Lost Penn

I’m still toying with the same idea of a string of chapters featuring a demon who is a cop. I had the first one set out, introducing her and her partner, and setting the stage for her world and current dilemma, but damned if I can find it. I thought I had posted it here, but it’s nowhere to be found, and it isn’t on my writing flash drive. I’ll keep looking, or I’ll just write it again. Writing about Officer Penelope Penn has been refreshing to me. I’m enjoying it. I hope some of you enjoy it as well.

Welcome to the new age, welcome to new age, came the song from a tinny radio somewhere in Penn’s past as gazed out onto the scorched landscape. She could feel the heat from the desert like cityscape that had once been one of the greatest cities on the planet. She spread her wings and howled defiance into the blasted arid air, her fists clenched over her head. It felt to good to be alive and better to be… a conqueror? She wasn’t sure what she was glad of.

She stepped down from the rubble of a ruined building onto the cracked concrete. She looked around, scowling at the street filled with wreckage from the day when Heaven and Hell waged war on each other with humankind trapped between. She thought of taking to the skies but opted instead to walk along the deserted and crumbling streets.

Penn’s heavy boots thumped rhythmically on the pavement. The cityscape gave her no end of things for her steel capped boots to strike against. She paused at the intersection of De Longpre and Vine, eyeballing a mass of destroyed police cars. The majority of the police vehicles were twisted and burnt out from the blasts from some human weapons or other worldly power. The officers that had been here had made a stand against the… demonic?… angelic?… she couldn’t remember exactly who they’d stood against, but they’d died in a weak attempt to hold back the attackers until some military force from up or down the coast could reinforce them.

Penn approached the destroyed barricade of vehicles. A rusted badge here, slagged weapons there, and bits of skeletal remains and tattered uniforms still sporadically littered the area. Penn began to feel loss as she surveyed the battle scene. She felt there was a holiness about the place even though the last human that had been here had died two years ago.

She paused at an open twisted door of what was once a Crown Victoria. The trunk lay open, it’s shop number dingy, but still visible. She moved along the body, smiling as she ran the clawed index finger of her left hand across the seal of the city of Los Angeles. She paused at the barely visible phrase that was once printed on all the department’s car doors; “to protect and to serve.” Melancholy was one of the many emotions that had a scent to demons, and her nose curled subconsciously at her own sad scent wafting from her body. She snarled at her weakness and slashed through the words, her claws tearing through the steel. And then the world became a fiery and chaotic mess once more.

Penn hadn’t been aware of the scent of humans, or any living thing. She’d been stupidly wrapped up in her own reminisces. The anti-tank warhead detonated right in front of her. The blast sent her barrel rolling backwards, and the car flipped away from her. Machine gun fire filled her existence even before she landed on the ground.

The impact of the rounds hurt, and more than a couple of them gouged her skin. The marks would heal in a few moments, but if they were to be joined with something heavier… And there it was. The hollow metallic whoomph, whoomph, whoomph of an M38A1 grenade launcher being fired. Whoever was behind the trigger was making use of all six cylinders. The rounds were high explosive and they did hurt. Demons weren’t invulnerable, and the humans had learned very nearly too late how to rapidly switch up weapons systems to hurt demons and angels. The remnants of humanity fought to keep hope alive. They did it even in the face of what they thought of as ethereal protectors and underworldly destroyers battled each other, disregarding everything and everyone else. Demons used to care less about humans than angels. Now the feeling was mutual, and now one of the three factions were coming after her.

Penn rolled away and scrambled to safety behind the corner of a bank. She pushed her back up against the wall as she edged away from the now larger caliber machine gun rounds punching chunks off the corner of her shelter.

“She’s on the move!” came a human voice. “Flank her, flank her!”

Penn spread her wings and flapped, gaining meager altitude before her right wing screamed out at its lack of aerodynamic integrity. She tumbled to the ground, kicking up dust and small chunks of concrete with her landing. “Baal dammit,” she grunted as she stood, and began to run.

“Contact! Seventy-five meters! Seventy-five meters!” called someone behind her. She felt the rounds slam into her back before the voice reached her. It had to be left over military hunting her because that had felt like a squad automatic weapon. The rounds that hit her were followed closely by another anti-tank weapon. Its ordinance launched her forward, sending her sliding across the ground.

“Air support inbound! Take cover! Get small!”

Penn desperately crawled forward as attack ceased and multiple rifles were reloaded. At least four were surrounding her, closing, with an additional four more scents close behind. The plotting of her enemies’ locations took only a second before she heard the sound of air rushing around a figure coming straight down on top of her. She willed her battered body to move faster to escape, not liking the new scent that met her nostrils.

She disliked the impact of the figure onto her back even less. It felt like a house had been dropped on her, and she knew that she was beyond hurt, now. She was utterly decimated. Penn had heard her vertebrae shatter, and the pain was of a magnitude that she had thought lesser beings suffered, and not Otherworlders like her. Her hubris was high in that regard. Angels had died, demons had too, at the hands of mortals. She never considered that she could suffer like those. They’d been weak, not her.

Whoever or whatever had landed on her grabbed her around the back of her neck, grasped the compromised wing with the other hand, and ripped it from her shoulder blade. It might’ve hurt if the pain of her back hadn’t been so damned excruciating.

She felt herself spin through the air and crashed into a small structure across the street. She was sure it was a Metro bus shelter. It had borne the LA Public Transit logo complete with a smiling family on a poster, staring at her. “Oh,” she said, smiling through the dark black red blood pouring from her head and mouth. “Didn’t mean to disturb your outing.” I’m going into shock. I have to be, she thought. Why else would I say something so stupid?

The being grabbed her right horn, broke it off and punched her hard enough to knock out a few teeth. How could she be hurt so badly? She was a demon. A fifth level demon at that. She’d just been promoted and had gained more power. She was now a Marchosias. That didn’t matter to her attacker apparently. Another punch collided with her left eye socket followed by another against her right check. She felt the bones in both places splinter.

“Get back, sir,” called a voice that felt brave enough to be close enough for her to smell the arrogance in its form and to smell the ham omelet MRE it had before the mission. He was close enough for her to smell it all through her blood.

“You get back,” spat the voice with rank hatred. “She’s mine. I have a personal beef with this one.” The voice sounded painfully familiar. She heard the sound of someone spitting on her and felt warm thick liquid on her eyes. Thumbs worked the spit into her eyes, trying to clear them of the blood. “Canteen,” commanded the familiar voice.

“Sir, we don’t-” protested the human voice, trying to regain control of a situation where it was the support and not the main force.

“Water,” bellowed the familiar voice once more. “Now!”

Penn never would have thought it possible, but the tepid water felt wonderful on her face. The thumbs worked her eyes and then her forehead. She opened her eyes and grinned at the hazy figure. “Mommy, I don’t want to go to school today,” she said, trying to sound clever and defiant. The figure rabbit punched her in the chest. She gasped, grimaced, coughed, and then looked up. She grinned once more out of concession that she was about to die by her former friend’s hands. The being forced her to sit up. Her back felt funny, and not in a humorous way. She fought to move her feet, but nothing responded to her will.

“Hello, Gythsmeda. How’s it going today? Good?” She coughed weakly and was aware that blood was filling a lung. It felt collapsed or very close to it. “Can’t believe He made us like them, can you?”

The demonic figure before her blurred and was replaced by a Hispanic male in his late twenties, wearing a Los Angeles Police uniform. “My name’s Valdez. Officer Raul Valdez, remember, Officer Penn?”

“And my name is Penfralia Apoclium, Gythsmeda.”

Valdez tossed her head back and took a step like he wanted to kick her in the face. Penn smiled as wide as she could. The act released a river of darker blood from her mouth.

“To Heaven with this. Give me my Beretta.” Valdez held his hand out, waggling his fingers impatiently.

A soldier stepped up, handing Valdez a Beretta 9mm pistol. Valdez racked the slide and took aim.

“A pistol? You’ve been around them too long.”

“I said the same about you once, but you just had to upset the status quo. And just so you know, depleted uranium rounds. Expensive to make, but I wanted to use my old service pistol to end you.”

“Upset the stat… That wasn’t me.” Penn breathed raggedly. That wasn’t… Was it?” She was confused. She hadn’t caused anything like this. She didn’t think she had, but a memory said otherwise.

“It was when you killed the second coming. Remember that bit of stupidity? In the park?”

“What?” Her breath was worsening. The blood bubbled from her mouth and her chest was heavy.

Valdez squeezed the trigger, and Penn’s head jerked back.

“Penn,” said Valdez, shaking her to her senses. “Hey, girl. Wake up.” She flailed at him, knocking the bratwurst he was holding to the police car’s floor.

“Dammit, Penn. I knew you were sick. You now owe me six bucks for that, too. Sonuvabitch,” he said, picking it up. He walked to a trash can and dropped it in before returning to the food truck to order another.

Penn rubbed her eyes and looked around through muzzy eyes. She rubbed her nose and discovered that it had been bleeding. The blood trailed down her chin and stained her white undershirt and uniform. She sat stunned, looking at the blood on her fingers. This didn’t happen to them, not to Otherworlders. By Baal she was tired of that thought always coming to mind lately.

“Here,” said Valdez, returning to the car and holding out some paper napkins. “This is kind of spooky with the nose bleed and all. You need to get looked at. Their doctors aren’t going to be helpful so you know who you have to talk to. Make the appointment. In the meantime, sit back and relax. We’re heading back the station.”

“Dispatch, 4 Adam 16, show us as 10-19. Officer now on sick call. Copy?” Valdez released the button.

“Copy, 4 Adam 16. Shown as 10-19.”

He replaced the handset and held his new bratwurst out to Penn. “Hold this for a sec.”

She took it, wrinkling her nose at the smell. It was stronger than it should have been and her stomach lurched. “All to Hell this reeks.”

Valdez put the car into drive and took it back. “Thanks for holding that for me. Screw regs. I’m hungry and you need to get back to the station.”

Penn leaned her head out of the window. It was going to be a mentally long ride back, and the humiliation of returning with a nosebleed was more than she could bear.

 

This is copyrighted by Jason McKinney. Don’t use without permission, right? Enough said.

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About Jason McKinney

I'm a word slinging, werewolf loving, zombie wrangling, scare master author, husband and father of three. When I'm not writing, I'm blathering nonsense to the world or taking orders from the family. You have my thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoy the madness and mayhem! Stay delicious, my living peeps!
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