January 1st, 7:25 PM'Okay, that one hurt a little...'
Smithwick Textiles, Bludhaven, NJ.
Sasha had to concede internally, even as she grunted and wheezed to shove as much oxygen as she could into her lungs as she possibly could. Partly because of the speeding fist that had forcefully emptied them for her.
...And partly to brace for the other
one headed for her face at that very moment, which struck with an echo that reverberated around the factory floor.
To her credit, despite having been tied to this friggin' chair in a dingy old factory straight out of some cliche for what must've been a few hours now and having the absolute shit
kicked out of her by this guy, she still remained, well..."Shit, Julian. If yer cock's as limp as yer wrist, I suddenly understand why Molly left ya... well, that and yer lumpy-ass face." Sasha.
She remained Sasha.
Maybe it was the fact that they had her kid. Or maybe it had something to do with the fact that this was a uniformed officer
she'd worked with for over a decade
kicking her head in. Or maybe she was just really goddamn angry
right now... but the fact remained, she wasn't giving anything to anyone present but her purest contempt
from start to finish.
Which is precisely why she met the next oncoming extremity with a big damned cheeky grin."That is enough, Mister Muller!"
...Not to say she was too broken up about that same fist abruptly coming to a stop about an inch from her face at that shout either, mind you. But the point remained. As did the look on her face as the newcomer, a portly, Italian man in a resplendant tuxedo and dress shoes polished to a mirror-sheen approached at a brisk clip, arms folded behind his back.
"Surely, there is no need for such... barbarities."
The sharp-dressed man lectured with a decidedly mediterranean wave of his hand "We are
all civilized people here, after all. We can talk this out.""Oh, look, the Cliche Italian Mobster has arrived to say Cliche Italian Mobster things!"
Sasha ouright laughed
, grinning from ear to ear out of spite and around a mouthful of blood. "Now all we need is a cat, a bowl of oranges and some automatic gunfire and we have ourselves a fucking blockbuster!"
To her irritation, the object of her mockery just smiled. Almost warmly,
"Ah, Miss Jericho, it lightens my heart so to see that Mister Muller's hospitality hasn't at all dimmed that fire
i have heard so much about." He stated simply, with a downright jolly little chuckle to boot. "But I would advise you to... exercise some tact.
For the time being, at least."
The chair-bound woman just affixed the man with a blank expression. Followed closely by a raise of her brow."I'm sorry, what?"
"Tact." He answered cheerfully and without skipping a beat as he pulled up a chair and sat down across from her "Discretion, thinking things through before you act or speak. That nebulous thing that has managed to evade you all day
Again, Sasha could only meet this strange, cheerful man with another deadpanned expression."...Who the absolute fu-"
"Alright, I suppose I shall have to elaborate." The man cut her off quickly with a single enthusiastic clap and sprung to his feet with energy rare in a man his age, pacing a circle around the bound woman and enunciating with his hands. "We approached you for assistance with a... small matter.
Nothing beyond your particularly prodigal set of talents, if today is any indication and offered no small amount of compensation for your trouble... and, oh... what
you told our representatives again?""To take a flying shit."
If anything, that just seemed to make the man happier, putting a little spring in his step as he came up on her right.
That wonderful, charmingly Bludhaven
response to someone offering you money for very little effort! Brilliant!"
The man continued with a charmed laugh, before crouching down next to her and suddenly donning a decidedly unpleasant
expression as all that honey and joviality in his words abruptly ran dry. "But ill advised."
Even Sasha had to admit, now that she was seeing this man up close, suddenly seeing all of the cold, dead nothing
behind his eyes...
her. In an almost primeval
way she hadn't felt since the war.
"But your lack of judgement doesn't terminate there, no, we approached yo a second
time after that. This time, at work.
And what do you do? Why, you grab our men by the collar and throw them out onto the pavement.
Very disrespectful of you. Also Ill-advised."
The man continued, gently squeezing down on the woman's arm with frigidly cold hands. "So I then took more aggressive
measures to try and make you see some modicum of reason.
To which you responded by gallivanting around the city like some Hollywood action hero hospitalizing fourteen of my men— half of them into intensive care
, no less— until your good friend
Mister Muller here was able to lure you into his patrol-car and hit you with a taser."
If Julian was at all ashamed of his role in all this, he didn't show it. Offering Sasha only a smile and a blown kiss as she turned to fix him with a cold glare. Smiling even harder as his unnamed friend gently cupped her cheek to guide her attention back toward him.
"And now, here you are
tied to a chair and rapidly running out of paths to a happy ending." The man in the black concluded, easing his grip on her arm and caressing her bruised cheek in some bizarre pantomime of a father reassuring his child "So yes, Miss Jericho, I do advise you show some tact."
With that, the man stood, and circled around again until he was behind his captive, making a deliberate point of tracing a finger up her arm as he went, before resting it upon her shoulder as he leaned down to whisper into her ear...
"After all, is all this really worth it?"
There was a long, dragging couple of minutes following the man's tirade as Sasha sat there in silence, her brain churning in instinctual alarm at something she'd just noticed when the 'civilized gentleman' had gotten that close—
An overwhelming stench of raw meat.
For his part, the figure just pursed his lips a little in thought, stood up and began adjusting his bowtie.
"Well, I suppose it matters not."
...Before violently and looping the thing around her neck and wrenching backward with speed and strength unbecoming a man of his apparent age, easily overpowering the thrashing woman.
"After all the headache you have caused today, they were going to have me kill you anyway. I had merely hoped you would convince
me to make it easy for you"
His eyes then flicked back up to his accomplice, shining malevolently as he spoke over the woman's muffled screaming.
"Have Mister Gabriel take young Robert down to that place on Fifth and Keele, see what the Fleshmongers will give you for him."
Upon hearing that,
Sasha's eyes nearly bulged out of the sockets as she thrashed even harder, something her tormentor allowed for not more than a few seconds before just releasing his hold and driving a fist into the back of her skull to knock her out.
"And fetch me my toolbox, I have much work to do."
January 1st, 7:27 PMWHAP!"GAH!"
St. Mary's Community Shelter, Bludhaven, NJ.
And very suddenly, Mal was hunched over clutching the back of his head.
Though that didn't at all stop him from casting a sharp glare over his shoulder at the apparent source of his current cranial woes. "Okay, what the hell was that for?"
His assailant, to her credit, slothfully sprawled across the other end of the couch and shoveling popcorn chicken into her purple-skinned facehole whilst simultaneously slurping some no-name brand cola off the coffee table before them via a series of bendy straws taped together somehow found the dignity to look almost offended by the question... Even in the middle of dutifully getting bits of greasy food all over the bright red trenchcoat she now used as an ad-hoc pillow."Ya've got food, ya've got yer Shweedart on TV and ya got tha incomp'rable pledjer of muh comp'ny... yet ya keep shtaring off in'na shpayshe."
She half-answered, half-gargled around a mouthful of chicken and soda before swallowing the combined fastfood slurry in one forceful gulp. "What's on your mind, Pup?"
Malcolm visibly flinched slightly at that... And only partially
because of the combined assault of the embarrassing nickname he could never seem to outrun and the umpteenth (loud)
reminder that night that he once had a crush on a friggin' Disney Princess—
technically the longest he'd spent around Mogarra in months.
And as much as she liked to conceal it beneath her usual antics, he didn't need
his computer-like brain to figure out that she was probably getting just a liiiitle
bit upset about it.
Never mind what must've been going on in her noggin at the state he always seemed to be in when she did
see him these days.
...Frankly, the boy was beginning to suspect the he might just be an asshole.
Yet still, his hand was on his duffel before he thought about putting it there."Nothin', just remembered I got somethin' to take care of, is all"
Mal lied through his teeth, getting to his feet with a sorry little smile "'Fraid I'mma haf'ta call it a ni-""What? Oh, c'mon Mal, we're just gettin' to the good part!"
The succubus cut him off quickly as she abruptly jolted to a sit with enough force to spatter crumbs and bits of chicken off her old Led Zeppelin t-shirt and across the couch as she latched onto his arm. "I mean, look! She's shaking her ass and everything!""Sorry, Mog, but I—"
The boy's train of thought paused for a moment as he cast a quick glance over at the old box television confirming that, yes, everything the succubus had just said was emphatically true. ''Make that work', indeed...'
Having to physically shake his head to get himself back on track after that,
Mal, to his eternal credit
managed to collect his thoughts enough to throw the sling of his duffel over his shoulder and pick up where he left off."...It really can't wait."
The ancient demon met that with an indignant glare... that slowly, but surely softened into a frown... and then finally something that suspiciously resembled a pout
as she relented and sat back, hugging her knees and wrapping her tail around herself.
Though she didn't say a word.'Yup. Confirmed. I'm an asshole.'"Look, I'll take you out for-""Just fucking go, Malcolm."
The boy's breath caught in his throat at that, but he lowered his head and silently complied.
Mogarra K'Orathys, for her part, just sat there in silence as he went... well, mostly."...Damn right you're taking me to dinner."
And that's about when some squirrely kid on the TV rushed the stage screaming like a lunatic and spouting red energy all over the damned place.
January 1st, 8:15 PM
Smithwick Textiles, Bludhaven, NJ.
"That took you an awfully long time,
Mister Muller." The senior man growled out with just a tinge
of impatience, as he calmly took the shiny, chromed toolbox from the man's hands and placed it down on the table beside him. "Just what,
pray tell, kept you?"
Julian only shrugged at that.
"Kid's got a lotta of his mum in 'er, Mister Macellaio. Kicked Paul right in the pants an' ran for it soon as he went to grab 'im. Thought it best ta catch 'im first." He explained, making... a whole lot of sense for a glorified henchman, in retrospect. "It's a big place, and there ain't exactly a shortage a' places to hide. And if he gets out and flags down a cop who ain't
"Yes, yes, I understand. I didn't mean to speak so tersely to you." Macellaio relented with a little wave of his hand and an apologetic smile, even as he cut him off. "I'm just... very eager
to get to work. That's all."
The younger man just straightened slightly and nodded at that. Not particularly
hung for any further details beyond that; Don't get him wrong, Julian loved the extra income he got through this guy, but he really
didn't want to know what was going on in that creepy little head.
Though luckily, any opportunity the man might've taken to elaborate on what he was thinking came to an abrupt halt as what little lighting they had chose that singular moment to go out. Leaving the two to just stare eachother down in the near pitch-black of the old textile factory.
"Julian, could you check the fusebox? I'd quite like to be able to see
what I'm doing, if you don't mind."
"Sure thing, Boss." said the cop as he spun on his heels, more than happy for the excuse to be moving away
from that guy in a dark hallway.
When the fuck did I get on a first-name basis with the goddamn magic cannibal?"
Muller couldn't help but grumble, his nature forcing the words from his lips but his fear ensuring they never carried further than a whisper as he fumbled his way to the utility room, guided solely by his dollar-store flashlight.
Not that he'd need to, he figured, Mister Macellaio was on the other side of the damned complex entertaining his guest, and as for everyone else on their little escapade, well... he was pretty certain it was kind of a shared sentiment.
Hell, they actually had to draw straws
about who got to be the unlucky fuck who had to talk
to the guy.
...Which had now led to him being on a first-name with a fucking magic cannibal.'Should'a gone into carpentry like Dad wanted.'
He lamented inside, as he rounded the last corner to his destination and pushed the old steel door to the utility room open. 'Well... 'least we're almost done here...''Krnsch!'
Julian paused. That sounded like... glass.
Flicking his light to the floor confirmed that. Specifically, glass from all the old fuses someone had ripped out and smashed into the floor.
His hand went for his radio. But before it even made it halfway there, a hand was on his wrist, another on the back of his head, a boot slamming into the back of his knee and quickly soon afterward, his face was being driven into the glass-covered floor. "So... 'Magic Cannibal', huh?"
Came a low, modulated growl from above him as he struggled to get back to his feet, an effort that only saw him rewarded by the loud, sickening 'SNAP!' of his arm and wrist breaking in rapid succession echoing off the concrete walls and the door which neatly shut behind him under it's own weight. "Do share."