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Chapter Nine: "Firecrackers"

Detective Thompson called it quits on hanging out with his colorful new group of friends, at least for the time being. He said his adieus to Carrasco and Lopez, and stopped by the station before stealing away to his apartment for what he hoped would be a 24- to 36-hour weekend of R&R in his cluttered but peaceful, film-and-book-filled apartment. His hope was that there would be some temporary quietude around with so much of the noisy crowd taking their hiatus down to California.

First though, he phoned down to Chief Detective Sam Wilson of the Oakland PD, regarding the foray that was to be coming down his way from Tacoma, due sometime Monday. He had been cooperating with Wilson since the entire werewolf adventure began, and Wilson had seen and experienced much of the same weirdness as Thompson and his colleagues had, and could be counted on to be cooperative.

He explained to him about the sort of support the werewolf hunters need, how they operated, and assured him that it was more or less like exterminating rats for these glowing gals.

“Quite the clerical duty, because they certainly had the tools,” Thompson said. “We’re lucky to have them on our side. Otherwise, these things are just the most awful road hazard, as you are well aware. Anyway, there is a cluster of them somewhere in your backyard right now. These girls can sense it in the air. They want to get themselves down there and exterminate a nice-sized wad of them.”

“Bring it on,” the Oakland chief said. There really wasn’t much else he could say or do except for just that. He prepared his people for additional of the ever more usual “unusualities,” as Crimson had put it, come the next couple of nights.


Detective Thompson took a long Sunday evening nap, and was awakened by the knock of Kitty at his apartment door after her shift at M.C.’s had ended, as the sharing of odd hours makes for odd couples. They did their usual chores of popcorn and a movie, and an exchange of massages to work out the muscle kinks which were regularly inflicted by their respective careers. The perennially ambient rain continued outside.

“Do you want to go do a quick job on some moon dogs, just me and you?” Kitty asked.

It was 3:45 a.m.

“Are you determined to wreck a perfectly peaceful night off?” he asked back.

“I wouldn’t ask if they weren’t so nearby,” she bargained. “I promise it won’t take long, and then I’ll take care of whatever you want for breakfast, and wait on you hand and foot through the whole day.”

They put on their jackets and jeans and hopped into Thompson’s sedan. About five city blocks from his apartment, at the edge of a nearby commercial district, was a storage rental business. Two of the things had been holed up there for about 48 hours.

“I wonder what kind of person negotiates a rental contract with actual monsters,” Thompson asked.

“Well they could be squatting, I’m sure there’s a black market to arrange that, since it’s against the law for people to live in these. But people do it anyway, all the time,” she answered. “Or, maybe they arranged the whole thing by mail.”

Thompson parked in the lot on the front of the property, and they carefully hopped the fence. They quietly walked back to the area where Kitty had sniffed them out. “This door only locks from the outside, and it’s not locked. You stand back over there in the shadows, cover me. I’ll knock hard, and then step over to the side. When they come out, I’ll hit them each with a big blue energy ball, and we’ll be done,” she instructed. “Go go!”

The detective obeyed, and Kitty went forth. He situated himself back about 10 yards. Kitty walked over and gave five very solid knocks, then stepped out of the path of the egress. From within, there was quiet for about 20 seconds, and then slow creak of metal as the vertical door was slowly raised up its track hinges.

From his visual position, Thompson could only see the absence of light from within the storage area, and the occupants did not immediately emerge. Then he saw Kitty light up blue as the air around her lit up like a cloud of blue lightning. The ambient light lit the entire area very well, and the detective was then able to see the dog women in the shed.

The targets were crouched defensively, one against the back wall and the other closer to the front near Kitty’s side. With a deafening crack, Kitty’s form flashed out in front of the egress, and everything in the area — the ground, the building, and the air — seemed to slightly warp as her ionized turquoise aura first seemed to charge up in a sort of wave, and then a pulse of energy arced from Kitty’s outstretched palm to the target by the door, grounding the monster to Kitty’s transcendent energy source. She charged again, this time hitting the other one with the same kind of pulse, except this one was a rich swirling orange and lavender. When she switched off her first target and began targeting the second, the first target remained on its feet, but all of its fur was smoking profusely, and then the thing began to flash, pop, and crackle. A few seconds later, she switched off the second monster, and then the first one burst into a sphere of amber flames, then tipped and fell. The second target had begun popping, crackling, and smoking by then, and soon it also burst into a swirling fireball.

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