\ 22:26 "Helping a Stranger" | unlimitedi.net
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2021-05-11 22:26 – Tuesday
Slàinte Pub

Sandoval entered the pub and instantly relaxed. Being here was a relief.  He was hours later at work than he wanted to be and he was no closer to catching his werewolf than he had been the day before.  He was hoping to meet Alison here later, but all he wanted now was a cold ale and maybe some jalapeno poppers.

He stepped up to the bar and waited his turn.  Angus slid up and gave him a sympathetic smile. “Long day?”

“You know it.  Tall glass of the Stella?  And give me an order of poppers too.”

“Ach! Those awful beasties. The only reason I carry them is because you eat them,” Angus drawled in his thick Scottish brogue, “Why don’t you ever eat anything good for you like some of the leek soup or scotch eggs?”

“For the same reason I don’t eat street hot-dogs and Korean take-out.  I don’t know what in it.  Poppers I know come frozen from the factory like God intended.”

Angus set his beer on the bar and threw up his hands.  He clipped the food order to the overhead bar and rang a bell to alert Cadee. Sandoval enjoyed baiting Angus a little too much.  He’d had some of Angus other offerings and loved them.  His sandwiches and fish and chips were fantastic lunch alternatives.  But poppers reminded him of home.

He slid into a booth with Neumann and Morgan who were talking about some of the chatter around the station.  He heard Morgan say “vampire” and cut him off, “You know better than to talk shop out here.”

Morgan looked sheepish for a second and then Neumann started to snicker.  “Damn it, Charley, you always give it away!” he said with a playful punch into Neumann’s arm. 

“Sorry Pablo, but you are such a hard-ass in the station. These guys that don’t know you like some of us do.”

Morgan looked confused, “What, so we can talk about vamps and stuff?”

Sandoval took a sip of his beer, “Most people’s head is so far up their ass, Kevin, that if you told them to their face that vampires had killed their mother, they’d think you were kidding about it.  It means you can say whatever you want.”

Pablo’s face darkened for a second, “But never forget what is real.  These monsters are out there and they will kill you as soon as look at you.  Our job is to kill them first. ”

The three were silent for a moment as all of them reflected on the darkness they had seen; the evil that filled their lives and for which they had pledged to save the city.  Then a plate of jalapeño poppers slid in between them.

“Here you go, detectives, just like my mother used to make them,” Cadee said as she slid the plate of appetizers between the three men. She was well acquainted to them all, since they used to come to Slàinte all the time.

“I didn’t know your mother was a cook, Cadee,” Newmann said, as he took one of the poppers and put it to his mouth.

“My mother was a woman of many talents, Charley,” Cadee replied, laughing. “Cooking was the least of them.”

Then she placed a bowl of a rich reddish mixture next to Sandoval, not noticing that the sleeve of her blouse slid up and showed an ugly looking cut and bruises in the process. “And the cheese and chili dip you like, detective Sandoval. Again, straight from mom’s kitchen to your table.”

"You are too good to me Cadee, unlike your red-headed boss who accuses me of being a philistine when it comes to food." Sandoval held her arm, "Hey, what is that?"

He gave her a concerned look, "I know grip bruises, Cadee.  Who's been pushing you around?"

Confused about the remark, Cadee looked down at her own arm. The cut and bruises were actually much better than last night – she had been a little worried about the cut, actually, but finally her super-healing had kicked in – but of course they were still visible, and would be for another day at least. However, since the wounds didn’t hurt anymore, she had been sloppy, even if she had donned a long sleeved blouse to hide them, to no avail. *Damn.*

She retired her arm and quickly pushed the blouse sleeve down. “It’s nothing, detective. I cut when I was cooking and my roommate just pressed it down a little too strongly to stop the bleeding.” She smiled at him. “Nobody pushes me around, promise.”

"You can't cover for abusers, Cadee.  You aren't protecting them, you are hurting yourself."

Her look told him all he needed to know, "Okay, I'm overprotective. I get it.  But a girl can't be too careful in the city."

 “I have to agree with that; but I promise, it’s not what you’re thinking.” Cadee smiled again, she didn’t like being lectured, but she did like detective Sandoval. The man was nice, well-mannered and always polite. And she respected his job; it wasn’t his fault that he made the wrong assumptions, the wounds ‘were’ grip bruises after all, only not the kind he suspected.

Suddenly, she felt observed and raised her eyes. She saw Logan smiling at her from the other side of the room, and she smiled too, happy. But then Sandoval spoke again and she turned back to him.

"I don't get you sometimes, Cadee.  You are smart and attractive.  You could get a much better paying job at an upscale restaurant downtown or even a receptionist job on Wall Street.  Why you work in this hole-in-the-wall is beyond me.  I know it isn't for the tips that cops give."

“I guess I just like cops,” she joked, and then sobered up. She knew he meant well, so she tried to answer likewise. “You know, I love cooking, and I’m taking classes. Maybe you’ll find me ‘cheff-ing’ in a fancy restaurant in some years. Hey, maybe it’ll be my own!”

“I’d eat there,” Sandoval said as he watched the stranger leave followed suspiciously by three large men in hoodies. That doesn’t look good, Pablo thought.

“Cadee, excuse me a minute, I think I see trouble.”


Logan had just left Slàinte and was halfway to his bike when he felt the sharp pain in the back of his head.

“Oumph!" With a groan, Logan crumbled to the floor. He tried to struggle back to his feet, but his vision was blurred and his balance wobbly.

"Come on, hurry up".

"He's a lot heavier than he looks."

Logan felt strong hands grab at his arms, dragging him viciously from the street to a nearby ally.

With his eyesight returning, Logan managed to lift his head with great effort. Two men were holding him fast and a third, clutching what looked like a broken off broom handle, walked a few feet ahead, urging them to move faster.

"Who the fuck are you?" Logan coughed out. His head was still swimming.

The man with the stick spun around, driving the weapon into Logan's stomach. All the air exploded from his lungs as he collapsed down to one knee.

The two men released their hold, laughing loudly at the sight of Logan struggling to stand. "You stupid git. Did you think you'd just get away with it?"

Logan finally managed to make it back to both feet, but not before stumbling backwards into a wall which he now used for support. This is when he got the first look at his attackers. At first, they seemed like regular guys in their mid-twenties, but Logan quickly noticed something really off. All their eyes glowed reddish-orange like dark, burning embers. Everything became clear - Kaoshians.

"Yeah, yeah, now you get it, don't you pretty boy," one of them mocked, as he withdrew a switchblade from his pocket. "You stuck one of these right between Bill's eyes and now we're going to return the favor!"

The logical thing to have done was run, but running was not in Logan's vocabulary, even with odds like this. He pulled off his leather jacket and tossed it to the floor so he'd have full mobility and charged forwards. The move was so brazen that it caught the Kaoshians off guard and gave Logan a temporary advantage. He body-checked the one holding the stick to the floor and managed to punch the second before the one with the knife came at him, swinging wildly. Logan barely had time to jump back as the knife came whizzing by, nicking him on his left shoulder.

"Ahh shit," he yelped, blood was already oozing through his white t-shirt. The men clearly weren't trained fighters, but they had weapons and they were a hell of a lot faster and stronger than regular humans.

The knife wielder wasted no time, lunging forward, only to be greeted with Logan's foot in his chest. The Kaoshian flew back, crashing to the floor with the sickening thud.

"Holy Shit! Did you see that?" the empty handed one gasped, amazed at the human's apparent strength.

"Just shut up and get him!"

Ducking beneath a vicious haymaker, Logan retaliated with an uppercut of his own, sending the 2nd demon spiraling to the ground. It was a good hit, but left him open to the one holding the broomstick. Logan cried out as the rod once again collided with his ribs. The pain was intense, enough so to fog his vision for a second time. This was the opening the Kaoshians needed. The one without the weapon, tugged hard on the back of Logan's t-shirt, ripping it in the process. Logan lost his footing and as he fell back, the demon rammed its fist into his lower back.

For the third time, Logan found himself on the ground, battered and bruised.

"You're definitely a scrapper, I’ll give you that," one of the demons said, as he circled the floored human. With a sadistic smile, the Kaoshian lifted his boot and brought it down on Logan's right hand.

"Ahh, fuck!" Logan whimpered, as he rolled onto his back, clutching his broken hand.

By now, all three demons had made it back to their feet and were circling the wounded Logan like a school of sharks. "You had this coming asshole!" one taunted as he spat in in the man's face.

“NYPD!  Drop your weapons!“ A voice commanded from the corner of the alley by the bar, “up against the wall, all of you!”

Sandoval had his hand on his sidearm and his badge held high.  The three guys were big, but he had backup on its way. He only had to delay them for a few minutes until the cavalry arrived.  For now, the guy on the ground would appreciate the distraction.

One of the three pulled off his hoodie exposing his chest.  His muscles were toned and as he flexed, red cracks appeared in his skin.  Fire burned from his mouth as something ignited within him.  Sandoval felt the heat before he smelled burning fabric.

Damn.  Kaoshian demons, Sandoval realized.  He reacted even as he was thinking it.  He pulled and fired a single shot into the heart of the one who was starting to burn.  The demon dropped flat on his back, dead.  The bullet wound from the 9mm fountained flame like a volcano. His half-transformed body lay still.

Another half-second and he would have been too hot for that to have worked, Sandoval thought, I’m okay as long as none of the others fire up.

“You have no rights in the city, demons,” Sandoval spoke, moving forward towards the man on the ground. “Especially if you threaten humans. If any of you homies want to become an outdoor grill like your buddy, you are welcome to try my patience. ”

The Kaoshian backed up a step – but only one. They didn't drop their weapons. “He don’t smell human to me, pig.  He got something on him.”

 What is he talking about? Logan thought as he struggled to gather his wits. His hand throbbed, and his chest was killing him, but the cop’s timely intervention had saved his life. I owe you one buddy.

"Yeah, that's right, he ain't your kind!" the other Kaoshian holding the knife added. A smirk crossed the demon's face as he noticed the officer's momentary hesitation. The accusation was enough to put a ripple in Sandoval's concentration which the Kaoshian capitalized on. He charged forwards in a burst of speed, dodging to the right as the cop fired again.

The other Kaoshian, ready to join his friend in battle, had completely forgotten that Logan was lying at his feet. He managed to take only one step before the wounded man's good hand clasped around his ankle, causing him to plummet clumsily to the floor.

"You're a dead man," the demon roared, as he hopped back to his feet only to find that Logan was already up.

The demon took a wild swing, but Logan ducked beneath it, bringing his knee up into the monster's ribs. When the Kaoshian keeled over, the man's knee was waiting again, this time connecting with the bridge of the demon's nose. With a gruesome crunch, the Kaoshian sunk unconsciously to the floor.

A heavy breath escaped Logan's lips as he winced in pain. Two down, but the cop was still tangling with the remaining demon. Time to repay the favor.

Sandoval fired a shot at the charging Kaoshian but it passed through the demon's arm hardly slowing him.  Hot breath boiled hitting Sandoval's face and he could feel the heat from his hands as its momentum drove him to the ground. Sandoval rolled back smoothly and grabbed at the Kaoshian's jacket using its momentum to throw the creature into the street and the night-time traffic.  Horns blared as the cars screeched to a halt knocking the demon around Centre Street. 

Sandoval rolled to his belly and scanned the sidewalk for his gun. The street lit up as the demon in the street ignited in a fireball and grew a full foot in stature and a five-foot long tail sprouted from its spine. Sandoval snatched his gun.

He started shouting at the human defender, "Bike. Get on the bike. Now. Go. Fully ignited Kaoshian demon coming. Run!"

The flaming Kaoshian demon melted a Prius that was in the way as it made deliberate steps through melting asphalt on its way to crush the two men.

More of Pablo's bullets rang out into the night, but with the demon in its true form, they did little to slow him down.

"Fucking pig!" the last Kaoshian bellowed with a now deep and beastly voice.

The distance between the brute and Sandoval was closing fast and it was clear the human wouldn’t have time to dodge the attack. Pablo braced himself for the impact but it never came. Logan, haven taken a running start, threw himself shoulder first into the demon, knocking them both to the ground.

Logan groaned as he fought his way back to his feet. With his shirt ripped from earlier on in the encounter, there was no protection from the heat the demon was emanating. Already the skin on his shoulder and chest was blistering.

Sandoval turned his back to the demon and the stranger and pumped his last 3 rounds into the Kaoshian that was downed in the alley.  One less creature to worry about, Pablo thought to himself.

Sandoval ran down the alleyway and to the entrance of Slàinte where Neumann and Morgan were exiting, weapons at the ready. "Over there," Sandoval pointed at the creature in the street, "Don't hit the human."

Sandoval ran inside and grabbed the CO2 fire extinguisher from the wall and jogged back outside. 

"Your friends are down and now you're the one outnumbered" Logan said, trying to buy some time.

"One of me is more than enough for a bunch of humans and you." Spinning like a top, the demon whipped its tail at Logan's feet, but the man's reflexes were just too fast. Logan jumped over flaming tail, and managed to kick the demon square in the jaw. The blow was enough to send the Kaoshian stumbling back, giving Sandoval's friends the opportunity they needed. With expert precision, bullets whizzed through the night sky digging deep into the monster's forehead. Four shots later the demon fell to the ground, its fire extinguished.

Seeing that the demon was done with, Logan's adrenaline finally gave out. A soft groan escaped his lips as he fumbled back against the ally wall, unable to stand without its support. He struggled to look up, seeing Sandoval rushing back, fire extinguisher in hand. "Don't think you'll need it," Logan coughed as a mixture of dizziness and pain forced him to one knee.

Sandoval sprayed the car, demon and several other small fires that had started.  He shot a couple of blasts onto the stranger to extinguish the embers of his tattered shirt before helping him out of the street.  “What’s your name, stranger?” he asked quietly.

“Logan,” he said roughly.

“Thanks for the help Logan, but I have a few questions for you,” Sandoval looked at the man’s injuries and helped him into a booth inside, “But they can wait for a bit.”  Outside Neumann and Morgan were dispelling the crowd with tales of a gang of hoods dousing a homeless man in gasoline and setting him on fire.

The situation was contained and no serious injuries. Except for Logan, Sandoval thought, there is something about him.  He’s human… mostly.  I wonder what he’s caught up in?

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