Better things to come

*Pay no attention to this post, it is part of a story I was working on for a creative writing group, I am putting it in my journal to save my work!

"I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war."--Revelations 19:11

‘Round midnight.  On a lonely stretch of Interstate 40, 26 miles west of Amarillo.......

Charlie flicked the ashes from her Marlboro red and stared up at the endless sea of stars above her. Had she been anywhere else in the world she may have enjoyed the beauty of a clear night sky, however, the fact that she was still in Texas left her incapable of appreciating their splendor.  She took one last drag and stomped the cigarette out, crunching the gravel beneath her boot along the side of the road. Instantly, she wished it hadn't been her last. The stale, humid night air, carrying the stench of the decaying road kill that littered the interstate was a stark contrast to the lovely starlit sky.  She crinkled her nose as she inhaled, wishing that what the doctors said about smoking killing your sense of smell was true.  Doctors heal things. They didn't know about killing. Charlie, however, knew all about it. She lifted her ponytail, damp with sweat, off of the back of her neck and let out a miserable huff as she felt yet another mosquito prick the skin on her upper arm.

Fucking Texas.

Sighing, she slumped against the side of her 67' Mustang, wincing just as bit as her back brushed against the door handle. Charlie pulled up her shirt and examined the large bruise again, frowning as she replayed the attack that had resulted in that injury in her head. The bastard had swerved left when she was expecting right and hit her square in the ribs. Luckily for her he hadn't changed yet or it would have done much more damage, but it never should have gotten the chance.  She had made a rookie mistake on that run in El Paso three nights ago, and it had nearly killed her.  The only thing that saved her that night was her gift from Mathias....

Mathias. It stung her heart to say the name.  Shaking her head as if the physical act itself would clear it, she decided to focus her attention to the road again, trying to mentally visualize her target speeding toward her on the nearly deserted interstate. 

Only a few cars had passed by since sunset along this road, odd for what should have been a major artery highway through the Midwest. It seemed that there were a lot fewer people out after dark these days.  Maybe they knew, maybe it was instinct. Maybe, it was the fact that the things that went bump in the night were tired of hiding and ready to play. All one had to do was watch the evening news on any given night and read between the lines. The stars at night may be big and bright in Texas, but what was hiding in the dark was bigger.

The Hopi Mojo woman outside of Santa Fe had given her a detection amulet, which she wore around her neck next to the crucifix she never removed. She pulled it out from under her tank top and played with the stone waiting for it's normal matte grey darken and glow, signaling her tag's approach.  Charlie didn't believe in old world magic, or spirits, or any of the other native people's beliefs. But Charlie did believe in God, and because of that, Charlie knew God believed in her. Which was a good thing, because if He didn't, she'd really be fucked. 

She made the sign of the cross and recited a Hail Mary for cussing in the same sentence as his name.

Hi, I'm Charlie Cross. Part time demon slayer, full time devout Catholic. Go figure.

Pinpricks of lights in the distance alerted her to the fact that a car was moving west, towards her position. Immediately the moonstone amulet around her neck back to deepen from grey to black. It was show time.

Just like a good little soldier, Charlie immediately stepped into action. Quickly she popped open the modified trunk of her white mustang and pulled out her gear for the job. Before she could get a clear shot, she would have to stop the vehicle it was riding in. Gauging the size of the headlights, growing closer as it sped towards her, she decided that it had to be in a sedan, not an SUV thank God, or worse, a semi truck.  Out came the standard police issue stop sticks and she ran them across the highway lanes, thankful  that she wouldn't have to waste her good gear on this one. Getting him to slow down would be the easy part. What came next would be a little more tricky.

She walked forward, her gun holstered at her side, pausing the kick the carcass of an armadillo out of her way along the shoulder of the highway.  She heard the rev of the engine coming towards her. Without bothering to turn around, her faith that the Lord would keep her safe from harm, she heard the pops and squeals as the Ford Taurus skittered behind her and rolled end over end toward the median. If she was lucky, the car would just burst into flames and half of her job would be done for her.  Unfortunately, the car just lay there smoking.  No such thing as luck tonight.

She pulled her gun as she moved slowly, cautiously toward the wreckage, careful not to underestimate the creature encased within the scrap metal. It had been within it's host for four, maybe five days now, which meant that it was less human now and more beast. The longer they stayed, the stronger they became.

She stopped about five feet away from the wreckage and recited the Lord's Prayer, pulling her crucifix from under her shirt. She had only uttered the first line when the beast popped out from under  the smoking heap of metal with a deep growl.

He had changed since she last saw him. His frame was still small, true, but his small hands had mutated into elongated talons. The eyes, which had given him away on their last meeting, were now red as rubies and had become more like slits than a normal oval.  What had made her hesitate in El Paso, the fact that the vessel was a child, would not hinder her this time. It was so much easier when they no longer looked human.

The demon roared at her as she aimed her gun square at his head.  It spoke in a heavy accent with broken English.

"", it growled.

"Not tonight we're not", Charlie replied. She pulled the trigger and sent the wooden bullet toward it's target, knocking it backward behind the wreckage as it hit center in it's forehead.

She heard its screams and saw the smoke as it combusted, just like the others before it. She didn't bother to watch. The bullet was special issue, given to her by Mathias, given to him by the Vatican.  A piece of the true cross did it every time.

Charlie called the local Diocese in Amarillo who dispatched the cleanup crew to take care of the wreckage so as not to alert the local authorities. It was better to protect the general population until it was time. And it wasn't quite time yet. 

She climbed in her mustang and sped away, turning north to Oklahoma for no other reason than Oklahoma wasn't Texas.  Charlie couldn't stomach spending another night in Texas.

Fucking Texas.  She gave the state the finger through the rear view mirror as she crossed the boundry to the Sooner state.

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