Discord

BY : TransylvanianConcubine
Category: Anita Blake > General
Dragon prints: 1419
Disclaimer: I do not own the Anita Blake series, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

I was immediately fixed in on her face, her dark eyes held mine but that wasn't what called me. When another woman looks at you, in the eyes like she did, that's called an act of aggression. That's the one thing you never do to a wild animal; never look it in the eyes. Not when it has the upper hand like I knew that I did.

She was armed to the teeth, not only with knives and firearms, but with a power far more potent then any I would imagine could waft off of a person. The thing that fascinated me about this girl–no, this woman, was that she was completely and totally unaware of it. That worked for my side, yay.

The evil she held at bay was astounding, almost as awesome as the hungry power that emanated from her pale skin. I fixed a smile on my face, something sloppy and disarming but I knew, just as she was aware, that I was not in the least bit harmless as I tried to look.

If I had fangs or hair in all the wrong places, she probably would have taken out her gun and pulled the trigger, but I think that I may of struck the heart of her curiosity and her tiny hand stilled on the holster of her weapon. "Hello, I'm Helen Grimal." I purred, holding out my right hand so that she would have to make the choice of letting her weapon go or refusing to shake my hand and thereby insulting me.

She didn't shake my hand, but did lower her weapon which made me smile in approval. I lowered my hand as she offered wearily, "Anita Blake. You called me?"

The show of power made sense then, I knew immediately who this woman was. Hey, I am telekinetic, not telepathic. "Anita Blake, the Executioner and accomplished Animator." I said almost too happily for my own good. The twitch at her eye made me realize that I was getting on her nerves but I was getting on my nerves too. She put me on edge and I didn't really like that. Not many people could make me nervous like she did.

"Scared?" She asked lightly, the smile that spread on her lips didn't reach her eyes.

"Not really." I shrugged, a stupid smile plastered on my face, "Just...aware." My smile turned toothy as the shadows of dismay flitted across her pretty face.

One word to describe Anita Blake; fascinating. I had read about her, kept close watch on her from the bird's eye view but I had a few lackeys to watch out for her too. I was pleased to see that she kept a weapon at her side, she would need it for all the enemies she was making. But they were enemies that would never bother her unless she appeared vulnerable and from where I was standing, I knew that that wasn't about to happen any time in the near decade. "They call you the Grim." She said lightly, a smile tugging at her lips as she muttered my cliched nickname.

"Yeah well, it's a lovely cliche. Almost as well-done as ‘the Executioner' no?" I eyed her, one eyebrow lifting in my patented sardonic gesture.

"How does one get a nickname like that? You turn into a black dog?" She asked laughingly but I could tell that she meant every word behind that question. It wasn't just curiosity that caused the question, it was something else that lay behind it–the meaning to it all; how do I go about killing you? I shook my head, sharing in her soft laughter, "No." The smile slid off my face, I showed my best professional face before adding, "It means that when I show up, someone always dies." I could hear the lack of emotion in my voice, the promise of an impending doom as thick as the smell of a three-day old corpse.

She nodded slowly, "So what is it that you do?"

I smiled, shrugging off the professionalism like a cloak, "I am a perfectly legal vampire hunter–amongst other things."

"Like what?" There was skepticism on her face, she didn't expect me to answer. I shouldn't have answered her, my name was too much for this one, but my bloated ego demanded it. "I am not a Nekkie if that's what you're asking." That was all I was willing to say. With my ego full for now, it eased back and we resumed eyeing each other silently.

She didn't have the pleasure of anonymity like I did. I knew all about her and her escapades. The gooey things she'd put down, all the bogeymen she had killed. No surprise to me. I even knew that she was a vamp's personal servant and that he was the Master of the City in which I stood. I was out of my element, that was for sure, but I had my identity which meant I had at least some power to hold the monsters at bay.

I had heard that she had a real issue with morals. Don't get me wrong, so do I, I go to church sometimes three times a week and I toted a cross. I believed it. It had gotten me out of a lot of tight spots–enough to make me believe that there really was a god and that he really was looking out for me.

The thing that made us so different was that she killed within the reason of the law and I didn't have to. I didn't live in this country, in my domain, vamps and lycanthropes didn't have rights. They could be put down just as Witches and Voodoo practitioners could be hung or lynched or burned at the stake.. Unfortunately, my agent had given strict orders to behave myself. I wasn't allowed to lash out at any vamps on whim or kill any Lycanthropes that got within my reach both physically and mentally, without a legal reason. I had applied for diplomatic immunity but I knew it was useless. They laughed in my face and told me that I would likely start a war over some varmint's lousy hide that wasn't worth the trouble. Funny that.

We had been standing in the street, the distant hum of music and the sounds of a city's nightlife flowing around us. I had been wandering downtown St. Louis, in a place some of the tourists called the ‘blood quarter' where she had agreed to meet me. I was amused that so many vampires could walk around in broad...er...well, in the open. The sheer audacity of it all was almost as much of a shocker as when I realized that these people actually embraced them! Accepted them as a new, mysterious fad.

Like it was cool to be a vampire. Quite frankly, I was appalled with it all and wasn't afraid to show it. I wanted some excuse for a vampire to attack me, I wanted to lash out but I knew that I was effectively muzzled until otherwise.

"This is quite the place." I broke the heavy silence between us, glancing at the nearest vampire.

She shrugged, opting for indifference, "You get used to it."

I knew that was a lie. She was almost as jumpy as I was, her eyes narrowed suspiciously as the vampire I had been watching glanced at us. "Could never get used to this place." I shook my head in dismay, sharing the honest-to-god truth.

"Why are you here? I thought you were denied entrance into this country."

Obviously, I wasn't as anonymous as I had originally thought. That realization caused the smile to slip slightly from my face, but I kept it there, unwilling to let go of my companionable persona. "I promised that I would keep myself on a tight leash and the powers that be agreed."

"So on the agreement that you would behave yourself, the United States government let you into the country."

I nodded, "Yes."

An indelicate snigger rented the air, "Thank god for the good ole U. S. of A."

"Amen to that." I grinned wolfishly.

"But you didn't answer my question, why are you here?" I knew that I had to answer her. This was the reason why I had come down here to begin with, to hunt her down and talk to her. She had contacts that I needed, she knew people that wouldn't talk to me. Like any other page in history, people do talk but unfortunately, I knew that in this day and age, talking could be carried across the globe. The underworld knew me. I was a household name in Britain, whispered to baby vamps and lycanthropes when they were being naughty. I was the preternatural boogyman come to eat up the baddies and spit out their bones. I liked that image and tried my damnedest to maintain it, so sue me. "A killer jumped ship and I am not gonna let him go."

"What type of a Killer?"

"The monster kind."

Okay, Okay, I had to open up and spill some information but it was a hard thing to do when you are accustomed to terrified informants. I knew I was getting on her nerves, I didn't have to look at her to know that she would sooner shoot me than have to deal with the aggravation of prying one more straight answer out of me, but I was willing to see how far I could go.

"Listen, Lady, I don't have all night. I've got bigger fish to fry."

I had successfully pissed her off, my prying was over, "Shape-shifting Demon type. The winged and fanged but able to shift into human mode, type." She nodded, expecting more so I continued, "He's responsible for the deaths of over 70 people. Burned a small farming community to the ground, slaughtered the inhabitants like cattle." I fought back the unwelcomed images of flayed bodies, eviscerated corpses and the thick metallic scent of fresh spilled blood. It had been a bloodbath in every sense of the word.

"And now he's here?" She asked absentmindedly as if mulling it over.

"Do you know something?"

"I don't usually let people in on my work but I am willing to do this for you. You seem like someone who can help me put an end to this." Her brown gaze held mine, "But if you fuck up, I'll kill you."

I grinned, wanting to tell her what I was really thinking, that even if she could pull the gun out it would be no use, but I just let it rest between us. I wanted to save that surprise for later. She turned away and I followed like a lost pup, feeling like one too, as she wove in and out of the gaggle tourists. I didn't like large groups, they made me nervous. I could stop something from coming at me, no matter how big and strong–unless I didn't know about it. There's not much you can do if there's a knife whistling towards your back if you are caught with it away from the wall. It was a bit hard for me to keep up. She was small and didn't take up much room as she dodged between people, I was close to six feet tall–5'9" to be exact and although I was fit, I was not tiny like she was. She weighed 100-110lbs maybe but I weighed 150lbs and trust me, none of it is fat.

Finally, we broke loose from the crowd and into a alleyway, a car was parked at the end and she fumbled noisily for keys and opened the car. She unlocked the door and I slid in. I found out that we were going to a crime scene when we rolled up to a house that had yellow tape everywhere and police standing around. There was the customary gaggle of on-lookers, their faces alight with the hope of seeing something grizzly enough to write home about. We got out of the car at the same time, it took me only a few steps to fall in step with her. When we reached the entrance of the house, a cop reached out and looked directly at me, his stare hostile.

"She's with me, Douglas."

The man gave me an apprehensive look before letting me inside. I flashed him my award- winning smile, he flushed bright red which made me chuckle satisfactorily before following the small woman into the house. The tang of blood hit me like a brick wall, the summer heat wasn't doing much to help things either. Whatever it was that had died in the house had been dead for at least two days before anyone realized what had happened. In that time the unrelenting summer heat and probably direct exposure to the sun had caused the cadaver to go bad.

Anita clapped a handkerchief to her nose after turning a lovely shade of green, my grin got wider and more wolfish as we walked down the hall but it wasn't long before I was slapping my own handkerchief over my nose. I had my police badge on me but I might as well have just flashed a coaster and said I was FBI. It didn't matter at all, I had no power here and so I kept quiet as Anita explained that I was an expert that she felt was needed. They assumed that I was on retainer for her company and although the idea of getting paid double for being here wasn't that bad of an idea, I didn't bother to say anything about it.

It was hellishly hot in the room due to the large ceiling to floor windows that would have faced the afternoon sun. But thankfully, it was dark and the sun was down so the room had probably cooled somewhat during the night. There was a sheet across the floor, beneath it was the remains of something that would have been called human up until a few days ago. The carpet made an unpleasant sucking noise as I shifted weight, the blood had soaked into it like a sponge. Nice.

"They still use shag carpets here?" I muttered, lifting my foot and setting it lightly on the floor, letting the squelching sound drive the point home.

A man in one corner of the room grinned, I caught his look and grinned back, "It's like walking on mud."

I nodded and averted my attention to Anita who had squatted over the sheet with a faint look of distaste on her beautiful face. She picked up the corner of the blood soaked sheet and threw it back to expose the remains.

"Jesus." She whispered softly and I glanced over her shoulder. Although it was a reaction that was completely mutual, I was slightly annoyed that she would say god's name in vain and call herself religious. I let it go and focussed on the remains that had been revealed to us. Calling it remains was an understatement. There wasn't much there to even be considered remains, it was more like a can of cat food. "Recognize this, Helen?"

It definitely smacked of my demon. Ripped apart with teeth and talons it looked like, tenderized and served bloody. "Good pal of mine, bought me a pint last Tuesday." I muttered absentmindedly and squatted down to get a closer look. There were definitely teeth marks on what looked like to be a part of a thigh and one meaty buttock. "Wow, he left the tenderest part." I grunted.

Anita grinned at me, sharing my demented humour. "That's the best part."

"And you know from experience?" My grin turned carnivorous, bearing more teeth than I should have.

She chuckled, "Human upsets my stomach." Not many people share my odd sense of humour but I could see that this was one woman who did. I was already beginning to like her and we had only just threatened each other.

"You know something about this...Miss Grimal?" A voice asked from behind us. I stood and turned, eyeing a tall beefy man with a notepad in one hand and a pen poised in the other. If these Yanks were going to lead me to the quarry then it was fine by me, as long as I got the kill. I was willing to depart with any of my jealously hoarded gems of knowledge for that price, "He's what brought me here." I drew out my badge to appease the question that I could already see forming on his lips, "British Preternatural Execution Team." I said as if he couldn't read.

"You're from B-Pet?" The funnyman in the corner said, astonished.

"Yep. The sick fuck who did this is a special case of mine. I was let in the country to kill him." I said grimly, eyeing the mess on the carpet. It looked a hell of a lot like cat food to me, that was how I thought of it. I learned to never think of victims as humans only pieces of meat protected by law. There are a lot of ancient, powerful and very pissed off things lurking in Britain and with the creation of shopping malls and condominiums, they were always being bothered. There's just something about a bulldozer ripping through their homes that they don't like...makes them cranky and coincidentally, hungry.

"This isn't your jurisdiction." The notepad guy growled possessively.

I was losing my patience. There's only so far my goodwill goes before it starts to run out, and I wasn't about to fight over territory with a man who was built like a bloody Line Pusher for the local Rugby team. "This isn't my country." I stated and then stepped over the mess, keenly aware of Anita's hand at her gun, "But it's my demon tearing up your citizens. I know how to get this thing, I even know how to kill it..."

"So what's stopping you?" Anita piped up behind me.

I didn't bother looking at her, instead I stared straight into notepad guy's eyes, "It got away before I could try. But even so, this is my baddie so if you think you are going to get all territorial on me then you can find him on your own and I guarantee you that he'll have ripped in to a hell of a lot more people that this." I indicated to the mess on the shag carpet.

"Get her the hell out of here, Anita." The man growled, tearing his gaze from mine to glare at her, "Before I have her arrested for tampering with the crime scene."

I snorted, feeling the need to needle the point home, "Suit yourself but I'm the only one capable of killing this damn thing, even if you do find a way."

"Dolph, I hate to admit it but she's right. We need help with this thing from what I have heard of it. She knows the most and why should we wait around for it to kill another so that we can gather more evidence?" The woman behind me muttered. She had a great sense of humour and brains! She was moving up on my favourite people list. The man, Dolph relented reluctantly but didn't step back nonetheless. I smiled at him, this time it was an appreciative smile instead of smugness which would have usually been my first reaction.

"Just keep her on a leash, Blake."

What was it with Americans and their fascination with keeping everything on leashes? I wondered fleetingly and pushed the thought out of my head with a small shake. "Any more bodies here?"

"How'd you know?"

"This thing is a demon. It doesn't know how to do anything less than wholesale murder boarder lining on a cull." I said frankly, hoping my grim tone would belie the information that I knew about this thing.

It had worked obviously, but it was Anita that answered before Dolph could, "Jesus."

That was the second time I had heard the lord's name taken in vain and I was beginning to get offended. "Don't take the lord's name in vain, please." I said sweetly before I could stop myself. Everyone in the room stopped and stared at me but I didn't care, I had almost had enough with this group of amateurs. "Zerbrowsky where's the other bodies?" Anita asked suddenly, the mood broke.

"Out in the backyard." The funnyman answered and beckoned us to follow.

The backyard was lit up by floodlights, it was like any stereotypical middle-class backyard.

There was a large tree and on one branch there was a tire tied to it on an old piece of rope. There was a large above-ground pool that was set up to water filters that were now whirring determinedly. The lawns were lush and weedless, the colour that every lawn should be in the ideal picture of suburban bliss. It wasn't until Zerbrowsky was standing near the pool when I realized that the water was red. I stepped up and peered over the lip of the pool, watching an arm float by like some obscene buoy.

"Well, this is great. The coroners are gonna really have fun with this one." I grunted.

"We called em and told em to bring their bathing suits."

"Good idea." I chuckled, "Someone light the barbie...we're bobbing for steaks tonight."

I got a few laughs out of that one. It was a good sign. When people stopped laughing in the face of something like this, that's when they usually snapped. I had seen it before and it wasn't pretty. He pulled a pistol to his head and put a round in his skull. "How many do you think are in there?" Anita asked, her eyes scanning the bobbing body parts. "5-10?"

"Something like that. Give or take an arm or leg." I sighed and then turned on my heel, my sneakers squelching loudly in the blood drenched grass. So much of Suburban Bliss. This was like Jason Vorheeze meets the Cleavers. There was no need to see more to confirm that it had been my demon. This definitely had his flair written all over it. I walked around the side of the house rather than through it, avoiding the nightmarish murder scene. He was long gone, there was no residual power left. He would probably be sleeping off his full belly somewhere safe and far away.

I felt Anita approaching long before I saw her. Not bothering to look up, I just stared at the bloody toes of my sneakers, thinking about the demon and all the research I had done to get to this point. "What do you think?" She asked softly, her brown eyes scanning the crowd. "Would he be here?"

"No. He's gone. Long gone." I mumbled, trying to chase away the memories of screams in my head.

"You said in the car that this thing originated from Scotland somewhere, so could you possibly guess on how old it is?"

I didn't think it mattered but I guessed, "Probably fifteen-hundred to two thousand years. I am not quite sure how it came into creation but some speculations point to the stone hedge being some sort of portal to hell."

Her eyes went wide but I could tell what had shocked her, I was too busy scanning the neighbourhood. "A Demon from Hell?"

I nodded, "Aye. He was woken up a few years ago, slaughtered an entire excavation team and the nearby farmstead." I looked at her, schooling all of my facial features to a dead calm so she wouldn't see the horror that was scrabbling at my mind, "It calls itself Eris."

"Eris, as in the Goddess of Discord, Eris?"

"Yes, that's the one."

"So how do we stop this thing?"

I was answering quite a bit of questions but I was on a roll and I knew it made no sense to hold this info back, "We don't. I do." "No you can't kill anything in the country." "Au contrare, ma petite." I said cattily, "I have been given permission to hunt this thing, that's why the country let me in to begin with. I was not allowed to use any violence against anyone unless in self-defence and to bring this creature down. I am not allowed to carry weapons but where there is a will, there is a way."

She pulled out her weapon, a browning and held the barrel lightly under my chin. I was impressed, she was fast. Damn fast. "You kill anyone else besides this thing and I'll put you down with it."

Pushing the weapon away from my face, I smiled at her. "I'm hungry, do you want something to eat?"

"Sure." She hesitated before putting the gun back in its resting spot, "There's a great restaurant around here."



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