|"Booby Prize, Part 2"||Transformation Contest 2, Category 5||"Untitled"|
First Place - Category 5
Well, this is a story that involves Aaron, from Ileah's story, "A Murder of One". It was originally intended to be TOTALLY different, and much longer, but seeing as how it's 11pm here in Az. and I need to get to bed, I chopped off the bottom 20 pages and wrote something much much shorter. As a result, it is probably riddled with errors. I beg everyone's forgiveness. But anyways. here it is. Enjoy. ;>
Jacob almost never went anywhere near the mortal realms. It wasn't because he didn't like them; on the contrary, he found San Francisco and Vienna quite divine. He simply had no time to spare for vacations. His job was that of coordinating the various efforts of Jahyad to keep humans on track with reality. Lately, his job had gotten a lot more hectic.
Today was a rare occasion, then, because Jacob found himself walking in New York, amongst millions of people. He had been summoned here by another deity, and had been intrigued enough to answer her summons. She wasn't a human deity, which was an added point in favor of making the trip, and she had specifically requested a meeting in New York and not anywhere else, which was icing on the cake. There was also the added pleasure of walking around in a human form.
On the decidedly rare occasions that he did so, Jacob chose a male, of about six feet two inches, with black brown hair in a close, neat cut. His eyes were dark brown as well, and his features bordering on sharp, with an almost pointed nose and lips that came close to being thin. He was wearing the standard suit and long black trench coat that many other New York businesslike men did, not because he found the clothes particularly likable, but because it let him blend in. Too many of Aratyr's lackeys had been running around lately for him to feel comfortable simply sticking out like a sore thumb.
Jacob wandered toward Central Park, appearing very much at ease with himself. Once he reached the park bench he'd been told to find, he sat himself down and began reading a paper he'd bought from a newsstand.
~How very human of you.~
The teasing voice brought a smile to Jacob's face, despite the mocking tone of the words. He bent down the top half of the paper, and standing there on the ground in front of him was a large black crow.
"Well and a lovely morning to you too, Miss Crow. How can I be of service?"
Jacob's voice turned a few heads, but the roving eyes quickly looked away when they realized it was merely a man chatting with a bird.
~My my, not one for being inconspicuous, are we?~ Crow hopped up onto the bench next to Jacob, who eyed her curiously. He folded his paper up and set it aside.
"There's no need in this city. Half the people will believe I really can talk to you, and the other half won't care."
~So I've noticed. It's an odd characteristic of humans, to deny what is so plainly presented to them.~
Jacob snorted a laugh. "We call it human nature. I believe Don Henley said it best--we only want the ones that we can't have."
~An intelligent man, then.~
"So why am I interrupting my always busy schedule?" Jacob asked, leaning back on the park bench.
~You humans always want to get to the point.~
He snorted again. "I'm as human as you are."
~You were once far more human than I have ever been,~ Crow pointed out.
"Once being the key word there."
~You still retain much of your human characteristics.~
Jacob shrugged. "What can I say. I'm the coordinator for a god who largely deals with humans. It'd be difficult to deal with some of these new souls in any other form. And it's not like they ever see me anyways. I try and be a disembodied voice. Much more effective."
Crow snorted in the manner of her kind, which sounded something like a sneeze. Jacob knew what the sound meant.
"So remind me again why I'm here."
~I see your liege's paths and mine crossing. And I think this cross could be advantageous to us both.~
Jacob raised a black eyebrow. "Oh?"
"Veeeery funny. Where are these paths supposedly crossing?"
~You have one of your people...dealing with...a very problematic man.~
Jacob went through all the most recent assignments in his mind. "You mean the mugger in Los Angeles."
~Yes. He's not human.~
Jacob blinked. He was, for the first time in many decades, genuinely surprised. "Really. Fae?"
Jacob smiled wryly. "And is everyone afraid my "human" worker will botch up anything to do with the fae?"
~No. We see it as an opportunity to make a step forward, in joining forces. We are stronger when we work together.~
Jacob rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "I see. Well. Let's see what the boss says, hm?"
The man ran as fast as his legs could carry him, and considering how much time he spent in the gym, said speed was quite impressive. However, it was no match for a being that didn't have to obey the laws of physics.
Cryna watched him from a fire escape two floors up. He was pelting down an alley way, hoping he'd left her out on the street, confused and lost. In all truth, he was the one who was confused and lost. He just didn't know it yet.
Cryna rested her chin on her knees, enjoying herself in some small way. This man that she had been assigned to had raped two young women so far, and molested a ten year old. He was a crooked cop. Jahyad was tired of him dragging people into the mire.
Cryna waited until he reached the end of the alley before she got up. She climbed over the side of the fire escape and nimbly leapt to the ground. Her knees absorbed all the shock without so much as a strain, and when she stood she allowed the man to see her. He reached the dead end of the alley, which was blocked off by a brick wall, and then slowly turned.
Tom had had a feeling today was going to be bad. From the minute he'd gotten out of the shower and realized he'd need to walk all the way downstairs to get a towel, he'd known things were doomed. However, he most assuredly hadn't been prepared for this.
The woman had come to his desk in the station, without any visitor permission. Her hair was a startling shade of bone white, with a few thin, dark brown streaks hi lighting the brilliant color. But even more odd than that were her eyes--golden yellow, like an eagle's might be. She'd told him she needed to speak with him, about his ex-wife. She'd said all the correct things to prove her reason for being there, and so Tom had gone with her.
They'd taken a cab to a restaurant he and his ex-wife always went to. It was there that she'd taken him into the alley and proceeded to beat the living shit out of him. Tom had managed to escape, but he'd not been able to run back out the entrance to the alley. So he'd run down it, leading her on what he thought was a merry chase through the streets of New York. Going from one alley to the next in hopes of losing her.
Now he turned around, and there she was. The damned bitch hadn't even broken a sweat. She was wearing a white, long sleeved shirt, one of those simple, black jackets that gathered at the waist and had a bubbled appearance from the stitching, a pair of black pants, and black tennis shoes that resembled the Vans Tom's ex-wife liked to wear all the time. Her hair was in a thick braid that reached to just past her waist. In her left had gleamed the cold, silver form of a gun.
"What the fuck do you WANT from me?!" Tom shouted back at her, hoping someone heard. Cryna smiled and racked the slide on her weapon. She began walking forward at a leisurely pace, stepping around various piles of trash and puddles of water.
"Would what I want from you make a difference, Tom?" she asked curiously. He wiped the blood away from a cut just above his left eye and tried to think of a way out of this.
"What, are you kidding? I'll give you anything, just leave me alone!"
"And why should what I want matter? Because I have a gun? Because I can kill you, and you can't do a damned thing about it?"
"Please, please, I'll do anything, just don't kill me," he fairly begged as she came closer. Cryna smiled, but it was almost a sneer.
"Is that what you made those two women do before you beat and raped them, Tom? Is that what you made your wife do?"
Tom's thoughts scattered like leaves on an Autumn wind. _She can't know about that. She CAN'T. No one knows about that!_
"Wuh-what...what're you talking about?" he asked, his voice becoming almost a whimper. Cryna was only five feet away from him now.
"You know what I'm talking about, Tom," she said softly, in an almost sympathetic voice. "Janice Tarkin, Sarah Leroy...your wife Chelsea...little Andrea Sorrenson..."
"I, I didn't do those things, I swear," he whispered, seeing his chance to grab the gun from her. Cryna had stopped walking forward. She was only about one or two steps from him.
Tom made a quick snatch with his left hand. Cryna's counter move was almost blinding in its speed. She twisted his arm down and over in a vicious move that was one pull from breaking his shoulder. Tom cried out in agony and stopped all of his movements in hopes of lessening the tension on his arm.
Cryna cocked the 1911 but didn't pull the trigger. She merely rested it gently against Tom's forehead. He opened his eyes, looked up the barrel at Cryna's arm, and shut his eyes again.
"Please, please don't kill me."
"How many times did you make them say that, Tom?" Cryna asked softly. "How many?"
"I--I swear, I didn't do it, I didn't--"
"Then why am I here, Tom?"
"How the FUCK should I know?" he shouted, his fear and rage overcoming him momentarily. Cryna pressed the gun against his forehead harder.
"That's not the right answer. And don't fucking cuss."
"You stupid bitch. What do you want from me, huh? What do you want?!"
"It's not what I want, Tom, it's what they want, and what they deserve. Chelsea and Andrea and Janice and Sarah."
"Those stupid sluts!" he shouted suddenly. "They hired you to do this! Didn't they! DIDN'T THEY!"
"Shouting won't make you heard, Tom," Cryna informed him matter-of-factly. "No one can hear you right now. And it's not going to move me to any feats of greatness, aside from killing you sooner. Which, might I add, will be a service to humankind."
"You stupid BITCH! When the cops find me, those whores'll get blamed immediately! Everyone knows my slut of an ex-wife has an ax to grind!"
"Not if I make it look like you killed yourself."
"How do you plan on doing that HUH?" Tom asked, straining against the hold on his wrist. Cryna twisted a little and he backed off.
"Tom, look at what I'm holding. Don't you own a gun...just like this one?"
_No way, she was just holding a--_ Tom opened his eyes. The 1911 was no longer a 1911, but a glock. Just like the one that sat under Tom's pillow in his bedroom, for emergencies.
"How did you--how did you--" Tom shut his eyes and began crying in earnest. He stopped after a few minutes.
"Who are you?" he asked softly. Despite the fact that they were right next to one of the busiest streets in the city, not a sound could be heard. Cryna smiled at him.
"I'm what comes around."
Not a single person on that busy street heard the gunshot, and no one saw Cryna walk calmly out of the alley. Four hours later Tom was found, the glock from his apartment in his hand. As far as the forensics officers could tell, he'd taken his own life.
Which, if one considered the wrongs he'd done his ex-wife and three other women, was about accurate.
Cryna walked down the street, not paying particular attention to much of anything. She was in New York, but had a feeling her next assignment was going to be elsewhere. Jacob hadn't told her anything yet, but she knew he would when the time came.
She liked watching children play and so wandered over to the nearest park, the infamous Central Park, and sat down on a bench. It was cold out, but cold was really a matter of viewpoint. Cryna didn't have to feel it if she didn't want to, so she chose to only feel a small amount. A little human physical sensation wasn't bad all the time.
She leaned back and watched children lob slushy snowballs at one another and couples walk hand in hand. It wasn't quite cold enough to prevent such activities, but it was getting there.
Her attention was suddenly distracted by a flurry of black wings. She glanced to her left and saw a large crow sitting on a nearby rock that was usually used as a safety zone for hide and seek games.
The bird was watching her. She knew it, the way she knew many things and yet didn't know many others. Cryna returned the favor for a few minutes, then, seeing that the avian wasn't about to start off, stood up slowly.
She walked over to it. The bird didn't fly away like many of its kind would have, but instead hopped back and forth. She knelt down so that she and the corbie were eye to eye.
"You're not a regular crow," she said with a smile.
The bird cocked its head to one side, and Cryna could almost hear its response in her head. ^And you're not a regular human.^
_Wait, it DID just speak to me._
^Yes, I did.^
Cryna examined the bird with great interest now. _Avatar, then?_
If Aaron were still human, he would have shrugged. He was no longer human, though, and instead he turned his head to one side and regarded Cryna with one eye. She guessed at the significance of his movement, not being totally unfamiliar with intelligent animals.
^That's as good a name as the next, I suppose. What about you?^
Cryna's mouth quirked slightly in what wasn't quite a smile. _Let's just say I take care of things._
Cryna watched the bird quietly. _I could ask the same thing of you._
^Fair enough. I serve Crow.^
_And I Jahyad._
^I watched you take care of that...man. Is that what you always do?^
_Sometimes. Sometimes I just give people warnings._
^Sort of like an enforcer.^
_Yes. Why are you here?_
^To help you.^
Cryna stood up, surprised. _Are you then?_
^Jacob sent me.^
"Jacob", Cryna muttered under her breath. _He's pairing me up with a shapeshifter._
^Well, I'm more of a transformee than a shapeshifter.^
Cryna humphed but didn't continue along that thread.
_I did send him, Cry. He's helping you in LA. Your new case._ Her mentor's mindvoice was accompanied by a sudden flood of information. Cryna staggered backwards slightly, caught unawares. Once she was sure she had her bearings back, she shook her head to clear it.
It was all there. A shapeshifter in LA. Mugging people, brutally killing them in the process. A predator.
_He's doing it for the pleasure,_ Cryna thought to herself, repulsed by the very thought. She didn't dwell on the idea.
_Now. Go. Aaron's going with you._
_Alright._ And just like that, Jacob was gone.
^How are we getting there?^ Aaron asked Cryna. In response she produced a small marble from her pocket. Unlike an ordinary marble, it glowed a brilliant, iridescent blue, and had a small black swirl in its center that turned and turned.
"This is how."
^Oh.^ Cryna offered Aaron an arm and he hopped on.
And then all the world was chaos.
It was cold and grey in Los Angeles, which wasn't terribly uncommon for winter. Not cold by the standards of the city they'd just been in, but cold enough that Cryna had to consider before rejecting the idea of warming herself.
"So why are you helping me?" she asked Aaron as they walked down the street. The man they were following was wearing an innocuous gray trench coat and a semi expensive suit. He also knew that he was being followed. It wasn't terribly obvious from his action, for which Cryna had to give him some credit. She could still tell that he knew, though. He was using all the tricks to try and lose a pursuer. It's very difficult to do that, though, when your pursuer can't even be seen.
^You'll know once we catch him.^
Cryna hmmm'd and didn't push the subject. She concentrated on the task at hand--getting the man separated from anyone he might try to harm.
His name was Terry Roloff. He was a business man, and a very busy one. Cryna could see all the faces of the people he'd murdered so far, all in the name of bloodlust. She tried not to think on that too much, because it came too close to invoking a similar feeling in her.
^I think it's time,^ Aaron said, noting how Roloff was beginning to follow one woman in particular a bit more than the others.
"I agree," Cryna said, and she began to close the distance between them.
Roloff picked up on the move and became very antsy very quickly. He darted around people erratically and finally down an alleyway. Cryna smirked to herself, recalling Tom in New York, and followed.
It was dark because of the height of the two apartment buildings that flanked either side of the alley. it dead ended into a chain link fence that was about eight feet in height. Roloff stood facing them and sneered.
"What do you want?" he demanded sharply. Aaron ruffled his feathers and Cryna watched Roloff coolly.
"We just want to have a little chat," she assured him. Terry barked a laugh.
"A little chat, huh? Let me show you what I do to people who want to chat."
Terry's form suddenly wavered, as if he was being seen through water, and then his form was stretching and shifting.
Oh no you don't, Cryna thought to herself, but first she let him finish changing. That would exhaust him a little, making her job easier. When he was finished, his humanoid form had been replaced by that of a large, dragonic creature. His spines had ripped the suit apart, and his tail was lashing violently behind him. He wasn't any taller, but he was certainly deadlier.
As if, Cryna thought to herself.
^No, let me handle it.^ Aaron leapt off of Cryna's shoulder and landed on a fire escape. Terry watched him curiously, then turned back to Cryna and hissed menacingly. Cryna raised an eyebrow.
"And your point is...?"
"You don't ssstand a chancssse againsssst me, woman, no matterrr what you arrrre."
^That's what you think,^ Aaron informed Terry, and then he used the small ability his goddess had granted him when giving him this assignment.
Aaron hadn't understood what she'd meant those few days ago, but now he did. He reached out to Roloff's shapeshifting ability, and he pushed it slightly. Suddenly, the man's form was wavering and shifting again. His spines shrank, and with a howl of rage that went through several interesting voice changes, he was forced to change back into a human.
Terry stared at his hands in amazement, then looked at the crow. "You little bastard!" He lunged after Aaron, who nimbly leapt into the air and flew over to Cryna. Terry turned and charged her.
Cryna wasn't used to being attacked, but she wasn't unprepared for it either. Aaron took to the air again, this time choosing a box for his perch. Roloff's ill prepared, incoming kick was blocked and followed by a punch to his stomach. He tried to sweep Cryna to the ground, which got him pistol-whipped for his troubles. He fell down, holding his jaw, and tried to hit Cryna somewhere in her midsection to buy for time. She caught his wrist in her hand and held tightly.
"No more games, Roloff." She kicked him in the jaw, and he spun back onto the ground. Aaron cawed and flew closer to Roloff, landing on a nearby dumpster.
Cryna heard the words but had trouble listening to them. She wanted, at this point, to tear Roloff limb from limb, to make him feel everything he'd ever done to another. But it was not to be.
"I heard you," she snapped, stepping away from Roloff slowly. She walked about in random patterns, trying to calm down. She could feel it racing through her blood. The need to kill him, and make it a painful, slow process.
^Terry. Look at me.^
The man slowly lifted his head and regarded the crow with as much disdain as he could manage with an almost broken jaw and nose.
"You stupid lackey," he spat. "Tell your goddess she can stick it where the sun don't shine."
"Wrong answer," Cryna informed him in that cool, flat voice of hers. This time, instead of pushing, Aaron yanked. Terry screamed as a wild pain shot through every part of his body. Cryna watched with fascination as a strange golden glow that seemed to follow the man's bone structure pulled free and formed into a glowing, golden ball. The ball hovered for a moment in the air, as if unsure what to do with itself, and then suddenly, as if it were a balloon that had been popped, it dissipated into nothingness.
"NO!" Terry screamed. Cryna watched him passively.
^You have been stripped of your powers. Screw up again, and you'll be stripped of quite a bit more,^ Aaron informed the former shapeshifter.
"How dare you?!" he shouted, his words slightly slurred from the blood in his mouth. "How DARE YOU?!"
Cryna leapt over to Terry, no longer able to control herself. She snatched him by the hair and yanked his head back sharply. "How dare YOU, you stupid little piece of SHIT. If it weren't for this bird here, you'd be BEGGING me to end your pathetic life." Cryna almost smashed Roloff's face into the ground. Almost. Somehow, she managed to get hold of the urge, and quell it. Instead, she let go of his hair and stood.
"Let's get out of here, Aaron. His presence makes me sick."
^I agree.^ Then, to Terry, ^Remember, Roloff.^ Aaron winged his way over to Cryna, and alighted on her arm. She turned and began walking down the alleyway. By the time Roloff had dragged himself to his feet, she and Aaron were gone.
"Do you think it will make a difference?" Cryna asked Aaron thoughtfully as they wandered down the street. Aaron bobbed his head in a crowish approximation of a shrug.
^Maybe. Maybe not. Someone will be watching him.^
"Someone is always watching."
There was silence for a moment. "Do you think I'm like him?" Cryna asked after a moment. Instead of answering, Aaron answered with another question.
"Well...I'm not very sure. I was close to becoming that way. I wanted to rip him apart."
^You wanted to do it because of what he'd done.^
"That's no excuse."
^No, it's not. But it is a reason.^
More silence. Then finally, "Aaron?"
"Thank you for stopping me."
Aaron smiled to himself. ^You're welcome.^
I thank the original author for all of her input, even if it didn't get used. And I welcome criticisms, especially since I'm sure I messed up the plot somewhere. I can almost smell it. ;>
Susannah!>>><<<Still blinded by the candlelight>>><<<So you got real big...or did your dream get small?>>><<<On time. No defects. Pick one.>>><<<Hindsight's always 20/20, but looking back it's still a bit fuzzy>>><<<I see you're dying to kill...with a smile on your face.
Copyright 1997: Susannah <NIOBIUM@HACKS.Arizona.EDU> . If you want to post this anywhere else, please ask the author for permission first. Thank you
|"Booby Prize, Part 2"||Transformation Contest 2, Category 5||"Untitled"|