In which there is Bloodshed

Harvey cut a lonely figure in the streetlights by the waterfront, his long coat pulled tight against the cold as he walked. Olivia heard the river’s flow as a dull roar, punctuated by the high staccato of bats as they hunted for insects and the low murmur of conversation from the pub. Harvey’s heartbeat was audible, too, oddly slow, but strong and distinct. There was something else, too. Olivia paused, concentrating. There was something moving through the treeline, too big to be an animal.

No heartbeat; kindred. It moved briefly through the light and Olivia caught a glimpse of vivid blue. He moved rapidly from tree to tree, then kept to the shadows of the buildings as Harvey moved on and the cover broke. His lips moved in syncopated twitches, his voice a breathless whisper forming unfinished sentences and unconnected ideas. A query to the nearby coms towers revealed he carried no phone. It was almost, Olivia realised, as if his lips were unable to keep up with the speed of thought, as if he were communicating with someone who spoke directly to his mind. Shivering, she reached for her phone.

Watch your back.

Harvey stopped, reaching into his pocket. The kindred with the bright blue hair froze in place, his lips stilled for a moment. Then, just as suddenly, he turned on the spot, his flat grey eyes affixing on Olivia.

“Glass, blackout.” Olivia broke eye contact and the kindred bolted. Inhumanly fast, he vaulted a nearby fence. Swearing under her breath, Olivia started after him.

And then, a gunshot. And another. Olivia turned to see Harvey clutching at his chest, Shen and Jack racing towards him. Another shot took him in the head, spraying the ground with arterial blood. A fourth and a fifth hit him from another direction and his body slumped to the floor.

“Harvey!” Shen screamed, ripping off his coat. A sixth and seventh shot rang out, the body twitching with the impact. Behind the warehouses, the sound of an engine starting.

“Shen, snipers!” Olivia felt the sickly bright feeling of her obfuscation breaking.   Shen roared and leapt towards the nearest building, bony spurs extending from his hands as he grabbed for the eaves of the warehouse and pulled himself up. The first sniper barely had time to scream before Shen grabbed him. He tried to bite down on something, but Shen seized his jaw. “Who sent you?” Shen roared.

His question was answered with the sharp retort of a rifle from another rooftop, and the sniper died in his arms. Shen dropped the body, turning on his heel and running across the roof, launching himself onto the second sniper’s building. The man had already dropped his rifle and tried to run, when Shen crashed onto the roof, but Shen caught him by the arm, and, with an expression of terrible concentration, used his fleshcrafting. Trying to scream but finding he could not, the sniper crumpled bonelessly at Shen’s feet.   Behind another of the warehouses, the sound of a van moving off.

Jack crouched glumly over Harvey’s body as Olivia radioed for transport and checked for CCTV coverage. “He’s dead,” he said, looking strangely unmoved by the blood. Pepper whined, nudging his hand, and Jack scratched beneath his collar absently. “Don’t eat him, there’s a good pup.”

Olivia looked up as Shen approached, dragging the survivor behind him like a ragdoll. “Police’ll be here soon. We should go. You reckon the chantry’ll wan’t the body?”

Shen looked down at Harvey’s body and his shoulders slumped. “Yeah. Lucius will want it.” He dropped his prisoner and began to bundle Harvey’s body into his discarded coat.

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