Every good story starts with a dame

I was angry. The pain from the bruising and knife wounds had subsided for now, enough that I could march around the mansion with the red mist clouding my vision. Making sure the only goal in my sights was her. The vast expanse of the mansion caused my heavy footsteps to echo. Each wave bouncing off the walls before coming back to me only strengthened my resolve and boosted the anger. She wasn’t in the house, that meant only one thing…

It always rained in Chicago. Or at least it seemed too. If it wasn’t raining someone was complaining about it and saying it was just coming. I hated those people. Weather is a natural force and there isn’t a damn thing anyone can do about it apart from take an umbrella. Albeit the winds from Lake Michigan seemed to love to take them away.

“Do we have to do this tonight?”

Jennifer had been my partner for a little over a year now. We’d been thrown together on a random job which had gone to hell in a hand-basket but we enjoyed each others company. Hell it was the only company I seemed to enjoy or even manage to keep. She was a little over five feet with cropped dark hair and sapphire blue eyes. She had the ability to make everyone believe what she said. Mainly because most men are a sucker for a pretty face and that comes in handy once in a while. I stubbed out the butt of the cigarette against the wall and turned back to look at the place we were hitting

“If we don’t do it tonight the stuff could be gone. Anyway what’s wrong with tonight?”

“Nothing in particular I’ve just got a bad feeling about it. Something doesn’t seem right”

I’d learned to trust Jennifer’s instincts she had a knack for that as well. I stopped. Looked around. Listened. A lot of people underestimate the important of just waiting. I had learned that lesson the hard way. They tell you to look before you leap for a very important reason. Because sometimes you forget how many flights of stairs you’ve ran up.

She was right something was wrong. Something was off but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Everything looked normal. The street was the same as it had been every other day we’d passed. No innocuous Flowers By Irene van was sitting near us. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it so I put it down to paranoia.

“Everything’s fine you’re just paranoid.”

“I’m never paranoid. I’m always right.” She was an arrogant woman but damned if she was lying.

“Ok. You remember the plan right?”

She smiled and shook her head pinching the bridge of her nose as she did “Of course I do. This isn’t some kind of bad TV show where you have to deliver the exposition.” Her classic response to when she thought I was being ridiculous

“Just making sure.” I took a final look around before grabbing my satchel of tools off the ground “Let’s go then”

“YOU HAD NO RIGHT!”

The anger in my voice echoed around the metal chamber of the secret base yet it didn’t seem to phase Jo. Obviously she had been expecting this as soon as I woke up. She, at least for the moment, turned to face me and replied in a surprisingly calm voice in stark contrast to my own rage.

“And what else would you have had me do? Let you continue to be a stubborn fool and get the house attacked again? When someone got killed would you think about it then?”

Her words struck me with surprising weight. I hadn’t been expecting that kind of response. I was expecting more swearing, shouting and possibly throwing. Definitely throwing.

“You say that like I care about the people here?” I finally threw out. My voice considerably lower not that I had realised it had not become a shouting match. Something I could definitely have won.

“You don’t care about the people?!” That may have riled her a bit “My father took you into his house. Gave you shelter, training, food. And you don’t care?!”

“I never asked for any of that. You’re father asked for me! Don’t act like your father is all high and mighty either. Nobody does this kind of stuff out of the kindness of their heart. He wants us all for something…”

“Yeah he wants you to help clean up the city. He told you that!”

“No, that’s what he wants us to do just now but that’s not what he wants us for. He wants something for himself. No one in this world is selfless. No one goes out of their way to save a city just because they feel like doing a good thing”

“Then why are you helping him if you’re so damn sure he’s up to something”

“I have my own reason for wanting to hurt people like the ones we are hunting”

“Oh yeah, and what is that exactly?” Jo crossed her arms and cocked her head looking towards me waiting for the answer that would, as they said in the old films, “Blow the case wide open”

“My reasons are my own. You had no right to interfere with my body. Consider this your only warning.”

She snorted and shook her head as I turned and left. My thoughts racing with the memories.

Why do I do what I do?

They say that angels give men wings. I don’t know about that but I know fear does. Also that stuff about looking before you leap? That doesn’t apply when you’ve got a bullet lodged in your shoulder and more looking to join it. Also when they tell you to hit the ground running? That’s a terrible idea. Hit the ground rolling. If you try to hit it running your just going to break something.

Looking back on it maybe diving out of the second floor window wasn’t the smartest idea i’d ever gone but if you could do better under pressure I welcome you to try.

I’d figured out what was wrong too late. We had got in and managed to get to the office where the package was meant to be located. That was when it hit me. Or rather didn’t. There was nothing. No sound. Complete silence. That never happens in Chicago, there is always the sound of something. People, cars, police but at the moment there was nothing. Until the low click of a hammer being cocked broke that silence.

Looking up from where I had landed, car roofs are surprisingly soft and good for rolling off, I brushed the excess glass from my face, wiping the blood from my eyes in the process. I stared in through the shattered windows the ice cold eyes of whoever had shot at us staring back down at me and only one thought was on my mind. For the first time I was worried about someone else. Only one word escaped my lips…

“Jennifer…”

Every good story starts with a dame

Ravenwatch: Heralds Nekrosangelo