“WHAT!?” Luke shouted but Gertrude replied back “Shh… not so loud. Those guys are coming. I can see them.” Luke spun around, but saw nothing. Gertrude continued “This is weird. I can partially see through things now and float through solid objects. They are just on the other side of the door. Quick, run and hide. Leave my body here.” Luke looked. He was between the buildings and a retention pond, which left little options for hiding. He saw a dumpster a little ways down the alley so he bolted over to it as fast as he could. He dove behind it and peered around the edge. The dumpster was away from the security lamp which shone down on what was left of Gertrude and her belongings. As Luke watched, the rear door to the Moon Dog Tavern swung open and three young men dressed in black strolled out. They saw Gertrude, but did not rush to her aid. They sauntered over to her dead body calmly. One picked up her purse and started rummaging through it looking for something. The others began pulling Gertrude’s clothes off. Luke heard one of the men say “Look through everything. She could have hidden it anywhere.” Gertrude spoke to Luke “They are looking for the jewel. I stole it from them.” Luke started to speak, but Gertrude said “Be quiet, just think what you want to say. I can hear your thoughts, but they could hear your voice. You do not want to be found by those men. They want the jewel back and will stop at nothing to get it. Even if it means cutting off your left hand.” Luke gasped but his right hand came up and covered his mouth to keep him quiet.
Confusion filled Luke’s mind. Luke didn’t make his right hand come up and cover his mouth. It covered his mouth all of its own accord.
Gertrude said “Please, Luke, Be quiet or they will kill you, which also means the death of me. I promise I will explain everything, but for now you must stay hidden.” The men finished their search leaving Gertrude’s body mangled and naked laying in a heap. One of them held up the box that the jewel had been in and Luke heard him say “look, Dagger, she had it but she ditched it somewhere.” Luke squinted trying to see them better. The men stood under a harsh street lamp, but some distance off. He could see that one of them, the one addressed as ‘Dagger’ was a bit taller than the other two. He had a shock of black hair stood up in spikes while the other two had flat brown hair. His clothing was black, same as the others, but seemed to drip with all sorts of steel ornaments and jewelry shaped in various ways. What little of his body could be seen, was covered in a wide litany of multi-colored tattoos. Luke could have sworn he had seen the guy somewhere before, but he couldn’t imagine how.
Dagger looked out over the water. He held out both his hands and Luke watched as the water seemed to grow choppy and waves formed despite the lack of wind. A strange growling sound emanated from the waves but nothing further happened. Dagger turned to the other two and said “She didn’t toss it out in the water. I’m going back in to see if she hid it somewhere in the bar. You two look around a bit to see if she hid it somewhere else nearby. We have to find that stone. You know what it cost! If we don’t use the gift, Himlaela will be pissed and you do not want to see Himlaela pissed!” The men split up and Luke saw one of the men head off away from him while the other started walking towards him. Gertrude said “There’s no way to hide, but at least there is only one of him and he’s one of the underling’s. If we take him out quick, you can still get away. You will need to fight him and I will help you. We have to be perfectly in tune and work together if we are going to survive this.” Luke shook his head.
He must be going insane.
Luke wondered if there was any ‘extra’ ingredients in his coke. Maybe someone had planned to date-rape one of the girls and misplaced their mickey. Gertrude, sensing his hesitation, pressed “Luke, this is really happening and you have to deal with it. I am going to help you, but I need you to work with me. When he comes up around the dumpster we’ll punch him with your right hand on three. Ok?” Luke thought back “No, not ok! Something’s wrong with me and I’m not about to start assaulting random people because some dead woman is telling me to do it!” Gertrude replied “Luke, not only do they have the powers of Satan, but this is the 21st century and these guys are also armed with pistols. If I just punch him or, even worse, if you resist me using your body we will be weak. It will do nothing more than piss him off and he will shoot you. If that happens, we both die and there is no way I will be able to stop them from killing again. We have to knock him out with a single punch.” Luke glanced at the approaching man. He looked young, maybe early twenties at most, but definitely full grown and tough. Luke figured he could probably take the guy in a protracted boxing match, but definitely not knock him out with one punch. That kind of shit only works in the movies. Gertrude continued “We have to try. On three...” Luke took one last look. The man was practically on top of the dumpster.
Luke could see the long shadow of the man just past the dumpster he was hiding behind grow longer as he approached.
Luke could hear the crunch of the dirt and clutter underneath the man’s feet. He was less than two feet away from Luke, just around the corner of the dumpster. If it had been day or if the moon had been out, the young dark man would have definitely seen Luke by this point.
Luke leapt to his feet and swung his fist. It felt weird. He was the one moving his body, but it but it felt like his body was lighter than normal. His arm seemed to weigh nothing and he moved much faster than he ever remembered moving before. He practically flew into a jump as he stood up and it took all of his force just to aim his tremendous punch. For a split-second, Luke saw the man’s eyes grow wide with surprise and fright. It didn’t last long. Luke’s knuckles made contact with his face and that was the last Luke saw of his eyes. Luke watched in amazement as the man flew backwards a good six feet before crumpling into a heap on the ground. Luke had punched him with his hand, but the physics of his body reacted as if he had been hit by a truck. Luke watched the body closely with his heart pounding in his ears.
The man did not move…”