Marici perched in the tree, her amber eyes watching the motel. She knew the demon she was looking for was there. He had taken another victim, one she had been called to rescue. If it had not been for the innocent young woman, she would have already ended the life of the rat hiding out in the motel. The door opened and he stepped out, car keys jingling in his hand as he walked down the stairs and to the parking lot. He climbed behind the wheel of the old Toyota and switched it on. The minute he pulled onto the street, she took to the sky, following him. He was so eager to get to his victim and so confident in his ability to not get caught, that he had not even bothered to scent the air. He had no idea he was being stalked. He drove out over the Nevada desert, going far out away from Vegas. He pulled off the main road onto a dirt one, the moonlight showing his tires leaving a dust trail.
He pulled to a stop in front of what looked like a shed and she circled down as he exited his truck and walked over to the shed. As she got closer she could heard the sound of begging and shifted right before she reached the ground, landing on her feet and drawing the gun beneath her jacket. She ran for the door, slamming into it with her shoulder so it flew open. The demon’s eyes jumped to her, his fingers tangled in the woman’s hair. He threw her on the ground and she scooted back as far as she could go, curled up in a ball and crying. “Who the fuck are you?” The demon asked.
Marici said nothing just squeezed the trigger of her gun. The bullet tore through the demon’s chest, shocking him. She shot him again and again, until he fell backwards. He coughed as she walked over, stepping on his chest. “I am Marici Sorre.” She said and shot him in the head. She put her gun away and went over to the woman. “It’s okay, he can’t hurt you anymore.” She untied the rope from around the woman’s wrists and ankles then helped her to her feet. She took the demon’s keys and handed them to the woman. “You escaped after someone killed him, you didn’t see the killer’s face, understood.”
“Tell the police his body is here.”
“Thank you, thank you so much.” The woman hugged her and Marici gave her a hug back.
“You must go now, straight to the police.”
The woman nodded and ran from the shed. Marici waited until she was out of sight before shifting shape and taking to the sky. Alexander stood next to his car on the side of the rode looking over the map he had spread out on the hood of his car. He had followed Marici from Oregon, waiting patiently for a new story to break of a mysterious vigilante taking the lives of kidnappers, rapists, and murders. Each time he would hear one on the news or read about it in the paper he would head to that city, knowing it was her, his mystery, his crow. Her leaving had confused him, saddened him. From Oregon she had gone to California and from California to Nevada. He knew her next stop would have to be Vegas. It was a city of sin, the perfect place for evil to hide. He didn’t know how long she would stay there, so he knew he had to hurry. All he wanted was an explanation, even if she told him he was nothing afterwards.
Deciding what rodes to take he sat behind the wheel of his car and drove as fast as the speed limit allowed. He needed to get there before she left again. He would chase her until the day he died if he had to but he sure as hell hoped he could catch her soon and find the closure or new beginning he was looking for. He sighed when he felt thirst bothering him. he groaned and pulled off on the next exit that had a Mc Donalds so he could grab a drink and a burger. He wasn’t hungry but he might aswell take care of that too.
It was an odd time to be eating so his order was taken care of rapidly and he got back on the highway. He sipped at his drink and turned the radio on to keep his mind busy. He needed a distraction from his aching butt. Sitting all the time as he chased her wasn’t doing his muscles any favors but the discomfort was worth it. He wondered how long it took truckers to get used to riding all the time.
Marici landed easily on the fire escape just outside her window and shifted back. The window was cracked just enough that it was unnoticeable unless you were right in front of it. She lifted it open, slipped noiselessly inside, then closed it again, not bothering to lock it. She wasn’t afraid of burglars and if any tried to get in, then she would teach them the meaning of fear. She pulled her clothes off and climbed into bed, sighing as she stared up at the ceiling. Neon lights flashed outside, their hum lulling her to sleep. Like always she saw his face, his smile, heard his voice. She snapped awake, her heart beating hard in her chest.
“Stop it.” She said to the silence around her, but she knew it was no use. He had so easily captured her, had been so kind, not asking her unnecessary questions. She had known better than to get attached to him, but he had made it hard not to. She covered her face, wondering if she had hurt him, if he was okay. It had only taken a week for her to fall for him and one night for her to run away. She forced her thoughts away, away from the warmth of his memory. She couldn’t risk being with him, it was too dangerous.
She tried to lay back down but all she did was toss and turn. She decided to calm herself with some coffee. She would definitely not be going back to sleep but it was her comfort drink. That did little good, how many times had they shared coffee together before she left him. She knew that was a major reason he stayed in her mind. He hadn’t deserved just to be left as he slept but she knew if she went back to apologize she’d never want to leave. She had to stay away because her attraction to him was stronger than her minds reasoning that she was too dangerous to be with.
Marici finished her coffee, rinsed the cup then decided to check her fridge for anything edible. There was nothing but expired food and condiments so she sighed, cleaning it out and checking the pantry. She had a couple bags of chips so took one out and opened it. Her own chewing was a bit too loud for her so she started the pandora app on her phone so the music would drown the crunch.
Alexander yawned as he pulled over in front of a hotel. It was cheap, but didn’t have terrible ratings and he knew he needed to rest before further searching for Marici. He would hate to get into an accident and never see her again. He was glad he got a room and took the key. He knew she was close, he had a feeling and he would check the news in the morning to confirm it. He made sure his room door was securely locked, even wiggling the knob a couple of times to make sure it wasn’t broken. He pulled his clothes off then flopped down in bed and grabbed his phone, finding the only picture he had of his crow. She had been drunk that night and challenged him to a game of darts. She had won and he had taken a picture of her triumphant smile. He missed her, her voice, her kiss, everything.
Marici sat out on the fire escape, watching as the night faded into morning and knew she needed to get ready for her day. She pulled on clean clothes, made sure her gun had a round in the chamber then went out. Day time was for looking for signs of evil doing. Many creatures passed through this city looking for trouble, for their next victim.
Marici walked as she always did. She studied the people around her discretely, listened to conversations. Looked for anything that might be suspicious. She was so caught up in what she was doing she didn’t see Alexander when he spotted her in the crowd. He could barely believe his eyes, Marici, she was actually there. He had intended to search until the day he found her but she was one person in billions so it was still amazing to him he had actually found her. He started going to her as quickly as he could and he finally caught her attention when he was almost to her “Alexander?” she asked in disbelief just as he hugged her. “Marici”
He held tightly to her, half worried she’d fly off again and the hunt would start all over. “You…you…were you looking for me? Why are you here?” He pulled back enough to look at his crow “I’ve been looking for you since the morning I saw you fly off”
“You saw me?” she asked in shock.
“Marici, I’ve missed you.”
She pushed away, her heart beating far too loud and butterflies brushing her insides. “Stay away Alexander.”
He frowned. “Please don’t run again, I’ve been looking for so long. I just want to talk, could we do that?”
She was so much more conflicted now that she was in his presence. She wanted him, everything in her was drawn to him, but she knew it would be a mistake. “I…I can’t.” She couldn’t move either, seemingly rooted to the spot. His hand took hers and he gently pulled her in again, his warmth easing the tension in her muscles.
“Just talking. I only want an explanation, I want to know why you left me and if you truly wish me gone afterwards…please just talk to me.”
“Alright, I…I’ll talk, but that’s it.”
“Thank you so much.”
“We’ll go to my place I guess” She felt comfortable taking him there because she knew Alexander was a man of his word. If she told him to go away he would because he said he would. He took her hand and she let him keep it. They had held hands quite a bit before and she couldn’t even try to deny to herself that she missed it. The streets here were far busier than Alexander was used to but that didn’t come as a surprise. He just concentrated on Marici, loving the feel of her hand in his. When they arrived at Marici’s apartment she showed him to the couch and sat down at his side.
“Before you start I want you to know you do mean somthing to me. I know that might be hard to believe but it’s true. We did have a connection”
“I believe it. Thank you for saying that first thing. That has been one of my major burning questions” He took her hand again. “Stop being so nice. I don’t really deserve it.”
“Just tell me why. My heart knows you had to have some reason.”
She hated that she felt so cowardly now that they were face to face and she wound up looking down at her lap. “Alexander, I’m dangerous.”
“That’s crap and you know it.”
She raised her head, her eyes meeting his. He was serious and it made her feel a little irritated. “It’s stupid for you to stay with me, you could get killed, it’s that simple.” She swallowed the sudden lump in her throat. “I…I wish you’d just stay away.”
Instead of listening to her he hugged her and she felt her heart do a little flip in her chest. “Please don’t cry Marici, I love you.”
“Sure I can, I love everything about you. Getting to know you was the best thing that ever happened to me. I’ve been chasing you everywhere.” He pulled back, his hands framing her face. “I know what you do Marici, it’s how I found you and I’m not afraid.”
“You’d really be fine being with me with what I do?”
“You’re doing a good thing for the world. I believe that with all my heart”
“But somtimes family of the wicked come after me for what I do”
“and I’ll be by your side to face it, please, let me. I’m an adult. I can decide what dangers I want to face. I love you so much and I really believe you love me.”
“I do…I’m trying to do the right thing by sending you away..don’t make it so hard”
“I’m going to make it impossible because I can tell now you do want me by your side” HIs eyes burned with passion and absolution. They were caught in silence. Marici’s brain and heart were quarreling and her heart was in the lead. It made her feel so selfish.
“I do want you to stay.”
He tucked her hair behind her ear. “Then let me.” He leaned in, his lips a breath from hers. “Let me love you and take care of you, come home with me. I’ll stand with you, no matter the danger.”
Her heart skipped a beat as she nodded and he closed the distance between their lips. She had missed this, how sweet and gentle he was when he touched her, like she was something truly precious to him. When she parted their lips he pressed their foreheads together and just held her there, savoring the closeness. “This isn’t fair Alexander, the way you can so easily make me throw caution to the wind. I’m scared for you.”
He smiled, his eyes staring into hers, so easily projecting his love and want of only her. “Don’t be, I’m tough and stubborn.”
“I can’t just go home with you though. I have my work still”
“well then I’ll just keep doing what I’ve been doing, following you around. Money won’t be an issue since I can pick up any skill fairly easily. I would like it though if we could go home and just be us sometimes. Maybe just a few months out of the year?”
“I can do that” He kissed her again then pulled Marici into his arms. He felt so overwhelmingly happy he was with her again and she wasn’t just going to take off in the middle of the night. When he let her go she said “Let me do one more job then I’ll take my first break with you. You deserve it with all this time you’ve been tracking me”
Alexander watched Marici climb out onto the fire escape and found himself wanting to follow her, to watch her back. He knew she was strong and capable, but now that he had her back, he didn’t want to lose her again. “Please stay Alexander.” She so easily read his intentions and he leaned out of the window, his lips pressing against hers so her face flushed.
“Come back to me my crow.” He said softly.
“I will, I promise.”
She shifted shape and he watched in wide eyed wonder as she took to the sky, her wings taking her over the city. Marici dipped low once she was out of sight, keeping her senses open for trouble. She had found in this city both good and bad monsters. The former easily recognized her for what she was and even offered her information on occasion. She found her way to one of the dive bars, landing in the back and shifting before going inside. The bartender didn’t even bother looking up from pouring drinks. “What can I do for you crow?”
“I killed another one. He had a woman. I think they’re working together.”
“You’re probably right.” He did look up then. “You smell different, he found you didn’t he?”
He chuckled. “Alright, you want to know if I’ve heard anything. Last night one of them came in here, smug little asshole. I may have slipped him something to get him to open up and he started gloating about how he had been using the others to distract the hunter. He asked me if I wanted in on the action since I was a male. I got the address, it’s on the bad side of town, very cliche.”
She shook her head “The chase is better when they are a bit more original but if they are raping women I’m glad it wont be very difficult to figure out where he is.”
“Good luck, on that and having a boyfriend”
“shut up” she smiled as she said it and he smiled back. He was glad Alexander had seen what an amazing woman she was and tracked her down. She deserved a more normal life. He hoped they would work out and maybe she’d have a little family of her own some day. Marici left the bar and let her crow take over again so she could get to the other side of town more quickly. She thought of how strange it would be to have to travel in human ways like Alexander. It would be great because she would have him but it would still take some getting used to.
She made it to the other side of town and shifted back into a woman. This was where her gender worked to help her. They’d see her as a victim rather than someone they should avoid. It didn’t piss her off because it just lead them to their downfall. She caught some male attention but she knew it wasn’t who she was looking for so quickly knocked them out and moved on.
It was his scent that gave him away as she turned down an alley, giving her back to the opening. He was quiet, but not quiet enough. Her senses were far sharper and the minute he reached for her she turned, grabbing his arm and punching him in the face. He was shocked by her and he back pedaled out of the alley. She followed, chasing him as she reached for her gun as he headed for a park. She opened fire, one of the bullets tearing into his thigh. He hit the ground, but scrambled back up. She kicked him in the back, sending him sprawling then stomped her foot onto the back of his neck.
“The only bitch I see here is you.” She pressed the gun into the back of his head and pulled the trigger. She left his body there, uncaring what happened to it, she needed to get to those women and make sure they were still alive before alerting the police to their location.
She was happy to see that all the women still here were living and their only physical damage seemed to be bruises. It was somthing but the emotional damage they’d have to heal from would be a life long process. The women thanked her after she called the police. As she always did Marici left right then, not wanting to deal with the cops. What she did was just but not in the laws eyes. If she were to stay she’d actually have to sit in jail for murdering that piece of crap. Once outside she became a bird once more and flew to boyfriend. He was waiting and obviously relieved. She hugged him the second she was back in her human form “that was pretty quick” he said blissfully and she answered “you ready to take me home?”
“I’ve been ready since the day you left.” He pressed his forehead against hers, wanting to bask in her warmth forever. She didn’t have much, just a couple changes of clothes which he carried for her when they left. Marici had had no real idea how far he had chased her until they were on the road and she got a look at his map. He had tracked her movements, never stopping no matter what direction she went. She felt tears sting her eyes and she quickly turned away and wiped at them. She felt his hand rub her back and then pull her closer.
“You worked so hard for me.”
“Well yeah, what kind of man would I be if I had just given up. I need you Marici, it’s that simple. The day you left, you took my heart with you.”
“I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
He shook his head then pressed a kiss to her temple. “You just made me realize how much you meant to me. It gave me the resolve to find you no matter what.”
“I love you Alex” she said softly and he said “and I love you, always” They made the trip back fun since neither of them were in a rush. They’d stop if something fun caught their eye and would hangout there until they were done enjoying whatever it was they stopped for. Marici couldn’t believe she was relaxing and actually having a good time. She hadn’t done anything just for fun since the last time she was with Alexander and before that it had been when she was still a child. He brought out the happy, care free side of her and as an adult he seemed to be the only person that could do it.
Alexander was such a bright light to her and she already knew she’d never be foolish enough to abandon him again. They were at a restaurant eating when she got lost just staring at him again. He didn’t say anything, he just enjoyed he could make her get lost like that. He only called her back to reality when he was worried her food would get cold before she finished it. “Oh, sorry” she genuinely seemed embarrassed.
“I like it” he answered and she began eating.
Home was back in Oregon, a place Marici thought she would never see again and where Alexander was happy to have her once again. Portland was busy, even now, but its familiarity was comforting. “You look so happy.” Marici said as they pulled to a stop in front of his apartment complex.
“I am, we’re finally home together.” He leaned over, pressing his lips against her, letting out a little sigh. “It’s not a home without you Marici, it’s just an apartment.”
“You’re far too sweet.”
“Just honest. I missed you, you’re laugh and smile and how you like to show me up.”
“I have proof.” She blushed as they got out and she followed him inside. Her heart fluttered as she stepped into the all too familiar living room, her mind drifting back to that night and how perfect it had been.
“I sat here waiting for after you left, hoping you would come back.” Alexander said as he took her hands and pulled her against him. “I thought maybe I had done something wrong.”
“You were amazing, like magic. I was just so mad at myself for falling in love, for putting you at risk. My people are assassins, avengers, we bring up our children to be killers and at any moment the enemy could track us down. I didn’t want that for you, but I missed you every second, I regretted not telling you how I felt and now I…”
His lips found hers and she melted into him, her arms slipping around his neck as he pressed her closer. That same desire crashed over them, that need to feel the warm press of skin on skin, and he lifted her, carrying her straight to his room. They were both so overwhelmed by how real this moment was that they found themselves tearing up as they tugged at each others clothes. Alexander needed her more than anything, to feel completely connected to her in every way and they clung to each other as he made love to her.
Afterward they cuddled in his bed. Marici loved this, loved having a connection to someone. It felt incredible and while she knew she had been doing a service for the world she felt at this point she deserved to be selfish and let herself just enjoy being with such a wonderful man. For the first time in her life killing off the wicked wasn’t her top priority, Alexander Chisholm was.
~ The End