She watched as the women made ready their vehicle for departure. She’d been aware of them since the moment they’d entered town, and had taken precautions for at best hiding her presence, and at worst masking it. She wasn’t concerned if this one was tagging along with humans. She was doing the same, albeit using them as expendables. It had been easy to manipulate them into doing what she wanted and needed. God bless the predictability of humans. She’d used the misogynistic attitudes of her fellow law-enforcement officers to groom the human females into killing whoever she wanted.
Initially the elder lycan had looked on the shambling undead with worry as the humans had. They did nothing but interfere with her hunting. They were carnivores like her, and she didn’t like competition. However she came to look at them as excellent cover for her nocturnal excursions. It was glorious to hunt as she was meant to hunt. And the continuing collapse of the infrastructure was a god-send. Bloody brilliant. She had planned on keeping the women around as fodder for the immediate and as food for the long-term. And then the female lycan and the humans came.
Ricketts and the others had been very keen on killing the male police that had deigned to finally do the right thing. “Fuck protect and serve,” declared Ricketts, the most eager of the group. “What’ve they ever done for us? And the assholes in this precinct; fuck ‘em. ‘Oh, well. A good ass fucking will fix that attitude,’” she’d said in a mocking bass tone. “’Damn, woman. You on the rag or something?’ Heh. Showed them, didn’t we?” Ricketts had been most receptive to the idea and was very happy to convince the newer female members to join her. “Stupid,” muttered the elder female lycan as she watched Kelsey help Rance into the vehicle. She assumed the utterance was for both sets of women, and hadn’t meant it to be said aloud.
The female lycan was exiting the building when she paused suddenly and peered into the elder’s general direction. The elder narrowed her eyes and mentally snarled. The elder had heard her name as Shannon. That one needed watching indeed. How long would it be before the smell of fresh blood registered in her nose? Speaking of which…
She turned to Ricketts and motioned for the woman to follow her away from their observation post.
Together, with the lycan in the lead, they threaded their way through the city proper. The elder paused inside an abandoned real estate office when she was certain they were not only downwind of Shannon and the others, but also clear of where sound could carry. She did, however, make sure the wind would carry her final message of the day to Shannon.
“I’m sorry, Margie,” said Ricketts in a whining tone. “Wench got the drop on me. They sucker punched, and tortured me. I can make it right. Let me go back, Margie. Let me go and I’ll-”
The elder put a finger on Ricketts’ lips. “Shhh. Address me as Sergeant Drexler, Jonnie. I call you Jonnie and you call me Sergeant Drexler. Or just Sergeant. That’s how command works.” She removed her finger from the woman’s lips. “You did fine, dearie. Perfectly fine. I’ll let them live first. It’s been too long since I’ve had the opportunity to have this kind of experience.”
Ricketts rubbed her hands together eagerly. “Can I have my pistol back, Mar… Sergeant?” She looked around. “Where’s Feagle, and, um, Moore?”
Drexler smiled faintly. “I killed them. Once I realized the newcomers had a talented lycan in their midst, I had to free up some dead weight as it were.”
“You killed them?” Ricketts’ eyes widened and then narrowed. They darted left and right continuously as she ascertained what was about to happen.
Ricketts’ right foot took a step backwards, but it was a wasted movement.
Drexler’s right hand shot out, and grabbed Ricketts by the throat. She crushed
Ricketts’ airway even as she was lifting the woman up off the ground. With an experienced motion she lifted Ricketts above her head and slammed her against the ground. Ricketts’ spine snapped and her head collapsed. Ricketts’ eyes were wide and confused for a moment and then they grew dark.
Time to write home, thought Drexler as she threw the dead Ricketts onto her shoulder.
Deidre didn’t rush anyone into moving on mode. Instead she moved with slow precision, almost as if she were moving on strict muscle memory. The times she walked past Shannon she almost avoided meeting her eyes.
Once they had the last of salvage from the sheriff’s office Shannon stopped her with a reassuring hand on Deidre’s shoulder.
“Hey, shit happens. Even I’ve been gotten the best of,” she said, unsure of how much she wanted to share. She was taking a chance on reconnecting with a woman that wanted to kill her the day before.
“I’m not a great warrior. Never was. I know my way around firearms because I volunteered for it wherever I could. But I knew better than to go it alone with watching that bitch. I knew better and went ahead with a wrong call.” Deidre ran her right hand through her sweat stained, dirty hair. She welcomed the small breeze that cooled her face. “She got away, and that’s my fault.”
“She didn’t get far,” said Shannon with a more concentrated reassuring tone. “She’s dead. I can smell it on the wind.”
Deidre went to shoulder her shotgun, but Shannon stopped her.
“The old lycan that did her in is gone.” Shannon sighed. “I need to see the body.”
“Deidre blinked at Shannon in bewilderment. “Why? She’s dead. You smell that so end of story.”
“No. Not end of story. She, and the killer is a she, left that woman’s body where I could sniff it. She wants me to see it. Send me a message if anything else.”
“Oh hell no.”
“Oh hell yes. We’ve bought ourselves some trouble with this town that outranks the undead. Girl, I’m thinking the forecast is there’s an eighty percent chance of we’re fucked. I’m going to take a look. I’ll be back in a moment or two. If you hear a fight going on, you get Kelsey and Rance out of here. Don’t look back, just get the hell out as quick as you can.”
Deidre laughed bitterly. The sound caused Kelsey and Rance to look at them. Deidre waved them back to whatever they were doing.
“You don’t get to pull that gung-ho, Lone Ranger BS. Where we go one, we go all. That, and I’m still not sure you aren’t working with this…woman or whatever the hell she is.” Deidre smiled weakly.
“Yeah. That’s what we’re doing. Working together to fuck with your heads.”
They found Ricketts almost ten minutes later. The human woman had been hung nude, upside from a lamp post and gutted like a deer. Kelsey clutched Rance closely and looked away as Shannon and Deidre examined the corpse.
“I told you I wanted to come alone, but no, you had to come along,” taunted Shannon mirthlessly as Deidre vomited. “We’re probably going to be seeing more like this in the coming days.” Shannon walked around Ricketts’ body. She wanted to throw her stomach’s contents up as well, but she kept it all down.
Small wonder I’m able to, thought Shannon as she examined the body. The elder had taken time in covering Ricketts in her excrement. The foulness was mixed with both what she had expelled in death and what lined her intestines. To add insult to injury with the body a rolled piece of paper protruded from Ricketts’ rectum. It looked like a perverse Tootsie Roll Pop. Tootsie Roll Poop, thought Shannon. The thought came against her will. She hated herself for it.
“Tell me you’re really not going to pull that out,” asked Deidre, wiping her mouth as she joined Shannon.
“Unless I miss my guess, this is a message in a message.”
“Not funny or ironic or whatever this chick thinks it is. Humans are shit is what I get from all of it”
“Exactly.” Shannon looked around and found a discarded Nestle Crunch wrapper to use as a shield against touching any of Ricketts’ waste. She leaned closer to the swinging body. The wind had picked up and the body was beginning to twist. “Hold her steady.”
“Piss on you. You’re on your own.” Deidre took a step back, and her scowl deepened.
“Don’t you mean shit on you? Look, just hold her body, dammit.”
Deidre bent to the head and took it in both hands. The coagulated mess of Ricketts hair squished lightly in her hands. Deidre stared into the empty eyes and felt a pang of pity mix with her revulsion. She went to readjust her hands and her fingers scrapped against something sharp mixed with something repulsively soft. Oh my God I’m touch busted skull and grey matter, she thought. “Hurry up. I’m getting nauseated.”
“Oh. Sorry. I was done right after you grabbed her head.”
“Bitch,” said Deidre as Shannon joined her.
“The real bitch had the decency, maybe, to wrap the ass end in some sandwich baggie. Here.” Shannon thrust another hand written note to Deidre.
“Don’t want it.” Deidre took a step back. “How about you read it.”
Shannon looked crossly at Deidre, and then began.
“’I don’t know what your name is, nor do I care.’ Feeling the love already,” grumbled Shannon. “’But you seem to be worthy of my attention. Whether that is to hunt you and your companions won’t be made known to you until I wish to make it known.’” Shannon smirked. “Yada, yada, yada. ‘I hope you won’t be a disappointment.’ Blah, blah, blah.” Shannon crumpled the note and tossed it aside. “It’s just hot air and bluster. I don’t care how old she is, this chick is off her nut, as my mom used to say.”
“What?” said Deidre incredulously.
“What are you talking about?” called Kelsey. “What’s going on? I think we need to leave.”
“Just wait,” Deidre called to Kelsey. “You stay over there with Rance, and let us deal with this.” She looked back to Shannon. Her brows furled together as she leaned forward. “Fifteen minutes ago you acted like this was something harsh that could only be handled by you, and wanted us to get the hell out of here so you could deal with. Or join her. Now, you’re blowing it off. What’s going on/” Deidre realized then that her nails were tapping impatiently on the 9mm on her thigh.
“Alright. You want to know what the note says, you read it.” Shannon didn’t want her to know the truth of the matter. The note was succinct, and nothing good came from it.
“Fucking bitch,” hissed Deidre, calling Shannon’s bluff. She bent down, and swallowed her pride as she scooped the letter up. One side bore the redundant declaration that McDonald’s hamburgers were made 100% real beef and on the other was the message, hastily scribbled in greasy black letters. Is that eyeliner, pondered Deidre as she turned the waxy paper over in her hands. Written on it was three common words that meant trouble would follow them as long as they lived. You’re fucked now.