I had a younger brother.
Not many people knew that.
My brother was a wizard.
A lot more people knew that.
I was a monster, born to a family of monsters. Having a normal life was not something that was ever seriously considered. When I'd found out my mother had had a child with another man, the possibility of a normal familial relationship became a reachable idea. We'd found each other once I'd grown up into a beautiful adult-monster. He had been denied family in his past, and was eager to try with me. I'd had a younger brother.
My brother was dead.
Be it by curse, disease, or genetics - he'd been killed by an outsider that consumed his body and turned him into a monster. Being a member of a secret organization that specialized at eliminating outsiders, I knew first hand they didn't leave much of their host un-mutilated. Being a monster, I had first hand experience in loosing parts of myself to my curse. But my monster was but a speck of dust, compared to the larger and more terrifying creatures that existed behind the outer gates. Beasts whose very memory distorted the world, and whose existence bled it like a gutted lamb. They were the monsters that monsters feared.
I'm sure one of my comrades in arms had scraped the world of my brother's father, somehow the offspring had survived. I didn't dare lay the blame, because it was my brother - my burden now.
The creature wore his body and used his memories - perhaps it always had. I shook that thought from my mind. I couldn't handle the implications of that train of thought. Because if that were true -
I had more important matters to worry about. I'd had a moment of weakness more than once. I'd had him alone at home, and I couldn't stand to do the deed. That probably would have been the easiest. The whole mess could have ended there. Instead I'd faltered in my duties.
He'd been taken hostage by Mariam Young, a member of a small but widespread syndicate, and attempted to be sold. I had researched all the guests to our private party, and figured any of the buyers would eventually kill their purchase one way or the other. Again, I could not complete my duty because of the repulsive thought of getting my hands dirty in my brother's blood.
I couldn't afford to be weak anymore. Lives - the world possibly - depended on protecting the populace from creatures from the outside.
What would Harry have done?
I needed to get in contact with him. Get him alone. I wanted him to go peacefully if possible. If some small remnant of Harry still existed, I knew he'd want me to end the monster. But I also didn't want to feel any more pain than he needed to.
I called Karrin Murphy, and told her to meet up at a local coffee shop. If anyone knew where the body snatcher was, it would be her.
I parked my car and proceeded to the entrance. I settled down with my mocha, Murphy already there, slouching loosely in her chair.
I gave her a dashing smile. One that normally brought all the girls to the yard. I proceeded to speak, "Lara told me you found him! is he alright--"
She cut me off, angrily, "Thomas drop the bullshit this instant. Give me some credit. I see through criminal's lies every day. It is my job."
Fuck. I usually didn't have this problem with humans. "Murphy, I don't know what you're talking about."
"Really?" She glared daggers at me. "Cus, I'm pretty sure you do. You told me you couldn't find him - that you did everything to find your brother -and couldn't." She waved her hand in the air for emphasis. "And then I have to learn - from Chicago's infamous crime lord, Harry's location."
"Have you considered," I grumbled, not bothering to get rid of the rage in my voice, "The fact that this infamous crime lord might be the one who took Harry in the first place?"
"Stop," she hissed. "Just stop." She ran a hand through her blond hair, anger still evident on her face. "He also happened to mention that you were one of the buyers at this secret get-together."
"Murphy, seriously, this guy is playing you. Classic asshole behavior."
"Why would he lie?" growled Murphy under her breath. "What benefit does that provide? What gain? Because I can't see any Thomas." She leaned in closer. "You know what I think? - I think you're trying to kill your brother. I think you're scared of what he'll become, and instead of trying to deal with the problem, you're just going to kill it." She leaned back in her chair. "You know I really thought you were a better man. But to kill your own flesh and blood out of fear and misplaced duty, that's-" her face crinkled up, "Cowardly."
I didn't let my anger show. I played off her accusations with a gentle smile and took her hand in mine. If she was going to be difficult, I'd have to deal with her like any other doe. "Karrin, you know me. You know -"
The patch of skin I'd been running my finger over shocked me. It shocked me fast and hard. I pulled my hand back quickly in reaction.
Her gaze narrowed. "You just tried to feed on me. I thought you might." She stood up out of her seat. "Good day Mr. Raith. If I see you again, it will be too soon." She turned to leave, but looked back. "Also, I got a P90 that is looking for use."
"Murphy," I called, "You don't understand what you're doing! It isn't Harry anymore."
She paused, and gazed back at me. "You weren't there," she whispered. "You didn't see him when we entered that dismal place."
"He was playing you Murphy. It is what monsters do best! You don't understand, " I yelled in frustration. I didn't give a shit about the other customers. I needed her to tell me where Harry - the thing that looked like Harry- was.
"No, I don't think you understand. He was holding my hand for hours - so tightly I thought I would loose blood flow. He was shaking and scared once we pulled him out of there. That doesn't sound like a monster to me."
"It sounds like deception Murphy."
"And you sound like bullshit. Good day Mr. Raith."
"Murphy, what if I'm right. Consider it. He could hurt people. People you're sworn to protect."
She didn't bother turning around. But her body seemed to deflate and lax-en a little. "If that is the case. You better be damn sure." She whispered, "Because once the mistake is made, and a bullet is fired, you can't go back. Ever."
Karrin Murphy, my best lead, was not cooperating. I could have had her followed. It would have been a bit of a challenge, but nothing I couldn't handle. But she'd given me more information than shed' intended. It appeared Gentleman Johnny Marcone decided to tell her the location. It was unexpected to say the least, but it provided a starting point. Another lead.
I called Lara to see if she could find him. I'm sure, with her resources, she already had.
There was business to be done.