Some Actual Progress

I wrote another novella chunk! Yay me! I will get more done next week, I promise. I’ll be on school holidays! 🙂

Alexis all but kicked down the door to the pub. Everyone in the bar jerked their heads up at the flashy approach. Despite the hour, the pub was buzzing with people. Alexis paid no heed to their glares, striding through the throng of drunk patrons and planting her hands on the bar.

“Yo. Barkeep. You had a call for me.”

“You’re the hunter?” The bartender finished pouring a drink and leaned towards her. “Did you have to bust your way in? You don’t want to spook it, do you?”

“No worries, incubi are pretty arrogant. Won’t think its a threat until he has to. Point me in his direction.” Craig threaded his way through the pub up to Alexis’s shoulder, coughing slightly at the scent of alcohol and smoke.

“I haven’t seen him for a couple of minutes,” the bartender said, stroking his bushy beard, “but the last I saw he was at a booth at the back.” He pointed a wrinkled finger towards the right of the bar, into a crowd of drunk men and women.

“As long as you didn’t see ‘im leave, it’ll be fine. We’ll be in and out before you know it. C’mon, Craig, I’ll show you how to smoke a demon.” Alexis pushed off the bar and through the other patrons, Craig hurriedly chasing her.

“How do we find the incubus?” Craig all but yelled into Alexis’s ear to be heard above the noise of the pub, “I thought demons didn’t tend to be visually distinct.”

“ You’re right, you normally can’t tell a demon just by lookin’. Incubi and succubi are different. They have some sort’a field around them, like an attractiveness thing. It’s how they get their prey. You won’t notice the incubi, ‘less you’re gay or something.”

“Is that the only way to notice?”

“From a first glance, it’s the easiest way. The bartender noticed the dude had a few tics that tend to point towards demonic possession. Clumsiness, slurred speech, weird word choice, excessive facial expression and gestures, those are just a few. Guy’s probably an amatuer.”

“How dangerous are they? Demons tend to be bad news.”

“Incubi and succubi are fine. As long as you don’t get seduced, they’re just pretty men and women. It’s wrath demons you want to look out for.” Alexis paused as they passed by a table, Craig bumping into her shoulder. “Found our man.”

“Really?” Craig whispered, following her gaze. Tucked into a booth in the wall was a man and a woman. The girl was clearly drunk, head bowed onto the table and groaning slowly. The man wound his arm slowly around her shoulder, pulling her close and kissing her neck.

“Yeah. It’s hard to look away. I’m used to it, though.” Alexis stormed up to the booth and slammed her fist on the table. The man jerked up, blue eyes widening. The girl grumbled and slouched onto the table further.

“What do you want?” The man yelled, half rising to his feet. His face was clean shaven, without a single blemish anywhere. His hair was a sandy brown and perfectly styled, not a single hair out of place. Even his clothes were smooth, clean, and fit perfectly on his form. Too perfectly.

“Leave the girl alone.” Alexis said flatly, leaning onto the table and glaring into his eyes. “I know what you are. Look, listen. It’s late, I’m tired, I’m covered in blood, and I’d rather not have to beat the shit out of you here. You get me?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. Get out of my face before I call the cops.” Despite his perfect appearance, the man’s voice wavered and wobbled as he spoke. One of his hands spasmed randomly, shudders running through his arm and fingers.

“Have a look, Craig. Classical signs of demonic possession. Host is fighting back.”

“What the fuck are you talking about? How much have you had to drink, you stupid bitch?” He had gotten fully to his feet now, standing at nearly six foot. His fists clenched, stilling the tremors that ran through his arms. Alexis took a step back and pulled a pistol off her belt.

“Drop the shit. I know what you are, no need to fuckin’ play around with me.”

“What is wrong with you?”

“Drop the fuckin’ act. I won’t ask again. You aren’t fooling anyone.” Alexis held the pistol steadily at his chest. They stood in silence for a moment before the demon launched forward with a scream. Alexis fired once before the demon tackled her to the stained wooden floor. The shot rang through the air and silenced everyone inside. Droplets of blood fell onto Alexis’s jacket, dripping from the bullet-hole on his chest. Alexis dropped the pistol, then hooked her fist into the demon’s jaw and followed up with a knee in his stomach. He screeched wordlessly, which dropped away into a whine when Alexis punched him in the throat.

“Craig!” Alexis yelled, shoving the demon to his feet, “have a look in my bag, there’s something that looks like a little black vacuum cleaner. I’ll need it.” The incubus hissed and swung at Alexis, she grabbed his fist and twisted it downwards. His blows were sluggish and weak, his arms shuddering with every blow. Alexis shoved him against a wall and gave him another punch to the chest.

“Settle down, sport. You’re not gettin’ anywhere.”

“Release me, mortal!” The demon screeched, spittle flying from his mouth and landing in Alexis’s eye. “I will suck out your soul and grind your bones to powder!”

“You really won’t. Look, honestly, you have to be the most terrible incubus I’ve ever seen. Just give it a rest, hey?” Alexis dodged another flailing swing and kicked out his knee.

“Alex? Is this it?” Alexis punched the demon again and looked over her left shoulder. A crowd had gathered around the pair, watching in terrified silence. Craig stood at the front, desperately waving a small black object.

“Yeah! Chuck it here!” The demon lashed out with his arm, striking Alexis across the face. She responded with a headbutt, then turned back to catch the flying object. She grabbed it with her left hand, and clutched the demon’s jaw with the other.

“Open wide, you bastard.” Her fingers pressed into the sides of his jaw and wrenched it open.

“Get your filthy hands off me, you human…” The demon’s yells devolved into angry gurgles as Alexis shoved the tube of the black object down his throat.

“Now, Craig!” Alexis said, flipping a switch, “just watch! You’ve gotta suck the non-corporeal form out of the host!” The black machine in her palm started up with a whirr. The incubus’s eyes popped wide, and he began to thrash wildly. Alexis kneed him in the stomach again and forced the tube down deeper. Saliva welled up in his mouth and started dripping down his chin.

“How does it work?” Craig had stepped up to Alexis’s shoulder, casually dodging a flailing limb.

“Well, it’s able to suck all the demon out of the poor sod that it’s taken over.” Alexis adjusted her grip on the demon’s jaw, and kicked him again when he lashed out. “Demons themselves are really just an angry cloud. The problem is that they can get into a human’s body and take control of mental and physical faculties.” The demon’s thrashing started to slow, Alexis letting go of his jaw.

“Is this it? Are we getting it?” Craig asked, peering closer.

“Yep. If you have a look, there’s a clear container in the suction device thing. You can see him in there.” The machine gave a final whirr, then started beeping. “That’s it.” She said, and yanked the tube out of the man’s mouth. He dropped to the floor, spittle still lolling out of his mouth. His eyes were flat and glassy.

“Does… does he need an ambulance?”

“I’d say so. I did shoot him. It’s good to give them a bit of pain to distract from killing you, they can’t really handle too much sensory overload. With this chucklefuck though, I really didn’t need to though. He barely even put up a fight.” Some of the crowd had gathered around the man’s unconscious form, and at least three people were calling an ambulance.

“We’re done?”

“We’re done.” Alexis grabbed her pistol off the floor, slotted it into her belt, and strode out of the smoky pub. Craig gave a final glance over his shoulder to the unconscious man, then hurried after her.

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