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A New Adventure...Again

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Here we go! I dashed up the slope, stumbled at the top, pushed myself up and forward and fell into a hole. What? Where did-ah. I looked up, my hands on my hips. The night sky shone above me and, blocking most of the stars, was a large head. He was bald with tattoos covering most of his skin.
“Excuse me,” I said, dejection making my voice high. “I’m trying to find Andromeda.”
I craned my neck to find the constellation but the demon was leaning down, blocking even more stars.
“What have I caught here?” The demon snickered and grinned, showing his amazing amount of sharp teeth.
I sighed loudly, unimpressed with his demon shark look.
“You’re shakran, aren’t you?” I asked. “Figures. I hate shakrans.”
I crossed my arms, leaning against the dirt wall of the enormous ditch the shakran had dug. The shakran drew back a little, not expecting my attitude or knowledge.
“Come on,” I said, waving my hand above my head. “Let me out, shakran.”
The demon grasped my hand and pulled me out of the hole.
“Graci.” I nodded and walked off, knowing what would happen.
The shakran followed me back down the slope.
“You’re not one of those slayers that have been popping up?”
“No.” I said simply, remembering my own little adventure with them.
I turned and pulled the bag off my back abruptly. Stopping, I dug in it for a container and produced one filled with cookies. They were green with blue sprinkles. And delicious. One must never forget the deliciousness of these cookies.
“You want a cookie?” I asked, waving the container under his flattened nose temptingly. “Made by a ragnivk demon.”
He snatched one up and I took one myself, sealing the treat away in my bag again.
“Human?” The shakran asked, continuing forward with me.
I shook my head.
“Demon?”
I nodded.
“What kind?”
I shrugged.
Enter: very loud noise.
Suddenly the night lit up and the shakran demon dropped dead. I stared at him, completely shocked.
“There’s-what-huh?” I pointed to the corpse, the half eaten cookie in one hand, looked around and shrugged. Okay then.
I debated for a moment taking the cookie but didn’t trust exactly where the shakran’s hands had been. Human entrails, dog blood. I moved away with an indifferent shrug. It was a shame though, I thought, as I turned onto the road, to waste such a perfectly good cookie. Another loud crack and I ducked abruptly as some green light shot over my head and buried itself in the tree.
“What the?” I moved toward the tree and examined the light, which faded and disappeared.
Obviously I shouldn’t be walking away now. I mean, if I was looking for an adventure and someone was shooting at me I should be walking toward the shooter. I turned and saw two silhouettes on the hill. One raised a gun and I yelped and ducked behind a tree.
He uttered an oath and the two came running down the hill. Ah….I moved left, right, left again and finally shot up the tree. Once I was in the higher branches I realized that there was nowhere else to go. I yelled in frustration and another shot fired, making me give a very uncharacteristic squeal and scamper higher in the branches. I mean, really. They couldn’t wait to see who I was before firing deadly green light at me?
The pair came under the tree and I rolled my eyes, banging my forehead against a branch when I saw who they were.
“You’re kidding.” The man said and a small red head laughed.
“Lara is going to love this.”
“Honestly, I’d rather not see Lara right now,” I told them. “I mean, do you remember what happened last time? First Lara got upset with me then Mary and Mary’s daughter didn’t seem very nice either. Then I was thrown through a trapdoor into a dark basement. What was that about? Then I didn’t get any tea. And the uwi demon! I ended up dead!”
“Yep, it’s her.” Mark sighed and whipped out a cell phone.
“Are you serious? I will not stand for this.” Jeanie was climbing up the tree now. “What possible cause do you have for bringing me in? I’m not a danger to anyone. I’m-” Jeanie pressed a finger against my lips.
“Shhh.” She said and took her finger away.
“Lara is on her way.”
“But seriously, why do I have to come?”
“Mary has been fired and replaced by someone…” Mark trailed off.
“The program wants another look at you.” Jeanie paraphrased.
“Program?”
“The network of slayers.”
They did not make this sound fun. They could have called it a society or something. A society with tea and biscuits and scones with jam! Unhappily, I slumped against a branch. At least this was something new. I had become increasingly bored parading with demons. Maybe parading with demon slayers would shake things up a bit.
On the other hand, whoever had replaced Mary must be a real piece of work.
“Where’d you get the gun?” I asked a minute later.
“Some demon. We were trying it out. You’re lucky I wasn’t using something else, or you’d be dead.”
“Momentarily,” I reminded him. “but am I gonna get locked up again? Because I’d really prefer I didn’t.”
Jeannie and Mark looked at each other and I knew the answer was yes. The car arrived and I reluctantly jumped from the tree. Immediately, I ran in the other direction but Mark quickly jumped on me, pinning me to the ground. I was dragged to the car and thrown in the back between Jeannie and Mark. Lara looked over from the front seat.
“This is a nightmare.” She stated.
“You’re telling me. I thought it would be a nice night, meet some new demons, munch on some cookies. I’d heard about a nest of monkeygriffs. Instead I find a shakran demon that is shot moments later by some-”
Lara reached back and shoved an apple in my mouth. Crunching through one bite, I threw the rest out the window.
“I’ve just decided I hate red apples.” I announced and pulled a bottle out of my bag to wash the taste away.
Mark watched as I took a large swig.
“What’s in that?” He asked, catching the nice smell.
“Erm…” I thought for a moment. “It’s called fagro. It’s Gabta for, and this is a loose translation, ‘ice that burns the heck out of your insides’.”
“How could one word mean all that?”
I shrugged, drinking some more.
“I added the part about heck.”
Lara glanced worriedly in the review mirror.
“Are you sure you should be drinking that?”
“It’s hardly a painful death if it’s going to kill me.” I pointed out, taking the lid off and looking in at the murky orange liquid.
“No, I mean…”
I grinned, realizing what she meant.
“If anything I’m going to be quieter when I’m a little tipsy.”
I had some more then held the bottle out to Mark.
“You want some? It tastes awesome once you get past the ice in your stomach.”
He shook his head, pushing it away from me.
“You know,” I sighed, staring at the roof. “I think I’m going to like this next adventure with you guys.” I patted Mark’s arm fondly. “Did you know that if you twist a piece of licorice around your pinky finger and crow like a chicken then state that you are a unicorn you look like a total idiot.”
I gave Jeannie a weird look.
“How, exactly, did you-”
“Do not encourage her, Mark.” Lara snapped.
We finally pulled up in front of a little brick house with a little garden and a little walkway heading up to a little door.
“Your house is tiny.” I pointed out, drinking some more fagro.
“That’s enough for you.” Mark decided, taking the bottle from me as he pulled me from the car.
“I would have pointed it out anyway.” I said, reaching for the bottle. “Oh look, a streetlamp.”
I forgot about the fagro and headed for the light. On second thoughts…maybe I had had enough. Mark spun me around and directed me through the door. Inside this enormous racket was booming through the house. I looked at Lara questioningly.
“Clara’s been a bit more…Clara since her mother got demoted.”
Clara was Mary’s daughter. She was a teenager I’d met exactly once and decided I’d never like to meet her again. A man, a big man, blocked the doorway to the kitchen on the left. He was, like, huge. I mean, like an oak tree. He was made of muscle with a shaved head and these huge hands that were scrunched up into balls at his sides. His head looked like a square, his mouth a thin, straight line.
“She’s a little drunk.” Mark warned him.
“I am not!” I objected, eyeing the fagro.
Subtly, I reached for it. Mark slapped my hand away. Turning my attention to the oak tree man, I grinned.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Derek.” The oak tree man said.
“Deeeerrrreeeeek. Derrrrrrreeeekkkk. De-” Lara slammed a hand over my mouth.
Moving away from it, I headed back toward the front door yelling, “It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Derek, but-”
A big, huge, meaty, oak tree hand slammed down on my shoulder. My knees buckled dangerously and I caught the doorknob to keep me standing. I titled my head up. This guy was at least a foot and half taller than me.
“Hi.” I said.
“Hi.” He said.
“Are you, or were you ever, in the military?”
“Yes.”
“Woah.”
“How about you?”
I shook my head. “I couldn’t get past the word ‘routine’ on the brochure.”
Oak tree guy spun me around so I was facing him. I still had to crane my neck to look at his face from this close.
“How do you come back to life?” He demanded.
“Right to the point, with you, isn’t it? I mean, the last boss I met, Mary, she kept getting dis-”
“How?”
I frowned at him. He could have least have let me finish. Upon further reflection, I realized that if he’d let me go on I probably wouldn’t have stopped for at least ten minutes.
“I’m not saying anything until I get my fagro back.”
Derek flicked his fingers at Mark who apprehensively handed my bottle over. I took three very large gulps.
“Now how do you come back to life?” Derek demanded.
I started talking, but kind of quietly, because I knew they couldn’t hear me over Clara’s music. Derek stormed down the hallway and pounded on the door. Nothing happened. Derek turned around and pounded on where the spare bedroom was. Apparently it was Mary’s now because the door burst open and there she was, still crisply dressed, her graying hair in a tight bun, her fingernails in scarily good condition. She glared at her replacement with unhidden hate.
“Control your daughter.” Derek bellowed, much more loudly than the music required in my opinion.
Mary stalked past him and pounded on Clara’s door and yelled at her to put some headphones in. A few seconds, some hateful screams, and a loud thump later, the house was suddenly quiet. My ears rang dully. Derek strode back over to me, Mary watching from her bedroom door.
“Now, answer.” Derek commanded.
I squinted my eyes at him, trying to discern if the greenish tint I was seeing was from the fagro or not. Finally, I shrugged.
“I have no idea.” I wondered if my voice was slurring slightly.
I stared at the fagro, wondering if maybe I shouldn’t be drinking so much of it so quickly. I downed some more, grinning as the liquid froze my mouth and ran down, feeling as if it left a trail of ice behind it.
“How can you not know?” Derek asked, astounded.
“Because I don’t care.” I giggled, tipping slightly forward, the bottle at my mouth.
Derek snatched the fagro away from me and I frowned deeply at him.
“Mary!” I called. “I’ve decided I like you better.” I looked around huge oak tree man to see Mary grin slightly, I grinned back, waving.
Returning upright, I considered Derek’s expression carefully then nodded. I turned and headed past him, not an easy thing to do in the small hallway, into the living room on the right. There I lifted a rug, yanked open the trap door and descended the rickety stairs into the darkness below.
“You’re welcome.” I called up at the three faces looking down at me.
As the trap door shut I heard Derek asking Mark and Jeannie if I could read minds. I didn’t bother to find the light switch that would turn on the dim light. What I did do was sit on the stairs and mutter about how they hadn’t given me my fagro back before they shut the door. At least I still had my backpack and in that backpack were some really good cookies. I ate five while I waited for the door to open so I figured it must have been at least half an hour before they let me out. Mary and Derek were waiting in the living room, Derek taking up a good deal of the two-seated sofa and Mary sitting straight-backed in the chair. Mark, Jeanie and Lara were in the doorway, presumably to catch me if I tried to run. Jeanie was sitting down, staring glumly at the floor.
“What’s up?” I asked her.
“I’m bored.”
“I was stuck in a cellar for half an hour without any fagro.”
“I’ve never had fagro.”
“That’s a shame.”
“Yes.”
My head was feeling slightly clearer and I reached for the nearly empty bottle on the coffee table. Quickly snatching it up when I saw nobody was going to stop me, I held it out to Jeannie.
“I probably shouldn’t. I’m human.”
“Tough.”
“Yes.” She agreed.
“Sit down.” Derek indicated the sofa across the coffee table from him. I dumped my bag beside me and sat. “How old are you?”
I thought for a moment.
“I have no idea.” I grinned. “Next question!”
I downed the rest of the fagro then looked unhappily into the empty bottle.
“Bummer.” I muttered.
Derek seemed to have already given up on my lack of knowledge and nobody else was pressing for answers.
“Are you, in any way, different from humans besides the fact that you can come back to life?”
“I can down a whole bottle of fagro in an hour and feel fine.”
“You’re not fine.” Mark pointed out.
“But I feel it. Also,” I added before anyone could interrupt. “I have a really bad self-preservation system.”
“That comes from being able to come back to life.” Mary pointed out.
Derek shot her a look.
“This is boring.” I said. “I’m leaving.”
I moved to stand but Mark was there in an instant, pushing me back down.
“You’re really fast.” I complimented him. “You know what you need? A motorcycle. No, forget that, I need a motorcycle. Yes, a really cool one. A black one. That’s quiet…and cool.” I was starting to like this idea. “I want a motorcycle!” I decided loudly.
“You’re not getting a motorcycle.” Lara popped my bubble.
“Why not?” I demanded.
“Because nobody in their right mind would let you have a motorcycle.”
“You have a point.”
“Yes.”
“No.”
“What?”
“How long does it take a giraffe to throw up?”
Derek signaled Mark, who slapped me.
“Ow.” I complained, looking up at him.
He shrugged an apology.
Derek started on his next question. “Did you ev-”
“Your head looks like a square.”
“What?”
“A really cool square.”
The face on the square head gave me a really weird look.
“Look out for the Gabta!” I yelped and ducked.
A huge fireball blasted through the living room window and just missed Mark on its way through the next wall where it faded, showing us the bathroom. Another came in and suddenly everyone was yelling and moving around and Mark had the demon gun out again and Clara was rolling her eyes from the doorway and Lara had gotten the fire extinguisher and was aiming it at the window. I smacked my forehead.
“Look,” I cried, striding up to the smashed window. “I’m-” I ducked as another fireball burst toward me. “Hey!”
A Gabta stood on the front lawn of an English suburb, totally ruining the nice little garden around the nice little brick house.
“Ool ni copo mat! Tu masa rolle-” I cut the Gabta off.
“Met, popo nomiso capa role ria gfo w oh goihe!”
The Gabta considered me for a moment then held out his hand. I sighed, handing over my left shoe. He studied it for a moment, nodded and walked off down the street, passing a mother pushing a stroller. She probably saw something like a man holding his tiny dog.
“Blind.” I muttered, turning back to the destroyed living room.
The fireball I’d ducked had taken out the couch Derek had been sitting on.
“Sorry, I forgot to pay him.”
“You handed him a shoe.” Lara gasped.
“Duh.” What else was I going to pay a Gabta with?
I turned to climb out the broken window but Derek’s big hand came down on me again. I looked up at him and he shot me.

I woke up annoyed. Like, really annoyed. I mean, he’d shot me. I growled something that had once made some old lady faint and pushed myself off the floor. They hadn’t even bothered to move me out of the puddle of blood and brain matter. My blood and brain matter. I picked up the fire extinguisher that Lara had left behind and stalked into the kitchen. Everyone, except Clara, was there. Derek turned around, smiling. I hit him with the fire extinguisher. Hard. I mean, he’d shot me. Being shot hurts! Derek, big old, huge, oak tree Derek, crumpled to the ground. For a moment I worried that I’d killed him but he was breathing. I’d just broken his nose and he might have to see a dentist.
“I want an apology!” I yelled. “And tea! I want an apology and tea!”
I waited.
“Don’t stand there gaping! Apology and tea now! Especially tea! With sugar and honey, no, not honey! I hate honey in tea! Just sugar!”
Everyone muttered an apology for getting me shot in the head and Jeannie put the kettle on. I sat in a chair, putting the fire extinguisher on the table in front of me and glaring at everyone. There was blood on the fire extinguisher, I noticed, quite a bit of it. I spared Derek another glance, seeing that he was still alive. Yet to decide if this was a good thing or not, I considered the blood for a few more moments.
After tea I had a shower.
Jeannie had explained that Derek had just wanted to see me come back to life but I still took her shoes, leaving my single one behind. I bid them all good day and walked out the front door. It was easy this time because after I’d been shot in the head by their ‘leader’ nobody felt like they had the right to stop me from walking through a door.
That was boring. I mean, really. I’d been shot in the head loads of times. I’d also had fireballs shot at me loads of times. What I wanted was a banshee. A really cool one. I wanted a banshee that could make fish fingers.



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