Saturday, July 7, 2012

Rue: Rats In The Cellar Part 4


After meeting enough supernatural beings, proper etiquette really becomes second nature. I think it's probably made me more intolerant of my co-workers. However, if that's the way it must be, that's the way it must be. I'd certainly rather mind my manners when communicating with beings that c could rip my soul of and eat it rather than bantering with the drunks and drug addicts that serve the peace. Still, it's enough to make you wonder. How many accidental deaths are really because someone pissed off an entity they didn't even know existed? The museum tonight would be a prime example.


"What is it?"

The voice came from behind me as Don Yoku materialized from the shadows. I could hear the snarling of his foo dogs joining him.

"We have a problem."

"What is it?"

"Our little thief doesn't care about your collection."

Don cleared his throat noisily and spat at me. An eyeball rolled across the carpeting and bumped into my shoe. It was brilliant blue and starting to crystallize.

"She didn't think so."

"She wasn't supposed to. She was disposable."

"I thought you said they were lovers."

"That was evident from scene of the crime Donny boy. That doesn't mean that she knew she was disposable. The Salamander's Eyes were a way to keep your attention. The target is something else."



The foo dogs started barking at me and Don began to laugh. It was sickening laugh, one that bubbling up and out of the sewer of his throat. I didn't bother turning around, I could already tell Don was starting to move out of the shadows. He would be grotesque as his laughter, bulbous and covered in sores that refused to heal.

"This is all fascinating. Aside from how our dear thief was planning on killing me, how do you know all this?"

"Oh, I've spoken to them already. I have to admit, I like their style. Making you look like a complete ass in your own home Don."

That stopped the laughter, but only aggravated the dogs further.

"You... have spoken with them? But did not capture them?"

I stooped to pick up the eye and tuck it in my pocket.

"You're a sharp one aren't you? Should I just repeat everything I say twice so you don't have to talk so much or... do you prefer it that way?"

Etiquette. It's what keeps a man alive when spirits that have existed for countless centuries become agitated. Give someone a little respect, and they might show you a little clemency.

I didn't want clemency. I wanted action, and I got it.

A tongue lashed itself around my ankle and jerked me to the floor. I hit the ground hard and all my air ran away. Shit. The foo dogs stepped forward, green pottery skin eating up the miserable fluorescent lighting. Don was worse than I had imagined. Bulbous and riddled with open weeping wounds, he had begun to take on the form of a giant toad. His eyes spun wildly from their perches on his skull. His flesh was a sickly pale green stained yellow around his open wounds. His tongue had deteriorated into a mottled gray and pink strand of raw meat.

"Stryx! Now!"

The lights flickered off and lasers shot across the room. Don's foo dogs were caught in the middle of a tangle of beams and began to whimper. A voice rang over the loudspeaker.

"Auto-targeting activated."

Don was screaming as the turrets he had installed in the ceiling flipped down and fired on his precious pets. They were stitched with bullets, shards of pottery exploding through the air as the scaly hairless creatures beneath were revealed. They weren't lion-like foo dogs at all under their skin. Scaly, hairless flesh was exposed as they fell whimpering, screaming to the floor. Vaguely reptilian demon dog corpses rested to either side of me as the turrets ceased fire. From the sounds of it, the Don's other pets had met the same fate all throughout his gallery.

"What have you done?"

"We're freeing your collection Don. Every soul you've been keeping here is being turned loose tonight."

I grabbed his meaty tongue in both hands and jerked backwards. Don Yoku gagged and staggered forward. As the behemoth started to topple forward, I drove my feet up into his stomach. His great jaws opened and...


A bolt of electricity shot from the nearest wall socket and plunged down Don's throat. I tore his tongue from my foot and rolled away as the greed demon began to thrash and howl. I ran to the nearest terminal and activated the sequence Stryx and I had finished earlier. The sprinklers started their purge cycle, rendering them useless as the lights came back on at four hundred percent power. The bulbs would burst in less than five minutes. The temperature was rising rapidly. By the time the lights burst, the temperature would be a sweltering two hundred degrees. It still wasn't the point of combustion by any means. That was fine. We just needed a plausible start for the blaze.

Don was vomiting where he spasmed on the carpet. No food or bile or dry heaves for him. Wisps of smoke and lights were wriggling free from Don's fat throat and flooding through the hole in the skylight. With each clot of smoke that cleared the hole, another artifact withered and crumbled inside the museum. Don began to look like a deflated balloon as he gagged where he lay.

I took the eye out of my pocket. It was a pure blue sapphire now.

"Stryx, is that all of them?"

Blue electricity arced out of the Don's mouth and burnt a hole in the carpet. A circle of flames began to spread from what looked like a tall skinny teenager. Blue hair and ear three piercings. A hoodie with "RESIST" painted across the front and back in big white letters. Jeans with gaping holes in the knees.

"That's everybody."

"You get your accomplice and the Salamander's Eyes?"

"She's long gone. I don't think she wanted to talk to me. She knew I didn't intend on leaving her behind or anything but still..."

A broad grin.

"I think I was her first time with a dragon. She's embarrassed. Folks that've only dealt with binary genitalia get like that sometimes. Besides, the Eyes are where they belong."

"So... she doesn't need this anymore?"

I held up the sapphire.

"No, she doesn't need that where she's going. Without a soul in it, it'll wither away too. The only keeping it from crumbling it its freshness."

I nodded and rammed it into the back of Don's neck. I started chanting quietly as I slowly turned it a full three hundred and sixty degrees.

"What are you doing?"

"He can't die Stryx. That was part of his curse. But he can be bound... and I wonder how he'll like being part of a collection?"

The dragon in kid body grinned.

The flames from the carpet were spreading nicely.

I finished my incantation and smiled. Another case wrapped up nicely.


"I saw the place start to go up and got worried. Especially when I saw that group of spirits heading for the hills. What were you doing in there, throwing a party?"

"Nothing to fear hon. I had a friend help me out the skylight and down the back wall."

"You ever find the thief?"

"Yeah, yeah. He was the one who helped me out. He wasn't there for any jewels. He was there to kill the curator. The curator was the one who killed his grandfather millennial ago. The museum was full of souls, so we thought we'd let everybody go. He was slick though, I'll give him that. He convinced a lonely little heartbroken spook to straight-jacket a body and throw off their target. She got some peace out of the deal and he gets revenge."

"And you get?"

"To spend the rest of the night with my favorite girl. Here! I almost forgot to show you what I got for you."

"A sapphire! How sweet Morgan! Thank you honey."

"Not at all baby. Let's head home. What're we having for dinner?"

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