Don't Write What You Know;
Write What You Care About -- Passionately!
Weirder Every Day
- Rebecca McFarland Kyle
After a vampire's bite forced him into retirement, Kevin Tallon's back doing police work. Only this time he's not carrying a badge and punching a clock. He's working with the Justiciarate Magus, a shadowy organization of Magical Houses, who prevent paranormal practitioners from interfering with the non-gifted public. If he thought situations were weird before...
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It gets weirder every damned day…Vampires, werewolves, necromancers…. Kevin Tallon shook his head, knowing those thoughts were just a challenge to whatever gods listened to his kind.
“Twenty years of Homicide and I never puked once,” Tallon gasped as his guts heaved and he tasted old blood in the back of his throat. His shaking, ice-cold hand shoved dark brown curls off his forehead, Vampires couldn’t sweat, but his head felt hot and odd. He stepped away from the table, pulled the mask away from his boiling face, and leaned his lanky 6’3” frame against the wall. He hoped the feeling would pass quickly so they could get the job done. “And I’m not even sure a vampire can throw up.”
Lord Marcus Macrow didn’t flinch as he magically glued together bodies of their former comrades-in-arms whom a murdering vampire seethe had torn asunder. The mage coolly fitted the tattered pieces of two corpses together as calmly as if he was at his dining room table doing a jigsaw puzzle with the family instead of being in a grubby, poorly-ventilated utility room in the bowels of a parking garage, doing what was no doubt A Very Damn Illegal Thing.
That wasn’t the first time in the recent past they’d broken the law. The combined forces of Grayson Security volunteers and Macrow’s magical strike-force also killed at least thirty vampires who’d already attacked and killed several Dallas residents. Then they torched the house where the vampire seethe holed up. Murder and arson. Oh, he forgot tampering with a crime scene by making the fire look like a meth lab explosion.
This was just the weirdest.
“You don’t look like the kind of guy who gets shit jobs like this,” Tallon joked. The man hadn’t touched the corpses or taken off his bespoke black Armani jacket. No doubt he wouldn’t smell bad when the job was over, either.
Macrow made a gesture and spoke a command in a liquid-sounding language Tallon didn’t recognize. The two corpses stood up.
Tallon’s head hummed. He tried to become one with the wall, hoping he didn’t faint and utterly destroy his badass detective card.
The deceased’s bodies didn’t look good. Okay, not as bad-looking or smelling as zombies, thank whatever powers listened to folks who fought for justice beneath the radar of the authorities. Both were covered with bruises and marks where rips and tears in their skin were magically sutured together.
Colonel Andrew Dirkson’s expression was his usual grim determination, his icy gray eyes staring forward, jaw set like a bulldog’s, daring whatever followed his life to come and get him. The man was an old soldier who’d deliberately fallen on his sword rather than face criminal charges lodged by the Justiciarate Magus, a magical police force Tallon hadn’t known existed until the night before the fight, when Macrow and his strike-force literally appeared out of thin air to first challenge, then join them in the fight.
Dirkson had been a powerful man in life: solid muscle, gray of hair and eyes, and a gaze as intimidating as looking down the barrel of a gun. Every time Tallon saw the man, his cop radar went off—even after Dirkson gave a vampire the break of a good-paying job and blood supply with Grayson Security.
The other casualty, Clint Manchester, looked scared and regretful, like he had some unfinished business to tend. He’d also been a soldier, but in his thirties, he’d only served a dozen years in the military and not achieved any rank he chose to brag about. He’d still been tough, but a decent and honorable human being. At one point, he’d probably been a cute kid with his tawny brown hair and sky-blue eyes.
By the time Tallon knew him, Clint was a vet with a bad case of PTSD from exposure to countless IEDs and an unfortunate run-in with a female werewolf. Manchester was just beginning to get back on his feet, leading the rescued pack of werewolves who’d been freed from the alpha bitch and come to work for Grayson Security, when he’d gotten hit by half a dozen vamps at once.
Dirkson hadn’t stirred what was left of Tallon’s heart to pity, but the lycanthrope had. The old man threw himself deliberately into the thick of the fight rather than face up to what Tallon suspected was a long list of crimes. Manchester fought hard for his life and lost it, protecting the innocent citizens of Dallas and his younger pack members.
“Isn’t something…missing?” Tallon hated to mention it, but his sweep of Manchester’s anatomy revealed a serious lack of testicles. Where he was going, he likely wouldn’t need them, but he really didn’t want to think about someone finding those parts in the building later.
“It appears he was a castrati,” Macrow replied in a calm, steady voice. “I would imagine the bitch did it to any of the males she thought might be a challenge to her authority.”
“Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,” Tallon muttered. “I knew the werewolf bitch who’d turned them was sadistic, but…damnit. This was not in the reports when we took the pack in. And she managed to escape Dallas Police Department’s custody after we handed her over. We’ve never found Constanza Varga to actually bring her to justice.”
Tallon didn’t add that he wondered how the hell a castrati managed to reach the leader of the pack status. Clint was smart and well liked. Despite the weres being part animal, they didn’t fight for positions in the pack like one might have expected. That could have been Colonel Dirkson’s leadership, too. Tallon suspected this would be the first of many questions he wished he could ask the old bastard. He told himself he wasn’t going to miss him or shed a damn tear. He reserved that for Clint, who’d been a hell of a lot more honorable.
“I’ll issue a Justiciarate Magus warrant for Varga.” Macrow said. “We’ve got a better track record for finding miscreants than your police.”
Tallon shook his head. “Yeah, nothing works in real life the way it does in the movies.”
On the other hand, if this were a movie, the buff, six-foot-tall, amber-haired, green-eyed necromancer would be the leading man, driving a hot sportscar with half a dozen half-naked, busty women hanging on his well-muscled physique. Tallon suspected his skinny Irish ass would be the supporting cast messing up this kind of shit job for comic relief.
Shit! I’m IGOR!
Tallon snickered. He earned a glance from the mage. Two more things peculiar about the man besides the fact he could kill people with a word and put together torn-up bodies without flinching. He had one of the two most peculiar auras Tallon had ever seen. The corona around the mage looked like a blazing sunset, which made it difficult sometimes to look him in the eyes. And Tallon couldn’t read his thoughts, which were the two “magical” things he could do since he’d been bitten.
“I wish I’d known about Clint,” Tallon said. “Damn, maybe I could have helped him more…”
Macrow raised a brow.
“I have a double Master’s,” Tallon explained. “Criminal Justice and Psychology. I have the credentials to hang out my shingle as a therapist in Texas. When the weres came to work here, Melanie suggested I conduct group therapy sessions for them. I did my best under the supervision of my therapist, a psychiatrist, Karen Rinaldi, who is a friend to the weird. Grayson’s paying for me to go back and get a doctorate in Psych. Ostensibly, I’m doing it to gain more skills in threat assessment and profiling, but I’m also going to get more credentials as a therapist so I can help the folks we run into.”
Yeah, he was talking too much. He generally didn’t reveal a lot to people even before he’d been bitten. Running his mouth took his mind off what was happening. He suspected Macrow could care less. The necromancer tried to kill him when they first met, thinking he was one of the seethe. Only Melanie stepping between them prevented his un-life from ending.
“You’re up, Tallon.”
Macrow made a gesture to the men’s go bags, full of their clothing. Tallon’s guts tied themselves up in pretzels. If he thought Macrow got the shit job, he was wrong. He had to dress the two bodies. He’d ask for a raise, but there was no way in hell he’d go to Melanie, the boss, and tell her he’d done this. He contemplated good-naturedly bitching to the mage that he’d gotten the raw end of the deal, but Macrow didn’t seem to have much of a sense of humor. He wasn’t on good enough footing with a man who could end his undead life with a few words alone.