midnight stroll 5

Midnight stroll 5I tried to crawl away, get to the alley, before the EMTs arrived, but the reality is when you take the type of beating I just got your progress is measured in inches, not feet and yards are right out of the question. Hell, breathing is a struggle. Expanding a broken rib cage feels “wonderful”. Like most undying I have an ability to heal faster than man. That does not mean the injuries are not serious or non life threatening. I would be doing ok in a few days, provided nothing went wrong. What looked like me laying there gurgling was in actually me trying to make my arms work. All I could manage was to hold onto the little tail.I laid there between forms, my true self hanging out here and there. It’s not like the movies, where you see a biped version of a creature. It’s more that you would see the fox out of the corner of your eye. When it became apparent that movement was not going to happen I put everything I had into keeping the man form in place. There is no way I could explain to a doctor or any one else. Its a lot of work to hide your tail, its not like I can just tuck it away. I know I make it sound like the undying are every where, but its just the nature of the circles I run in. There is a lot more man, I went years with out see another. We all embrace the life we need to survive, this time around it is urban. Like man we gather and congregate for support and protection.The sirens were really loud with more coming. The sound of heavy boots pounding on pavement was thrumming through the pavement. In no time I was surrounded mag lights shining so bright I thought for a second Marianne was at it again. The baton and knife were kicked aside. I must have been really fucked up, no body recognized me right away. Decker and his boys were hard core and by the numbers. They usually get called out for gang stuff and for HRT duty . We are actually on good terms, darts on Thursday nights swat vs. homicide.They were going through the ritual that makes up their job. You could hear the echo of the word “clear” as it passed from man to man. One of them found the blood pools from my two kills. That sent them into a tizzy. I must have hit something juicy. Mind you this all took seconds. In the next 2 seconds they took a good look at me.“LT the vic looks Familiar”Decker leaned in close and got a good look. I looked up at him and smiled while coughing something up that should have stayed in place.“Hiya Deck, funny thing happened on the way to the bus.” the words kinda rattled out of me

“Shippo? Badge!”
He shouted Officer down!"

Well holy shit do they ever scurry when it’s a cop and not just another drag king. The EMTs who were hanging back came charging in. I heard multiple stab wounds, broken bones, internal bleeding etc. From the sound of things They were really earning that pay check tonight. I looked down a hoped to god that that was not all my blood on the pavement. Somebody took the tail out of my hands, and I felt my body screaming. I know my blood pressure dropped a few times but popped back up. When The press showed up Decker preserved my modesty by having his boys push the line back a dozen yards. Seeing as the EMTs made short work of my evening wear I was grateful. Nothing wrong with being shy.The loud “Get the fuck out of my way cowboy before I eat your fucking grandmother for breakfast.” let me know that Ethan was here. He made his way to me and grabbed my hand as they were loading me up into the meat wagon.“Who, Aka-i who did this, for gods sake who?”I just shook my head, no way was I going to tell him and send him on a hunt that would mean his death. I watched helplessly as a detective, moved like Jonesy, handed Ethan an evidence bag with the little fox tail in it. Time slowed down, Ethan just stood there staring at me, the bag hanging at his side as they closed the doors and the EMT’s rushed me to the hospital. He had a good idea what he was holding. Ethan got smaller and smaller as we sped away. I won’t bore you with the details of that trip or the joys of the ER. Obviously I was stabilized and put back into working order. The warriors who attacked me had been careful to inflict enough damage to mess me up but good, with out killing me.

They were the “hunters of the twilight dream” I would tell you the name in fey but you’d never get it. They were an unseelie kill squad that got tapped when some one wanted a message sent. Ruthless, cold and devoid of emotion save lust for their craft. Sometimes there were the engineers of events, other times the blood soaked hand of the event. History is riddled with their handiwork. Rumor is they took out Baba Yagga back in 89. I have avoided and dodged them as best I could for centuries. I have killed a few over the centuries they never went down easy. I should not be surprised that they were the ones to make my life ash, but I was. The idea sat in the pit of my stomach an churned, making me ill. They are really good at sucking the hope right out of you, I was close to wanting it to be all over. I could have willed myself to death’s arms, it would have been easy. I had nothing, I was in agony reliving it all over again. The idea of revenge was slaked a long long time ago. The only thing that kept me here was that I did not want to make it easy for them. Putting me down should cost dearly. I am just that kind of prick. To quote the old bastard Spartan king when the Persians demanded his weapons “molan labe” . History has taken the humor out of that one by cleaning up the translation. It’s a lot ruder than come get them.

The hospital stay was mostly quiet unless you count Ethan frothing at the mouth about how god dam stubborn I was. The endless reports and statements. The reassurances that IA found nothing inappropriate in my life and it was a clean incident. The shots, IVs and blood tests. Even a few reporters among the well wishers and flowers. the scent got to be over whelming so It was time to fake an allergy. I was in about one week, I could have left after a few days, but that would have raised a few questions. In the end I was rolled out of the hospital and given a few days at home. I took the time to activate my bail out plan, just incase and get ready for a few disasters. Never hurts to have a few plans in place.My return to the office was thankfully low key. A few hearty claps on the back and a nod of good to see you ain’t dead from Jonesy was just about all the welcome I needed. Sam had a cup of tea and the pouch of my personal effects from that night on my desk. The Baton went back in its holster and the sheathed knife on my hip. I left the folded note on my desk. It was with cold determination that i took my side arm out of my desk and strapped on the shoulder holster. I am not a big fan of the gun, but it sure does aide in survivability. doublely so with the loads I had. Every third round was a custom job. When I hit something I want it to stay down. I am a practical fox.The day swiftly became typical, report after report, voucher approvals, assignment rotations, and haranguing with my superiors for a bit of time money and resources. We also closed the book on a case or two and kicked it all up to the DA. In short the normal process of my every day life. The chaos of my world hummed and flowed. Sam kept me busy, Jonesy ran the bull pen, and I pretended that it was all normal. That i did not just get beaten with in an inch of my life and I was not being pushed to do the unspeakable dirty work of the courts.The note was still on the side of my desk when I turned out my office light. It’s inner glow lightly illuminating the office. Picking it up and cupping it in my hands, bringing it up to my lips I gently blew on it and parted my hands, the note opened like the sections of an orange. A few more gentle motions and the note was completely open.It was an invitation to tea and a stroll through the zoo for Thursday, which I had missed due to my stay in the hospital.

“She delayed the outing you know.”
My hand went to the gun and had it trained on Lyle leaning in the door way to my office, he was casually examining his nails. Looking for all the world like he owned what ever ground he stood on.

“Lyle you looking rather flush.”

“Early dinner, you can lower your gun Aka-I. I am not hungry and besides your more valuable alive.”

The gun went back to the holster and Lyle strolled into the room and took a relaxed seat, like it was his office, his desk and I was intruding. The gun would have done me no good with him anyway. To old, too powerful and to be frank I did not have the will to fight tonight.“What can I do for you on this fine evening Lyle?”He shrugged and looked as bored as you can get with out actually nodding off. A total affectation since you did not get to be like him without paying attention and being engaged with the world. He was probably born when being a nobleman meant something and came with real responsibilities and consequences.“I stopped by to see how you were doing after your ordeal. They say your recovery is miraculous, they say that you should have died. Now your a hero of even larger stature than before.”“I am just Lucky Lyle. The gang bangers gave up at the right time is all”He actually snorted at that statement. wavering his hand dismissively as he chuckled." Let us pretend that there is no great game and that we both know that something other than your mythical gang bangers attacked you a short distance from my home. I had to think for a bit of who would come that close to killing the great Yosei Satsujin -han. Who could catch you off guard, who would want to send that message?"

“I have no idea Lyle, I go hit from behind and that was it…”

Lyle cut me off with look, right through to the marrow.“You killed two, their blood still glows bight as the evening star, even after it was washed away, still insist it was a gang hit? How did they sneak up on you kitsune?”

I just stared at him, not much more I could do, that familiar dead feeling started to rise again. Lyle just stood up, walked to the door and turned.

“if your keeping a serious threat to me or Marianne secret, I just want you to know it will take you a long time to die. If she is harmed I will make the burning of your thicket seem like a pleasure.”

midnight stroll 5


Syracuse, United States

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