The Blood Eagle in the Big Easy (2 page)

BOOK: The Blood Eagle in the Big Easy
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The Hougan howled in rage somewhere in the darkness of the abandoned home. Coughing up blood, I gingerly lifted myself out of the mud. Suddenly I was forced to fling myself to one side as I sensed more than saw the machete flying at me. The rusty blade dug deeply in my left shoulder, making my arm scream in pain before going numb, and while my shields would normally protect me from such things they had been weakened when the kappa struck me with the force of a speeding semi. Rolling to my feet I haphazardly fired through the fresh opening in the brick wall but to no avail. Great! Now this was going to turn into a game of hide and seek!

Even though the priest looked ancient and frail he sure as hell could move like the wind. Every single time I tried to put a bullet through that skull of his, he was just simply gone. I staggered to my feet as pain ripped through my lung and stalked through the broken house in search of the old man. As I was entering the next room I suddenly felt something behind me. I threw myself to one side as the wall in front of me exploded with flames. I came up and fired, catching the Voodoo priest in the right knee and he went down with a howl. As he tried to hobble away I put a bullet through his skull for his trouble.

There isn’t any surrendering for people like him. Due to the overcrowding situation at the courts, with their facilities unable to receive or house any more prisoners, anyone who poses a threat is to be immediately exterminated. There is no trial. It is my job, and my job alone, to pass judgement. That is the decree of the Mystick Courts of Comus’ Gatekeeper and for once the two of us agree on something. He and I don’t exactly see eye to eye on certain issues and things are especially tense between us right now. He is trying to play politician, while I am left dealing with things like this.

 

 

Chapter 2

 

November 28th, 2012

 

Blinking my eyes several times while trying to bring the world into focus, I turned my head from side to side. My shoulders and back ached from laying on the jagged crystalline rocks. The long thick leather overcoat I was wearing had kept me from being completely cut to shreds not to mention freezing to death. Looking down at my body I could see a thick accumulation of snow indicating that I had been here for several hours, perhaps longer. The snow was melting on the parts of my chest and stomach where the coat had come open, threatening hypothermia. The deep wet cold dug deeper with every furious wind gust. Mother nature was angry as if she had been violated in some way and I was to pay the price.

Every nerve ending in my body was afire with pain as I tried to move. Forcing it aside for the moment, I slowly sat up. Cupping my face in my hands I tried to remember how I had gotten here, or even where here was, but it was all in vain. There was an urgency to find shelter from the storm. Lightning arched through the swirling clouds above, quickly followed by a thunderclap which shook the mountainside. Once that was accomplished maybe I could revisit the ‘how’, ‘why’ and ‘who’ of my situation. Everything before the moment I opened my eyes a few minutes ago was a complete blank.

My body continued to object to my every movement as I gingerly got to my feet. Several of my ribs were fractured, making every breath torture. My ankle was badly sprained and my hands were covered in my own blood. As I tried to pull the heavy leather hood over my head my right shoulder painfully popped back into its socket.. The pain was making me nauseous as I tried not to pass out. I was in terrible shape and I had no idea how or why this came to be. I could only hope that there weren’t any unseen dangers in my immediate future.

Staggering ahead like a drunken sailor on leave I went in search of some type of shelter. The lightning continued to arch through the turmoil in the night sky. Suddenly it was as if time slowed while I continued to moved normally. The snowflakes stopped falling, suspended in midair. I was able to move my hand through them and wipe them away, leaving an eerily empty place before me. As I looked up tumultuous clouds above formed in the shape a of a weird wagon wheel, lighting arching overhead. The black gray clouds roiled around the enormous light show giving the impression that the sky was afire. Something about it called to me as I tried to remember something just on the outer edge of my minds eye.

A voice echoed through my mind chilling me to the core. “You can not escape me...”

Sitting bolt upright in bed I was disoriented, my breath ragged as I shivered as the cool air wrapped around my drenched body. Trying to slow my breathing I jumped when the phone rang. Leaning over to grab my phone I saw it was only 3:30 a.m.

As I swiped the answer button I wasn’t sure if I should be grateful for the distraction from the dream or pissed that someone I didn’t know was calling this time at this of the night. So I went with a little of both. “I don’t recognize this number so this had better be good.”

The man on the other end of the line took a sharp intake of breath as if he were nervous. “Is this Viktor Warden?”

Something about the deep baritone voice sounded familiar but I couldn’t quite place it. Curious I leaned over and turned on the lamp next to the bed causing me to wince as light flooded the room. “Yeah, who’s this?”

“This is U.S. Deputy Marshal Gregory Aaron.” He cleared his throat. “Not sure if you remember me or not but we worked a case together back in ‘92.”

Crap! That was a case I could hardly forget no matter how much I would have liked to. Gregory was one of the survivors of that painful endeavor. Rubbing my eyes I tried to shake off the dream to give the man my full attention. “Yeah, I remember you.” Swinging my legs off the bed I leaned forward allowing the cold hardwood floor to cement me in the here and now. “I’m guessing something bad has happened.”

“That would be putting it rather mildly.” He covered the phone as he barked a few orders. “The Fenrir Cult has come back to bite me in the ass.”

Rubbing my neck with my free hand I stood as I winced as several of my joints cracked. “Since you’re calling from a local number I can assume you’re in town?”

“As a matter of fact I am.” He covered the phone again as I heard him asked someone for the name of the place. “We’re at Popp Fountain. Do you know the place?”

Grabbing my watch off the nightstand I was about to head for the bath when I stopped in my tracks. “I’m familiar with the place.” This could hardly be a coincidence. “Is there a body?”

“What’s left of one anyway.” He coughed and cleared his throat. “Sorry about that. I have some sinus issues today, and I’m not used to this damned weather. It’s Helena Summers. Well, like I mentioned, most of her anyway.”

I swallowed hard. “She didn’t stay in Alabama I take it.”

“Doesn’t appear she did. I am getting the details now.” He took a deep breath as he yawned into the phone. “How long do you think it will take you to get here?”

“I should be able to get there within the hour.” Quickly making my way through the bedroom to the bath I looked at my watch which read 3:35. “Can you clear me?”

“Consider it done. See you shortly.” Gregory said as he hung up the phone.

Bracing myself against the bathroom counter I recalled the case. The Marshals service contracted my firm to assist in building a case against what they referred to as a group of radicals who were a perceived danger to the locals in Maine. Their original contact was a young woman who had supplied the federal government with the information they needed to shut the ‘cult’ down permanently. Several months prior to my involvement she had stopped communicating with them. While the Marshal’s believed she was still alive somewhere on the compound they had no idea where or for how much longer. I infiltrated the compound where I found Helena being held captive in a remote building. With her testimony secure Gregory and I were able to protect her and her young son from any reprisals her former constituents might try.

Talk about bad omens! Every time that horrid dream returns to haunt me I am almost always in for a very bad day (or ten). Today certainly would not turn into the exception to the rule. The victim, Ms. Helena Summers, had originally contacted Gregory, who at the time was the low man on the totem pole, about some dangerous people she found herself involved with.

According to Helena she’d joined the 'Church of Fenrir' back when it was all sunshine and poesies. She’d said that in her last few years as a member of the church a darker element had crept in and taken over. She first told us of tax evasion charges, which were the least of our problems. They were now practicing human sacrifices and blood magic. She had been a full fledge member of the church for nearly ten years. It was our understanding that during the final three years she was held against her will.

With her help we were able to track down and jail or kill all but five ranking members of the church. She and her nine year old son were put in witness protection. Gregory and I were the only two individuals that knew she had been relocated to a small town just outside of Mobile, AL. I warned her then that she could not leave because the protection Warden Industries provided her only went as far as the Alabama state line. We established as many roadblocks between her and her former life in the state of Maine as possible, but it would seem however that they were not enough and that my warnings were for naught. The church, or what was left of it, found her just as I feared they would. People like that have a long memory, and let's just say they were not the forgiving type. 

Getting dressed on autopilot I let my thoughts drift over some of the more unseemly and unsolved details of the case. First and foremost was the fact that someone in the ‘church’ had found their way through the ‘veil’ between reality and what lay beyond. In doing so they were imparted with unusual abilities. If the church had not been able to part the veil back in ‘92, maybe they had contacted some sleeping spirit who imparted the knowledge upon them or just gotten lucky enough to find an artifact which gave them their supernatural gifts.

Whatever the case may have been it was lethal. When the SOG (Special Operations Group) from the Marshals service in conjunction with Warden Industries and local law enforcement broke through the perimeter of the church’s property the cult fought back. At first nothing out of the ordinary happened, just a lot of gunfire from both sides. Then as we fought our way inside the main building shit went to hell fast.

I had counted four hooded figures on the second floor balcony above the main hall when we entered. The tallest one had hurled a huge ball of fire at the men who were bottlenecked at the doors. They screamed when it exploded in their midst as it killed many of them while injuring several others. One of my men was in that group and lost his right leg at the knee. I gave cover fire catching the shortest and fattest of the four in the stomach with three rounds. His gun toting psycho cohorts carried him away quickly allowing our second wave access to the building.

Gregory's partner was one of those who died that day. His body was nearly turned inside out by a single word of power muttered by one of the hooded figures. All toll forty people died that day, ten from the Marshal's service, five state police officers and the rest from my private security force. Those that walked away from that fight were scared to their souls. None of us spoke much about it afterwards; it wasn't exactly like anyone would believe what happened anyway. The official reports told of improvised explosive devises to explain what had happened to the fallen.

I can assure you there weren’t any such device to be found. Of course I had zero proof that magic had been used, that they had parted the veil or contacted these spirits of old. I only knew in my heart that they had. I never found the source of their power or how they were able to wield it. This above all disturbed me.

Shaking off these disturbing memories I blinked in shock as I caught my reflection in the mirror. The dark circles under my eyes told me I needed more rest and probably had needed it for sometime now. What was the old saying? Oh yeah, no peace for the wicked, and certainly no rest for those of us who secure the peace. After washing my face I leaned against the sink, closing my eyes once more. I would like to believe I’m average height but considering I am around five foot nine that was probably stretching it a bit. The gray/black hair atop my head was short enough to pass inspection at Parris Island though my neatly trimmed beard wouldn’t.

For my age, or hell any age, I would be what most would consider fit. Considering that my life depended on being at the top of my game I hardly had a choice in the matter. I dressed in black tactical pants and a long sleeve gray running shirt before stopping to pull on a pair of combat boots. Strapping on my watch I walked out of the bedroom pausing long enough to shove my phone in my pocket along with my wallet before heading out the door to see what type of special hell the day would bring.

Hurrying out of my house some twenty minutes after Gregory’s call I clicked the button on the keyring to unlock my Kia Sportage. Hey don’t knock it till you try it! They are actually quite nice. I flicked on the lights which bore into the darkness ahead of me. The sky was pitch black with dark low hanging clouds. Even though the moon was hidden from view I knew it would be full in a matter of hours. Contrary to popular belief the moon isn’t always full at night. Today that particular event would happen at 8:43 a.m. I could hear thunder rumble in from Lake Pontchartrain and lightning flashed through the angry clouds above. It didn’t feel like rain today but mother nature was angry and was letting me know of her displeasure.

BOOK: The Blood Eagle in the Big Easy
12.74Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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