One Hundred Sixty One
Our parade continues, he’s out of town, in the suburbs to a fair sized house in an older neighborhood. Two story, a visual says it’s four bedrooms, three up, one down, living area, small porch in front.
CC and Fin are at opposite ends of the block, I’m down two houses from the Shadow’s. There are two more cars in a garage, doors are open, our guy parked in the driveway.
‘Natasha, launch the drone and check out the back, Zero will snoop with the listening device.’
We’re spread out, conversations happening over phones. I see the drone, Zero has the electronics up, parabolic dish pointed at the house.
Must be the girl talking, ‘Awesome, we got gas, drinks, and a hundred bucks free for the asking.’
Voice 1, a man, ‘Got the car free, not much of a car, but at least it’s ugly and gets crappy gas mileage.’
Voice 2, another male, ‘Next time I’ll get a Mercedes, maybe a BMW.’
Voice 3, female, ‘Too flashy, creeps like us need to stay invisible.’
Kid’s voice, a boy this time, ‘Did you have any fun?’
The Girl, ‘I made two sluts undress and stroll the street, one was hot, the other was a chub, not super fat, just chunky. She had the tits, the other was flat like me.’
‘Wish I’d have gone along.’
‘You were jerking off in the bathroom.’
‘You look at twink porn, like those teen dicks.’
‘They are beautiful, you watched the video with me and said so.’
‘I’m a girl, I’m supposed to like dicks.’
‘You like mine well enough.’
A giggle, ‘You’re my twink brother, when I tease you about boys, you get a hard on. I may as well use it while it’s in heat, maybe I’ll turn you straight.’
Voice 3, ‘You don’t want him straight, you want him pretty, if he didn’t like his nudie boys you won’t be able to tease him about it.’
Girl, ‘I think big brother does it so I’ll have sex with him. Besides, he’s twinky gorgeous, only hair is on his head, I like bare down there.’
We listen for another hour, so far we’ve learned that two men, a woman, and two kids live there, the kids apparently brother and sister. They don’t talk about any big plans, no scheme to rob an armored car, nothing to indicate they have designs beyond exercising their mind snatching skill.
‘Let’s grab a fastie and talk this over, Natasha, bring in the drone, we passed a Blaster Burger on the way in, let’s try it.’
We do the drive through, never heard of the place, burgers are mammoth, fries excellent, even have onion rings.
A vacant parking lot, some big box store didn’t make it, an empty building and an equally empty stretch of asphalt in front. We circle the cars, open doors and eat Blaster Bombs, crunch fries and onion rings.
‘The way I see it, we need another trip tonight, was there anything behind the place Natasha?’
‘Common sliding glass door, patio table and chairs, a folded umbrella. Did not look like it gets much use, no sign of a dog. The yard is not grass, it is crushed rock. Wooden fence to both sides of the house, you saw the gate on the left side. No blinds on the patio door, or they were pulled back, but in the daytime I did not see how to get the drone in position to see inside.’
‘Maybe tonight. So what’s what Commandant?’
‘Depends on tonight. I have no objection to killing teenagers, you’ve confirmed the girl is a Shadow, the boy must be as well. Shadows live alone, or only with their kind. They might abduct a young one for entertainment, I don’t see them keeping the abducted around for any length of time.’
CC, ‘So if what’s been reported is all of it, no grand plan, we leave it alone?’
‘What I’m thinking right now. These people are troublesome, but most of the world is troublesome. I’m not saying what they’ve done is harmless, particularly if these are the ones that got a few kids to try to rob a bank. It was a nothing really, wasn’t like the kids had guns, and like I said, we can’t prove Shadows had anything to do with it. Kids can get pretty stupid on their own.’
Fin, ‘Makes sense, why shoot up the place if all they get up to is juvenile crap?’
Zero, ‘If we have zip after tonight I think we drop it, we don’t care about voluntary incest.’
There’s no point in cruising around and we can’t hang on Shadow street. Only thing left is go to the hotel and chill until dark.
In the suite, girls deconstruct working wear, everyone has some form of disguise, mostly simple things, hats and glasses. But they want out of working clothes, baggy jeans, steel toe sneakers, sweat shirts or oversize pullovers. I plop on the bed in my room, lay back and stare at the ceiling. Not in the mood to read, sure as hell don’t want to watch the news. I hear the TV, but it sounds like a movie, the hotel has several premium channels.
Zero comes in, shuts the door behind her, ‘We might not have time to play tonight, let’s move up the schedule and you can make my head spin right now.’
‘You and CC, always ready.’
‘When do you turn down sex?’
She grins, ‘Well, you know, what’s a girl to do? All those splendid orchids waiting to be watered.’
This afternoon’s fun goes slow and sensual. I lick both her favorite spots, she has two gratifying orgasms, she climbs on top and self serves, in the sense that all I need do is lay there, then she slides off, licks me and her silky lotion, rolls to her back.
Zero, ‘I’m a hungry girl, fill me up.’
Like a good soldier, I follow orders.
Alice comes in, hops on the bed and straddles Zero, leans over and examines her face, ‘I know what this is,’ licks it off, ‘yummy.’
She slides down Zero’s chest, kneels between her spread legs and begins to tongue the luscious. I get up to shower, Zero and Alice don’t notice me leaving, they have hormones at play.
When I get out of the shower, the two are still in bed, Zero has a dreamy dazed look I’m familiar with, Alice appears to be temporarily stunned.
Alice, ‘Better than, daydreaming, things felt sooo good, Zero’s tongue should be in the Guinness Book of Climax. I wonder how many orgasms she’s given girls over the years.’
Zero blinks, squeezes her legs together and shudders, ‘Aftershock from the Big Quake. I suppose we should get a move on, Alice.’
They roll out and into the bathroom. I go out in search of coffee.
Zoe has it brewing, ‘You read my mind Z,’
‘Figured you’d need the stimulation after so much stimulation.’
‘You find someone to do? Not my business, never mind.’
‘Fin got CC, I got the twins, everyone figured we wouldn’t get fun time tonight, so we pushed it up the calendar.’
‘What about the kids?’
‘They went undercover on the sofa, remembered to use a blanket, they’re in one of the bathrooms.’
‘Those two are lock stepped.’
‘They genuinely like each other, and of course Alice is big sis, they think she’s magical.’
‘I’m pretty sure Zero feels the same.’
Zoe laughs, ‘Alice jump your play pal?’
‘And vice-versa, heard a rumor you’re on the Alice list. Again, none of mine.’
‘Secrets are impossible around here, which is better, nobody requires explanations, girls do what they want. Alice is a sensualist, it isn’t hurting anyone, just the opposite. Like Zero says, old enough to ask, old enough to answer. If Alice invites me to the RV, I go to the RV, or she can climb in my bed whenever she wants.’
One Hundred Sixty Two
We’re parked up and down the block, Natasha has the drone airborne, Zero has the dish pointed at the house. A car comes along, turns in the Shadow driveway. A woman gets out.
Zero, ‘Jaysus, another Shadow, I can just make out the black aura.’
‘Two men, now two women and the kids. Most unusual, beginning to suspect there’s more here than humiliating people or getting kids in trouble.’
Voice 1, ‘Come in Matilda, we’re just having a cocktail.’
Matilda, ‘Where the fuck is mine?’
‘In the fucking kitchen.’
They laugh. When Shadows aren’t giving citizens grief, they give it to each other.
Matilda, ‘Where’s the two mice? Fucking again?’
Voice 3, a woman, ‘Taking a bath.’
‘Incest, it’s a family affair. You fuck them too, mommy?’
‘Piss off, children are your thing.’
Matilda laughs, ‘Your children are beautiful, if the boy wants to fuck me, I’m good, or maybe the girl could lick me delirious.’
‘Be your lucky day, but they do each other, exclusively.’
‘Bullshit, the girl goes down on everyone, take their mind, do whatever she wants.’
‘She’s selective, got to be young and pretty, boy or girl doesn’t matter to her, she an equal opportunity slut. At least for children and teens. Past fourteen, she loses interest. You’re three times past fourteen.’
‘Doesn’t matter, I get lots of cooperation from the preteen crowd. Nobody notices a woman hanging around the playground or schoolyard. The little smoothies get right in my car, I do my thing, drop them off. They don’t remember jack.’
Voice 2, ‘Now that we’ve established our perverse insanity, can we talk about the project?’
Natasha calls, ‘Drone picked up the people, partials anyway. Aside from the patio door being simple to enter, it does not tell us much.’
‘Bring it in. We have a thickening plot, hang tight.’
Matilda, ‘While you dorks were toying with children, I’ve located a place for us to live away from town and neighbors. A farmhouse, barn and all.’
Voice 2, ‘What are we supposed to do, raise chickens?’
‘No, you’d just want to fuck them. Stupid question, you all know what we need, this place will supply it.’
Voice 3, ‘Good, and I mean it. I can’t take much more human contact, if we don’t go off grid, I may have to start killing people, or have them kill themselves.’
‘You’ve done it before.’
‘He deserved it, too ugly to live, and it was amazing, drove his car right over the cliff. I was hoping for an explosion, but it didn’t happen. Car was nothing but smashed plastic, metal, and the driver.’
‘Right. We agreed to work together to get more powerful, both individually and as a united force. Quiet countryside is just the place. Pick up a subject, bring them to the farm, there’s a basement, no exterior windows, solid concrete. Nobody can hear them scream.’
Voice 2, ‘How many do we collect? Originally we said two or three.’
‘Yes, no more for now. We have to experiment, can one of us control more than one adult, kids are easy. How does it work with two, three, or all of us.’
‘And training the kids.’
‘Of course. It may take months or years, they will become devastating eventually, the girl is already more accomplished than her brother even though she’s younger.’
Zero calls CC, ‘Get trackers on the cars, the one from yesterday has plenty of battery time, the other three.’
Alice, ‘I’ll do it.’
‘CC, Alice is going, hold on, they probably won’t go anywhere tonight, but they will be relocating soon.’
Alice takes the three trackers, does a stealthy sneak and places them, scoots back to the SUV.
‘I think we have enough, you want to listen for more, or we follow them in the morning?’
Zero, ‘Give it an hour, better yet, let me talk to the others,’ she calls CC and Fin on speaker, ‘they are moving to a farmhouse someplace, don’t think they plan on going tonight. Fin, how about you and Nikita hang for another hour, I’ll bring the listening device to you, the rest of us will fetch supper and take it to the hotel. Oh, and gas up, we don’t know how long the drive will be.’
We pass a quiet evening, collected Chinese, our other go to travel food. When Fin and Nikita arrive, Zoe has it warming, we start with hot and sour, won ton too, the kids like the dumplings. Then our reliable Szechuan chicken, and our other reliable, shrimp with garlic sauce.
CC, ‘Shrimp are the size of lobsters, wonder where they get them?’
‘Place was crazy busy, always a good sign.’
Zero, ‘Keep phones charged, we need to hear the alert if any of the cars move.’
Most of the girls watch a movie after supper, a Denzel action movie with Chloe Moretz’
Fin, ‘Wasn’t it Chloe Moretz who played the girl in Kick Ass?’
‘Yeah, it launched her career.’
‘She’s pretty in an offhand way.’
‘Part of her appeal, she doesn’t look like the B actor girls who all look alike, ordinary pretty, the ones in teen scream or vampire movies. Denzel is famous for being Denzel.’
‘What’s that mean?’
‘He’s like Morgan Freeman, in all their movies they talk, walk, and act the same, you could add Nicholas Cage and Sean Connery. The audience doesn’t care, I think if they actually acted, inhabited a different character and style, people wouldn’t like it.’
‘I read a quote from Mick Jagger, he once did a movie, Freejack, reviews lukewarm. He told another performer, don’t recall who, they only want you to be one thing. He was a rock icon, the fans only wanted the rock icon.’
Zero, ‘We’ve touched on this before, people crave certainty and familiarity, they say they want new experiences, but only if those experiences are similar to their past experiences. It’s why chain restaurants are popular. People know what to expect and they know it never changes. We’re not much different, when we travel we eat a lot of similar stuff. At home Zoe cooks the dishes we prefer, but at least there it’s a wide variety.’
‘I’ve had a lot of different experiences, army, different countries. The travel thrill is mostly in the anticipation, the actual experience is mundane. Airline, luggage, hotel, crowds, all forgettable.’
Zoe, ‘Our lives are hardly mundane.’
CC, ‘Not too many people kill people, and those blessed with the experience of having sex with me would never call it mundane.’
One Hundred Sixty Three
Families that kill together, stay together….to kill again.
The Psychopath Code
This morning we’re on the road, following two Shadow cars, a Lincoln Marshmallow, one of the big butt cars with a slushy ride old people find comforting, and a Toyota Threesome, fairly obvious what that’s about.
We took two cars, the Magnificence and an Indecision, now trailing the Shadows from a distance, with trackers we don’t need to see the cars.
Zero taps her phone, ‘I have a map but it’s too soon to even guess where they’re headed. Have a better idea when they get off the interstate.’
Two hours, time to top off gas tanks and get coffee.
‘Take the next exit, then left, there’s a place called Jitters, and a gas station next door,’ she calls CC to let her know to exit.
‘I’ll pump gas for both, get what you want from the coffee shop, I’ll take my regular.’
Zoe, ‘Going to walk Morshchiny, a green tea please.’
The rest cross the lot to Jitters, I finish up both cars, Zoe’s back as the others return with drinks and a couple bags of something.
‘They have pastries and doughnuts, we got both, check the lids on the drinks, don’t need a lapful of coffee or tea.’
We return to the parade, Shadows only five miles ahead, they’ll take a break soon.
Twenty miles later we’re within two, Zero, ‘Taking the next exit.’
‘CC have the tracker on her phone?’
‘We have one, she has the other,’ her phone dings, ‘yeah we saw that. Have to get off with them, they might not return to the interstate.’
Which is what they do, stop for gas they won’t pay for, come out of the store with sodas and snacks they didn’t pay for, mount up and take the highway, not the interstate.
Zero, ‘Taking a left, two lane west.’
The farm is on this stretch, they go two miles and turn right onto a long gravel drive, we pass and go another mile, stop and talk.
‘What do you think, anyone?’
Fin, ‘Place is isolated, also hard to get to, there’s no cover, two trees either side of the house and low shrubs along the front.’
Alice, ‘We taking the brother and sister with the others?’
‘Nothing else to do, they’re going to be there, we can’t take in Shadows and we can’t leave them on their own. Remember, the point of being here is to enhance their skills. They’ll only get better, which is worse, and if the plan is to bring two or three test subjects to practice on…’
Natasha, ‘They will kill them when they are done, maybe even in the process.’
‘Even if they don’t, whatever the abducted were when they’re brought here, they won’t be the same when they leave, if they leave. Lot of nothing out here, bury a body and it’s gone forever.’
CC, ‘Everybody dies, including the twink and his girlfriend sister.’
Zero, ‘Misha, Micha, any thoughts?’
Misha, ‘Like our sisters, we know abuse, I got the ice pick, Micha got the cigarette, kill them all, give me a gun, I’ll do it.’
‘Maybe not this outing, soon though, okay then, how and when?’
‘Tonight, assuming they don’t go back, think the electronics can pick them up?’
Zero, ‘Need to scope out the area around the house, can’t from the road, too visible.’
‘Let’s hold where we are, picking up more conversation won’t change anything, I only wanted to see if they planned to stay or go. Let’s get the cars off the road, the farmland is wide open but the surrounds are forest.’
I find a spot for the Magnificence, just able to back in between two pines, the smaller sedan is easy, park it ten yards farther along. Open the rear hatch and the doors of the SUV , Morshchiny gets to be outside to sniff around the area. No leash, she’s not going out of sight of us, Zoe empties a bottle of water into a plastic bowl, fills a second with her food.
Zoe, ‘She’s been so good on a long drive,’ scratches behind the mastiff’s ears, ‘good job Morshchiny,’ hearing her name the dog’s ears pick up but she’s got her snout in the food and keeps crunching.
Alice, ‘Commandant, do you or Zero have any idea of the number of Shadows out there?’
Zero, ‘When we’re out anywhere, I check auras, as do the twins and Zoe. We almost never come across them. Given the number of cities we’ve traveled to, the country isn’t overrun by Shadows. I’d say a lot less than the general psychopath population, which is estimated at one percent, in America that’s three million psychopaths. If one percent of psychopaths are Shadows, that’s still thirty thousand and that seems too high. Thirty thousand Shadows would create more havoc, like the weird behavior that got Natasha’s attention and led us here.’
‘I wonder what would happen if everybody knew about Shadows.’
I answer, ‘Nothing good. Think of how easily most Americans are frightened, in the fifties Communists were going to take over America, kids cringing under desks in case of nuclear war, as if a desk had any protective magic over an atomic blast and subsequent radiation. America chased Communists in North Korea, then Vietnam, spent billions, got Americans killed and accomplished nothing. The ultimate reaction to fear, terrorism in the name of democracy. Then the 9/11 bit, politicians managed to get more Americans killed in Iraq and Afghanistan than the number killed at the World Trade Center. How smart is that, not to mention two trillion dollars of debt to finance the wars. Twenty years later and there is no victory, the Middle East is the same mess it’s always been. That’s more answer than you wanted maybe.’
Alice, ‘No, I see it. American fear got the terrorists what they wanted.’
‘Yep, fear makes people stupid, angry too, anger leads to crappy judgment, the stupid part. A recent New York Times report interviewed high ranking military and advisors, they told the Times nobody knew what they were doing in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not just why they were there are all, but how they conducted the war.’
It’s interesting, even entertaining, to noodle about politics, fear and war, but to us it’s just free range philosophy, we don’t care about politics or war, or fear, an emotion we don’t experience.
One Hundred Sixty Four
Twilight, from near the edge of the forest we see lights come on in the house. Two people, a man and the boy, walk to the barn, go in, back out in a minute, must be empty. They return to the house.
Nikita, ‘Sisters will approach, snoop, get layout.’
‘One sister, the other stays here, you can communicate mind to mind. Take Alice, she’s sneaky. Guns ready?’
‘Da, right, come on Alice.’
‘CC, set up the Precision, if there’s a problem, shoot somebody.’
CC unpacks the rifle, it’s more than we need, the house isn’t much over a hundred yards, still, covering our two spies is paramount.
CC, ‘Like I’m over their shoulder.’
Zero has the binoculars, ‘They made it to this side of the house, Alice to the back, then to the far side, Natasha is at the front window this side of the place. Shades are only partially drawn, no curtain.’
CC, ‘I can see two on a couch.’
Nikita, ‘Sister sees two men, two women, younger ones are elsewhere.’
‘Lights on in one of the upstairs rooms.’
‘I am telling her.’
A minute goes by, Nikita, ‘Sister says for two more to approach, Shadows are relax.’
‘Zero, go with Fin, wait…Nikita, tell Natasha CC will shoot one from here. There will be confusion, that’s when you bust in the house. Use the back door, two went to the barn earlier, maybe they didn’t lock it when they returned. Don’t go front and rear, you would be in each others’ line of fire.’
Nikita, ‘Sister heard you, I should go as well, someone haf to go upstairs to brother and sister.’
She doesn’t say it, but if I’m guessing correctly, she has doubts about the others being able to shoot two teens, one of which may not have hit teen yet. With Shadows hesitation is a fatal mistake.
‘Okay, get going, Nikita, tell Natasha to find Alice and get to the back door.’
‘Da, she ees already going.’
When they converge in the rear, I see Zero wave, CC’s eyes haven’t left the scope, I tell her to take the shot.
The Ruger isn’t suppressed, not important out here, and the Shadows inside see the result before the sound of the shot registers.
I can’t see much, the Glocks are suppressed, can’t hear the gunfire. I do see one body fall backward, a man.
CC, ‘Nothing, they must be done.’
‘Nikita was going upstairs to find the teens.’
Just then an upstairs window opens, a girl sticks her head out surveying the options, which are none, either drop out of the window or face Nikita. She climbs out, hangs on to the sill, then lets herself fall. It isn’t that far, she hits, stumbles, pops up and starts to run.
CC, ‘I got this,’ one shot.
The Ruger’s ammo isn’t load adjusted like our Glocks. The bullet exits dragging brains and bone with it. She’d made it past the front porch, the splatter winds up in the dirt.
The girls return, no injuries, the shock of one Shadow having his head blown away froze the others long enough for the girls to come blasting, no time to mount a mind fuck. I don’t know if any were telekinetic, they had no time to launch any projectiles even if they were.
Nikita, ‘Boy came from bathroom, I kill him, girl heard the commotion, stuck her head out the bedroom door, then closed and locked it. I kick it in, but she ees already out of window.’
‘She didn’t try and grab your mind then.’
‘Nyet, she sees gun, all she wants to do ees get away. Where ees now?’
‘CC took her on the run, most of her is in the front yard, the rest of her is soaking into the dirt.’
‘Da, okay, we will go home now.’
Fin, ‘I’m for that.’
‘Collect the cartridges?’
Zero, ‘Every one, well, Nikita was upstairs.’
Nikita holds out her hand, the empty shell in her palm.
‘Good job girls. You got the drop as they say in the movies.’
Zero, ‘Alice provided a few extra seconds. Before we opened the door, she had a bottle of Scotch sailing across the room, it splattered one woman’s head, then Fin and Natasha opened up and everyone was dead. I never pulled the trigger.’
‘Mount up, I don’t see why we can’t stay at the hotel, this place is a hundred sixty miles from town. We need the trackers from their cars.’
Alice digs in her pocket, ‘I took then when I was on the other side, they parked alongside the porch, figured we didn’t need to track the dead.’
Girls stay on top of things, keep their heads together, the advantage of not being handicapped by fear or sympathy, stay clear and focused.
The return drive is easy, no Shadows to follow, CC takes her group to the hotel, we pass by the Shadow’s place and pluck the trackers off the cars, we get to the hotel twenty minutes later.
Misha, ‘That was amazing, CC was amazing, Alice too, bottle across the room like magic.’
Micha, ‘I need a hot shower, come with me Misha, we can swap shampoos.’
Zoe, ‘Shower is a good idea, what time is it?’
‘Six, creeping up on cocktails, any dinner preferences?’
Pizza is the simple decision, Zero finds a place a couple miles from the hotel, we fetch and return, Zoe has the oven warm, slide in the pizzas, go to the shower.
Zero climbs in with me, hair first, then we lather each other up, I shave in the shower, white blonde Zero never has to shave anything.
While we dry, Zero says, ‘The kids adapted faster than I would have guessed.’
‘They stayed out of the way, but they watched and listened. Won’t be long before they want their opportunity.’
‘When we get home I’ll find an RSO that falls within our parameters, a nasty one they can swipe left.’
‘You think they’re ready? Talking about killing and killing aren’t the same thing.’
‘I think we’ll find out.’
She sees me studying her.
‘You have something on your mind.’
Not a question, and she damn well knows what’s on my mind. She leans against the vanity, spreads her legs, I kneel and you know the rest.
Zero, ‘That was delicious.’
‘Yes you are.’
She laughs, ‘Thank you. Tonight I have my eye on Fin, I’m sure one of the others will come around looking to play with the fun stick.’
‘If they do, great, if not, I’m not complaining, the girls may want to be with girls this evening, it’s not like I suffer from lack of attention.’
‘No, none of us do, a perfect world.’
Finally, a large vodka, cracked ice and a teaspoon of cranberry. The others are having red, Misha and Micha a jigger of red and seltzer.
‘Zoe, you take Morshchiny out?’
‘All done, she’s fed and watered, ready to do nothing, she endured a lot of riding today, at least she didn’t have to snap any forearms.’
She pulls a couple of pizzas out, the third will stay in the oven, they’ll nibble on it while we watch a movie.
Fin, ‘Tonight it’s The Long Kiss Goodnight, Samuel Jackson and Geena Davis.’
We settle in, eat, imbibe, watch what should have been a great movie turn into a mediocre one. I’m a decent observer of women, how Davis gets registered as beautiful is a stretch. Like Rene Russo, another semi-beautiful actor, something about both faces throws me off. Maybe they have splendid bodies, or hot legs, can’t tell, they avoid showing them off. In my experience, girls with great legs don’t keep them hidden. The movie ends on a sappy note, like the producers wanted to attract soccer moms.
We break up to bedrooms, girls must have partnered with girls, I fall asleep reading a lame Reacher novel, not Lee Child’s best work. Maybe I’m getting hyper-critical in my not old age.