Monday, June 10, 2024

Driving Needs, part five

Chris drove; it wasn't even a question. Antoinette, in the front seat, gave him directions. In the back seat, Elyssa sat self-contained and ready. It didn't take them long to arrive.

The crime scene was a chaos of witnesses, bystanders, and first responders.The body was covered in a sheet and blocked away behind long strips of yellow tape, with police officers to hold back the late-morning crowd. Antoinette led them through the perimeter, deploying discreet bits of glamourie to keep anyone from questioning their presence. 

The woman standing over the body was clearly Ministry, gray-haired and formally dressed. She was roughly average height, but had a stocky build that spoke of carefully-preserved musculature and a way of moving that suggested that she still knew how to use it. "Enforcement division?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

Antoinette nodded. "Magus Frummel knew we were out here and called me in himself."

"Lilith Saintcrow," the woman said, extending a hand. 

"Antoinette Gillespie," Antoinette replied, shaking her hand briskly and releasing it. "These are my ROs, Chris Black and Elyssa Tannhauser. Both are wolves."

Magus Saintcrow looked them over for a brief moment, then nodded. "Wolves. Frummelt is a fucking miracle. I need scents: what came here, what happened, where it went."

Antoinette glanced at Chris, who took that as his cue to kneel, raise the edge of the blanket, and sniff at the body. He didn't want to expose it to casual view, but... 

Something stirred inside him. Something dark and burning, that wanted to spread its wings and seek its rightful prey. Chris was still staring at the corpse, which had been neatly skinned. No, he thought. Not here. Not now. They'll mark us both, hunt us, try to trap you again.

Let them try

Leave this one to me. This was supposed to be your rest, your release. 

As you wish. You would carry my essence? Prove yourself. Show me that you're worthy of it, and I'll release the burden of it onto you. 

Chris nodded. He looked at Elyssa, then looked up. "Can you check the roof?"

"I can," said magus Saintcrow, and flickered away as a cloud of black-feathered birds. She was back in a moment, the transformation hidden behind glamourie of her own. "No skin up there, but there are... scuff marks. And blood. Lots of blood. On the third ledge down. You're right; our victim fell from up there." She looked at Antoinette, then back at Chris. "Can you find me a trail?"

"It killed up there," Chris said. "It likely left from there as well." He glanced at Antoinette. "Call it."

"Let's go check," she responded. "I've got your backs."

"I'll keep a watch down here," magus Saintcrow added. "At least until the cleanup team arrives."

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