Do What?

Crandall belted out the last few words and ended on a long note that left him breathless. As he closed his lips he threw his head and arms back, basking in the adrenaline of the performance. There was no audience, but he didn’t need their applause. He only needed to sing with every ounce of his existence. He’d done exactly that. As always. As he needed each performance to be. Perfect. Beautiful. Like his soul flew above everything else, soaring on the high notes and drifting around the lows.

“Alright,” Jon said, interrupting Crandall’s peaceful conclusion. “I have shit to do. We good?”

Crandall snorted and rolled his eyes, but did so with his back still to the group. Jon had almost cancelled, so he should be – according to Mike – grateful that they got any time at all to practice tonight. He’d needed this. The songs buoyed him in a way he couldn’t understand and never tried to explain. It would do. He’d prefer to keep going, but he’d had plenty to hold him over. For now.

“Yeah, okay.” Crandall paced to a cheap glass ashtray sitting on Jon’s amp. He picked up a roach and took a long toke.

“When’s the next show?” Jon ducked as he lifted the strap of his guitar over his head. He bent over to settle the guitar in its protective case.

“Undetermined.” Crandall exhaled a long stream of smoke and handed the roach to Jon.

“Friday,” Mike said. “We’re invited to Blood Moon, if you’re all in.”

“No,” Crandall said.

“Sure,” Jon said at the same time.

“Why not?” Beryl rounded on Crandall, trapping him against Jon’s amp.

“Fuck off.” Crandall side-stepped his bassist and strode across the room.

“You’re outvoted.” Beryl could be a stubborn bitch sometimes.

Crandall turned around and pointed a finger at her. “I’m not going there, so plan an instrumental set.”

“Stop,” Jon said stepping between them. “Crandall, what’s wrong with Blood Moon.”

Crandall opened his mouth, but his promises prevented the words he wanted to voice. Fuck. Stupid secrets. He closed his mouth, glared at Beryl, and then shifted his angry gaze to Mike. “They owner is a fucking asshole.”

Mike shrugged as Jon glanced toward him. “He can be, but he pays well.”

“It’s a set,” Jon said, “and one of the better ones we’ve been to over the past couple of years.”

“It’s a damn good place.” Beryl shrugged out of the strap and set her bass against a speaker. “Don’t do this because you’re pissed at me.”

“It has nothing to do with you. Don’t be so fucking stuck up.”

Mike stepped out from behind his set, and Crandall tensed. Mike liked to play referee, and Mike wanted to play the gig. Crandall glared at him, locking in with his hardest stare. “Crank,” Mike said softly. He looked away, and then looked back. “It’ll be fine. It’ll be fun.”

Crandall continued to stare through Mike, but Mike wasn’t deterred. “I’m in,” Mike said softly.

“Fuck.” Crandall could feel the tiny muscles in his jaw twitching as he ground his molars together.

“So, we’re good?”

“No, we’re not good.” Crandall looked away. He hadn’t told Mike about Nica’s visit. “I’m not going back there.”

Mike sighed, had the nerve to look sad and frustrated.

“Nica stopped by while we were at the Crane. She insisted we play Friday night.”

“And?” Beryl didn’t get it. She wouldn’t. Even if he tried to explain it to her, which he had no interest in doing.

“C’mon, man, you don’t have to talk to the owners. We’ll show up, play our set, and then take off. You can avoid everyone else before and after.”

“Sure, it’ll happen that way.” Crandall snatched the joint from Jon and plopped down on a metal folding chair to take a drag.

“So, confirm?” Beryl pushed.

“We’ll figure it out,” Mike said. “Okay?” He met Crandall’s glare and nodded.

Crandall stared over his right shoulder. He shrugged, and then nodded once, curt and shallow. For Mike, yes. If it wasn’t so important to Mike, he’d avoid the place with every last ounce of willpower left his in body.

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Posted by on March 30, 2014 in Inertia Stand, music


Feeling Better

Crandall rode in silence as Mike maneuvered his ‘Stang through the city streets. Jon lived on the outskirts, in a quiet little neighborhood a couple of miles from the last T-station. Sometimes, Jon would pick them up at the station so they didn’t have to drive through the city, but tonight, Jon’s wife  had his car while hers was in the shop for a few days.

Crandall preferred it this way. He hated riding the T. He hated traffic more, but since he wasn’t driving, he preferred this – Mike’s old car, and Mike as his only company.

Travelling could be so exhausting. So many people. It seemed he rarely got a chance to be alone anymore. Mike didn’t count. Crandall liked having Mike around. More lately, of course, but even before they’d started having amazing sex, Mike seemed the exception to Crandall people-hating rules. Ash was okay, and Crandall liked him, but Crandall was ready to start apartment searching on behalf of his friend.

He needed his space, his sanctuary, his peace and quiet where he didn’t have to work to conform to society’s expectations of polite small talk, tolerance of irritations, and other things he could avoid by simply staying home. This afternoon, he’d left work early to take a much needed break from people, but Ash had the stereo blasting while he belted out awful lyrics from annoying electro-dance tunes made popular by stupid sheep who listened to whatever the local station played whether it was good or not.

Crandall picked a fight by telling Ash he’d never find an apartment if he melted his brain listening to shitty music. It started low and went downhill from there. By the time Mike got home, Ash was sitting on Crandall’s back, pushing his face into the carpet while Crandall strung together curses and threats of painful and drawn out bodily harm.

“Okay now?” Mike asked, breaking into Crandall’s internal world.

Crandall grunted, and expected Mike to drop the conversation at that.

“C’mon, man, cut Ash a break. He is looking for a place, but he had a good deal before. Cheap. We don’t make much from the Crane. He can’t move into just anywhere.”

“Fuck.” Crandall snorted a sigh.

“I thought you two were getting along.”

Crandall stared out the side window, watching shadowy buildings flash by. “We were. We are.” He closed his eyes and let his head fall back against the rest. “I need my apartment back, Mike. I can’t completely relax with guests in the house.”

“Don’t think of Ash as a guest.”

“Easy for you to say.”

“I know, man. I know. You’re okay with me around. Ash can be that kind of friend too.”

“I don’t want to fuck Ash.”

Mike made an odd snorting sound. Crandall opened his eyes and turned to look at him. “Are you laughing at me?” Crandall asked.

A smile snuck through as Mike shook his head. “No, not like that. I’m glad you don’t want to sleep with Ash.” He chuckled, then his expression sobered. “We lived together okay before we started sleeping together.”

“I don’t get it either.”

They drove for another couple of miles. “Would you rather blow off practice tonight, get some quiet time in?”

“Fuck no. Music is…” Crandall shook his head. “It makes it better.”

“Okay, good. So you won’t try to kill Ash when we get home?”

“Only if we stop for pizza, and Jon has some MJ on hand.”


Crandall shifted in his seat so he could lay a hand on Mike’s thigh. “I didn’t mean to start shit tonight. I wanted to lock myself up alone for a couple of hours before practice, and Ash was home, making a racket and being a dick about it, and I lost it. I need to be alone sometimes, Mike. You know that.”

“I do.” Mike nodded. He covered Crandall’s hand with one of his own. After another couple of miles, he added, “Feel free to hole up at the Crane if you need to. You’re welcome to the office; bring your laptop and headphones, and just crash.”

That was Mike, always thinking. It wasn’t Crandall’s business, but the guys had embraced him as one of the team with all the vampire hunting bullshit. Dragon wouldn’t mind Mike’s offer one bit, and Ash, well if Ash was at the Crane, Crandall wouldn’t need a place to hide out.

Crandall rubbed his chest with his free hand. Damn Mike, made Crandall give a shit about someone. About Mike. He’d been good for Crandall. Very good.

“Thank you,” Crandall said softly. He squeezed Mike’s thigh. “I appreciate that. You. Definitely you.” He smiled and leaned his head on Mike’s shoulder. “I bet a blow job would make me feel more grounded.”

“Not while I’m driving.” Mike’s voice broke. He was definitely thinking about it, even if his words objected.

“Okay, later.” Crandall sat up straight in his seat. He brushed against Mike’s crotch before removing his hand from Mike’s lap, feeling much better than he had all day.

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Posted by on March 16, 2014 in confrontations, Friends, Love & Lust


No More Games

When Mike didn’t immediately jump back up, Crandall forgot about his conversation with Ash and hurried to Mike’s side. “What’s wrong?” Crandall asked as he dropped to one knee beside Mike.

Mike grimaced and covered Crandall’s hand on his chest. “Knocked the wind out of me,” he wheezed.

Crandall snorted. “You fell for that three times in a row, asshat.”

“Your support is appreciated.” Mike pushed himself up to a sitting position, and then Crandall stood and pulled Mike to his feet.

“I’ll support you when you don’t fall for that move again.”

Crandall squeezed Mike’s hand and then stepped away. He watched Mike for a moment, before returning to Ash’s side.

“What were we bitching about?” Crandall said as he slid down the wall.

“Nothing.” Ash flashed a grin. “I’d rather talk about my girlfriend.”

“Fuck. Me.” Crandall groaned, but he didn’t object.


Mike walked to the far wall where he’d left a bottle of water. As he sipped, he watched his lover. Crandall rolled his eyes and made disgusted faces at Ash, but didn’t interrupt Ash with more than the occasional smart-ass comment. Mike was glad Ash changed the subject; he hadn’t liked what he’d been hearing.

He had expected Crandall to start objecting sooner. Crandall didn’t like lies, and he didn’t understand why people pretended one thing while doing another. He never cared about what others thought about him and would never understand why Mike did. Mike had his reasons, but lately, he’d been doubting them. The longer he and Crandall were together, the more he wanted to shout it from the rooftops. He knew there were times that he couldn’t keep the happy, satisfied, so much in love look off his face. He would out himself if he didn’t get some control. Would it be all that bad? It would be. Mike was certain. He’d love to give Crandall the openness back that he valued, but Mike feared the haters, the derogatory comments, the off-color questions about why he didn’t like girls and worse. He could imagine so much worse.

“He’s right,” Dragan said.

Mike startled, dripping water down his shirt. Dragan didn’t know what was on Mike’s mind, but his words still hit home as if Mike had spoken out loud.

“About letting down your guard. As soon as you think you see an opening, you drop your right shoulder and you step off balance.”

With a frown, Mike replayed the last couple of moves in his head. He didn’t see it.

“Let’s do it again,” Dragan said. “Slowly.”

Mike nodded and set his water aside, grateful for a distraction to his previous train of thoughts. He’d worry about Crandall when Crandall demanded he do so. It was inevitable, sooner or later.


“There’s more than one way to get off.”

“Sure, I know that, but–”

“Shh!” Crandall sat up straight, his chin dipped to his chest, a fierce look of concentration on his face.

Ash listened for a moment, but the only sounds he heard were Mike and Dragan stepping through a combo in the center of the Pit. “I don’t hear anything.”

“Neither do I, but that bitch is here.” Crandall stood up. When Ash moved to stand as well, Crandall held out a hand. “Wait here.”

Ash looked ready to object but seemed to think better of it. He leaned back against the wall.

Crandall hurried through the building, impatience and fury coloring his strides. He’d had enough of these vampire diversions. If they thought he’d deal with their crazy-ass old fucker through all these mind games, then they had another think coming. He was done. He’d already told that obnoxious short one exactly that. Now she was back. He could feel her close. Probably the parking lot, pretending like she wasn’t contemplated breaking his door to deliver whatever pathetic message she had this time. She’d been no help, and he no longer wanted to play along. Never did. Maybe the other guys would enjoy the hunt, but Crandall was done.

He flipped the lock and pushed through the door. He shouted into the darkened parking lot. “Go the fuck away before I come back out here with a fucking stake.”

Nica stepped from the shadows at the corner of the building. She hung back, watching him warily. “You’ve been invited to play Friday night. You’re opening for Dead Inside again. Try not to start another fight.”

She put a fist on her hip and glared at him as best as she could. Crandall wasn’t intimidated; he was exasperated. He flipped her the finger and said, “Consider this my rejection of you invitation. I’m not going back there.”

“You’ll get your information after the show.”

“What’s wrong with your hearing? I’m done. I’m not doing this. I’m not playing your games, or your club.”

Nica licked her lips and her confident expression wavered. “You like to perform. I can tell.” Crandall started to speak but Nica talked over him. “Play your set and I’ll give you what I’ve pieced together from Judas’s schedule.”

“Get lost, fang.”

She said something else but the words were lost to the darkness as Crandall ducked back inside and threw the lock. He was ready to spar again, and hoped he didn’t hurt one of his friends as he vented his anger at his stupid luck with vampires.

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Posted by on February 16, 2014 in Friends, Identity


Owe Nothing

Crandall sat on the mat-covered floor, his back to the wall. Ash’s leg was propped on his bent knees. Crandall pressed a cold compress against Ash’s ankle.

“How’s it feel to lose a match?” Crandall asked.

“I didn’t lose.” Ash watched Mike and Dragan spar in the center of the Pit. “This is just an injury time out.”

“Yeah, sure. Try that with the next vampire you find. ‘Excuse me, Fang, but I need an injury time out to put a brace on my fucked up ankle.’”

Ash rolled his eyes, but a laugh sneaked out. “I’ll be fine by morning.”

Crandall lifted the ice pack and prodded Ash’s ankle. Ash flinched and sucked in a sudden breath, hissing through his clenched teeth. “I think you should go to the hospital.”

“We heal fast.”

“Yeah.” Crandall frowned and replaced the ice pack.

“The swelling will be gone by morning; the tenderness by nightfall.”

“Show off.”

They fell silent for several minutes. After Dragan dropped Mike to the mats, Mike limped over to where Crandall and Ash sat. “How you doing, man?”

Ash waved him off. “I’ll be okay.”

Mike shifted his gaze to Crandall, and his look softened, a tenderness Crandall knew Mike thought he hid shined in Mike’s eyes. “Your turn.”

Crandall smothered a smile. It was stupid, the way he felt like smiling whenever Mike looked at him like that. He knew Mike cared, and he did to – cared about Mike – so why’d he feel like a stupid airhead girl when Mike looked at him in that way that was only his?

“I’m done,” Crandall said. “Someone has to babysit this tough shit.”

“Go practice,” Ash said.

“I only came along because I needed to put you in your place. That’s done. I’m done.”

“You did not put me in my place.”

Crandall snorted, and looked up at Mike. “Don’t wear yourself out too soon.”

Mike pressed his lips together in a thin line, and then he shook his head and laughed. He turned around and headed back into the center of the Pit, still shaking his head.

“He’s still not comfortable with this,” Crandall said. “How can I make him just be himself? He’s so uptight about hiding, even here, when you and Dragon know. It’s fucking stupid.”

“You’ve never been in the closet?”


“What do you mean why? It bothers you that Mike is, but haven’t you ever, you know, hid your sexuality, or wanted to, or felt shamed by some jerk who thinks anyone not “normal” is bad or wrong?”

Crandall frowned. He couldn’t understand any of it. Ash spoke like it was common place. It seemed to be, the way some people talked, and the way the media treated anything not straight, white and upper-middle-class. But he still didn’t get it. People were who they were, and they shouldn’t hide it. That sort of shit is exhausting.

“Never?” Ash pushed.

Crandall shrugged. “My brother left, and I didn’t understand why at the time. I was pissed at him for leaving me with our father. But later, recently, I realized, maybe, he was gay. Or something. Something dad didn’t approve of anyway.” He shrugged again. The memories were fleeting and faded with time. One day Sam was there and the next he was never spoken of again.

“It sucks. Family should be the ones you can turn to for anything.”

Crandall studied Ash. Something in his voice tugged at Crandall. “Yeah,” he said. “Your family fucked up too?”

Ash laughed but Crandall could tell it was laced with wistful sadness. “No, just me.” He shook his head and sighed. “If my family had their way, I’d be in a pink dress and a white straight jacket.” When Crandall said nothing, Ash added, “So I don’t talk to them anymore.”

“Good. Doesn’t matter if they’re family, if they’re fucking stupid and mean, then you owe them nothing.”

“Exactly.” Ash nodded. He lifted his leg from Crandall’s lap and gingerly prodded his ankle.

“Ready to surrender and go to the hospital?”

“No, Crandall, I’m okay.” Ash stretched both legs out in front of him. “Just tired. You know how that goes. Always exhausted after our healing kicks in.”

Crandall thought about it as he watched Dragan lead Mike into letting his guard down. Crandall saw it coming before Mike did. Dragan feinted left and then bobbed to the right and swept Mike’s legs out from under him. Mike should’ve seen that coming; he had more experience than Crandall. Why was he missing those?

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Posted by on February 2, 2014 in Friends, Identity


Moving On

Mike grabbed his jacket. He turned to face Crandall as he pulled it on. “C’mon,  man, you haven’t sparred with us in a few weeks. You gotta stay sharp.”

“For what?” Crandall didn’t look up from the television. He ducked his head and bobbed with his upper body, slamming the buttons on the game controller with vicious speed.

“What do you mean, for what?”

Crandall cursed and threw the controller in the direction of the TV. It bounced off the carpet and clunked against the console. Typical game-over ritual.

“Look, Crank, I know we’ve talked about this, but even if we do absolutely nothing, we’re going to attract vampires when we go out at night. You should still practice, just in case.”

Crandall stood and crossed the room. He shut off the television and shoved the game console back in its space underneath. “Yeah, because you ran into so many you were able to keep this hobby of yours a secret for the three years I’ve known you.”

“You’re going to hold that against me?”

With a sigh, Crandall crossed his arms and glared at Mike. “That is not what I said. I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told me sooner. My point is, they’re not around as much as you’d like me to think.”

Mike opened his mouth, but shut it without speaking. They’d already argued about it. Nica had pointed out that Judas wasn’t likely to let them walk away from his crazy idea of a prophecy, and Crandall had seemed to agree, but in the week since her visit, Crandall seemed to have changed his mind, deciding the best tactic was to ignore the situation altogether.

“I’m going. I’ll see you later tonight.” Mike then called down the hallway. “C’mon, Ash, let’s get going!”

Ash jogged down the hallway and then grabbed his jacket from the line of hooks by the door. He looked at Crandall, who was wrapping the game cords with a strip of Velcro fastener. “Not coming?”

“Same argument,” Mike said.

“Ah.” Ash nodded, and waved at the door. Mike opened and they left together. As Ash pulled the door shut he said, “He’s probably just worried I’ll kick his real-boy ass again.”

“Fuck me.” Crandall took a step toward the door and then flinched as if hit. He wouldn’t fall for it. He knew Ash was baiting him, and he refused to bite. Even if Ash was asking for an ass-kicking.

Crandall walked to the kitchen, opened the fridge door, and then stared at its contents without knowing what he was looking for.

“Fuckity fuck, fuck.” He slammed the door shut and hurried to and through the living room. He grabbed his coat as he opened the door. He bolted down the stairs, jumping down to both landings, to skip several steps.

As Crandall pushed out the main door and into the parking lot, he heard the rough grumble of the engine of Mike’s fading Mustang. They didn’t make it very far.

 Crandall stopped in middle of the parking lot, shrugging into his coat as the Mustang rolled from the back lot into the main lot on its way to the road. Mike slowed the car to a stop, and Crandall waved Ash out of the seat. Once Ash crawled in back, and Crandall dropped into the front seat, Mike pulled away.

“So,” Ash prompted.

“Fuck you,” Crandall said. “Don’t even start.”

“Of course not.” Ash grinned wickedly in the rearview mirror. Mike smirked, but said nothing. He knew better.

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Posted by on January 12, 2014 in Friends, The Dancing Crane


Day’s Dawning (part two)

Mike straightened, assuming the conversation was over, but Crandall had other plans.

“How vulnerable?” Something unsettling glowed in his green eyes.

Nica narrowed hers, glaring at him. “Vulnerable enough. I’m not stupid. I know you think I am, but I’m not. I’d rather duck into a random building for the day than stay here with three hunters.”

“So that part of the stories is true,” Crandall pressed, taking two steps closer to Nica. “When the sun rises, you’re helpless.”

Nica looked sick, but she bravely lifted her chin and met Crandall stare. “Which is why I’m leaving before the dawn.”

Crandall rolled his eyes and snorted his disgust. “You are stupid. I don’t care where the fuck you sleep. Where does Judas spend the day?”

“With Max, and the vampires from Club Blood, and before you ask, I’m not giving you that location. These are my friends. I’ll only help you get Judas if it doesn’t put anyone else in danger.”

“Club Blood?” Mike asked.

Nica shrugged one shoulder. She seemed less freaked out now. “You know the club. Blood Moon? The other vampires call it Club Blood.”

“Nice,” Crandall growled. “Why don’t you call it the local diner?”

“Hey, back off.” Nica stepped into Crandall’s personal space and bared her fangs as she snapped at him. “You’ve been there. We just like to hang out and forget we’re cursed. You know? You’ve always been safe there. All of your band. You have no right to be so judgmental. Some of us didn’t ask for this, you know. I’d rather be human, getting on with my life, but instead, some jerk ambushed me. Killed me. Ruined everything. So get over your bigotry, and get on with this dumb job, so you can leave us the heck alone.”

Mike ducked his head, letting his hair fall over his face to hide his smile. Not many people stood up to Crandall when he was mouthing off. The girl had never gotten her hackles up before, and he’d yet to hear her swear, but there she was, toe to toe with Crandall, giving him the what-for he deserved.

Crandall – surprising Mike and Nica both – laughed. He pushed her out of his space, still laughing. “Fucking fang, you’re a riot. I didn’t think you had a spine, but there you are, telling me off over some stupid fucking joke. Good for you. Maybe I won’t have to fight the urge to stake you every time you open your mouth.”

Nica stared at Crandall, her mouth hanging open.

“Now, go.” Crandall tilted his head toward the door. “You may have suddenly grown out of the whiny girlie shit, but I still don’t want you in my apartment all day.”

She closed her mouth and narrowed her eyes. It wasn’t the most intimidating look Mike had seen – not by far – but she tried.

After a brief stare down, Nica looked away, glancing at Mike before returning her attention to Crandall. “I’ll make the suggestion – that Judas find a new, private daytime retreat – but I can’t promise he’ll bite. Think on it. On what else you might want to try. I’ll help if I can.”

Nica started walking toward the door. “You sure you don’t need my number?”

Crandall tapped his right temple with two fingers. “I fucking got it. If you’re not going to leave, I’m going to open the curtains. I know what a stake does, but I haven’t seen the results of the sun on a vampire yet.”


“Hey,” Crandall said as Nica opened the door and stepped out. “I’m not a jerk, I’m an asshole.”

Without looking back or answering, Nica slammed the door behind her.

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Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Crandall, Nica


Day’s Dawning (part one)

Mike tensed as Crandall stepped forward. Crank shrugged from the arm Mike had had around his waist. Crandall gestured at Mike’s gaming chair. It was old and worn and dirty. It appeared as if it might fall apart if you looked at it wrong. “Sit,” he said, and then turned his back on Nica and grabbed a small wooden decorative box off an end table.

“I’ll stand.” Nica wrinkled her nose and crossed her arms.

“You’ll sit.” Crank pointed at her with the box. “Or, you’ll leave. I don’t have the patience for melodramatic pacing.”

Nica stepped in front of the chair, giving it a dubious look before sitting, slowly, and perching on the edge of the cushion. She folded her hands in her lap, and looked up at Crandall like a chastised and petulant child.

Crandall glared at her a moment longer, and then flipped open the lid of the box. “Fuck me.” He slammed it shut and tossed it on a nearby shelf.

“Not the best choice right now.” Mike whispered the words; his gaze on Crandall’s every moment, while keeping Nica in his periphery.

“It’s empty.” Crandall’s frown turned into a brief, hungry grin. “That’s why I called you.”

Mike glanced at Nica. She hadn’t moved, and looked very unhappy about it. He returned a questioning gaze to Crandall.

Crandall shrugged. “Work sucked more than usual. I wanted a distraction.”

“But you said…” Mike snorted, trying to hold back a sudden chuckle. “Okay, whatever, we can talk about that later.”

“Guys,” Nica started.

“Shut up.” Crandall disappeared into the kitchen and returned with an open bottle of beer.

“Good stuff,” Nica said, eying the bottle.

“Just talk. And keep it short. What are you going to do to make this happen?”

Nica sighed. “I don’t know. What questions do you have?”

“Shit. You insist on coming here and talking, but you don’t have anything to say?”

“I’m supposed to help you, but I can’t just say, ‘Go to Quincy Market at midnight and he’ll be waiting.’” She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. “If he knew you were coming, you’d never survive anyway.”

“I’m only going to ask once more. Why are you here?”

“To help.” She made some meaningless gesture with her small, pale hands. “I can… I don’t know. Feed you information. Answer questions. Maybe help you figure out his routine.”

“Okay, so what’s his routine?”

“So far?” She looked at the blank TV. “There hasn’t been one.”

“For fuck’s sake–”

“But, I could suggest he make one. Something you guys could figure out.”

Crandall rolled his eyes. Mike crossed his arms. He wasn’t sure why Crandall agreed to let her stay and talk, and now it seemed even more unlikely that Nica would do anything but piss off Crandall.

“You do that.” Crandall took a long drink from his beer.

“I’m serious,” Nica said. “He can’t just lie down and let you stake him. That’d be suicide. But he doesn’t have to be so cautious either. You’ll need to figure out a way to take him by surprise, because he will fight back. He has to.”

“So when you tell him to create a routine, tell him to do it in a steel and concrete box, so we can lock him in.”

Nica wrinkled her nose as if an odd odor offended her. She opened her mouth to say something, but seemed to think better of it. After another moment of silence, she said, “You mock me, but if you could find a way to set up a trap somewhere you knew he’d be, you might actually have a shot at this.”

“You don’t think we can do it, so I can’t imagine your advice will be all that fucking helpful.”

“You’re right. I have my doubts. But he’s disrupted my life with this prophecy too, and I wanted it over, one way or another.”

“You’re not that cold-hearted.” Mike leaned against the wall, near the hall to the bedrooms. He wanted to get the first warning should Ash wake up and hear Nica in the apartment.

“I’m not. Judas is determined to die. Max has tried to dissuade him. So have several others. You may have to catch Judas without his entourage. They’ve been told to flee if you attack, but I wouldn’t assume they will. They…” She smirked and did nose thing again. “They kind of worship him, in a way.”

“So kill the fucking groupies first.” Crandall finished his beer and set the bottle aside.

“I didn’t say that.” Nica pushed to her feet. “Day will dawn soon. I should go. Do you need my cell number again?”

“No. Just go. I wouldn’t want to be stuck with you all day.”

“Forget that.” Nica shuddered, and Mike didn’t think it was just for show. “I wouldn’t want to be that vulnerable in this apartment.”

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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Nica, Prophecy


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