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³Night, Molly,´ says a twenty year old Nicky, as she leaves from working the grave yard shift at the mall movie theater. The night is extra dark, a few of the parking garage lights are dim, or out. Her car is, of course, parked as far from the exit as one can get. She keeps her key at the ready, and walks surely toward her car, watching about for anyone that may be hiding in the shadows. As she looks about the ominous dark that surrounds he, she realizes that she should have taken Molly¶s offer to be dropped off at her car. Just as she gets to her the rear of her car a man appears from the shadows, and walks around the front of her car blocking her way. ³Hey there, sexy.´ The man is in his mid twenties; about six foot, three inches tall. Dark brown hair flows from his head in a tied off pony tail ending about mid back. He eyes are sharp and hold Molly in their baby blue stare. ³What say you and me have a little fun tonight?´ Molly is constantly backing away from the man as he advances toward her. She circles the car, and as she starts to come around the other side, she decides she has to try to run past him. As she pushes him against the car to run away, he grabs her. The man pulls her against him, obtains a better grip, and throws her up against the trunk of her car. He pulls his fist back to punch her, in hopes of subduing her; but his hand is grabbed. ³I don¶t think you want to do that boy,´ says Hunter as he is holding tight to the man¶s wrist.
³Actually I think YOU, don¶t want to do that.´ The man rips his hand from Hunter¶s grip; as he does so he spins around punching Hunter square in the chest. Hunter flies backward about four feet, landing hard on his back. He quickly gets to his feet ready for a fight. Hunter charges the man and punches him square in the face with a hard right. The man barely flinches. ³Weakling,´ replies the man as he delivers a frontal thrust kick to Hunter¶s chest sending him to his back once more, another six feet away. After lying on the ground for a few seconds and getting back to his feet, Andrew realizes he¶s not going to win this fight by conventional means. ³Fuck it.´ He pulls out his pistol and takes aim at the man standing in front of him. He fires a single shot into the man¶s chest knocking him to his back. Hunter walks over to the girl who has been cowering in a corner of the garage watching the fight. Just as Hunter reaches the half way point to the girl, the man gets to his feet. Bleeding from the chest, with red raging eyes, and fangs bared, he charges Andrew, ³FILTHY FUCKING HUMAN!´ Hunter pulls his pistol again, takes quick aim, and fires two shots; one in the head, and the second in the heart. The man falls hard, face first to the ground, just feet from Hunter. He stands there for a few seconds, and kicks the body to be sure that the man is dead. He then tends to the girl, he checks her for wounds, and makes sure that she calls for EMS and police assistance.
Hunter walks into the apartment, Rachel is laying on the couch watching TV. He walks promptly to the kitchen; opens the cupboard and pulls out a small bottle of Jack Daniel¶s. He opens the bottle and takes a long drink; sitting down in a chair, he takes another long drink.
Watching this, Rachel has made her way to his side, rubbing his back as he drinks more of the whiskey in his chair, ³Honey, what¶s wrong?´ Looking up at her with a bewildered, scared, worried, empowered, look about him; ³I think I just killed a vampire.´ Kissing his head, ³Is it really that bad that you need to drink that much. One or two to celebrate is ok but you¶re chugging that stuff.´ Setting the bottle down, and pulling her to his lap, ³You¶re right. I just need a good night¶s sleep with you.´ He stands up, keeping one arm behind her back, and reaches down grabbing under her legs with his free arm and carries her to their bedroom. ³Hun, the T-³ ³Fuck the TV, you¶re mine.´
Hunter is in the kitchen making breakfast. The menu includes, from scratch blueberry pancakes and sausage links. Rosetta and Kylie sit patiently on the couch watching morning cartoons. Rachel, finally emerges from the bedroom, still in her pajamas. ³What¶s all this?´ ³The morning after,´ Hunter kisses her as she comes up to him to see what he¶s making. Giggling at his joke, ³Aren¶t you just the sweetest thing. Better hurry it up, though, the girls have to be off to school in an hour.´ ³Almost done dear, don¶t worry.´ Just as Hunter is platting up the last bits of breakfast for his girls, the phone rings. He checks the caller ID; not recognizing the number he leaves it for the answering machine. It ring through and a tired sounding voice calls out, ³I know you¶re there Andrew pick up the phone.´ Hunter answers the phone quickly, ³What¶s up Doc.´
³I¶ll be stopping by your place shortly I need to discuss the nature of your encounter last night.´ ³I have no idea what you¶re talking about,´ Hunter replies, rather surprised. ³Don¶t play stupid, this body I¶ve been staring at all night has your name all over it, and not that many people use that brand of ammo.´ ³Ok, just wait till after ten, the girls should be on their way then.´ Hunter hangs up the phone and turns toward Rachel with a worried look, ³This should be interesting.´ Concerned, Rachel inquires about the caller, ³Who¶s Doc.´ Still concerned, ³He¶s the county coroner.´ Rachel, surprised and taken aback, ³How the hell do you know him?!´ ³Long story, going back to both my sister¶s attack, and brother¶s disappearance.´ Hunter comforts Rachel, telling her not to worry and that she needs to focus on her day and the girls. Her helps prep the girls for school, making sure that they have all their books and lunch packed. He sees them off and returns to the apartment to wait for Doc to arrive.
³I just want to know what the hell happened last night,´ questions Doc. ³Started out just driving around town, listening to the scanners; when I got near the mall I got a feeling.´ Doc questions further, ³What do you mean a feeling?´ ³Something my family has had for ages, we all have a sort of Spidey Sense about us in regards to anything paranormal. I called Rachel told her I had to check into what I felt. She just told me to be careful.´ ³So you have a sixth sense then,´ Doc, remarks.
³In a manner of speaking, yes, most of my family has inherited it through the generations.´ Intrigued, Doc questions yet again, ³So you knew that this guy was more than could be referred to as a normal human?´ Taking a deep breath and thinking back for a moment, ³I¶m not sure I¶d say that. I knew he wasn¶t«normal. But I wouldn¶t say that I felt he wasn¶t human. I just knew that he was the disturbance that I felt.´ ³I think I understand,´ states Doc, still a tad confused. ³I knew he was the source of my feelings, just didn¶t know why.´ ³Got it. Well, I¶m here µcause I need you to look at what I found; see what you think.´ Doc opens his brief case and extracts a manila envelope. Opening the envelope, he lays out two pictures; both pictures are close up photos of blood samples. Pointing to one of them, ³What does this look like to you?´ Bringing the photo in front of him, Andrew looks at it closely for a few seconds, ³Human blood sample, far as I can tell.´ ³Take a look at this then,´ Doc moves the other photo across the table. After studying the photo for a minute, ³Blood from something«else. It looks human, but yet I can tell it¶s not fully human; some sort of mutation.´ ³That¶s exactly what I thought. I ran that sample against all known mammals. I found no matches. From what I can tell, the man you killed last night, was human, at some past point in his life, but something mutated him into what you encountered.´
Hunter takes in what Doc is suggesting with grave and dire realization. ³I killed a fucking vampire. I don¶t believe it. I mean, my sister was attacked by one, but I¶ve never seen one in my life. I never thought I¶d actually be face to face with one´ ³All I can say is keep up the work. From what I¶ve gathered in my tests on the subject, he could have easily killed you, had you not been armed.´ Glaring at Doc, ³Think I don¶t know that already.´ Doc gathers his things. As he leaves Hunter questions what Doc will do with the information that he has gathered. Doc decides that¶s it¶s best to keep it close and out of any official report. Doc debates informing the Chief of Police on the dangers of a new breed of thug, hide the vampire, as a new untraceable drug. Hunter warns him to be careful, knowing that vampires may be anywhere and could be watching him.
Another dull day of sitting at home; the girls are at school and Rachel is away at work. These are the days that Hunter hates. No odd jobs, no police scanner going off, no leads on trouble; nothing. Just him, the apartment, and time itself. As he begins to drift off to sleep out of sheer boredom, his cell phone rings. Waking quickly, and making his way to the phone at the other end of the couch, ³Damn solicitors.´ He picks up the phone just before it goes to voice mail. ³Andrew Irons, how may I help you?´ ³I understand that you¶re a paranormal investigator.´ ³That¶s what it says on the business card. How did you hear about me?´ ³The local paranormal research team referred you to us after they ended their time with me.´
³So they found something they don¶t care to deal with. And figure I¶m dumb enough to do the job. Great. Where are you located?´ ³Grove City, Ohio.´ ³OHIO! Are you nuts! I¶m in the middle of Arkansas. Paranormal investigation is a tradionally free localized enterprise, I¶m just one person. I¶m not sure I can be your man on this.´ ³I understand and I¶m prepared to pay you a fee and offer room and board in my guest bedroom.´ Thinking about the offer for a moment, ³What sort of problem do you think you have that the other investigators feel I should take care of?´ ³From the lack of support and help I¶m lead to believe my family is being haunted by a demon, and since the other team referred me to you, they must have the same theory. I have no one else to call, even our church priest refused to do anything directly.´ Thinking further, evaluating what could happen and all that is at stake both for him, the girls, and the family that is reaching out for his abilities and services, ³What sort of fee are we talking about,´ with hesitation clearly in his voice. ³Aside from anything you desire upon arrival, I can offer room and board in my guest room, and ensure a fee of $500.´ Thinking about the offer, ³Call me in an hour I need to think about it.´
³I¶ve done my homework, and it¶ll cost me over $300 just to get there and back. I¶m planning a two day trip, with a stop in Nashville. So if I¶m rooming with you, you better make it damn well worth it.´
³I understand the costs, Mr. Irons, I can ensure the $500, and do well plan to pay you more. My wife is away on business and until she returns tomorrow I don¶t know our exact finances.´ Considering the promise of more money, the lack of current income of any sort, and the possibilities of the fun that may be had on the job, Hunter replies, ³I¶ll do it.´
Scarred at the possibilities, ³What do you mean you¶re off to fight a demon,´ screams Rachel with the girls hugging her legs as Hunter is gathering his supplies. ³I¶m not even sure that¶s what it is. The client said that, not me. His priest and local research team ran away from the haunt, so I say it¶s something serious, but I¶m not scared and I don¶t have a bad vibe about the job so I¶ll be fine.´ Jabbing with his last nightly outing, ³That¶s what you said a week ago, and you almost got killed.´ Defending himself, ³Almost, being the key word; which means I¶m still breathing and he¶s not. I¶ll be fine hun, I know how to fight in confined spaces, you forget I was point man on many a house clearing op during my tour.´ Still unsure, ³You can only cheat death so many times, I¶m afraid, I¶ll never be ok with you leaving for any job that involves this sort of thing, even if it gave us all the money in the world, it won¶t replace you.´ Dropping a bag of ammunition, he grabs her around the waist and kisses her with all the romantic passion he can. ³EWWWWWWWW,´ cry out the girls, ³GROSE!´
Looking into Rachel¶s eyes, ³I¶ll be fine, I know you worry; but I need something to do, been damn near four months since I¶ve had a decent job, we can use the money, whatever it is.´ Rachel knows that there is nothing more she can do to convince Hunter otherwise, and accepts defeat. Hunter continues to pack. Unsure of what he will need, he packs his investigation gear: three small voice recorders, a camera system with six security style cameras, a run of the mill video camera, and his laptop. Not sure of what weapons he¶ll need he arms himself with his trusty pistol, Remington 887, police batons, fighting knife, and other tools. He also packs his full set of body armor. With all his gear, tools, and weapons packed, Hunter sets off for another adventure.
Time, late summer. The leaves are just starting to lose their green and change color. The temperature is a good seventy degrees, light breeze, and not a cloud to be seen. Place, table next to references in the Southwest Public Libraries, Grove City, Ohio. Finding his client¶s face buried in a book, Hunter walks up to him, ³So why are we meeting in a library?´ Looking up, a tad surprised that someone is standing close to him, ³Sorry when you called me I was already here, and planned on being here for awhile.´ ³I see well it¶s good to finally meet you in person Mr. Newton.´ Humbled and shaking Hunter¶s hand, ³Please Mr. Irons the honor is mine. And please call me Jim.´ Hunter taking a seat across from Jim, he swings the book around and in front of him. He flips the book closed, saving the page with one finger, ³Whatcha reading?´
³Paranormal guide book I guess,´ somewhat unsure as to the full contents of the book. ³Trying to see if I can get anything more on what¶s been going on. I¶ve been to every website, and been through damn near all the books here. Nothing seems to be of much help. Everything¶s ghosts and none of it applies to me. I¶m not sure what to do or think about all of this at this point.´ ³Well, the best solution is to hold an investigation. From what you¶ve told me though no one is interested in attempting to do that.´ With a nervous look in his eyes Jim replies, ³So far.´ Assured of the needed course of action, ³When you¶re ready for me to start the investigation I plan to do just that. I¶ll set up some equipment and wait for whatever is haunting you to show its face. After I have some materials, I¶ll give them a review and diagnose the problem, if there is a problem. Then we can decide upon a course of action.´ Having some assurance, ³That sounds like a plan to me. And I only have one question for you Mr. Irons-³ ³Andrew or Hunter, please.´ ³Andrew. Would you be interested in following me home to start?´ Surprised by the offer, ³That sounds great, save me on a hotel for the night.´
After flowing Mr. Newton for a good hour, going well outside the city limits, Andrew arrives at the Newton¶s home. The house that Mr. Newton pulls into is a great deal larger than Hunter had expected; not that he knew what to expect. The house is in the $500,000-$700,000, just out of sheer size, architectural workings and surroundings. ³What does this guy do for a living?´
There are eight acres of well kept and manicured lawn from the street to the back of the property, and it is three acres wide. The drive way leads back to a garage on the right side of the house facing toward the right. The front yard has is wide open, save for a large oak tree, and a six foot diameter bird bath fountain. There is a concrete walkway leading from the driveway, directly across the front of the house to the stairs on the porch that spans two thirds the front of the house, ending as it butts up against the garage. On either side of the porch steps are large flower boxes still in bloom. The porch is occupied by a large bench swing on the left end, a few chairs and a table near the center, and a cement goose dressed in a school uniform look. Just right of the center of the porch is the doorway to the house. The door has a thin window on either side of it and a large transom window above it. Entering the house¶s foyer, there is a large grand stair case to the left and a hall that leads to the rest of the house. Off the hallway, to the right of the stair way is a door that enters the office. The office is nothing special. There is a large desk near the rear of the room facing toward a picture window that overlooks the porch and front yard. There are book cases on either side of the room filled with random books, manuals, plaques and trophies. Along the back wall is a large family portrait and mister and misses Newton¶s diplomas. To the left of the foyer is the dining room occupied by a large china cabinet along the outer wall, full of collectable dinner ware, and an eight person solid oak table and chair set. There is a large window overlooking the porch and an open doorway at the back right corner that leads to the living room. The living room and kitchen are essentially the same room; the only separation is the change from carpet in the living room to the tile floor of the kitchen. The living room is almost square, but only a few feet deeper than it is wide. On the back wall is a sixty inch high definition television. On the inner wall of the room is a six person couch; there is a recliner just to the right of the couch
facing the TV. Opposite the couch is a fire place with stone mantle. On either side of the fire place are recliners. To either side of the hidden chimney are two large windows. Between the living room and the kitchen is a six person dining table shadowed by the full view glass patio doors that look out to the back yard. The counter of the kitchen start a few feet from the patio doors and wraps around the corner ending at the stove and fridge. In the center of the kitchen is a large rectangular island with seating for four on the outer side and prep area with sink on the opposite. Next to the fridge and is the hall that leads to the four car garage. Two rooms are found down this hall; the laundry and pantry room, and a bathroom complete with shower stall. Taking the stairs to the second floor leads into the hallway. On the left end of this hall is the master bedroom. A six drawer (two wide, three tall) dresser with mirror sits to the left of the doorway; to the left of the dresser is a door to the walk in closet. Opposite the closet is the king size bed. Overlooking the bed is a wide window. Two windows break up the outer wall of the bedroom. On the back wall, right of the doorway, is a large entertainment stand with TV. To the right of this is a doorway to the master bath. In the back left corner with two windows above either wall side, is a jacuzzi hot tub. Next that is a shower stall, then the toilet. To the left of the door is a shelf and to the right the oversized sink. Opposite the steps, along the back of the house, is one of two small bedrooms separated by a full bathroom. At the end of the hall is a door to the attic area above the garage. To the right of this door, is the last bedroom; large than the other two, with a walk in closet, yet smaller than the master bedroom. The attic is carpeted and the walls have painted paneling. After entering the attic, the first room is open and with a guest bed room off to the right, and the storage area through the door at the back. The stairs that lead to the basement are under the stairs leading to the second floor. The basement is carpeted, and the walls are dry walled and painted. The stairs lead down to an open
area. Behind the stairs is a full bathroom, and next to that is another medium bedroom. To the right of the open area is a storage/workshop room. Left of the open area is the home theater/bar. At the backside behind the stairs is a full bar with seating for six. Opposite the bar is a billiards table and a six person sectional sofa facing the wall; above is a projector aimed at the blank white wash wall. Leave the house via the patio door leads to a patio that stretches from one end of the house to the other ending in a garden. On the left side is a bath house and hot tub, next to these is a four person iron patio table opposite a huge, stainless steel grill. At the other end are a few lawn chairs. To the left side of the yard is a huge in ground pool with a diving board and water slide at its deep end. Right of the pool is a pond with flowers for any curious animals that may feel the need to leave the protection of the woods that boards the rear of the property. Overlooking the pond on the right of the yard is a gazebo.
Entering the foyer behind Mr. Newton, ³Damn this place is huge!´ ³It can be a bit intimidating,´ Mr. Newton casually replies. ³Follow me to the basement. We¶ll get you settled in the spare bedroom there and give you the grand tour. There should be plenty of space in the basement for you to set up and gear.´ Hunter follows Mr. Newton through the house taking note of where everything is placed. He takes note which of the two children sleep in which room and where their things are situated within those rooms. Hunter also asks basic questions to help determine what may me going on within the house. ³Has anyone died in the house?´ ³No,´ answers Mr. Newton quickly.
³Have you or any of the children tried to conjure any sort of spirit, or played around with an Ouija board at all?´ ³Not to my knowledge.´ ³Has there been any recent death close to your household family?´ Thinking for a second, ³My mother died over a year ago. She was extremely close to the kids. She was here every chance she had. There were many nights she never went home.´ ³Could anything that has happened be attributed to her behavior?´ ³No my mother was a peaceful woman and never one to cause mischief; other than with the kids, and all in good spirit.´ ³Is there any sort of tragedy that can be associated with the house?´ Thinking hard for a moment, ³Not that I can say. This is the first time that this sort of thing has happened.´ ³Hmmm, well I got nothing. The best thing to do is set up the motion cams, and sound recorders and see if we get anything after a few nights.´
Hunter unpacks and settles into his room in the basement. He sets up a table in the open area of the basement where he sets up his computer and diagnostic gear. He places a sound recorder in each of the bedrooms, in the large front attic room, on the dining table in the kitchen and on the billiards table in the basement. He places a motion camera with night vision in the large room of the attic facing down the hall leaving the door to the hallway open, he also places one in a corner of the living room to catch the back of the house and another in the foyer to capture anything there or coming from the dining room. With his equipment set, he settles in for a good night¶s sleep.
After a long day of analyzing the data gathered from the night before, with the family gathered in the living room, Hunter is ready to report on night one. ³I have good news and I have bad news. Bad news, there¶s something in your house. Good news, so far it¶s just the cat you failed to inform me of.´ Face palming, Mr. Newton quickly apologizes, ³Shit! I¶m sorry I forgot about Oscar. He loves to run and hide anytime someone new comes over and I got caught up in everything. I hope you¶re not allergic.´ Reassuring Mr. Newton, ³It¶s fine, cats are cool, generally stay out of my way unless I have something they want. If it¶s ok with you, I¶d like to do a séance. Call to any spirits that may be in the house and worried, or fearful of my presence.´ ³That sounds fine to me, what do we need to do?´ ³Not a thing. After diner we¶ll gather at the table with a sound recorder, and call out to any, if any, spirits in the house and see what we get.´
Gather around the table, with sound recorder placed center, Hunter begins the séance. ³We are peacefully gathered her to explore the possibility of spirits within the confines of this house. We call out to you to let us know your presence. I am going to ask you a few questions. If you feel so inclined, please respond as you feel fit.´ Hunter begins his inquiry, pausing for a few seconds between each question to give any spiritual force time to make a response. ³Are you a member of the family? Are connected with the family in anyway? Is there a connection you have to the house? Are in some way threatened by the presence of this family within the house? Should we feel threatened by your presence?´
As Hunter finishes his last question, Oscar darts from the foyer to the living room and hides under the couch. Hunter can hear Oscar growling. He gets up from his chair, and looks down the foyer, but can see nothing out of place. ³Interesting to say the least. Are you dog lover then? Do cats remind you of something threatening? Are you against pets in general?´ Hunter returns to the table and shuts off the recorder. ³Well I think that should do for one night, I¶ll take a look at this tomorrow and see if anything turns up.´
Hunter is woken up by Mr. Newton early the next day. The master bath has been rifled through. Everything on the sink, in the cabinet, on the shelf, and on the towel racks, lays tossed about the floor. ³You didn¶t hear anything last night?´ Mr. Newton replies with all sorts of bewilderment on his face, ³Not a damn thing. And neither of us are real heavy sleepers. I wake up every time I hear one of the kids go to the bathroom.´ Taking in a deep breath and exhaling heavily, ³Well looks like I should have quiet the work to do today.´
With the family gather around his table of equipment in the basement, Hunter has a presentation of data gathered from the past night. He plays the audio of the moment when the master bath was all but turned upside down. Jabbing at the family as a whole, ³Pretty sure you¶re all dead to have not woken up from that racket.´ He then shows a shot of the hallway from the attic. ³This is the control shot I took,´ then switching to another picture, ³this is the picture the cam took last night.´ In the picture a shadowy figure can be seen coming up from the stairs, with back turned to the master bedroom. Another pair of pictures shows the bedroom door
open and closed. ³Also after listening to the audio from the séance, I could make out a male voice, mid thirties. So with this I can say there be someone else living here, and,´ looking to the family, ³you guys need to start collecting for back rent.´ Mrs. Newton and the children smile at the joke. ³That¶s all I got shows over I have a few other things to look at.´ The family makes their way to the stairs and up to the house. ³Mr. Newton I need to ask you a question though.´ Stopping mid step, pivoting, and walking back to Hunter, ³Sure, what¶s up?´ Pulling up another audio snippet, ³I want you to hear this; it¶s how I know it¶s a male.´ Hunter plays the audio, ³Should we be threatened by your presence?´ A male voice answers with a playful sarcastic tone, ³Maybe.´ With all manner of worry in his face and voice, ³What¶s that mean?´ ³Not sure. But from what you¶ve told me he tends to muddle about upstairs to I think I¶ll sleep in the attic room tonight and see what happens.´ A loud, crashing, thud, wakes the family at 2:33 A.M. that night. Mr. Newton and Hunter arrive to the hallway door at the same time. The youngest child calls for mom and dad. Looking at Mr. Newton, ³Let¶s go see what¶s up.´ The men head down the steps while Mrs. Newton comforts the children back to bed. As Hunter and Mr. Newton go downstairs, and begin the search through the house, as the leave the foyer and enter the kitchen, Hunter looks to his left, ³Fuck all kinds of duck.´ The couch and both chairs lay in one pile, upside down, in the center of the living room. They hear a vanishing laughter as Hunter expresses his displeasure of the situation. Turning to Mr. Newton and point to the office, ³In the office now!´ ³Great this can¶t be good,´ Mr. Newton exclaims with good reason to worry. ³Dare I give it to you straight?´
Thinking hard with desperate worry for his family¶s safety, ³Hit me.´ ³Demon. You have a fucking demon in your house.´ Absolutely taken at the simple answer, ³What?´ ³I know. Mostly demons possess a single person, sometimes going through the blood line trying to accomplish some fool¶s errand. I¶ve never seen this sort of family terrorization before. This suggests that he¶s simply picked your family at random and decided to harass you until he moves on.´ Lost at what to do or think or say, ³What do we do now?´ ³You take your family, and get out of the house come first light. Never seen a ghost or demon do shit during the day. When I know you¶re all safely away I¶ll make my move at exercising this bitch.´
With the family safe on their way down the road; Hunter turns to the house. He walks up to the front door, with a paper in one hand and his knife in the other, ³By the power of God in Heaven I hereby confine the demon to this house for eternity until sent henceforth!´ Hunter then uses his knife to nail the paper with a blood cross to the door. As this second he can hear a growling howl come from within the house. ³Holy shit! It actually worked.´ He then walks back to his truck parked in the drive and suits up to enter the house and remove the demon. He dons his body armor, batons, pistol, and combat knife. He grabs a bible, a bottle of holy water, and a wooden cross. As he turns, ³Let¶s do this sh-who the hell are you?´ A man, average, short almost buzzed black hair, zero signs of ever have facial hair or the ability to grow any, and deep brown eyes stand a few feet from Hunter. The man is dressed in a black classic men¶s kimono with silver edging, and a sword classically worn at his left side.
Think for a moment, ³OH damn. I¶m not usually asked that. Um«shit«Damien. Yeah, that should do; dark enough, but not too ominous sounding. I¶m here to offer my assistance, should you choose to accept.´ Confused as to where the man came from and why he¶s dressed as he is, ³How long have you been standing there?¶ ³Maybe a whole minute now.´ ³Do you even have any idea what I¶m doing here?´ ³¶Bout to go beat a bitch¶s ass. And let me tell you Azel needs a good ass whooping.´ Absolutely confused as to the identity of Damien, ³You know his name?´ Chuckling a bit, ³Let¶s just say that douche owes me; and as a side note, if you call him by name he¶ll show his ugly mug right off. Demons hate it when mortals call them by name, some sort of pride thing I guess. I¶ve never really understood it.´ Pulling the sword and sheath from his waist, ³If you¶re interested, this sword will help you defeat him, however, there is a catch. The catch being that should you take it, you¶re contracted to do my bounty hunting for no less than five years. After that you have the option yearly to continue the contract. Should you ever decide to break this contract, you won¶t see another bounty hunter, you¶ll see my pretty face ripping your soul out.´ Curious, Hunter asks, ³And what incentive do I have to take your sword and contract?´ Holding up one hand and spawning a bank stack of $100 bills from thin air, ³Ten large.´ Surprised by the offer, ³How do I know this isn¶t some trick?´ Holding out the sword and the money, ³It¶s no trick, just another job; move severe consequences should you default on the contract, but other than that it¶s just a job.´
Thinking hard for a minute, but still with doubt, ³Still don¶t see what the sword will do for me.´ Pulling out the blade just enough to show the kanji at its base, ³Jigoku, translates to µHell¶ in English, has the power to slay what a mortal blade can¶t scratch. This blade will never dull, or break. It is the ultimate weapon for someone such as yourself you does and will associate themself with this line of work.´ Hunter is still visibly in doubt of the offer. Spawning another snack of money, ³Fuck it, here¶s twenty large, definitely more than you¶re making from the Newton¶s for the job.´ After taking one last minute to consider the possibilities, ³Hell with it,´ Hunter steps toward Damien and takes the money and the sword from him simultaneously. He tosses the money on his truck seat and closes the door. Then he ties around his chest and back securing the scabbard through his back armor. Hunter turns around and makes for the house. Stopping him, ³Remember, his name is Azel, and he knows how to use his tail really well. But you have that sword so use that over your other weapons and you¶ll be fine.´ Hunter walks up to the house and enters the foyer; as he closes the door behind him, the picture frames from the hall above fly off the walls aimed at his head. ³Honey, I¶m home,´ as sarcastic as can be. ³So I¶ve been told that demons are pussies, and love to be called by name, isn¶t that right, Azel?´ A loud roar echoes through the house as the Hunter calls Azel out from the shadows of the house. Laughing, ³Come out, come out, you little bitch. I want to play with Azel, µcause he¶s a tool.´ At this final taunt, Azel appears at the opposite end of the foyer. Azel stands at six feet five inches tall. His torso, save for his ripped chest and six pack abs, is covered in thick charcoal fur. His muscular legs are scaled in grey. He has a slender, yet
powerful tail, used for high speed maneuverability rather than common balance. ³Goddamn filthy humans. How do you know my name?´ Laughing, with signs of worry at what he¶s getting into, ³A little birdie told me.´ Grinding his teeth in anger, ³That son of a bitch. That¶s fine, I¶ll kill you ruining his plans.´ Azel charges at Hunter, who strafes into the dining room to avoid the assault. Hunter pulls and readies his batons, and swings for a double, vertical shoulder strike. Azel delivers a powerful kick to Hunter¶s stomach, stumbling him backward. Azel takes advantage of this and charges Hunter slamming him backward over the table. He then jumps over the table, grabs hold of Hunter¶s armor and drags him across the table slamming him against the china cabinet. As plates fall on his head, and about his body, Hunter delivers a hard right baton swing to Azel¶s left knee forcing him to drop on it. This gives Hunter the second he needs to get to his feet, grab Azel, and body slam him into the table. Stunned by the surprise attack of a simple mortal, Hunter delivers a double baton strike to Azel¶s torso. Hunter jumps on top of the table, Grabs Azel by his thick fur, and rolling backward uses his feet to propel him into the living room. Hunter quickly get to his feet and charges Azel. Azel is already to his feet and ready for the attack. He uses the momentum of hunter¶s attack, and grabbing him around the waist, tosses him into a chair tipping it over. He then jumps over the downed Hunter, grabs him again, and tosses him over head to the center of the living room. As Hunter gets to his feet he is greeted by the spinning tail of Azel straight to his chest. The force of the blow sends him flying into the TV. Laughing at the lack of progress in the fight, Azel jabs, ³We gonna do this shit all night?´
Catching his breath, Hunter strikes back, ³Hell no!´ Hunter pulls his pistol, takes aim and begins firing at Azel. Azel uses his speed to duck, and roll from the gun fire. Hunter walks toward Azel as they cross over to the kitchen. Seeing an opening to attack, Hunter delivers a well placed and timed power kick to Azel¶s chest sending him off his feet and against the island. Hunter charges in, grabs Azel by the fur, spins him around and uses the momentum to send him through the basement door and rolling down the stairs. As Hunter rounds the stairs to the right of where Azel moved, he is grabbed and thrown through the dry wall into the stair well. Hunter comes out of the stair well swinging his combat knife. Azel dodges the swings. Hunter finds another opening and delivers another power kick to Azel¶s stomach, giving him the opportunity to land a hard right uppercut and a left hook, followed by throwing his knife into Azel¶s chest. Azel steadies his stance from the blows; with knife in chest, ³Is that the best you can do?´ Surprised that his attacks had little effect on his opponent, ³Shit, I guess I should have blessed it.´ Azel removes the knife and charges Hunter. Hunter slide steps the attack, quickly draws the sword and slices Azel¶s back on a downward right swing as he readies for another attack. With rage in his eyes, ³What the fuck? Where did you get that blade?´ Laughing in jest, ³From a little birdie.´ Roaring in anger, Azel charges Hunter, dodging his sword, and landing a series of kicks and punches stumbling Hunter back further and further with each strike; Azel finishes the combo with a tail blow that sends hunter flying across the rest of the room and into the wall. Hunter stumbles to his feet ready for the next attack. Azel readies his claws for a finishing blow. As he
reaches arms reach, Hunter duck and rolls to avoid the attack; Azel quickly turns to reposition his attack only to be met wish a blade thrust through his chest. Damien enters the basement from the store room wearing a silver grey tank top, and tattered jeans. Clapping his hands, ³Bravo good sir, bravo.´ With pain and anger, ³You son of a bitch how could you do this to me?´ Teleporting to Azel¶s left and delivering a massive kick to his head, sending him flying over the couch, ³Easy.´ Damien reaches for Azel¶s tail that hangs over the couch, as he tightens his grip, a fire red portal opens just in front of bar. Damien throws Azel screaming through the portal, ³Back in your cage!´ The portal closes immediately Azel. Damien looks to Hunter, who stands amazed to the entire spectacle, ³It¶s hard to find good help these days. I can tell I made a good choice in giving you the job I did.´ Looking around the basement at the damage and blood on the floor from Azel¶s wounds, ³This place could use some repairs.´ Still surprised and confused, ³Yeah I hope they have good insurance.´ Nonchalant, ³They don¶t need it.´ Damien smiles, snaps his fingers, and in a flash of bright white light, the house is repaired and Hunter¶s weapons are back in their holsters. Damien looks at Hunter, ³Keep safe, and see you soon.´ Damien then vanishes into thin air. ³I need a drink«or four.´
³So you just took the thing from some weird ass ghostly figure, you¶ve never met otherwise,´ questions Rachel in utter disbelieve. ³The man had cash! Twenty thousand dollars,´ Hunter pulls the stacks from his back pocket. Rachel snatches the money from his hands and examines it, ³Holy shit this is real.´
³Well of course it¶s real hun.´ ³So what¶s the catch,´ skeptically. ³There has to be some sort of condition for all this.´ ³I have to do whatever job he gives me for the next five years. He said if I refuse to take a job he¶ll personally rip out my soul.´ Worriedly, ³Really, love, and you still took it?´ Pointing to her hands, ³Cash money.´ Taking a deep breath and taking it all in, ³Yeah I guess I can¶t blame you.´ Giving Rachel a loving, romantic look and swiping the stacks keeping one for himself, ³Now what say you to going to the bedroom and making each other dance for more money in hand?´ Grabbing Hunter by the hand and placing the money in his hand, ³Honey, you just beat a demon¶s ass.´ She winks at him and kissing him sweetly on the lips, then whispers in his ear, ³I think you deserve a free ride.´
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