05/25/2023 Snippet, THE HUNT.

I really need to finish this up.

“Don’t throw up!” I yelled in the sudden silence, stepping forward and restraining myself from giving Jimmy a good shake. Cold of me, but we didn’t have time for any moral revulsion, or shame. “This isn’t over! Watch!”

Fortunately, the same unexpected reflexes that let Jimmy put three bullets in a teenager also made him pay attention as Rafe started pulling itself to its feet. Luckily — and unluckily — this was one of the ones that bled viscous black fluid when shot. You don’t need to explain black blood, really. People figure out right away that it’s a sign that some really heinous shit is going down.

Now I did start moving; I could feel Jimmy’s on my back as I pulled out a Bowie knife and buried it in a precise spot on Rafe’s husk, all in one smooth motion. I could also feel the unexpected resistance to the thrust, which was bad, bad, bad. Rafe the human couldn’t have been taken that long ago, but this husk felt far stronger than it should have been. That was a surprise, and surprises in my line of work are never nice ones. At least the husk collapsed properly into carbon dust, once the blade disrupted the framework that was keeping it coherent even in the absence of life force. So things weren’t hopeless, just pretty bad.