At first I thought the pounding was an alcohol based manifestation caused by all the Talisker I’d sucked on down before I finally got to bed last night, but it turned out to be someone at the door. A very determined someone judging by the damn good thrashing that was being administered. I sighed and buried my head under the pillow burrowing down into drunken oblivion where I belonged. It was only when the shouting started, punctuated by vicious kicks to the door that I knew the chances of it being a new meter man or untrained neighbour were positively anorexic.
I uncovered my head and was rewarded by a man’s voice shouting heated but still quite inventive abuse at top volume. Beginning to warm up myself, I pulled the curtains on my four poster, leapt out of bed, managing to pull on dressing gown, blade from the dresser and my dark glasses, all before I reached the door.
Good sense and hangover reasserted themselves and so I paused palm on the painted wood and looked through the spy-hole. There were two of them: he was tall and thin, she short and plump and apparently trying to placate him, gaze darting around the stairwell nervously. The Fox twins: he Rufus her Ruby. Now this was beginning to seriously tick me off. These guys were part of the so-called psychic community within which I was persona non grata all on account of my little penchant for search and destroy missions. Most of the community was made up of losers, morons and no-talent, superstitious weirdos. Apart from these two who together formed the Fox Agency performing discreet services to the supernaturally challenged. She was an exceptionally powerful clairvoyant and he was one of the best exorcists that I’d ever had the misfortune to come across. I say misfortune because some of the demons he’d cast out had come calling for me and were only persuaded to leave after much blood and not a few body parts, thankfully none of them mine. But that was a whole other story.
“She’s obviously not in,” I heard Ruby say.
“Of course she is, it’s not like she’s got anywhere else to go. She wasn’t out on a hunt last night, so there’s no reason she can’t answer the flaming door.” her brother told her.
“Well at least that’s something,” she said looking pained, “but how do you know?”
Yes, how the hell did he know?
“Never mind that. Psychotic bitches like that don’t have friends and they don’t have anywhere to go when they’re not out making the world a worse place. Stands to reason they’ll be tucked up in their kip-”
I had heard enough and wrenched the door open.
“Well psycho-bitch is up now and you’ll both be familiar with the old saying, beware your heart’s desire? Good, because I’ve got high hopes you’re going to get it,” I said.
Two surprised faces whipped round. She was about five feet and everything about her was round and compact including her lips which were tightly compressed in a clearly heroic effort not to cry. She was wearing a duffle-coat and clutching a small back-pack for dear life. He was about six four; broad of shoulder but no real meat on him yet to pad the frame out. They didn’t really look anything alike apart from the fair hair and the same expressive hazel eyes.
“Yes?,” said Rufus staring at me, uncertainty evicting rage in the click of a door opening: “Can I help you?”