“The police have been called, what local assets do we have?”
I winced at the static that accompanied the message; it was rude jamming the whole area and using encrypted comms. I almost couldn’t listen in. I tried to ignore the background chatter as they discussed option, and I clambered up a fire escape onto the mall’s roof.
Anna was waiting for me at the top, and chewing bubblegum of all things, wearing her guns ‘n’ roses hoodie. Putting a finger to her lips, she pointed at the sniper team on the other side seemingly watching the courtyard.
Standing behind them was a tall woman, the lights below causing her red hair to create a fiery red halo around her head. Her immaculate white suit caused her to stick out like a sore thumb on the dark roof. Not that the sniper team noticed her, or the other team across the courtyard.
Anna was equally impervious to notice sauntered up next to her and offered some gum. Unlike the two girls, I wasn’t impervious to notice and had to mask my presence with magic.
The simple spell required nothing more than to trace the top button of my leather coat with my index finger. It was costly power wise but would buy me another fifteen minutes.
“Target spotted, north entrance to the courtyard.” The spotter said she was a woman too. I hadn’t noticed.
It also meant I was on the wrong channel since my ear piece was still feeding me information about negotiating with the local enchantresses to mind wipe the cops. Flipping the known Dullahan channels, I found the right one.
Three teams seemed to be closing in on the courtyard; they were probably in groups of two. I knew this mission was short notice, but they seemed understaffed. Overlooking the edge I saw the target, but at the range I needed my phone’s zoom function to get a good look.
She looked homeless, wearing several coats equal parts mud and holes. With her matted hair full of reddish mud, she looked nothing like the surveillance photo I had received, it had been taken only two months ago at a hospital in Ontario.
“All units move in.”
The two snipers shot almost simultaneously, and the woman fell to her knees, the teams on the ground entered the courtyard shooting. I winced in reflexive sympathy, having a shield tested with that much firepower had to hurt.
She responded by making a slashing motion with one of her hands causing a wave of force to blow two of the men off their feet. I doubted they would be getting up anytime soon; the two other teams ran for cover.
“Aren’t you going to do anything?” Anna asked me.
“What and get shot? I’d rather not die tonight.” I answer making my way to the door.
“Target entered the south wing, no shot,” the spotter on the opposite roof reported.
“We are in the south wing right?” I asked Anna as we reached the second floor. “I don’t know this Mall.”
“Yeah, the first floor is one long corridor with shops on the sides. They have metal shutters, so if anyone goes in them, we’ll notice. Bathrooms are near the exits, and there isn’t much else to hide.” Anna answered.
“No other doors?”
“Nope,” she said as we reached the first floor.
The stairwell exit burst open as the woman ran into me, I fell to the ground pulled on top of her just in time for the two Dullahans to arrive. They froze SMG’s pointed at me, the woman with one arm trapped under me used her remaining to grab my throat.
“Now I know this looks awkward, but I, at least, want to make it home tonight.” I razed one hand in a placating gesture. The other reached for the sawn-off shotgun hanging under my arm. “So why don’t we talk about this.” I shot her in the shoulder.
The angle was, of course, odd and the lance of pain meant I had probably fractured my wrist. One of the Dullahan’s grabbed me and threw me out of the way; the other opened fire. Her shield deflected most of the shots that would have hit center mass; that last few made it through.
They went for their secondaries as she somehow found the strength to charge them, I shot her in the back. They moved out of the way and emptied their guns into her back as she fell forward.
Reloading I shot her corpse twice more in the head, leaving an unholy mess all over my shoes. We all took a step back to make sure she wasn’t playing possum as the to Dullahan’s reloaded.
“She dead,” Anna confirmed, “you should go.”
“She looks dead to me, shall we get out while the going’s good?” I ask.
One nods while the other speaks into his comm, “target terminated, heading to the courtyard plus one.” Then addressed me, “who are you?”
“Corvid, I’m local also,” I pull out my amulet from where it hangs around my neck. A silver pentagram wreathed in lilies. “I’m with Garden View, a pest exterminator.”
“Sorry Sir, we didn’t realize Garden View had any chapters in the area. Or that you had an extermination unit.”
“We don’t advertise,” I was cut off by a loud crunch, looking back I saw Anna had impacted the metal shutters of a store front. She grabbed her skateboard-wielding it like a club and ran back into the stairwell.
“I’ve never heard a decent explanation as to why that happens, I’m Vincent.” The one who hadn’t spoken yet said. He held up an amulet; a pentagram wreathed in thorns with a cross overlaid on top. “With the Vatican exorcism unit.”
“I’m Jacob, Dullahan.” The other said, his amulet was a pentagram with a headless horse on top.
Neither of the men noticed the sounds of combat behind us, but they did flinch whenever something broke. We sped up as the sounds of breaking intensified, “I assume you have an explanation for the press.”
“We rigged the boiler, and I think support is negotiating with some local witch coven to make sure the all the reports say it’s an accident,” Jacob answered.
“Your men in the courtyard?”
“One dead the other in critical condition, we’ve heard there is a healer in the area but couldn’t get a contact, so we were going to use a hospital.” Jacob said the implied question was obvious, as a local I might know.
“That would be me.”
“There is a handful of us in circulation, although I’m rather new, so my work isn’t beautiful.” I reply.
“We wouldn’t presume to ask more,” Father Vincent assured me as we reached the courtyard.
Two men and a woman wearing white leather coats with the Dulahan sigil on the back, support staff, were crowded around the other fallen man with a first aid kit. There was no sign of the snipers on the roof or the other team on the ground. Presumably, some of them had gone to blow up the south wing.
The dead Dulahan covered in a sheet with the redhead crouched over him. As she leaned in to kiss the dead man’s forehead I looked away, it wasn’t pleasant to watch what her kind did to the dead.
“Out of the way medic coming through,” I said shooing the Dulahan’s out of the way. The man stripped of his armor and outerwear; wasn’t in good shape. A very broken left shin, the angle his leg was at made me suspect his thigh was broken.
Right arm was broken as well, lots of fresh bruises everywhere. Pupils dilated, broken blood vessels in both eyes. The only blood was the red foam around his mouth probably from the punctured lung; his left side had a visible indent.
“Jesus, I don’t know why you were bothering with a first aid kit. Sorry father.” Father Vincent gave a nod of acknowledgment but didn’t speak.
I reach into the pocket of my jacket for a carabiner with seven color-coded laser pointers. I take off the red, white, and green ones before shoving it back into my pocket. I point the green one at the man’s chest.
A pattern of a snake eating its own tail and two more inside the resulting circle seemingly fighting appears on him. “Time to do something stupid, I would appreciate it if everyone could stand back a bit.” They did so as I began to chant. “A snake eats it’s own tail, life turns to death, show me the cause.”
Information flooded my mind even as it started to go dark, in desperation I reached out to the part that wasn’t my own and clung to my familiar. Anna was annoyed but had the power to spare and fed me what I needed.
“Fuck, I hate that spell,” I say picking myself up off the ground. The Dulahan’s had taken my words to heart and hadn’t moved to help me.
Blood pooling around the heart would kill my patient first, and then the punctured lung I would have to do something about the bone fragments first, internal bleeding in the abdomen was next, last was the brain hemorrhage.
Pointing the red laser at his heart, the same snake pattern appeared but in red. “Blood flows but does not pool directed to purpose the dam must not leak.” The spell had been designed to have a light touch and a limited scope, so I needed to cast it another six times before I had stemmed the internal bleeding around his heart.
The strain was causing the world to lose color around the edges, the only reason I was still upright was the redhead who the propping me up. I should probably get her name being coworkers and all.
“Could get some water and a power bar.” The Father handed me a bottle, after gulping down some I continued. “I’ve bough us about twenty minutes if I can fix the lungs before passing out he’ll probably make it to the hospital.”
“We appreciate this Sir,” Jacob said handing me a bar of dark chocolate.
“Don’t I started this of my initiative, and now I’m committed.” The chocolate lasted about two minutes, in that time some of the color in my vision retuned but the edges were still fuzzy. My headache got worse; experience said I would need to sleep it off. I pointed the white laser, the same pattern. “Bone grows, bone binds, bone shapes, bone minds.”
I got most of the fragments where they were supposed to be but didn’t bother trying to fuse them. The hospital could wire his ribcage together or something; of course, it made the bleeding worse.
Eight less discriminating rounds of the red, and his lungs stopped doing their best sieve impression. Another hit dealt with the blood already in the lungs. Anna was running low on power; she seemed slightly upset with me. Regardless I moved onto the holes in the intestine.
“Corvid what were you thinking?” The question cut through my addled brain like a knife.
I tried to blink away the spots in my vision; it helped a bit. I was laying on a patch of grass covered in one of those reflective blankets. Standing over me was Matilda, a member of the local enchantress coven. She was five foot nothing, but due to angles managed a good loom.
Like everyone in her coven she was wearing entirely too little for the season She was using the eye catch on her amulet to draw attention to her impressive bosom. Locally, at least, that was almost as good as the amulet itself to ID her clan. Her’s was a pentagram formed out of a whip.
“Dulahan’s needed a healer, so I offered my services.”
“You realize no one put them in contact with you precisely so you wouldn’t get yourself killed trying to heal one of them.” She glared at Father Vincent probably because he was the closest, ignoring the fact that he wasn’t a Dulahan.
“He found us, just in time too,” Father Vincent said.
“Of course, he did, I assume you want a ride home because I’m not letting you drive like that.”