This story is set in November of 2017
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Foxx and Wolfe, Supernatural Detectives
Note: I'm treating these stories as a serial, rather than as a serialized novel. So no
matter how long they are in combination, they're basically written in short-story format.
Jackie whistled as she rubbed the polishing cloth over the bright red paint.
"Isn't modern technology wonderful?" she asked Jeremy, who was working on the other side. "I remember when people had to rub this pasty goop on their cars, let it dry then buff. Now we just use these disposable wipes. And they clean as they polish!"
"I remember that stuff," Jeremy admitted. "I also recall you couldn't use it in cold weather, either."
"Poor baby," said Jackie, teasingly. She gave him a calculated smile. "When we're finished, I'll warm you up."
"You're parents are home!" said Jeremy, voice almost squeaking.
"They're pretty open-minded; at least, since I turned 18. As long as we're not copulating on the dining room table they'll pretend they don't notice."
"Your Dad must think a lot of you to give you his Mustang," said Jeremy, desperately trying to change the subject. "I mean, this thing looks like it's in mint condition."
"The term for cars is 'cherry,' appropriately enough," snickered Jackie. "And you can thank me for the appearance. All Dad cares about is if it runs and drives good."
"So when are you gonna let me try it?"
"When you've had enough training in driving something with more than the thirty horsepower."
"Hey, thirty horsepower in an electric is a lot!" said Jeremy. "Electric motors develop maximum torque at start-up. Gasoline motors have to rev."
"The point is, this car will rev," said Jackie, firmly. "Until you learn to handle something that's just getting started at five thousand RPM, you stay in the passenger seat."
"And here I thought you wanted me in the back," said Jeremy, leering.
"You know, there is something I do miss about old-fashioned car washing and waxing," said Jackie, contemplating her flimsy wipe. "Throwing a cold, wet sponge at someone."
* * *
"So how is the boy doing?" said Tina.
"Surprisingly well, but with some surprising problems," said Jill. "He has great power, and the stuff he knows he knows well. But he gets very timid when it comes to learning anything new, especially any offensive spells. He seems to think that they're inherently evil, for some reason."
"People can get the strangest misconceptions about things," mused How.
"Here it comes," sighed Tina, rolling her eyes. "Another parable only vaguely connected to the topic at hand."
"I was having an exhibition in Cincinnati a few years back, and at the manager's suggestion set up a cordoned-off section as an improvised studio, to show people how I did things," How explained, ignoring his wife. "I had done some preliminary scratch work on black-painted white gesso, and put it aside while I did something else. This crazy woman saw the white scratches on black and threatened to call the police. She was sure I'd laid out lines of cocaine to sniff to help my creative process."
"Snort," said Jill, absently.
"You snort lines of cocaine. Not sniff them."
"And just how do you know that, young lady?" demanded Tina.
"TV," said Jill.
Jonas came marching in, fur bristling and five foxy tails bushed out. He sent straight to Jill, stopped, put his hands on his hips and glared at her.
"You left your things hanging in the upstairs bathroom again," he announced.
"That's so they'd dry," said Jill, brightly.
"Mooooom!" Jonas cried, looking over at Tina, very much nine years old. "She keeps leaving her girl stuff just laying around!"
"Jill, where did you hang whatever it is that's upsetting your little brother?"
"Nothing I hung in the upstairs bathroom should upset anyone," said Jill, virtuously. Her mother gave her that look, and she winced. "Okay, I left some very innocuous stuff hanging on the line in the tub. Mostly stockings. I was planning to take them down in about another hour and a bit."
"Were you planning to take a bath or a shower before then?" asked Tina, turning back to Jonas.
"No," said the younger kitsune, as if the very concept was absurd.
"Then why are you complaining?"
"Because she left her stuff just... hanging there!"
"It's her bathroom, too," said How.
"I don't leave my stuff hanging in the bathroom!"
"No. You don't even wash any of it yourself. You just toss it in the corner and expect it to be magically cleaned and put back in your drawers."
"Yeah," said Jonas, nodding.
Tina stared at him, something dawning on her. In a household full of magical creatures, the younger occupants might actually think routine chores were accomplished by magic.
"Young man," she said, her tone an odd combination of sternness and amusement. "Do you mean to tell me that you don't know how laundry actually works in this house?"
"Run!" yelled How, in mock alarm. "She's going to teach you!"
"Huh?" said Jonas, not sure whether to take his father seriously.
"I think it's time you had some more responsibility around here," said Tina, with a smile which would have given a werewolf pause.
"Too late!" gasped How, clutching his heart and sinking into his chair.
Jill, meanwhile, was smirking at the exchange as she snuck out of the room. Odds were better than 2:1 that Jonas would be doing the laundry - all of it, and doing it right - before the week was out.
* * *
“I hate to do this to you,” said Davis, “but it's an emergency. I need you and Foxx to get Brian and take him to a meeting place as soon as you can, but without using magic. There's something up and I don't want to alert any of the other fey."
"Will do," said Wolfe, for some reason in a military mood. "Just give me the coordinates and we'll get there soonest."
Davis gave her the name of a park and some rough directions, then hung up.
"Something wrong?" asked Jeremy, from where he and Jackie had been sprawled on the floor of the den (a word with additional meaning in a werewolf's home) before her "work" cellphone rang.
"Don't know if it's wrong, but it's urgent," said Jackie, dialing her friend.
"Can I come along? I've been wanting to meet this guy, maybe arrange to work with you two on a regular basis. I could sure use the money."
"Sure," said Jackie, absently.
* * *
"Shotgun!" cried Jill, as they headed to the Mustang with Brian in tow.
"Nope. Jeremy's a lot bigger than you. He'd have trouble fitting in the back. Besides, Brian likes you better."
In other words, the boy would be far more at ease with the myobu than with a werewolf. Jill shrugged and grinned.
As they pulled away from the entrance to the Bright home a large, black limousine with deeply tinted windows could be seen rounding the curve behind them. It started to pull into the drive they had just left, then abruptly swerved back out onto the road and increased speed.
"Great," muttered Jackie, putting her foot down.
Several seconds went by as they careered around turns, slowly pulling ahead. Then they hit a long straightaway. The time was early evening, the sun had just set, and the road was empty. The pursuing vehicle began to gain ground.
"Wow," said Jill, turning to look behind them, "that's no ordinary limo!"
"Let's see them keep up with this," snarled Jackie, opening the ash tray between the front bucket seats and flipping a switch.
There was a thunk and a rumble from under the hood and the Mustang seemed to take a sudden, deep breath, which went on and on as the car surged forward.
"Yeah, baby!" said Jackie, with a manic cackle, watching the limousine's headlights recede in the side mirror. "Six! Hundred! Horsepower! with the blower huffing!"
"Turn," said Jill, voice barely a squeak.
"Turn!" yelled Jill, when Jackie didn't react.
Somehow, they made it around the curve, and several more after that. Bent-Tail had always been adamant that "performance" included road-handling. On clean dry pavement - which this was - the car could corner at better than one gravity laterally. The limo was quickly left behind. Jackie made several diversionary turns before hitting the main road. She shut off the supercharger and dropped back to a sane speed only a bit over the posted limit (for generous quantities of "bit.") Not long after, they were at the rendezvous location. This was an immaculately groomed park, with many old trees and several weathered concrete buildings. According to the directions Jackie had been given they were supposed to meet Davis at one of the latter, just the other side of a slight rise ahead of them.
"All right," said Jackie, shutting things down. "Let's get furry, folks! There could be people here we don't want to see us in human form."
As they climbed out she thought of something and turned to Jeremy and Brian.
"There's something screwy about this setup. It's not like Davis to just call and tell us to go somewhere without any details about what to expect. Jill and I will go in first to check things out. You two stay here and watch our backs."
"Huh??" said Jeremy, startled.
"Get ready to run to the rescue or for help if you need to," said Jackie. "Oh, and if any fey show up keep them from interfering."
"How?!" said Jeremy.
Brian, standing beside him, seemed equally at a loss.
"Get big and menacing. Intimidate them." Jackie started walking towards the rise, Jill quickly catching up.
"What if they won't intimidate?" Jeremy called after her.
"You're a werewolf and he's a half-elf magic user," said Jill, cheerfully. "Improvise!"
The pair left by the Mustang looked at each other, neither revealing any confidence.
* * *
"There's Davis," said Jackie, as they topped the rise and started down the other side. She raised an arm to wave.
"That's not Davis," said Jill, snowy coat bushing out in alarm.
They stopped, staring. The "not Davis," realizing he'd been found out, smiled in a way Davis never had.
"I'm sorry; he's dead."
The figure laughed, and shifted into a human female dressed in ornate robes, familiar from recent Saturday night horror movie presentations... as well as a more personal association.
"Traci Harrison," whispered Jill, wide-eyed.
"Who are you?" demanded Jackie. "And why did you try to frame my mother?!"
"Oh, I've had so many forms since coming to this world," she said, with a nasty smile. "A housewife, a policeman, several elves, a sloughy. Some of them are even still alive..."
She shifted again, growing larger, and green, and chitinous, extra limbs sprouting as her head rose above the top of the berm behind Jackie and Jill.
"But my oldest name is The Mantis Queen," she said, in a disturbingly normal voice. "Be certain to include the definite article. And you better hurry, since you'll soon be too dead to be able to."
Jill quickly raised her hands, palms out, over her head, then thrust them down and forward. An invisible wall of force rocked the monster, but only a little. In response it whipped a claw around towards the pair. Jackie and Jill dodged in opposite directions; the ground where they had been standing burst explosively outwards.
* * *
The limo slid to a stop and an impossible number of people began pouring out, all armed, many armored. The noise of the sudden combat behind the werewolf and the half-elf startled everyone in the area, but the newcomers apparently decided to take care of first things first. The shock troops - almost all Underhills - quickly formed up and then charged.
"I don't think intimidation is going to work," squeaked Brian, backing towards cover.
Jeremy, already in his midform, lunged forward growling and snapping. The charge faltered. However, the Sidhe members of the assault were already diverting around the werewolf in a flanking maneuver. Which left them heading straight towards Brian. The boy cast a quick barrier spell. The elves halted momentarily, while one of them countered the spell. Brian, realizing that more - much more - was needed, took a stance and raised his hands. Behind him he could hear his friends fighting for their lives.
END Part 9
This document is Copyright 2005 Rodford Edmiston Smith. Anyone wishing to reproduce it must obtain permission from the author, who can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org