Gray Line, part 2
“There hasn’t been much time for actual conversations with you. If you remember.” The redhead said dryly. “Last time I talked to you, it ended up in you running out of the bar barefoot.” She took in a breath, happy that the barrage of emotions had eased to a dull misery.
“Here we are.” She said as the taxi slowed to a stop and she slid another hundred to the driver. “Thanks.”
The answer was an unintelligible mumble that might have been you're welcome, but Dianna doubted it as she got out.
Lauren followed, the two bags clutched to her. She vaguely remembered the place, but she definitely remembered the cook, and her stomach growled. She blushed embarrassed by the noise. "Um . . . it's been awhile . . . since I ate." She turned her attention back to the bar. "You don't seem very Irish." She realized the words were stupid the moment they came out of her mouth. How would she know? Was there a certain way Irish people sounded except for the leprechauns on cartoons?
“You saying Theron isn’t an Irish last name?” The bar owner said with a straight face, only breaking into an easy smile when Lauren started to stutter something. “Relax, I’m teasing, it’s a joke.” She unlocked the front door; the bar had been closed for hours now. “The building was here, but everything else was brought over from Ireland. Every stool, every piece of wood, the bar top, it’s all from Ireland.”
"That's cool." Lauren said just to say something as she followed behind Dianna.
Once inside she took her time taking in everything, she had just run out, last time. It actually felt worn and comfortable like your favorite pair of old jeans. "It's nice.”
“Thank you.” Dianna raised a hand, waving to Bob as she passed the man and his beer at his usual spot at the bar. Other than him, the place was empty as she kept on going toward the kitchen. “That’s it? No questions about why I’d want to do something crazy like that? Everyone else always asks.”
Helga wasn’t there, but the redhead figured she could at least make the poor girl a sandwich or something to eat. Besides, if she got hungry enough then Dianna would feel hungry and that would result in more chocolate being eaten than she really wanted.
Lauren tensed seeing Bob, and the headache came back, throbbing in her skull. She took a deep breath and let it out. "He's a demon.”
“He’s also a customer.” Dianna paused, holding the door to the kitchen open and looking back over at the human.
The old man didn’t say anything, head still bowed, baseball cap pulled down low over his eyes as he stared at the warm bottle in his hands.
The golden glow was back in her eyes, but because she'd just killed two demons it was easier to resist. It took a moment for her to force her eyes from the back of his head and then with a deep breath and an exhale her legs moved away from Bob, and toward the kitchen.
"Is he safe . . . for a demon?”
“For a demon,” Dianna agreed, closing the kitchen door behind them and setting to work on a pair of sandwiches. “He came in the first night I opened and he’s been here ever since. Pays his tab, and doesn’t talk. Pretty much the best customer I have.”
Lauren nodded and then let out a sigh of relief once they were in the kitchen and Bob was out of sight. Her eyes blinked and the gold glow was gone. "Can I. . . . have a shower?" Blood was drying, caking to places on her skin.
“Right.” Dianna frowned down at the sandwich fixings she’d just taken out. “Food first or shower?” She was bad at this being a hostess thing.
"Food is fine." She sat down, slowly setting her stuff down at her feet. She watched Dianna, wondering why the woman was helping her. She could believe the one good thing for the year, but it didn't make sense why it would be her. Then the sex thoughts were back. "Do you have to wear . . . uh . . . revealing clothes?”
“You don’t like my clothes?” An eyebrow arched as the half-demon concentrated on spreading mustard and then cutting hunks of ham from what Helga had made earlier. She rather thought the tight-fitting black clothes weren’t that sexy compared to a few of her outfits. Sure, the top hugged her full breasts quite nicely but she wasn’t showing that much cleavage was she?
"No, they're fine. It's me, my thoughts are all over the place anymore, almost like someone else is having them." She gave a tight laugh. "I'm sorry, I’ll be quiet." She swallowed and concentrated on the worn tabletop.
A few moments later, a plate with a large ham sandwich was set in front of Lauren, directly in her field of view. “You can say whatever you want.” Dianna said, settling onto a stool across from her. “I was just curious if you were a prude or one of those religious nuts.”
To hide her embarrassment Lauren took a large bite of her sandwich. She chewed for a long time and swallowed, but the blush was still on her cheeks. "No, not a religious nut, I was raised Catholic, which has caused all sorts of internal conflict and issues of guilt." And she was probably the world's oldest virgin.
She took another bite to make her mouth stop talking.
“Strange, the church never really welcomed me with open arms.” Dianna sent a wicked smile across the table, picking up her smaller sandwich and taking a bite. “The bar opens at noon, so I’ll be busy from then until closing. Except for Sundays and Mondays, we’re closed for that. Tomorrow’s Saturday, things tend to get, interesting around here on Saturday evenings.” Best to warn the human now.
"Okay. I'll try to stay out of the way and under control." Daytime wasn't too bad but nighttime could get interesting. "Did you want me to leave? So I'm not in the way."
“No.” Pale eyes snapped up as Dianna looked at the human. “I’m not running around the city chasing after you because my…” she paused. “You’re welcome to go anywhere in the rooms upstairs, just stay out of my study. The door's locked, so you won’t be able to mistake it.”
"Okay." Lauren said, and then worked on finishing the rest of her sandwich. She would just need to do her best to stay under control. "I'll do my best." Done with the sandwich she wiped her hands on the same pair of pants Dianna had given her almost two days ago.
“Shower is upstairs.” Dianna ate slower, studying the other woman. “Help yourself to anything in there.” She wrinkled her nose. “And I’ll set out new clothes for you. Maybe tomorrow we’ll get something more in your size.”
Lauren got up slowly and grabbed her bags, before heading for the stairs. She was starting to feel sleepy, that lethargy was working its way into her bones again. She paused on the first step and looked back at Dianna. "Thank you.”
“Don’t mention it.” The redhead sighed, watching the human go up the stairs to her private level. “Seriously.” She muttered, wolfing down the last bite of sandwich. “Don’t ever mention it to anyone.”
It was odd what sleeping in a real bed could do. At first it was nerve-wracking and scary, every little sound drawing her nerve endings tight, but finally she fell asleep. When her eyes blinked open, it was sunny and most of the day was gone.
The feeling of lethargy was still there even though she was well rested; she was just coming to associate the feeling with the vial with the red dot on it. There were clothes on a chair and she thought it odd she had slept through someone entering.
She held up the clothes and sniffed them; they smelled of detergent, nothing else.
Dressed but still without shoes she wandered around the room until boredom set in and then she headed hesitantly down the stairs.
There were voices out in the bar, people moving around and bottles clinking as they set up for the night to come. Helga was in the kitchen, standing on the small step stool that let her get high enough to stir the big pots on the stove. "Ah." The ever-present wooden spoon came out, pointing at Lauren.
"Come. Sit. Eat. Frau Theron said you ate sandwich." She made a phishing sound. "Nothing but skin and bones you are!"
"I, uh, thank you." She sat at the worn table again. Her hands smoothing nervously over the grained wood top.
"What are you? Spanish? Hispanic?" Helga demanded, setting a bowl of sausages and noodles down in front of the young woman. Not waiting for an answer, she climbed back on her stool, hunched back to Lauren as she tended her pots.
"American." Lauren said cheekily as she stabbed a sausage with her fork.
"Phaw. You are young is what you are." Helga muttered something else in German.
"If you look down the family tree you'll find someone who was from Mexico and on my mom's side Chinese." She shrugged, not arguing the young part.
"Without your history, you do not know who you are." Helga waved the spoon at her again.
"Helga, stop terrorizing the poor girl." Dianna shoved through the swinging doors from the bar, letting them flap closed behind her on the organized chaos going on outside. "She doesn't need an interrogation."
Ignoring the dark look she got from the cook, Dianna pulled out her own chair at the head of the table. "Don't mind her, she's just pushy and German." She said with a wink to Lauren.
"Is she a half-breed too?" Lauren asked between bites.
"Nope, just old." Dianna grinned, ducking as a dinner roll sailed at her head.
"I am not so old that I am deaf! If you wish to make fun of me, go somewhere else. I am busy." Helga commanded.
Lauren smiled at the interaction.
Ignoring her, at her own peril, Dianna watched the human. "Sleep well?"
Lauren nodded. "Yes, very well."
She focused on her food, uncertain what to say. Because one really didn't know how to start a conversation where they admitted to being addicted to something their sister gave them, that tended to give one demon-like aspects.
"Good." Dianna fiddled with a piece of paper, frowning. The bartender was in her bar-tending outfit. Short skirt with a light shirt and plunging neckline. The high heels just added to the overall impression. "I wanted to talk to you first, but I think I need to call Detective Quinn and let her know where you are."
"You don't have to talk to her if you don't want to. This is the Gray Zone; police don't really have power down here." Dianna smirked.
Lauren knew it made her seem guilty of those murders, but how does one respond to witnessing said murders, being betrayed and used as a guinea pig by a sister, and starting a killing spree of your own.
"I don't know." She fidgeted. "I guess, I should talk to the police but what are they going to do about demons? Worse, I don't think I can handle being under the microscope of questions and procedures." She was afraid she'd snap and hurt someone.
"Then I won't tell her that you're here. But, hard as this is to say, Quinn seems to generally care if you're alive or dead. It will be easier if she knows you're alive." It would also help keep the detective from poking around off the record, which Dianna really didn't want.
Lauren sighed, her shoulders drooping. "I could maybe just talk to this friend of yours . . . here . . . just her, not a whole squad of them."
"Here?" Dianna winced. "Here?" She repeated, just to make sure she knew. "I mean, sure, here."
"Okay." She played with the lighter that she had somehow stolen off of Dianna, not really realizing she had done it. It was gold and shiny and part of her really liked that, since she had left her hoard back at her old hiding place.
"Hey!" The half-demon reached over, snatching it from her. "Get your own lighter."
Lauren gave a growl that startled her, and quickly dropped the hand that had been reaching out to grab it back under her ass so she was sitting on it. That way she wouldn't piss off the lady who was helping her.
With a strange look, Dianna tucked the gold lighter back into her pocket, not really certain how Lauren had gotten it off her in the first place. "I'll be right back. Just relax. You can go out in the bar if you want, but it's a bit chaotic right now. Deliveries for tonight just showed up."
"I'll stay out of the way and out of that room. I remember the rules, there weren't that many of them."
"Good to know. Helga, no terrorizing our guest." She moved out through the swinging doors, back into the chaos of the bar.
"Guest. You are now a guest." Helga shook her head, reaching for the salt.
"Is that a rare thing around here?" And why did Dianna have to wear shirts that put her boobs out there?
"Never guests." Helga shook her head, eyeing the young woman suspiciously as she moved to start cutting up a carrot.
"What?" Lauren said freeing the hand she was sitting on.
Helga snorted, moving back to the pots.
Lauren focused on her bowl, scraping it clean.
Out in the bar, Dianna found a corner booth where she could keep an eye on the half-dozen employees while dialing a number she'd rather not call. At least she might be bothering the detective on her day off, she hoped.
After the fourth ring, it was picked up. "Quinn." Came the out of breath reply.
"Am I interrupting something good?" Dianna purred, grinning. She really hoped she was.
"Damnit, Theron!" Quinn snarled into the phone.
"You were thinking of me during your special fun time? I'm touched. Or I could be if you wanted." Dianna laughed.
"Where do you think you're going?" Quinn grumbled next to the phone and then there was the sound of something heavy being slammed into the police cruiser. "Get in there and shut up."
Attention back to the phone Quinn frowned. "What was that? Never mind, I'm sure I don't want to know."
"Probably not." The redhead agreed. "Can you talk or are you busy having fun?"
"Yeah one second, I'm switching to hands-free." Quinn muttered as she got behind the wheel.
Dianna cupped her hand over the receiver. "Hey! Matt, make sure those kegs go in the basement. I don't want them piled up in the corner again!"
"I'm surprised you didn't have a witty innuendo for that. So what do you want, Theron?"
"Your missing human turned up." Dianna leaned back in her chair. "Alive and kind of well."
There was silence.
"Oh . . . great." Quinn was surprised; she really didn't think Theron would put herself out there for anyone. "After I book this guy, I can be down to pick her up."
"She's not going." The half-breed grimaced. "She doesn't want to go anywhere out of the bar. She's agreed to talk to you, one on one, otherwise no deal."
Quinn bit her bottom lip, her head bobbing side to side as she weighed the pros and cons of it.
"Oh come on Quinn, you're just dying to see me again." Dianna teased.
"You really think highly of yourself Theron. I'll be by in a couple of hours, to talk to her. Not for one of your infamous booty calls."
"Whatever you need to tell yourself." Dianna laughed and hung up. It was really fun playing with Quinn.
Quinn grumbled and hung up.
A few hours later as promised Quinn showed up at the bar. She thought about changing, or at least wearing a jacket to cover up her uniform but in the end decided Theron deserved any business that she lost.
A line was just starting to form outside of the bar, a mixture of human and half-breeds with even an occasional minor demon thrown in. There were humans trying to look like demons, and demons trying to look like humans. It was a confusing mixture, each group trying to be like the other. "Name?" The bouncer asked, sizing up Quinn as the police officer walked toward him. The man was obviously a half-demon, the scale-covered skin was hard to miss.
Quinn quirked and eyebrow and tapped her badge, "This means all access."
"Detective Quinn." He unhooked the red velvet rope, letting her into the bar beyond. "Ms. Theron is waiting for you."
"Of course she is. Really an Irish bar with a velvet rope, lordy if a leprechaun doesn't come by and kick you in the nuts."
There was a band setting up on the back wall, the four-man group were all bald and wearing authentic kilts. Large Scottish drums were being set up, giving a fairly strong hint as to what the night’s music was going to be. Dianna, alerted by the bouncer, was already threading her way through the crowded floor toward the detective, a drink in one hand.
She'd sashayed, knowing she looked good, and proud of it. People paused to look as she passed, and watched her as she went, admiring the well-formed figure. Everything about her screamed sex and desire.
"Detective." She smiled, offering the glass. "Whiskey I believe was your drink of choice?"
"Dear Lord." Quinn muttered to herself watching the woman arrive and realized she should have changed; now everyone would think she was a dirty cop.
"Can't, I'm on duty." Which was a pity, it was good whiskey.
"I could sip it for you." Dianna purred, leaning in close to be heard over the general din of conversation around them.
"The girl, Theron." Quinn sighed in exasperation “and then you can get back to your mating ritual.
"You're never any fun, Detective." Dianna laughed, tracing a finger along the collar of the uniform. "She's upstairs. Care to follow me?" She didn't really wait for an answer, turning and walking with a suggestive sway.
That just made Quinn frown harder, but she followed, people didn't part for her as they did for Dianna, but she didn't mind shoving a few people around.
"Very butch of you, Detective." Theron smiled over her shoulder. "Perhaps you could shove me around later?" She pushed through the doors to the kitchen and the stairs beyond.
It wasn't like Quinn hadn't heard that before, people assumed most women in a male dominated field secretly wanted to be a man or was a lesbian. Or she met the freaks with a uniform fetish--there was a guy on Main who was always doing stupid shit so he'd get frisked by a lad or lady in blue. Then there was the opposite: the people who unexpectedly flew into a rage at the sign of a police uniform, a physiological disorder.
She was fine until they went up the stairs then it got interesting following behind Dianna as the skirt rode up as she stepped up the stairs. Fucking half-breeds and their unnatural beauty, seriously she had yet to meet an ugly one, and fuck Dianna for knowing how to work that sex appeal. She was going to start calling on different half-breeds when she needed help with a demon-touched case. It was her fault really, she'd come here.
“She’s in the guest room.” Dianna sent a smile over her shoulder at the cop, enjoying the effect she was having on the human. It was always fun to tease the good detective. “This is the second time you’ve been up to my rooms; people are going to start talking Quinn.”
"Doubtful, since you aren't throwing me out, nor do I look . . . satisfied, like the other barely legal things you throw out your doors once the sun rises. They are going to think you're losing your touch or perhaps I'm here to do police work." Quinn shot back. Her gaze flicking to the safety of the handrail. Fucking demons, she thought again, for good measure.
“You haven’t left here yet, Detective.” Dianna purred, stopping at the top of the stairs and waiting for Quinn to pass her. “Third door on the right.” She grabbed Quinn’s arm, stopping her. “Be gentle. She’s suffered a lot already.” Pale eyes watched the Irish woman’s face intently.
Quinn tried to hide her surprise, but there was a lot to be surprised about. Dianna touching her, which had never happened. Or Dianna showing concern for someone. "When demons are involved there's suffering. I promise to behave myself, no rough stuff. I will just talk to her about what happened, and I'll let her set the pace. You're welcome to stay if it will make you both feel better.”
The half-demon blinked, dropping her hand. “Why would I care?” She folded her arms, which did nice things to her cleavage.
Quinn just gave a tight-lipped smile. "I didn't say that you did." Happy her eyes didn't lower, she moved past Dianna to head down the hall. She rolled her eyes as the half-demon didn't move at all making the police officer have to brush against her. She kept her hand on her gun out of habit not that she thought Dianna would steal it.
“I’ll just wait for you here.” The half-demon made no effort to hide the appreciative look she gave as the detective walked away. “I always did like a woman in uniform.” She grinned, leaning up against the side of the hallway.
Quinn knocked on the door, and when she heard a muffled voice respond she opened the door. "Hi, my name is Maggie Quinn, I'm a police officer. Ms. Theron contacted me to come speak to you. Is that okay?" She said, step into the room and shutting the door.
The woman inside nodded, arms crossed across her chest as she sat in the only chair by the window. Dark eyes watched the detective suspiciously as bare feet poked out from under the new jeans she was wearing. “She said you would show up.” Lauren said quietly.
Quinn smiled, softly, the young woman looked very lost and alone at the moment. "I'm just going to take out my notepad and a pen. Then I'm going to sit over here, so we can talk.”
“I’m not going back with you.” There was a hint of defiance in those dark eyes. “But I guess talking wouldn’t be so bad.” She swallowed, hesitant at the idea of talking about what had happened.
"Well, since you’re an adult and I'm fairly certain you didn't have anything to do with the murders of your family, there really is no reason to bring you in. However, being the only witness it will help me out a lot to put a done stamp on this if you can just take your time and tell me what happened. Can you do that for me, Lauren?" She kept her voice soothing.
The younger woman shook her head. She didn’t want to do that, running away was so very much better. “I… I don’t think you’ll believe me.”
"You'd be surprised what I'll believe. You know I didn't always work this close to the Gray Zone. I was assigned downtown when I got out of the Academy, not a lot of demon activity in the heart of downtown. Then I got caught on a case, a man had sold his soul to a major demon, wanted power and glory, all he had to do was sacrifice his only son to the demon. So I've seen a lot since that case and now I don't work downtown, I work here on the fringe, and sometimes, sometimes I work nice neighborhoods where demons got in." She never looked away from Lauren, "So I think I'll believe anything you tell me.”
The woman swallowed and ducked her head. “All right. But I warned you.” She licked her lips, shuddering as she thought of what to tell the nice woman. “My sister, she did research work, did you know that?” It would be helpful to know what the other woman knew already.
"I know she worked for the government, although what she did exactly has been locked up tight." Annoyingly tight. "Would you like a drink or anything? I could have Dianna go grab something." Which was appealing, but might also have the woman relax.
Dark hair moved as Lauren shook her head, looking down at her bare feet. “No. Her cook made me eat just before you got here.” She grinned a little at that memory, the grin dying as she licked her lips. “She did genetic work, of some sort. Susan, my sister, she was a bigwig in Washington, DC. She was running a trial on anxiety disorders, said I’d be perfect for it, so she included me.” The door opened a little and she tensed, relaxing a bit when Dianna leaned against the doorframe.
The half-demon had been doing her best to linger outside, but it was her house, damnit! She should at least know what the human was involved in before Challa or someone else, tried to snatch her away.
“Things went bad after that.” Lauren met Dianna’s eyes, then looked away. Why did it always seem like the beautiful woman could tell what she was thinking? “The demons . . .” Her voice broke, remembering that night, the nightmare that had started.
"The demons broke into your parent’s house, where you were living and your sister was visiting and attacked you. But they weren't after you, they were looking for Susan. Weren't they?”
Miserable, Lauren nodded and Dianna closed her eyes. The waves of emotion were hard to ignore and she was glad that she wasn’t right next to the smaller woman.
“She was yelling at me to help, but I didn’t know what she wanted. Then, they were going to…” her voice broke again and she wiped at the tears. “They were going to…” She couldn’t even say what the demons had been about to do to her mother. “I hit one, and we went through the window together.”
Quinn had the family photos of the Espinoza family back in a file on her desk; Susan and her mother had looked a lot alike. "That was incredibly brave and shows how much you loved your family." She looked up from where she was writing. "How did the demon's neck get broken?" It was an innocent sounding question.
“My hands.” Lauren whispered, raising them to stare at the fingers as if she’d never seen them before. “I wanted him dead so badly and then I just kept twisting. The bones broke and . . .” she trailed off looking up at the Detective. “I just wanted him to stop.”
Dianna twitched. “I’ll get some water,” she murmured, turning and leaving before the emotions overrode her sense of self-preservation.
Quinn frowned and looked over her shoulder as Dianna left. "Take a deep breath, Lauren. Can you do that for me? There are all sorts of demons and half-demons downstairs so if you let your emotions spark too much—well, they'll get a little more rambunctious than we like." Her pen tapped against the pad. "So you killed that demon. That's impressive, Lauren. Do you think the injections your sister was giving you had anything to do with what you were able to do?" She kept talking trying to keep the young woman from thinking too much.
Quinn would bet a week's pay it all came back to the older sister and that closed file.
“Maybe.” Lauren stared at her hands again, remembering the sound of the demon’s neck breaking as she twisted his head. “I think they’ve changed me.” She looked up, staring bleakly at the detective. “I don’t know what’s happening to me.” She’d grown wings last night! That had to be a bad sign, and then there were the cravings. The urges to kill the demons, even now she could feel them below her feet.
"You want to tell me what's happening to you?" If Dianna hadn't told her already what had happened in the house, she might not have believed it. That this young woman had killed a demon. It was still shocking but not overwhelming, she was able to press on, get her brain to think and ask questions. But she knew this, Lauren Espinoza was what those agents were looking for, and she didn't have a good feeling about them finding her.
“How can I tell you about something I don’t even understand?” Lauren let her hands drop. She opened her mouth to say something else when Dianna reappeared at the door. The half-demon stalked past Quinn, shooting the agent a look as she offered a glass of cold water to the shaken human.
“Thank you.” Lauren smiled hesitantly and Dianna surprised herself by instantly smiling back.
“Take your time.” The redhead said, turning and narrowing her eyes at Quinn. “Detective, could I talk to you out in the hall?”
"Certainly." She got up, putting the cap on her pen, and then put it and the notepad into a pocket. She fished out a business card and walked over handing it to Lauren. "Lauren, anything else occurs to you or you just need to talk feel free to call me. That's my direct line." She then stepped out of the room.
"Yes, Theron?" Her tone was tight on the verge of angry. She hadn't missed that shared smile.
“You need to stop.” The half-demon growled, after making sure the door to the room was closed. “Every half-demon downstairs can feel the emotions you’re putting that woman through and it’s going to get ugly if it keeps going. She can’t relive those memories just to satisfy your curiosity. I already told you what happened at that house, don’t terrorize Lauren just to prove me right.”
"You told me the what, not the how. I was trying to create a link between the murder and the older sister." She snapped back and then bit her lip. "But you have a valid point. I don't feel emotions the same way you do, I didn't realize how strongly she was projecting."
She checked her watch and groaned, more than enough time on the clock to get another call or to type all this up. "Thank you, Theron. I'll do my best to keep those Government creeps away. I'll contact you when the girl's house will be clear. I assume it goes to her, but she'll have to contact a lawyer.”
“You should stay.” Dianna almost reached out to catch Quinn’s arm, but she’d touched the human once this night and that was enough. “The music is going to be good.” She could already hear the warm-ups from downstairs, the deep bass of the drums beginning.
The detective snorted. “I have things to take care of. Unlike you, I work a real job.”
“Pity.” The half-breed watched her walk away, before turning to see if her guest needed anything.
A pillow was kicked and it flew across the destroyed room as Green stared around him. He flipped open his phone and dialed a number. "I've got nothing. Just some clothes, her briefcase is missing."
There was a grunt over the phone. "Quinn is back at some Irish bar on the edge of the Gray Zone. This is her second trip here. The owner is a Dianna Theron, nice to look at as all half-breeds are. Not certain if Quinn is dirty or fucking it."
Green shoved the mattress back. "No, everything on Quinn indicates that she's straight but she might be dirty. Her husband and 2-year-old were killed; husband sold his soul to some major demon, sacrificed the son. I'm pretty sure that means she isn't a lesbian. Maybe it's just a call-in?"
"I have a gut feeling about this place, Green."
Green sighed and sat down in a chair. "We need those vials. We need to know what Susan did."
"I can grab Quinn when she comes out; take her someplace where we can have a more thorough talk."
"Not, yet. Let's not push our hand yet."
There was grumbling. "Understood."
Leaving Lauren to her own devices, Dianna went back downstairs after making sure the human had more food and water. She’d offered the use of her laptop and the small selection of books she had in her own room.
The library in her office was off-limits of course.
The bar was crowded, people already dancing as the band stirred them up. The emotions washed over her and she smiled, stunning the customers who were near her as she slipped behind the bar.
This was why she held these parties every Saturday. The wild rush of emotions from the people packed in with her, rolling over them. There was a wide range of emotions, but most of them were good and she felt herself perk up in their presence. Most of the half-breeds in attendance that night were there for the very same thing. It was part of the reason the bar was so popular.
The rest of the week it was a quiet haven, but Saturdays were a celebration of being alive.
“We’re doing good business tonight boss!” Pixie yelled, bare abs shiny with sweat as she hustled past Dianna to fill orders.
Good business was great news; there were always people to pay, or demons, legal and less than legal.
Picking a spot at the bar she dove into the fray, helping the bar staff out with handing out drinks and taking orders. The kitchen closed early on Saturdays, Helga refused to stay through the insanity, as she called it.
The emotions lit up this part of the Gray Zone, a beacon of happiness and life, a reprieve from the normal misery. It was, Dianna often thought, the only reason that the bar hadn’t been fully swallowed into the Gray.
It was intoxicating, the heavy drum beats pounding through them all, and Dianna knew she was drunk on it all. There was no need for alcohol on nights like this, the emotions around her were more than enough for that. Lust coursed through her and by the time the crush at the bar had slowed, she’d found her target for the night.
Usually she’d take them back to her room and kick them out by the morning, but Lauren was in the guest room and she shied away from her usual method.
“Hey.” The human husked, eyes dilated in the dim light as Dianna slid up to her.
“Hey.” The redhead grinned, sliding her hands across the slender human’s hips and watching her shiver. Oh, this was going to be so good, she could tell already. Leaning in she kissed her, feeling the thrill of the forbidden from the blond-haired woman. Wordlessly she slid her fingers across the woman’s skin, pulling her tight against her. “Hmmm.” She hummed, feeling the human’s heart rate speed up.
“This way.” She pulled the human with her, leading her to the food locker next to the kitchen. Helga would kill her if she ever found out, but the cook wasn’t there and she was horny.
It was hard and fast, the human giving almost as good as she got and Dianna toyed with the idea of taking her upstairs where she could lay her down on the bed.
Again the idea of Lauren stopped her though and she sent the disappointed blond on her way just before last call for the bar.
It took another hour before the last of her employees said goodnight and she left Bob alone at the bar to head upstairs. The high from the quickie and the emotions of the bar patrons was starting to flag. Tiredly she went upstairs, pausing outside of Lauren’s room. The door was closed and she couldn’t hear or feel anything from inside. Hopefully that meant the girl was sleeping.
“Sorry, Sissy. I didn’t come to say goodnight but things got crazy when Quinn showed up.” Dianna flicked on the light after unlocking the door to her private study. Yawning again she moved over to the portrait, picking it up and returning it to it’s spot on the wall. “I’ll do better tomorrow. Two days off sound good right now.” She smiled up at the woman in the painting. “It was a good night. Did you feel that? We rocked the house, everyone had a good time.”
As always there was no answer and Dianna chuckled, turning to leave.
An open book on her desk caught her attention and she moved over to look closer. It wasn’t a book she recognized, but that wasn’t unusual. Strange books had a habit of showing up.
Frowning she turned on the reading light so she could see the yellowing pages in front of her.
“What is this?” She glanced up at the picture and then back at the book, the frown deepening. “Celtic legends?”
Her eyebrows furrowed. “The legend of the Maiden, Mother and Crone?” It was a legend she was familiar with and she snorted. “What, you think Lauren is the Maiden, that makes Quinn the mother and I’m the crone? Gee thanks, Sissy.” She closed the book, shoving it across the desk. “You’re crazy. The human's just here until I figure out how to help her so you can stop bugging me. Quinn doesn’t even factor into this.”
She turned off the lights, pointedly ignoring the book.
There was no link among the three of them.
Dianna just wished she could make herself believe that beautiful lie.
Quinn tiredly sipped reheated coffee at her desk. She was staring at the report she had put together after her conversation with Lauren. But in her gut she had a bad feeling about submitting it, well, about the feds knowing where Lauren was. She spied the Chief going into his office and quickly got up rushing inside.
Larry Herbert hadn’t aged well due to the nature of his work and the fact the Gray butted up to his district. What hair he had was gray, his nose full of broken veins that only a hard drinker could have, and his eyes were always droopy and had fully packed bags under them. Other than that he was in decent shape. He set his briefcase down and turned around with a little cry of surprise; finding Quinn right there.
“Sorry.” She muttered.
He just looked at her and then sighed. “Shut the door.”
She did and they stared at each other for a moment. Finally, she cleared her throat and set the report on his desk. “I have located Lauren Espinoza.”
He made no move to pick up the paperwork. “And?”
“I have a bad feeling. If I file this then the Feds will know where she is….”
“You think they might endanger her?”
“Not deliberately. But I think they're here about the older sister. All information on Susan is classified. They won’t tell me where she was staying, since I know she wasn’t staying at her parent's house and they’re tailing me.”
He frowned and sat down. “It figures they would keep us in the dark. They were probably working on bringing back the extinct vampire and I’ll find a whole nest under the Public Library.” He grumbled out. “Do you have anything that would connect Lauren to the murders?”
“No, both demons have been brought in dead. Their prints match those on the bodies. The third blood drop can’t be matched because it’s corrupted.”
“So murderers found and brought to justice, the survivor can’t be linked to the murderers in any way. Drop it Quinn, we’ve got more pressing matters than babysitting government types.”
“Is that wise sir?”
“I know you have eight open cases, Quinn; why are you in here wasting my time.” He barked out. Then reached over and picked up her report and threw it in the shredder. “Case closed, and I couldn't care less what happened to Lauren, now go solve some crimes.”
She smiled. “Yes, sir.”
Sunday mornings had become a set routine for Dianna Theron. She slept in, indulging in the fact that the bar would be closed that day and recovering from the chaos that was Saturday nights. Usually she would be kicking a human out of her bed by sunrise, but since there was no human today, she slept until nearly ten.
Then it was time for long hot shower, the hot water turned up until it was almost blistering. Sunday was the only day she wore anything approaching casual clothes, tight fitting jeans with a short T-shirt and broken-in sandals.
There wasn’t any sign of her guest by the time she came out of her rooms, so she went down to the kitchen and decided it was time for a little more indulging. Cooking in general wasn’t something she enjoyed, or was particularly good at, but pancakes were something else altogether.
Pancakes and bacon were very nearly the perfect Sunday brunch and she mixed up the batter keeping an ear out for movement above or the visitor that was the other, less pleasant, part of Sundays.
The visitor beat her guest, which was probably a good thing, just as she finished making the pancake batter. Three loud bangs on the security door for the loading dock, just as always and Dianna sighed.
“Time to give the devil his due.” She muttered, setting the bowl of pancake batter in the fridge and moving out into the quiet bar.
“Morning Bob.” The old man lifted a finger, head hunched over as he peeled the label off the beer bottle.
That was more of a greeting than she normally got and she placed a fresh cold one in front of him as she retrieved a thick brown envelope from the lockbox she’d put it in the night before.
Another bang on the back door and she sighed. “I’m coming!” The redhead shook her head. “Impatient bastards.”
The door was down a small hallway that separated the main bar area from the public restrooms. It was a heavy, metal door that was definitely thicker than normal, but then again so was the front door. She unlocked the deadbolts that held it secure when the bar wasn’t open and shoved it open.
“Took your time, Theron.” The weasel-faced man outside sneered at her as she stepped out.
“Nice to see you too, Bachi.” No way in hell was she inviting him inside. He was taller than her, but stooped at the shoulders and rail thin as if constantly starving. The black leather trench coat that he thought so fashionable hung off him like it was draped over a skeleton.
“It would be nicer if I came inside.” He smiled, revealing jagged teeth that were pointed like a shark's.
“No, it wouldn’t.” She held out the envelope, making certain their fingers did not touch when he took it. “Here’s the weekly cut.”
“It feels lighter than last week's.” Black eyes stared at her and she shivered.
“It isn’t.” You couldn’t show weakness, ever, to a demon. It encouraged them to exploit you. “If your boss has a problem with it, I’m sure he’ll let you know.”
That made Bachi snarl, but he slid the thick envelope into his coat.
“You know I could always take less from you if you were willing to invite me in.” He licked his lips and she fought the urge to vomit at the mental image of what he really wanted. The lust rolled off him in waves.
“Are we done here?”
The tip of a pale-blue tongue licked his lips and this time she couldn’t quite hide the shudder.
“For now.” He turned to go.
She waited until he was down off the loading dock before calling after him. “Tell Dad, I say hi.”
He grunted and kept moving, but she smiled anyway. It was always fun to rub that particular detail in.
Turning she very nearly walked right into Lauren, the human standing stock still in the doorway, eyes shimmering as she stared down the alley the way that Bachi had gone. She hadn’t heard the human move, or even her arrival and that was troubling in itself.
“Lauren?” She asked, more tentative than normal. How long had she been there? What had she heard? “Are you all right?” She could see tension trembling in the other woman’s muscles.
Lauren blinked. "I'm . . . I'm fine." She rolled her shoulders, easing the tension there. She looked around as if realizing where she was. "I felt a demon, there was a demon here, and his intentions were . . . not good." She really didn't want to voice what his intentions had been.
“I know.” Dianna sighed, reaching out to shepherd the human inside, her fingers pausing just short of actually touching the other woman. “You should go inside; it’s not safe out here for you.”
Lauren let Dianna herd her back inside. "It's not safe during the day?" She almost giggled. "If any part of the day is safe it's daytime." She sniffed getting distracted. "Pancakes?"
She knew Bob was there, but it was easier to ignore his presence even if she didn't trust it.
“I was making the batter when…” Dianna shook her head, not wanting to discuss her weekly payments. “I’m not Helga, but I can make a mean pancake if you want?” She nodded to Bob as they entered the kitchen, letting the door close them off from the empty bar area.
"Pancakes sound great." She said sitting down. "So does Bob just come with the place?" Finding it odd that the demon was here even when the bar was closed.
“He’s always here. Came in the first night I opened and hasn’t left yet.” Dianna answered distractedly as she pondered what pan she could use for two servings of pancakes. She hadn’t made pancakes for anyone else for a long time now. “Bacon?”
"Yes, please." Lauren replied politely.
After a moment where Lauren really didn't know what to say, she randomly said. "Your cop friend was nice. I'm sorry I couldn't hold it together, everything is still more raw inside than I thought.”
“She’s not my friend; she’s not your friend either.” Dianna slid a tray of bacon into the oven, a trick she’d seen Helga use once that had saved her a lot of grief with bacon over the years. The pan was hot enough and she started out with a small test pancake. “She’s a detective, her job is to enforce human laws, don’t forget that.”
Lauren frowned. "Then why did you call her, if you don't like her. Besides part of you is human and I think I might still be human." She frowned, not sure.
“I’m not sure what you are.” Dianna admitted honestly. “And yes, I like Quinn.” She shut her mouth on what she’d been about to say. Since when did she talk openly with anyone? Much less a person she’d only known for a day? Frowning, she concentrated on flipping the pancake, giving herself a moment to think.
“She’s a good person but if she finds out you broke the law, then she’s going to arrest you.” There that was safe enough an answer.
"I'll keep that in mind." Lauren said seriously. "So is there anything I can help you with after I eat." She frowned for a moment. "I don't actually have a lot of skills other than reading and researching.”
“I don’t suppose you can research why Challa would be interested in betraying what was a very expensive payment to get you?” Dianna asked hopefully, making certain that each pancake was golden brown before adding it to the two plates. Lauren was almost painfully thin and she added a couple more to her dish before checking on the bacon.
“Or whatever it is you’re addicted to?” She asked, mildly, keeping her attention on the bacon.
Lauren flushed, and played with her pancakes for a bit. "I'm not really certain what a Challa is." She took a huge bite of her and chewed then another. Once her plate was about empty she spoke again. "I'm not really the kind of person that stands out, or is special in any way. I'm kind of a doormat. My sister works in some big government lab, she told me she was working on a drug that would prevent anxiety, told me I'd be perfect in the study. My whole life, you know what my parents have said to me? Why can't you be more like your sister." She played with her food for a second before continuing. "So I agreed. She would come and visit and inject me with the drug. Nothing really changed, not that I noticed and then the demons attacked. She grabbed me and ran me out into the living room where her bag was. My mother was screaming and she injected me with something. Then she was babbling at me to stop them, to kill them. Me, I've never . . . well I wasn't certain how I was supposed to stop them and then they came bursting into the room and I ran away until I heard Susan's screams. Then, then it was like I was a guest in my own body." She shoved a whole pancake in her mouth so she'd shut up.
Wordlessly, Dianna piled bacon onto the free space of Lauren’s plate. Keeping a couple for herself she moved over to the table, sitting down across from the human after getting them a couple cups of coffee to go with the brunch.
“The thing about addictions,” she said after a few bites, “is that they get worse, they just don’t magically disappear.” She knew plenty about addictions. “I don’t think it’s a normal drug, like Meth or cocaine, whatever she injected you with it’s more than that. Even PCP wouldn’t let you have enough strength to kill a demon.” The half-demon smiled, “and it sure wouldn’t let you grow wings.”
"I have her bag. Her business card is in there. I could call her office, talk to someone . . . I guess." She shrugged.
Dianna thought that over as she took another bite, studying the pale woman across from her. It would be easy to overlook Lauren in a crowd she realized, although the woman had her own sort of innocent beauty. Mentally shaking herself out of such thoughts she took another bite of bacon. “Maybe Quinn could use that. The FBI want to talk to you too, and I’m not sure they’d be as nice as Quinn was.”
"Do you think I should talk to the FBI? I'm not really I don't want anyone experimenting on me.”
“I wouldn’t trust the FBI to do anything other than what they want.” Dianna cradled the cup of coffee, peering over the rim of it at Lauren. “So no, I recommend you give the card to Quinn and maybe she can do something useful.”
Lauren nodded and then ate the rest of the food on her plate. "I get massive headaches when I’m near demons; they seem to get better once I kill them. I find that unsettling and it makes me a little sick to my stomach. Half-demons seem to be fine. The more I kill the more I need to inject myself, as well.”
This was definitely a strange brunch conversation, but Dianna went with it. She admitted, at least to herself, that she was curious about the human woman. “How many injections do you have left?” She got up, moving to get another helping of bacon for the woman.
"Three vials." The woman shrugged. "Probably enough for a while. I don't really know.”
“Here. You need to eat more.” Dianna put more bacon on her plate and then stretched, arcing her back until her spine popped, shirt riding well up her toned stomach before sitting back down. “To answer your earlier question, Challa is a demon hound. Not a hellhound, they’re different. He helped me track you down and then apparently had a better deal on the table to try and capture you. I have a few friends, well, acquaintances, trying to find out who’s so interested in you here in the Gray.”
"That doesn't sound good." She swallowed nervously. "Did you tell your cop fri . . . um, Quinn . . . did you tell Quinn this?" She looked up at Dianna studying her face.
“No.” Dianna tilted her head to one side, pale eyes meeting Lauren’s darker ones. “This is the Gray Zone, demon stuff is beyond the cops' ability to do anything about it. Human laws don’t exist inside the zone.” She grinned a little, eyes mischievous. “You’ve never been inside there have you?
"Yes, well, kind of. I killed a demon on campus and I dumped the body into the Gray. It was . . . hard to walk away; even now I can feel the gray in the back of my mind calling to me.”
"Then you felt it." Dianna stretched back in her seat. "You felt what it's always like in the Zone. That constant fear and knowing that there's something stalking you."
Lauren blinked. "No, it was like a craving, because I knew I'd find prey to kill. I wasn't afraid of it, only of losing myself in it. If I entered, I’d never be Lauren again."
The half-demon blinked in response. "Oh." That was definitely not the answer that a human normally gave. "Craving." She sat back upright. "Then you stay here. We're on the boundary here, not in the normal world, not in the Zone. You're safe here, for now."
Lauren nodded and picked up her plate to wash it. "Thank you again for helping me."
"Don't mention it." Dianna sighed. Which meant she was going to have a guest for a while. "Let's get some house rules straight, all right?"
Lauren looked up from where she was rinsing off her plate. "Okay."
"No going into my study. No exceptions, got it?" Dianna was firm on that point.
"What is in your study? This is the fourth time you've gone off on it. Do you sacrifice virgins in there?"
"Sacrifice is not what I do to virgins." Dianna leered despite herself.
Lauren blushed and looked down at the dish. "You're very sexual; do you do it on purpose?"
"No." Dianna smiled from where she was sitting. "It's part of me. Does it bother you?"
"No . . . yes . . . a little." She set the plate down and started washing the other dishes dirtied to make breakfast. "Lately sometimes, at the University, I'd find myself staring a pretty woman and having . . ." Her cheeks turned even redder. "Not very nice thoughts."
"Do tell." Dianna purred, smile growing. "Please. Think of me as your personal confessor if it helps." She might as well get something out of this arrangement.
She cleared her throat and looked up at the woman and then down. "Well . . . I . . ." She floundered, completely flustered.
"You liked the look of some of those women?" Dianna prompted, resting her chin on her palm as she watched the human intently. "The way they move, their breasts, legs, the way they move?" Yes she knew she said the way they move twice, but it was important.
"Before I . . . well, I lived with my parents, my very Catholic parents, so I never did anything. It would be too hard. But I had normal thoughts about what it would be like to kiss and touch someone. Now . . ." She nodded. "Yeah, normally it was the women wearing those tight shirts that revealed a lot. Suddenly, I would really want to go over and drag that woman away somewhere. Hold her down and do whatever I wanted. Taste their screams."
Both eyebrows rose up. "My, my." Dianna murmured. "All sorts of darkness curling around in you." She studied the slim wisp of a woman washing dishes.
Lauren let out a breath and rubbed her heated cheeks, trying to get the red to go away. "I know. That's not normal or right."
"Lauren." Dianna pushed up, moving over until she was close to the other woman. "There is no normal here, nothing is normal in the Zone. Right is a concept that you bring with yourself." She tapped her fingers, twice, against Lauren's left shoulder.
Lauren looked over at Dianna. "I'll try to remember that, but I was raised Catholic; it's hard to let go of all that indoctrination."
"Guilt." Dianna sighed, and moved away. Guilt wasn't an emotion she liked. "Second rule. You're welcome to enter the bar, but no killing my patrons. The bar's a neutral place, fights stay outside."
Lauren nodded. "I'm getting better. I didn't even growl at Bob today."
"Good." The half-demon smiled. "Progress. The bar's closed today and tomorrow, but we get deliveries tomorrow. Otherwise, we'll have the bar entirely to ourselves." She cocked a hip up against the countertop, eyes watching Lauren. "What did you want to do?"
Lauren shrugged. "I don't know. Normally I go to church with my parents then we have dinner." And then she would sneak off to her room to read one of her battered lesbian romances.
"Church." Dianna winced. "The nearest church isn't a place you want to go to. Dinner I can work tonight though." Dear god, had she just volunteered to cook?
"No, that's just what I did on Sundays. I didn't like church, I think the priest suspected I was a lesbian; he always, well, he creeped me out. I'm kind of boring."
The half-demon's eyes narrowed a little. "Oh." She didn't understand. "You must like to do something?"
"I like to read and . . ." she frowned. "I liked going to the zoo and watching the big cats, and on my way home from the university I'd stop outside this club that played jazz and listen. Sorry, I'm not very exciting."
"Lady, you grew wings and killed the demons who'd killed your family. That's plenty exciting." Dianna pushed off from the counter, moving toward the stairs. "Jazz, that I can help you with though."
Quinn yawned and rubbed her eyes; the keys on the typewriter she was using were starting to blur. Before she'd transferred here, in her last district they'd had computers. They also had more than enough officers, two to a car; she hadn't had a partner in years.
She looked over at the clock, she'd have to patrol as soon as she finished this up. Check on contacts and snitches police work took a lot more work with demons involved.
"Detective Quinn." The voice was familiar as the two Feds walked toward her desk through the darkened squad room. Agent Green smiled pleasantly as he walked toward Quinn. "How good to see you again. We were beginning to think you didn't like us anymore." Agent Ferris walked along quietly behind him.
She blinked and looked up. "Gentlemen. I sent the formal report to your supervisor in Washington; I'm surprised to find you still here. Maybe he hasn't gotten it yet."
"We got it." Green moved closer, stopping near the Detective's desk. "We don't think you gave us all of the information you know in that report. Perhaps you forgot to put something in it?"
"Middle-class family murdered, CSI shows two different demons responsible, both demons killed, one by a department authorized demon hunter, public feels happy and safe and my supervisor has told me to close it and work on more important active cases. Not sure what you want from me, but I don't have the luxury of a government job where I can go fly into towns and stick my badge into business while I stay at the Walden Hotel, which is four stars at least." She snapped back. "So what exactly do you think I left out? The part where the case is closed or the parts where you're getting in my way by tailing me across the city everywhere I go."
"You left out that you met the sister." Green's smile wasn't quite so pleasant anymore. "You left out whatever you talked with her about. You also left out why the demons would kill this particular family and who killed the first demon. Leaving things like that out makes me think that maybe, you're not doing your job." The smile was definitely shark like now. "Or maybe you're just hiding what the demons pay you to hide?"
Most people would have broken or slipped up but Quinn had once killed her own husband and the demon tart he'd been fucking.
"I'm pretty certain I'll never figure out why those demons killed that family because your branch refuses to give me any information on the older sister, who was probably poking her nose in to the affairs of demons. That pissed them off and they were actually there just to kill her but the rest of the family was collateral. Only I'll never figure that out because you're stonewalling me. As for the younger sister . . ." She smiled. "Prove it, and prove that I'm dirty."
"Under the Demon Act of 1945 we don't really need to prove you're dirty, Detective." The ever-present smile was now angry. "We just have to prove that you're aiding and abetting demons."
"Dianna Theron." He called after her. "Interesting bar owner. Not licensed as a full demon, but then again it's so hard to tell sometimes."
"Then you're stuck behind a desk too much Agent, if you can't tell the difference between a real demon and a half-breed. Stop fucking with me Agent, you've been lying through your teeth since you said hello."
She turned and with her back straight, stormed out of the building.
"Not very cooperative, is she?" Ferris said.
"No, not really." Green answered, shrugging.
Quinn yawned again, the coffee she had drank hours ago, long since worn off, all it left her with now was heartburn. She was going to close her report of the university for lack of evidence and people didn't care about dead demons, only dead people.
The cell phone in the dash started to ring as she waited at the red light.
Quinn sighed and thought about not answering it, she was almost off, nearly two in the morning on Monday, she didn't want to think about how much longer she'd have to stay up if she answered it. Finally, though, she did. "Quinn."
"Quinn! How's it going?" The male voice on the other end sounded a bit rushed. "Look, I know it's been a while, but you got time to talk with your old beat partner?"
She laughed. "Mikey, Jesus, are you still beating the pavement at this hour?"
"Yeah, you know how it is with people who do real work." He laughed. "Not like you big fancy detectives. Look, something funny happened down here, I thought you'd like to come take a look."
"Really, Mikey?" She sighed. "Only for you buddy. Where are you at and what am I looking at?"
“I'm not sure, but I think it's a demon. You know the interstate overpass at 17th Street?"
"Yeah, I'll be right there. If you feel threatened at all, call in for a hunter. Don't be a hero."
She flipped a bitch at the light and started heading back the way she came.
It was well past two AM by the time the detective arrived downtown. They were well away from the Gray Zone, nearly in the downtown core of the city. A car was parked under the overpass; the dark sedan flashed its lights twice at Quinn as she drove closer.
She parked next to it and got out. "Kind of out of my jurisdiction, Mikey." She said with a grin. "Okay, what do you want me to look at?"
The sedan's doors stayed closed, its dark windows reflecting the light from the sole street light in the entire area.
The entire car bounced a bit though, as if someone inside had just jumped up and down on a seat.
Quinn frowned. "What the hell, Mikey? Quit jacking off and show me what you wanted me to take a look at." She knocked on the window.
The entire car bucked up and down, rocking almost a half a foot on its suspension. The driver side door buckled outwards, the glass shattering. Something inside shifted, glowing eyes peering out at Quinn.
Startled, Quinn shouted out. "Fuck!" Instantly she was retreating, hand going for her gun.
This was not good.
The car bounced again and with a squeal of metal tearing, the entire driver’s side door flew off, tumbling into the darkness. The thing inside of the car screamed, high-pitched and barely human.
"Fuck!" Quinn shouted again and then took off for her car. She ripped the driver’s side door open and slid on to the seat slamming the door behind her. She fumbled with the keys but got the engine turned over.
She yanked the radio to her mouth and pushed a button, “this is Detective Quinn, I am being pursued by an unknown demon, I am at the overpass on 17th . . ." She cut off as something heavy landed on the car jostling the receiver out of her hand.
The thing leapt, clearing the dozen or so feet between the other car and Quinn's in one leap as it landed on her hood. Claws dug into the metal and it screamed at her, its disjointed jaw unhinging and the creature ripped the antenna right out of the car's roof.
Quinn swerved and then regained control of her car. She kept steady on the gas while her right hand fumbled for her personal weapon she kept hidden on her ankle. The one she loaded with bullets made from a melted cross and blessed.
Once free, she raised the weapon and fired.
It screamed again, tumbling off her hood and the car shuddered as Quinn ran over a large bump. Claws raked under the car, shredding metal as the car ran the thing over.
Quinn let out a breath but didn't slow down. She fumbled for the radio again setting the gun in the seat next to her. "This is Detective Quinn requesting back up and a Hunter. I am on 17th Street heading back toward the Gray Zone."
Belatedly, she realized she was reaching nobody as the creature had destroyed the antenna and threw the thing down with disgust, reaching for her cell phone.