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LjSmith Stories Jez and MorgeadsNightOut

LjSmith Stories Jez and MorgeadsNightOut

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Published by: magick_reader on Mar 21, 2012
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03/21/2012

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 An Untold Tale
 
© Ljane Smith (L. J. Smith)
This is an untold story from the past, when Jez and Morgead were still strugglingregularly with the leadership (and with each other). It’s not for the faint of heart—Jez’sgang is on the trail of a serial killer, but I think that it makes some valid social points.And of course, there’s the love scenes, too!
 
 Jez 
Jez wanted to scream.She knew no one else could tell. They only saw her, Jez, always ready for anadventure, with waving brilliant red hair that fell to her hips and silvery blue eyes thatburned and chilled at the same time. She had never flinched from any game or task, and noone would believe her if she said that the thought of what must have happened in thisapartment was such an obscenity that her furious soul rose up, whishing to rid the world of all the monsters who could do such things—even those who did them to human vermin.Vermin were to be exterminated, of course . . . but . . . .But not like this!That was why she wanted to scream. As the second-in-command of a vampire gangthat hunted humans—specializing in the kind of humans that deserved to be hunted—she’dseen things that would make most grown-ups wet their pants and run. But, again, assecond-in-command, she was expected to maintain a measure of cool in all situations.“Well,” Piece’s light, cold voice brought her back to the present, “I should say thatthere’s ample evidence that he’s vermin, in every sense of the word.” His thin, aristocraticfeatures were pinched, as if trying to get away from the smell.The smell . . . the sick puppy who owned this apartment had stacked body parts—actual parts of actual human beings’ bodies—in piles all around the rooms. Jez, whosevampire senses were infinitely more acute than a human’s, found that she was choking onthe reek. How was it possible that foolish humans, even with their blunted senses, couldwalk by this dive of an apartment, day by day, and not inform somebody? The manager.The police. Anybody.“Well, look here!” In tones of half-admiring disgust, Val, the biggest member of thegang drawled from a bedroom.He had tilted up the narrow child-size single bed and was looking down at thebedsprings. There, flattened between the two surfaces, was the mummified body of a littlegirl. “Guess he didn’t like to sleep alone,” Val said, and chuckled at his own humor.Now Jez thought she might throw up. But that was ridiculous. She’d never heard of a vampire vomiting, and if she did she’d be the first one in history to lose it that way.Little Thistle was clapping and laughing, almost dancing around the apartment. “What a unique storage idea,” she gurgled, and the words seemed strange coming out of themouth of what looked like an elementary school student—a tiny fair-haired piece of dandelion fluff. She was a made vampire—changed as a child, she had had chosen not age asingle day more. “Two can sleep in the space for one! I wonder if she kept him warm at
 
night?” “Sure,” said Val, still chuckling. “Extra insulation.” Pierce pinched his nose bridge, a sure sign that he was not amused, but fastidiouslyoffended.“She’s a bad girl. She spends
every night 
in someone else’s bed,” Thistle added,twirling.“You want my opinion about her?” A tall, slim girl, who looked like Thistle’s oppositein every way, turned from the other side of the room. She had black hair with a blue sheento it, and it fell asymmetrically over her shoulders, covering one eye completely. Her othereye was piercing and midnight blue.“Raven, dear,
always want your opinion,” said Thistle sweetly. “You’re
clever 
, youknow.” “Well, then, I think the girl in the bed was his first murder,” Raven said. “I think hedid her when he was just a kid like her—how old is he now, anyway?” “He’s twenty,” a new voice said rather huskily, and Morgead came in from the tinyspare room. His dark, normally disheveled hair was even more mussed than usual, and hisface looked strained. His eyes, usually gemlike—emerald green—against the black smudgeof his lashes, seemed oddly dulled. “That back bedroom is the same as these,” he added ina strange voice. “Except worse.” “Worse?” trilled Thistle. “I wanna see!” “Maybe he really means ‘better,’” Pierce said, putting it delicately.“I mean worse. Even humans don’t deserve what’s been done to them. He recordedhimself doing the things, and he’s got a big screen in there. I watched what I could stand.If anyone else wants to go watch, they’re welcome.” “We never did hear Raven’s theory,” Val said. Val had a one-track mind like18-wheeler truck.“It’s just this. I’m betting that that little girl in the bed was his first murder. Hedidn’t know what to do with her body—this is the city, you can’t bury anything! And he wastoo young to drive, and he didn’t want his parents to find out. They must have all lived heretogether then. So he put the body in there, and with enough air freshener and incense hecould have disguised the smell. Enough, anyway. I bet rats die in these walls all the time.And so Mommy and Daddy never knew—and maybe he took them down, too. Then, since hefound he enjoyed it so much, he just kept adding to his collection.” “Sounds reasonable,” Pierce said. “Some people collect butterflies, some collect biggame. This one collected”—he peered at a jar—“kidneys, if I’m not mistaken.” “Jez, you’ve just been standing there like a statue. Something wrong?” asked Ravensuddenly.“No.” Proudly, Jez put her hands on her hips, her expression daring anyone to hintthat anything here scared or revolted her. “I was just so fascinated by your theory that Iwas struck dumb with amazement. Now if we could only cut your head open and give half your brains to Thistle . . . ” she added, getting a laugh from Val and a fastidious smile fromPierce. “And I was wondering about our collector friend—what kind of person he was.” Well,that was true enough.“He works at Value Gas’n’Snacks,” Pierce said, pulling a small piece of paper from his jeans pocket. “Tonight he’s on from 6 P.M. to 2 A.M. All we need to do is wait. Althoughwaiting for four hours here . . .” He sniffed again.Raven was fretting too. “Spend four hours just sitting?” “I don’t mind,” Thistle said, still flitting from pile to pile. “Oh, did you know he’s anartist? Here’s all sorts of things drawn on skin.” “I don’t mind either. He’s got a TV. And some stuff in the fridge, har har har,” saidVal from the kitchen.Raven turned away pointedly and Pierce just rubbed his forehead. Only Thistletinkled laughter.“I wanna see the fridge!” Morgead cut her off before she could reach it. “It hasn’t got any food. Just more of his ‘collection.’” 
 
“Sounds cool.” “Sounds like crap,” Jez said, moving to stand beside Morgead. “And I’m like Raven;I can’t sit still for four more hours. We know who he is and where to find him. Come on,let’s ride!” “Wait a minute,” Morgead said. “Who’s the leader of this so-called gang?” Jez didn’t turn. “You are,” she said. “So? What else are we going to do for fourhours? Meditate?” “Oh, all right. Come on, everybody. Bikes. And don’t forget the door. I want thisapartment like we were never here.” “We can slip back in at one-thirty and be all ready at two,” Pierce said as they filedout.“What?” Jez stopped walking. “We’re just going to do it without the Thistle routine?” “Damn it, are you blind?” Morgead misplaced his temper easily, and he lost it now. “What do you want? You saw these rooms.” “Yeah, I saw them.Jez was spoiling for any kind of action, and Morgead was usuallyready to oblige with a fight. “So?” Morgead said, “Well, do you think his auntie popped in to murder all the vermin whilehe was asleep—on his double bed?” Jez couldn’t help grinning savagely at the last. “No,” she said.“Well, then what do you want?” Morgead snapped. “He’s definitely the only guy whocomes in here. Steven G. Vizner. You want to see his driver’s license?” “No,” Jez said again coolly. “I just want to see him flunk the Thistle routine. That’sall.” “Oh, for . . .” Morgead turned sharply away toward Thistle. “Are you up for it withthis sick dude?” Thistle smiled and twirled again, making her thistledown hair stand out from herbody. “Sure,” she said. “All vermin are sick. The sicker the better.” Morgead gathered in the rest of the gang with his eyes to make sure that thereweren’t going to be any more objections or demands. Then, clearly making an effort to holdhimself in check, he turned back to Jez.“Does that satisfy your sensibilities?” he asked.Jez smiled benevolently. “It does.” “Fine. Then we’ll do it the second-in-command’s way.” Morgead said. He made sureto lay emphasis on Jez’s status.Jez didn’t care. She’d got what she wanted. She usually did. * * * * * At one thirty A.M. they converged on the gas station. After that, as Raven coollypointed out, it wouldn’t be too odd to lock the door and put the “CLOSED” sign up—withoutthe target knowing it, of course. Then Thistle could do her thing without fear of interruption.Thistle danced into the store lightly on small, sandal-shod feet. At first she justwalked up and down the aisles, looking one way and then the other. Sometimes she wouldcup her hands to the window glass and stare outside as if hoping to see something.She didn’t have to put all that into the act, of course. But Thistle loved being onstage.It didn’t take long for Steven G. Vizner to get a good look at the child wandering inhis store. And from the moment he saw her, Jez saw by his expression that he was going tofail the test. He was a fox and Thistle was a tiny, fluffy, witless little yellow chick with noparents in sight. 
He
had to approach Thistle, though. It was part of the rules.No problem about that. He was cruising toward her as soon as he saw her. She wasat the back of the store, away from possible security cameras at the checkout stand.“Hey, honey,” he said, and Jez thought how strange it was, that he looked andsounded just like any other of the vermin. He didn’t wear a long black cloak and a mask andhis face was no uglier than the average human’s. No savage sneer, no lowering brow.

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