It was much easier to get to school from Mike’s place. And he only, I thought, had to put up with us until we went to college or something. Or, worst case, until we turned 18 and then we could get our own place.
But having an extra gun around kept me relaxed. I trusted him to be able to defend himself and us. He’d talked about how cops avoided lethal force, too. Techniques I hoped to learn.
I didn’t always want to fight the enemy. Heck, sometimes I didn’t want to fight them at all. Maybe he had a lot to teach me.
No, I knew he had a lot to teach me. My practical memories were those of a warrior, somebody trained to fight and kill. A hunter had to do that, but a hunter also had to work with others – I thought I’d done pretty well on that – and come up with solutions that weren’t always killing things or sending them back to hell.
School was quiet and subdued. I found out the girl’s name, Molly, and that they’d had to amputate her hand. Flesh eating bacteria. We were all to watch ourselves for symptoms and they’d closed the cafeteria until everything was cleaned up. Which meant the free lunch kids were screwed.
I’d been prepared for that and brought a sandwich, which I ate in the gym. It was too cold to eat outside, so they were letting us do that. The janitors would have to sweep the place afterwards, of course.
Prepared for that, but I didn’t feel as prepared as I liked, not at all. I still did not know who had done it and with everyone gathered in the gym, if somebody had been aiming for a body count.
But nothing happened until the end of the day. Then, I was heading out on my own. Kanesha was staying late to talk to one of her teachers, which meant I had no back up. That was, of course, when things happened.
No back up and no weapons. It was the same stuff, but this time it had formed itself into a creature. I did the only sensible thing I could – I ran. I chose a course that, I hoped, wouldn’t be crowded. Anything it touched…when it ran across the grass, the grass died. I thought it couldn’t kill me, but I wasn’t sure.
I also thought it didn’t know who I was. Realizing it couldn’t catch me, it turned into the shape of a man. “You need to stay out of the things you…”
I glared at it, turning. “Do you have any clue what you or your boss are dealing with?”
It only repeated the words. Not intelligent, I realized. Programmed responses, like a robot. “Who sent you?”
It gave a name that I suspected was a demon’s use-name, unpronounceable by most.
“Demon. Got it. You after the fairy?”
No response. Maybe if I gave it too much to…and then Thruor was riding past and tossing a lighter at it. It burst into flames.
“Thanks. I should take to carrying one, except they’re banned at school.”
“Like everything else useful. Hop on.”
“How did you know I was there?”
“Sheer luck. I picked up on that thing and was heading to deal with it. It’s some kind of demonic servant. Not, as you noticed, very smart.”
“That’s a good thing. I want to go home.”
It wasn’t after me, I knew. It hadn’t even known I was there.