A Necessary Evil

Last week of August, 202X
San Francisco, California
Loop #3

A 'Succubus.' That's what people called her. Karla Anne Howard slid off the lap of an unconscious man, sprawled out across his sofa. She fluffed her skirt then tugged at the hem to free it of wrinkles. She snatched up her underwear and pulled them up her legs. Her vibrant green eyes panned across the apartment then stopped on the unconscious tryst, sleeping on the couch. A grin tugged at the corner of her pink-painted lips.

Karla reached for her handbag, shouldered it, and then walked into the nearby bathroom; she fumbled for a light switch. With a sigh of content, she placed her handbag on the counter and inspected herself in the reflection. "You've still got it, girl," she murmured with a Cheshire smile.

Karla ran her fingers back through her canary blond locks, then tugged at her V-neck collar. Satisfied it lined up with the canyon of cleavage she displayed, the sex demon leaned forward and kissed the mirror, leaving a pink hued imprint.

She retrieved perfume from her purse and spritzed it beneath the hem of her skirt. The demoness gathered her belongings, shouldered her handbag and lifted her left hand. It began to incandesce with a soft carnation glow, just beneath the skin of her palm. Her emerald eyes flitted and she drew in a deep breath… In the blink of an eye, the young woman disappeared.

Seconds later, Karla reappeared in an alley just outside of the apartment building. She smoothed the lay of her clothes again then withdrew a small tablet computer from the handbag and thumbed the screen to life. She began walking down the street while picking up from where she left off in a novel.

She turned the corner at an intersection then groused under her breath, "That's not how a real vampire would talk. Who writes this crap?" Her eyes continued to the bottom of the screen then she thumbed the side, flipping to the next digital page. "Killed by a succubus? Jesus." Karla shook her head and sighed. "I've never killed anyone with sex. Where do these people come up with this stuff?"

The ring of a cell phone shook her from her reverie. She put the tablet back into her handbag and pulled a headband from its place then put it over her eyes and said, "Okay, Glass; answer call."

The Google Glass headset was built into transitional sunshades, tinted in white. The bone-induction speaker pressed against the skin behind her ear. A soft chirp played as the phone connected to the caller. She answered with a practiced semi-stoic tone. "Vinnie's Vibrators – we put the buzz in the fuzz – Vinnie speaking, how can I help you?"

"Karla? Are you ever serious?"

She smiled, recognizing the voice. "Methos! How rare is it that you call me? Goodness. To what do I owe the honor?"

"Rare, yes… Well, you're not exactly on good terms with anyone else in our so-called community, Karla. You use your abilities in public and you have a blatant disregard for authority. Not to mention everyone in this sect thinks you're overly promiscuous."

Karla balked. Her vibrant green gaze lifted to the block of glass on the corner of the headband, making eye contact with the man on the other line. "Methos… you know I'm a succubus. A quote-un-quote sex demon. I kinda' need sex to stay immortal. I'm proud of my proclivities."

The man on the other end of the line sighed. "We need to eat food to live, yet some people are gluttons who gorge themselves every chance they get. You don't need that much sex to stay immortal."

She scoffed with a roll of her eyes. "You used to like it."

"Karla…" Methos cringed over the glass video display in her eyepiece.

"Okay, okay." She smiled then cut her gaze forward, making her way down one of the many streets of San Francisco, California. "To what do I owe the honor of you calling me?"

"First of all, shouldn't you be going to that meeting called by the Grand Justicar of North America?"

"I'm on my way, relax. I'm just walking off a quick snack. Why would you call me about that? You never call me out of the blue – so tell me what's going on."

"Karla… I just learned that there was a meeting called by that same Justicar for fifteen locations across the city all at the same time. And between all fifteen, it covers every member of the Esoteric Community in the tri-county area. There's no way that Reinhardt St. Leonard can be in fifteen places at the same time."

The succubus faked a yawn. "Methos, he's one of three people in the whole damn world that has the ability of astral projection. Of course he can be in fifteen places at the same time. The only thing I don't understand is… why am I invited to a meeting? The sect refers to me as a 'pariah'. They wouldn't want anything to do with me."

"I've been looking into this all night. Since I found out yesterday, in fact. I only just learned that you were invited. That's a red flag. So is having fifteen meetings all at the same time. So I looked into it further – turns out that there are meetings scheduled all across the globe, all at the same time. Every supernatural being that I can account for has been invited to a meeting point nearest to their home. The encrypted server with the link takes your IP Address, determines where the closest meet point is, and gives you directions to a speakeasy. Why would anyone want to have every supernatural across the globe off the street at the same time?"

Karla drew quiet. "Okay, when you word it like that… it sounds suspicious. Why call me?"

"Because everyone else I've called isn't answering their phone. You're the seventh person. Steven and I weren't invited. Nathaniel wasn't invited and had no clue about the meetings."

The demoness smiled inwardly. "Nathaniel Carrington is an old man – he probably forgot to check his email or something. I'll let you know what's going on as soon as I get there, okay?"

"Just hurry. I have a bad feeling about this."

"Yeah. Just chill out."

"I've decided I'm going to change my identity soon. You should change your last name as well, Karla. Remember not to mention me when you arrive at the meeting."

She smirked. "Yeah, yeah, I don't want people to judge you for being friends with the psycho slut demon. God forbid your reputation is tarnished." She cleared her throat then said, "Okay, Glass! End call." The Google Glass headband went dark in the corner display. She eased the headband from over her eyes and dropped them back into her purse. "Okay, let's see." She began counting the alleys, looking for the oddly obscure address.

Something halfway down one of the alleys caught her attention. The sound of a woman crying. Two men, standing on either side of the lady, appeared to be keeping her pinned to a brick wall. Karla clenched her teeth and set off down the alley. "Hey! Dickheads! Leave that girl alone!"

One of the men turned around and pointed a gun back at Karla. "Oh, you walked down the wrong backstreet tonight, bitch. You should'a minded your own business."

With a huff of indignation, Karla waved her left hand. The man's gun jerked up from his grip and struck him against his jaw. The strike connected so hard that he lurched up off his feet, glanced off the alley wall and flopped down onto the concrete, motionless. She stepped over him, approaching the other man, who appeared unarmed.

With a narrowed gaze, the succubus gestured towards the woman against the wall then hooked her thumb back. "Take a hike, sister. I'll handle these two dumbasses." Karla held her hand up towards the other man, "Don't you dare move until she's gone." As soon as the woman disappeared from the alley, Karla cracked her knuckles. "Let's make this quick. I have an appointment to keep." With a smirk, she pursed her carnation painted lips.

Her manicured, lacquered nails shined in the illumination of a street light by the mouth of the otherwise dark alley. She ran her fingers back through her blond locks and tucked an errant strand behind her right ear. A grin tugged at the corner of her lips, eyes gleaming with mirth and delight.

"Who the hell are you, kid?" he asked. "You're like… fifteen years old – how do you think you can come down here and…"

"You blind? Didn't you just see what I did to your friend?"

He glanced at the guy on the ground. The man cut his eyes back at Karla. "He tripped."

The sex demon sighed in frustration. She reached for the weapon and it scooted across the concrete then flew up into her palm. The man's eyes widened in shock.

Karla drew her hand away from the weapon. However, the pistol remained aloft, floating in place as though suspended by strings. The blonde puppeteer wiggled her fingers; the slide of the handgun detached from the pistol. The magazine slid from the butt of the handle. Next, the chambered round floated above the gun. A rail, a spring and the barrel moved away from the core frame of the Beretta.

"All these parts just to make a more efficient killing device. Interesting, hmm?"

"Lady please," he pleaded. "Please."

"Please what?"

He offered little more than hushed tones. "Please… please don't kill me."

"I'm not a sadistic pervert like you." She paused and smiled once more. "I take that back. I'm definitely perverted; just not sadistic." Karla cut her gaze to the left, quick to notice the other man getting to his feet behind her.

She watched the shadow on the wall; the man behind her picked up a piece of wood and lifted it high. "You're friend must be so strong; he can pick up a busted piece of a skid." she said with a grin, keeping her eyes on the shadow, which moved across the wall. "Wow. That is so impressive. Did I ever mention that I'm suffering from cratolagnia right now?" Karla chuckled inwardly.

She thrust her left hand towards the mouth of the alley, palm held outwards. The forty-five caliber round, suspended above the hovering gun, changed direction. With a mere thought, inertia suddenly powered the bullet. It flew to the left and struck the owner of the incoming shadow.

The man stopped in his tracks and released the wood board. It clattered on the concrete. He dropped to his knees with an empty accusing glare. The fatally wounded man keeled over to the right, ushered a subtle groan of pain, and died.

She pointed at the dead man. "See your friend? See the blood gushing out of his head? Look at him." She reached her right hand forward and took the first man by his greasy hair. "I said LOOK at him!" Karla forced the man to look at the dead body. "I once dropped a gallon of milk at the supermarket. It broke on the floor. I remember watching the milk gush across the tiles, filling in the grout like a dairy flood. See him bleeding out? See him?"

"Y-Yes," he replied, his voice barely above a whisper.

Karla leaned close and sneered. "Apparently a person's head holds a lot more blood than a jug does milk." She released the man's hair. He turned away, cowering against the wall. The corner of Karla's mouth tugged into a grin once more. "Control your hormones. Else you're next." She lowered her right hand. The pieces of the Beretta clattered to the pavement.

The succubus glanced at a ring watch on her left middle finger with a wanton sigh. "You've made me late for my appointment." She casually waved her left hand. The man against the wall fell over from an unseen force. "Or maybe it's just me since watches don't seem to agree with me." She placed the kitten heel of her shoe against the man's forehead. "If I see you misbehaving again, I'll drive this stiletto through your eye, pal. Capicé?"

Karla picked up her purse and stepped into the darkness of the alley. The man watched as she seemingly disappeared into the gloom. She emerged at the far end of the alley, turned the corner and continued walking. She glanced about herself furtively, then, in the blink of an eye, disappeared once more. Karla reappeared at the end of the block and sauntered into another obscured alley.

The flaxen female opened her purse and waved her palm over the top. A fashionable pair of flats exchanged places with the heels she wore, making it difficult to close the purse. She wiggled her toes in the new pair of shoes then sighed long and loud to calm her nerves.

She continued through the dark and stopped in front of an unmarked door. The young woman placed her hands at the bottom of her blouse and gave a gentle tug to free it of wrinkles then she closed her fingers over the hem of her black knee-length skirt and gave another slight tug. She ran her fingers back through her hair then licked her lips. Satisfied, she opened the door and stepped within, leaving her handbag on the floor.

Inside the building, eight motionless people lay strewn across the floor around a mahogany table. Wooden chairs lay on their sides adjacent to the bodies.

Karla ground her teeth together. A moue of disgust marred her delicate porcelain visage. "Methos was right. Dammit."

Without warning, a body flew into the main room and crashed into the wooden table. A black mass covered the man's throat, which matched the black fatigues and gear vest he wore. The man kicked his legs wildly, reaching to the strange shade-like object around his neck.

A well-dressed gentleman casually strolled from the hallway with a relaxed gait. He turned to Karla and offered a smile. "Good, for a moment I worried they killed all of us."

She blinked with incomprehension. "What the hell is going on here?"

He waved his hand. The shadows cast on the floor under the table came out from beneath the furnishing, wrapped around the man's arms and legs and lifted him up evenly on all sides. The suit-clad gentleman approached and told her, "This mercenary and his friends attacked the meeting without provocation. I've subdued the other four in the back room. Let's find out why he wanted to kill us."

Karla cut her gaze to the man suspended by living tendrils of shadow, then her eyes flitted back to the man in the suit. "I'm Karla Anne Howard, by the way." She folded her arms beneath the swell of her ample bosom and approached the shadow-shrouded soldier. "I've already seen my share of blood tonight, jerk. I was supposed to meet with these people you've killed." She paused, frowned then glanced back over her shoulder at the suited man. "How'd his team pull it off anyhow? We're talking elite supernatural people; some who have lived twice as long as an average person. What happened?"

The gentleman adjusted his tie then approached Karla. "I'm Donovan Loupe," he said, pronouncing his last name like, 'loop,' adding, "With an 'e' on the end. I believe they enlisted the aid of someone with an intimate understanding of supernatural society members. When the doors flew open, I recessed into the shadows beneath the table."

He reached his hand out. A tentacle of shade brought the remains of a flashbang grenade and placed the metal container in his palm. "I saw this device skittering across the floor and recognized it. I shifted into my tenebrous form; a sniper round passed through me. Several other shots rang out together. You came in late while I attacked the team that killed the eight other sect representatives." Donovan dropped the flashbang shell and waved his hand at the mercenary. A thin layer of shade peeled back from the soldier's mouth. "Who sent you?"

"Aris Falcon," the man replied from within the cocoon of tangible shadow. "Ten dead freaks. I know all about you people. You manipulate the rest of the world with your God Damned powers. You types own the Rothschild and Rockefeller families; some of you are behind the ebb and tide of everything from religion to money to political power. If you ask me, it was people like you who allowed things like Nine-Eleven to happen, you filthy mother fu-"

Donovan replaced the shade strip over the man's face again. "Mercy me." He turned to Karla and tilted his head. "They're quite delusional, my dear. I'd thought the world rid itself of these silly crusaders by the start of the industrial age."

Karla sighed. She motioned with a delicately manicured hand for Donovan to allow the mercenary to speak once more. "Okay, so who is this guy, 'Aris Falcon' and why did he order an attack? Furthermore, how'd he know about this meeting?"

Loupe peeled back the strip of shadow from the soldier's face, again.

"He's a scientist who is funded by private sectors; backed by multiple governments around the globe. He studies freaks like you on the genetic level and he's going to kill all of you."

Karla swore under her breath.

Donovan furrowed a brow and glanced at her again. "Such a vituperative outburst, young lady?"

She cut her sea-green gaze over at the man with the tie. "Who even talks like that… vituperative outburst - really?" To her question, Donovan shook his head. She grinned then continued, "Anyway… C'mon. Don't you know anything about cliché stories with 'good' facing off against 'evil,' and all that nonsense? Haven't you read books? Watched cinemas or televised programs?" After each question, he shook his head. Karla groaned. "Haven't you listened to fictional radio stories? Anything?"

"What's your point, Miss Howard?"

Karla offered a dull glare. "He just told us everything we wanted to know. Either he's lying or he thinks we're going to die soon, which means he has backup. When his team doesn't report in, the so-called Calvary will come crashing through the doors with serious firepower. That's how this crap works."

"Then we should leave now so we can warn the sects about this Falcon fellow." Donovan adjusted the knot of his tie once more then brought his right hand to his left forearm.

Karla watched him toy with a cufflink then she glanced back at the mercenary. "Okay, mister… since you're so confident that you're going to win, where can I find this guy, Aris Falcon?"

"Go to hell, bitch."

She rolled her eyes. "Oh boy. This guy is a trip. Donovan was it? We should leave immediately. Forget about this loser and we'll roll out."

The door at the opposite side of the table blew inwards. The wooden door skittered across its spine then slammed into the table. Karla and Donovan glanced up where the empty hinge plates swayed free in the doorframe. An obscuring miasma of fog rolled into the room. Karla narrowed her gaze. "Mist? Seriously? That's cliché, too. Who are these morons?"

Ten soldiers dashed into the room. Two of them held metallic cylinders with a small blue flame at the tip. Donovan closed his hand into a fist. "Oh hell." He clenched his fist tightly. The shadow cocoon crushed the mercenary at the center of the room. The tar-like shade muffled the brief scream then the body dropped to the floor. Donovan sprinted for the back hall and held both hands up. A wall of shadow came from beneath the table at the center of the room, blocking the men that poured in through the front door.

The back door, leading to the alley, flew open. Its doorknob punched through the wall near where it was mounted at the frame. Five more men dashed in with silenced submachine guns. The flash-suppressed barrels bucked with a spray of rounds.

Karla's palms illuminated in a soft carnation hue. The incoming bullets came to a midair stop in front of her aloft hand. She paused to examine the floating ammunition. "Nine millimeter rounds?" She waved her hand outward and the rounds telekinetically flew back in the direction from which they came. The bullets connected with the armored vests of the gunmen. The five attackers crashed to the floor with one clutching at his throat. Blood bubbled up between his fingers and ran down the front of his black uniform.

"You would stay and fight them?" Donovan asked from the hallway. "We should go!"

"I'm pissed off," she snapped in return. "Go warn whoever. I'll take care of this."

Donovan returned to the main room. "I won't let you fight them alone. Come, we should go; we can worry upon them anon. They're trained to fight people like us."

"I've heard that before." A roar of sound caused Karla to glance towards the front of the room. Flames punched through the wall of shadow.

"You're a succubus, correct? I don't know what your weakness is, but mine is flame." He turned to the two men with the flamethrowers and made two fists. Shadows rose up from beneath the men and stifled the front of the flamethrowers. He tensed his body and narrowed his gaze then ground his teeth together.

Karla glanced over at him. "You're struggling, shadow man?"

Donovan spoke as if under the duress of heavy weights. "It's not quite as easy as cutting the oxygen from around a candle, Miss Howard!" Sweat trickled down the side of his face.

"Oh goodness," Karla sighed. "We don't have time for this drama." She waved her left hand and both flamethrowers disappeared. They reappeared jutting out of the men who once wielded them. The two men fell to the floor, twitching briefly. "What a shame." Karla's body disappeared from besides Donovan Loupe. She reappeared at the center of the remaining eight men and thrust her palm into the nearest attacker. Her strike, amplified by telekinesis, sent the man into two more, which bowled over all three.

The demoness smiled at another mercenary, reached to the right and touched a single lacquered fingernail against the barrel of his pistol. "Oh, and you're just a doll-face, sweetie. Sorry, but this will hurt." The chambered bullet exploded from the back of his gun and pierced the gunman's body armor. He dropped to his knees, favoring his gut. Karla reached down and patted his cheek. "You're adorable, so I decided to spare your face, sweetness."

A soft pink glow started at her chest, muted by the fabric of her blouse. Her arms, forearms and palms incandesced. She thrust both her hands out in two directions and hurled the remaining four men into the far left and far right walls. "I don't have time for this mess. I mean… they brought flamethrowers? Really? Overkill, if you ask me."

Donovan drew a handkerchief from the breast pocket of his blazer. "They assumed me to be the last man standing." He pressed the folded cloth against his forehead. "They knew mine weakness. Had they turned this room into a structure fire, I wouldn't be able to escape nor would I be able to stifle said flames. I don't know how they intended to deal with you."

Karla furrowed a single brow at him in regard to his odd speech pattern. "The flashbang," she murmured. "I can't control anything if I can't see it. My abilities of teleportation and telekinesis may be focused through my arms and hands but without my sight I can't fight back."

"Then you're lucky you were late because such was their first move." Donovan adjusted his tie again. "NOW will you leave?"

She smirked in reply then walked back to the rear entrance. "Are you boys going to fight to your deaths, too? Or can you send a message to Aris Falcon for me?"

The man who'd taken a bullet in the throat earlier appeared dead. The other four looked up from trying to resuscitate him. The one closest to Karla pulled a handgun and pointed it at her. She grimaced. "I'm disappointed," she told them then waved a finger. One of the bullets in the magazine shot from the handle of the weapon. It burst from the gunman's gloved hand and raced towards Karla then stopped in midair and turned about. She caught it between her thumb and forefinger then flicked it aside carelessly. The man's shout of pain came simultaneous to the round bouncing across the floor.

One of the soldiers quickly pulled his teammate's hand aside and started to wrap overtop his glove with a cloth. The other two stood up quickly, hands outstretched and empty. "Whoa, wait," said one of them, "Just tell us your message."

"Christ," said the other, coming to his feet, "You… you look like you're a kid." He licked his lips apprehensively then added, "I, uh, think my sixteen year old daughter might actually be older than you."

"I look younger than I am," Karla said, eating up the compliment with a smile. "Now… Tell your boss that Karla Howard is going to find him and telekinetically drive every-single-one of his teeth up into his skull." She pressed her hands together and cracked her knuckles. The display offered a lackluster result, a mere three pops from her fingers.

"We don't take orders from you, witch."

"Oh, how about that," she sneered in reply. "Your intelligence sucks, too. I'm not a witch, dumbass. I'm a female demon. Get your facts straight. A succubus. I'm a demoness that lives on the life energy of sex from her victims. Did that jerkoff, Falcon, really send you guys in to fight people you know nothing about? Seriously?"

The injured man getting his hand wrapped jumped up, using his free hand to pull another gun. He fired immediately, but he, along with everyone in the doorway disappeared. The bullet struck the wall at the back of the room, harmlessly.

"I put them on the rooftop, two buildings over." Karla picked up her designer handbag from the floor adjacent to the rear entrance and shouldered it. She turned back to Donovan with a smile. "Mister Loupe, I admire your ability to control shadows but… my dear good sir, you were just saved by a girl."

"Indeed I was. Know that I am grateful for it. I'm going to follow them."

"How?"

"I'll assume the shadow of one of them and stay underfoot to see where he goes. I'll find you soon and let you know where this Aris Falcon character is located."

She shook her head and held a hand out. "No, no, wait. Don't go. C'mon, I've seen this cheesy B-movie already. This is how it'll work: They report to the boss on a webcam or over an encrypted cellphone from a secure area. They won't meet him in person; lowlife types like this don't do that sort of thing in this day and age. Plus there're middlemen to manage the gap that Falcon will put between himself and his lackeys. Don't even waste your time."

"But…"

"Just relax." She approached Donovan and reached for his tie then adjusted it for him. "And stop playing with your Windsor. You're not coping well with this attack. Just calm down."

He nodded and motioned for her to follow. "We need to locate this man and find out why he's attacking supernatural people." He headed into the hallway at the far end of the room and walked down to a bathroom. He opened the door and walked to a nearby sink then thrust his hands beneath it.

Karla watched the way he washed his hands, pushing his thumbs into his palms as if trying to wash off unseen caked-in grime. He reached for the soap dispenser, drenched his hands in the frothy foam liquid then began lathering it over his skin.

"Did it bother you to kill that mercenary?" she asked.

His expression dimmed and his voice lowered. "It's not the first life I've taken," he replied, adding, "I detest killing. It makes me feel… unclean. Unwholesome, tarnished, and sullied on the deepest level."

"Listen, Mister Loupe, take it from a sex demon… when you kill in self-defense, you're not 'defiling your soul'. I can taste the difference. Self-preservation is at the core of human instinct. People will fight to preserve everything from their own life, to their reputation, to their family and heritage. People fight to preserve their beliefs and their…"

"Just stop," he snapped then frowned. "Sorry. I didn't mean to raise my voice to a lady."

Karla offered a brilliant smile. "Aren't you a sweetheart. But seriously, I'm no lady. I'm attractive, yes, but that's a genetic trait that helps me survive."

Donovan continued to scrub his hands under the water. "I'm not sure I follow."

"If I go a week without sex, oral or penetration, I become sick. If I go two weeks, I start to die. I feed on the life energy found in sexual juices; gender doesn't matter. I'm a succubus and that's how we're designed. If I was ugly and I couldn't get laid… I would die. So physical beauty is a genetic trait to help me live."

He leered at her momentarily. "How does one gain sustenance from bodily fluids?"

"I don't know the science behind the magic," she retorted. "I just know that my kind needs it to live or we die. Yes, I eat actual food, too. Look, you're obviously uncomfortable with this topic. Let's talk about getting out of here and finding a way to protect ourselves in the future, Mister Loupe."

"Just… Donovan," he said. "Where are you headed tonight?"

"I have a house in San Leandro. Where are you headed, Donovan?"

"I live in San Francisco. We do not know the extent of their intelligence files. It would be best if we did not return to our normal places of residence tonight."

Karla licked her lips with a devious grin. "Fine. You're right. Let's get a hotel so we can watch each other's back. We'll need to weigh our options then we'll need to contact one of the other sects and spread the word about this guy, Falcon." She noted the way he eyed her and smiled brilliantly in return. "Come now, I won't hurt you. Hell, I might just give you the most gorgeous sleep you've ever had, though."

"I'm not interested."

Karla offered a playful grin. "In women or in me?"

"In you. You look too young for my taste."

"Yet I was born in the Stuart era. I emigrated from Wales to America in 1632." She linked her arm with his and, with but a thought, she teleported them into the alley outside. They began walking together. "Donovan, stay near so I can protect you. Do not go to any other supernatural people tonight."

"Why not?"

She rested her head on his shoulder. "Because if these men are attacking multiple people from multiple sects all at the same time, you might be walking in on another attack. Just lay low until tomorrow. I've seen this sort of thing before. When the village wants to flush out every witch in town, they attack every suspect on the same night at the same time. They deputize a bunch of young, strong, trustworthy boys. They kick in ten doors at the same time and have an enormous public burning."

"Then I guess the hotel is our only option."

A smile spread across her lips. "Exactly. I'm older than you, aren't I?"

"Actually, yes. I was born in 1805 to wealthy parents vacationing through Prague."

"Gergian era, huh? Mmm, I remember those days." Her smile changed to a sly grin and her eyes sparkled with the mirth of fond memories. "But, to be honest, some of my best times were in the Victorian era. Anyway. Go on," she goaded.

"They died in a house fire when I was attending Oxford. I finished my final year in Cambridge then I moved to Massachusetts in America and, with many others during the Gold Rush, came out to California when a travel caravan presented itself. Interesting. Most supernatural people age normally. It's rare to find someone ageless like myself."

"I stopped aging halfway through adolescence. Puberty is strange for a succubus," she replied. "I suppose I appear somewhere between fourteen and fifteen years old, albeit a little over-developed in the chest, yes? When's the last time you've experienced the comforts of a woman?"

"We've only just met," he replied. "It seems trite to speak of such things to a woman, regardless." He paused and, when she didn't speak, he sighed. "Three years."

Karla's smile broadened. "You poor dear."

X


X

Karla casually inserted the keycard then pulled it back out and opened the door.

"Can't you just teleport us inside the room?" asked Donovan.

"And what if something was out of place in the hotel room?" Karla gestured him inside then followed him in and shut the door. "I'd hate for one of us to re-materialize just on the other side of that door with a chair sticking out of our knee. Oh, I can see it now… The Chronicle would claim that the Navy Yard was 'degaussing' a ship in the bay and a sailor's leg wound up half-embedded in a Millbrae hotel chair. No thank you."

Donovan eyed her suspiciously. "I'm not sure I follow the joke."

She sighed with a roll of her eyes. "The Philadelphia Experiment? The USS Eldridge? Project Rainbow?"

He shook his head then shrugged his shoulders.

Karla offered a pleasant smile. "It's okay. Everyone else was focused on the war at the time; it became pop culture after the book hit the shelves decades later. Now…" She locked the door and the deadbolt then walked to the bathroom with her fingers crossed. "I swear I had nothing to do with that incident, by the way." Karla reached for the bathroom door then changed her mind and left it open. She approached the mirror, touched up her hair with her hands then removed her blouse.

Donovan moved into the doorway and quirked a brow at her. "One bed?"

Karla furrowed her brows in a similar fashion with a matching smirk. "One bed." She turned back to the mirror and reached behind herself. She unclasped each hook of her bra then placed it on the sink counter and brought her hands up to gently rub and scratch her nails underneath her breasts then over the top. "Keep an eye across the way. If the 'men in black' show up knocking on the door at the far end, we'll know they're trying to track us."

"You rented one room across the way on credit card and this one in cash?"

Karla smirked and shook her head. "No. I'm breaking a habit and I signed the paper for this room under a fake name, darling." She shimmied her body out of her skirt then kicked it up and put it on the bathroom counter with her bra and blouse. "Donovan, I sleep in the nude, dear. That doesn't bother you, does it?"

"I'm not shy of women, Miss Howard."

"Please, just Karla. I'm glad you're okay with this." She slipped from her panties then gathered her clothing into her arms and walked past him. She laid out her clothes neatly on a nearby recliner then snapped her fingers. Donovan's blazer, dress shirt and dress pants appeared on an adjacent lounge chair, laid out neatly with his tie draped over the backrest. "Oh, cute! Boxer-briefs! Isn't that adorable!"

He eyed her again, moving alongside the mattress towards his clothes. "They're just underwear, Karla. And I do not sleep in a state of undress."

"But cute none-the-less," she said with a smile. She approached him then placed her palms on his chest and gave a gentle shove. He dropped onto the mattress, propped up on one elbow. "I'm not quite sure this is going to work out. I'm not accustomed to a woman being so forward."

She gazed down at him. Her bangs slid forward, partially obscuring her left eye. With a coquettish smile, Karla placed her left hand on his chest, trailing her fingertips downwards over his washboard stomach. "Solid. I like what I see. If you like the coy, demure female… well, I suppose I can play that way, too. I know a man sometimes likes to be the one to chase, to feel like he has control of the situation. But I'm starving."

"It's just… I don't even know you. It's like we're rushing into things. It's awkward."

"Oh, sweetheart, I'm not asking you to have sex with me," she told him. "If you wanted to, that would be fine. I just… want a taste." She dropped down to her knees at the edge of the bed, and moved on all fours until she was between his ankles then she placed her palms on his thighs and closed her teeth over the front of his boxers, giving a playful tug on them. "Just… a taste. You'll let me, won't you?"

X


X

"We think the last two are holed up together." The man handed the binoculars to a woman in her mid-twenties. She ran her fingers back through her vibrant blue hair then took the binoculars and gazed through them.

"This is the room the demoness uses all the time?"

"She's never rented any other room at this hotel. We think the shadow master is with her. We checked the jewelry shop he owns but he isn't there. Do you want us to call Volunteer 606?"

The woman looked back from the binoculars and said, "They're the worst firefighters in the city. They let the fire get out of control then it takes half the city's emergency response teams to contain it."

The mercenary frowned. "Miss Monroe, that's their job. They burn down buildings to kill supernatural beings for religious reasons. They've done this longer than our team and they're good at it. Other than the Pentagon's rumored supernatural studies division and TAPS, no one else even believes in the paranormal, let alone these so-called persons of interest."

Krys Monroe lowered the binoculars then handed them back to the mercenary. "Do you see how many cars are parked there? Aris Falcon is not paying us to kill everyone in Millbrae. If that sort of thing is traced back to him it would cause his funding to be pulled. We're discrete. We go in, we shoot them with silenced weapons, or we lure them somewhere quiet. We use a flamethrower on the jewelry store's owner, directly, then pull back and call the fire department. The real fire department. Fire is a last resort. Only if he changes form and we can't attack him. If he's not in his shadow form, he can be shot to death."

The mercenary opened a channel on his digital radio and said, "Shoot to kill orders. Fire is a last resort, and only if he goes non-corporeal. Move into place and hold your positions until further notice. We want to try and catch them sleeping. S-two, do you have thermal?"

Seconds later, the radio beeped then a voice came over the speaker. "The air conditioning unit beneath the window is putting off heat. I cannot tell if the Prince and Princess are in the castle. S-one and S-three have cross coverage of the door and window. We're ready to proceed at your order."

"Copy," said the mercenary. He turned to Monroe and told her, "We have three snipers on the door. We'd have to stun them and move in quickly. We also have two more snipers covering the lot just in case the girl tries to teleport. She won't hear the shots fired, so she won't be able to stop the rounds."

"Okay, it will have to do. I'm going to stop by the rental office and ask the boy at the desk if he's rented that room. If he refuses to answer, we'll use Primealine on the door, which will disorient whoever is inside. We'll rush in, identify them and shoot them with tranquilizer darts. If they're our targets behead them to be safe." Krys slipped out of the passenger seat of the black GMC Yukon and walked across the street. She opened the door to the lobby and stepped inside.

The squad leader brought his radio back to his lips and said, "All units stand by."

X


X

Karla dropped back onto the mattress adjacent to Donovan. She turned her head to face him and smiled at the sound of his deep breathing. Her eyes lowered then lifted, drinking in his masculine figure followed by a sigh of content.

She lifted her legs up into the air and kicked them back and forth, dazzled by the rush of the sexual high. She crossed her legs, tightly pressing her thighs together, then arched her back and curled her toes. The succubus licked her lips as if to try and consume the last vestiges of his offering.

She ran her hands up through her hair then sighed again. "I'm going to be hyper all night, now. Talk about pent up. Damn, boy." She paused, listening to his deep breathing. Karla sat up then quickly darted across the hotel room and into the bathroom. "Maybe I'll put the ole hair up and go for a jog." She licked her lips one last time then stretched. A mousey squeak escaped the back of her throat then she ran her fingers through her hair, again, this time shoving it up into a sloppy bun.

The hotel shook. She stumbled and put her hands against the nearest wall, with her other on the bathroom sink. A fine layer of plaster dust fell from the stucco ceiling. She moved into the doorway of the bathroom but perked her ears at the sound of a distant 'pop!' "Oh hell; that's no earthquake," she groused then disappeared.

Karla reappeared by the window and peered out across the way. Several black uniforms dashed into the room she typically rented as habit, across the way. "Oh those bastards." She turned back to the bed where Donovan slept. Karla snapped her fingers and the clothes that were laid out on the recliner appeared draped across his body.

The succubus teleported each article of her own clothing into her hands then onto her body. Next, she adjusted the lay of the fabric. Finally, she pulled her panties up her legs, beneath the skirt then readjusted the hem with a smirk. "I'm going to…" The blonde trailed off into a string of softly spoken curse words. She slipped her feet into her flats then dematerialized.

Karla Howard appeared on the second floor balcony, overlooking the operation then disappeared again. She reappeared in the bathroom of the room the mercenary team was breaking into.

She stormed out of the dark room and stomped her foot into the nearest mercenary's gut. The demoness supercharged her kick with the full power of telekinesis, sending the man straight through a wall, into the adjacent suite. Somewhere in the background, she heard alarmed shouting but ignored it. From her blind spot, a gun moved into position level with her face.

With a sneer, she closed her left hand into a fist. The gunner's weapon pointed up against the bottom side of his chin. He strained in an attempt to redirect the weapon but the force behind its movement was overpowering. At the last second, he jerked his head away just as the pistol discharged. He cried out from the sound of the blast so close to his ear.

Karla jerked her hand from left to right, telekinetically pistol-whipping the gunman. He spun like a top, crashing into a LCD television mounted to the wall across from the bed.

She drew her foot back and kicked the bed. It lurched up and sailed into two other men by the door, pinning them to the wall. They dropped to the floor, atop the mattress, dazed. Howard opened her arms, throwing the two mercenaries in opposite directions. They each struck the facing wall and flopped unceremoniously to the carpeted floor, motionless.

With a set jaw, Karla stepped outside and opened her fists while tensing her body. A thin shimmering aura surrounded the demon's form. Three high caliber rounds struck the force bubble that she created around herself. The rounds froze solid, held in place by the semi-unseen dome. She glowered at the rounds. Each one turned about then she threw her arms outwards, sending all three bullets back in the direction from which they came.

At the top of the block, a large black SUV peeled out, heading for the main road. Karla teleported across the street, then teleported again, putting herself in the backseat of the vehicle. She reached around the driver from behind and covered his face with her arms. She then used the force of telekinesis to mash down the accelerator pedal. "WHY are you after me?"

Krys Monroe, in the passenger seat, pulled at the door handle but the door was held shut by an unseen force. The blue-haired woman quickly reached for her seatbelt and pulled it over herself. "You're goddamn crazy!"

Blaring horns screamed past the SUV. It shook furiously, hopping the curb and cutting across the grass island. It shook again, dropping down into the street, tearing across incoming traffic. "Last chance, bitch," sneered Karla. "Why are you after me?"

Krys Monroe gave one last tug on the door handle but nothing happened. "Because Aris Falcon wants to eliminate the competition. You people are in his way. Good bye, Andrea. I love you, baby." She relaxed her body, ready for impact.

Karla grinned at a parked Exxon tanker truck sitting in front of a fast food restaurant. "Competition for what?"

"I'm ready to die. She'll avenge me."

All at once, Krys Monroe found herself sitting on a curb on the side of the road. She looked up just in time to see the SUV slam into the fuel truck. She covered her face, expecting an explosion. The back end of the SUV lifted then dropped to the pavement, the front end crushed downwards, curling beneath the Yukon. The sound of shattering glass followed. Krys glanced up again then blinked at the large tear in the side of the Exxon truck.

Karla placed her hand on the back of Krys's neck. "Huh. That was anti-climatic. I guess it was empty. Your driver is still dead, though. He wasn't wearing his seatbelt. Tch, tch, tch. Now, tell me what I want to know or I will drop that truck right on your head."

"I'm doing what Falcon told me to do. You and all your precious little friends are going to die. Most of them should be gone by now, anyways."

The blonde snorted with laughter. "They're not my friends. Most of the supernatural society hates my guts. I'm a pariah. Know why? Because I don't give a crap about their stupid privacy rules. I don't care about their soccer-mom drama, their stupid little secret handshake… any of it."

"None of that shit concerns me, Karla Anne Chintzy. People like you stand in the way of what Aris Falcon wishes to do. So, phase one of his plan is to wipe you people out. Now kill me or get lost, cunt."

Karla moved around the side of the blue-haired woman and gawked at her. "Are you kidding me? Are you effing kidding me? I just saved your life from being mangled to hell in a car accident, and you're calling me a cunt?" She ran her fingers back through her hair, which dropped from the sloppy bun, spilling down her shoulders. "That's hot. Say it again. But say it like you mean it this time."

"You're not going to gross me out. I'm already on the team, Miss Chintzy."

"First of all," Karla laughed, "What the hell is up with everyone calling me 'miss' tonight? Second of all, I changed my last name back in the late nineties. I don't know where your intelligence is coming from but it sucks donkey dicks, honey. Last but not least, I want you alive to tell your boss I can't die."

"Listen, honey. You can die. If my team doesn't kill you then Falcon will do it, personally. But I sure hope he doesn't have to, because I want to be the one to cut your pretty little throat."

Silvery peals of laughter bubbled up from the succubus. Her giggling trailed off into soft tittering then she took a deep breath and sighed, shoving a wave of blond back with her left hand. "You failed. Your boy-toys failed. Let me show you just how miserable their attempt really was."

Karla pushed back the sleeves of her blouse. "Nothing up this sleeve! And nothing's up this one, either!" Suddenly two men appeared, lying in the middle of the street, their arms outstretched as if holding a rifle. A split second later, a tractor-trailer hit both men, killing the remaining two snipers. The eighteen-wheeler swerved, hitting the brakes and came to a stop. Karla teleported both broken bodies away then lowered to one knee adjacent to Krys Monroe. "I'm wired tonight. Don't toy with me, sister. I'll have you drawn and quartered."

"Your threats don't scare me, and you're certainly not the most powerful supernatural we've killed this week, alone."

Karla held her hands up, mock trembling in faux fear. "Oh, have mercy, you've killed my peers; you're so awesome!" She placed her fingertip against Krys Monroe's forehead. "Last chance, babe. Where's Aris Falcon and I'll settle this myself." Karla leaned forward, tapping her feet in an off-time rhythm on the pavement while shifting her rump on the curb.

"He'll find you and rip your head off. Shame, too… you have a pretty face. I can just imagine it covered in blood with your eyes rolled upwards and your tongue hanging out."

The demoness chuckled. "You're twisted. I've known some butch-ass lesbians in my time but you're…"

"Karla!"

Krys and Karla glanced back at the voice of Donovan. He appeared tired and somewhat disheveled. The succubus sighed. "Oh go back to bed, Donovan. You look exhausted after all I put you through." A grin tugged at the right corner of her mouth.

Monroe lowered her voice and mumbled, "Whore."

Karla leaned close and quietly replied, "Whores get paid, dipshit. I'm a connoisseur. Bitch."

"Connoisseur, huh? Drop the 'con' part; you're just a sewer." Krys ground her teeth together. "Slut."

"Cunt."

"Jezebel."

"Wow," Karla chuckled softly as Donovan continued his approach from across the street. "I haven't heard that one in a few decades… bimbo."

"Tart."

"Mm… Sweet, tart - eh, whatever. I'm delicious, regardless. …Fatty."

"You are so immature, and I'm only a hundred thirty pounds, cum dumpster."

"But you're kinda' short. I'm actually just really hyper tonight, you dumb twat. If you knew anything about the people you were hunting, you'd know that I feed on sex. Now shut up and don't embarrass yourself in front of my gentleman friend."

Krys ground her molars together. "Did it hurt when you fell from the whore-tree and banged every guy on the way down?"

Karla smirked. "Whores get paid by the job, I just told you that," she murmured in a discrete tone as Donovan approached the two. She smiled to him but spoke from the corner of her lips towards the adjacent blue-haired woman. "If your pimp, Mister Falcon, isn't paying you enough, then you need to have a talk with him instead of..." she trailed off and, with a bright smile, gestured to Krys Monroe. "Lookie what I got, Donnie boy."

Donovan approached the two and folded his arms. "Karla, it seems you've destroyed part of the hotel and caused a string of destruction that cuts a swath clear across the street. No doubt the police are en route."

"And! I caught the badguy," said Howard with a dainty preen. "T'dah!"

"Go eff yourself," murmured Monroe. She glanced up from where she sat on the curb, grimaced at Donovan then turned back to Karla. "You're a disgusting excuse of a woman who sleeps with people she doesn't even know. It's overpowered people like yourself that need to be killed. Not just because you're in our way but because you're a danger to society. Freak."

Karla kicked Krys in the hip with the side of her foot. "You're acting like a total douche in front of my new friend," she murmured so that only Krys would be able to hear it over the passing vehicles on the road. She cleared her throat then spoke aloud to Donovan, "Don't mind her. She's angry because she lost. You want to go grab some coffee? You look tired."

"I am tired. Exhausted. But this woman isn't wrong. You're a danger to the public if you're going to fling people about like fodder." He glanced up at the truck driver whose rig appeared jackknifed in the middle of the road. Cars continued to drive around it in the outer lane. "What did you do to the truck?"

"He, uh, probably thinks he had a blowout and hit the brakes," Karla replied. "Look, Donovan, I know I'm a little out there but my methods have worked for longer than you've been alive. I get a little silly after I feed. It's akin to doing gorilla fingers and drinking a pack of Jolt Cola… or Redbull, since that's what's popular these days. You know what I mean."

Donovan sighed. "Karla, I see the good in you. I see you want to help, but your methods are on the verge of being obnoxious. You're a beautiful young lady, well… figuratively, since you're twice my age, but you're capable of so much more. You really should live up to your potential. Flinging vehicles into each other and splattering mercenaries all over the place… that isn't helping things. You're bringing a spotlight to San Francisco. I need to lie low for a while. I'll speak to the other sects. You should keep your head down as well."

Karla replied with a mock pout. "Fine, fine. Do me a favor and do your little trick and keep an eye on our friend here, please?"

His eyes narrowed slightly. "I shall. But the police will be here at any moment. We shouldn't be here for questioning."

"Oh fine. Spoil-sport." Karla waved her hand. The trio disappeared. All three of them reappeared on the roof of a nearby Jack In The Box, overlooking the SUV and Exxon truck. Karla put her fists on her hips. "I was kinda' surprised the Valdez didn't blow up, down there in the parking lot." She turned back to Krys and Donovan. "Okay, I want you," she said to Monroe, "To tell that dude, Aris Falcon, that he's scorned the wrong woman. He tried to kill me and if I find him first he's going to die." She cut her eyes to Donovan. "Thanks for the snack earlier. Go get a good night's sleep. Sorry all the commotion woke you up."

Monroe got to her feet and reached for her Glock. "You wait, if I go free now, I'll personally come looking for you."

Karla groaned as if annoyed. She teleported the handgun into her hand, pointed it at Monroe then pulled the trigger. It bucked in her palm, sending a bullet through Krys' lower thigh, inches above her knee. Karla threw the weapon off the side of the roof then leaned over the woman who now lay on her side, holding her leg in pain. "Now you won't be in the field anymore. Time for a desk job, babe."

Donovan balled his hands into fists. "Karla, cowboy justice is going to bring down the wrath of the Chief Justicar. You can't go flaunting your abilities with every breath because it attracts attention!" He shook his head and said, "Stay out of the tabloids, please. I don't know how I haven't read about you up to this point but please keep your head down."

"Oh stop grousing. I'm having fun for a change," the succubus replied with a brilliant smile. She turned back to Krys and said, "Donovan said to let you go. Today is your lucky day. Or not." The blonde demoness walked to the edge of the rooftop and smiled. Karla's palm glowed. Krys Monroe disappeared. "Serves her right."

Loupe sighed once more in frustration. "What did you do with her?"

"I teleported her into our room with one of the guns from the parking lot. With that bullet in her thigh, she's not going anywhere. The cops will find her and arrest her for questioning, then process her. You can track her if you want. Thanks again for earlier. I appreciate your understanding. Sorry about the mess. I know you take this whole 'secret society' crap seriously and all. Where can I find you if I gather any information about this Aris Falcon character?"

"I own a jewelry shop." He reached into his pocket and withdrew a business card. "Stay out of trouble."

"We'll see." She lifted her hand and captured an errant lock of platinum then drew it back. A smile crossed her lips. "Donovan, if you find out where this Falcon character is operating out of… let me know."

"We'll be in touch," he replied. He approached an air conditioning unit set into the roof and moved around to the west side of it then dropped into the shadow cast by a light on the east side of the building.

"Hmm, I could go home and have my stupid reoccurring airplane dream I hate so much… or I could go out and find some Cali-boys looking to party. Decisions…"

Karla glanced at the small round face of the watch ring on her finger then smiled. "The night is still young and the bars are still open." The succubus held her hand out to the left; her palm incandesced with a light carnation glow. An expensive handbag appeared and she closed her fingers over the handle then shouldered the strap. "Ah, right where I left it. Good." Karla clapped her hands together, rubbed them furiously, and then disappeared.

X


X

Author's Note: Thanks for reading! This is chapter one of many to come. Feel free to scroll down a little more and leave feedback or some sort of review. I have the settings to allow for anonymous reviews from people that don't have a FictionPress account. Or, if ya do have one, then that's cool - log in first, write your review or comments and I PROMISE I'll reply to ya'! Thanks again for taking your valuable time to read my material. I appreciate it!

QPL #3 means "Quantum Paradox Loop number 3." More on that later.

ALSO! And this is very important! ANYTHING you read is SUBJECT TO CHANGE (and most likely will) between now and when this book is published! Thanks!