As the last of the cups were put on the shelf Annie had finished formulating a plan. The police station would be the best bet. If Nate really was that dangerous, that's where he'd be and she could get some answers. If not...well, then the cops would know about a missing person. From the second he left with that woman there was something strange about the whole situation. She tried to imagine Nate as dangerous, but all she could think of were pancake enigmas and 'cake duty'. And that woman wasn't...there was something off about the whole thing.
A final check around the kitchen, then she turned off the light and grabbed her coat off the hook as the cafe bell chimed.
'Sorry, we're closed.' She walked to the counter and looked at the newcomers. Two lawyers from the look of them, a pristine suit on the man and a charcoal pencil skirt on the woman. 'And I'm not selling before you even think of quoting any numbers at me.'
'Oh no, honey, we're not here for anything like that,' the woman smiled, her eyes scouring the tables. 'We're trying to get in early on the Christmas venues and a friend of ours said how nice it was here.'
'Oh,' Annie frowned. Why have a Christmas party in a cafe? The bell went again and she looked at the door. Her frown vanished. In front of her was a tall guy, partly hidden in shadow, but she couldn't miss the bright red trenchcoat he was wearing.
'Hey sweetheart,' he winked at her, 'you busy?'
She swallowed and looked up at him, 'Nice coat.' He glanced down, back up and saw her bolt for a door behind the counter. She yanked it open and got up five steps before something grabbed her ankle and pulled her down. She looked over her shoulder and saw the suited man grinning at her with glowing red eyes. He tugged on her foot again and she lashed out, her heel smashing into his nose. He yelped and let go, and she pushed herself up and tried to climb again, but something grabbed her arm and pulled her into an iron-hard embrace. The suited man dragged her out to the counter and pinned her down so she was looking up at the ceiling.
'Now careful,' the woman's voice sounded above her head, sinister where it was friendly before, 'The master wants her at her strongest.' A thumb rubbed across her eyebrow and she winced. She realised the fall on the stairs split the skin open. 'Although,' Annie glanced up and saw the woman suck the blood off her thumb. 'Mmmm...it's been a while since I tried anything so sweet.'
Sweet? Annie growled, 'Sweet my arse!' She grabbed the tipping pot and smashed it into the man's face. He fell away and she kicked him down. She grabbed a golf club from under the counter and swung it full force at the woman.
The deafening crack that filled the room made Trenchcoat turn around from his position at the door. 'Now that wasn't very nice.'
Annie turned and slammed into the kitchen door. She grabbed a knife from the block and turned around. Trenchcoat chuckled from the doorway, 'Oooh, that looks sharp. Careful you don't hurt yourself.' He stepped forward, edging around to the counter, making her circle towards the door. He's playing with me, she thought. That thought boiled through her veins and she tightened the hold on her knife. He grinned and lunged at her. She lashed out and the knife slammed into his chest, slicing through easily.
She turned to run, but his manic laugh froze her to the spot. She looked over her shoulder and saw him easing the blade out without any kind of wince. Blood flowed out and pooled on the floor, 'I gotta say, kid, you got guts.' He stepped forward, admiring the blood spreading on the floor, 'I think you got me in the heart.' She gasped and stepped away. Someone grabbed her shoulder and a wave of something cold overcame her. Before she knew it she was dragged away from Trenchcoat and the blood and into darkness.
The demon watched her fall to the floor and raised his eyebrows at the woman behind her, 'Nice trick.'
'Thanks. Thought she would come quietly, who knew she had balls like that?'
'Yeah, she's fun. Maybe the boss with let us play with her after he's fur free.' He looked at the floor and sighed, 'You know a clean up spell?'
The woman looked at the, quite large now, pool of blood and felt an idea emerge. 'Maybe we don't need to. You said that angels couldn't see you until his shields cracked?'
'Yeah, symbols burned up and everything. Why?' He frowned at the grin on her face and the flash in her eyes.
'Because that puts him on the same level as cupid, by my judgement. Which means that we can have some fun.' She stepped over Annie's unconscious body and bent down to the blood. Her eyes glowed red and she waved her hand over the blood, whispering a string of sounds from an Ancient Language. A spot of black in the blood spread out to cover the whole pool, then faded away to the original ruby colour. 'Taste test?'
Trenchcoat frowned and dipped his finger in the blood, dabbing it on his tongue, 'Damn, that's sweet! No tin or anything.'
The woman smiled, 'Perfect. Now grab the human. The boss will be wondering where we got to.'