(AN: Tell me if you want it continued!)
It was your standard murder. When you lived in a big city, emotions run high and one spouse or other tends to be the victim.
The wife, a young woman with a swollen eye, sat sobbing on the couch as the police tried to get her statement. The knife she used was on the floor where she’d dropped it. The bloody phone she’d used to call them was on the counter.
It was clearly self defense. I mean, I hated cases like this. The husband’s family would most likely press charges regardless and cause this poor woman more problems.
I turned to see my precinct commander walk into the apartment. He didn’t normally leave the office.
"Everything in order here?"
"As much as possible, Sir," I groused, not bothering to hide my attitude or my breath. Rather liking the way the prude winced. The idiot took me off the major case that happened just last night.
A mass killing took place, right out in the open. Not even with a modern weapon either, which meant the killer had time to kill plenty of people AND none of the city's high tech gadgets caught anything.
And the boss took me off the case and put me on this...baby-walking junior dudy.
“This is Tim,” the commander put a hand on the shoulder of a child. Just noticing him there I stared.
“Umm, Sir? What is a nine year old doing at a crime scene?”
The child turned from the commander to me. He twisted his fingers together as he spoke, “I…I’m here for…for your protection…sir.”
I had no response for that. I instead turned to the Prude for a more complete explanation.
“Tim will be your partner on this,” he said, “I expect you both to remain within sight and sound of each other. I will not tolerate sloppy work.”
He left after that. Just turned and left as if this was normal?
“HELL NO!” I stumbled after him. I have have hitthe bottle before ten o'clock, but this was not happening on my watch, “This is an open and shut case! I mean, I don’t understand what I would need…protection…from a kid, for!”
The commander didn’t turn around and kept going. I think he even quickened his pace in order to get away.
The other cops in the room were staring and when I met their eyes, they went back to gathering evidence and documenting the scene. My eyes drifted back to the kid who was standing next to the body, his hands working over time as he tugged at each of his fingers. He was waiting for me.
“What are you protecting me from?” I asked when I walked up to him, “the wife?”
I jabbed a thumb in her direction. She was still shaking and wouldn’t be standing any time soon. The boy licked his lips and eyed the woman as if he was genuinely afraid of her.
He couldn’t be serious.
“I..I’m here because…because of…” he lowered his voice and I had to lean forward to hear, “…demons…”
The boy nodded his eyes darting everywhere. I followed his gaze and noticed he was taking notice of every movement around him; from the moving officers to the curtain that moved above the air vent across the room.
This child was a nervous wreck.
What was he doing at a crime scene?! This poor kid was standing next to a body with at least five unnatural holes in it! This kid couldn’t protect himself let alone someone else! But the commander had put him here, so…
“don’t touch anything,” I said placing a hand on his shoulder. I hoped to give the kid some form of reassurance, “we’ll wrap up as fast as possible.”
The struggle had started in the front room and had ended in the kitchen. I made notes and immersed myself in what the room was telling me happened. He had staggered, lost his grip on the chair and she’d run into the kitchen where the knives were. He rushed her, probably thinking she’d never actually stab him. At one time he’d grabbed the blade of the knife and she’d drawn it back. Two of his fingers were poking out from under the counter.
I pointed them out to an officer so he’d grab them.
“Um..!” the kid caught my attention as he raised his hand, like he was in school or something. Wait…he was still in school.
“what is it?” I asked.
“W-well,” he bit his lip and began to gesture with his hands, “you know…”
“Do you need the bathroom?”
He blushed and shook his head vehemently, his hands now shaking as they wrung themselves. He was having the hardest time getting out what he needed to say.
I turned back to the kitchen. I’d been staring at it for almost two hours…what was I supposed to notice? There was blood everywhere and…was it the pill bottles? They had already looked at them. One was hers for depression and the other was prescription ibuprofen. The wife had already told them that her husband never took her meds.
Other than the blood spatter, there was nothing I could see that would cause this kind of reaction.
“Up…” the boy finally got out, “up!”
He pointed to the ceiling. There was blood spatter on the ceiling, and a cobweb in one corner.
“What am I supposed to be seeing?”
The boy looked like he might start crying. He waved his hands at me, trying to motion me to stand next to him. I refrained from rolling my eyes and walked over. Looking at the ceiling now that I was standing under the archway leading to the kitchen I could actually see something. It glistened as the light bounced off of it, the blood spatter going right through the center of it.
“What the…” I squinted, trying to get a better look. Was it oil?
“See?” he asked, a small, almost twitchy smile appearing on his face, “it…it’s a…a summoning circle. Butitsasmallone.”
Demons? Summoning circles? Did I wake up this morning or…
The child pulled out a pair of black gloves and started to slip them on. He was still shaking and was still biting his lip, but his eyes never left the circle.
He picked his way across the kitchen and started to climb the counters, his knees smearing the blood there. When I pointed this out and tried to get him off the counter he batted me away.
“I’m sorry,” he said licking his lips, “but-but, I need to get a closer look…see? I need to see if its fat, or oil, or a concoction of some sort…”
“What would be the difference?”
“Wwwell,” the kid stood up and started to rub the ceiling with his fingers, “if-if the circle is made with oil, then the demon will be weaker than one summoned with fat. If it’s a concoction, then we may be dealing with something even I will have problems with.”
He gave a weak laugh and sniffed his fingers. He relaxed a bit.
“its oil,” he sighed, “thank goodness.”
He continued to analyze the circle. He even started to hum and mutter a little.
I turned to the other officers. One came in to tell me they were leaving, but Officer Gray was going to stay with the wife and me. We would bring her to the precinct after we were done.
I waved and watched them all leave, taking the dead body with them.
“We’re done,” I said after a while, “we need to leave.”
“Oh…oh,” he said looking around and seeing the mostly empty apartment, “ohhhhhh…dear.”
“Um, its just, um,” he was back to making erratic gestures with his hands and as he spoke he got quieter, “that witch has at-at-at most a level 10 demon…from the markings on the circle its probably a class 5…we have to deal with the witch and the demon so..”
I could no longer hear what he was saying even though his lips were still moving.
“Sorry, I can’t hear-“
“Shhhuuuu!!” he flinched and glanced around him as he licked his lips, “the witch will hear us…”
“That woman is not a witch,” I said firmly, “she’s a victim of abuse and-“
“She killed him.”
“Because she was protecting herself.”
“He was protecting himself,” the boy countered me, his voice steady for the first time, “that man was sacrificed to summon that witchs demon. He didn’t have to die, but she killed him.”
I was supposed to be the unstable drunk and now officially I was concerned for the state of this childs mental health. The commander had ordered this child to work with me, and I was having a hard time working out why.
I shook my head, “look, kid, that woman has been through enough without us accusing her of malicious intent. Have you seen her face? He beat her. She was defending herself. Its crazy to accuse this woman when she was only defending herself.”
Something changed in the childs face…though I couldn’t put my finger on what.
“The man that died was the innocent one, detective,” the boy said, again, firmly, “that witch is a monster and I’ll show you if you’d like.”
He hopped down from the counter and began to walk into the front room. I grabbed his arm.
“Look, kid, i don't know where you come off calling people monsters-"
"Because they ARE-"
"We'll take her down to the station and settle the matter there, if that will make you happy, k? You will NOT talk to her. She has enough problems without you getting medieval on her.”
“Rude,” the kid scowled and I realized what had changed. He no longer licked his lips. He had stopped shaking. His eyes, which had not come even close to my own, now looked at me dead on.
“I’m much more sophisticated, thank you very much, I use persuasion and cleansing, not the ‘Latin-Eviction-Chant’. I’m not an animal. But I am right and if you take that woman down to the police station she’s going to have every last one of you under her charm speak before the night is over.”
Not once did he stutter. Was all that an act? I tightened my grip.
“Don’t go near her.”
“Never, ever, call me crazy,” he pulled his arm from my hand and I made to grab at him again. But he walked swiftly into the other room. I lunged for him and slipped on the blood and, yes, oil.
He patted the cop on the shoulder, cutting into the conversation. Then without hesitation, he socked the woman in the face. By then I had mad it to him and grabbed him away.
"Take care of the cop,"the kid shrugged and I felt muscle- ACTUAL muscle under the kids shirt as a sword appeared in his hand.
"WHAT THE HELL!" was all I could say in reply.
As for the woman I had thought was so innocent just a second before- her face contorted and the injuries vanished. Her fingers elongating and he smiled.
"Now how was I found out? I didn't cast anything that strong."
"Your master screw up," the kid said with a huff, "so now you suffer as his pupil."
She shrieked and attcked, the kid actually engaging in the fight.
I turned to officer Gray to see if he was seeing what i was seeing and what he thought of this. His face was blank, his eyes out of focus. He sat on the floor with his note pad barely held between his fingers.
I grabbed Gray and dragged him away from the fight. I pulled him back into the kitchen as the woman screamed. I checked his pulse and slapped him a few times, but he refused to react to me.
There was another scream, panicked and louder. The childs sword buried deep into her chest. He twisted the blade and a shadow leaked out of the wound. Not blood. An inky black substance that oozed and twitched as it fell to the floor.
The kid ripped the blade from the woman and she stumbled backward, gasping, but otherwise unhurt. He bent over and grabbed the shadow in one hand, lifting it up and holding it out at arms length.
“How about you go home now?” he asked the shapeless ooze. He carried it towards me and I backed away, tripping over Officer Gray. The kid glanced in my direction.
“She’ll recover before I’m done, hold her off for a sec.”
I stood back up and watched him hold the shadow up towards the ceiling. He started to chant and the Crisco oil started to glow.
I swore to never drink again.
As I watched the kid a sharp pain erupted in my side.
The woman grabbed my shoulder and shoved her…those weren’t nails. They were straight up pointed bone fingertips and her right hand was carving its way into my side.
“Out of my way,” she seethed and shoved me to the ground. Now, I’m not a small guy, but she easily shoved me to the opposite wall of the long kitchen. I slid to the ground and held onto my wound. Blood was seeping out between my fingers as cries and shouts could be heard on the other side. I could actually feel something warm spread from the wound to the rest of my body.
I blinked, my vision going blurry. Shadows were starting to appear where they shouldn’t and I began to panic.
I was going to die.
I was going to die not knowing what the hell was going on.
I was a detective so I would ALWAYS know what was going on!
“I can help.”
I shook my head.
“I can help.”
The voice was a small one and it was in my ear! Was I so close to death that I was now hearing things as well?
“Make a deal with me, and I’ll help.”
Thinking it couldn’t hurt, I answered, “…who…what are you?”
“I am the demon that was summoned. My contract with the witch is broken and the circle leading back to my dimension is broken. I will die if I don’t have a body to posses.”
“I’m not handing over my body.”
“You don’t have to,” the demon replied, “I’ll just live in your mind. You can retain complete control.”
“I’m not sharing my body either.”
“you will die.”
“Yeah, well…thems the brakes.”
It was getting harder to breathe. I could see shapes moving quickly as the witch and the boy fought. I thought about everything that was said and done. He had told me to watch the witch and I hadn’t. If I died it would be because of my pride…because pride...
“I wonder…what’s going on…” I muttered as I closed my eyes, “will you tell me everything if I agree?”
“…if you let me live I will give you all the knowledge I posses,” the demon replied, “though it will not be a life debt since saving my life will save yours as well.”
“I just want to know…” I hissed as the wound throbbed.
“I will tell you all.”
“Then we have a deal.”
The pain immediately stopped. My vsion cleared and I could breathe again. I sat up and looked at my side. The hole in my shirt and the blood I had lost was still there, but the wound was gone.
“I healed you,” the demon said, the voice now coming from inside my own head, “I will now finish my promise.”
I blacked out.
When I opened my eyes next, I was looking into the brown eyes of the nine year old. He gave a shaky smile.
“The demons gone,” he said and licked his lips, “I got rid of it…it wasn’t…you really shouldn’t’ve…”
“That little freak said he wouldn’t possess me,” I said, sitting up and wincing. My chest and neck hurt like someone had shove a handful of needles into them. I was next to the upturned coffee table and when I looked around I remembered how he’d gotten the demon out of the woman.
“Did you STAB me?!”
The boy lifted his sword up for me to see. It was black, but the longer I looked at it, the more I noticed that it was also producing a type of light.
“It doesn’t cut humans,” he ran the sword through his own arm and nothing happened, “It only gets rid of demons.”
I rubbed my chest where it hurt the most and leaned away from the blade. The boy held the blade out and dropped it. It disappeared before it hit the ground.
I closed my eyes and prayed for the first time. There was something wrong with me. Was this a coma dream? I was going to wake up any moment…
“Are you ok?”
I opened one eye to see the kid looking worried and biting his lower lip. Now that the sword was out of his hands he began to fiddle with his fingers again.
“Yeah,” I said, “peachy.”
The boy sighed with relief and gave me a shy smile, “it would be re-really-really bad if my new partner died on the first night.”
That didn’t make me feel better. It felt like there was going to be an “again” at the end of that sentence.
I stood up and brushed myself off. There was a fine dust all over me and the floor. I sneezed and the boy shrugged.
“Try not to get it in your mouth,” he said.
“What is it? Where did it come from?”
The boy looked anywhere but at me, “you can tell the age of a witch by how…dusty she is when you kill her. This one was probably a few centuries old…”
I huffed, trying to get the dust out of my nose. I suddenly felt more dirty than I ever have in my life. I mean, the stuff was in my hair!
“How…how long have you been doing this exactly?” I asked, trying to get my mind off of the fact that I had human dust all over me.
“It’s the family business,” the boy said moving a pile of dust around with his foot as he looked down, “I move around to different offices and aid those that come in contact with the witches….when I work with your office, from-from now on, I’ll be assigned to you.”
“but you’re nine!”
“I’m twelve,” the boy sighed, “…i’ve always been small…”
Being small was not the problem!
“Shouldn’t you be in school?”
“I’m home schooled,” he shrugged, “and I’m almost done with the tenth-grade curriculum.”
I didn’t know what to be more disturbed by: the fact that a child was being kept home to fight demons, the fact that the child in question was still playing with human dust, The fact that i was SOBER, or the fact that this all was real in the first place.
“Are you angry?” he asked, his face the picture of worry, “...you-you’ll be well compensated…”
I get a raise out of this?
Is it worth it?
But I could always use the extra cash.
But I didn’t like kids.
I was due for a raise two years ago.
…but demons and witches and who knew what else?
But I NEEDED the extra cash…
“No, I’m not-“
An old fashioned phone started to ring and the boy pulled a phone out of his pocket.
“Hi dad,” he said turning around for the illusion of privacy, “yes, finished a few minutes ago…yes…he’s alive…no…yes…ok…love you too, bye.”
He hung up and turned to me, “I have to go. I’ll see you tomorrow, ok?”
He waved at me while he left, not waiting for me to respond or anything. I stood there for longer than I’d like to admit while my mind processed my new reality.