The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part VI -- Cats Eyes
by Henry Wyckoff
December 1995


Chapter 9

Mulroney blew out his breath slowly as he paced back and forth, "So you're saying that *immediately* after you picked up the axe, you started to get angry -- but that was it? Nothing else?"

Tracy nodded vigorously, "Nothing else. I got mad enough to kill someone, but I just can't remember why I was angry. I don't even think anything triggered it."

"You didn't need a trigger..." He looked at Tracy sharply, "May I hypnotize you?"

That startled Tracy, "Why would you want to do something like that?"

He was frustrated, "I need to find out what's so special about you, and I've exhausted every avenue I can think of. I'm hoping that you know the answer, and it's buried down inside of you. Perhaps I can pull out a detail or two that can help me."

"It won't work," said Vachon's voice from the darkness. When he emerged into the partial light, it was evident that most of the wound was gone. Only a faint blood stain was left. "She's a resistor."

"Which means?"

"It means that she can't be controlled."

"You mean, she can't be coerced. But have you ever hypnotized her with the intent of working *with* her?"

That shocked Vachon. "All this time, and I never considered that. I don't think anyone else has either."

Mulroney's eyes opened widely as he just realized something. "Vampires can really hypnotize humans. Is it true?"

Vachon made a face, "It's not as simple as that, but you could say yes."

"Could *you* hypnotize her?"

Vachon's eyes narrowed thoughtfully. Tracy looked back and forth at both of them, now a little confused. Then Vachon nodded, "This should be interesting."

In a very melodramatic gesture, he grabbed Tracy's face with both hands, staring right into her eyes. Her eyes glazed over, but Mulroney had his own suspicions as to why that was happening.

"Relax," said Vachon in a commanding tone.

//I wonder if their powers aren't so much some mystic thing, but are rather products of their understanding of human nature...//

* * *

Axer entered the apartment, Peter and Heimdall behind him. "Care for a real drink?" he asked Peter.

"Ahh..." he looked a little pale, stepping back a little, "I've seen what you drink."

Axer laughed, "Not *that* kind of drink! I have some genuine Oolong tea, and I *know* how to brew it."

Peter looked relieved, "I didn't know you had it in you."

Axer smirked, "Have a seat. I'll get some tea brewing."

Peter looked around the living room, where he sat on a Spartan, yet comfortable, sofa. He was pretty impressed, to say the least. The room must have been only twenty by thirty feet, but he had a feeling that he was standing in a much larger room. A bookshelf was crammed full of scientific books mixed in with classic literature -- the Book of War, the Dhammapada, the Republic... Elsewhere were rare and priceless vases, sculptures, paintings, rugs, and tapestries.

The smell of tea brought him back from his inspection of the room. Axer was right -- he knew how to make a good cup of tea.

"I'll be back in a moment," Axer smiled.

Axer left his cup of tea with Heimdall and Peter, entering a vestibule -- which *did* serve an important purpose in this apartment. When he closed the door, he was bathed in total darkness, but after a few moments, his eyes adjusted to the very faint light.

When he opened the other door, he emerged ito a bedroom sealed off from the light. A safe room for a vampire to be in during the day. It wasn't completely pitch-dark in here, because there was a faint red-light on the top of the ceiling. It gave Axer enough light to see Kate's sleeping form on the bed.

"You're home early," she mumbled, having sensed his entrance.

"Something came up," he admitted guiltily, sitting on the side of the bed and grabbing one of her soft hands in his own, kissing it.

Kate used that hand to pull him down on the bed, so he nearly lay on top of her. "What 'something'?" she asked intently, a tight smile on her face.

"I met a cop who knows a little something different about what's been happening these last few weeks, and he talked me into helping him out..."

* *

Peter stood up suddenly. There was something pulling at the edge of his mind, making his heart beat so rapidly that he could feel every beat shaking his chest. He pulled out his gun.

Heimdall stood up as well, "What is it?"

"There's something wrong here. I can feel it." Peter turned reflexively to where Axer was. "Come on."

"I think we should wait," Heimdall pulled him back. "Just wait a few minutes..."

* *

..."What is it that he wants you to do?" He could see the worry in her eyes, though she was good at hiding it.

"I was hoping it was something that *we* could do. He's waiting in the living room."

She frowned at that, but let it drop. "If you think it's safe... I would be interested in hearing what he has to say."

"There's a catch," Axer frowned. "He knows that I'm an immortal, but he doesn't know about you, and he'll need to know."

When Axer returned to the living room, he was a bit startled to find Heimdall holding Peter back like an excited hound. "What's up?"

"There's something wrong!" Peter said quite tensely.

Axer nodded, "Not wrong, just different. Help me to close the shutters."

"Huh?"

"You're going to be meeting with someone who can't stand the light of day -- it's a medical condition."

Shrugging, Peter and Heimdall helped him shut off all the windows. When they were done, Axer left once more, bringing back someone with him.

"Detective Caine? Meet my wife, Kate O'Leary, our fourth member. Kate? Meet Detective Caine."

Caine's eyes widened like saucers as he found the source of that bad vibe feeling. On the surface, she looked just like any other human, but it was the aura about her that he felt. "What the hell?!" He tried to draw his gun, but Axer caught his motion and stopped it.

"It's all right," soothed Axer. "She's only a vampire."

"*Only* a vampire?" He was still tense, but he put back the gun, albeit very reluctantly. "Any other surprises you want to tell me?" His voice shook a little.

"Not for now. We were hoping there were some more things you could tell us. Kate needs to know as well."

"I could use a real drink now," muttered Peter under his breath. All three smiled at that. "Here's the plan. I was talking to Powys, and he revealed some plans made by our mayor, who as it turns out, is not our mayor at all. He didn't give me as many details as I would have liked, but he proved to me that the guy's real name is Surtur, and he's neck deep in this whole mess. He wants to destroy the city, so we need to find him tonight and stop him before he can do anything."

"Can't the police do anything?" asked Kate. "After all, that *is* what the law enforcement is being paid for."

"I tried that," muttered Peter. "That's what I tried to do this morning, but he has everyone around him brainwashed. I don't even think they're living in the same world as us."

"Brainwashed?" That didn't sound good to Axer. "I wonder if he's one of the Invisible Ones."

"Powys told me that he's the 'King of the Jotuns', whatever *that* means."

Axer and Heimdall looked at one another, "That's not good."

Kate was deep in thought, "And so what do you want us to do?"

"We need to find him tonight and observe him. According to Powys, he's planning on doing something horrible to the city, but he couldn't or wouldn't get too specific. I planned on watching him, and if he *is* going to do something horrible, we can stop him."

Kate looked skeptical, "It seems like you're getting too excited over such a vague warning."

"I've known him too long to blow him off, and if he'd been any more specific than he was, I'd be really suspicious of him."

* * *

Vachon looked at Mulroney. "It's not working."

Mulroney slammed a pew. "Bloody hell! I thought we had something."

"We still do," smiled Vachon, in a veiled manner. In a blur, he crossed the fifteen feet separating them and held Mulroney's face in an iron grip. He stared deep into Mulroney's eyes. ^^Relax.^^

Mulroney's shocked face relaxed.

^^Tell us about *you*.^^

Mulroney's expression became that of someone on drugs. "What do you want to know?"

Tracy stood next to Vachon. "Who are you, *really*?"

"Mulroney."

If Vachon had had the freedom to break his gaze away from Mulroney's he would have giving her a withering glare.

^^What are you?^^

It was the subtle difference that proved to be the key. "Altered."

* * * *


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