Hunters is an on-going serialization I started for the weekly 100 word writing challenge The Prediction. Enjoy the evolving story here… 😉
Hunting in the Park
Fingers raking through sun-lightened curls, Callon eyed the woman leaning casually against the side of his world-weary Airstream. Her hair was cropped as short as Callon’s own, and slicked back from sharp green eyes with a mix of rainwater and attitude. She looked about as friendly as the feral cat that’d taken up residence beneath his trailer.
“Rather inappropriate for hunting,” she said, cocking a finger at the plastic Target bag hanging heavy from his arm.
Callon grinned, hefting the hidden crossbow. “Less conspicuous. So…you found where I live.”
“I just looked for the shittiest trailer park.”
Jaen eyed the dented roof dubiously, as rain hammered on the metal with all the subtly of a queue of enthusiastic cloggers. “Cozy,” she said, her voice implying anything but.
“We can’t all afford penthouses like Lennox. So, what brings her favorite beagle to my door?” Grinning, Callon lifted a beer can to his mouth and punctured the aluminum with an elongating canine.
Jaen’s eyes sharped dangerously. “Have you seen the paper recently? I say seen, since I have sincere doubts you can read.”
“Hah! So this is about Sirius. He shows up and the proverbial abyss yawns yet again.”
“Well, you know what happened last time he passed through,” Jaen said. She crossed her legs again, as though attempting, unsuccessfully, to keep both feet from making lengthy contact with Callon’s floor.
Callon watched her movements with a wicked, knowing smile, and drained another beer. “He only pruned the royal tree of a few rotten apples.”
“He obliterated the whole damn forest.”
Callon snorted. “Like Lennox was unhappy about her rivals disappearing. Sirius essentially gave her a gold-stuffed lode.”
“Yes, but apparently her abrupt rise to power drew the interest of the Keldoor Brothers.”
Callon choked. “Well shit.”
“I don’t play nursemaid,” Callon said. His lip curled, as a memory drove a spike through his stomach. “Besides, isn’t that what she pays you for?” An irreverent smile formed. “Or do you simply like to sleep at her feet like a good dog.”
Jaen snarled, the woman gone from her fierce green eyes. She floated a hand above her knee, nails extending with a soft snicking sound.
Callon continued smiling. “Won’t matter to me none, if you torch the place. Not mine anyway.” No point being chary with Jaen. Best never to offer your throat. More fun to bait.
Jaen eyed him from the devastation of threadbare sheets and shredded pillows with a mix of satisfaction and self-disgust. She plucked a feather from her spiky hair, then swung both legs off the lumpy mattress. An unselfconscious Amazon of slim muscle and scarred sun-touched skin, she stepped over the pile of their clothes and opened the fridge.
Stifling a moan, Callon rolled onto his stomach and listened to every joint in his body groan in protest. “That was unexpected,” he said.
“Full moon,” Jaen said. “Anchovy essence and oreos, but no coffee?” She looked even more regretful than before.
Shoulder to thigh in a shadowed doorway, Jaen and Callon watched a huddle of uniformed police officers walk down the brownstone’s stairs with faces more gray than the storm-dampened sky overhead. A lone woman stepped out onto the landing, presumably a plainclothes detective, and stared with hard eyes at the small crowd splayed along the fringe of caution tape.
Callon flared his nostrils, eyes grim, as he stared at the open door beyond the detective. “I smell blood,” he said. He could imagine the sanguine mess that Sirius had left inside.
“He’s getting careless.”
“No. He’s making a point.”
Plucking languidly at the fine, blue strands of her uncombed hair, Royal stared hard at the center of Callon’s forehead. Avoiding his gaze was nothing new. With measured slowness, Callon placed the grisly photos on the table, then leaned back in his chair. Jaen began to tap her foot impatiently, until Callon put a stilling hand on her knee.
“Sirius,” Royal said, without looking down.
“Sadly no longer beleaguered by the pecuniary difficulties gifted by Lennox.”
“Seems not. You see the words? Indecipherable jargon to Jaen and me.”
“It’s ritualistic Keldoorian.” Royal met Callon’s eyes. “It’s a summoning.”
Wait it Out
An expression of contentment tugged on the corners of Callon’s mouth, as he stared at the TV over Jaen’s shoulder.
Growling, Jaen gave him a none-too-subtle jab in the ribs. “Here we are discussing Sirius’ skill with rib bones and ribboned muscle, and a damn hockey game turns out to be your lullaby. Wipe that flaccid look off your face, and focus.”
Callon tapped his temple with a bottle of beer. “Multitasking, Jaen dear. So, perhaps we let Sirius complete the summoning. Give the Keldoor Brothers something to play with.”
“And put our heads in a sack? No thank you.”
Callon was not one for abnegation, especially when it applied to whiskey and medieval weaponry.
“You plan the best dates,” Jaen said. She grinned a tight, dark smile and ran a finger over the sharpened point of a crossbow bolt lying on the table.
“What, no words of caution? No demands to think and sober up first?” He grinned. “No attempts to handcuff me again?”
Jaen handed him the bolt. “Nobody puts Baby in a corner.”
“You’re hoping Sirius puts a bullet in my chest, aren’t you.”
“You’ve got a strong core. You’ll live. More importantly, you’ll provide a distraction.”