.

Dejected, she crept back to the curtain, while trying to listen carefully to the various noises coming into the backroom.  Since she couldn’t fight, Danica felt useless.  The only weapons she’d ever wielded were archaic swords in an exercise routine.  Suddenly angry at herself for hiding while the others put themselves in mortal danger, she stuck only a few fingers through the curtain and drew it back only enough to peer out.  She clutched the steel bar in one white-knuckled hand.

Unknown to the others, there had been four mummies stalking the group in the bookstore, along with the guard at the front door.  One of the deadly creatures had remained behind at the café.  As Danica peered out the curtain it spotted her and groaned loudly.  Lurching stiffly from the cafe, the living corpse moved toward the curtained back room.  Danica inhaled sharply with a gasp.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 21 April 2005 - 11:14 PM.

#51 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 11:01 PM

After an attempt to stand up and run along the top of the bookcase, Adam was tripped up again by the violent shaking.  Books fell from the shelves with repeated dull thumps onto the carpeted floor.  Tumbling forward into a roll, Adam landed on his feet at the edge of the bookcase and leaped across the aisle to the one in the middle.

The mummy bellowed in anger as it circled around the first bookcase only to see Adam alight on the next one over.   Long nails, some missing the gold burial caps, dug gashes into the wooden bookcase as it stretched out in an attempt to reach up for Adam.

One more long, agile jump landed Adam on the third bookcase nearest the café, but the mummy pursued him from below by using the aisle between the front and rear sets of bookcases.  Adam led the mummy closer to the front of the store by leaping forward again, then across to another middle bookcase.  He heard Rhianna and Baron by the far wall, and spotted Zane with two mummies after him on the opposite side of the store.  Unfortunately, Adam was in no position to assist anyone at the moment.  

As he landed in a crouch then folded into a roll on the floor, the shadow hunter sliced his hands in several places from broken window glass.  Ignoring the pain, he scrambled to his feet, diving toward and over the front counter to his right.  The withered creature chasing Adam approached jerkily but steadily, ready to kill.  Adam noticed a dusting rag jammed under the counter and raised his eyebrows with an idea.  The odor of furniture polish wafted up from the saturated cloth.  Glancing around quickly, he spotted a broom leaning against the wall.

#52 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 17 April 2005 - 11:06 PM

“Ewwwwwwww…,” Rhianna grimaced as the mummy twisted and wrenched at the serrated knife piercing its eye socket.  As the knife emerged slowly out, pea-sized chunks of skull bone, bits of ancient packing, and scraps desiccated skin were torn away from the mummy’s head and fell to the floor.  The juiceless creature's artificial eye had shattered, and a gaping hole was visible in the empty head through which Rhianna could clearly see. Quickly she grabbed Baron, and they escaped to the other side of the bookcase.

The elf decided it couldn’t hurt to try her ‘charm’ on a creature and called out sweetly, “You don’t really want to hurt us, now do you.”

The shambling footsteps seemed as if they faltered for a moment.  

On the other side, the mummy cocked its head to one side and made a strange noise.  Something about its prey’s voice was confusing the creature, and it finally stood motionless, swaying back and forth slightly.  

“Why don’t you be a good mummy and leave the store.  You know you want to,” Rhianna continued soothingly, placing an index finger in front of her lips to shush Baron.  

The two managed to creep around the far side of the bookcase where they noticed with relief that the mummy’s back was to them. Just as Rhianna was bringing her second knife into position, she and Baron witnessed Adam dive for and roll over the front counter.  As did the mummy under the elf’s charming influence.  With a violent shake of its head, the mummy lumbered slowly around and a gurgled rage came from its throat.  He jutted one hand out in front of him and began to shuffle jerkily toward the elf and the older man.

Baron made the possibly permanent mistake of staring at the mummy in surprise as it stalked toward them.  He gasped harshly, and his body froze rigidly with fear.  Rhianna watched in open-mouthed amazement as the old man simply fell over, his eyes open wide.  Wisely, she averted her eyes from the approaching funereal-wrapped, one-eyed creature.

#53 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:57 PM

With his face contorted and muscles straining, Zane used the table to shield his sight from the two advancing mummies.  He barreled forward with the table top facing the creatures and plowed violently into them.  Out of the corner of his eye, Zane saw Adam leap off the bookcase and roll to the ground.  The impact of the table’s weight and Zane’s strength sent the reanimated creatures sprawling on the floor, giving the ex-Navy Seal a few seconds to race back toward the display case.

Not bothering to find an object with which to break the glass covering, Zane merely wrenched the entire display from the wall and let the force of impact on the small table below shatter the glass.  He slammed the wooden case up against the wall and tore out one of the longswords—a beautiful example of the war sword from the Middle Ages. Zane was cold-bloodedly pleased to see its double edges were bitingly sharp. Muscular enough and trained to use the two and a half pound archaic sword with one hand, Zane pivoted around to face the rising, grunting mummies.  The four foot-long blade of the sword glinted with deadly anticipation in the dim light of the bookstore.

As he spun around to confront the animated corpses, the sharp, spicy smell of death nearly choking him, Zane barked a war cry and gave a formidable swing of the longsword.  He tried to keep his eyes averted while striking out at the mummies, which made fighting more difficult.  But he managed to cleanly slice through the taller mummy’s withered and leathery neck with a muffled whack.  The head catapulted out the broken window and thumped onto the sidewalk.  It rolled lopsidedly into the street gutter, funeral wrapping undulating gently in the night breeze.  Convulsing wildly, the body danced around in circles for a few seconds with the creature grasping helplessly for its missing head.  Finally the preserved body collapsed with a thud to the floor.  Its partner moaned wildly and thrust a long fingered hand out toward Zane.

#54 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 19 April 2005 - 03:58 PM

With the unexpected mummy stiffly charging her hiding place, Danica had no choice but to escape down the left aisle of bookcases. Gasping as she nearly lost her balance, the gold and copper hair young woman rounded the end of the bookcase and headed back toward the café.   Danica breathed a sigh of relief to discover the mummy no where around.  Suddenly a strong odor and shuffling footsteps behind her brought a scream from her throat.  She was driven into the café with no means of escape.  Turning around without thinking, she caught a full view of the horrible creature behind her but found herself still able to move.

Luckily for Danica, with her dragon blood, she was immune to magical paralysis of any kind.  But this fortunate genetic divergence didn’t help her from tripping backwards over a chair and falling to the ground.  Directly above her now, the mummy swiftly raised his sword in one bony hand and dealt a powerful downward slice toward the fallen girl.

With an agile and frantic roll sideways, Danica avoided being hacked in two and managed to barely scramble to her feet.  Dodging the tables, she darted for the serving bar.  Following her, the mummy hacked and slashed with its sword, demolishing two tables and several chairs.  Unfortunately the young woman, her long hair now unbound and tangled wildly around her head, realized she was trapped behind the bar.  

“This is definitely a bad sign.”

Danica screamed as loudly as she could, knowing it was mostly likely her last act in this life.

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 21 April 2005 - 11:19 PM.

#55 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 09:42 PM

Behind the front counter, Adam had hastily wrapped and knotted the dusting rag around the broom’s sweeping end and liberally soaked it with dusting spray.  He fished a lighter from his front pocket. Although, Adam didn’t smoke, he carried one just in case—and it had come in handy many times.  Hearing the mummy bludgeon the counter and the wood splintering under the weight of its blow, Adam quickly lit the dusting rag on fire and leaped up.  The mummy jerked back awkwardly as Adam jabbed the blazing broom into its funereal-wrapped chest.  The flames licked at the old cloth and in seconds the mummy caught on fire.  

Rolling over the counter and landing in a crouch, Adam held the fiery broom out toward the mummy who was hopping around and trying to slap out the burning wrappings.  With a push of the can’s spray button, Adam launched a fire jet at the mummy.  The resurrected creature was engulfed in the blaze and screamed.  Quickly jabbing at the thrashing fireball, Adam shoved it toward the front window, and with a last heave sent the creature flailing out onto the sidewalk.  Adam knew that Shadow creatures who died soon lost their physical presence in reality and vanished back to Shadow.  He wasn’t worried about a mundane coming upon the double-dead corpse.  Once he was certain the mummy was never rising again, Adam turned toward Zane who was down to fighting one mummy.

But a woman’s scream from the back of the store jolted him into a different action.

“Danica!” he whispered and bolted for the café in the store.

#56 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 22 April 2005 - 09:45 PM

“Be right back! Don’t leave without me,” Rhianna said to Baron.

With the mummy moving toward them, Rhianna had no choice but to leave the paralyzed bookstore owner on the floor. With elven speed, she retraced her steps back around the bookcase—and, honestly, she was growing weary of circling the same bookcase—and appeared behind the undead creature heading toward Baron.  Trying not to look directly at the creature, Rhianna picked up the knives Baron had dropped and grabbed the shortsword still attached in the case.  At first, it wouldn’t come loose.  The mummy was slowly bringing his sword upward with great effort in order to take a killing slash at the man frozen on the floor.

Suddenly the thick sword pulled free from the clips, and Rhianna let fly two of the throwing knives in quick succession. Each hit their intended mark with the sound of splitting bone.  One lodged itself in the back of the mummy’s head and the other impaled the middle of its shoulder blades.  Twisting around abruptly at the sharp sensations in its body, the mummy groaned at Rhianna.  It swayed sideways a couple of times from attempting to dislodge the knives, and in doing so, dropped its longsword.  Rhianna took this opportunity to leap forward.  Staring at the dark, green carpet, she then barely peered upward out of one squinted eye and took the hardest swing with the shortsword that she was capable of.  The sharp weapon struck the mummy’s shoulder instead of its neck, and the sword became embedded in the mummy’s thick, cured skin.“Crap!” Rhianna shouted.  She let got of the stuck sword and glanced down at the heavy longsword—too heavy for her lift and swing, even with both hands.  

“Oh, what the hell,” she shrugged quickly and reached for the handle of the bobbing shortsword that seemed to be part of the mummy now.

With a lucky pull, she dislodged the blade from the leathery skin and bone underneath and tried again.  This time her aim was true, and the head with its frozen death-expression went flying against the wall.  It rebounded toward the elf, who was barely able to jump back in time.  The withered, head—leathery brown in the remainders of its white wrappings--landed on an empty part of the shelf near the used cook books.

“Ick, no thanks,” Rhianna wrinkled her nose in disgust.

#57 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 24 April 2005 - 12:56 AM

Once he’d dispatched the first mummy, Zane’s anger at just the fact that mummies—reanimated dead things that should only exist in the movies—had dared to interrupt the discussion of earlier sent him into a fury.  With grunts and the longsword swinging and thrusting at an amazing speed for being so heavy, the second mummy was carved into bits and pieces.  Zane hacked first one limb then another off the torso, the mummy taken completely by surprise.  Finally, only the head and body remained twisting around on the floor.  At its refusal to surrender and die, Zane angrily chopped the head off, then stabbed it through the back, leaving the mummy’s torso pinned to the floor.

He heard sounds of fighting on the opposite side of the store behind the bookshelf and ran over to help Rhianna.  He arrived, breathing deeply from his own fight in time to see a head fly into the bookshelves.  Zane could see the name of the cookbook, “Bar-be-cue Fun!”

“Are you two okay? Where’s Baron?” Zane glanced around quickly.

“There,” Rhianna pointed to the floor at the far end of the bookshelf. “He stared at the mummy.”

Baron was moaning slightly.  Rhianna and Zane could see the man’s fingers moving slightly.  His body was responding slowly and sluggishly as it began to recover from the partial fright of looking at the mummy.  Zane went over and helped the older man stand up, supporting him under one arm.

“Let’s go find Adam and Danica, I heard her scream,” Zane said worriedly.

#58 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 25 April 2005 - 02:10 PM

The mummy, its hand inches from Danica’s slender neck, suddenly jerked forward several times as loud popping noises came from behind.  Danica ducked instinctively as the mummy lurched forward, then spun around as if drunk.  The gunshots from Adam’s powerful gun didn’t kill the mummy, but they at least diverted the creature from making this night Danica’s last.

“Get out of there!” Adam yelled as he shot another two bullets into the macabre creature that was now stumbled toward him.  

Danica noticed the mummy had dropped its sword.  She bent down to grab it but could barely lift the heave weapon off the floor.  She watched as Adam dodged the mummy’s clutching reach in an odd sort of dance, then stood up and began waving her arms.

“Hey!! Hey, ugly…….if you still want me, here I am!”

“Wha…what the hell are you doing? Are you mad?” Adam shouted, leaping over a broken table so he wouldn’t trip.

“No….the sword…..on the floor,” Danica whispered loudly, not knowing if mummies could hear or understand English.

Adam realized what she was attempting to do and allowed the mummy to be distracted as he dived for the sword on the hardwood floor.  

It wasn’t sure which of the enemy to kill first and swung its bandage-swathed head back and forth, unmoving eyes frozen in place.  Hesitation was the mummy’s fatal mistake.  

Danica picked up the broken plate that had held the snacks and threw the piece at the creature as a further distraction.  She backed hurridly away as it shambled angrily toward her on stiff legs.  Danica watched as Adam seized the heavy sword and hefted it in both hands with a grunt.  The giant weapon was almost too heavy for him, and he could only lift it waist high for a powerful swing.  Danica winced as the mummy was sliced cleanly in half.  

In a delayed reaction, the mummy continued to attack Danica, but was surprised when its legs stopped moving and its torso began to tip forward.  The bottom half pitched backward, and the two halves of the mummy eventually lay still on the hardwood floor of the cafe.

#59 Nikki Peppermint

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Posted 30 May 2007 - 05:54 PM

I didn't realize I'd written the end of this way back when...I found it after I decided to try to write some more with these characters! :) *waves to Rae :wink:*

Rhianna came around the corner into the café first, followed by Zane still supporting a now more alert but still sluggish Baron Langford.  The café was a mess, but at least Danica and Adam were alive and appeared to not be seriously hurt.  Helping the older man to sit down, Zane nearly fell into a chair himself. He landed heavily with a grunt.  He rubbed a large, dark hand over his sweat-dried face.

“Are you two alright?” Rhianna asked, concern on her elven face, as she approached Danica and Adam.

Adam was picking up the overturned chairs and scooted one over for Danica.  The young woman sat down gingerly, still keeping a wary eye on the dead mummy laying in two halves on the floor.  Rhianna headed over to peer down at the mummy. She leaned over the now dead undead creature and wrinkled her nose.

The two halves of the mummy began to shimmer and appear transparent, then solid, then transparent again.  Eventually it just winked out of existence altogether, leaving no evidence—save the huge, heavy sword—behind.  The rest of the mummies were also disappearing back into Shadow.  Even those who understood what was happening didn’t know why it happened or where the dead creatures ended up. Everyone blinked and stared at the empty floor.

“I guess we know how to kill the resurrected dead now,” the elf remarked.

“Mummies, at least,” Adam replied, finally falling into his own chair and leaning back tiredly, his legs stuck straight out in a wide V.  “Well, zombies, too.  I mean, they’re killed the same way.”

Danica just stared at him. “You’ve killed zombies before?” she ask incredulously.

“Yes, well, no,” Adam sat up a bit.  “Zombie, really. Just one…and just this morning, too.”

Suddenly all of them realized what a very long day this had been so far.  They each wondered whether it was over yet…or if something else was going to happen.

“It should be over now,” Baron slurred his words slightly and drew everyone’s attention.  “But I will need one more favor…in a moment.  First, how is everyone? Did anyone get injured?”

Adam, Zane, and Danica all shook their heads and said just cuts and bruises.  Adam showed a few singe marks from his makeshift torch.  Rhia remarked that she seemed to have no injuries. Zane was quiet for a moments, staring at his hands.

“What’s wrong, Zane?” Danica asked quietly.

“One of them touched me,” he said finally.  “Dammit.”

“What? No!” Rhianna exclaimed and rushed over to the ex-soldier.  She leaned over and studied his bulging bicep muscle where he pointed.  “I don’t see anything.  Maybe it didn’t touch you long enough,” she commented hopefully.

Baron shook his head slowly and licked his dry lips.  Danica noticed this and stood to find some water and a clean glass.  After a drink that involved some drooling due to his still slightly numb lips, Baron enlightened the group about mummy rot.

“It will take a day to show up, but I’m afraid it’s there.  I’m sorry, Zane.  Sorrier than you know.  Mummy rot takes a full day to incubate, then it will grow and begin to spread.”

“Great,” Zane remarked sarcastically.  “I have a whole 24 hours to live. What will I ever do with all that time.”  The fact that he was actually going to die--and painfully, too--hadn’t sunk in just yet.

“Don’t worry, Zane,” Danica reassured him suddenly, getting up to pull her chair nearer to her new friends.  “I can do a spell to remove the disease.”

Everyone blinked and stared at her.  “You can?” Zane asked, not really daring to hope that this was possible.

Baron suddenly beamed in understanding at the young Chinese woman.  “Ah yes, our very own Acolyte.  It would behoove us to take care of our own divine spellcaster.”

Blushing shyly, Danica shook her head a bit. “It’s nothing….I mean, I can’t do it until tomorrow morning after I meditate,” she explained.  “I can only draw spells into me after I’ve rested and meditated…for me, that is in the mornings.  If I know ahead of time, I can prepare the spells I need.  Of course,” she added quickly.  “I’ve not done this too often in practice…I mean, I’ve not had much use for many spells over the years; it’s just what I’ve learned.”

Zane looked at her suspiciously.  Danica reassured him that she could prepare the spell tomorrow, and he allowed himself to show his extreme relief.  He wasn’t sure if he truly believed the girl, but at this point he had nothing to lose by allowing her to try.  “We can meet at the church tomorrow morning,” he said.

“The church?”

“Yeah.  I work at the Church of Pelor, in West LA.”  Zane looked a bit sheepish.  “I saw you there this morning talking to Neil, uh, Father Mitchell.”

Danica gasped.  “You attend there, too? I’m sorry…..I don’t think I’ve seen you there!” she tried to think back but couldn’t place his face at any of the services or classes.

“Well, I actually work there, but stay mostly in the back.  I’ve never really been to any of the services,” Zane admitted.  “I…well, I might start going.  We’ll see.”

“Oh…..,” Danica wasn’t sure what to say.  The Church of Pelor had been such a large part of her life that it seemed strange for someone to work there but not really believe in the teachings.

“So, Danica, you can do this spell tomorrow? To get rid of the mummy rot disease?” Rhianna questioned to make certain she was hearing everything correctly. This was fascinating information.

Danica nodded, suddenly feeling very glad she’d followed her heart and intuition back when she’d felt the calling to be an Acolyte.  “I really can, I swear.  And, I’ll meet you at the church, Zane.  About 10:00, if you’ll be there.  I just need some time.”

Zane nodded and exhaled deeply, finally believing this gold and copper haired woman was going to be able to help him.  He smiled tiredly at her in relief.

“Do you mind if I come, too,” Rhianna asked.  “I belong to the church as well.  I’d like to see this spellcasting…providing you two don’t mind, that is.  Otherwise, I’ll wait outside.  But,” Rhianna smiled warmly at Zane and Danica.  “I’d really just like to be there with you.”

“Well, don’t forget about me,” Adam interjected, raising a hand in the air.  “If someone will tell me where this Church of Pelor is…I’ve heard of it but don’t know where it’s at exactly…I’ll come hang out with you all.”

Suddenly the four of them realized Baron was sitting upright and smiling broadly, as if something were pleasing him immensely.

“What?” Adam asked, glancing at the other three then back at Baron.  “What’s going through your mind? I think I should be worried.”

Baron Langford suddenly laughed.  Not only was he feeling better now, but he thought he’d found the perfect team.  “Nothing.  Well, not really nothing…everything, in fact.  If you four have agreed to join in the hunt for Shadow, then I think you will make the perfect team.”

“Oh, right….the team,” Danica suddenly remembered their earlier conversation.  That was a huge decision to be made, and not one to be taken or made lightly.

Baron sensed hesitation in the four still and held up his hands.  “Don’t decide now.  Wait and take a few days.  Meet tomorrow at the church, talk if you want, ask yourselves and each other questions.  Get to know each other better—after all, your lives will literally depend on each other.”

Rising slowly from his chair and testing his legs, Baron found he could walk, and he disappeared behind the serving bar.  He came back with four business cards.  After handing them out, the older man gratefully sat down again.

Adam raised an eyebrow at the single address printed on the card. “You all sure do hand out a lot of cards, don’t you?  What is this anyway?”

The others studied their cards, plain white with black lettering, turning them over.  Rhianna even held hers up to the light in case there was a secret message.  But it was just the address.

“It’s a townhouse, not too far from here.  You could call it a meeting place. If the four of you decide to form a team, go to the address in four days, about 5 PM.  You’ll meet someone who can tell you more.”

Everyone was quiet, not knowing what to say.  All Zane wanted right now was to get rid of the mummy rot that was, even now, apparently incubating in his body. He shuddered internally at the thought, although stoically refused to show this. Danica wondered how she would hide all this from her family—especially her mother who worried enough as it was. Rhianna was thinking how she would juggle this…superhero sort of thing with her career.  And Adam was already planning ways to convince the other three that this would all work out.

“Now, it’s been a very long day for the four of you, I’m sure.  I want to let you go home now, it’s way past time.  But if I could ask one more favor….?”

Soon, between the four of them, Adam and Zane had boarded up the front window with some left over plywood from another bookstore project; while Danica and Rhianna straightened up and swept the café as best they could.  Broken tables were piled in the storeroom where Danica had first hidden until they could be thrown away. They all agreed to at least meet tomorrow at the Church of Pelor….

#60 Raeven


    Having a Mads moment

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Posted 09 June 2007 - 12:58 PM

Sorry it took me so long to reply, I could have sworn I did, but apparently I didn't!

WOOT, triumph over the mummies.... and ewwww zombie rot, poor Zane, but yay for being cured ;) I hope they do decide to be a team...Adam should be able to convince them all.

Continued here

Edited by Nikki Peppermint, 20 September 2009 - 11:42 AM.

It's very complex. If the pizza man truly loves this babysitter, why does he keep slapping her rear? Perhaps she has done something wrong ~ Castiel

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