Running to Ground
TITLE: Darkness is a Friend of Mine (Chapter 11)
AUTHOR: Muse’s Inspiration
DISCLAIMER: Please see previous chapter(s)
NOTES: Yes!! You’re not dreaming! It’s an update!! And you can thank the ever lovely Dhark_Charlotte for me getting it out to you! She’s the Queen of All Awesome Betas! *deep bow to Charlotte*
CHAPTER 11: RUNNING TO GROUND
It was never a good sign when two Slayers were in the same place. When they were deliberately put in the same place by The Powers, it was usually a good indicator that they thought that all hell was about to break loose; literally. For reasons that were probably fairly obvious, I wasn't finding a lot of comfort in their decision making abilities. They weren't exactly batting a thousand in my eyes.
Looking at the young Slayer standing in front of me; her battle stance an indication that she'd fight or go down swinging, I was transported to another place and time when a very similar Slayer had stood just as she was challenging the very Fates themselves to try and tame her ferocious spirit. This girl reminded me so much of Faith, it was bordering on being disturbing. She shifted under my perusal, bringing me back to the fact that we weren't exactly in a day spa and could spend all day chatting about our Calling. I could hear chaos out in the halls, people shouting out situation reports and orders echoing through the halls. I looked around and saw that the guard that had been in the room was lying in a pool of blood, sliced from groin to sternum.
Shaking my head, I glanced back at the girl; Kyra, I believe she said her name was...
"Kyra?" The girl looked at me. "OK, so I got the name right... Uh..." I looked at the guard again. "So, I know that right now isn't exactly the best time and all... but... yeah. This," I gestured at the corpse, "isn't really how we do things."
She narrowed her eyes at me.
"Not that it isn't a good kill!" I hastened to reassure her. For all I knew, she was more unbalanced than Faith had been... "You did a good job at... uh... making him...” I was floundering. "Well... making him dead?" I winced. God, that was bad! Even for me. "But, well, Slayers aren't exactly supposed to go around killing humans..." I trailed off.
I started, disconcerted. I wasn't sure what to say to that. I wasn't even entirely sure why, but I also didn't always feel the need to go around killing humans, so I hadn’t ever seen why I should examine all the whys and wherefores behind the rules I lived by.
“Because we don’t!” There! – That should cover it.
“Why? Some humans are more evil than some of the demons I have killed.” Kyra stated.
Now that one, I couldn’t really argue with her on. She was right. The fact that lawyers lived and reproduced to make more lawyers proved just how evil humans could be.
“Look, we just… we don’t do it. We don’t kill humans. Unless it is in self-defense… and even then, we try to subdue them, not maim them.”
She shrugged. I had a feeling that this was going to be ongoing issue between us. Right now though, I needed to find Dawn and get the hell out of here. Debating moral issues was not one of my top priorities at this moment.
“Have you been through the building?” I asked her. She nodded. “Have you seen a girl, about your age, long brownish hair, and big green eyes?” She nodded again. I could barely contain by excitement! Maybe The Powers did know what they were doing for once! Dawn was here! “Where is she?! Can you take me to her?”
She shook her head as she squatted down next to the body, looking through his pockets.
That brought me up short. “Why?!”
“She’s not here anymore.”
I was really gritting my teeth, trying to control my agitation. It was difficult, but I was, for the moment, fighting the urge to throttle Kyra. “Ok… so… where is she?”
That was it! Psycho Slayer or not, I was going to strangle her!
“Krell left with her yesterday morning.” She smirked. “I don’t think some of her swear words were even human…” She looked at me. “She fought him.” Kyra seemed show some respect for that and I couldn’t help but feel some pride myself. “He knocked her out.” I felt a blast of rage at the thought of someone harming my daughter. “They went north.” She stood up from where she had been squatting and headed towards the door.
“Wait!” I called out. She stopped, but didn’t turn around. “Who are you, Kyra?”
The girl still didn’t turn around, but just shrugged. “I don’t know anymore.” And just like that, she was out the door and gone.
To say that I was bemused, would be an understatement. I shook my head and started out after the girl, catching her as she turned down the next corridor. She looked at me and then continued down to the next intersection in the hallway. “You need something?” she asked.
“Yeah. I do. I need you. You’ve seen Dawn. I need your help.”
She stopped and looked at me for a moment. I felt like she was weighing all options and outcomes in that single moment. “All right. I owe Krell one anyways.” She gave a predatory grin that caused a small shiver to run down my spine. This girl was dangerous. I had a moment of trepidation, but I had to find Dawn and this girl knew who had her and how to deal with him. I had no choice… I needed her.
“I need to get the people who came here with me.” I told her. She nodded and we headed for the building exit, following instincts that showed us where the way to freedom lay. My head had a million thoughts going on, clamoring all over themselves for my undivided attention. Unfortunately, I needed to pay attention and couldn’t focus on what was going on in my head right now… and that just made the thoughts cranky and made them more determined to be noticed.
Forcing myself into the here and now, we quietly reached the exit and left; I must have been completely out of it when I was brought in, because none of what I had passed had looked familiar to me. Spying the barn-like structure where my little ‘rendezvous’ had taken place with the Flesh Eater, I felt a little anxiety about going back in. After all, the last time I had been in there, I barely made it out alive… and that was something my Slayers were still a little perturbed about.
Stealthily, we made our way through the center of the compound in the night’s darkness and worked our way around to the side door and quietly entered the building. It hadn’t escaped my notice that the courtyard of the compound was pretty much deserted; everyone was probably in the other building looking for Miss I Need Anger Management. But I wasn’t going to complain… it as going to make getting my new comrades out of here that much easier.
My eyes quickly adjusted to the gloom inside the barn and I saw that all the prisoners were still chained and they appeared to be sleeping. I could hear soft snores all around me as I worked my way over to where the G9 team had been placed…
…only to find three sets of empty shackles.
Well I’ll be a son of a ….!
They’d left without me!
I was pissed. I mean, I can’t really blame them… after all, I was just slowing them down and they were out here for a reason; a mission of some sort. But… I mean, I had come back for them! Where had they gone? Nowhere! They had left me, that’s where they had gone!
I turned to Kyra, who was glancing around, probably looking to see if there was anyone worth ripping off, and whispered, “I guess we can go. We’ll need to pilfer some gear, and then let’s head out.” I sighed. “I can’t believe they deserted me.”
Kyra smirked. “They didn’t.”
“What do you mean, ‘They Didn’t’? I don’t see them here, do you?” I was seriously just getting tired of this whole deal. I just wanted to get headed out.
Kyra gestured to the dirt floor, looking at me like I was an idiot for missing the filth. I walked over to her and looked down. Yep, I was right; it was dirt, all right. I looked at her and raised an eye brow.
She rolled her eyes. “Don’t you see? There are larger prints near the boot prints… your friends, they wore boots, right?” I nodded. “Someone released them. Your friends went with whoever released them.” She frowned and leaned closer. “These prints…” she stood up and looked away, towards the door. She stared, lost in thought for a few moments, and then shook herself out of it. “We need to go. Now.” She turned away and started off, walking through the prisoners, never making a sound and not once disturbing any of them. She was like an animal of prey, aware, dangerous and waiting for her chance to pounce. She was what a Slayer was supposed to be.
I wasn’t too proud to admit it, I was a little jealous.
I followed after her, stamping down my insecurities with a ferocious disregard for their feelings. I knew I was going to pay hell for it later, but right now, there was a much larger picture to consider. The first being, who the hell was Krell and what did he want with my daughter and two, who had released the G9 team? Had the team gone with them willingly or had they been forced to? I was going to have to find the team, as I had a sneaking suspicion that they would know, and be a little more forthcoming with it, about this Krell guy.
As I crept through the night after Kyra, I noticed that she seemed to be a part of the quiet darkness, rather than something moving within it. I was more than a little distracted, which is never good when you’re a Slayer, and therefore I wasn’t quite prepared when once we reached the outside and the cool night air of the desert for Kyra to suddenly take off at a flat out run.
I know I probably looked like a fish out of water, my mouth working but no sound coming out, as I stood there in stupefied shock watching her disappear into the darkness.
I was really starting to take issue with people just leaving me behind. I mean, I know I needed a shower, but c’mon! This was getting ridiculous! I sighed in irritation and took off after the younger Slayer.
As I sprinted along, I became aware of a sensation… it was the only way I could describe it. Like warm water flowing over smooth rock, it felt fluid and graceful. There was someone watching me. It wasn’t in a predatory way; not in the least. I don’t know how I could tell, but the gaze of whoever was watching was appreciative. It was unnerving and it caused me to slow to a jog and eventually come to a full stop as I looked around, trying to pinpoint in the night where the feeling was coming from. I was surrounded by boulders and as I gazed through the moonlit night, I caught a flash of silver as it passed by my right. Whirling in that direction, I tried desperately to see what it was that was out there, only to find nothing.
Deciding that I hadn’t grown to be one of the oldest Slayers alive by doing things the quiet way, I decided to take the bull by the horns as it were.
“I know you’re out there!”
Silence greeted my announcement.
I sighed. Why did they always want to be mysterious? “Kyra? You out there?”
I heard a pebble skitter down the side of the boulders off to my left and I quickly whirled in that direction, but again, found nothing there.
“Look, I have better things to do than play hide and seek all night!”
Suddenly, I felt a chill come over me as a deep chuckle stole through the night, breaking the endless silence. Following it, in a voice like dark, honey whiskey came the words, “The night is never a good place to hide…”
Turning in circles, I frantically looked to see where the voice was coming from. But for the life of me, I couldn’t locate its source anywhere!
“Why is that? Why shouldn’t I hide in the dark?” I asked, trying to buy time.
“Because…” the voice, deeply male and vibrant, said from right behind me, “it’s not always a friend.”
I spun around and had to take several steps back as I quickly encountered a wall of muscle. I took a few more steps back and my breath caught when I got a full look at what was in front of me…
He might be a man, but he looked like a god. Tall, heavily muscled, gleaming skin stretched taut showing off said muscles to the maximum… He was bald, shaved, but it definitely worked for him, making him seem even more enticing and appealing. Both of my Slayers perked up and took notice. The lips were full and currently quirked into half smile as he took his fair look at me as well… but it was the eyes that captured me and wouldn’t let me go. They gleamed in the night, like a predator’s should. They saw all and never missed a thing… silver. They were what I had seen and I didn’t bother to hide the shiver that the thought sent through me; whether from trepidation or appreciation, I wasn’t sure. I kind of thought that Faith’s Slayer was more than a little interested in the male specimen in front of me… it was the only explanation for some of the half thoughts crossing my mind at the moment.
Shaking myself out of the moment, I suddenly became aware of another man, almost as large and muscled, walking up behind the man that was the object of my Slayers’ scrutiny. While he was quite attractive, he didn’t even garner a second glance as I fought the Slayers’ desire to keep tabs on the man in front of me.
But before I could say another word, the large man with the silver eyes snapped his gaze behind me and was suddenly a massive mound of coiled muscle, waiting to strike. Curiosity being a bitch and all, I couldn’t help it and turned around, wanting to see what put this mountain on alert.
…only to find Kyra a few feet away, staring at the two men behind me, pale and shaking.
“Riddick…” she breathed out and then turned and sprinted away into the night again.
“Well, shit.” Now what was I supposed to do?