A Messy Encounter

She kneeled down and placed her hand next to a spot of blood.

The marble floor was smoother than it looked. Probably from the wear of many years and constant traffic. The spot and spray of the blood was almost indistinguishable from the dark colored swirls and patterns.

It’s here.

James knew it was hiding amongst the pews deeper into the church, but she continued to crouch there looking at the spot. One of the few things she enjoyed about her work. Staying in a spot, extending out the tension, making it sweat.

Marble was never know for its warmth, but tonight the floor was icy cold. James pulled her hand off the floor but left it posed there. No need to make herself uncomfortable during this.

Looking up, James scanned the church. Pretty typical sort from the looks of it. She hated this gothic crap, and found it quite irritating that everything seems to hide out amongst its shadows. Old stone masonry. Ungodly heavy, expensive, and difficult to do. She felt for the people forced to do such work. Like the creatures she hunted, slaves to their masters.

A faint scratch deep in the church caught her ear.

Turning her head towards the sound she rose. James was an odd sort. Her usual attire comprised of a dark english trench coat, an old beat up fedora, and the usual suit minus the tie. In fact many remarked at how out of place she appeared. Often joking that she looked like one of those old 1920s detectives.

They also said she was quite beautiful when she dressed up. Though it often escaped her as to why she would do so just to please others when she rarely felt beautiful herself.

No, this was her element, her Romeo.

“I know you’re in there Francis,” she said. Her voice carried and amplified as it filled the empty building. “Save us both the trouble and just come on out.”

A hiss emanated from the darkness. “Why would I do such a thing, ‘detective’? You killed my brother after all.”

“It left me little choice. All I require is some information. Where is your Fuhrer?”

“So you can find him and try to kill him? I think not woman. Though the thought of how he would put you in your place is most… enticing.”

“Spare me your boyish dribble Francis. I will get what I came for one way or another. I prefer not to fight. I’ll even promise to let you live.”

A snort echoed through the chamber, followed by a raspy chuckle. “You caught my brother unaware wench. You will not be so lucky with me. When I’m through with you I think I will have my fun with your corpse before devouring it.”

A shape emerged from the darkness, covering the gap between them in less then a second. It resembled a man, hideously deformed and covered in purple welts. It’s arms were abnormally long with nails like knives. Just as quickly it plunged one of those arms into James… or rather, through her.

Francis’ strike, failing to hit something solid, threw it off balance and it careened into a nearby pillar.

Quickly pulling itself from the pillar it turned and took a more careful look at its advisory. Yes, it could see it now. She was world shifting. Her outline was slightly hazy and fluid. There was indeed more to this woman then it suspected.

“Humph! Clever little trick you have there,” said Francis.

“The better to trick you up with,” said James with the faintest hint of a smile. “Will you now tell me what I want to know or do we need to proceed with this debacle?”

“You can’t shift forever cunt. Plus, if I hurt you in the spirit world, it’s permanent!” Francis lunged again at James, its form growing hazy and fluid as it shifted into the spirit world.

This time James moved. In the blink of an eye she had twisted around and came up behind Francis. In a single blur she slammed her elbow down between its shoulder blades and hopped back.

The blow caught Francis off guard, but did little to temper its bloodlust. It twisted around, torqued open its mouth, and out flew a jet of green liquid. Once again James deftly moved out of the way as the vile liquid streamed past her. The liquid collided with the pillar and in a blinding flash the pillar exploded. Bits of marble screamed everywhere with large chunks hitting James in the back and knocking her to the ground.

Francis got up and dusted itself off. James had not moved from where she landed.

“As I said wench, it’s time to have a little fun,” said Francis as it approached James. With one foot it spun James around only to encounter her brimming face, and a small gun pointed at it.

“Indeed,” said James as she pulled the trigger.

Bits of Francis splattered outwards all over the church. Its stench only magnifying with its guts on display.

James pulled herself up. She spent a moment rubbing and rotating her arms. That marble left an impression. One she feared would be remembered for at least a week.

Now all she needed to do was find something to point her in the right direction. If Francis’ brother was any indication, there would be a note of some sort laying around.

Taking a deep breath she reformed fully into the real world. As her vision focused all traces of the unpleasant scene were gone. They had left a bit of a mess in the spirit world, but here in the real world, sat only a quiet, dark, and ancient church.

Right were she thought it would be, behind the 5th pew, sat a small wooden box.

After carefully prying the box open, she remove a wad of papers. Just what she needed. Receipts, shipping invoices, and phone lists. A small smile spread across her face.

James stood up, looked around and frowned. “I hate gothic.”

Lance Terry Hildebrand