PI: Paranormal Investigation
Most people who live and visit in London know all the Major Land marks be it Nelsons column, the London eye or Buckingham Palace. Few however know of catacombs that exist underneath the city, beneath the underground rail network where things that nightmares are made dwell. The catacombs were dark, damp and Eerily quiet even though it was teeming with monsters.
Few would enter these for any reason, but sometimes people need to come here, people like the staff of Third Eye Investigations. They had come here to retrieve the Ring of Omara that they were employed to locate for a collector of Rare and Magical Items. After a few days of research they were pleased to find that it was in the London area, they were not pleased when they discovered they had to enter the catacombs. However for some reason cases were few and far between, so they took what jobs they could, the office Rent would not pay itself after all.
The ring they were after had a complication beyond it being in the catacombs, the Omara Guardian protected the ring. The Guardian was a Dark, Demonic in nature and whose sole purpose was to protect the ring from anyone who wished for it. The demon was large seven foot high with four bulky muscular arms on a slimy humanoid torso. The under side of it’s body was arachnid in nature with six stick thin legs. It’s face was human, but scared with shining red eyes, two ram horns protruded the top of his head.
Dania and Peter were tasked with distracting the Guardian while Kate was to cast a spell they found in their library that would create a weapon to actually kill the demon. Meanwhile James and Claude/Eddy would attempt to sneak to place where the Ring of Omara was hidden.
James was in what could only be described as a treasure trove of Jewellery, as it turns out the Guardian seemed to protect more than one ring… a lot more.
“What the hell does something that Ugly need with all this?” James complained as he sorted threw a jewellery box full of Rings.
"Hold on, I'll use my physic powers to find out?" Eddy said sarcastically as he rummaged through a chest of coins, making sure to slide several into his trousers pocket as a souvenir as he did so. He took a handful a gold coins and thought of what good they could be used in. How Third Eye could use to buy new equipment, a new office, more staff, all in the aid of helping those from those affected by the paranormal. Or Eddy could use the money to have one hell of a night out. But Eddy knew this wealth would soon disappear somewhere into an unknown abyss somehow. They always did. They never got this lucky.
Jo Feathers brown eyes narrowed and her brow furrowed with festering anger as she stared down the portly police detective sitting at his desk. “Ok, Detective Smart,” she began, her jaw set at a hard angle as she spoke through gritted teeth, “for the benefit of my obviously minuscule mental capacity for comprehending matters of police procedures, protocols, and jargon, explain to me your meaning of ‘we’re working on it.’”
“Like I said before, Mrs. Feathers,” Detective Richard Smart began. He spoke slowly as if he was speaking to a small child, steepling his fingertips as if trying to bring home his point. “We are doing everything we can, following leads, interviewing witnesses, reviewing the CCTV footage of the,….”
“CCTV footage?” Jo interrupted him. “My daughter Rachel is missing! She disappeared in a closed pod of the London Eye while it was in the bloody air and full of people and no one saw a thing! What is CCTV footage of the bloody stupid visitor centre and gift shop going to tell you about what happened to her up there?”
The detective raised an eyebrow. “I never mentioned the gift shop and visitor centre footage. How did you know about that?”
Jo rolled her eyes. “You just told me.”
Detective Smart took a moment to consider. “No. No, I’m sure I didn’t mention them.”
“How else would I know? What, do you think I’m psychic now or something?” Jo snorted.
“Perhaps you're a suspect?” Det. Smart countered.
Jo’s mouth sprung agape with affronted shock. “You know what? I take that back. Maybe I am psychic, because I can certainly foresee this conversation is going absolutely nowhere!” She grabbed up her purse which was sitting in the chair, and then, oddly, stopped to pick up the receiver of the phone on the Detective’s desk.
“Detective Smart?” she spoke into the phone. “I highly doubt it, sir, but…. Pardon? Yes, he’s here, although apparently only in body.” She eyed the pudgy policeman who was looking at her rather strangely. “Of which there is considerable amount from his habit of hiding pork pies in his desk.” She handed the phone receiver to Smart. “It’s no wonder you can’t manage to do your job and find my daughter! You don’t even bother to answer your bloody phone!”
As she stormed out of the office, Det. Smart looked down at the phone. It hadn’t rung. “Hello?”
It was his supervisor on the other end of the line. As Smart spoke to him, he absently opened his top left drawer and pulled out a half-eaten pork pie. Just as he was about to take a bite, he paused, then frowned, curious to know how Mrs. Feathers had known about his secreted pie stash.
As Jo was leaving the police station, she stopped in the corridor next to where a man was sitting in a chair. He was handcuffed to a chair, but didn’t look rough, or drunk, or even that upset. He was just a normal looking man, wearing normal looking clothes, sitting quietly in a chair that he happened to be handcuffed to.
But something about him struck Jo as odd. He was staring at her in a most unusual manner. “What?” she snapped at him. “You never seen an angry, frustrated, thirty-something single mother storming out of a police station full of inept public employees because they can’t manage to find even a trace of her six-year-old daughter who apparently vanished into thin air?”
The man cocked his head to one side. “N-ooo,” he said rather slowly. “Saw one of those just this morning. I was just thinking that you look like you need this.” He nodded down to one of his cuffed hands.
In it, a business card had suddenly appeared, as if he had just pulled it out of his sleeve like a cheap magician.
“What’s that?” she asked.
She frowned warily. “I don’t like you,” she said to him bluntly, as she gingerly snatched the tip of the card from his fingertips. “You look like a predator.”
At her words, the man began to laugh. Loudly. And very much sounding like a hyena. Then no sooner had Jo raised her brows at him, he stopped. “I get that comment a lot,” he said, his voice still sounding a bit slow. Then he grinned, sporting prominent canine teeth, pointed, but not fanglike. Just… unusual. “I don’t know why.”
Jo’s eyes narrowed menacingly at him. “Oh, yes, you do,” she said accusingly. “I know how to spot a liar.”
“'Spot' a liar….” The man s******ed, then snorted rather abruptly. “I like you. You make me laugh.”
“Yes, an exceedingly easy task, in my opinion,” Jo commented dryly. She looked down at the card. “Third Eye Investigations?”
The man nodded. Once. “They’re professionals.”
"Professional whats?" Jo abruptly held up her hand in the man's face, preventing what was probably another laugh on the way. "Don't," she said to him. Then she shrugged. “Well, whoever they are, they’ve got to be better than the numptys around here.” She put the card in her pocket and decided to head over to the office. A personal visit was always better than a phone call for getting things done.
Really should have stuck to hunting Vampires.
The monster reeked. At least bloodsuckers had the courtesy to bathe. Not to mention die. His Jericho roared in his hand three times, blowing three holes in the monster. Which, aside from pissing it off and wasting perfectly good bullets, didn't do much. It penetrated, sure, but the holes closed up in all of five seconds.
Then it punched him. He found himself gliding through the air, surprisingly graceful until he hit and slid across the floor with a pronounced, and very annoying, squeal. The monster scuttled towards him, raising a leg to finish him.
A clatter caught his attention, his Jericho sliding across the floor towards him. He grabbed it and brought it up, blowing off the spidery leg and rolling out from under it. The monster did a brief dance as it attempted to remain upright, then the severed leg regenerated. As usual. He knew he should have brought his shotgun. At least he's not smart.
He spun, putting a bullet into the creature's eye. It squealed, reaching back. That'd buy him a little time to get off it's radar. He dove behind a stone pillar and waited as it regenerated. Three bullets left in his clip, if it went for Kate he'd have to make them count.
Come on, Kate, quickly...
At that moment, Dania, in full-Wolf Form tackled the best from behind. With a roar, the creature threw her off, sufficiently distracted from Peter, turning its open back on his pillar to chase down the Werewolf. But Dania was fast, bounding off down a corridor with the monster in pursuit. When it realized it was not gaining on her, the beast turned back, interested in easier prey. Dania had expected this and she doubled back behind him.
The two of them reached the room in which Peter had just begun to come back around his pillar at almost the same time, with Dania just a split-second behind. She leaped forward and sank her claws into the monster's back and ripped. With a shriek of pain and rage, the beast threw her off once more, but this time, she landed near Peter.
"What's the trouble?" she asked him, accompanied by her Wolf Form's toothy grin. "Don't much like getting tossed around?"
The monster bounded down a corridor, and he slid out of his cover for a moment and took a breath.
Then it came barreling back at him. He took a step back, bumped into a wall, and gulped. Then it wailed in agony and the Werewolf dropped out of the sky. He moved to the side.
"Not really. Getting punched in the face by Spider-Man here ruins my day." He ducked as it swung at him again, taking out a chunk of the wall. He jerked out his dagger and slashed it, taking a finger off. Aside from a 'light' spasm-punch from it's hand that flung him to the ground, it didn't accomplish much. He could already see the finger growing back.
"Silver doesn't work, either. Kate, how much longer on that spell!" He rolled to his feet, his Jericho dropping into his hand. He put one shot into the critter's abdomen, causing a fresh fountain of spidery-fluid. He choked down his gorge and kept running.
Kate lit the last candle and dropped the lighter on the ground. She felt the spell's power begin to emanate around the sword in the middle of now dimly lit spell circle. The demon must have felt the power at once because it let out a high pitch roar and fixed it's attention on to her.
She quickly removed the pocket knife from her jeans. As she flicked the blade open she began to recite the spell words she memorized back at the office. The beast began to close in on her. Her eyes started to fill with a black light and her words became melodic and alien. Then as the last incantation left her lips she sliced the blade into her right palm, letting her blood fall on the once mundane steel sword before her. The blade began to shine and turned a metallic crimson.
She moved to pick it up from the circle, but the beast was on her before she had the chance. The demon swung it's massive leg and struck her across her face. She flew back landing on her backside. Kate couldn't focus her eyes well with the force of the spell and the creature's blow both working against her. She gazed up at the blurry demon that towered over her.
"It's done! Get the sword!" She shouted to Peter just as the demon hit her again.
"Bugger." He shot the creature in the back, desperately trying to get it's attention, then scooped up the sword. He fumbled for a moment as the creature turned. "You're meat now." It charged him, waving it's four arms like a windmill. He ducked under the first swing, wincing as it clipped his skull, then brought the blade around in an arc, cutting a leg off. The creature did it's frenzied dance again, then lost it's balance after a left-handed shot from his Jericho punched through it's belly, dropping it onto it's spidery-abdomen. He moved forward to finish the job.
Oops. The creature wasn't done yet. One fist shot up, catching the blade, another striking him in the shoulder. Something popped and he was suddenly several feet away, the sword - along with one of the monster's legs and three of it's fingers, and his Jericho, discarded on the ground several feet away. He tried to push himself to his feet, but his right arm wasn't moving properly. Bastard dislocated it.
"Dania, get the sword!" He was bad enough with blades with his right hand anyway. He grabbed a stake from his jacket and flung it with all his might, trying to keep the monster preoccupied with him. The wooden shaft pierced it's belly, spilling the spidery crap all over the floor. It grabbed it and jerked it out, more or less unphased, but he had gotten it's attention. He drew his dagger and got ready.
The Werewolf bounded over, shifting to her Human Form just before she reached the sword. She pulled a one-handed handstand, her right hand clasping the hilt of the sword and her left hand reaching back to draw her own short sword. The handstand turned into a handspring and she landed on her feet with both swords at the ready.
"There's only one way this ends," she growled softly. The monster came at her with a roar and she thrust her own sword forward, catching it full in the chest. It was just barely enough to make it pause, which gave Dania the time to bring Kate's sword around and lop the beast's head off, and promptly drove the sword through the beast's chest next to hers.
"And that would be it," she concluded as the creature collapsed and disintegrated into an oozing mass that quickly shrank in size and vanished. She shot a tired smile to Kate and said, "Thanks... that was close." She tossed Kate's sword to her and, after wiping it off, sheathed her own.
"Come on," she said to Peter and Kate. "Let's go see what James and Eddy/Claude are coming up with..."
Peter grimaced. Whether it was at Dania's near-effortless dispatching of the monstrosity or his arm was anyone's guess. He smashed his shoulder against the wall, near losing his footing as the bone snapped back into socket. He stood there for a moment, catching his breath, then gave Dania a sarcastic grin.
"Yeah, I'm sure they're doing great. They probably haven't even found the ring yet."
James continued to look around the room of treasure looking for a single ring, he must have already discarded a thousand other rings in the search for Omara. He took a step back from the pile of different jewellery he was currently looking through and turned his head slightly to a jewel-encrusted altar.
James Walked over to the alter and looked on top of it to find yet more jewels, coins and other treasure. However one item took his eye a ring with a red stone in its centre. Picking it up he also reached in to his pocket and took out a small piece of paper with a sketch of the Ring of Omara on it. He compared the Ring in his hand to the sketch, it was a match, he had finally found the ring.
“Claude, I got…” James began to inform when the ground shaking nearby interrupted him.
The ground opened up in a small isolated spot and from the hole something began to emerge, it was the shape and size of a human but with the head of piranha and scaly skin. Without and hesitation James pulled out his revolver and fired three shots at the new demonic creature. The bullets each impacted the creature but bounced of it’s armoured scale.
“Claude run!” James order and the two men ran out of the room where they came in. The two ran as fast as they could and soon found themselves running into the cave where their collegues where standing around other the dead Omera Guardian. “Guy’s, leg it!”
Dania swore in Spanish and then wondered aloud, "Why is nothing as simple as it ought to be?" She shifted into her Wolf form and ran ahead of the group. As she expected, when she reached the entrance to the catacombs, the door was securely fastened. Dania worked with the locking mechanism for several seconds before finally managing to get it open, and she pushed the door open just as her companions were coming up behind her, the new monster directly behind them.
Dania placed herself at the door, waiting for her friends to get out. Then, she would attempt to slam the door in the creature's face and lock it in...
Peter walked forward, several ripe complaints on his lips. Then the SECOND demon came at them. His Jericho roared, it's last bullet pinging off it's armored scale. He winced, then turned around and bolted. Good thing it was his upper body that had taken the beating. As he ran, he fumbled in his pocket, pulling out his keychain, running through the various holy symbols. Need to start carrying holy water. He held the Star of David and a Crucifix between two fingers out behind him as he ran, though judging by the overloud breathing behind him, it wasn't particularly effective.
Dania wasn't far ahead. He put his keychain back in his pocket and brought his pistol back out, reloading as he ran. He spun around as he reached the exit and began firing at the Demon. The shots panging off it's armored hide seemed to slow it down a little, if only by the virtue that flinging pebbles at a meteor should slow it down.
Kate was far behind the others. Her chest fought to rise and fall. The backlash of the spell was taking it's toll. She began to cough violently as she made her way to the exit. The noise signaled to the demon that she was weak, easy prey. He turned off his course behind Peter and made his way towards Kate.
She pulled the small vile of sulfur from its place on the chain around her neck and emptied it's contents into her palm. As cut off her path she clapped her hands together sending a current of blue flames into the demon's face. It screams were annoyed more than pained, but it gave Kate enough time to maneuver around the beast and continue on to the exit.
James looked behind him and saw Kate lagging behind, turning on his step he began to run back towards her. On reaching her he grabbed her arm and began to run back to the door pulling the witch along with him. “This is no time for a pleasant stroll.” He joked as he helped the women along as the piranha headed creature pursued them.
James and Kate were the last two to pass through the doorway, Dania quickly slammed the old metal door behind. James let go of Kate’s arm and put his hands on his knees to hunch over and breath heavily. “I think… we… should avoid… the catacombs for a while.” He stated continuing to breath in and out heavily.
The entrances used to access the catacombs were underneath some of the tube stations on the London underground. You had to walk up some out stone steps and then through a sewer grate next to the track to get out of them. The Third Eye Investigators did this and came out at the Westminster station entrance. It didn’t take long to get from the station to the offices in Leeds Street.
James walked into the lobby/reception area throwing the ring a few foot into the air and catching it. “So who feels like being the delivery boy?”
"I will," Offered Claude, who was back in control of his body, after Eddy decided to rest after the escape. There wasn't much outside the work to interest Eddy, so usually, during the personal life Claude was in control, which he usually spent at sports bars, football or rugby matches or watching the television in the privacy of their home. "I need to stop by the dry cleaners anyways, whats-his-face office is near there anyways." After catching the ring from James, Claude headed to the streets where he motorcycle was parked.
“Leeds Street?” Joanne Feathers read the business card she had gotten from the strange man in the police station as she walked along a crowded London pavement. She didn’t know exactly where it was, but being as she had just passed a Newcastle Lane and was just approaching a Durham Way, she figured she was going in the right direction.
She flipped the card over. “Daniela Santos,” she read. “Hmph, sounds foreign. Typical. Our own police force is run by a bunch of inept idiots, so it’s only logical that someone would have to hire in foreigners if they wanted to get the job done.”
She paused unexpectedly in the street. “That is assuming that these so-called ‘professionals’ are any good at investigating.” A few feet in front of her, a ceramic planter pot suddenly crashed down to the pavement having fallen from a residential balcony in the tenement building she was standing in front of. Without looking up from her card, she held up her hand and shouted upwards, “Yes, I’m fine! That’s quite alright, accidents happen!”
She had only just taken her first step forward again, when a flustered looking woman peered down over the balcony at her. “Oh! I’m so sorry! It just slipped out of my hands? Are you alright?”
Jo waved upwards again, still not looking up from the card as she picked her way around the broken shards of pottery and scattered dirt on the ground in front of her. “Yes, no harm done!”
Approaching the junction of Durham Way, she abruptly paused and looked up, just a second before a fast car squealed and skidded its way around the corner as it turned onto the street. Had she stepped off the pavement, the vehicle certainly would have collided with her.
“Maniac!” she hissed under her breath. She looked left then right, then crossed the road. “It’s a wonder more people aren’t killed on the road, with people like that who can’t drive!” she complained out loud.
In a few moments, she had found Leeds Street and was following the numbers down towards the address listed on the card for Third Eye Investigations.
((Semi-sorta joint post with SM... something we worked out yesterday :) ))
Immediately after reaching the offices of Third Eye, Dania took James aside to a small, heavily armored room. "It's that time of month," she told him softly.
"Ah, you mean where you get all moody and aggressive?" he asked. There was a pause in which Dania nodded, and then James added, "We are talking about the full moon, right?"
A second nod from Dania. "The full moon, yes." Worry etched itself into her face. "The moon's tomorrow night, but I'm feeling less in control than I ever have before. Let's get this done with. You had better not need me for the next three days."
"And if we do?" James inquired. Dania growled softly.
"I won't care, remember?" she shot back. "I'll be insane." James nodded and led her to the back of the little room, where a set of chains were hooked to the wall. Once Dania was securely chained to the back wall, James turned to leave.
"The room's a little small," he observed. "Don't go crazy in here..."
The two of them laughed softly, as they knew that was precisely the reason Dania was chained... to go crazy as her Werewolf side would make her without causing damage to the beings in the world around her.
((OOC: joint post with Steven))
Jo looked up at the number engraved in stone on the lintel of the building. “Number 66, Leeds Street.” She looked down at the card in her hand to verify the address written on it. “Yup, this is the place.” She looked at the surrounding neighbourhood. Not a seedy place, but one of those neighbourhoods where it wasn’t wise to let your guard down. Instinctively, she tightened her grip on her handbag before smoothing crease marks off her skirt and adjusting her glasses. “Well, here goes nothing.”
She started up the short staircase that led to the front door.
"So I'll see ya'all in half an hour," Claude to his teammates before stepping outside the office room. He observed the ring with great detail. It didn't look that special, in fact looked quite similar to the rings you'd expect to find on Ozzy Osbourne. Also, it didn't give off any special feelings like most mystial objects in Claude's line of work. Maybe it didn't have any real purpous, but who cares, the company still got paid.
As he continued to look at the ring, he headed down the stairs, not looking where he was going, and when he turned one of the sharp corners, he nearly collided with someone, which caused Claude stumble backwards, during which he nearly tripped over a stair and dropped the ring.
"Phew, that was a close call," he muttered as he leaned down to pick up the ring that stood at the edge of a step.
Jo had beaten him to it and was already dusting the ring off. “You really should be more careful when walking down stairs,” she told him as she casually handed it to him.
"You should more careful when walking up the stairs," Claude replied cheekily before accepting the ring from her. "Just wondering, but touching the ring, you don't happen to get any strange feelings, thoughts, anything? No?"
“No.” Jo blinked, then stared at him. He seemed at bit… odd to her. “No strange feeling about the ring,” she said dryly.
"Okay," Claude replied before giving her a friendly smile. He then slid the ring into his pocket before saying, "Have a good day."
“Yes, you, too,” Jo replied. Then she added hurriedly, “Erm… excuse me, but could you tell me exactly what floor Third Eye Investigations is on?”
"Well errmm…. yeah, that’s were I work. It's on the second floor, not too far," Claude replied before giving her an inquisitive look. "Is something the matter ma'am? Cause if it involves the catacombs, then you're better off asking someone else. But if it's not the catacombs then you've got to the right place."
“Catacombs?” Jo cocked an eyebrow. “No. Nothing to do with cats, combs, or any combination thereof. I just want to hire an investigator.” She looked Claude over. “You don’t look like a ‘Danni-ella’ Santos though. Is she in?”
"Danniela? Oh wait, you mean wolf woman. She likes to be called Dania, and erm, yeah, she was talking with the boss last time I saw her," Claude replied.
Jo gave Claude a deadpan stare. “Right. So, that means you are not the boss.” She exhaled a small sigh of relief. “Thank you for your help.”
Jo left the strange man that she had met, and started up the stairs. In a moment, she was standing in front of a door with a silver plaque that read, ‘Third Eye Investigations.’
She opened the door and went inside.
Peter seated himself in a chair in the reception area, wincing as his heavily-bruised back and sides came in contact with the chair. "For the record, boss, I am completely opposed to being the punching bag for horrifying demon monsters."
He grinned, then dug a box of 9mm bullets from beneath the chair, pulling the empty clip from his jacket. He began reloading the clip casually, whistling a disjointed but undeniably jolly tune.
After the fifteenth round had snapped home, he pulled his jacket off and flipped it open, revealing the various tools, stakes, bullets, the keyring covered in various religious symbols, his knife, lighter, and various other pieces of vaguely supernatural paraphernalia.
"Well, lost a stake. Thanks for grabbing the ring before I could dig it out of the ugly monster's guts."
He reached under the chair again and withdrew another stake. "It's too bad only wood and silver work, I could just start sharpening down pieces of rebar. Then I wouldn't have to hold the Vampires down and use a mallet to get it through their ribs."
He continued running his checklist. "They really ought to make some kind of miniature flamethrower for us, lighters and bottles of hairspray really aren't very efficient." He reached under the chair again and withdrew a bottle of hairspray, put it into one of the slots for stakes, and leaned back in the chair. "No broken ribs this time, though that thing did dislocate my shoulder."
The door squealed as it came open, and he pulled his jacket back on, concealing the bizarre equipment. Belatedly, he realized there was still a stake laying on the couch.
He smiled at the middle-aged woman who had entered the building. "I'm Peter Tudor, Third Eye Investigations." I really hope she's not going to ask us to prove her husband is cheating on her. He supposed that they technically were Private Investigators, but..."How can we help you, ma'am?"
“Oh, good afternoon.” Jo stepped inside the office. It was tidy and a bit more Spartan that what she was expecting, but all in all looked rather normal. “Joanne Feathers,” she introduced herself to Peter. "Pleased to meet you."
"Hi." James introduced himself walking over to the woman. "So are you looking for a Private Investigator or are you just a little lost?"
“Probably a bit of both,” Jo answered matter-of-factly. She stuck out her hand to him in greeting. “I’m actually looking for a…” She looked down at the card in her other hand. “…Danni-ella Santos? Forgive me, I’m not very good with pronouncing foreign names.”
"OK, erm... That's not quite possible at the moment." James replied.
“Oh.” Jo let out a tiny sigh. “Yes, I probably should have called first. Your colleague I met on the stairs on the way up here said she was in, but I hadn’t considered that she might have been busy. Perhaps I can make an appointment for later today?”
From somewhere in the offices, a muffled wailing picked up.
"Sorry but she won't be available for three days." James informed.
Jo gave him a hard stare. “What was that?” she asked, and she nodded towards the back of the office where she had heard the strange noise.
"Erm... That would be Dania." He stated.
“Dania. And is that not the nickname of Miss Santos?” Jo’s eyes narrowed. “Because I distinctly remember your very odd colleague on the stairs mention something to that effect.” She peered over James’ shoulder, trying to see into the back. “Is she ill or something?”
“Well that would depend on your definition of ill.”
“Well, one of my definitions of ‘ill’ would be to find oneself in such a state to cause painful sounding wailing.” She glared at James, and then started to push past him. “I want to see her. Miss Santos?!” she called out.
The wailing came from behind a vault-style door, securely fastened, but at Jo's approach, it seemed to die out for a moment. The rattling of chains was faintly heard, and then another yelp echoed through the door.
Jo looked over her shoulder at James. “My God! What is going on here?!” she asked him, plainly outraged at hearing chains rattling behind the vaulted door. “Miss Santos? Help is here, dear, don’t worry!”
Jo whipped out her mobile phone from her bag. “I’m calling the…” She paused then, thinking how silly it would be to call people she had absolutely no faith in. “No,” she said, slowly closing the phone. “I am not going to call the police.” She pointed to James. “But you are going to open this door right now and let that poor woman out so that I can take her to a doctor.”
“I can’t do that.” James stated. “She kind of gets violent this time of the month.”
From behind the door, there was a muffled shriek... and then a string of screamed words, all of them unintelligible. And then, the wailing resumed.
Jo’s mouth dropped. “You’ve locked her in a vault for it being her ‘time of the month’?!” She shook her head with disbelief. “What kind of man are…?” Her demeanor suddenly changed. “You open this door, right now, young man!” she said in her best pissed-off mum tone.
“OK.” The detective replied. “But trust me you won’t like the outcome.”
Dania was curled up in a corner. The chains were lying loosely around her, though it was evident she was still chained to the wall. As the door opened, her wailing stopped and she stared at the doorway. Her face was practically flooded with tears. 'Crocodile tears', the Third Eye team had dubbed them. A flash of something like hope flickered in her eyes.
"You'll let me out?" she whispered. Then, her eyes fell on Jo. "Oh! Visitors! So rare, so rare..." She bent her head once more and fell into silent sobs.
“Oh, how horrible! Of course I’m letting you out, dear.” Jo wheeled around to look at James, her eyes narrowed now into slits. “The key?” she asked, holding out her hand in an authoritative manner. “For her… chains.” She said the last word with a twinge of disgust, horrified that such a pretty young girl could be treated in such a despicable manner.
Softly, in a way that would have been impossible for the average human to detect, Dania's sobbing turned into silent laughter. This was too good to be true!
As Jo's back was turned, Dania raised her head, an inhuman gleam in her eyes, and she grinned at James.
As James hesitated in giving the key to Jo, she felt as if she should take it from him. Before he had a chance to protest, Jo had the key in her hand and was just about to approach Dania when….
Jo paused. Then looked more critically at Dania. “Ah.” She stepped back slowly and handed James the key back. “I’m terribly sorry,” she apologized to him. “I shouldn’t have interfered.”
Dania's expression had been halfway eager, but at that it shifted fully into shock...
"5...4.." James began to count backwards and pushed Jo backwards a bit.
"You... you what?" Dania gasped.
“…3…2…” James continued stopping in the doorway.
"But I... I..." Dania's expression darkened.
“I expect she is going to throw some sort of temper tantrum now?” Jo asked, allowing James to direct her back to a safe distance.
With an inhuman yell of rage, Dania bounded forward. The chains jerked her roughly back just short of the doorway.
"Monster!" she screamed. "Inhuman, cruel creatures! Let me out of here... now!" The chains began to groan. Dania stopped for half a second. "I'm only half anyway... I have control! Let me HUNT!" She tugged again and one of the chains snapped... and she screamed, "Let me hunt!"
James slammed the door shut before Dania managed to reach it then turned to Peter. “We need stronger chains.”
Peter hung his head and sighed. "Boss, those things are the toughest things I could find. Also, we need to soundproof that room. Have you ever tried sedating her? Also, didn't I tell you last time DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!" He paused and breathed for a few seconds.
"Sorry. That's my niece. She's not well. Whenever it's the full moon, she goes just a tad loopy. Perfectly amiable at other times, though. Now, uh, what can we help you with?" The woman had probably not gotten a very good look, and it'd be incredibly awkward trying to explain why they had some random lunatic locked in their offices.
Kate walked out from the door behind the reception desk letting out a long yawn, as straightened her hair. She looked over at Peter and James talking to women with a horrified look on her face. She rubbed her eyes to make sure it wasn't her just her eyesight. But sure enough after peered at the women once again, the same look of horror was there. A disgruntled client, not a first. No need for concern she deduced.
She lazily slid onto the reception desk and let her legs hang of the side. She reached for the phone and put it up to her ear. "Hey Pete! You want some Chinese?"
Kate knew how much he detested being called Pete, but she was the only one in the office who could get away with it.
When the investigation team had first met Peter, they had both been hunting the same vampire. They team's lead took them to an abandoned house where the target had nested. The building itself was missing a good portion of the roof and water had leaked down into the basement where the vampire hid from the day. With the cellar flooded, it was easy for Kate to move around undetected.
James had instructed everyone to be cautious, even Dania was told to remain hidden until the perfect moment. Peter had chosen to attack directly, but the vampire had been more he expected. After a few rounds of fighting back and forth, Peter fell back into the inches of water on the floor and the vampire held his weapon above the hunter's neck. Then Kate rose from the water behind the vamp as if it had been much deeper. Just before he brought his knife down into Peter's chest he erupted into a pile of dust. A wooden crossbow bolt along with all the ash fell into the water in front of Kate's feet. She offered a hand to the hunter and since then he had been with the crew. Even Dania had given her props for beating her to the mark.
Besides proving more use than when her specialized 'talent's were needed, she had gained a good friend in Peter. He had saved her since then, more times than she could count.
"Hey boss you want something too?"
Then there was James, their leader, their captain, a sort of savior. He had given them all jobs and security. He was also a great friend.
“I’m fine Kate, thanks.” He said returning her smile then turning back to Jo. “Maybe we shold go into the office.”
James then led the way past the reception desk to the door that led into the office room, it had two desks and the walls were filled with book shelves filled with various artefacts of the occult. The private investigator walked around one of the desks and sat down behind and offered the potential client a chair opposite him.
“So what do you need?”
Jo cleared her throat before sitting down carefully in the chair. She smoothed out the creases in her skirt, set her bag down beside her on the floor, took a deep cleansing breath, and then cleared her throat.
"Mr. Burke, I'm looking for a private investigator to find my daughter, Rachel," she said, getting straight to the point. "She disappeared from a carriage on the London Eye and has been missing for over a week now. She is 6 years old, 3'8" tall, weighs 45 pounds, has brown hair, brown eyes, and was wearing a dark blue school uniform.
"And before you ask, yes, I have been to the police. No, they have not come up with any leads. No, there doesn't appear to have been any witnesses. Yes, I am extremely worried, and most definitely desperate, and can pay you in cash if you decide to take on my case.
"And yes, I do realise I do not look like the type of person who would seek out a private investigator based on merely a business card handed to me by a very strange, predatory-looking gentleman who was handcuffed to a chair in the police station when I was on my way out. But I have a hunch that you can help me, and I normally trust my hunches." She looked over her shoulder, in the general direction of Dania's lockup. "No matter how ludricious they appear to be at the time."
She faced him again. "Thankyou, I take a splash of milk and one sugar." She stared at him for a moment, and as he appeared to be just slightly confused, she added, "Tea? If you were going to offer me tea, I take milk and one sugar."
James raised an eyebrow and looked over at Jo as he walked over to the teapot and began to prepare the drink as she requested. “Do you often do that?” He asked putting the sugar n then walking over to the client.
In response all James got in return was a quizzical look.
“The answering questions before they’re asked thing.” He elaborated. “Do you find you do that a lot?”
"I put it down to natural intuitiveness," Jo stated plainly, as she gratefully took the cup of tea. "Combined with sharp observation, a keen sense of character, and plain 'ol common sense."
Jo nodded her head in the direction of the door. "Take your 'colleague' Daniella, for example. At first, my perception was that she was a prisoner. But observing the glint in her eyes, and her crocodile smile, told me she is not. And if there is a special equipment set up for her and standard procedures that your other employees follow, that indicates that her behavior is a regular routine." She paused. "And she is very similar in appearance to that predatory man I met in the police station who gave me the Third Eye business card."
She carefully sipped her tea. "She is predator, plain and simple. And for you to hire her as one of your colleagues, the only thing I can conclude is that you, sir, deal with occurrences that are outside of the realm of what most people would consider normal or mundane. Of which, the disappearance of my daughter most certainly is."
Another casual sip of tea.
"So, are you willing to take my case, Mr. Burke? If so, I'd have to run down to the bank before it closes to take out the £500 retainer fee."
((JP with JL))
“If I take the case you can pay me tomorrow.” James informed as he walked back around his desk and sat down. “but so far your case doesn’t sound like it involves my specialty in the paranormal.”
Jo arched a single brow. “Rachel disappeared while on a school outing in a sealed car of the London Eye while it was up in the air.”
“Well that sounds like it could involve the paranormal.” James explained. “Any witnesses, clues or CCTV footage?”
“CCTV?” Jo rolled her eyes. “Don’t get me started on CCTV,” she warned. “But no, there were no witnesses, even though I and several other people were in the car when she went missing.” She raised a finger. “But there was this.” She lifted her bag and extracted a gold coin. “The police didn’t think it was a clue, but….” She shrugged as she handed it to James. “Perhaps you will think differently."
James took the coin and looked at it carefully for a few moments, he stood up and walked over to one of the bookshelves still holding the coin. He took out an old scruffy looking book with a picture of a snake biting its own tale on the cover. He opened and flicked through a few pages, he then stopped and placed a coin a page with a picture that had the same markings that were on the coin. He read a paragraph and looked up from the Book. “What date was Rachael born?”
“First of May, 2007,” Jo replied.
“And Rachael’s Father, what does he do for a living?”
“Nothing.” When James frowned, she added, “He’s dead.”
“How did he die?” James asked as if he wasn’t getting personal.
“He was a fireman. He died on duty rescuing a small girl from a house fire. He died, she lived. So, I suppose one could say he died ‘bravely’.”
“A Hero.” James stated walking over to Jo, he sat on the edge of the desk and holding the Book. “You are a Precog, Mrs Feathers, you have the ability to see glimpses of the future.” He explained. “Now if you add that to the fact your daughter was born on the last day of the year of Hera and her father was a saviour of the innocent, your daughter is most likely an oracle.”
“An oracle? What, like in Greek mythology?”
“Kind of.” James Explained. “An oracle Is one of three kinds of champions of mankind.” James closed the book and walked back around the table. “You see like five maybe ten seconds tops in to the future, well an oracle can see whatever they wish… Unfortunately this means they are targets for occult groups, I believe one such group would’ve taken your daughter.”
Jo remained passively calm. “An oracle. Great. Although, that would explain why she was never surprised by her Christmas presents.” She took another sip of tea. “So, you believe some sort of organized occult religious group have kidnapped Rachel to get her to see into the future for some nefarious purpose?”
“Well an Oracle’s powers don’t manifest until they reach sixteen.” James replied.” but it’s easy to get an oracle to come to your way of thinking if you’ve gotten them to trust you… I’ll take the case Miss feathers, I’ll even start tonight.”
“Fine.” Jo set her cup down on the desk. “So, what do I do now?”
“Go home.” James suggested. “We’ll investigate and keep you informed.”
“Go home. You want me just to… go home.” Jo stared at him deadpan. “I think I’d rather come with you. Tag along. See how you work first hand. After all, I’m paying you, not the other way around.”
"If you wish, I ain't going to stop you." James stated standing up. "As I said we're getting right on it. He walked towards the door and out into the reception area. "Peter, call Claude and tell him to meet us at the 'Necro Crypt'."
"On it, boss."
He'd been eavesdropping on the conversation. Being a lone wolf for half his life had taught him a few things. He pulled out his cell and dialed, reaching into his jacket and running a checklist. He'd be fighting humans, maybe with supernatural allies. Best to pack heavy, then.
She took it a lot better than I did when I found out about the paranormal. Odd. Most people think we're crazy.
He shrugged. The phone was ringing, so he went and collected his shotgun and shells, loading the weapon up with regular twelve gauge and keeping a few reloads and his Dragon's Breath inside his jacket.
"Claude, it's Peter. Boss says to meet us at the Necro Crypt. Fresh job." He hung up.
As he put his cell phone away, he fished his .38 out. It was a small weapon, a pea-shooter - except for the silver bullets. He slid it into an ankle holster. When you don't know what to be prepared for, be ready for anything.
"Boss, Claude's been alerted, and I'm set to go."
"The Necro Crypt?" Jo gave James an inquiring look, but without waiting for him to answer, she then headed off to one of the office desks.
She grabbed a large handful of facial tissues from a box sitting on the top left corner, then a ruler and a few pencils (after first inspecting them to see how sharp the were), a couple of rubber elastic bands, and a few paper clips. She then opened her bag, which was a large one, not too full, but with everything that a mother of a six-year-old might carry around, neatly placed the office items inside it, and closed it up tightly.
When James gave her an odd sort of look, she said, "Sounds dusty, cob-webby, and dark, and one can never be too prepared." She gave him a nod, signalling that she had nothing else to say on the matter.
"So, Mr. Burke, are you certain that one of these occult groups operate out of this 'crypt?'" she asked him plainly. "Or is this little foray into the underbelly of London just a 'shot in the dark,' so to speak?"
“The Crypt is a place where all the darks tend to hang out, the guy who owns the place keeps his ears to the ground… If anyone know where your daughter is he’ll be the guy.” James informed as he opened the reception desk drawer and pulled out a tranquilliser dart gun, he also took out a dart filled with a mysterious silver liquid.
The liquid was a unique silver based compound that had one sole use, it was used to suppress a hybrid werewolf’s aggression during the full moon. Unfortunately it’s silver nature made it poisonous and meant the chemical could only be used once every couple of months or it would have dire consequences.
James walked over to the secure door and very quickly opened the door and fired the dart into the corner of the safe room. It hit the girl in the shoulder and the detective quickly sealed the door again, he did this as the chemical takes around a minuet to take effect and shooting an angry werewolf was not an intelligent idea.
“When Kate gets back we’ll head out.”
From inside the cell, there was a roar of anger and pain. Then, the door shook with the furious pounding of the cell's inhabitant. After some time, the noise fell away, and there was a frantic knock from the other side. Knowing the dart had done its work, James opened it. Dania practically threw herself through the doorway and ran off to find the bathroom, groaning, "I'm gonna be sick..."
The door of the bathroom was heard slamming shut. A few minutes later, the door reopened and Dania came out, completely soaked in sweat, her face dripping with water she'd splashed there. She shot a frustrated glare at James.
"This had better be really urgent," she growled. And with that, she stalked out, saying, "I'll be back when I've had the chance to... clean up... you can wait that long."
We? We're taking the mother? Oh, hell.
There was no real point arguing, when the Boss got set on something, you weren't going to budge him. Still, having to take an untrained and badly equipped...mother with them, precog or no, didn't seem like a particularly magnificent idea. He'd had his fill of baby-sitting after getting decked by that four-armed spidery-monstrosity while Claude and James rooted around for the bloody ring.
He ran through his usual stress-relieving technique, checking all his guns and gear a third time. This is surreal. More so than usual. A normal, sane woman gets the beans spilled and reacts like it's business as usual? Either she's a UFO crazy, she knows more than she lets on, or she's incredibly, impossibly stoic.
It hadn't taken long for Kate to make the trip to the corner Chinese place. She walked through the agency doors with a couple of full sacks of warm food.
"I'm back!" She moved to the desk without hesitating and started unpacking the plastic bags.
"I'm so hungry I could eat .... well... a lot." She turned and faced the three of them and smiled brightly at the woman. "There's plenty for everyone."
Then she caught James’ face. That ever so familiar 'We have work to do' look was there. She stopped smiling then. She let a long sigh.
"Don't tell me, I already know." She repacked the food and shoved it into the small fridge behind the counter.
"So where are we off to boss?" Her smile returned even though her stomach growled.
“We’re going to the Crypt, so get your protection spells ready.” James replied going back to the reception desk and taking out two sets of keys, he threw one set at peter. “Pete and Kate take the surveillance van, pick Dania up from her place on your way, I’ll take our guest in my car.”
He then looked at Peter getting all his weapons ready. “You expecting us to run into a lot of trouble?”
He caught the keys out of the air and grinned at James.
"Boss, we're dealing with supernaturals. And if there's one thing for sure about supernatural creatures, it's that you need to keep your eyes open around them. Especially on the Full Moon, even the friendly Werewolves like Dania are absolutely insane and would enjoy the taste of human flesh."
He slid the final shell into his shotgun. "Besides, I'm itching for a fight I can actually win. C'mon, Kate."
Kate grabbed her jacket and a few things from a drawer behind the desk. She put a sprig of mistletoe in her inside jacket pocket and then followed Peter to the van. Inside the van, she sat on the floor in the back with all the surveillance equipment. She went to work on the protection spells at once.
As the van started up and they headed to pick up Dania, Kate entered a trance like state were she could see all of the spells targets gather around her. James, Jo, Peter, Claude, Dania and herself were surrounded by a blinding white light. She could feel the spell's power surround her as she sat on the floor of the van. She wondered if they all felt it too.
Peter slid the keys into the ignition. It was an ugly, poky monstrosity of a car, the kind of thing you always expect to see after a kidnapping. He turned on the radio, and pleasant, classical music came through. Bach, actually. The van sluggishly rolled down the road, towards Dania's residence. She didn't live far away, fortunately. He thumped the horn and settled back, twiddling his thumbs.
A minute or so later, Dania came out and got in. He didn't waste any time and headed for the Necro Crypt.
Dania was shivering faintly when she got in the van and she said nothing. The injection James had shot her up with had on her something like the effect of alcohol on a normal human being. The biggest difference was that she got the hangover straight away instead of the morning after. She sighed. An ear-splitting headache, the icy and yet burning feeling of a narcotic mixed with silver running through her veins, and the movement of the van made for one very unhappy half-Werewolf.
"How much further 'till we get to the Crypt and this..." Dania trailed off into Spanish, a habit when she was frustrated, or agitated... or emotional in any way. She knew they couldn't understand her, but the shift into Spanish was so smooth in her mind that she often didn't realize when she'd switched.
It often prompted the others of Third Eye to suggest that she speak English so they could all understand...
"... no es fácil... es muy difícil... " she kept muttering over and over, continuing to shiver as though nearly frozen.
He frowned. Peter had seen the silver solution used on Dania once before, and it always made him uncomfortable. He wasn't any great friend with Dania - he wasn't really comfortable enough with any of Third Eye to really call them Friend. Still, he didn't like seeing her like this.
"Shouldn't be too long. You going to be okay, Dania?"
He wished they had left her. As problematic as the full moon was for them and as understaffed as they were, the silver seemed like an obvious solution, but the effect on Dania was, to say the least, not good.
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