“Erin, Erin can you hear me?” With the soucouyant long gone, Zach’s only concern was Erin. He slapped her face lightly, urging her to focus on him. Her eyes had taken on a glassy look and the stunned expression on her face was muted only by grimaces of pain as she clutched her side weakly.
“Come on Erin, we’re going to have to get out of here.” Though Zach knew the silencer on his gun would have masked the sound of the gunshots, he didn’t want to take any chances. They needed to act fast and leave the motel, but neither of them were going anywhere if he couldn’t patch Erin up and for that, he needed her help. Her eyes started to close again and though he tried to make her stay with him, Erin drifted, her hand falling beside her, covered with her blood.
“Fuck.” Zach jumped up, running towards the suitcase they’d found in the room. He rummaged through until he found a small Taser which would generate an electrical surge.
He ran back to his partner who continued to bleed out on the floor and placed the device against her chest, “Sorry,” he said cringing and flicked the on-switch. Erin’s body convulsed violently for a few moments after, before her eyes flickered open. She gasped for breath, looking up at Zach confused. “You’ve got to heal, now Erin.” At first it seemed she didn’t understand him but looking down at her side and the quickly spreading blood, she nodded. Zach sighed, relieved. He’d thought the jolt of electricity would have done the trick, but as she’d lost so much blood already, hadn’t been sure. He stepped back and let her do the rest.
Erin closed her eyes, placing her hand back on the wound. Zach could see a pale blue light emanating from her hand, so faint that someone who did not know what she was doing, would feel they were seeing things. The magic wouldn’t heal the wound completely, as Erin’s magical training was geared towards damage not healing, but it would at least patch her up for the time being.
“Did you just tase me?” she asked as she opened her eyes fully.
Zach handed her a bandage from his pack, “No time for that Erin, we’ve got to wipe this place and get out of here.”
“I’m going to get you back for that,” she said standing on shaky legs, but did not delay, packing their gear, while Zach used a modifier to remove any traces of their DNA from the room. It was medium-sized gadget with a nozzle attached, designed to look like an air filter. Both wardens and containment used these, as they were integral to ensuring that no traces of their existence were ever left behind. Zach went over all areas of the room with the device, ignoring his distaste for the task, as it reminded him so much of vacuuming.
“All packed and ready to go,” Erin announced, pulling the suitcase to the floor. Zach emerged from modifying the bathroom and looked around. The room was spotless. There were no signs that Erin had been stabbed and he was pretty sure it was cleaner than it had been to begin with.
“We’ll park off the road a little way from the warehouse yardso you can get some rest. Damian gave us two days, so we can always get them tomorrow,” Zach suggested.
“No,” she snapped, “we had a plan and we’re going to stick to it. One of those bitches stabbed me.”
“I get it Erin, but you’re not at full strength, you lost a lot of blood.”
“I’m running on angry, that’s as strong as I’ll get,” she replied and as if to prove her point, lifted the suitcase and pushed past Zach and out the door. Zach shook his head and followed. There was no talking to her when she was like this. He remembered when he’d first seen her. She was this skinny girl, thirteen at the most, mercilessly beating up a chubby kid around her age. Though her opponent was much bigger than she was, Erin had made him cower. At the time Zach was sixteen and had been training with the organisation for four years, while Erin was one of the new recruits. Recruits were kept separate from others in the training facility and the only reason he’d laid eyes on her in the first place, was because he’d been running an errand for one of his teachers.
When she became his partner, he’d learnt that she’d been an orphan like all of them who’d trained as wardens, but was one of the few with an instinctive gift for dark magic. Others had to be taught to wield that kind of magic, but Erin had been born with the talent. Zach knew that she was clueless about what that really implied about her heritage and had been told in no uncertain terms by Praesidium’s Director Anders Kjaer, that she should never be told. Looking at her now, honking the horn in frustration, he knew this was for the best.
“What’s taking you?” she called, leaning slightly out her car window.
“Erin, I’m literally seconds behind you, give it up,” he said, sliding into his seat. Neither spoke again until they were on the highway making their way towards the warehouse yard.
“Thanks for tasing me.” Zach glanced at her, surprised.
“I wouldn’t have done it if I thought there was another way,” he said, crossing lanes as they approached their exit.
“Pretty sure I’d be dead if you hadn’t.” Silence fell on them again.
Zach broke it, “How are you feeling now?” He flicked on the right indicator and made a dash for the exit.
“The bleeding’s stopped but it’s hurting. Being stabbed is unpleasant.” She snickered and Zach glanced over at her questioningly, “Just a bit funny our lives. It’s like some freaky kind of news report. Stabbed by a soucouyant, victim says it was unpleasant.” She laughed a bit more and Zach joined her for a moment, until she clutched her side again in pain.
“Okay cool it, save your laughter for when containment takes out these wankers.” They turned off the road and onto what seemed to be a gravel pathway, before once again ending up on a paved street. They passed fewer cars along the way and soon Zach made one final turn off that led them directly to the warehouse yard. There were still a few hours before they could make their move, but with dusk falling, they’d decided to scope the place out.
Zach parked some distance away from the building’s fence, in a bushy area that he hoped would give them enough cover, especially when night fell. He opened his car door but when Erin made motions to follow, was firm in his desire that she should stay put. He was still concerned about her injury and preferred if the only energy she exerted was to complete her binding spell.
It took Zach about five minutes moving hurriedly along the outer fence, to reach a point where he could easily see any movement from the soucouyants’ nest. He’d inserted his customised contacts before they’d left the motel, so had no trouble seeing in the dim light, but slipped a miniature telescope from his jeans pocket for a closer look. The telescope was another customisedpiece and registered heat signatures, although in the case of soucouyants, this was of little use.
At first Zach saw nothing, but before long three soucouyants came from the far side of the building. He watched their progress as they went around to the other side and disappeared again. After Zach had watched them make this circle two more times, he ran back to join Erin in the car.
“Well? What’d you see?”
He hesitated before replying, “We’ve got to call containment, tell them our location and that we might need back up.”
“I don’t get it, what’d you see?” she asked more pointedly.
Zach pulled his mobile phone from his jacket pocket, dialling the numbers of some friends in containment; it was ringing. “It’s not going to be as easy as we thought. A few of them are guarding the place and from the looks of it, they might stay put while the others go on the hunt.” Zach focused on the call, “Hey Matthew, you guys on a case?”
“We’ll just have to take them out first,” Erin said, revamping their plan in her head.
“No problem buddy, thanks anyway.”
“Matthew and Greek are a no I take it?” Erin asked sighing. She and Zach had a good relationship with them and they were the only containmentmembers they called if they wanted a few extra hands.
Zach nodded. “We’ll have to call up Damian and have him send guys in then,” Zach said, ready to dial their handler’s number, but Erin knocked the phone away.
“No. If you do that I’ll be in even more trouble. What with getting stabbed and everything, he probably won’t even let me work the damn case anymore.”
“Maybe it’s for the best Erin, you’re hurt pretty bad still.” He pointed to the blood seeping through her bandages.
Erin waved his concerns away, “Flesh wound. Now, we’re going to take those guards out, perform the binding spell and get the hell out of Dodge. Then you can call whoever the hell you want to.”
Zach tried not to think about the cons of that plan before he spoke, “Okay, let’s do this.”