Author: Notmanos
E-mail: notmanos at yahoo dot com
Rating: R
Disclaimer:  The characters of Angel are owned by 20th Century Fox and Mutant Enemy; the
character of Wolverine is also owned by 20th Century Fox and Marvel Comics.  No copyright
infringement intended. I'm not making any money off of this, but if you'd like to be a patron of the
arts, I won't object. ;-)  Oh, and Bob is *my* character - keep your hands off!   
Notes:  Takes place shortly after the "X Men" movie, and Sleepers.


Logan had been wondering when she was going to cut to the chase.

It was funny how, in a bar as packed as this one, she would zero in on him. Not that he was complaining - if he had to have company,at least she was gorgeous. She was a young Indonesian woman - twenty two at the oldest - with bronze skin and almond shaped chocolate brown eyes, her long black hair, as sleek as a panther's pelt, held back by a clip studded with emeralds and rubies. She was wearing a tight red leather mini-dress that showed off what cleavage she had, and a compact but curvaceous body that definitely put her in the knock out category. He would have loved to have left with her, if it wasn't for a tiny little detail. "So what do you say?" She purred, leaning close to be heard over the music and the voices of the crowd. He felt her breast press up against his arm, and he knew she was doing that on purpose.

It didn't matter that this was a shitty little dive just over the Canadian border - it was a Friday night, and even people in one horse towns wanted to get shitfaced. The mirror behind the bar had been long since broken, replaced by neon signs advertising inferior beers, but Logan knew what he would see if it existed. Or, more correctly, what he wouldn't see. "Do you really wanna fuck,or do you just want my blood?" He wondered, taking a gulp of his watery beer.

She sat back slightly on her vinyl stool,copper painted lips curving up in a disbelieving smile as she raised an eyebrow at him. "What do you mean?"

He sighed, shaking his head. "Darlin', I know you're a vampire, okay? So cut the shit."

She feigned a startled laugh,bringing a hand  to her delicate throat. "Vampire? Oh, that's funny. You're such a card."

"Hon, you smell like a vamp. Shall we go into the bathroom and see if you have a reflection?"

"I do not! I smell like White Linen!" She protested, then scowled, aware the jig was up. "Fuck, what are you? You smell like a Human."

"I am, I'm just a mutant with a good sense of smell who's tangled with a few vamps in my lifetime."

"Shit," she muttered, tapping her claw like long black fingernails impatiently on the scarred wooden bar. Her flirtatious nature was gone in the blink of an eye. "Figures I'd pick the one mutant in the bar."

"So you're just after my blood, huh?"

"I'm not interested in men."

"Except for their blood."

"Well, it's all your good for. No offense."

He snorted a laugh, and shrugged. "We ain't all that bad."

"A man turned me into this."

"Oh. Well, we ain't all vampires."

She shrugged and looked away, scoping the room for a more gullible victim."As much as I hate these dirtbags," he told her. "I'm not gonna let you feed. You're gonna have to go somewhere else."

She turned back to him, her formerly warm eyes now icy cold and predatory. "And why do you think  you can stop me, mutant?"

He finished his beer and set his mug down before he bothered to answer her. "I have three perpetually sharp, nine inch adamantium blades in each of my hands, and superhuman reflexes. I could cut off your head right this second, before you could even blink. If you wanna test me, fine, but otherwise I'm content to let you walk away."

She looked at his face, then his hand resting on the bar. "You're serious, aren't you?"

"They called me the decapitator in Los Angeles."

She blinked in surprise, although she tried to be cool about it, returning to studying his hand like it might suddenly erupt into violent action independent of its owner. "How could you have nine inch blades in your hands? They don't look that big."

"They retract all the way to my forearm. Hey, why don't we skip the anatomy lesson, and go straight to the slicing?"

He stared at her, and for a moment they had a little contest, as if to see who would blink first. She obviously wasn't sure if she believed him or not, and while he had no qualms about icing a bloodsucker, it would be a shame to dust one this pretty, especially surrounded by uglier humans asking for it. Finally, she challenged the only thing she could. "If they come out of your hands, why don't you have any scars?"

"I heal real fast. Now, are we gonna throw down, or are you gonna live to bite another day?"

She looked dubiously between his face and his hands, but finally she decided to err on the side of caution. "Are all you mutants this rude?"

"No more than vampires."

That made her roll her eyes and frown sourly as she swiveled away on the stool and stood up, pulling down her poor excuse for a skirt. "Great. Thanks for the warning."

"Stay away from lumberyards," he suggested, with a sarcastic smile.

She gave him the finger and stormed out of the bar, a couple guys near the door turning to watch her ass as she left. He wondered if the stupid rednecks would follow her, but no, they stuck to their beers. Lucky for them - he was in no mood to rescue them.

He wasn't in the mood for anything. The beers here sucked, the vamp had been the only good looking woman here, and the smell of the crowd was starting to get to him. He didn't have a hotel room in town - he was just trying to keep going for as long as he could, only staying in one place for a day if he was so tired he was going to fall down or if he found some attractive and willing company for the night. Otherwise he'd been on the road straight since his disappointing evening with Jean ... shit, how long ago was it? Again, he hadn't been paying much attention to the days as they slipped past him like so much grey scenery on the side of the road. He was letting his own inertia carry him, and yet he was perfectly aimless. He was pretty sure he was in America due to the accents and the quality of the beer, but it was equally possible he was just in a border town; time and location were becoming loose variables, mutable and fluid and perfectly meaningless. The only difference he could see was in the secondary language you needed to know - in Canada it was French ( except in Quebec, where it was English ); in the U. S. it was Spanish. He was beginning to get the idea there were more vamps in the States too, but it was generally a warmer climate. But how odd was that - wouldn't vamps rather be where it was more likely to be dark? And he was led to believe they really didn't give too much of a good goddamn about the temperature. Maybe it was habit, or maybe they thought they could get lost easier in the more populous States, both, or neither. Far be it from him to understand this demon shit.

The neon beer clock on the far wall said it was about ten to midnight, and he figured he'd wasted enough time - might as well get back on the road. There was nothing for him here, and it didn't look like he was getting laid tonight, so there was no point in swilling down beer that was a step removed from piss and putting up with the stink of too many men.

The air outside was heavy with industrial pollution - rural burg or not, it had an economy built around a pulp mill - but was unseasonably warm and windy; a storm was kicking up, something all lashing rain and howling winds. It was a good thing he'd be leaving ahead of it, because it'd probably knock out the power for a little town like this, and if it was dreary now, he couldn't even imagine it without electricity.

He got on his bike and just randomly decided to head West as the clouds scudded across the face of the moon, blocking it out, and a gust of wind made the traffic lights sway on their cable like they were about to be sent flying off into the night. The wind was at his back as he drove, though, giving him even more of a sense of speed, although he was wary about using the "hyperdrive" ( or whatever the fuck it actually was ) right now - that combined with a windstorm could be just asking for a crack up.

There was a rhythm to driving, a sort of road hypnosis that set in quickly and was soothing enough that he didn't really miss sleep. Well, not when he didn't think about it.

A depressed collection of closed down shops gave way to strip malls and then weedy vacant lots that rippled like a choppy ocean in the wake of the winds. Soon he was driving through wilderness, scrub pines and wild oaks, an assortment of tough trees and shrubs that could live almost anywhere, no matter the climate or the state of the soil. Reminded him of himself, in a way - those suckers just didn't die.

Time fled past him in a dark blur, and he was well into road hypnosis when he caught a blur out of the corner of his eye, coming at him from the sloping hill of woods on his right. He put on the brakes and deliberately slewed to the left, so he spun out but never lost control as the bike screeched to a stop, and he avoided hitting the body that had just landed with a wet thud in the road before him - if he hadn't done what he did, the body would have hit him before he could have had a chance to hit it.

The body was that of a young man whose eyes had been gored out of their sockets, and whose chest had been slit open neck to crotch - it didn't look like he had any internal organs left. He'd been gutted and cleaned like a deer? But hunters usually didn't take out the eyes ... not human ones.

As soon as he shut off the engine, he could hear a noise coming from the woods: crunching, like bones being ground and snapped beneath a wheel. The stink of blood and demon was almost overpowering - either that, or the septic tank of a slaughterhouse had blown up. He considered, for a moment, just driving on, but the fucker had almost kayoed him with a body, whether he meant to or not. He couldn't let that go, could he?

He left his bike on the shoulder of the road, and hiked off into the woods, following the noisome trail of the demon. Not that it was difficult - along with the stink and the blood, there was a trail of broken branches and shrubs leading up the hill, leading to an artificially created clearing of fallen trees and torn up bushes, now littered with various body parts.

In the center of the clearing, sitting on a rock and gnawing on a severed arm like a chicken leg was one butt ugly demon. It looked like it was carved from pure obsidian, skin not so much scaled as shaled, layered like shingles on a roof, and while it was a biped, it had wide, hunched shoulders that suggested it either had extra shoulder sockets, or something odd on its back. It had a head shaped like a light bulb, hairless and lacking several features, but it had two brightly yellow eyes that swept back towards its tiny pointed ears like ski goggles, and a wide mouth with at least three concurrent rows of ivory, needle like teeth. Hard to tell if it had really long, slender fingers, or they just tapered into ebony claws. "What is it with you demons gettin' off on playin' with your food?" He wondered.

It stopped gnawing on the ulna long enough to look at him, making a high pitched hissing noise related to a dental drill, and a flap of skin around its skinny neck suddenly frilled upwards, making it look like some kind of Jurassic Park reject.

It moved so fast he didn't actually see it move; it was there one half second, and then he felt its claws slash his arm, tearing away a huge hunk of flesh, and also slash his stomach, but the good part about wearing layers was it ended up with more cloth than skin. "I got claws too, ya fuck," he snarled, ignoring the pain of his slashed arm as he lashed out with his own hand at the black blur, popping his claws and making contact even as the blur moved away.

Its skin was hard as granite, but his claws cut through it with little resistance,and it let out an ear shattering screech as they both staggered back and something hit the ground. He thought it was the arm it was gnawing on, but that arm hadn't been black as ink, or pumping a thick fluid that looked like syrup and smelled like citric acid gone sour. How ironic - he'd cut off one of its arms.

His arm really hurt; it was throbbing like an infected wound, and he knew from the amount of blood still pouring down his hand that the cut had been very deep; it had tried to take his arm off as well, but its claws couldn't slice through adamantium. Still, it hurt like fuck, and why was it still bleeding so much? Maybe it had severed an artery.

With an angry shriek it was on him again, plowing into his midsection and sending him falling to the loamy floor of the forest, but even as he lost the air in his lungs, he reacted out of pure instinct, punching a claw through its abdomen as it screeched in his face, trying to bite him, its carrion scented breath making him feel nauseous. He got his knees up and kicked it off, letting his claw rip clean down the center of its chest before he sent it straight into the trunk of the nearest tree, which it hit with a hollow thud.

But that didn't even slow it down. Either it was too vicious or too stupid ( or both ) to realize it couldn't win a fight with only one arm and a bisected chest, because it came right back for him, barely giving Logan a chance to take a breath before it rebounded back screaming, going straight for his eyes.

He was tired of this and his arm hurt, so he put an end to this. As it lunged for him, he slashed out, straight through its neck. The head went flying, and when it hit the ground, it started rolling for the bottom of the hill. The body, meanwhile, continued its one armed lunge for him, so he simply snagged its wrist and threw it aside, letting its own built up momentum take it as far as it could.

Logan then curled up in a ball, around his own slashed right arm. It was not only throbbing but burning, yet not like the healing process was under way - this was a different burning, acid as opposed to flame. He could feel a mimicking throb where it had broke the skin of his stomach, but the cuts were shallow, and so was the ache. It was still bleeding, but he couldn't tell if it was more than before, or less. Should it still be bleeding? How deep was the cut?

He struggled to his feet and almost stumbled, and was forced to grab the tree to keep his balance. His head was swimming, and he felt ... funny. The only word for it was funny. His right arm hung limp at his side, and he looked at it.

It was covered in blood, from the gash above the elbow to his fingertips. Beneath the torn fabric and flesh, he could still see a glint of silver, the adamantium of a bone, and he knew that should have healed by now, or at least the wound should have started to close a lot faster than it was. He smelled something sour in the wound, something that smelled like the acrid blood of the demon, but he couldn't be sure it was coming from just the wound since it was splattered on his clothes. He looked down at the tatters of his flannel shirt and the once white t-shirt beneath,and saw there had been four tiny, parallel slashes that had all but healed, leaving only the blood behind. Well, that was good, wasn't it?

The dizziness seemed to get worse. It was like the rotation of the Earth had speeded up, and he could feel it trying to slip away from him under his feet. He clung to the tree for dear life, like it was the only thing that kept him going airborne, and when the wind gusted, making the branches undulate violently above his head, he suddenly wondered if getting blown away was an actual possibility. Wouldn't that be funny?

He decided to try and walk away - there was no telling how many of these things there were; after all, there were the parts of at least ten different people scattered around here - but after his first step, his knee seemed to give way, and he pitched face first into the dirt.

Okay, something was really wrong here.Why was his healing factor reacting so slowly to the big injury? Why did he feel like he was about to pass out? His mind - which seemed to be lost; somehow chasing its own tail inside his skull - suddenly churned up the memory of Krek, although it took him a moment to place the name.

Krek - demon with some kind of neurotoxin in him. He almost killed him with it. It didn't feel like Krek's neurotoxin ... exactly. But close. So this demon had some kind of venom or poison, something his healing factor was having a hard time dealing with? Didn't matter - he wasn't dying. He was just a little sick was all - his immune system would adapt, given enough time.

Logan decided he give himself another minute, and then he'd try and stand up again.


She was so busy checking the rearview mirror for anyone following her, she forgot to check the road ahead of her.

Well, this was a road in the middle of nowhere, so what was likely to be out here, especially at this time of night? If there was another way out of this goddamn town she'd have taken it, but the problem with towns this small was there was usually little choice in the means of access. If only it had even a tiny airport, she'd have convinced someone to fly her the fuck out of here.

Of course, she was assuming she hadn't lost her mind. Maddie was relatively sure she was living up to her nickname now - mad as a fucking hatter. That was the only explanation, wasn't it? People just didn't come back from the dead, not in real life. And if she wasn't insane ... well, shouldn't she be? It was better than the alternative - that this was actually happening.

Another glance in the mirror allowed her to see a motorcycle sitting on the side of the road, as if the driver had parked it there to take a piss or something. Still, it was weird - what an odd looking bike. That was when it felt like she ran over something.

What the fuck? Roadkill?

She looked back to see, and that's when she caught movement in the dark in her peripheral vision. She stomped on the brakes, but not in time - her car plowed into something hard enough to set off her airbag. She couldn't help but yelp as it exploded in her face, and she heard the crunch of metal and the tinkle of broken glass as it rained down on the asphalt. What the fuck did she hit, a deer?

She sat that for a moment, trying to will her heartbeat to slow down, then punched down the airbag and got out of the car, wondering what she was about to see splattered all over the pavement. Oh god, if it was a deer, she'd kill herself. But she didn't see it! And besides, were there that many deer around here?

There was no deer. The right front side of the Camry was crumpled in completely, the headlight shattered and gone, but in the light of the single beam she saw a body nearly twenty feet down the road. A human body.

Her heart stopped, and she forgot to breathe. She hit a person? Holy fuck - where did he come from? Oh shit, was he the biker?

"Mister, I am so sorry," she said, finally remembering how to speak. The fact that you needed to breathe to do so made it initially difficult. "But fuck, I'm the only car on the road, and it's pitch black out here! You got eyes, right?"

He wasn't moving. He was just laying splayed on his back in the center of the road, and ... was that blood? His arm was black with blood. Oh Christ - had she killed him? How could she? It was a Toyota, for Christ's sake! Had a Toyota ever killed anything larger than possum? Look at the damage he did to her front end - it was like she'd hit a bridge abutment, not a person. How much damage could she do?

"Guy? Look, I'm sorry, I didn't see you," she said, approaching the body warily. She was hoping he'd snap up and start cursing her out, maybe threaten to sue her, but he just continued to lay there. He could sue her and take all of the nothing she had if he'd just wake up and not be dead.

But he wasn't moving, and the closer she got, the more she became convinced she'd killed him. She felt queasy. "Please don't be dead," she moaned, wondering if she was going to toss her cookies right here. It occurred to her she had more than enough dead people in her life and almost laughed, but she knew she'd lose what little was left of her mind if she started.

There was something wrong about him. Maybe it was the fact that he had close cropped sideburns, and she had never seen facial hair like that on a guy in person; maybe it was the fact that it was a warm night and he appeared to be wearing two shirts, a denim jacket, and a leather one; maybe it was the fact that the stomach had been ripped out of all the shirts ( could the car have done that? ), and then the sleeve of everything had been nearly ripped off his bloody right arm. That gash was too high up for the car to have done that ... right?

Oh, how the fuck did she know? She'd never run anyone over before.

It was kind of funny, in a sick, sad sort of way. As if she didn't have enough problems in her life, here's one more.

This was a nightmare; this had to be a nightmare. It was the only logical explanation.

She crouched down beside the body, and tried to see if he was breathing or not. She really couldn't tell. But his head wasn't split open - there was some blood, but he didn't seem to be openly bleeding. That was good ... except dead people didn't bleed, did they? Oh shit.

She put her head on his chest, and heard an erratic but very solid heartbeat; it sounded like his heart was trying to pound its way through his ribcage. Was that good? Well, at least it meant he was still alive.

Maddie sat back on her haunches and tried to figure out her next move. She could flee the scene, couldn't she? There was nobody else out here, and he was alive ... she could always make an anonymous call to nine one one - they couldn't trace cell phone calls, could they? He could have just wiped out on his bike ... except it was parked. Well, if he was some kind of biker, maybe they'd think he got attacked by a rival biker of some sort. That happened, right? Oh fuck - if he remembered what actually happened, she was screwed. The best thing to do was just to call nine one one now, and throw herself on the general mercy of the cops - it was an accident on a deserted road after midnight. Surely they couldn't hold her responsible for this, when pedestrians never should have been out here in the first place.

She was trying to remember where she put her phone when the guy's eyes shot open.

It startled her so much she yelped and fell back on her ass on the road, scooting away from him out of reflex ( well, if she'd been hit by a car, she wouldn't be too friendly towards the driver ). He moved his left hand, bringing it up to his head, but he didn't make any other movements, certainly none towards her. He groaned as if in pain, and she said, "Hey, maybe you shouldn't move. After accidents, people aren't supposed to move, right?" She felt like an idiot - all she had was questions without answers.

He muttered something that sounded like,"I can move," ( or was that "I can't move," ) but his words were so slurred it was hard to make the syllables out. Was he drunk? Well, of course he was drunk - who else would be wandering on a road at this time of night? But he didn't smell like beer; he only smelled like blood.

She stood up, and said, "I'm gonna call an ambulance, okay? Just stay here." What a stupid thing to say - what was he going to do, jump to his feet and run off?

But she had just reached her car when he sat up, holding his head in his hands. He was moving okay, although he was obviously in pain. At least she hadn't killed him. He said something that could have been, "I need an ambulance," or "I don't need an ambulance," - again, his words were slurred. If he wasn't drunk, that could be the sign of a head injury, couldn't it? Shit!

She got in the driver's side, leaving the door ajar, and dug her cell phone out of her purse. As if that wasn't enough drama in itself, she activated it, only to have it make a brief bleeping sound, and turn itself off: no power. She'd forgotten to charge it.

"Shit!" She snapped, angrily throwing the thing in the back seat. It always had to be like this, didn't it? Not one thing could go wrong, oh no - everything had to go wrong at once. Like it was cheating to have a single goddamn thing go right.

Well, there were no places within walking distance. She could drive back to town, call from the 7-11, but she didn't want to drive back to that fucking town! What if Steve was waiting for her? And could she leave this guy by himself? Would he even believe she was leaving to call for help? What if he thought she was just driving off? ( Still a tempting thought ...  )

Maddie was about to shout to him that she had to drive into town to get help when suddenly a man appeared, opening the driver's side door wide enough to wedge himself in there. "Hello - Madison, I presume?" The man said, leering at her. He was tall, young, and black haired, good looking in a high school jock sort of way, and wearing a long black coat that seemed to be as unseasonably warm as all the layers of clothes the biker was wearing.

She glared at him, quickly glancing to see if he had any weapons displayed. So far, no. "Who the fuck are you?" She asked angrily. She didn't dare show any fear.

But the man's leering grin widened, like he knew her fearlessness was an act. "I'm the fuck Rod, a friend of Steve's. And he doesn't like little bitches who steal from him."

"I didn't steal anything from that prick," she snapped, wondering where he came from, and if Steve was with him. Steve didn't have a lot of friends, and she was sure she'd met them all, but she'd never seen this asshole before in her life. "And fuck you too." She grabbed the car door handle and slammed it with all her might.

Rod let out a startled cry of pain as he was smashed between the door and the frame, and quickly rebounded out of the danger area, but he recovered faster than she ever expected. Before she could get the door properly shut, he shoved an arm through the driver's side window, shattering it into a million pieces all over her, and grabbed her by the collar of her shirt, yanking her hard against the door and making it fall open again as he pulled her out onto the street.

"That's pretty lame, you stupid bitch," Rod growled, as he threw her back violently against the car, never letting go of her throat. She could feel blood dribbling down her face from the glass cuts, and they stung, but the pain was forgotten as soon as she saw what had happened to Rod's face.

His eyes, which had been blue just a moment before, were now yellow with pinpricks for pupils, and his Hollywood perfect teeth were now a jagged mess of ivory fangs, seemingly too many for so small a mouth. His forehead had pushed forward too, so much it looked like he had a sloping caveman's brow. He didn't look human, and his breath smelled of decay and blood. She was so startled she just stared at him. "What the fuck are you?" She asked, genuinely curious.

He sniggered, as if that was a stupid question. "The guy who's going to start breaking every bone in your pretty little body if you don't tell me where the Dragon's Eye is."

"What? What the fuck are you talking about? What's the Dragon's Eye?" Sometimes things just got so surreal the only logical thing to do was give up. You could lose your mind trying to reason out the unreasonable.

He rolled those bright yellow eyes of his, and snarled, "Don't try the stupid act, cunt."

Okay, that was it. She could put up with almost anything, but no one called her a cunt. She brought her knee up as hard as she could into his groin, and as his breath left him in a pained "oof", she punched him in the side of the head. She mostly just got his ear, but it still hurt her hand. "Are you a mutant, is that it?" She asked, shoving him away. "Do you think you could scare me with your parlor tri - "

But she never got to finish the sentence. Rod recovered almost instantly, grabbing her throat in a crushing grip and slamming her back against the car, this time pinning her with his body so she couldn't move. He was a lot stronger than she would have ever thought, and oh god, he looked furious. "Stupid little bloodbag!" He spat in her face, his fetid breath making her wince. "Did you think you could actually hurt me? I bet you did - acting dumb isn't an act for you, is it? You are dumb - you're a stupid little cunt who doesn't even realize what she has. Am I a mutant? A mutant?! I - "

He suddenly stopped and stiffened, making a gasping noise as three metal prongs suddenly exploded through the base of his throat. She thought that was something he was doing somehow until the prongs ripped to the side, and Rod exploded into a pillar of dust as soon as his head toppled bloodlessly from his shoulders.

She was left staring at the bloody biker, who retracted the knives back into his bleeding hand. "He wasn't a mutant," the man said, glazed eyes barely focused on her. "I am." And with that, the biker collapsed face first onto the asphalt.


Maddie looked down at the man, and considered the possibility he was joking.

Oh sure - yes he was joking. He had knives in his hands - didn't everyone have knives in their hands? And what about Rod - since when did people explode into dust when their heads got chopped off? He didn't even bleed.

( Dead people don't bleed ... )

Okay, this was all too fucking strange. As if Steve, somehow coming back from the dead, wasn't strange enough. ( Maybe Rod had come back from the dead too. He'd said he was a friend of his ... ) She rubbed her sore throat, looked around, and realized there may have been movement in the darkness around her. Maybe. Or was she being paranoid?

Damn it! She knew she was being followed. What the hell was a "dragon's eye", and why did he think she had it? Like she'd ever touch a goddamn eyeball!

She considered leaving the biker here - he admitted to being a mutant; he'd probably be fine - but hadn't he just saved her life, possibly? Maybe? And was he in any shape - knife hands or not - to fight off anymore things like Rod. And most of all, he knew what the hell he was - she didn't. She didn't have the slightest idea what was after her or why; maybe he knew what a "dragon's eye" was.

Maddie carefully stepped over the biker ( but she couldn't avoid the dust that was all that was left of Rod ), and opened her back door. She then reached down and grabbed knife guy by the shoulders, and almost gave herself an instant hernia. "Fuck - how heavy are you?" She exclaimed, shocked. He looked about what, two hundred pounds? He felt about twice that.

He groaned something, coming back to a semblance of semi-consciousness, and he got up to his knees, trying to shrug her off. But she must have hurt him, because his movements were slow, like someone trapped in quicksand. "You're gonna have to help me," she told him. "You're too heavy for me to budge. And let's get a move on, huh? I think we're about to have company." The wind had picked up, and was lashing the trees around so violently she couldn't say for sure if they were being slowly descended upon by shadows ... but she was willing to bet the twenty bucks in her wallet that Rod was just the scout of this expedition.

But why? Fuck - what the hell had she done? Except have bad taste in men - which was honestly bad enough.