All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended. I do not own the rights or characters to Angel or the Lara Croft Movies. This work is written purely for my own enjoyment and the enjoyment of any of my readers.
“My name is Lara Croft; I came here to try talk to Signor Martelli.”
“Why” said her challenger. Interestingly there had been a brief flicker of something in his eyes, possibly recognition when she said her name, but the gun never wavered.
“Because we had arranged to meet earlier today, and he failed to make our appointment. When he didn’t answer my calls I had a friend look up his address. I just arrived, no one answered the bell, and the side door was ajar.” She stared at him defiantly, “Now it’s your turn. Who are you and what are you doing here?”
“Wesley Wyndam Pryce. I’m an associate of Signor Martelli. His eyes flicked to the desk, then back to her. “I attempted to call him here earlier, but when after several attempts all I got was busy signal I grew, concerned.” He gestured to the desk, where the phone hung off its hook over the side of the desk. “It looks as if my fears were warranted” he said in a flat tone, which did nothing to disguise the anger and sadness visible in his eyes.
The gun, which she had identified as a Browning 9mm semi-automatic, remained trained on her, the lights in the room glinting softly of the slide. “So you had nothing to do with this?” It was said flatly, but Lara sensed the man was prepared to listen to her. She relaxed by the tiniest amount, knowing that a rash move would destroy any credibility she might have gained. Then again, she still didn’t take her eyes off the gun.
“No.” She replied clearly. I’ve never even been to Los Angeles before. I came here on the recommendation of a friend. He suggested Signor Martelli might be able to help me translate the inscription on an object which has recently come into my possession.” She said truthfully.
He raised an eyebrow slightly at that, and despite the cold anger still visible in his eyes, she saw a brief expression of curiosity cross his features. It was only there for a moment, but it was definitely there. “Who recommended Antonio?” he asked.
“A friend at the British Museum.” she said.
“It wasn’t a Mr Robert Morton by any chance,” he asked, he asked to her complete surprise.
She shot him a questioning look, “Yes it was actually, but how did you know that?”
“We’ve met” he said unhelpfully. For a few seconds he gazed thoughtfully at her, dark eyes surveying her carefully, apparently judging whether he could trust her. Then to her relief he lowered the gun, flicking the safety catch back on and slipping it with practiced ease into a shoulder holster.
“Sorry, in this town one can’t be too careful, Lady Croft.”
Now it was her turn to raise an eyebrow. “You’ve heard of me?”
“A little, your name was mentioned in the circles which I used to frequent.” That was interesting, and tied in well with her theories on his accent and way of speaking. It was almost possible to trace his background by that accent. Upper class, clearly highly educated, probably Oxford or Cambridge, and quite possibly an academic.
“The British Museum?” she asked curiously, “Room 42?” she added after a moment’s thought.
He shook his head, “none of the above, although I’ve worked with both.” He crossed to the desk and knelt beside the body, taking care to avoid the bloody carpet. She also noticed he made sure to kneel in a place where he could keep an eye on her. Despite putting away his gun, he clearly was still wary, or at least, paranoid. Not that she blamed him under the circumstances. She wasn't completely unarmed herself, for she had a knife in her handbag, but she decided to leave it there for now.
She watched him close the eyes of the dead man, a strangely gentle touch. Clearly this man had been a friend. She realised he didn’t seem fazed whatsoever by the red eyes of blue spikes protruding from the man’s face either, which was very interesting.
“What is he” she asked. He looked up at her. “What do you mean?” he asked, looked slightly confused. “He’s not human” she clarified. His expression cleared abruptly. “Ah” he said.
She didn’t like the sound of that. In the way only an Englishmen could, that one short word had spoken volumes. A flash of concern crossed his face, which he swiftly composed “Antonio was a brachen demon, well, half a Brachen demon to be precise.” He looked at her, slightly apprehensively.
“A demon” she repeated flatly.
Before he could answer, she heard footsteps behind her. “Senior Martelli” a voice called in an Italian accent. She saw Wyndam Pryce rise to his feet out of the corner of her eye, as she turned sharply to face the voice. In the doorway from the shop appeared a man, or what looked like a man. His face however, was bright green, with the same red eyes as Martelli.
He had sounded slightly concerned, and now he skidded to an abrupt halt in the doorway. He paled, or at least, he appeared to, it was hard for Lara to tell. His eyes were suddenly wide-eyed, and Lara knew with certainty that he had spotted the body. He gave a small gasp, and then a cry of anger and pain. Pryce stepping forward and she saw that he had drawn his gun. She guessed had drawn it involuntarily, for he held it loose by his side, but the demon’s eyes flashed to it and made the obvious conclusion. He yelled loudly in Italian, and fled down the corridor. Pryce began to follow him, calling out for him to wait, but it was too late.
Pryce swore loudly. “Who was that?” asked Lara. “Bugger,” said Pryce aloud, “that was probably a member of Antonio’s clan.”
“Clan?” “Yes his demon clan, they live in this area of LA, Antonio was one of their elders.” He looked very grim suddenly. “From the looks of it the fellow thought we were the killers.”
“I presume that’s a bad thing.” enquired Lara, with a sudden sense of foreboding.
“Yes, Brachen’s are peaceful people usually, but they are also very protective of their own. When they get angry they tend to be rather poor listeners.”
Lara translated. “In other words, we should probably get out of here”
He nodded, but hurried over to the body. His eyes scanned the area furiously, and she guessed he was trying to fix the image in his mind. She watched his eyes dart to the body’s neck, and saw him suddenly bend down over the body. He hurriedly reached out and pulled open the tattered shirt. She saw him wince at the state of the body, but he still managed to trace a pattern on the dead man’s skin.
She saw suddenly what he was looking at. On the man’s chest were the same scorch marks as on his back, but now she could see the full pattern. Three separate clusters of markings formed a triangle, in the centre of which was a strange twisted mark she didn’t recognise. By the looks of it, neither did Wyndam Pryce, for he snatched a pen and paper from the desk and began to sketch it hurriedly.
Once the sketch was finished, he folded it carefully and crammed it into an inside pocket. He carefully pulled the shirt shut in a gesture of respect, and then he hurried for the door. “Follow me” he said as he left. After a moment’s indecision she swiftly followed, catching up with him as he exited the building. He gazed at the same carvings that had mystified her earlier, and shook his head in apparent frustration.
As they hurried towards the main alleyway they heard the sounds of an approaching engine. As they emerged into the main alley, a car screeched to a halt in the alley to their right. It was the opposite end from where Lara had entered. From the car emerged 5 large shapes, which came hurrying towards them. Pryce swore and pulled her towards the side alley again, but more shouting came from that direction.
He hurriedly reversed course, dragging her bodily after him. Shaking his hand free, she reached for the knife in her bag, pulling it free. Holding it, and eying the five very large shapes approaching towards them, silhouetted by the blinding light of the car behind them’s headlights, she swore softly as she saw the clubs and swords they were holding.
She and Pryce were backing away sharply down the alley, back towards where her hire car was parked. Lara found herself missing the familiar weight of her guns on her thighs, and wished she’d brought something larger than a knife. She hadn’t expected to do any fighting on this trip, which was only supposed to have been a quick day stop of in LA.
The five were soon joined by 4 others, who had presumably come down the side alley on foot. She glanced sideways at Pryce, and saw him flex his right hand. A long blade from his right sleeve, and suddenly he was holding a rather deadly looking short sword in that hand.
He held it by his side, and called out loudly. “We had nothing to do with the death of your clansman; we arrived to find him already dead.”
His only response was a loud growl from the approaching demons, and they surged forward.
Lara set of at a run down the alley away from them, Wyndam Pryce right on her heels. As she ran, she wondered idly why people in Los Angeles seemed to have such a preoccupation with swords and bladed weapons. This was supposed to be America; surely gang members here used guns
A quick glance over her shoulder showed that their pursuers were gaining on them. The alley was dark now, but as they ran one their pursuers passed through a spot of light cast by a brightly lit window. It was a terrifying figure, the eyes blazed red, the face bright green and lined with blue spikes; the face was contorted into a rage of anger. Lara sped up.
About 30 seconds later, breathing hard, they neared the end of the alley. As she ran, Lara searched in her pockets for the key to her hire car. Her fingers closed around the plastic and metal, and she pulled it free. “I’ve got a car” she shouted, “its parked just to the left.”
Accordingly the pair of them angled left a as they left the alley, and as Lara sped along the pavement she triggered a button on the key. A pair of lights flashed welcomingly on sleek Mercedes, three cars ahead, as the car unlocked in response to her signal. Snatching a glance over her shoulder, she saw their pursuers spill out of the alley behind them, and after a brief pause, start after them.
As they reached the car, Lara pulled over the driver’s door and in a rush slid behind the wheel. Across from her, the other door was pulled open and Wyndam Pryce dived into the soft leather seat, sword in hand. As he pulled his door shut Lara, who already had hers closed and the engine running, shoved the car into gear. The engine roared as Lara accelerated out of the parking place, pulling the Mercedes into a tight curve. As the powerful car swung round onto the wrong side of the street, headlights blazing, a number of figures rushed across the empty road, heading for them. A hurled club impacted with a bang
on the roof, and then they were past, their pursuers falling easily behind. Breathing heavily, Lara swung the car back onto the proper side of the road, and saw the speedometer reach 70 miles an hour. To her right, her companion flicked a wrist, and with a click, his sword retracted smoothly into his sleeve. As the street lights flashed past, Lara tried to make sense of all that had just happened. Well here it is chapter 2
Hope you liked it. Thanks for the reviews. Much appreciated. This is my first attempt at an Angel story so any constructive feedback is much appreciated.