Saturday, July 6, 2013

Metal In The Moonlight - Episode 16.



Episode 16

“I need to know what happened, I need to know everything,” Dr. Foxfire insisted immediately. A jade fire burned behind her eyes and there was intensity to it that Gabriel could fathom. Where his own fury drove him to fight, the Doc’s must fiercely force her to engage her curiosity and compelled her to test her mind. He could appreciate just how powerful that instinctive need could be, and he wasn’t about to be seen as an obstacle to her answers.

“Whoa there sunshine,” Gabriel chuckled as he rubbed his head with his right hand only to flinch at the still awkward sensation. “They shot me Doc; those officers actually shot me after I risked my neck for them!” Without missing a single beat Dr. Foxfire interrupted Gabriel with a lightning fast question that struck surgically to the heart of the matter. “They witnessed you shift didn’t they?”

The long query was enough to deflate Gabriel without another word. He lowered his head and took a breath before answering even though they both already knew the truth. “Yes,” he admitted mildly, the word hung in his throat thickly. “Then you got off lucky,” the Doc pointed out. “Because the more likely outcome of the situation could have been far worse, your wounds will heal rapidly. But even you are not immortal or invulnerable.” With a slight jerk of her neck Dr. Foxfire redoubled her focus back to her original course of questioning and cast aside the current avenue of conversation.

“Again, tell me what happened. I need to know what you came across!” When Gabriel returned her driven stare he found it even far more engulfing than before. It actually gave him pause to collect his thoughts before speaking again. He could face down another monster or three in a darkened alley before he would rather submit himself to her interrogating gaze much longer.

“Alright,” Gabriel relented with closed eyes and his hands held up to plead for a moment. “We started out the patrol with nothing really of note at first. The officers noticed something unidentified in a trash bin and went to investigate. I advised them that our quarry was far too large to be found in the garbage but they were already keyed up enough to be suspicious of anything. The rookie got spooked and fled, forcing us to track him down. When we found him he was down this alleyway terrified like some child hoping the street lamp would protect him from the things of the dark.

It was then that we encountered the monster. The thing came at us from behind but it wasn’t anything like what attacked me Doc. This creature reeked of death to me, and it seemed determined to get its bony claws on the two officers. It screamed some horrible sound that petrified both the officers with fear and only managed to enrage me further. What was that thing Doc?”

 When Gabriel had finally recounted most of the details of what had happened it was Dr. Foxfire’s turn to explain a few things. Things were progressing fast enough that she needed Gabriel to understand more of what they were facing if they were going to have any chance of combating it. She still wasn’t sure how the Chief would react to the news of Gabriel’s unnatural nature, but if decided to put their faith in his behavior they would have to be ready.

“They are typically referred to as revenants, and by and large they are an unsavory lot. The creature that attacked you is what you might call a breed of shifter. There are others, each different but bearing some similar traits. Among some of them is the unique characteristic that is responsible for your own altered existence. You see, because of my own actions to preserve your life I managed to also give the same transmitted traits the opportunity to reshape you. If you had slipped further from the land of the living the process could have potentially gripped you in a different way and produced a revenant.

Either result isn’t exactly a common outcome from an attack; there are any numbers of variables to factor in. But the short answer is that usually a victim is consumed enough that there isn’t enough tissue left for the process to even take hold. However our new sinister savage isn’t hunting for food anymore. Now it appears they are moving to engage prey for sport or pleasure. The more victims it attacks in this way the odds increase that they will not be consumed, but instead merely mauled until they lose interest.

If revenants are being created they will seek out any sources of flesh to feast upon and attempt to sate their appetite for vengeance. A revenant will only feel the motivation to slaughter as it was so slaughtered until they can destroy the source of their unnatural life. They will not know fear or pain, there will be no reasoning with them. You will have to shred them to pieces or cause severe trauma to their body enough to destroy them. They like the creature who created them will be susceptible to your natural weapons along with some more primal methods like fire for example, and believe it or not some materials are specifically effective.

But the one major thing to consider here is that every night we run the risk of more revenants being brought violently to life. And not only that, like I already warned; we also face the chance that other shifters could be created like you.”

“You really are just an endless delivery of good news and smiles, aren’t you?” Gabriel added sarcastically. “Don’t forget though,” Dr. Foxfire responded sternly. “Once you find the creature responsible you will have to fight it with everything you have. It will be comfortable with its form, it will be as fast as you are and just as strong. Both of you will heal rapidly from most wounds but each of you will find the sting of your claws and teeth doubly effective. You will have to be careful, because chances are that no one will be able to help you.”

♦♦♦

Instead of a beep from his desk the Chief was alerted to a frantic-paced knock upon his door urging him to answer immediately. “What in a blasted black hole is it?” Gnaeus demanded through a headache that was irritating him to no end. He didn’t have the patience left for these distractions. When the door slid open a panting figure was standing there leaning on the edge of the opening and shoved a handful of crumpled papers his way.

“You need to see this, sir,” he offered raggedly.  More grim news awaited Chief Gnaeus as he scanned over the incoming reports. There was an increased number of missing or deceased that pushed his stress level through the roof. He was out of options; he would have to send Gabriel and the others again tonight. They had already dealt with one creature perhaps another outing would provide better results. Whatever he did he had to do it quickly before the Magistrate Council decided to get involved. Something told Gnaeus that if things managed to spiral any worse and he would find himself squarely in the crosshairs of blame by the Council. They would have his head for sure and there was no question about the matter.

Perhaps this handyman had it in him to use this curse of his for their benefit, at least for now. They could always deal with him later, after this emergency. But for now they just might need him.