Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Glide Like Ghosts - May 2001

Another shorty, but am actually putting this one up on FP. It's the rave incidented referenced in TCC.

May 2001

Duke knew, without a doubt, that he was going to commit murder before the night was over. The only thing yet to be determined was whether or not he killed his soon-to-be-ex best friend or one of the hundred drunkards packed in the abandoned warehouse. He still couldn’t believe he’d let himself get talked into swinging by a rave while he and Sebastian were on rotation. The music, a complex blend of trip-hop and 80s rock, made his head ache, he couldn’t escape the smell of pot, and someone had spilled cheap beer all over his boots.

“Dude!” Someone called out just as a hairy, tanned hand landed on Sebastian’s shoulder and yanked him backwards. Duke balled his hands into loose fists, ready to back his partner up if a fight broke out.

“Stan, man!” Sebastian’s easy grin eased the tension in Duke’s shoulders. Sebastian slapped the back of a tall man with a boy-ish face and floppy black hair. Stan was one of the guys who’d mentioned the rave, and the supposedly hot new band, to him.

Duke didn’t recognize the other man, but that didn’t mean much. Though they’d attended the same college and been friends for nearly their entire lives, Sebastian was older and they’d run in different circles. Besides, Duke tended to stick with other Trackers; that way he had fewer secrets to keep.

“Bas, dude.” Stan chuckled, dimples appearing on his cheeks when he smiled widely. It was obvious by the size of his pupils and the odor wafting off him that he was utterly wasted. “When’d your sister get hot?”

Duke froze. Tension stiffened his muscles and straightened his spine. He scanned the gyrating crowd in search of an auburn-haired delinquent. There was no doubt in his mind that Viola was the sister in question. Raves weren’t Olivia’s scene.

“I can see now why you never invite us to your place. If she was my sister, I’d keep her locked away, too. I’m telling you, she is…”

“Jailbait,” Duke interrupted icily. Sebastian’s tight grip on his arm was the only thing that kept him from pounding that eager smile off Stan’s pretty boy face. At least he had his answer on the question of whom he was going to kill. As soon as he got his hands on Viola Ashwood, he was going to wring her neck.

“Where is she, Stan?” Sebastian couldn’t understand how Viola had gotten out of the house. He’d locked her in her bedroom, bolted the windows shut, and taken her car keys and cell phone. He’d also given her a mild sedative before dinner and waited until she was asleep to leave.

“Up there.” Stan pointed towards the second level of the warehouse. “You can’t miss her. She’s got about a dozen glow sticks including a fat purple one tucked between -.”

Duke’s hand shot forward and wrapped around Stan’s neck. He hauled him closer and growled. “You ever look anywhere but that girl’s eyes again, and I’ll castrate you with rusty barbed wire, you get that?”

Sebastian pulled Duke off Stan and towards the staircase. They pushed their way through the crowd before splitting up to search for her. Given the mood Duke was in, Sebastian hoped he reached her first. He was pissed as hell at her for sneaking out when she was grounded, but he wouldn’t make a scene the way Duke would.

Five minutes later, a sulky Viola appeared in front of Sebastian. One of her wrists was handcuffed to Duke’s. “Let’s get the hell out of here.” Duke spun on his heel without waiting for a response and led the way to his truck. Viola had to jog to keep up with his quick pace and long stride.

“I grounded you, Viola.” Sebastian shook his head in disappointment. He hated how difficult disciplining her had gotten and how little control he had over his younger sister.

“For a totally bogus reason.”

“You gave one of the boys on the track team a black eye!”

She dug in her heels to try and stop Duke, but he kept dragging her along. The metal edge of the handcuff was starting to leave marks in her skin. She had to settle for glaring at Sebastian over her shoulder. “So it’s okay for him to be a pig and make downright filthy comments about my gym shorts, but I can’t defend my honor?”

Duke muttered something under his breath that neither Sebastian nor Viola understood. Finally at his truck, he unlocked the door and grabbed his water bottle from the front seat. He dug two aspirin from the first aid kit in his toolbox and quickly downed them with the water.

“What did you say, Toby?” Furious and embarrassed at having been caught so easily, Viola gave in to the anger. Why had either of them been at the rave in the first place? The Manic Mutts weren’t exactly their type of band.

“I said that you didn’t seem to mind everyone and their sleazy brother ogling you tonight.”

“The difference is that I chose to wear this. I didn’t pick out the obscenely short gym shorts they make us wear.”

“You’re dressed like a hooker, Vi.”

Viola’s face reddened. She sucked in an outraged breath and sneered. “I guess you’d know all about that, wouldn’t you?”

Still attached to her wrist, Duke walked back to the cab of the truck to retrieve a t-shirt from behind the seat. Eyes locked on her face, he thrust it into her arms. “Put that on.”

Viola jangled their linked wrists. “Undo these first, moron.”

Duke’s nostrils flared. He tamped down a surge of fury. She was, by far, the most maddening creature on the planet. “Watch your step, princess.”

She arched an eyebrow, rested her free hand on her cocked hip. “What’re you going to? Hit me in front of Bas?”

Sebastian cleared his throat pointedly and, once he had their attention, deliberately turned his back on them. He loved his sister dearly, but he wasn’t going to give her a free pass to walk all over Duke. He heard Viola swallow and Duke chuckle darkly. When he turned back around, Viola was glaring at Duke and rubbing the back of her head.

The loud chirp of his cell phone kept Duke from starting his lecture on bitchy behavior and unsafe situations. He tossed Sebastian the key to the handcuffs while he answered the phone. He winced at the location of the demon spotted. It was only a few miles from where they were so there wouldn’t be an opportunity to drop Viola off at home. She couldn’t be trusted to stay out of the way, and handcuffing her inside the truck was not a good idea. If the demon got away from them, she’d be a sitting target.

“What’ve we got?” Viola rubbed her red wrist and bounced on her toes excitedly. Going out to hunt a demon with them totally made up for having to leave the rave early. She was glad she’d remembered to stash her favorite knife in the waistband of her pants.

Sebastian rolled his eyes. Duke rounded on Viola and grasped her chin tightly. “Your brother and I have a Bendad. You have nothing. You’re going to be quiet and stay out of the damn way.”

Viola ripped free of Duke’s hand, crossed her arms over her chest. A broad, anticipatory smile lit up her face. “Yeah, like that’s going to happen.”

Duke growled and ran a hand through his hair. It was official: he was definitely going to kill someone before the night was through.

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