Blood Red Scream
Disclaimers: The characters of Xena and Gabrielle may belong to MCA Universal but their souls live on in this uber story. No copyrights were trashed or stolen, because, besides physical characteristics, this story is all mine.
Violence, Subtext, etc etc: There is lots of violence here and strong language. This story may not be for all readers. I'd rate it an R so far because of the language. As for subtext, yes, it's actually maintext. So if this offends you or is illegal where you live please return to the Fanfic Index and choose another story.
Author's Note: Feedback is welcomed at Tragedy88@goplay.com
Ha, take that! She hit the send button and the little shit was dead. Or he would be when he booted up again. She laughed inside as she shut down and left the school. Ha, all the little fuckers would be crying to their mommies when they couldn't turn in their term papers. This is just too much fun...
I can't believe that after a year of this I still get kicks. I need a cigarette now.
She wandered down the campus, out the unprotected entrance directly into downtown. The harsh winter wind pushed her down to Stucky's. At the ATM she used a stolen card to get a few hundred dollars cash. The security camera was broken, no need to worry there. Like she'd worry anyway? They couldn't catch her. They didn't even know where to begin.
She entered the steamed heat of Stucky's, picked up a pack of Marlboro's, a coke and a deli sandwich. The pimple faced punk behind the counter didn't even give her a second glance.
Where to now? Job's done, a little org voice piped up in her head. Fuck off, she told it. This was no time for memories.
As she walked down the main street a light snow began to fall. A stretch limo with windows an illegal shade of black coasted slowly up beside her. There was the unmistakable swoop of glass against rubber and the low contralto voice of her employer.
"Get in," was all that was said.
With an unaccustomed sigh of agitation Taylor stepped into the warm, plush interior of a very wealthy, very evil woman's limo.
"Where have you been?" The sultry voice accosted her.
"Out." She replied shortly. She was in no mood for the seduction number. Instinctively she caught the hand that was about to slap across her face. "Don't." Taylor said coldly.
"I own you, little girl. You will not talk back to me." The sultry voice was now edged with a dangerous undertone.
Taylor lowered her head in an attempt to appear humbled.
The woman was not impressed but wasn't about to push the matter. "Did you get the job done?"
Not the little virus at the school. "Of course."
"Good." The woman pulled out a packet and an envelope from a hidden side compartment. Then she motioned the driver to stop. The conversation was over.
Without so much as a good-bye Taylor stepped out into the cold. It was harsher now then ever before. On the sidewalk, snow falling in white sheets, she reviewed the file, dumped it in the nearest garbage can and lit up a cigarette.
The snow swirled and screamed against her and for the first time in six years she felt the loneliness sink in.
Slow, despondent steps took her down the sidewalk to the outskirts of the city. The sun was rising as Taylor came upon what appeared to be an abandoned warehouse. Without so much as a cautionary glance around she slipped into a hole in the semi boarded up side door.
Taking the stairs two at the time she went up the first flight to the second floor landing. There she walked down a litter covered hall to the end. A shining metal door stood out among the filth. It was relatively new, about two inches thick and locked securely.
Taylor opened a panel on the right side of the door, typed in the key code and rested her palm on the surface of a black pad. A faint green light scanned her print.
Access granted, the tiny screen read, and the door clicked open. With a sigh of relief she entered and locked the door behind her. The room was warm and a massive contrast to the building. What had appeared to be an abandoned warehouse was a front for what she sarcastically referred to as 'home'. The rest of the warehouse was abandoned and at times used for transients or druggies crashing. Some of them knew she was here but no one bothered her.
Two or three had been privy to large sums of cash to keep the more unwanted elements out. And any that stayed here with her permission were left with food or blankets. Though she would never, ever admit such a kind hearted action.
Most believed, as she did, that she had no heart left.
The part of the warehouse she had claimed for herself had been sound proofed, and though sparsely done had a full bath, kitchen, living room and upstairs loft bedroom.
It suited her needs.
A mess of computers lined one wall of the down stairs living room. There was a large screen TV and a futon on the other side. The kitchen was fully equipped, though seldom used, and it's only furniture was a breakfast island with two stools. The upstairs bedroom had a box spring and mattress set on the floor, a dresser and a closet.
No nick knack's or soveniours littered the surfaces. No posters, no personal possessions except clothing, bathroom accessories and every computer part known to man. Some had never been put on the market. Some were bought legally, some by the black market and most stolen.
She tossed the packet of money down on the kitchen counter and went to the cupboard to grab a cup and plate. On her way to the living room futon she shed her hat, coat and boots, pulling the deli sandwich and unopened coke from her pockets.
On the coffee table of crates and a discarded board she laid the food, and cigarettes. With a sigh she picked up the remote and sat down to watch TV.
She skipped the news, cop and lawyer shows, doctor shows and settled on an old episode of the Thunder Cats. She had no desire to check her mail, to boot up the computers and get to work on her next assignment or do much of anything else, let alone sleep.
Sleep was avoided until she could be sure of crashing without dreaming. No, not dreams, nightmares really, but she wouldn't think about that now.
Two hours later the plate was clean, the coke gone, the ashtray full, the TV showing another old cartoon and finally, finally she slept.
Darkness surrounded her while angry voices called out. "Why? Why have you done this to us?"
The dream was the same as it always was. She dared not moved because the arms would grab her, she would tumble and fall and stand up bloodied. In the dark she couldn't see the blood but she could feel the sticky warmth and the tinny scent would invade her mouth and nose. As always she'd cry out for the voices to shut up and leave her alone. They never did, and she'd awake, nauseous and sweating, shaking with fear.
This time Taylor didn't wake and the dream shifted. Her employer stood before her, shoulder length blond hair in an angry halo around her head. An angry scowl twisted her beautiful features. Rage was a hot blue coal in her eyes.
"I own you, little girl." Angel reached out her arms to pull Taylor into a tight embrace, devoid of love.
"You don't own me." Taylor struggled against the arms that held her tight. No one owns me!
"Wrong." Angel's voiced turned seductive. "I own your body..." she pulled roughly on Taylor's shirt, ripping the collar, "and soul..." Angel began to glow as she pushed Taylor to arms length. "I own your soul." Angel struck Taylor down to her knees.
Taylor trembled in fear, tried to rise, but was struck back down. Blood gushed from her nose and lip. "What do you want?" She cried out desperately.
"More." Was the simple reply. Angel stretched down a loving hand to caress her cheek. Suddenly her fingernails dug deep into Taylor's skin.
She cried out in pain. Angel laughed and pulled her hand back, licking her fingers in a horribly erotic way.
"More," she whispered insanely, laughing at the shudder that passed through the kneeling form. "more, more, moremoremoremoremoremore...."
"No!! No more, Angel." Taylor yelled.
Angel titled her head strangely and looked into the distance. Taylor turned as well.
Another woman had stepped out of the darkness. Her hair was as dark as Angel's was light, trailing down to her mid back. Her eyes were a pale shade of blue. She had the classical features of an ancient Greek goddess and a trim muscular body that stood almost six feet tall. Grace and poise outlined her walk towards them.
There was something familiar...safe about the stranger and Taylor watched her desperately.
Save me? she begged silently.
"Well, well, well. Who is this?" Angel inquired with another sideways tilt of her head. "Your knight in shining armor come to rescue you, Taylor?" She smiled wickedly. "I don't think so, honey, " she addressed the stranger, "she's mine."
A deep contralto voice answered, sending tingles up Taylor's spine. "She's yours no more." The stranger bent a hand down to the kneeling woman. "Come on. There are things to do."
Things to do? Taylor reached up a hand to grasp the slim tapered fingers. Her own fingers slid right through them. With a gasp she drew back and looked up at the stranger.
"Who are you?" Taylor whispered, not noticing Angel slowly approaching.
The stranger's blue eyes were sad. "A friend." Her beautiful form shimmered with light and she looked at something no one else could see. "It's time for me to go."
"Wait!" Taylor shouted as the image began to disappear. "I want to go with you!"
"You aren't ready." The stranger said sadly and looked at Angel.
Angel grabbed Taylor's arm and pulled her roughly away from the stranger, possessing her employee with a strong hand.
"I'm ready." Tears fell from Taylor's eyes. She reached up a startled hand to brush them away. Tears? My god, I haven't cried in over six years.
The stranger looked pointedly at Angel. "You are not ready."
And suddenly the stranger was gone.
Angel dug her fingers into Taylor's arm triumphantly. "See, I own you!"
"Noooooooooo!!!" Taylor woke suddenly, fear choking her. The afternoon sun from the skylights brought tears to her eyes. The dream was fading. The stranger was gone.
Angel owned her. Body and soul.
Sweat soaked Taylor's body and her hands trembled as she lit a cigarette. The sickly taste of blood was stuck in the back of her throat. She went to the kitchen sink and drank directly from the faucet. Then she returned to the futon and sat stiffly on the edge as she used the first cigarette to light the next. She snuffed out the butt of the first one as she inhaled deeply from the second.
Angel owns me, body and soul, the unpleasant thought echoed through her head. Arctic blue eyes flashed before her and she sat back startled. I know you, her mind and body screamed. Why can't I remember?
She had to clear her mind and focus on something else, so she went to the opposite wall and booted up two of the computers.
For a minute she sat staring at the screen as it warmed up. The log on screen appeared and she typed the ten digit password.
ACCESS DENIED the screen screamed at her. Fuck, she forcefully pushed the image of saddened eyes out of her mind and retyped the password.
"Access granted. Good morning, Taylor. What would you like to do today?"
"Access project T-167." She turned the computer chair to the laptop screen as the computer pulled up the file. She typed in another password, got the Win98 screen and connected to the internet. The external modem whirled and dialed.
"Project T-167 opened. Status unfinished. Do you wish to update?"
"Yes." She voiced the command as she opened the WWW on the other computer. "Project finished. Command shut down. Payment made. Password Angel." The commands would erase the data from everything, hard drive included. It was a program she'd built, her first year in service with Angel. No hard data, nothing, no evidence against Angel. Unless you knew how or where to look. No one else did.
"Thank you, Taylor. Confirm?" The computer asked in a pleasant voice.
"Confirm, shut down T-167." Taylor instructed as she searched the web for a few facts and opened her mail program. "Mail?" she asked the computer, multitasking away her nightmare.
"Five messages, two urgent."
Her regular e-mail contained today's news, a Microsoft update for only $99.95, and a Barnes and Noble request to see their sight and buy something. She ditched the annoying junk mail. "Read urgent."
"From: G.A. Transfer of data required. Sent 1:30 am EST. Next..."
A pause, damn long file.
"From anonymous. Problems have arisen with 'software.' Requires immediate fix. File attached. Sent 2:59AM EST."
"Reply to G.A. Transfer as requested. Attach File T-130." She opened the next e-mail, pleasantly surprised to see someone she'd never met saying how enjoyable they'd found one of her web documents. "Summarize mail." She commanded as she read.
She listened with half an ear. None of the messages were important. Taylor reread the e-mail from the stranger.
I just finished reading your story "Scream of the Red Day" and I had to e-mail you and tell you I enjoyed it. It touched my heart where I thought I could no longer feel anything. You've really opened my eyes.
The character was deep and emotional. The settings believable. I felt I was really there as I experienced the character's pain.
I do hope you continue writing it because I'll be checking back often to see the ending.
dg2000 (Darion Grange)
Taylor read it again. Sure people had e-mailed her about the story before. Usually one liners about how good it was, how emotionally charged it was, whatever... but this person had admitted it touched her heart, that it had awoken something in her she'd felt she'd lost. Well, is it a he or she? Doesn't really matter, she surmised. I think I'll answer this one.
Taylor typed it manually. She'd left out the voice command on the laptop. It held no real work and was more of a play machine then anything else. The joystick and flight sim attested to that, as well as all the game CD's piled next it.
The story has no ending yet.
(No shit... It was based on real life, exaggerated and names changed of course... and there was no end to her nightmare yet....)
OK, what now? Thank you for reading. Come back soon... write me... write me... write me... grrr... She was about to trash the reply when the incoming message sign started blinking. Probably another junk mail. She let it blink several minutes as she debated what to say or if to delete her reply. Finally she decided to download it, as she lit another cigarette.
It was from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hmmm, ok. What else can the person possibly want to say?
I only have a minute before I go to work. I don't know why I'm e-mailing you again, but I felt the need to. Weird, huh? Well that's alright, I've been called worse things. :)
Anyway, I wanted to add to the previous e-mail. I'm sure you are a very busy person so there is no need to send a reply.
Really? Taylor was slightly intrigued now. Who is this person, and where do they work? Not that it matters of course, she smiled wryly. Taylor would reply and never hear from them again. That's the way the internet worked. You made a quick friend over e-mail, IRC, or whatever- over a shared opinion or something. You e-mailed back and forth a couple of times about it then ran out of steam and the person never e-mailed you again.
So why bother this time? Because I'm bored and there's nothing else to do except get to work and I don't want to.
The story has no ending yet. Writer's block maybe, or a life block. Too much pain and too many memories to go back there.
Taylor hit the send button before she lost her courage. Being honest in an e-mail? What a new concept. Don't know why I did it... don't care... SEND dammit!
She turned to the opposite computer, with it's cursor blinking. It was silent, waiting for a command. "Command, open new file." The computer responded by opening the project container. A fact sheet opened blank and fresh.
Sigh, where to begin.
"File opened. Request data."
Taylor's stomach growled. "Pause," she requested and padded into the kitchen. She fixed a bowl of frosted flakes and sat sullenly on the futon. "Computer resume." Resignedly she set about relaying the facts from the envelope. Her memory didn't fail her. It never did...
She paced around the floor as she talked, scuffing her shoes, impatient to be done. "Command, done. File save T-320 Command, encrypt."
"Confirm?" The computer asked.
"Status. File encrypted, saved as T-320 at 10:36AM EST."
"Computer, power down."
"Have a nice day, Taylor." The computer shut itself down and she finally stopped pacing.
The e-mail icon was blinking on the other computer. She settled herself into the chair and hit "read." It was from dg2000.
I was just about to disconnect when your e-mail came across. I'm glad you replied even though I said you didn't have to.
So, the story is true then? I thought maybe it was. It feels real. Um, I don't know what I'm talking about. :)
Anyway, now I'm late for work. Would it be alright if I sent you a longer e- mail when I return? Maybe we can talk more?
Taylor immediately hit the reply button.
Yes, the story is real. I have no idea why I admitted it, but it's true... I don't know when you get out of work but I've got a long day ahead of me so...
So what? She paused. This person doesn't care about my day. She deleted the reply and started again.
I have work too, e-mail you later...
Simple and to the point. Ok, so it was a bit abrupt, Taylor admitted as she hit the send button, but she/he probably won't be replying anymore since the novelty will wear off while they're at work. Living their own life.
Taylor needed to diffuse the sudden overwhelming rage. First loneliness, now rage? I'm falling apart.
On the flight out she grabbed her cigarette's and the packet of money.
It's late afternoon and the sidewalks are busy as she entered downtown. The snow has been pushed aside, mostly melted in the sun's glare.
Where? Where? Where? Sad blue eyes haunted her. There's Sandy's Bar and Grill. Mmmm, lunch time, early happy hour. She ordered the club sandwich and a beer. No one bothered with id. She bypassed the meal and gulped the beer. Then ordered another, and another.
There was a couple in the corner, laughing and smiling.
Abruptly she left, laying some bills down as she went.
Where? Where? Where? Who cares? Emptiness echoes. Three beers, need more. Another place, more beers, a shot or two of whiskey. A lighter step as she exited. Need something more.
Warmth. She wandered in a haze to the seedier part of town, where people don't just live they exist. A transient here and there, a hooker, a pimp, drug dealers. She doesn't look out of place. Down a side street to another part of town. A stop at the liquor store to buy a bottle of whiskey. Staggering now, leaning on the wall, watching. There.
She takes the hand offered, taking the opportunity to loose herself in pure, mindless sex. There's a room, non descript. Money on the counter and nothing matters but warm naked flesh and alcohol.
A body squirming, screaming beneath her. Lies, all of it lies. The stale scent of sex already on the woman. Don't care, just need a release. Changing positions, floating on sensations. Nothingness, empty.
Lies. Alcohol. Sex. More money on the table. 'Thanks, baby.' The door closes and she's back on the streets, staggering to the alley, narrowly missing her shoes. Falling to her knees, retching again. Swaying into the littered concrete. Passing out. Nothingness.
Ahhhhh, fuck! She threw up in the trash again, trying to stand. Her legs wobbled and collapsed beneath her. How much did I drink? What did I do? There was still a considerable sum of money in her pockets, an empty whisky bottle in her hands, and the stale sweaty smell of street sex. I can't believe... no no no no no!
It was now dark. How much time had passed? Where am I? I swore I'd never do this again. And look at me! Back where I began. Well not entirely. Then I'd been the one picking the money off the table.
Taylor shuddered and stood. This time she was able to hold the nausea in check. Her head throbbed and her body ached.
On the long walk home she berated herself. Stupid, stupid, stupid fuck! The dark stretch limo didn't register in her peripheral vision until it pulled up directly beside her.
"Get in." Angel demanded.
Ah, shit. Not now.
"You look terrible." Angel commented as Taylor slid into the leather seats with a sigh. "Smell bad too. Spend the night in a dumpster or something, little one?"
Go to hell. "No."
"Nevermind. I want an update."
Update? What? Oh shit, the new file. "I'm working on it." She answered evasively.
"Uh, huh." Angel wrinkled her nose in disgust. "That's why you smell like a drunken whore?"
"Must be." This time the slap got beyond her inebriated senses and shoved her against the door.
"Get out. I want it completed by tomorrow." The limo screeched to a halt. The door popped open and Taylor fell onto the sidewalk. Her feet were barely out the door when the limo took off again.
Damn, I've got to stop ending up on my face on the concrete.
Taylor returned to the warehouse, not giving a damn about the new file. She shed her clothes on the way to the bathroom. After she filled the tub with warm water, more hot then warm, she sank into it and into oblivion.
The stranger came in the dream again. Only this time they were alone, on a white capped mountain. It wasn't cold and the wind seemed to blow right around them.
The blue eyes looked sadly into hers.
"Please don't be sad." Taylor begged. "I want to go with you, really I do."
"I know." The dark haired stranger held out her hand and grasped Taylor's firmly. It was a big hand, not unfeminine, but big and it covered Taylor's smaller one completely. "But you're not ready."
"Yes, I am." Taylor argued. What do I have to do? What more can I do? "I'm ready, take me with you."
The stranger brought up her other hand and gently caressed Taylor's face. She leaned into the touch, craving more.
"Not yet. There's something you have to do."
"What? I'll do anything." The warm hand left her face. Taylor looked up with tears in her eyes. "Anything..." she whispered.
"Then, wake up."
She'd slipped down into the cool water. Choking and gagging she woke.
She pulled the plug and stepped out of the tub. On the cold tile she stood shaking, sad and lost. Water dripped down the curves of her naked body, forming puddles on the floor. A cold tremor shook her entire body and she finally reached for the towel.
Mechanically she moved up the stairs and dressed, returned to the living room and laid on the futon, TV remote in hand.
But she didn't turn the TV on, and instead laid almost comatose, staring at the ceiling, thoughts chaotic in her mind. Do I really want out? Now? After all this time? I can see that day, clearly in my mind, as if it was yesterday. Street cold and dirty, like today... a limo, with the beautiful stranger, extra money on the table, some food that night...
Then again, and somehow the woman, Angel, was telling her to stay, buying her clothes and food. Taylor didn't care, as long as her belly was full and her fingers were warm.
Angel had found her talent with computers, had used it to her advantage. Angel kept Taylor well cared for, until she grew tired of her. Taylor hadn't expected anything or hoped for anything. But it still hurt to find another woman in her place. How many times had it happened before?
She'd found her own place to stay. Here at the warehouse, but was still employed with Angel, doing things she'd never imagined she'd do in her entire life.
Abruptly the memories shifted to a time before Angel. To darkness and fear. She shuddered and rose from the futon, trying physically to dislodge the pain.
The computers taunted her from the far wall, dark screens like dead eyes following her every move. Bile rose in the back of her throat and she was seconds away from smashing them with her bare hands, when she spied the laptop. Did she send anything? The inane thought captured her anger and caged it, for the moment. She? I don't know it's a she. Taylor paced over to the laptop and back again. Ok, ok... find out.
She powered up the laptop, ignoring the project computer beside it, knowing she had work to do. Knowing there would consequences...
The e-mail icon was blinking. Woohoo... don't get your hopes up. But there it was. A message, and a long one. Taylor ignored the other e-mails and clicked on the one from dg2000.
Well, I just got back from work. It's been a long day. How about you? There's very little personal info on your site. I was wondering about you all day long. :)
I hope your day wasn't as bad as mine. There was a murder on the westside today. It was gruesome. I'm sure you don't want to hear anything about that, so why don't I tell you a little bit about me. A little personal information about the woman bombarding you with e-mail. :) I hope I'm not bothering you. If I am just tell me to bugger off and I will.
You might have assumed I'm a cop, otherwise why would I be talking about murder? Course, I could just be some sicko, but honestly I'm not. Hehehe, honest. You can just ask the body in the closet if you don't believe me.
Sorry, I have a sick sense of humor. Which, btw, my friends love. I don't know what else to tell about myself. I'm not all that exciting. So, tell me about yourself, unless you don't really want to. That would defeat the purpose of this e- mail, getting to know you. (Insert song here. "Getting to know you, getting to know all about you...") See, there's that humor again. I hope you're atleast smiling or I'll feel really foolish. :)
I hope to hear from you soon.
Taylor was in fact smiling by the time she finished reading. It didn't matter that Darion was a woman. It mattered that someone had been thinking about her all day. That someone wanted to know if she'd had a good day.
Her eyes briefly clouded over as thoughts of her shitty day returned. It's just an e-mail, a little voice chided, no one cares. No one ever did or ever will.
Something compelled her to return to the brightness, and respond. Taylor, without conscious thought, was seeking out happiness. Her mind and body craved it. Needed to fill the aching emptiness inside her, and if even for a couple of e-mails happiness could be achieved Taylor would take it. She had to.
My day was not a pleasant one.
(That was an understatement.)
I don't wish to talk about it though. I enjoy your sense of humor. It brightened my day. Thank you.
There is nothing interesting to tell about myself. I freelance my time and fix computer glitches.
At least that's what I do legally, sometimes... She chuckled wryly and sighed. There was nothing else to tell about herself. Especially to a cop. How ironic is that? Getting an internet crush on a cop, probably a straight one at that. Another chuckle. A crush? Her mind crashed over that fact and sent her spiraling downward. Whoa... stop there! None of that. She signed her name this time and hit send. Then she opened the WWW and surfed around for nothing specific, just passing the time.
Ten minutes later she had an incoming e-mail. With a startled blink she switched over to the mail program and downloaded the message.
It's from Darion! That she had not expected.
Pleased to meet you. :) I'm sorry your day was bad. I hope things are looking up?
(They are now, Taylor thought with a crooked little grin.)
She turned the radio on as she replied. And I am ashes... I am precious could I be your girl could I be your girl ... I am ashes I am Jesus I am precious could I be your girl could I be your girl and I am worthless sounds compared to all your perfect words could I be your girl could I be your girl ...
I love that song. I am worthless sounds... if you only knew... Taylor's smile faded. She'd never be anybody's girl. No one would want me if they knew me... There were those damn tears threatening. Geezus, two times in as many days? And not once in the six years prior?
I'm loosing it. I'm really loosing it. Blood Red Scream.... dammit just reply to the e-mail. Pretend you are normal, you have a life and aren't some pathetic mother fucking daughter of a.... grrrr, fuck, fuck, fuck...
Have you heard of IRC... we could talk that way while I work.
Well, that is if you are still on-line, she thought, and sent the reply out. Five minutes later the reply came back.
I'm on IRC right now. My nick is dg2000. Yeah, yeah, real original, I know. See ya there??
Taylor didn't bother to reply. Instead she booted IRC up and hopped on both Dalnet and UNdernet to see if dg2000 was there. Time to meet her... hmmm, interesting choice of channel here... #lesbianangels... let's go check it out... what nick should I use?
She joined #lesbianangels, using the nick T88.
Join T88 [~no1@host-209-214-128-191] has joined #lesbianangels
[foster1]hello T88, are you male or female?
[T88]hello foster and lizbeth
[foster1]thank you and enjoy your stay at #lesbianangels
[dg2000] is that you T88jvr??
[T88] yes it's me
Join madison3[~email@example.com] has joined #lesbianangels
[foster1]hello madison, how are you?
[dg2000] how are you?
[dg2000] are you working right now?
[T88] I'm booting up the other computer...
[dg2000] how many computers do you have?
[T88] A few :)
[foster1]time to tuck the kid into bed, nite all
[lizbethanne] nite foster
[madison3] bye foster
[dg2000]take care foster
[dg2000] I've got a laptop, that I don't really use much, except to go online these days
[dg2000] where are u at T88?
[dg2000] well, where is here I'm in NYC
Part foster1[firstname.lastname@example.org] from #lesbianangels
[T88] where in NYC?
[dg2000] no way, answer my question first :)
[T88] I'm in NYC as well... Brooklyn to be precise
[dg2000] then you have a cute Brooklyn accent, huh?
[T88] Most people would call it crude, not cute
[T88] but U didn't answer MY question
dg2000 acts innocent and says "What question?"
[T88] ha, don't play innocent with me smarty pants
[dg2000] ok... surprise, surprise...brooklyn, too... I transferred here 'bout three years ago
[T88] u r a cop in Brooklyn?? geez
[dg2000] yeah, geez... um, how about I DCC you?
Waiting for DCC Session to be established...
DCC Session established with 126.96.36.199
[dg2000] hey there
[T88] So, what's the DCC chat for?
[dg2000] just thought I'd keep my ghastly public life from channel eyes
[T88] oh, I'm sorry about the cop comment then... I didn't mean to step on toes or something
[dg2000] hey, no problem
[dg2000] did your day get any better?
[T88] yeah, when I got your email
[dg2000] really? I'm glad to hear it then
[dg2000] are you working on something now? do you need to get off IRC?
[T88] No, the computer is voice activated. I can type here and talk at the computer
[dg2000] what kind of work is it?
[T88] a virus
[dg2000] and you're fixing it or something
[T88] or something
The phone rang, startling Taylor out of her silent communication with Darion. brb... phone, she typed. As she answered the phone a sudden dread welled up inside her chest.
"Taylor, darrrrllling." Angel drawled into the phone. "I haven't interrupted anything important, have I?"
Be careful how you answer that. "I'm working on it now, Angel." She couldn't help the note of bitterness that crept into her words.
"Well, good. I need to see you tonight."
Not a request, a demand, Taylor noted with anger. "I'm busy." She replied curtly.
"Yes. You're always busy these days. Aren't you, darling?"
Oh no, the pet names. Now she's pissed. Just great... "You have me working hard, Angel." She tried to keep her voice normal, even though the fear was setting in.
The chat light on IRC was blinking.
[dg2000] Taylor, are you still there?
"Then it's time for a little r&r, darling."
Taylor could almost hear Angel licking her lips and smiling that seductive smile. "I'm too busy with the new 'software,' Angel."
"Pity." Angel inhaled deeply. "Meet me tomorrow." And she hung up before Taylor could reply.
Dammit, Taylor cursed. With shaking hands she fumbled for a cigarette and lighter. After inhaling deeply she turned to the laptop where Darion was waiting.
[T88]sorry I took so long
[dg2000]is ok, everything alright?
How easy it would be to say no, Taylor shook. Too easy...
[T88]no not alright, I have to go now
[dg2000]is there anything I can do?
Yeah, come over here and save me, please. Get on your horse and brandish your sword. Be my knight in shining armor, and slay the big bad demon.
[T88]just work stuff, don't worry
[dg2000]ok, can we chat again, maybe 2morrow?
[T88]I have a meeting in the morning, but I'll get online... say after?
[dg2000]i get off work around 5:30
[T88]ok, 6ish then, see ya Darion
[dg2000] take care Taylor
DCC Session Closed
After the new 'software' was complete she hooked up through twenty or so different interfaces across the world and piggy backed onto an employee's logon. She then integrated the new software into the company's mainframe. The 'software' was really a virus in disguise. When run it would crash the entire system.
Taylor was not proud of her work this time. Something subtle had changed. Was it for the best? Or would it be her undoing?
Regardless she sent a message to Angel telling her the package was complete and that by the company's opening in the morning all their work would be lost.
Long ago Taylor had accepted the consequences of her actions, but even before that she didn't care. Or rather, had learned NOT to care. Her first job had been to shut down a Cancer research lab.
"Angel, this is important work." Taylor was shocked.
"So?" Those delicate eyebrows had knitted together. The first sign of trouble Taylor had missed.
"So, we can't shut it down." She argued.
"Oh, we can't? Why is that, darling?" The second sign of trouble, pet names. And Taylor had missed that too.
"People depend on this work. They need it. Someday they'll come up with a cure, but not if we shut them down!"
"'We,' darling, are not shutting them down. You are." Angel reached forward to stroke her hair. "And what does it matter if a few losers die?" She twined her fingers in Taylor's fine red-gold hair.
"You can't believe that, Angel." She turned incredulous green eyes up to Angel, startled to see the coldness there.
Fear began to rattle in her chest as the fingers tangled tighter.
"It doesn't matter what I believe, darling. Just that you follow my orders." Angel jerked Taylor by the hair until she was painfully standing on her tiptoes. "You will never question my orders," Angel twisted the fine strands of hair, pulling at the roots, "and you will do everything... everything... I say."
Taylor inched up painfully, trying to relieve the pressure on her scalp, but to no avail. Angel was simply too tall and powerful.
"Is. That. Understood?" Short clipped words and another painful tug, as Angel's other hand roughly gripped her chin.
"Y-yes. I understand." Taylor's heart beat triple time against her ribs, threatening to escape. A cold, fearful sweat broke out on her brow and the color in her cheeks paled visibly.
Angel had laughed gleefully and kissed her harshly on the lips, biting at the lower one, drawing blood. Taylor had cried out, but was unable to break Angel's loving deathgrip. The hand twisting in her hair was released and descended on her shirt. Angel's favorite game... to take her painfully and roughly, commanding her... driving her to the edge and back again... a guilty, dark pleasure that continuously burned Taylor's heart and soul and bound her, shamefaced, to Angel.
It had never been love for either Angel or Taylor. Lust, and power for the blond she-demon. Longing and loneliness for Taylor's tortured soul. Mostly it worked out. Each got what they wanted from the other, till the blond woman grew tired of the game and moved on.
Why Angel let Taylor live when she was finished with her was a bit of a mystery. Taylor and some of Angel's more trusted goons assumed that the power play was Angel's favorite game, and since she still held Taylor in her power and Taylor responded to every beckon, whim and errand Angel kept her for that reason. Or perhaps it was because of Taylor's invaluable use of computers and technology in general. She was a very useful tool in Angel's quest for ultimate, unrivaled power. Which, in itself, was highly dangerous. Angel was not known for keeping associates on any longer then they warmed her bed. Once the sheets were cooled an unidentifiable body usually turned up somewhere.
What was that quaint saying? 'Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.'
Taylor didn't doubt that the body found on the eastside had been one of Angel's 'associates.'
With a full body shake Taylor rose from the computer chair and crossed the large room to pick up the TV remote. For two hours she channel surfed and power smoked to the point of oblivion.
Her unconscious mind knew she was becoming a loose end in Angel's book. Her work had become sporadic and careless. Once Angel discovered her other projects there was no doubt in the computer hackers mind that she would be the next cold body found.
Almost comatose on the futon the hacker's thoughts were unfocused and chaotic to the point of mind numbing. The slip into sleep was unrecognizable, and slow. It was as if she was still awake and could sense the futon under her body, the TV's obnoxious news caster, and the disjointed whirling of the overhead fan.
It didn't surprise her then to see the stunning blue eyes of the woman from her dreams, or feel the depression her body made as she sat next to Taylor. The familiar voice floated to her ears, as if from far away.
"Taylor?" A soft, long fingered hand caressed her face and tucked errant strands of gold hair behind small lovely ears. "This life has not treated you well, little one. Something happened and we crossed paths. You were meant for other, greater things. I was meant for this pain. My pain. The pain that I carry with me each lifetime, trying to amend for centuries of blood and death. This is new, something I don't know how to fix. Your dreamscape was my only way of reaching you, till now. But even as the dreams start they fade and you remember only pieces when you awake. Along the way we were cursed, never to share love again, but we were given a chance to break the cycle by having the chance to meet. In this lifetime, or the next. So many times we've been close enough to touch, and feel and love again, just to be thrown apart. We have a chance now, Taylor... please remember... please... you were always the strong one. You have her in there with you, her strength... "
Taylor was silent as the woman talked, her thoughts in turmoil. Fear so close to the surface that it was pulling her from sleep.
"Who are you?" The words were whispered hoarsely. Had the beautiful women heard?
"I am the other half of your soul. As you are mine. We are not complete without the other."
Something was pulling her, tugging her from sleep. The ringing of the phone. As Taylor's eyes struggled open words floated through her brain in a fog of familiarity. "Please, remember... remember."
Shaking, she sat, ignoring the phone, trying to remember something. But what? What was so important that it made her heart ache and her breath painful in her chest?
Idly she tapped her fingers on the keyboard. The cursor blinked impatiently. Slowly she came to a decision and her fingertips were no longer idle over the keys. She worked furiously and thoroughly to get the campus files back up and readable. Taylor gave no conscious thought as to why she was doing it, just that she knew it was right. And she owed the blue eyed woman this much.
It was 3am before she was satisfied with the results and the fact that it couldn't be traced back to her. The campus had lousy computer security and with a click here and a command there she put in some much needed firewalls, a more secure password logon, and a hidden program that would alert the computer techs when an unauthorized logon was detected.
Amateur hackers would have a hell of a time getting in, but for someone like Taylor there was always a back door, no matter how much security. It was the best she could do for the college without actually talking to the techs and going in there and legally, manually changing their whole system. A small well of pride gathered in her chest.
This feels really good. With a strange twist of irony she wandered through some files and easily hacked into the Brooklyn police department computers.
With a self deprecating smile and a load of guilt she did a search for Darion Grange and in a matter of minutes pulled up the detective's file.
Born, blah, blah, blah... School, yadda, yadda, yadda... Parents, hmmm, father and mother deceased... Academy Training, top five in her graduating class... moved swiftly from beat cop to Detective... nice, clean, boring records, spotless really... Picture, a ha...
The picture loaded, agonizingly slow. First, the top of her head, strands of dark black hair, strong forehead, dark eyebrows... highlighting the most gorgeous blue eyes... blue, pale, familiar... oh my...
The dreams hit her with startling clarity then. A grainy, required police photo superimposed itself over the image of her knight in shining armor. A perfect match.
Taylor leapt from the chair, as if burned. Holy... oh my... no way... can't be... can't be... but it was, is her. She knew that if Darion Grange were there, right now, talking to her that same contralto, sultry voice would match as well.
Tears clouded her eyes and with trembling fingers she switched the computer off. She reached for the ever present pack of cigarettes, only to find the pack empty. A quick search told her there were none stashed around the room or the rest of the place.
Restless feet carried her numbed body from the apartment, down the rusted stairs and into the biting cold. The sting of the harsh wind helped to clear the fog from her brain, but not by much. She stumbled a few block's to the BP. Once there she forget the reason she'd gone out, and wandered up and down the isles.
Junk food, canned food, snacks, and pastries passed by unfocused eyes. Absently she retrieved a bag of M&M's, a Pepsi and headed to the register. Her eyes came to rest on the stacks of cigarettes and finally she remembered.
In a voice that was not hers she asked for a carton of Marlboro's and handed over the money. Movement in the corner of her eye caught her attention. Without conscious thought, reacting instinctively to danger, she ducked out of the way of the revolver and sank to her knees.
She felt the brush of the man's thighs on her arm as she went to the ground, heard the startled grunt, and wrapped her arms around his calves. With a curse he tumbled backward. The gun flew up and out of his hand as he landed on his back on the gritty gas station floor.
Taylor had time to focus on the would be robber as he fought to gain back the breath she'd forced from his lungs. He was easily a good two feet taller then she was, burly and well muscled. There was no time to be afraid as he lumbered ungracefully to his feet. Instinct took over and she sent a powerful kick to his groin.
He doubled over. With skills she never knew she possessed she landed a hard jab to the side of his neck, sending him to unconsciousness and once again to the dirty floor.
Adrenaline soared through her body. She had to reel in her urge to strike at anything nearby when the young attendant came crashing from behind the counter to stand terrified next to her.
"Are you alright? My God, I didn't even see him coming. How did you know? How did you do that?" The boy rambled on.
Taylor held up a hand to silence him. "Call the police and an ambulance." As he hesitated Taylor lightly chucked his shoulder and turned him back to the counter. "Call them now, before he wakes up."
That got the young man moving, quickly. For a moment Taylor simply stood looking at the big man on the floor. The adrenaline rush crashed down around her ears and knocked her knees together as it left.
She grabbed the carton of Marlboro's, ripped it open, tore through the wrapper on a pack, and lit up, right there in the store. I should really get out of here, but the sirens were already approaching as she was finishing off her second cigarette.
Taylor stomped out the butt and prepared herself for the tedious hours to come.
Did I really expect 'her' to be here? Is that why I stayed and told myself I HAD to fill out hundreds of forms, and sign my name a thousand times?
It was past 8am when all the forms were finally done and she was allowed to leave. The weak winter sun was barely peaking over the city lines, bathing the streets and sidewalks in an eerie glow.
Taylor lit a cigarette as she sat on the curb. There was money in her pocket for the bus, of course, but she still had to meet Angel. THAT she was not looking forward to. What if I just disappear?
She'll find you... a terrified voice cried.
The blaring bass of a dark tinted car startled her back to the present. With a resigned sigh she stood, and made her way down the sidewalk. Head bent in sorrow, she missed the black Cavalier and it's blue eyed occupant.
Why can't Angel find ME for a change? Cha, right! Like she'd expand her energies anywhere outside of the bedroom and conquering the world? I think not. Still...
Angel wasn't at her legal front of an office, her 'back' office OR home. There was the slim chance Taylor's ruthless employer was at the docks, but it'd been a long, long time since Angel had been anywhere near the 'dirty work' end of business.
So, that left one place... the Club. It was better known as Wide Open, one of the more popular Lesbian bars, a few blocks down from Meow Mix.
Taylor hailed a cab, gave the directions, and sat back for the ride. Good thing about cabbies, if they knew where you were headed they either didn't care or knew enough not to say a word.
Since it was only going on about 10am the bar was closed. After she paid the cabby she passed through the alley and approached the side entrance. The door was slightly open.
The hacker hesitated before laying a hand against the warped wood. No light poured outside, and no sounds came from within.
Oh God, have I become a loose end already? As she pushed open the door she half expected to hear the click of a hammer. This is stupid. This is what they do in the movies... go inside when they know they shouldn't and get killed!
She was about to take a step back when a low voice echoed across the darkness. "Shut the door." Not, shut-the-door-I-need-to-kill-you-now, but a shut-the-door-I-NEED-you-now...
A zippo flicked and burst into life. Momentary shadows raced across the room and then the light dyed and was replaced by a soft glow and the smell of warm vanilla.
I hate that smell.
Two more candles were lit, then three and four. Soon the bar was bathed in the soft, romantic flames of ten sickly smelling candles. Tables had been pushed aside to make room for a blanket and pillows. In the center was Angel.
"I knew you'd find me, lover." Her voice was low, sultry. A thin, manicured finger crooked in her direction. Beckoning... time for games, mind numbing, animal sex...
No! "You said you needed to talk to me, Angel. What's up?" Taylor made no move to join the half naked woman on the floor.
"I said I needed you... not needed to talk to you... Come here."
"I've got other things to do." The words slipped out of her mouth before she could censor them. Oops.
"Other things? Or other women to DO, darrling?" Venom dripped from the archangel's fangs.
"Of course not. I've got to ship some hardware out to Bengal and fix a bug." Taylor's eye twitched with the lie.
"Darrling, if that's all, I can have a runner ship out the hardware. You can fix the bug... after."
Fuck, fuck, fuck... just run. Get the hell outta Dodge. "I'm on a deadline."
"It. Can. WAIT." A commanding hiss, not to be disobeyed.
"No, it can't wait. Dren wants the bug fixed now. Or he finds another 'company' to do business with."
That sidetracked Angel. "Fine. Go fix your little bug." She kissed Taylor off with a wave of her hand.
Too easy, the hacker thought, as she once again entered the alley and flagged down a cab. I'm going to pay for that, sooner or later.
The wrist watch of the woman standing beside her in the coffee shop read 12:15. Returning to the empty, lifeless warehouse was not an option right now. Taylor needed the noise and everyday hub-bub of city life.
Business men and women occupied most of the little tables. All dressed in power suits, out for power lunches in groups of two and three.
What would it be like to be... normal? Out on my lunch hour. A nine to five job. A real house. A family to go home to every night?
If she'd been born into a different family, different city, would anything be different?
Would my soul be dark in the daylight?
One woman in particular caught her attention. She was seated by the window overlooking the sidewalk. Dark hair slipped around her shoulders as she talked animatedly with her hands. The woman looked so... normal, sitting there talking to the man in the dark, pin striped suit. Was he an associate, boss, lover, husband? She wore a wedding band, he did not.
Occasionally she touched his shoulder, or his thigh. He smiled and laughed at what she said. Was he interested in her, or her body? Did her opinions matter?
Taylor watched for a long time as they sipped those silly coffees and ate the little biscuits. The woman batted her eyelashes, touched him, laughed at his jokes, swished her hair back, and displayed her assets teasingly.
He's definitely not her husband... maybe a lover. That they worked together was obvious as they reviewed a file folder with a dark blue insignia. She seemed so together, so happy.
How do people do that? Is it real or all an act? I bet she has a husband who's blue collar, two point five kids and a dog. She works nine to five, comes home, makes dinner, spends time with the kids, then has a romantic evening with her husband.
Taylor wouldn't have been shocked to know that the business woman was nothing like she appeared. No one ever was... Ruthless in her career, she had no time for her husband, and didn't want children. She was having an affair with the man at the table, to get promoted. She was filled with anger because she'd hit the 'glass ceiling' and sex with this man was a joke. He couldn't keep it up for more then five minutes. Nor was he about to give her a promotion.
The hacker was strangely disappointed when they left. She sighed, pushed the cold coffee away, and headed back to the busy sidewalks.
It was blustery cold, numbing her ears and nose, still there was one place she felt she had to go. The elevator was relatively empty, as was the observation deck. Only fool hardy tourists were roaming around picture taking.
Taylor made her way around the deck, to her usual spot, not looking down on the city, until she'd twined her fingers around the rail and pushed her forehead against the cold metal.
The park stretched out below her, one of the only green spots in the city. But she didn't see it. Instead the image of blue eyes haunted her. The file was wrong, that's all there was to it. How could they be the same person?
The hacker noticed the tail as she went through the turnstile and turned down the subway platform. She leaned against a pillar as she waited for the train, noticing him out of the corner of her eye.
She would have laughed, except for the danger dancing around the whole concept. Angel had never tailed her before.
Angel had called Dren. Checked up on her, and found out she was lying. I brushed her off twice. What the fuck did I expect? Red roses on my doorstep?
More like another fucking nail in my fucking cement coffin! God, what do I do now?
Loose the tail, her unpanicked, rational side finally took over as she stepped into the train. Taylor hurried through the throng of lunch hour traffic, hoping to loose the man in the mass of bodies. No such luck. He was half a car behind her, as she made her way to the front.
Fuck... oh looky here... A group of Marilyn Manson wannabe's were blocking the entrance to the next car. This... could get interesting.
Politely she made her through the dark, painted people. And stopped. The tail stopped, and turned, as if he wasn't following the hacker. Yeah, right.
She bumped her elbow into the elbow of the young man beside her. "Oh, excuse me. I'm sorry."
"S'ok." He mumbled. His eyes were glazed, stance unsteady.
"Hey." Taylor leaned conspiritualy into his shoulder. "See that dude over there?" Fuck, hope he's not too stoned.
"Yo, which dude?" His words were a little slurred, but his mind, what there was of it, seemed intact.
"The guy in the suit. Ya know, I seen him watchin' you."
"What the fuck?" The boy muttered.
One of his buddies stepped over. "What's up?"
"That guy's watchin you. See him?" Taylor titled her head, motioning with her eyes. "Bet he's some kinda pervert. Look, he's actin' all innocent like."
The young boy and his friend looked closely now. Taylor could almost see the gears in their heads turning.
"Yeah, like he's lookin' over here, pretendin' he ain't." The second boy slugged a third in the shoulder. "Yo, look at the mother fucker over there, man."
Three eyes turned to the tail. He was nervously looking at the floor, to Taylor's head, and back.
"I'd be like really careful, man. I saw on the news this perve who like stalked the subways, lookin for boys." Taylor said in all seriousness. It was true, over in the Bronx. But, well... "He follows 'em home. Then fucks around with 'em and gets off when he cuts off their balls." Ok, so that part was totally fucked up. In for a dollar...
The train was slowing down for the next stop.
"Yo," the youngest looking stated, "that's really fucked up. Someone should fuck him up." Another boy and the two girls in the group were now listening.
Taylor's back was against the door. The train stopped and she made her move through the door, into the next train. The tail tried to follow, but was blocked by a group of disgusted, stoned Marilyn Manson wannabe's.
My job here is done! Taylor exited the train, jogged down the walkway and took the stairs to the surface two at a time.
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