How High


The concrete wall was rough and hard behind her back, pressing into her skin as Vesper leaned around the corner, her gun drawn. The space in the middle of the warehouse was dimly lit and cavernous, the roof seeming to continue up forever, ending in blackness. None of the lights were on and only the moonlight filtering through the vertical windows on one side of the building lit the room, forming slanted bars of light across the crates stacked in a maze throughout the empty building.

Behind her, Dalia sniffed. Vesper turned around to shoot a glare in her partner's direction before nudging the door she was hiding behind open a little more with her foot. Dalia had complained the whole way over to the mark site about not being able to eat dinner first. Breakfast would be more appropriate, but there was no logic when it came to the skinny blonde girl's stomach.

A flutter of wings in the center of the open area abruptly snatched Vesper's attention, but as soon as she focused on the offending flying creature it disappeared into the dark, flapping up into the dense black air-space. A squeak followed the whoosh of the wings, but there was no further suggestion that the animals inhabiting the warehouse knew of the two intruders on the ground. Vesper relaxed her shoulders and took her finger off the trigger.

She slipped through the doorway and into the warehouse, Dalia on her heels, and immediately stepped into the deeper darkness on the left side of the door, keeping close to the wall so that she wouldn't be discovered prematurely. The Glock in her hands was itching to jump into the fight, seeming to heat up in an attempt to spur Vesper into action…or maybe that was all her imagination and she just really wanted to shoot something. She took one step toward satisfying her craving, nodding Dalia to the right and beginning the circle around the large group of boxes standing in her way. Dalia made a perfect mirror of her progress around the other side of the room.

Vesper's eyes stayed locked to the ceiling, now adjusted to the thick darkness, watching the black, swooping figures up near the roof. She'd seen plenty of this type of myth before, they're bat-like wings and ugly, scrunched-up, human-esque faces plenty familiar enough to allow her to identify them easily. Harpies. Annoying, loud, airborne mythical creatures, that had a tendency to gouge innocent civilians eyes out if provoked. Frequently, without being provoked.

She also knew them to have three or four inch long talons on their bird-like legs. This fact explained the precautions that she and Dalia were taking with the swarm above them. Vesper counted six, maybe seven moving about. Who knew how many were sleeping or sitting motionless.

Dalia gave her a little wave from the other end of the row of crates, inspiring an eye-roll. The girl was always so damn happy, sometimes it got a little out of hand. Vesper spared one last glance at her partner before focusing her attention back on the harpies, raising her gun above her head and taking aim at a slowly gliding mutant bird creature. She pressed her side against the wooden box, preparing herself to use it as cover when the retaliation came, and placed her finger lightly against the trigger.

The gun was as rock-steady as her heart-rate, her elbows locked and ready for the recoil. Her sighted harpy did a little loop before spinning back around to continue in its useless path, Vesper keeping the imaginary dot of her aim securely on its bald head. The Glock was almost humming with unreleased tension.

The sudden blast of gunfire echoed off the high ceiling, joined by screeches and screams from the harpies, all now in frantic flight. One harpy, though, fell quickly to the ground, hitting with a nasty crunch, a small hole through its skull, straight through its temples.

The flock of enraged myths sighted both Vesper and Dalia at the same time and set its sights immediately on their blood. Vesper stabilized her gun again, re-aiming and setting her eyes unflinchingly on the wave of monsters descending.

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