"What? Why do I have to do it?" I said, staring at Nova's emotionless visage like she was crazy
"Because they know us. We're high profile. If you go, they'll think you're a demon hunter or something like that. When they move, we can take them by surprise. And flank them. Just get to cover once the light show start."
I let out a deep sigh and looked out the window. Camilla's Cadillac, one of old ones from the 60's, drove thru the traffic of the evening. Camilla drove the same as last time I'd seen her. Like a goddamn maniac.
Don't mistake me, she wasn't a bad driver. She was actually incredible! I would've destroy several cars and in the smaller streets houses if I had tried that.
Just like when she had directed me in my old workplace, her timing was incredible. She dodged cars and bypassed them with only an inch of space between them. All of that at an insanely fast speed.
And for some ungodly reason, nobody around seem to notice or care...
"How are these people keeping calm with you driving?"
"That's the Veil. Since we use magic, we disconnect ourselves with the mundane world. We become somewhat out of sync with it. People over look us, cameras can't seem to focus right by themselves, documents concerning us get lost. On a side note, that makes computers a real bitch to use..."
"I see... Is there a way to cancel that?"
"It's a limited effect. Interact with people and they'll snap out of it. And It'll lose some documents in the mail, but set up posters of yourself all across town and it won't help. Also it won't work if humans perceive a direct threat. Like raising a gun at someone. Survival instinct can't be overcome. Even with magic."
“Doesn't nearly ramming someone going nearly double the speed limit count?”
“People feel pretty safe in their car.”
As we had driven down the the place, Nova explained to me pretty much all I'd needed to know about Ghouls
“You've already encountered ghouls, so you know what they're capable. The biggest problem is their resistance and venom. Fire is the best way to hurt them, large blades and forces second. Remember this really, REALLY, well: Their claws dispense a paralising venom, don't let them touch you.”
“You said this was a family, what does that mean? There could be possible children?”
“Ghouls don't reproduce sexually, their saliva contains a certain venom that begins the victim's transformation. The good news is that at the early stages, regular medecine can kill it off. Which is why they paralise their victims.” “Alright... Not very motivating to know... Why are they disguising as morticians and embalmers?”
“Ghouls feed human flesh exclusively. Nine times out of ten, they feed on carrion in cemetaries. Some however, develop a taste for fresh meat. It becomes like a drug to them...”
“I don't know which one I'd rather eat” I said in digust
“Actually, to them, Carrion taste bland. You could compare it to oatmeal. While fresh meat would be pizza. Which seems like you'd always take the latter, but let's say you live in a world of vegetarians that lynch everyone who eats fast food or meat. What do you do?”
“I don't know I guess do it in secret or find an alternative, like vegge-pizza.”
“Bingo! The compromise in this case would be meat from the freshly expired people.”
It was only by ungodly luck that we ever managed to reach our destination; Moriary & Sons was a small and old stone building, that stood in the shadows of the above ground highway. It held it's own spot at the end of a tiny dead ended street, behind with a crummy drycleaner and facing what I could only presume was warehouse or a snuff film studio.
A quick research on the place's history revealed very little about the place, but peering at the ghoul mortician's past he had attended the place for his mother's funeral two week before Will's accident...
The business was a all in one, embalmer, funery home and crematorium. The service wasn't known to be regal but prices were dirt cheap so it was popular for those who couldn't shell out a lot of money.
The poorly lit building was positively gothic, with plaster gargoyles on the roof and unengraved tombstones on the side of the building. With the nearest street light miles away and a cloudy moonless night, all the place was lacking was a horror film soundtrack.
Behind me, the girls unpacked their stuff from the car. It says a lot about who you travel with when they don't need to bring anything, all the guns and swords you could need are neatly placed in the custom made racks in the car's trunk...
Moments later, I had been outfitted with a machette, a heavy pistol and a surely very legal sawed-off shotgun. Which was the oposite from the lady's arsenal; Longsword and a wooden pole for Camilla and Nova had gotten a pair of six inch knives and... I don't know, some kind of wrist crossbows with flares on the bolts.
“No BFG tonight?” I asked.
“The ghouls are too fast. Beside, we need to be quiet.”
“And I don't?”
“Well, you are the bait”
I slid the shotgun down into the trenchcoat Cam just happened to have on hand, which was exactly my size and held the pistol in my right, the blade in my left.
“I'm ready to go” I declared rather reluctant to walk into a lair full of nasties. “What's the plan?”
“You go down the back, the door will most likely be locked. Just shoot the lock. Once you're in, head for the basement. That's where they prepare the bodies at this hour, they are probably feasting.”
“Awesome.” I grunted at nova
It didn't take long to get to the back, but prebattle stress made it seem like it went on forever, not helped in the least by the complete lack of vision. I held the Pistol, a Desert Eagle, by the look of it, tightly in hands.
I hadn't fired a shot since I was twelve, but atleast I wasn't a total newbie. I remembered my father's lesson...
“Hold the gun strait, with both hands, calm your breathing, slow it down and look down the sight.”
I fired several rapid shots at the cans he had set up on a stump on our camp sight. The pistol barked and spewed hot lead into the forest, never once hitting the targets
The firm hand of my father held both of my shoulder, pushing them down gently.
“You need to correct your position. Take your time, aim each shot. Panic fire will just waste bullet. Give yourself time to recover from the recoil Zeke.”
As he had instructed, I took a more correct stance and once again aimed.
Again, the gun roared loudly across the clearing, a single shot left the barrel, I almost could see the bullet ripping through the air, lodging itself right into the empty beer can, sending it flying back as the bullet effortlessly ripped it's way across it...
“Well done buddy.” My father said with a slap on my shoulder and a smile as broad as a highway
At the time, I'd felt estactic, not for the succesful shoot. By the approval in his voice was worth a milion cool new toys for me.
We sat by the campfire and as I did, He got a pair of cans from the cooler, tossing me one. And it wasn't just pepsi.
“I can't drink that, 'Pa”
“Shut up,” He told me with a smile “You've earned it.”
And so I drank my first beer... And immediately spit it out to the sound of my father's roaring laughter. Man that was nasty stuff.
As much as my childhood and adulthood had been messed up, with the right perspective you can really enjoy things that had been bad. My father will a good man had been shellshocked in the war. He went from Ex-militari to fully fledged wandering survivalist, paranoid conspiracy theorist.
Altought I cherish that day even today, it was also one of the most painful memory I've had. It was three months later that he passed away, drowned in the sea of delusions he had lived in...My mother and I left it all behind. We settled down, she and I became normal. Went to school, found a job, had friends and a 401k.
Until these ghouls fucked it all up.
As I stepped out of the abyss and walked to the back down, next to which was a single weak light bulb. I realised something... I wasn't afraid. Not afraid of them, Not afraid to face and destroy them.
And that terrified me.
You don't stop being afraid of fights, afraid of you enemy. Because if you do, you are well and all insane. Fear is what motivates you to stay alive. To keep safe. To do everything you can to keep on fighting and live another day.
“It's time.” I whispered to myself, raising the 50. pistol at the door. It screamed out as I hit the trigger. The noise carried all around us. A warning to all that the battle was just beginning.