The Cycle of Axer Carrick
Part VI -- Cats Eyes
by Henry Wyckoff
Bill was sitting at the bar, slamming double shots of the
local whiskey. By the look on his face, he wasn't enjoying
it too much.
A rough hand gripped him in the shoulder from behind, crushing hard enough to grind the joint, but he didn't react. "If you want me to move out of your seat, you're not going to get it."
"I don't want your damned seat!" snapped Coleen, grabbing the stool next to his. Some oily strands of hair hung down the front of her face. "What the hell are you doing here?"
"Following you. It's not like I have much of a damned choice. I think my bosses were trying to be funny."
Coleen snorted. "Since when did you acquire such a taste for liquor? Last time I checked, you were puking on Benedictine."
"That was then, this is now."
"It's been less than a week. I'd sure like to know what you've been drinking."
He didn't answer. "Why are you rushing up north faster than Methos and Richie?"
"None of your damned business."
"Fine." He kept quiet, but kept on slamming double shots. By Coleen's count, he had slammed three in the last five minutes, and she was sure he'd slammed a few more before she caught up with him. Even Axer knew when to draw the line.
"Don't you think you had enough?" Her tone was sardonic.
"Since when did you get concerned?"
"Since I got you sick the first time. Do you have any idea how long Axer made me mop up *your* vomit with my bare hands?"
"Thanks a lot -- I don't care about you either!" An odd expression came over his face then, and he pitched his head underneath the table. Bill vomited solidly for a full minute. The aftershocks lasted for a few more minutes. When his mind fell back on track, he realized that Coleen had long since left.
The bartender put a solid hand on his shoulder, "What do you want to do with your life, my son?"
* * *
Coleen was dragging Richie by the arm, dragging him from
where he had been waiting, across the street from the bar.
"Come on! We have to get out of here *NOW*!!"
He wasn't one to argue, but he did want to know why, "What happened?"
"Bill's drunk, and I don't think he'll be moving for a few hours. I want to get as much of a head start as we can get!"
They found Methos near the plane, trying to find something that he'd dropped. His expression was one of surprise. "What's going on?"
"We *have* to get out of here!"
"But the storm isn't gone yet!"
"Tough shit! Bill's here!"
"The most annoying Watcher you ever met!"
Within ten minutes they were off, but they needn't have hurried, because Bill was in the middle of a dry heave spell that he wouldn't be leaving for the next few hours.
A Scottish pilot had observed all this, and made the comment, "Next time, mind you drink a good single malt -- like Glenmorangie! It's smoother than mother's milk!"
Bill heaved once more. Everyone in the bar laughed, and a few offered him 'a hair of the dog.' A nice gesture, but it didn't help.
* * *
It was late evening in Paris. Amanda, Connor, Duncan, and
Lenny waited across the street from the Museum. They almost
looked like a bunch of Bohemians hanging out. Lenny
smiled, "It's a good day to steal."
Amanda wasn't smiling.
"The plan's simple: Amanda and I go in, and you two make sure that nobody disturbs us. Agreed?"
Connor shrugged. Duncan didn't feel comfortable at all, but he didn't protest. They went their separate directions.
Duncan couldn't help but feel a mounting unease. He knew deep down that something big was about to happen, but he didn't know what.
Connor looked unconcerned, "What are you worried about?"
"There's something in the air tonight."
"It must be your nerves. You haven't done too much breaking and entering, have you?"
"I've done a lot of it, thank you."
"Like breaking your way through a balcony window and entering the--"
Duncan rapped him pretty sharply on the head, "Don't you go there!"
Connor laughed pretty loudly at that.
* * *
The sun had just set in Toronto, and the last of the
afterglow had left. Axer sat on top of a mailbox, staring
at the very top of the skyscraper. "Seems like an odd place
for a mayor to have an office. Shouldn't he be in the
Peter Caine understood his reference, snickering a little, "Our dear old mayor has a few businesses on the side. If the public knew what kinds of businesses, we'd have an even bigger riot than we just had."
"So," Axer changed the subject, "let me see if I get this right. Kate lands on the roof and drops a rope. We slide up the outside using these," he held up a motorized climbing tool, "and we all enter his office from the *top*." He shook his head. "It's too obvious."
That shocked Peter. "What do you mean?"
"Think about it. Why else would you have security teams pacing back and forth up there?"
"What?!" snapped Peter. "How the hell can you see them?!" He ripped open his bag, grabbing for his scope. "I can't see anyone up there!"
"They're up there," smiled Axer. "You have to look for the occasional blotting of light. If you look long enough, you'll find that the blots are moving back and forth about the same speed as a pacing man."
Peter slammed his scope on his bag. Axer patted him on the head, "Don't worry about it. I imagine Kate is pretty thirsty right now, and if Surtur runs his organization the way I think he does, the blame is going to spread around pretty evenly. Can't beat swift justice, can you?"
Sudden comprehension dawned in Peter's eyes as he realized who he had recruited. Axer didn't catch it. "The blots are gone. I imagine Kate got them all."
Peter felt slightly ill as he realized what that really meant. To Axer, they were abstract blots; to Peter, they were human beings who had just died a horrible death. He fought very hard to quell the nausea and the voice inside that screamed, 'unnatural!'
Heimdall, who had up to this point been leaning up against a nearby wall and keeping to himself, tapped them both from behind. "It's time."
They both nodded, and as a group, they crossed the street. Before they reached the other side, Heimdall suddenly snapped his head to the left. He could see Powys walking away, his back to them, whistling loudly.
"Go ahead. I've just seen Powys, and I don't think he's up to any good."
Axer frowned, "Leave him. If we don't find him, he'll find us."
Peter disagreed, "I've never trusted him. I say go after him."
After a moment, Axer nodded.
Heimdall took off at a silent, but fast, jog. Axer and Peter reached the rope, and Peter strapped the motor-climber onto Axer. Axer's expression was like that of a child being given a new toy. When the machine turned out to be a dud, for some odd reason, his expression became one of irritation.
"Screw it!" snapped Axer, unstrapping the motor-climber, climbing the rope much faster than he would have pulled up anyway.
"You're not serious..." Peter muttered, but he shrugged and attached his motor-climber. He certainly didn't move up as fast as Axer did. Looking up, he could see that Axer had reached the sixth floor, and was still climbing. The roof looked unreachably high. "I can't believe this..."
* * *
Meanwhile, Kate was gripping the last of six security
guards by the shoulders. This must have been his first day.
He was too young to shave more than once a week, and the
expression in his face was utter terror. Even though he had
a good rack of muscles, with all his struggling, he couldn't
break out of the grip. It was like being trapped by two
Kate was enjoying it immensely. "What's the matter?" she pouted. "Don't you like me?"
The guard was stuttering so badly that anything he might have said was unintelligible.
Kate leaned her head forward to kiss him in the cheek. She did, and startled him so much that he relaxed. When she turned that kiss into a deep bite, he screamed and tried to break free. The only thing that broke free was his now- bleeding face.
"Oh, you're hurt," whispered a smiling Kate. "Let me kiss it and make it better."
He broke free, not sure whether it was because she let him or not. The drained corpses of his workmates were mere shadows in his mind as he ran over them on his way to the stairs. Nothing mattered except getting out of there. It never occurred to him at all that he could have punched the silent alarm on his side-radio.
He thought he'd ditched her, but when he turned the corner to reach the stairs, he found her standing there, tapping a booted foot softly. She was picking some dried blood from one of her fingernails. "Don't tell me you're running away... I *like* you!"
The guard was so shaken that he could only back up in shaking steps. "How the hell--" he managed to stammer.
"You got it." Her smile was dry. "Hell."
Kate grabbed both of his arms, and raised one wrist to her mouth. She bit deeply into the right wrist and sucked in the violent stream of blood that shot through. Every single drop.
The guard's protests were less violent now that he'd been drained of a pint of blood. He sank to his knees, a headache stronger than he'd ever experienced forcing him to throw back his head.
"Where do you think you're going?" she snarled, yanking his head forward so that he stared at her with empty eyes. "You *look* at me in the eye when I send you to hell!"
By the time Axer reached the roof, all the bodies were neatly disposed of. Rubbing his sore forearms, he observed that there weren't any traces of a fight or blood anywhere.
Kate lounged on the short brick guardwall along the edge of the roof, smiling smugly. "What took you so long?"
He grabbed her by the hand, pulling her off the wall. "If you thought *I* was slow, look down."
Down below, Peter was only half-way up, slowly but steadily climbing.
"Any trouble up here?"
"None at all. Quite uneventful, actually."
Axer kissed her on the cheek, "That's good. I wouldn't want to have anything happen to you."
Suddenly, Axer felt a strong presence of an immortal from down below. It was distant, but strong. He had been looking down the side of the building the whole time, and was shocked to see a bolt-cutter shatter one of the windows about halfway between the roof and Peter. It immediately caught the rope and snapped it.
Gravity, having been taunted by Peter Caine for so many minutes, smugly taunted Peter back, sending him to the ground faster and faster. It was too dark now for Axer to see where or when he landed, but when he did, Kate blew out a sigh of relief.
"A trash truck pulled through at the last moment. He'll stink for a week, but he'll be OK."
Axer frowned, "That sounds a bit too unlikely. It's like playing blind poker, and beating someone holding a straight with a royal." Then he remembered something. "Powys! He's behind it!"
"What do you mean?" She hadn't trusted Powys from the beginning, and now that his most solid backer was having doubts about the man, she wanted to know what it was that had shaken his faith.
"For some reason, all these coincidences and unlikely happenings occur around Powys. Maybe he engineered it, or not, but I just don't like it. For all I know, he may have set us up too. After all, he gave Peter the information." His expression was not too kindly, "I hope to god Heimdall corners him and pulls the truth out of him one tooth at a time!"
"Should we abort?"
There was a moment of hesitation, "No. We're going in -- we're just doing it my way."
* * *
Heimdall caught up with Powys, ever so silently approaching
closer and closer. His left hand pulled sharply on Powys'
right shoulder, spinning him around. A right fist was ready
to give him a full slam in the face, only it never came.
It wasn't Powys.
"Can I help you?" It was a young man who had 'one of those faces'. By the pin on his shirt, he was also a Mormon missionary who didn't believe in fighting back.
Heimdall didn't know who the hell this guy was, and he didn't care. "Sorry. Thought you were someone else. Have a good evening." He turned back the other way.
"Perhaps our meeting was not a chance one," called the missionary. "Perhaps you were brought to me so that I may bring you the word of God!"
Heimdall's face was buried in his hand. //Damn preachers -- I should have nailed him in the first place!// His right fist clenched.
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