Fan Fiction

Devil Within
by MadMac (Stuart)

Sandra sat on the ceiling. Not an unusual thing for her admittedly but to most people, it's rather odd. What was even odder was the fact she could drink coffee while upside down on the ceiling, but then again after being a half human half demon, who knew what the extent of her powers were.

It had been nearly two months since the werewolf incident in the woods. Sandra still half heartedly ran her tech support business. But after dealing with a caller who thought software had something to do with pyjamas she had decided to take five and relax. She found the best way to relax was to have a coffee while defying gravity.

Crystal was still working for the telesales company, she still didn't know what it was she was supposed to be selling as she rarely got past the first sentence, and only just worked out who it was that she worked for when her pay check arrived earlier in the week. She has however begun a relationship with Wally; you know the type, the one with random public displays of affection that leave most spectators feeling rather ill.

Wally was the newest addition to the already bizarre household. But one thing you should know about Wally is that he is a werewolf. However, since moving in and having a nauseating relationship with Crystal, his normal depressed tone has changed to a quite upbeat one. He has even found a job with the local Forest and Wildlife Rangers after a group of them mysteriously disappeared two months ago and a few more left after wild stories that giant talking wolves were stalking the woods. Sandra was being patient enough to let him stay with them until he got enough money together to rent an apartment.

Then there is Sam, a five foot (not including the ears) talking rabbit. Not much a five foot (not including the ears) talking rabbit can do except maybe work in the local circus/fair/freak show. As the town had neither of these, he spends most of his time drinking beer and watching day time TV that only serves to numb his brain even more than the beer.

Jack now spent most of his free time hidden in the attic. But like Wally has even gotten out and found himself a job (on pain of spontaneous combustion he would stress) down at the local book shop. This suited him fine as he regularly came back with some hideously bound tome that he found in the occult section. However Sandra had noticed this did seem to be causing a bit of a rift between him and "Tomie" as Jack was regularly heard trying to explain to Tomie why he was bringing back other books and that they didn't mean anything to him. The other household member would just shake their heads a comment on his bizarre imagination when it came to imaginary friends.

Sandra sipped thoughtfully on her coffee and made a mental note to dust the lamp shade just as Jack strolled into the kitchen with a confident looking grin on his face, and an ugly looking book under one arm and the magic tome under the other.
"Sandra?" he said as he looked round the room.
"Up here Jack." Sandra replied just as she removed the coffee cup from her lips.
Jacks snapped his eyes upward with a mild look of amusement on his face. "Bad customer?"
"No just the usual idiot."
"Well," Jack announced boldly, "I have something that might cheer you...." He faltered, his eyes widened and he tipped his head to one side as if trying to look at something that might just be out of view.
"Erm... How are you drinking coffee upside down? Why hasn't it spilt everywhere?"
Sandra rolled her eyes, "Who knows.... Now what were you saying."
"Really!" Jack had put one of his books on the table and seemed to be listening as if it was talking to him. "You telling me she can do that? That's sooo cool..."
"JACK!" Sandra glared, "I am not in the mood for your ranting; now tell me what you wanted or you know what I'll do to you!"
Jack coughed lightly and mumbled something about being sexy when angry, "Yeah anyway I have something that might cheer you up."
Jack put the ugly book on the table. Its cover was black and looked like it was made with some sort of animal skin. It was obviously very old. Embroidered on the cover in red was Ye History of Demons, Deity's and Witchcraft Volume 8. He flipped open its cover with a little puff of dust and flicked through it for what seemed ages; Sandra's patience was rapidly running out, also something you lose when you become a half demon.
"Sorry, the pages in this book sometimes move..." Sandra couldn't work out if Jack was being honest, or just trying to be funny.
"Ah! Found it." Jack spun it round and slid it along the table to present Sandra with what he had found.
Sandra just looked it with a glazed look in her eyes. "And what is it I am looking at?" she sighed.
"The picture, look at the picture, doesn't it look familiar?"
"No not really, but...." She paused as her eyes widened and mouth opened slightly. Jack beamed at her knowing he had got something. But Sandra then lost her grip on her coffee cup and dropped it with a loud thudding sound on to Jacks forehead.

Now Jack didn't mind the pain from the scalding hot coffee, or the concussion he got from the mug being dropped on his head. Pain has become such an integral part of his life since finding Tomi it failed to bother him much anymore. His constant exposure to healing spells has given him some ability to regenerate anyway. It was the fact that yet again, in one way or another, Sandra had caused him pain, and while this time was not deliberate, she could have at least said sorry. But then again, who can blame him for being a little bit resentful, you would be too if made to spontaneously combust on a almost daily basis.

Sandra however had brought herself back in step with the normal laws of physics and was off the ceiling with History of Demons, Deity's and Witchcraft Volume 8 in her hands with all three eyes wide open in astonishment.
"He looks just like me!" The picture she held was indeed a drawing of a demon that looked very much like a male version her, right down to the stripe pattern on its body.
"Well of course it looks like you, why you think I was so eager for you to see it." Jack grumbled while digging around the freezer for a bag of frozen peas.
"But.... What does this mean?" Sandra asked with a hint of hysteria in her voice.
"What's this all about?" said a voice from the kitchen doorway, in which stood the unmistakeable shape of Sam, long ears and scruffy fur and that almost PI style of dressing. He had that been watching Jerry Springer look about him and would have given anything to get away from it.
Jack beamed "I've found a picture of something that looks like Sandra."
"THING!!!!" Sandra roared.
"Erm...." Jack suddenly took on the look of a terrified animal, "You know that's not what I meant." And he began to squirm under her furious gaze and closed his eyes awaiting the inevitable.
But he didn't feel that tingling sensation he normally got when he was about to burst into flames. Instead he opened his eyes to find Sandra buried back in the book with Sam taking a passing interest as he made his way to the fridge for another bud.
"But..." Sandra mumbled, "Does this mean.... There are more like me?"
"Well, it shows there have been others like you." Jack theorised.
"What's this written in? What does it say? I can't read it."
"I don't know." Jack said cautiously as if it suddenly dawned on him that what he was going to say might end in a burning.
"What?" Sandra looks almost frantic, "What do you mean you don't know?"
"I can't read it, neither can Tomi, it looks like ancient Sumerian, but none of the words make sense, it's like it's all jumbled up."
Sandra's expression of desperateness to know turned into one of angered disappointment. Being a half demon, you get angry quite easily. And this was something Jack knew was inevitable, his skin was tingling and he felt the room cool suddenly, or was it just him getting hotter and with a loud fwoosh! He was engulfed in a flames.
Strangely calm for a man on fire, he sighed and made his way to the hose that lay out in the back garden and leaving burn marks on the tiled floor as he went.
"Well," piped up Sam as he sipped a beer with a grin on his face. "If I were you Sandra, I would get Jack to find out how to read it rather than setting fire to him. Thinking of that, tales of the paranormal is on." And with that, he strolled out the door.
"I think that TV is rotting his brain." Sandra commented as a loud hissing sound of water turning to steam came from the garden.

****

Wally stood in the clearing, if you could call it a clearing; it was more of a mess of mangled trees that had been broken and torn up in the fight between Sandra and Doyenne. The sheer size of Doyenne in her Wolf form meant a vast area of woodland hade been torn up which only now the land was trying to retake apart from the massive black spot in the centre of the clearing. Things still refused to grow there.

The local news reported the devastation was cause by freak weather. Conspiracy nuts put it down to some military weapon or a UFO landing site after a few of them observed the scorched and burnt trees round the edges of the devastation and the fact some of the rangers ranted about giant talking wolf men and demon women.

But he could still smell Doyenne's scent, even after two months. It saturated the ground where her body had melted into it. It was so strong he could catch it on the wind sometimes even when he was on the other side of the forest.

But that wasn't why he was here. He had herd something before he reached the clearing, like a tree breaking, and his canine nose could smell the three distinct scents of Tom, Coppola, and Johnny. They were unmistakeable after spending so many years with them. What were they still doing lurking about for, and why? He thought to himself. It couldn't be a good sign. Wally hoped that maybe it was just a trace scent, left behind from when Doyenne was killed and they fled. They had a habit of marking territory so it was possible that was what he smelt. But he knew he wasn't that lucky.

Wally jumped from one broken log to another, one of the many advantages of being in wolf form. It would have taken a normal person far to long to ramble over the debris, he needed to make sure that the old members of his old pack weren't lurking in the mess and using the overpowering smell of Doyenne's death as a mask to hide in.

It was then it struck Wally that there wasn't much he could do if he did find them here. There were three of them, and they were older than him, and for werewolves the older one gets, the bigger they are and the greater their power. Unfortunately for Wally, he was the youngest of the pack, so if it came to push and shove... I wouldn't stand a chance.

As he made his way over the bracken, he let the smell of Doyenne saturate his senses. She wasn't like the others. She looked out for her pack. She made sure that everything was provided for them. She even wanted to make Crystal a member of the pack to ensure his happiness. Despite the fact he didn't always approve of her methods, and sometimes she showed a lack of moral conscience, but she was still, (for a lack of a better word) his mother. And like any child, you love your mother, no matter how bad they are. I miss her. he whimpered. She was always good to him and the others. Even if the others took the whole wolf thing a bit too far. But, Doyenne was always very reserved, tempered, controlled. She helped him through the first few months, taught him how to control his changing when he wanted and not when the forces of nature told him to, while the others just made fun of him and his inability for a while not to do it properly. The hardest test was his first full moon. Trying to restrain the change was painful, and in the end, he failed. But with Doyenne's patience that could only have come from being centuries old. She helped him work through it until he could master his ability. But she also taught him the little things too. Like how to pick out scents from the air, recognise the common ones and use it to track wildlife for food. As nomads they didn't have much money. But they didn't need it. They would find a balance with nature. Take what they needed. The others of the pack, didn't agree with that of course. They hungered for the chase and ultimately the kill and all the things they wanted when they were human, but couldn't have. But this drove them to murdering people for their cloths and money. Something Doyenne didn't approve of unless it was necessary.

He sniffed the air, trying to pick up the scent of the others. But he couldn't pick it up. Either they weren't here or he just lost track of their scent he couldn't tell. Doyenne's scent was too overpowering to be sure. Having already made two passes round the clearing he took one last sniff. There was something else on the air, almost chemical. He slowly padded back to the line of trees and then disappeared into the shadows of the forest. Time was moving on and he still had a large area of woodland to survey and a heard of deer to find and check up on.

His only problem was he failed to see the broken log and the foot/paw prints that lay next to it.

****

Jack was back in the Attic. He thought it was best to avoid Sandra for a while if he wanted to avoid spending more money on clothes. Out in front of him was History of Demons, Deity's and Witchcraft Volume 8 open on the page with the picture and he was furrowing his brow to try and read the text. It wasn't helped by the fact that the page would sometimes fade away to be replaced by another page. So after finding where the page he was reading had moved to he would have to start again as the words usually had re-arranged themselves.

Can merge, but eternal darkness. Can spirit and soul is more powerful the. But if the daemon was next stricken soul hosts will they god if that humans a merging demon in order. A weaker demon appearance powers only guardians are walk among a. Some of great can even however some of them require than that of the demon, it can be repressed forgive all by the human tongue. But exist, awaiting the to fall with into in the mortal realm the realm the to control between universes so grow to exist that they may it. Their with time, hybrid make their change so they those that bar its path and save the body world from of creature and not nameable human mortal people allowing the to hell human side to overpower the power snare and devour....

"I give up Tomi," Jack sighed. Tomi, propped up against a pile of other books, "it doesn't make any sense to me. I only wanted to look up the kinky looking demons, didn't want to try and work all this out."
There was a frustrated silence in the air.
Its like the book doesn't want you to read it. Tomi said solemnly, not that a book actually has the ability to say anything, more like Tomi telepathically transmitted it to Jack's mind.
"What was that?"
I said its like the book is trying to stop you from reading it.
"Are you saying this book might be sentient too?"
It could be, but most likely just enchanted. Some of my previous masters could make books that would only let certain people read them.
"That's a stupid idea, it's a book, and you're meant to read them. Why would anyone want to stop someone from reading a book?"
If they contain something that's dangerous, like how to summon a demons or how to destroy the world.
"So how is it I can read the rest of the book, and not these four pages."
I'm not sure how it works, but when my former master Yenanti wrote a book on love spells he enchanted the pages that contained the anti spells so only he could....
Jack sniggered.
What?
"Sorry, but a warlock making a book on love spells..." He burst into fits of laughter.
Hummp! Tomi grumped He was a lonely warlock. Besides you can't laugh, I don't see women flocking to your side, do you?
Jack stopped laughing and looked almost hurt, he coughed slightly.
"So... erm, what were you saying."
Yenanti would enchant the pages with the spells he didn't want people to see. Not sure how he did it as he never explained these things to me, but basically, the whole book needs to be enchanted for the spell to work. Each extra page in the book that's enchanted makes the pages that are not meant to be read more unreadable.
"Well in that case if I pull out the pages the spell will be broken and...."
NO STOP! Tomi cried jus as Jack began to tear out the first page if you do that the pages will freeze and they will never be readable! Didn't you think the person/creature that wrote that book thought of that!
"Oh..." Jack let go of the page as if it was on fire. "not a good idea then."
Jack slumped back in his chair in disappointment and scowled. You could see his mind was turning over. The problem is that when Jack starts thinking his mind distorts reality and strange things happen. The lamp in the far corner began to sprout arms and a picture of some pocket watches on the wall began to melt.
"Well, if the book was enchanted with a spell, then surely that means there is a counter spell. For all spells made there is always a counter spell. Am I right?"
Except the terminal ones.
"Ok." Jack rolled his eyes, "All spells except the terminal ones."
and the eternal ones
"Fine, all spells except the terminal and eternal ones."
and the... Jack shot Tomi a angry glance.
"Ok, fine, most spells then."
The lamp started to do the mash potato.
Yeah I would say that was a fair comment....
"So if we could find if there was a counter spell to unlock the book, then we could read it. But where do we start?
Sorry Jack, but I don't know
"Don't worry Tomi, that's ok. I think I'm going to need some help with this problem."
Jack pulled himself up from the table, picked up Tomi and History of Demons, Deity's and Witchcraft Volume 8 and headed towards the hatchway out of the Attic.
Where are you going to get help from Jack? You don't know any other people that can help with that.
"I can go to the Magi-Net." Jack replied.

****

Sam continued to flick through the 400 channels of cable. He sighed, sipped from his beer and started going through the channels again one by one in a desperate search to find something mildly entertaining.
This universe has no idea on what makes good TV. At least Tool knew how to do that. His only draw back was that he was a homicidal megalomaniac.
He suddenly became aware of another presence entering the room and with a bounce it landed on the sofa next to him.
"Hi ya!" Came the almost shrill voice.
"Hello Chrys." Sam said not even taking his eyes off the TV set.
"I..."
"IF," Sam butted in, "it is anything to do with Wally and about how cute he is and how soft his fur is, or how nice he is, or how caring he is, or how wonderful your life is now that you two are together, I really, really don't want to know."
Crystal's giant beaming smile withered away to one of disappointment.
"Well, for your information I wasn't going to talk about Wally." She sneered.
"Really..." Sam replied with just a hint of sarcasm.
"Really."
"Then what were you going to talk about if not Wally." Sam said with a sly look.
Sam found the look of Crystal furrowing her brow in an attempt to think of something quite amusing.
"You then." Crystal blurted. Sam looked quite surprised,
"Me?" he snorted "Not much to know about me, what you see is what you get."
"Now don't be like that."
"Like what?"
"Like that!"
"Chrys....." Sam glared at her.
"See what I mean, all you do is sit here day in day out, drink beer and watch TV and be miserable."
"Got anything better for me to do? I'm under house arrest practically."
"That's not stopped you leaving before."
Sam eyes widened, "Why?" he snapped, "What have you seen."
"Oh nothing," Crystal teased.
"You've seen me haven't you?"
"Oh I don't know what you're talking about..." Crystal said with a smirk growing on her face while jiggling her feet in amusement. Sam slowly raised a finger points it right as Crystal's nose and coolly said "You tell anyone and you will never see your fluffy animals..."

Right then the door opened and in walked the human form of Wally in his Rangers uniform. Crystal squealed with delight, shot off the back off the sofa so fast she nearly tipped it over. Much to Sam displeasure as it caused him to drop his bottle of bud.
Crystal fell into Wally's open arms and he smiled gently. "Hi sweetie." he whispered quietly.
"Oh my baby wolfie is home! Can I make you a cup of coffee? I thought you would never come back! Why do you stay so late all the time? You know that I miss you!" Crystal jabbered.
Sam retched loudly and Crystal shot him an angry glare while Wally just ignored it
"Sorry hun, but I need to talk to Sandra." He sighed, "Where is she?"
"She's in the kitchen where she normally is.... What's the matter? Is something wrong?"
"With any luck, no."

Wally slid away and made his way into the kitchen where Sandra's club shape ended tail could be seen flip flopping back and forth gently in the doorway. He leaned forward through the doorway to see the rest of Sandra sat, coffee mug in hand sipping thoughtfully and flicking through an edition of some PC tech monthly by sliding one elongated finger under each page and flicking it over.
"Sandra, can I talk to you for a min?" Wally asked quietly.
"What's the matter Wally. your aurora, and it doesn't look like your normal one at all."
"Well.... My what?"
"Aurora, normally it's a nice shade of orange, tonight it's red, and it's only red when you're worrying."
"But how can you tell what my Aurora is like."
Sandra just pointed to her third eye.
"Oh.... well, the thing is, we might be in trouble."
There was a pause. Sandra looked up from her book at Wally as he stood in the door way and waited for a reply. He looked concerned, but not as concerned as Crystal who stood right next to him and was staring at him so hard Sandra was surprised her eyes didn't pop out of her head and roll about on the floor.
"And?" Sandra encouraged.
"I was doing my rounds in the woods and part of it takes me through the place where you fought Doyenne, and..." Wally faltered and there was another pause.
"And?" Sandra repeated irritably.
"Well, the thing is," he blurted "I'm not sure yet, but I thought if it is true that, I would better tell you, just in case, but I might be wrong, I haven't seen anything yet, but if it is true, we might all be in trouble, except you of course because...."
"Wally," Sandra snapped. "Sit down, calm down and think about what you're going to say. Chrys, be a dear and make him a coffee."
"Ok!" Chrys beamed and quickly busied herself with the coffee machine. Wally sat down and looked even more worried than he did when he walked in the door.

Sandra wasn't sure why Wally was still so twitchy round her. He was a supernatural creature/person himself, and she knew he didn't have a problem with the way she looked. He had had two months to get used to it. Okay so she did threaten to kill him the first time they met. If it wasn't for Crystal she probably would have twisted his head off. But even now, he still behaves round her as if he was visiting the parents. Was it just the fact he saw her as Crystals mother in someway, a mother that could disembowel him in a flick of her striped talons.

Crystal placed a mug of coffee on the table in front of Wally, one that had wolfie baby painted on it. Wally mumbled his thanks and continued to stare at the table like a School boy that just got a telling off. Crystal sat down next to him.
"Right." Sandra announced. "Tell me, from the beginning, what's the problem?"
"I went through the area where you killed Doyenne and I thought I smelt the scents of....." Wally paused again.
"Wally."
"...the scents of the others."
"Others? What others." Crystal asked naively.
"The other werewolves Crystal." Sandra replied sternly. Wally just nodded.
"But what are they dong here?" Crystal said hysterically. "Didn't they run off after Doyenne was killed, didn't you say they wouldn't come back?"
"Yes, I did say that, and I'm not sure yet if they are back or not." Wally comforted. "I only caught a trace scent and I haven't found any carcasses about to show that they are killing and eating."
"And I haven't read about people disappearing in the last few days." Sandra said trying to back up their hopes.
"Well I hope they are here." Announced Sam loudly from the doorway, "I owe them." They all watched Sam make his way to the fridge. "Not only that," he said while opening another bottle of beer, "Apart from that I could do with some excitement round here."

****

Barbas was not a patient man at the best of times, and right now he was damn well pissed off. The old lady he had been standing behind in the queue now for quarter of an hour was still rummaging round her purse to find the smallest denomination coins she could find, then examining each one like a fine work of art before deciding if she wanted to put it on the counter to pay with, of just put it back in her purse. And much to Barbas's annoyance, it was the latter.
"How much was that again dear?" The old lady asked the cashier with a voice that was just audible.
"Nine Dollars Fifty Two." The spotty teen cashier yelled back.
Barbas clenched his fist so hard he could have made a diamond from a lump of coal. He cursed himself for not flying. People might have noticed him and those that hunted him might have caught up, but at least he wouldn't have finished his pack of cigarettes like he did by traveling on the train and end up having to queue behind old ladies.
"Will that be enough dear?"
"I Need 50cents."
"5 cents?"
"FIFTY!"
Barbas rage was at boiling point. He couldn't believe that him, of all people had to put up with this. If it was the old days he could have just thrown her aside and taken what he wanted. But things have changed so much he needs to keep a low profile. The people after him had eyes everywhere. He placed his black nailed hand on a flower with white petals he had on the lapel of his ankle length black leather jacket.
A small blond and insanely cute girl stood next to him was looking up and beaming while her parents argued about some trivial matter.
"Hey mister." She said.
Barbas snapped out of his cycle of rage and looked down at the girl with his pale blue/purple eyes.
"What's that flower? Its pretty."
Barbas smiled sweetly and knelt down to talk to her.
"It's a Christmas rose."
"That's a nice name."
"Well that is the nicer name it's known by."
"Where does it come from?"
"Well, they came from a little girl, a bit like you actually."
The girls eyes widened. "Really!" she exclaimed.
"That's right. This was a very long time ago, long before you were born. You see, this girl was very unhappy and she cried into the snow, and where her tears touched the snow, this flower grew."
"Next please." Came the cashiers voice from behind the counter. If looked like finally the old woman had finished paying and had moved on. Barbas winked at the girl and stood up to the cashier. Bought his cigarettes, paid and turned to leave when the girl piped up again.
"So mister, did that girl give you that flower?" The little girl beamed.
"No, she didn't, that was long before my time here."
"Oh, so who gave it to you?"
"The person that brought me into this world."
The girl looked puzzled for a second and furrowed her brow.
"Oh you mean your mommy?" she said. Barbas laughed loudly,
"Yeah, something like that." Barbas, smiled gently. He reached up and took the flower from its place on his lapel and gave it to the girl. "You can keep this and it will never die, but if there is someone you don't like, give them a petal and your problems will be over. If you ever get into trouble, crush it, and one of my friends will come to...."
"Hey you!" Yelled a voice, "What are you doing hanging around my daughter."
It was the girls father naturally who had finished arguing with his wife, he was large man, but scruffy looking, the sort of type you wouldn't want to meet anytime let alone have an argument with. Barbas slowly and coolly stood up and turned to face the man with a mild look of irritation on his face. Despite the fact that the Barbas was a good foot taller than this man, and only slightly less built. He had obviously lost his argument with his wife so wanted to continue the argument with someone else.
"We were talking." Barbas said bluntly.
"Yeah right I know your type, long jackets, black nails, long hair, your one of these Satanists aren't you?" the man raged, blood rushing to his face. "Yeah," the man continued, "I know your type and I don't want your kind hanging around my daughter. Because its your type that go walking through a school with machine guns."
Barbas rage grew to a level almost intolerable, and he twitched as if wanting to make a move, but thinking better of it he simply said "Ok."
And with that he span military style on the spot and he left. The father suddenly looked even more annoyed than he did when yelling now that his only method of venting his frustrations was walking away towards the train platforms with cigarette in hand with a blatant disregard for the non-smoking policy.
"Why were you mean to that man daddy. He was nice."
"You'll shut up you little brat if you know what's good for you." And with that he gave he a quick swipe to the back of her head. The girl sniffed and mumbled "Your mean to everyone Daddy."
She looked down at the delicate looking white flower in her hand and remembering what Barbas had said gently plucked off a petal. Much to her amazement, almost as if it had never been plucked even though she held a perfectly formed petal in her hand, the flower still had all its petals. She slowly held out the petal to her father.
"Here Daddy, have a flower."
The man shot an angry look at his daughter and raised his hand ready to smack her again when saw the petal in her hand. Either he was compelled to take it or suddenly decided that it was a peace offering from his daughter to say sorry, slowly reached for it and took it. For a moment he looked at it with a strange expression of curiosity on his face. But something began to happen, deep inside him. He groaned.
"Steve. What are you doing?" Said the wife.
"I...." Steve struggled, "something's wrong." He moaned loudly and clutched his chest.
"Honey, what's the matter?" Said the wife sounding more concerned.
"Get an ambulance...." The petal in his had suddenly shone with a bright white light and with a loud whooshing noise he burst into flames.

Barbas was just boarding the train as the screams of the man reached his ears. Slowly, but surely, a satisfied little smile touched his lips. That girl has promise he thought to himself as the Guard yelled the all aboard. He pulled himself up into the train with the screams of the man coming from the terminal were still quite audible but now also accompanied by the screams of the other people in the terminal. It had been a long time since he heard screams of pain and horror like that, it reminded him of home.

****

Johnny howled, only to be given a smack on the back of his head by a large white paw.
"Shut up". Tom growled. "If Wally doesn't hear you that damn rabbit will."
Johnny just whimpered.
"Berserk I'm hungry man, I can't live of this crap anymore, I need some fresh meat."
"You can't, if we leave leaving dead animals or bodies about they are going to know we are here and we will lose the element of surprise. What do you think we have been sitting in the river and cleaning ourselves everyday with that cleaner for? For our health? Because cold water helps circulation. Or the fact that industrial cleaner is good for our fur?"
Johnny and Coppola shock their heads.
"Then why you idiots?"
"To hide our sent so we can get revenge on the rabbit and the others." Coppola answered like a school child being given a telling off.
"That's right, to hide our scent and get revenge, just like Doyenne asked us to."
An awkward silence filled the air.
"But you nearly gave us away back at the clearing when you stepped on that log and broke it just before Wally turned up." Johnny said.
"And I thought Doyenne said to us revenge wasn't what wolves did." Coppola added.
Tom snapped a furious glare with his yellow eyes, bared his teeth and growled deeply. They shrank back.
Tom sniffed the air and turned his attention back to the house. As he looked he could see the flicker of the TV thought the window and silhouetted against the window was the unmistakeable shape of rabbit ears.
"That rabbit has been making trips from that house nearly every night this week and out to the park. If he comes out tonight, its rabbit chow mein on the menu."
Johnny and Coppola growled in delight.
Oh yeah, we owe you one rabbit. We may not be able to take on your demon woman friend, but we can sure have you for dinner. We owe you for what you did to Doyenne and me. And then were coming for the rest of your friends.

****

Sam looked at the time, it was nearing one and he was getting that urge again. He knew he shouldn't, it meant creeping out of the house again and down to the park. If Crystal has seen him go, then sure as hell someone else would soon if they hadn't done already. But it was something he had to do he had to, just something about this place that made him do it. He wasn't sure if it had to do with the fact he was locked up day in day out. But it started out as a once a month, then once a week, and now everyday. But he couldn't curb it. He had to do it.

He creped up the stairs and had a quick look into everyone bedrooms. Sure enough, one by one everyone was asleep. Sandra was mumbling in her sleep again. That woman has a lot of nightmares. Next doorway was Jacks, and he was sat, as per usual in his lotus position, meditating. Does meditation count as sleep then? Sam pondered. Then finally looking into Crystals room he could see her fast asleep and the shape of Wally by the bed in wolf form curled up on a large bean bag. Sam, now satisfied the house was asleep made his way back across the landing when his foot landing on a floor board making it creaked loudly, he gasped and froze. Someone stirred, and he waited. His heart was pounding in his ears like some huge drum. It was so loud he was sure that someone heard it.

But everyone was still sound asleep. Sam sighed and made his way slowly back downstairs.

Sam still hadn't worked out why Crystal hadn't told Sandra about him sneaking out. One more night, it wont matter will it. It did, and not only did it matter it was a dangerous thing to do especially with the possibility of werewolves about. Oh, but Wally said they wouldn't come back after defending our territory. Sam reassured himself. And as those guys were nuts when it came to the Wolf code. Sam nodded to himself. They wouldn't have come back... would they?

He reached the bottom of the stairs and looked at the coat Crystal made for him on its hanger by the door. No, I can't go out again. But even thinking of that he couldn't take his eyes off of his coat. Like a drug addict, he couldn't physically pull himself away from doing it. With one voice telling him every doubt another voice reassured him it will be ok. It was only the fact he had been seen that drove the extra doubt in his mind. But it didn't matter, every thought was pushed aside by his need. Screw it.

He made for the door, put on his coat and checked he had a set of keys on him and left into the chilly spring air.

****

Johnny growled at the sight of Sam leaving the house in his hooded coat. Tom bared his teeth and made the signal to move and the three of them slowly padded out from behind the bushes kept low and quiet. Johnny moving off to the left and Coppola moving off to the right with Tom following straight behind Sam.

They were downwind, so despite his rabbit sense of smell there wasn't anyway he could have smelt them. But his heightened hearing might give them away if they weren't careful.

Tom picked his way through the gardens, keeping low and steady, the form of Sam walking slowly towards the park. Little puffs of breath drifting our from under the hood. Tom's heart was pounding, he loved a good stalking. The thrill of sneaking up on prey without them knowing. His adrenalin was rushing through him, every muscle in his body was tight and ready to charge at Sam the first moment he sensed them.

Getting closer now, only a dozen foot or so. He could smell the rabbit, it's sent unmistakable, neither human, nor rabbit, a bit of both. Tom made his way round a wall and quickly back into another garden. He was salivating the closer he got. And then there was a bang.

Tom threw himself to the ground and froze. If that was that clumsy Johnny I'll neuter him. he thought in frustration. Sam had frozen too, and had turned round to look and see if he could spy anything. Tom's heart was pounding, Carry on rabbit, don't spoil the fun... For what seemed the longest time, Sam just looked round sniffed the air. He pulled his hood back and listened. One hand still in pocket, clutching something. Got to watch that hand then, might have something in there.

Sam lifted his hood back up and carried on. Tom lifted himself up slowly and followed suit.

They were nearing the park. On this end of it the park was a garden. Closed in by tall hedges with only two exits. Coppola should have made it to the other side by now to cover the far exit. Johnny was backup in case the rabbit decided to bolt, and Tom was the trap. Nearly there.... Nearly there...

Sam was getting twitchy, Tom could sense it, prey always seems to know when its time is near but he continued on towards the park entrance which was a tall arch cut from the bushes with a large black iron double gate with a slide bolt. Behind the archway it was pitch black, perfect for hiding in, and Tom knew Coppola was there.

Sam made his way to the gate and slid the bolt back before beginning to open it. He had just opened the gate to full and was about to step through when he froze, his gaze torn up into the dark area of park beyond the gate, the sound of him sniffing was loud and clear.

He had smelt Coppola and made a step back. Tom knew he was going to bolt and he leapt from behind the fence he was hiding behind thought the air just as Sam turned to stare wide eyed at the enormous white wolf man shape of Tom leaping towards him. Tom landed without a sound a foot or so from Sam, with one huge swipe of his arm Tom back handed/pawed Sam squarely in the chest sending him flying backwards through the gate and into the park. With a triumphant howl Tom went in through after him to see Sam sprawled on the floor. He turned back to the gate, shut it behind him, slid the bolt into place and then bent the end round to seal it shut.

Sam knew he was in big trouble. He had smelt one of them in the park and where Tom had popped up from he wasn't sure. He was cursing himself for being so stupid, he should have known better.
"Hello wabbit." Tom sneered at him, "We have come back for a rabbit dinner we were so looking forward to."
"That's a shame, didn't you get enough of a beating the first time round, I thought you would have learn your lesson and scurried back to your kennel." Sam shot back, he stood up trying to hide the fact that Tom's blow had cracked a couple of ribs.
Coppola growled loudly behind him, "Yeah, and we're here to return the favour."

Sam's mind was racing, he didn't think they would play with him long this time, they made that mistake on their first encounter. He was looking around for ways out, but the hedge around the garden was a good ten foot tall and he couldn't jump it, and if he climbed it he would be exposing himself for to long, the wolves would just jump him before he even reached the top. He couldnÕt see the streetlights through any part of the hedge either so there weren't any gaps he could dive through. He fingered the stun gun and can of mace he had in his pocket. The only two aces up his sleeve he had. He could get one of them with the mace, but that would give the other time to jump him. The stun gun was a back up he could use that to shock them if they got to close.
"Well!" Sam said taking a gamble, "What are you waiting for? Get on with it."
Tom growled and slowly padded towards him.
"I can smell your fear rabbit." He said baring his teeth.
Sam readied himself.
"Berserk, where's Johnny, I thought we were going to wait from him to get here before tucking in?"

"Oh, he's just over there being tied up." Said a female voice from high up. Sam, Tom and Coppola all spun round in the direction of the voice only to see the unmistakable shape of Sandra swoop down and with one mighty dropkick into TomÕs chest send him crashing into the ground. Sandra stood defiantly on his chest,
"What did your mother tell you about playing with your food?"
"You! Tom rage as he looked up at her standing on his chest.

Sam used the moment the best he could, took the mace out of his jacket and sprayed the entire contents it into Coppola's eyes while he was still too stunned to do anything. He howled in pain, placed his paws over his eyes and reared up onto his hind legs..

With his massive paw Tom tried to swipe at Sandra, but she could see what he was trying to do and with on beat of her massive wings she lifted herself up into the air and out of reach of his attack before diving back down and driving her hooves towards his face.

With one swift movement Tom flipped himself back up on to his feet with Sandra's hooves narrowly missing his head. Her hooves hit the ground with a loud crack as the paving stones of the garden path cracked. They both spun round to face each other and they paused.

Sam in the mean time was furiously laying into Coppola with the stun gun while he was still blinded. Sandra took a quick look at Sam to see how he was doing, trying not to break eye contact with Tom for too long, but by the looks of it, Sam could hold his own against a blinded werewolf that was in excruciating pain from the mace. Sandra's attention snapped back to Tom, they were watching each other for a sign of their next move. As they stood in a Mexican stand off Sandra could see the damage her drop kick had done as two bloody hoof prints welled up on Toms chest.

It was Sandra to make the first move, her tail lashing out at Tom in a massive arch, Tom dived back but to late at the club shaped end of Sandra's tail connected with his leg slashing a deep cut across the top of his thigh. But Tom's reactions were lightning quick, he grabbed the end of her tail before it was snapped back he yanked on it so hard Sandra was taken cleanly off her feet and pulled through the air towards him. With one mighty backhander Tom send Sandra flying back through the air and crashing thought the hedge sending evergreen leaves flying up into the Air.

Sandra lay on the grass, her chest burning as if a train had hit her, she had forgotten how much weight Tom had behind him. Before she even had time to regain her senses the huge shape of Tom charged though the hole in the hedge she had made. With a thud he landed with one huge paw stuck square on her chest driving her into the grass.
She struggled but the sheer size of him was to much to move even for her. A malicious grin spread across Tom's face and he pushed harder down on Sandra. Something crunched and Sandra's face contorted in pain.
"Oh!" Tom mocked, "Was that a couple of ribs?" Tom held up his other arm to sandras face and showed her stump where his paw used to be, "You see that," He growled, "I owe you for that one, and I think I'm going to start by removing your arms." He pushed down harder, "And when I have finished ripping you up, I think I'll keep your skin for a new coat." Tom grinned.
"That's if I don't make a coat out of you." She sneered back before yelling; "NOW!"

Before Tom had a chance to work out what was going on he felt him being lifted off the ground by some invisible force. He twisted round to see Jack, arm out, book floating just out of his hand in a trance muttering magic words. Wally next to him had grabbed the nearest car and had slowly started to spin round like an Olympic hammer thrower. Tom couldn't move, his feet were off the ground and no matter how much he twisted or struggled he couldn't move an inch. Sandra scrambled out of the way as Wally made his third and final spin before letting go of the car. It crashed squarely into Tom's body. The car crumpled up and bent round him with glass and loosened body work flying in all directions. The momentum of the car smashed him into the ground leaving a fifteen foot long gouge in the grass as he slid on his back with the car on top of him.

Sandra gestured triumphantly as Tom lay motionless with the car on top of him. Jack leapt up into the air and punched out with his fist with a loud "Yessssss, eat that you flea bag!"

With the rustling of bushes they all saw Coppola scramble over the hedge as he made a run for it. Sam dived out of the hole in the hedge and yelled after him
"Come back here you wuss!" Sam turned with a grin of triumph on his face before wincing and grabbing his ribs and quietly muttering "Ouch". He looked up to see the smashed car on top of the huge white form of Tom.
"You threw a car at him?" He said surprised, "Bit overkill isn't it? Is he dead?"
"Don't know." Sandra said slowly creeping up on Tom to check him out.

Tom wasn't moving, Sandra's hopeful side was saying nothing natural in this world would have survived that. But then again a werewolf isn't exactly natural. Sandra took a quick look back at the others. Sam was sat nursing his ribs while Crystal who had been hiding out of the way until the fight was over was talking to him. Jack was ready, book in one hand and the other poised to cast a spell. Wally was making his way towards Sandra.

Toms body was a mess, the car wreckage made it hard to see what damage had been done but the white fur that was usually so pristine was now a tangled mess of blood, glass, plastic, metal and grass. Sandra couldn't hear him breathing.

"Is he dead?" Wally asked.
"I can't say yet." Sandra replied as she crept closer to Tom's massive body. It is difficult to imagine the sheer size of tom in his wolf man form, he was a good eleven maybe twelve feet tall with hands/paws the size of motorbikes. Sandra rounded the wreckage of the car to see his head, yellow eyes and huge gaping maw wide open and tongue hanging from the corner of his mouth. For a moment she thought he was looking at her, but the eyes were lifeless.
"He looks dead to me." She said, not really to Wally, but to comfort herself. She reached out and felt for a pulse. She found it difficult to find anything though the thick fur as she worked her talon through the tangled mess but eventually she found warm skin "Damn." She cursed, "He's still alive."
"What are we going to do?" Wally said.
"Nothing, unlike him, we are not murders. Help me get the car off of him."
With that they both grabbed on side of the car and lifted it from Tom's unconscious body and flipped it over. "Bring Johnny over here."
With that Wally bounded off to find Johnny.
"Are you mad!" Sam yelled, then grabbed his ribs and winced, "this is the second time we had to kick their butts, which means they could be back for a third and you want to let them go!" Sam was wide eyed with disbelief. "WHY?"
"Like I said Sam, we are not murderers."
"But they are!" Sam yelled even louder.
"Sam keep your voice down." Jack cautioned "People might hear you."
"Sandra, we can't just let them go, if we do they will keep on killing and we will be partly responsible for it."
"I can't kill them." Sandra said solemnly.
"What you mean you can't kill them! You have killed before, like the people you killed on my world, where was your moral conscious then!"
Sandra looked taken aback. Her eyes were wide open and mouth slightly ajar just enough to show a single fang. "What..." she faltered "Did you say..."
"Remember, when you flipped on us, what was the body count, ten, fifteen, just how many was it, I don't think we found out did we."
Sandra looked blank for a second, the look of someone that is just about to be hit by a car and they know there was nothing they could do about it.
"I.." She started before Sam cut in once again
"If you let them go you're going to be endangering us and everyone else that they might cross!"
There was a loud swish of taloned hand and Sam suddenly found himself picked up by his collar and yanked through the air so his face was a mere hairs breadth from Sandra's now snarling features.
"I aught to eviscerate you for your insolence rabbit!" Came her voice, but it didn't sound like Sandra, it was cold and angry, her whole posture had changed, she bristled with a furious energy, even her eyes had taken on a different look, they practically blazed with anger. For the first time since he met Sandra, Sam was suddenly very frightened as he watched her raise a claw into a position to strike.
"Sandra STOP!" Jack yelled, "What are you doing!"
And suddenly she switched, her eyes softened and she looked a little puzzled.
"What am I doing?" She gasped and she put Sam down back on his feet and looked down at her claws.
Jack put a hand on her shoulder, "You okay?" He asked softly.
"I think so... what happened?" She replied
"I'm sorry Sandra, I shouldn't have said that." Sam said quietly.
Sandra look puzzled "Said what?"
Sam opened his mouth to speak but before anyone could continue the conversation the sound of Johnny being dropped next to Jack distracted them. Johnny was still struggling away and had reverted back to human form to try and get out of the ropes tying his hands and feet. But as the rope was elastic it just shrank with him and held him just as tight as if he was in wolf form "We are letting you go." Sandra said to a very surprised looking Johnny.
"What?" He blurted.
"Take Tom and go." Sandra reiterated and with one deft swipe of he claws cut the ropes round Johnny's hands and feet.
Johnny didn't need to be told three times. In a few blinks of an eye, the form of Johnny grew and twisted into the imposing form if him as a wolf man. In one quick movement he scooped up Tom and sprinted off into the distance.
"Yeah, look at Odie run." Sam said smugly. Which is not what Sandra wanted to hear as it reminded her why they were out fighting werewolves in the first place.
"What the hell did you think you were doing?" She yelled.
Sam looked quite taken aback, he faltered and then turned an angry look towards Crystal before yelling
"You told them!"
"I was only trying to help." She snapped back.
"Remember what I told you about telling them!" Sam raged further still.
"I told them you went to the park. I didn't tell them why." Crystal yelled back. Sam looked suddenly quite embarrassed.
"You didn't tell them why?" He said quietly.
"No, I said you go out for walks at night round the park."
Sandra, Jack and Wally just looked on in stunned silence, still not sure what that was all about.
"Well I don't know what that was all about. But I think we should all go home. It will be getting light in a couple of hours and I don't think a demon, werewolf and talking rabbit should be out much longer."
There was a nod of agreement in the group, but Sam had already started making his way home. Hands thrust deep in his pockets and hood over his head.
The others turned to Crystal. She just blankly looked back at them and eventually the question came out and it was Jack to ask,
"So, why does he come out to the park every night?"
Crystal smiled with the look she was about to burst out laughing. She struggled to say her reply with a straight face.
"Oh he comes out to eat the flowers."

****

Doyenne stroked what was left of her ear. Bitch she cursed as she watched Tom and Johnny limp back into the woods. Tom looked up at her with a wide eyed and apologetic look and that's all Doyenne needed to know.
Coppola was licking his wounds that Sam inflicted still with bright red mace filled eyes. Next to him stood dark shape of a man in a long coat.
"So Barbas have you seen enough?" Doyenne said to the shadowy figure.
"Yes." He replied with a cool and calculating voice. Doyenne stared at him, her eyes burned with rage as if wanting more of an answer from him than just "Yes".
Barbas said nothing but instead looked at the bloodied and shattered form of Tom. Who even as he looked at him was healing. One of Tom's leg bones popped loudly as it snapped it self back into place.
Barbas was disappointed. He was expecting Sandra to have put up more of a fight than that. Having to rely on her friends to help her. He knew exactly what she was capable off and those three pathetic excuses of werewolves should have been easily defeated. He looked back at Doyenne who obviously was still waiting for some sort of thanks or recognition of what her boys had done.
Arrogant werewolf he though to himself as she stared on, the rage building up in her. In the old day's he would have killed her just for looking at him. But werewolves are quite rare these days and they have their uses. She is one of the oldest werewolves still about and should know better.
"Sorry Doyenne, we couldn't get the rabbit." Coppola said with a slight whimper in his voice. "That demon woman got involved."
Doyenne shot him a fiery glance. "A wolf is always responsible for their actions. No excuses." Coppola winced. Barbas could only think about how the mighty werewolf clans had degenerated into this farce of a pack.
Barbas turned and started to walk away from the group, he was tired and wanted to sleep, dreaming of dreams that reminded him of home. Doyenne looked even more enraged by this.
"My boy's put their lives on the line so you can see what sort of opponents they are and you don't even give us a nod of recognition." She raged at him.
Barbas stopped, and looked over his shoulder back at them. But still he didn't say anything. Looked back and continued walking.
Doyenne snapped and launched herself at him. Her teeth extending into gruesome fangs as she leapt through the air at him.
Brabas in one swift movement span round and with the smallest amount of effort he back handed Doyenne on the chin. The blow forced her mouth to snap shut with such force her fangs shattered and catapulted her up into the air. Barbas hand enough time to straighten his jacket out before Doyenne crashed through the branches of a tree on the opposite side of the clearing.
Arrogant werewolf bitch. She needed smacking with a news paper to put her in her place. "I will find you should I your services." He said and with that he left.

****

The next morning in the kitchen and once again round the shrine that is the coffee table sat Sam, Sandra and Crystal. Sandra was smiling sweetly at Sam, the sort of look a young school girl gives someone when they have found something about them particularly amusing.
Sam was in turn glaring at Crystal over the top of his coffee mug. If he was superman, his eyes would have burned a hole through Crystals face.
And Crystal was just blithering away about Wally, who still in his wolf form was curled up on a bean bag by the radiator fast asleep.
Sam couldn't believe how stupid that girl could be at times, and yet, no matter how much she irritated you, there was something that would keep anyone from disliking her. People would moan and groan and despair, but she was always cheerful, and just a little bit nuts. Well you would have to be to find it ok to be dating a werewolf, and to live with a giant rabbit and a she-daemon.

Sandra sniggered, which made him snap his head round so fast the centrifugal force on his ears almost made them stick out completely sideways.
"What?" He growled. Sandra just put a talon over her mouth and sniggered louder. Sam scowled even harder in return.
"Flowers?" Sandra finally said.
"Yes flowers."
"Whats wrong with you eating flowers, rabbits on this world do it, So why the secrecy?"
Sam just scowled even harder. He was gripping his coffee cup so hard Sandra thought he would snap the handle off. Sandra rolled her eyes, which seeing as she had three, never failed to creep Sam out.
"Well if you wanted to eat flowers you could have just said, would have gotten some in for you." Sandra offered, trying to get what seem to be an emotionally hurt 5ft rabbit to calm down.
"No." He returned and took another swig from his cup.
"No? But if you like them then..."
"Just no." Sam said firmly, his glare now so firm on Sandra it was starting to frighten her.
"Are you two listening to me?" Yelled Crystal so loudly it made both Sam, Sandra and Wally jump. For a moment the tension was ripped out of the air as they both turned their attention on Crystal and both yelled
"What!"
Crystal look so taken aback by this she just looked down at her coffee and mumbled, "Nothing."
Wally shook his head big furry head, looked down at the bean bag, pawed it, circled round to find a spot he liked pawed it again, circled one more time and then laid down and went back to sleep.
Crystal had seen this and started beaming again, "Aww, ain't he cute!" before launching into another barrage of Wally related blithering.
Sandra and Sam could only roll their eyes and sigh. It probably was a good thing they were allowed that little break from building tension that would have ended up with either Sam throttling Sandra or him bursting into flames.
"So why don't you want flowers?" Sandra ventured
"I don't really want to talk about it." Sam replied looking down at the dark swirling liquid in his cup.
Sandra shrugged and took another sip from her coffee cup. Sam looked lost in his own thoughts. Sandra couldn't help wonder, what was it with flowers? Was it Taboo for his kind? One of those natural instincts that get thrown aside for the sake of social graces?
But she also couldn't help think about the moment she had taken Sam off his feet.
What was that all about? she mused One second he is yelling at me about flipping out, the next I'm about to put my hand though his head... Sandra gently took another sip, What happened? Did I black out? Thinking about it was giving her a headache, and the more she thought about it the worse it got.
"I'm going out for a walk." She said getting up from the table.
"What!?" Crystal started, "But it's still light outside, it won't be dark for another hour at least!"
"Yeah but I need some air." Sandra said rubbing her forehead as she made her way to the door, picked up her huge jacket and walked out into the sunshine.

****

Jack floated. His mind was free from the constraints of his body and it floated. He could feel the euphoria that followed a successful meditation. Something the Buddhist monks had tried for centuries to achieve and only those with a slight magical disposition could ever reach and even then only after decades of hard mental training. And here was Jack, who managed to do it in a few months, and all because of Tomi. His mind was now projected into the ethereal realm. A universe, between and in all universes.

But he couldn't just float ethereally like he used to. He had to find the Magi-Net. A universe between all multiverses, where people that manage to reach this level of consciousness could find and communicate.

Unfortunately the history of the Magi-Net was not a good one. Its creator had used it as a trap, to lure the magic users of the world and then to steal their souls and power. While Jack had managed to stop him, he couldn't save the souls of those people that had been trapped. The damage had already been done. Their connections between body and mind had been broken and so their souls moved on to wherever it is that souls go to when they are no longer attached to their physical bodies. In that moment he lost the only person he ever really connected with. He lost her forever and that was something that will forever torment him. From then on, he vowed that he would never allow anything like that happen again, not to any one ever again.

Thankfully, the trap that had been laid hadn't gotten all of them. Some survived it or just weren't there when it happened and shortly ventured into the Magi-Net only to find everyone was either dead or driven insane, and the only person that waited for them, was Jack. The self imposed guardian of all those that entered the Magi-Net. The numbers of people arriving at the Magi-Net were no where near as large as they used to be. But like it had done in the decades before, they were growing again.

He reached out with his mind, feeling the middle verse around him, looking for the tell tale signature that reached out to all those people wondering between universes. He could feel it calling. Whispering his name, and with every moment his mind came closer to finding it.

And there it was, just on the edge of his perception, like when you see something or someone in your peripheral vision while out on the street, just registering. Jack focused his mind and reached out and grabbed it, making his mind envelope it before tearing it open and diving in.

Then there was a Pop. Not a pop that you would hear a balloon bursting type pop that you actually hear, but a pop in his mind. The universe around him became focused, (well as focused as this semi-existent universe ever became) and he suddenly found he had a form.

Magi-Net was formed from the thoughts of those that wondered it, so it would shift and change continuously like someone running a brush over a fresh oil painting and taking the colours and forms to make new scenes. If one person was to think of something, say a grassy field, it would change to that, blending until they stood in a fuzzy representation of a field. If a few people thought about it, the field would become clearer and sharper until every sensation was that of standing in a field. But people could also cancel each other out. So when there were lots of people, like there used to be, all the thoughts would cancel each other out and it would just become a universe of swirling colour.

Thinking about it Jack realised that this might be all part of the trap Harold set up. In a universe so responsive to human thought could also serve as a way to control it.

Just as Jack had hoped, there were a couple of people here. And he recognised them as Roger and Philip.

Roger was a tall, pale and skinny and slightly scruffy looking teenager from England. While not the most knowledgeable of people when it came to the magic arts, he did have an amazing knack of coming up with solutions to problems that no one else could solve.

Philip who was well dressed and that was probably the only remarkable thing about him. He was quite most of the time, but when he did speak it was usually to inform people about something, and he was never wrong. What Philip didn't know wasn't worth mentioning and he was consulted by everyone. Which lead Jack to think that maybe Philip is a lot older than he was letting on.

They are a good place to start Jack thought.
****
The sun was setting behind the buildings of the town centre as Sandra made her way though the last of the early evening shopping crowd. While she may not talk to these people, and they give her disturbing looks when she walks by, but she was just glad to be around people.
However while she thought a walk would clear her headache it wasn't, in fact it was getting worse.
The most worrying thing was her black out with Sam. It was like the time she was in Sam's world. After being mortally wounded she lost consciousness, the next thing she knew was seeing Sam in a pool of his own bloody after slitting his own throat.
She knew vaguely what happened; apparently she went on a rampage, attacking people and absorbing body parts to regenerate her own. It was something that had been weighing heavily on her mind ever since they got back from that universe.
She passed the newsstand on the main street corner and there she paused. She looked over the various magazines and newspapers on the stand. A couple of the tabloid broadsheets had the sensational headline that are common with them;

WOLFMEN AND DEAMON BATTLE IN VALATINE PARK, hedge ruined and car wrecked.

DNA TESTS ON WOODLAND SOIL SAMPLE RESULT SHOCKER, 50% wolf and 50% human DNA found.

GIANT RABBIT SPOTTED EATING PRIZE ROSES, gardener hopping mad.

She sighed, was inevitable she guessed, someone will always see them. Good thing only the supermarket tabloids covered them.
Sandra
Sandra spun round expecting to see someone standing next to her. But only turned to see the suspicious glares of the people walking by.
Sandra
"Who's there?"
Over here Sandra.
She snapped her eyes over to a tall figure in a leather coat. His hair was jet black, his face strong and prominent and very striking. His eyes, however, were a pale blue/purple colour and locked their cold stare onto Sandra.
Yes, you see me now
Sandra wasn't sure if he was actually saying it, his lips weren't moving, but yet she could hear him as if he was whispering right into her ears.
A sly smile crossed his lips to reveal teeth that looked just a little sharper than they should be.
Curious Sandra's began to make her way towards him, who was this and how did he know her name, as she got closer her headache started to get worse.
The sun was sinking lower behind the buildings and before Sandra was within talking distance the man stepped back and disappeared into a rapidly darkening alleyway.
Sandra was feeling her doubts, who was this? Should she follow? The have already had plenty of bad experiences when it comes to dark alleys.
She squared up to the entrance of the alley. The low sun was casting a long beam of light from between the buildings up into the alley almost like a path. All the shadows were stretched out and everything was filled with a red glow.
And there in the shadow, stood the man, the light shaft from the sun ending by his feet. His aura was quite had to see. Humans have a colour, usually depending on their mood, but they are usually varying shades of blue or purple. Wally being a werewolf varies between shades of yellow and orange. But this man, his aura was red, almost black. And the creepy thing about it was, it has tendrils that moved and flowed around him merging, mixing like feelers, each one reaching out touching as much as it could. Occasionally a few would merge to create one long aura tendril, almost as if trying to make a connection with the walls or the assorted junk that lay in the alley.
Jack's Aurora looked like that, but only when he was meditating and not anything as active or as big as this guys one.
"Come, Sandra, don't be afraid, I just want to talk to you." Said the man, his voice cold and calculating, but yet somewhat compelling.
Sandra took the first step on impulse, like a well trained dog would when responding to its master. She hesitated.
"Come, come now," said the man, "I don't want to hurt you, I just want to talk."
"Who are you?"
"Of course, how rude of me, I am Barbas."
"What do you want?"
Barbas laughed loudly. "Why to help you of course, to make all your wishes come true."
Sandra just looked on in suspicious dismay.
"Yeah right, do I look like an idiot?"
Barbas smiled, "I don't know what you mean dear."
"I mean do I look like someone that will fall for a petty con man trying to sell something."
Barbas laughed again, "My, my, we are sceptical aren't we? I don't see and idiot, in fact I don't see a human at all. I see someone with great potential."
"Potential?"
"Please, take down your hood."
As almost on instinct, like the reaction that made her step forward Sandra reached up to remove her hood but stopped at the last second.
"No" She snapped, "who are you?"
Where was a quick flash in Barbas' Aura, it was only there for a brief moment but each one of the tendrils straightened into jagged vicious looking formations like serrated blades, before relaxing again back into the flowing mass they were before. Barbas looked slightly irritated.
"I know what you are Sandra." He said, his voice, while according to Sandra's ears was only the same volume of a normal conversation, it boomed around her head as if he was screaming down a concert speaker system.
Even thou it was a pointless effort to try and quieten his voice in her head; Sandra clamped her claws over her ears.
She looked up at Barbas only to see a sly grin on his face. The path of sunlight that originally was at his feet was now ending at his waist. And that's when Sandra noticed his feet. They weren't feet, they were hooves, or at least somewhere in the middle and changing slowly and right then, she noticed the other changes. His forehead had begun to bulge in the centre. Small points were growing out from the side of his head and his fingers were starting to elongate.
"I see you don't trust me." He said/projected. "Fine, I will give you a reason to trust me."

****