I got my butt handed to me. By the time I picked myself up, the three of them were gone and the man who had come looking for me had been shot three or four times. Somebody was administering first aid.
Somebody else came over to me. “Nice try…but…”
“They had me outnumbered.” And, for once, outgunned. I hadn’t been beaten in a fight in my memory – I was sure there were fights I couldn’t remember. My right eye was swollen, I was bruised all over, and I wasn’t entirely sure s/he hadn’t broken a couple of my ribs.
None of which I was worried about. I’d heal.
“Man. You have a pair of shiners. I wonder why she didn’t kill you.”
“I wasn’t the target?” That was all I could say, really. I couldn’t voice the truth.
“Go home and…tell me you have a hot tub?”
“I have a hot bath. It will have to do.”
Somebody offered me an ice pack. I applied it to the part of me that hurt the most, my right shoulder.
“Or I can take you to the hospital.”
I shook my head. “I don’t think anything’s broken.” A hospital might notice something odd. I’d been healing faster and faster lately.
“Your funeral.” I struggled to my feet. The dress was ruined, and they’d probably take it out of my pay. Or not. What they’d seen had been me trying to stop anyone from getting hurt.
Whatever the thing was, it hadn’t wanted to kill me. It had been male. It had not, I thought, been the normal kind of demon. Ghost? It had been after specific people…and now I knew that if I let it alone it would probably take out those people and then head back to wherever it came from.
What did it say about me that I didn’t want to do that? I didn’t want anyone else hurt.
What if they deserved it, though? I had to find that thing. I had to find it and talk to it, but they were right. I needed some hot tub time first. Some recovery time. And then I needed neutral ground.
I dismissed the church instantly, but I could think of a few other places that might be good. The question was how I got his attention.
I needed to ask somebody smarter than me, I thought. And I needed backup.