Adam arched his eyebrows slightly at Gabriel's explanation of the shop as he took a seat across from him
"Well...lets hope the worlds don't come crashing together then"
He replied with a light chuckle, before slipping off his suit jacket and placing his hat on the table
"So, now that we are here, I suppose it is rather obvious that neither of us are truly what we appear to be. We both have properties that elevate us above the normal populace and I think we need to address this if we are to work together on finding out what went down back there"
As Marcus placed his hand on the door to enter Big Jim's Electronics store, he heard a loud, violent rumble. For a moment, he stopped and hesitated. The big noise meant trouble. Not just any kind of trouble; the kind that would affect the entire city. He tried not to think about it. The last thing he needed was the shakes again. He took a deep breath in his nose and marched into the store. He strode up to Big Jim, shoving customers away with his shoulders as he kept a firm posture. His eyes were hidden beneath his hood and he casually slung his rucksack on the counter, hoisting out the laptop. Big Jim didn't even stop to ask what the man wanted; he simply saw the empty battery slot on the back and went to fetch it. He'd seen this guy before and he didn't want any trouble. That's not to say he wasn't completely unpleasant; the quiet pale norse-looking fellow was his best customer. Always bought the expensive stuff.
After the battery had been brought and fitted, Marcus threw down a hundred dollar bill and threw the rucksack over his shoulders. He didn't care to stop for the change as his mind was on the vibrations coming from the other side of the city. It felt like a war was going on somewhere nearby, or perhaps a maniac going on a rampage. The only thing Marcus was concerned with was making it back home to the safety of his crummy apartment and computers. As he pulled the door open and stepped outside, he took a more brisk pace and headed down the street, about to turn down an alleyway, when suddenly-
Two men ran into him. One tall, skinny fellow and a nondescript looking young man. A typical American. Marcus' initial reaction was one of frustration as he'd just been bowled over by the men who appeared to have been running from something.
"HEY! Be careful, would you?! What're you running down the street for? This isn't a race!"
His tone was harsh and authoritative. He may have been more subservient, if he wasn't already preoccupied with the aforementioned loud noises. He stumbled up to his feet desperately frisking his bag to make sure his equipment was okay. He'd assumed it was; it was tough stuff. Marcus looked down the alleyway the men had run from, seeing if there was some sort of threat. He couldn't see anything. After he'd calmed down, he helped the American to his feet.
"Whatever you were running from friend... it ain't there now. You need to take it easy. Just what were you running from, anyway?"
Takeda giggled a bit as she played with his tail. He really didn't like to hide it, but he'd learned that it causes more trouble than it's worth.
As she spoke, he looked at her as well as he could and tried to fill in the details. First he just tried to get an illusion to cling to her skin, which wasn't as hard as he'd expected. Her form seemed to appear in the air, and as she described herself more features appeared on her. Takeda had to fill in plenty of details himself, and she would no-doubt be surprised. He didn't expect she'd look exactly like she used to, but at least she'd be visible.
"I can see you." he said happily, "Let's find you a puddle or a window to see yourself in."
Maya ran out into the busy street and stood in the middle of the crowd. She laughed as people actually moved out of her way; even if their gesture was usually accompanied with an angry curse-word. She skipped to a shop entrance and stood on a bench in front to observe her reflection. The small girl looking back at her was a closer match than she had been expecting, and she was certainly not unpleased with the result. In fact, secretly Maya thought that her new form was prettier than how she had originally looked, although she wouldn't admit this to her helper. She gave herself a thumbs-up and then turned back to Takeda, who had followed her across the street.
"Oh thank you, I love it! Well... my nose wasn't quite that small, but I guess this is good enough! What other magic can you do?"
The boy hastily tucked his tail back into his pants and zipped them up as Maya ran off. He smiled and chased after her, pulling his hood up as he entered the crowd again. They both dodged around people as if racing, and he kept up fairly easily.
Her expression as she saw herself in the mirror was more than enough to repay Takeda. It always pleased him to make others happy when they deserved it, and Maya definitely had.
"Well, I can turn invisible or I can turn into a fox." he said, still grinning at her. "Oh, and sometimes I can make a little fireball in my hand."
"You'll have to show me those sometime..." Maya panted as she ran ahead of Takeda, "...but not now, you'll scare everyone else. I know what we should play; I bet you can't catch me before I get to that fence over there!" With that she ran ahead laughing joyfully and didn't stop even as her new friend easily caught up with her.
For the next few hours Maya felt the happiest she had felt for a very long time. Although she had played with her mother on many occasions, she now realised it wasn't the same as having a companion of a similar age to herself. As she wondered why her supposedly loving parent had always kept her away from the other children; she remembered her not-infrequent warnings.
"Never trust anyone you don't know like the back of your hand" she would say "Especially those in authority, you can never know who will turn on you as soon you look away!"
Maya looked into the face of the grinning kitsune, and decided to ignore her mother's advice. The sun was now dropping into the west horizon and her stomach began to rumble.
"Takeda, I'm hungry!"
When the flames died down and she had regained her composure, Lily investigated the surrounding area, aware that she had somehow remained untouched by the flames while those around her had been burned to a cinder. She must have instinctively protected herself with telekinesis somehow, probably by making a small vacuum in a bubble around herself, stopping the flames and heat from getting through, but not the ash, it seemed. Lily usualy tried not to think about her ability, it made it easier to hide from others, though it certainly made for a lot more convenience when she was alone.
She heard someone gagging and retching a short distance away, out of reach of the flames, but not out of sight, snapping her out of her daydream. She could probably get them to help out in exchange for any help, she figured before flooding her features with concern and rushing over to see what was wrong. Cursing silently to herself when she saw it was Zetta because of her absent mindedness, and carefully lifted her to her feet.
"Are you alright?" She gasped desperately, trying and failing to ignore the stench of burned flesh. It wasn't much different from any other burnt meat, but it was far from appetising, knowing that a few moments prior, the source of it had been living, breathing people. "We need to get out of here, c'mon."
Takeda chased down Maya easily, tagging her on the back and then racing to the fence. Over the next few hours, they had plenty of fun together. It was a welcome change for him as well, he didn't often play with other children. While he wasn't a child in age, he definitely was in mind. They managed to keep themselves entertained until the sky started to darken and the sun descended.
"Hmm, I'm a little hungry too." Takeda admitted, rubbing his belly. "So where should we get some food?" He looked around and saw that the stores and stands were starting to empty and close down.
Rezetta gasped as somebody helped her to her feet, wiping her mouth with the back of a shaking hand. "I'll be alright, thanks," she mumbled, noting that Lily had, like her, been untouched by the flames. She straightened up and looked around, realizing that all the flames had disappeared by now. Most of the other people who had survived the inferno were already gone or in the process of leaving. Still others were standing, sitting, or lying down and being sick on the pavement.
"Leaving would be a good idea," Zetta said, staring off into the opposite direction. By now, cops and more firefighters would be en route to the scene of... whatever had just transpired here; she could already hear the sirens in the distance. After the survivors had been helped, they would all most likely be questioned thoroughly to help figure out what had happened. She knew they'd never figure it out though, and wondered what kind of cover story they would concoct.
"My apartment's only a block or so away from here," Zetta said, pointing in the direction her complex lied. "Since we're leaving the van, we should probably get going." As she finished speaking, she noticed the first squad car pulling to the scene and scowled. If she didn't act now, she and Lily would be caught up with the police and their questions. She hadn't planned on letting the other woman know about her abilities, but figured Lily had probably guessed she was more than human by now anyway. After all, she never did bother to hide her teeth or nails after what happened at the diner.
"Give me a moment and I'll hide us. I don't think getting bogged down by unanswerable questions is a good idea at the moment. Don't freak out, alright?"
She held up her hands, now completely still, and closed her eyes. She pictured Lily and herself standing as they were, side by side. With her mind's eye, she "erased" the two of them until they were no longer visible. When she opened her eyes, she could see what looked like a ghostly version of her hands in front of her face. Turning, she saw with satisfaction that Lily also looked rather ghostly.
"We're invisible now," she said before Lily could speak. "You and I can see each other like this, but to anybody else, we aren't here." She paused, then gave a sheepish smile. "So yeah, I'm an illusionist. Anyway, let's get going."
Maya shrugged "I don't have any money, when I was invisible I just took food from shops or stalls. I know it's naughty to do that but I couldn't get it any other way."
She scanned the area for ideas, and spotted not far down the road a local supermarket she knew very well. Apart from the usual meats, vegetables and other savoury foods, it contained within it a large section dedicated to sweets and chocolates. Her mother had been a regular customer of the store and Maya had often accompanied her there, although being allowed to choose a confectionary treat to take home had been a very rare occasion.
"Wai Yee Hong supermarket has some really yummy things, but unless you have money we'll have to steal them." She looked shiftily around the steadily quietening street and then carried on in a low voice "If we go into that alleyway, you could turn invisible, and remove the seeing magic from me, then it would be easy!"
"I don't have any money." Takeda said, a bit shamefully. He stuffed his hands into his pockets and fished around, as if looking for something. But he came up empty-handed. "It sounds like you have a good idea."
He took Maya by the hand and pulled her into the alleyway. Despite her pristine appearance due to his illusion, her hand felt sticky and grimy.
"Okay, when we're invisible don't let go of my hand." he said, "I don't want to lose you. You'll have to lead me to the store, though."
After he spoke, a faint blue flame ignited in his eyes. To anyone looking on, it would appear as if the little boy and girl had disappeared into thin air. But nobody was looking.
The all too familiar sensation of invisibility descended over Maya. Despite having spent so much time that state, she could never quite get used to not being able to see her own body, or even any clothing or small objects she was carrying. This particular trip however had the added oddity that she was leading along Takeda, who if it was not for the reassuring grip of his hand she wouldn't know he was there at-all. Maya listened carefully and realised she could just about hear the fox spirit's footsteps; she thought it strange that they could hear each other when invisible while no-one else had heard her even when she shouted towards them at the top of her voice.
She carefully pushed the supermarket door open, and the two children walked through and gently closed it again to avoid attention. The aisle they were in was stocked up high with a variety of cheap bread and somewhat battered-looking packets of rice, but Maya led her companion past these and onto a brightly coloured corner of the shop. The little girl let out an involuntary shriek of joy at seeing the rows upon rows of gaily wrapped candies and chocolates; however many times she came here the excitement of choosing delicious sweets never wore off.
"Come on!" she said eagerly "it's dinner-time!"
"Lead on, MacDuff." Lily said, aware of the misquotation, but ignoring it because of the situation. It was odd not being able to see yourself much, but Lily quickly found that if you didn't focus on it, it wasn't that bad, just a vague feeling of floatiness at the back of your mind. As she followed, she considered what she could get Zetta to do. Deliveries was the obvious choice, but it seemed to be a waste of her talents, especially her illusionist's abilities. As she pondered, Lily wondered what she'd need to promise for continued assistance. She knew from experience the attitude of "We've helped you, now serve us" didn't work for long periods of time, and if Zetta turned against the mob, it would be bad for both, and Lily would need to weigh her options very, very carefully, while playing her cards right with both parties, so as not to lock out anything.
When the pair neared the door of the building, Lily abandoned her train of thought as she realised she was fading back into view. She briefly considered revealing her own ability now, but couldn't think of an appropriate way, so she decided to wait for a better opportunity, letting Rezetta take the lead for now.
"Wow!" Takeda exclaimed as he saw the aisle. Maya dragged him along and he looked over the assorted, colourful treats. He didn't let go of her hand.
As she stopped, he pulled a small box off the shelf. The picture on the front was of small, brown balls. There was a tearing sound as he ripped open the box, then poured some of it's contents onto his hand. He popped a couple of the chocolatey treats into his mouth. To his pleasure, they were soft and filled with something even sweeter and stickier. "This is good!" he said to her. Though, in the back of his mind he still felt like he'd rather be eating something he was used to.
After she had collected several hand-full's of sweets, Maya dropped her spoils onto the floor and sat down in front of them. From a quick glance around the shop appeared to be deserted. She greedily began to dig through her hoard, dropping empty wrappers all around. To an observer it would have been an odd sight, with the confectionary apparently disappearing out of the pile, only to reappear seconds later as a used package. As she smeared chocolate around her mouth, and mindfully wiped her sticky hands onto her already filthy dress, she realised there was still something important that she hadn't asked the boy behides her yet.
"Takeda, do you have a mummy or daddy?"
Gabriel grinned somewhat awkwardly.
"Yeah, that was kinda made obvious by that fire, no?" He said, leaning back again. "I do want to know what just happened there, but I have absolutely no idea how to find out what just happened. I mean sure," He snapped his fingers and a spark sprung from his index finger to the roof. "I can do a few tricks but nothing awesome."
He raised an eyebrow.
"Unless you know a way?"
Adam sighed and shook his head
"Sadly, my...abilities only manifest themselves when I touch things"
Pulling off the glove on his right hand, Adam picked up one of the silverware forks and twirled it in his hand
"Stainless steel, only about 41.3% pure, the other 58.7% composed of various recycled end-of-life products. Austenite iron alloy, which is the most common type of alloy used in stainless steel products. Also, someone used this to stir there coffee before we arrived so someone forgot to clean this table, even though the fork appears clean. Most likely a quick wipe down since there is still some moisture on the fork"
Setting the fork down, he quickly placed his glove back on and smiled
"If I could get contact with whatever it is, I could give you more answers"
Gabriel tapped his lips thoughtfully.
"And that works with everything?" He asked. When Adam nodded, Gabriel allowed himself a small grin.
"Perhaps, the way you traced that moisture on the spoon, you can trace the flames that hit the concrete? Or if you wanna go that way; on one of the bodies?"
The cultists were dumbfounded. They had set fire to the water and shone powerful spotlights in all directions, but somehow the demon had escaped with his captive in a split second. Suddenly, there was a splashing noise from behind them, and the group of hunters turned, shining spotlights on the cultist that had been taken, as he weakly swam towards them.
"Niklas!" One of the hunters yelled. They helped the man out of the water. His clothes were ragged and torn, soaking not only with water, but blood. The man trembled violently, and although his face was still concealed by the now battered mask, he appeared to be too shaken to speak. Niklas weakly pointed down the tunnel, before taking a step, stumbling, and extending an arm to lean against the wall. As the rest of the group prepared more torches to burn the water again, Niklas faltered, then quietly crumpled to the ground. The unconscious man went unnoticed, as did the creeping shadow that slipped along the walls, rising into the tube to the surface, manifesting itself as a thin man noiselessly climbing the ladder out of the sewer.
"In theory, it should work. We need to go about it in a way that won't exactly attract attention as I'm sure they have the area blocked off for the police"
Adam mussed, drumming his fingers on the table as he considered the possibilities
As the two indulged themselves on the sweets, neither of them noticed the shadow creeping over them. When Maya did look up though, she saw a woman who looked neither old nor young, with large brown eyes and a heavy coat standing over them. She seemed to look straight at them.
"Well. Stealing isn't very nice, is it?" She asked them sweetly. She reached inside her coat and pulling out a cheerful lunchbox. She handed it to Maya, who eyed it suspiciously but still opened it with a little curiousity. Inside was a neatly made meal of rice, small pieces of Tofu and beans. Maya looked up, obviously dissapointed. The woman winked at the small Kitsune with a knowing smile and walked out of the store.
SO YEAH APART FORM THAT
"Tell you the truth? I have no idea man. Sherlock Holmes I aint." Gabriel said. He looked at the people coming into the bar. One closed the door with obvious relief and shed what looked was his skin; transforming into a sickly-looking creaure.
"Can't you, like, taste the air or something?" He said with an expression that betrayed that he knew the suggestion was idiotic.
Takeda shrugged at the question, giving a non-committal 'ehh'. "I had a mom and dad, but we all got separated. I haven't seen my family in a long, long time because I forgot how to get home."
His tone of voice showed that he wasn't overly bothered about it. And he actually wasn't. For the fifty-odd years he'd been wandering he'd grown less-and-less concerned about finding his way home. He found the wandering to be much more fun.
When Maya looked up suddenly, Takeda did too. He froze in place as he saw the woman looking straight at them. Normally he could hear people coming, but she had managed to go unnoticed until she was right in front of them. And she could see them, and was speaking to them. A chill ran up his spine despite her sweet voice; he wanted to ask who she was, but he was too scared to.
However he calmed down as she left. After a moment of staring, he tore his eyes away from the door and looked at Maya. He let out an involuntary squeal as he saw the contents of the lunch box. Kitsune had a strong preference to such foods, and he wouldn't even pass them up for all the candy in the store.
Without asking the little girl, he reached in and grabbed one of the rice balls and stuffed it into his mouth. It was a bit bigger than he expected, and ended up filling his cheeks while he chewed.
Once Rezetta and Lily reached the apartment, Zetta fished around in her pocket and pulled out a key. As she fit the key into the lock, she completely released hold of the invisibility illusion that had surrounded the both of them. "I've got a couple of sodas, some water, and a glass of wine in my fridge if you're thirsty," Zetta said as she opened the door to apartment. "No food, though. Haven't had the chance to go grocery shopping yet."
She led the way into a small living room, gesturing at the open kitchen that stood just off of it. "Help yourself to something." Zetta gave a small sigh as she settled herself into a comfy armchair, crossing her ankles together. She was silent for a while, eyes trained on her ceiling as she sorted her thoughts.
Finally, she leaned forward with her elbows resting on her knees and said, "So, any thoughts on what the hell just happened back there? No way that... chaos was normal. I didn't get a good look at the scene before those fires happened." Here she paused and took a deep breath, thinking back on what had happened just a short while ago. "I swear I felt something odd before that happened, though. More demons, perhaps?" She paused again, focusing her eyes on Lily. "Speaking of which, thanks for not freaking out about the invisibility thing."
"Hey, it takes guts to reveal something like that to someone you just met, it shows trust, something I don't come by often in my line of work." Lily lied. She won people's trust at the drop of a hat, it was the second thing she did after finding most people's names, though Zetta had been a special case. She got people to trust her, because it meant they revealed secrets, some big, some small, and always useful somewhere down the line.
"I honestly have no idea, but the explosion that started it wasn't natural, I could feel that much. The flames that swept the place had no chance of being caused by anything human, not even a "freak gas leak" like they do to explain things they don't want to. Because no-one knows what caused it. It wasn't magic, but it wasn't caused by physical means either. It was like reality changed for a moment." Lily proposed, sorting her ideas as she said them.
"I'm glad we got out of there quickly though, because in five minutes there're going to be Predators swarming all over the place. I may have seen one or two sniffing out the scene as we were leaving."
For the next few moments after the woman had walked off, Maya was stunned, even as Takeda was helping himself to the meal. Eventually, she reached into the box and gingerly took out a rice ball, giving it a cautious sniff before taking a nibble.
"Ummmm!" She was pleasantly surprised at how nice the food tasted, she took some larger bites and then moved onto the tofu. "You can have the beans, I don't like them" she informed her hungry companion who appeared to be stuffing himself as fast as his mouth could move. After they had both finished and were sitting contently on the shop floor, Maya voiced the thought that had been on her mind throughout the meal.
"Who was that lady and how could she see us?"
Spotting the car coming toward the two of them, Alex signalled to Jules by waving his arms in a mad fashion as the car approached. However, as the car was mere meters away, bullets flew through the windscreen and the car veered off to the right and into the wall of a house.
"My God! Jules! Did you-- did you see that? They shot him! They shot Jules!", Alex cried as flames began to appear on the wreckage of the car.
"There! He's over there! Make sure you don't kill him shoot him the legs if you have to, just make sure he can speak afterwards.", the two men heard from a short distance.
"We got to get outta' here man, far away-like. I don't want to get shot, I don't, I don't, I don't..."
Rezetta sat back in the chair again, her brow furrowed. "A change in reality, huh? It sounds crazy, and yet I know there are those out there with powers like mine." She ran a hand through her hair nervously and added, "And those with different, stronger powers, too. Well, I suppose there isn't too much to be done about it now. I do believe we promised each other some explanations once we got here though, didn't we?"
Rezetta stood and walked over to her kitchen, where she found a glass in filled it with some ice water. She took a sip before sitting back down in the armchair, studying Lily thoughtfully. She took another sip of water before speaking. "I was involved in a drug ring some years back, as I figure you've guessed already. We got busted one day and I barely escaped. I took to starting my own business of stealing from people's houses some time after that until somebody made an attempt on my life. Just a few years back, I decided to live a straight life and went for the delivery business."
Zetta took a big gulp of her water now, then set the half-empty glass on an end table by her chair. "I must've somehow gotten found out by one of my previous victims, though. It would explain the spooks in the diner. Now then... You know quite a bit about me, and I don't know too much about you. Care to share?"
"I don't know," Takeda said after eating his fill, "She didn't look very scary, but . . . I don't know how she saw us."
He adjusted his legs on the floor so he was sitting cross-legged with his back against the shelves. He still couldn't see Maya, but just as when he first discovered her there was a sort of 'sense' of where she was. He had no idea if she had something similar for her, but he couldn't formulate the words to ask her exactly what was on his mind.
"Who do you think she was?"
"She seemed... nice" Maya couldn't think of anything else to say. Her bitten arm had started throbbing again and when she stroked it felt tender to the touch. She shrugged "Maybe she was another magic person? Or a kitsune like you?"
The little girl yawned and laid her head down on the floor. "She looked like a mummy." she said sleepily "I asked you about yours because I don't know where mine is either. She just went and never came back. I don't know if it was because somebody took her away, or if she left because I was too much trouble to look after." Maya paused for a second, and then carried on in a mournful voice.
"I wish she was here now. At night I get so scared, sometimes I think there are monsters and ghosts trying to find me and get me, even though I know there aren't really such things."
"Not much to share really, I got bored of normal life, got in with the bad crowd and liked it. I've learned everything I use from intuition and advice when I've needed it." Lily said, cutting down her story by an awful lot, but still choosing her words carefully. "As for people with abilities being out there, you have no idea. You walk past them every day in the street, you get served by them at the supermarket, you invite them into your home." She said, not hinting that she had an ability too, but not hiding it either. "Some of your most trusted friends could potentially be lethal, and you'd never know..."
Basaran stepped out of the sewer, and immediately threw himself into the nearest crowd. He was weak, both from forty-five. Extremely weak. Many years ago, he would have consumed the group of cultists like the cavernous mouth of some unspeakable creature, killing them almost instantly. As it was, he barely had the ability to escape without being seen.
He weighed his options. If the cultists were hunting all paranormals, he couldn't continue following the Void-creature. They'd easily find him again, and in the sunlight he'd be even more helpless.
His best bet would be to lay low. He walked through the crowd, trying to find a suitably nondescript bar or club to hide in. He eventually decided on a coffee house that didn't stick out from the usual.
He stepped inside, sitting in an empty booth. Everyone here appeared normal, human, and absolutely terrified, in the paralyzed, helpless way humans were, but something felt off. There was a presence of more power. There were supernaturals here.