A Witch Called Red – Sneak Peek #4

October 24th, 2018, Night, Quinn Investigations in Culver City, Los Angeles, California, USA

Red stepped through the broken glass door of the office building, following behind Vic to the cracked open door on the first floor. Quinn Investigations read on the small plaque on the wall beside it. She held a revolver, loaded with wooden bullets, at her side.

Loose papers and turned over file cabinets covered the floor on the small front room. Two males bent over the secretary desk. 

Skinny and hunched over in a Rick and Morty shirt, the shorter one typed into the desktop computer. His tongue stuck out between through his fangs in concentration. He looked as if he hadn’t gotten much sun even when he was alive. 

The taller bald black man dressed like a banker glared at the files as if they were stocks going belly up. He looked up, fangs jutting out of his mouth, hissing. 

Vic hit the lights and raised a shotgun. “Wooden tips, cucks.” 

“I’ll rip that out of your hand and shove it up your mullet-wearing ass.” The taller vampire said.

Red pulled her cell phone from her pocket and took a picture quickly. 

“I guess we won’t be appealing to your souls, let’s try your brains.” She stepped in front of Vic as she put her phone away. She tightened her grip on the revolver at her side before raising it. 

She stepped away from Vic to get another angle on the vampires. “Bad time to make trouble, boys, what with that fancy vampire summit and all. Quinn has enough connections to make a stink.” Red bluffed, she didn’t know that, he could have been a weirdo loner. 

Since he was Vic’s friend, he probably was.

“Come on.” The shorter vampire squeaked, pushing his glasses up the bridge of his nose, and sprinted out the door fast enough to lift Vic’s mullet as he passed. 

“Chicken.” The black vampire left behind adjusted his suit jacket lapels and stepped away from the desk. “Hunters, eh? Is that how far the mighty Quinn Byrnes has fallen to consort with you people?” 

“You people?” Vic blew a raspberry.

“I’m a witch so watch it, pal.” Red lifted her hand, trying to look more confident than she felt as she focused her attention to summon her magic, pleading with the little bit left to listen. 

He widened his stance and raised his fists. “I don’t scare easy.”

Red slammed her palm forward, drawing upon the well of energy within as she called to the element of air.

The vampire flew back and hit the window behind him taking the cheap Venetian blinds with him as he fell through the cracking glass. An alarm sounded and a floodlight came on outside the building. Grimacing at her, bald head reflecting the lights, the vampire brushed off his suit and fled in a blur.

“I wanted to shoot that one,” Vic said.

“Yeah, somehow I don’t think your friend wants either dead vampires or gunshots in his office.” Red bent over at the waist and controlled the urge to dry heave. Sweat beaded on the back of her neck. Chills rolled down her spine. That spell had looked cool, but now she felt like she was getting the flu. Too much magic took a toll. She would need to remember to eat or meditate to center her energies. She hoped that a half-melted candy bar in the van would do the trick. 

“If he is still alive…” Vic gritted his teeth, looking around. Fear glimmered in his brown eyes. He stomped past Red to go into the closed door on the left. “He has an apartment in the basement.”

Red nodded before she turned in a circle surveying the trashed office. She stepped over to one tipped over filling cabinets and pushed it upright. Trying to keep the files from each cabinet together, she gathered up the loose papers and folders and placed them at the foot of the cabinet they spewed out from. She found an open safe, ripped from a wall, on the floor by the desk. 

The safe had been cracked, metal front open with files, boxes, and books dipping out of it. She pushed the items back in the safe, trying not to look at them. No cash or jewels, just the ephemera of a very old life. A photo album lay open to reveal a sepia portrait of a light-haired woman in a crown and medieval garb in a Victorian parlor. She closed the album, quickly feeling like she was spying, and shoved it in the safe. 

A torn piece of paper fluttered out. She picked it up, the sketch paper gone soft with age, before setting it on the pile with the others, face up. She frowned as her eyes focused on a scrap of paper and the sketched figure of a reclined blindfolded woman on it.  The paper had been ripped at the bust line leaving only the face, tensed bare shoulders, and an arm raised over the head. She pulled it out to study the anticipation in the woman’s mouth and jaw under the blindfold. The aged pencil marks had faded but the lines came together in a forehead, mouth and chin that resembled the one she saw every day in the mirror.

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