"Brooklyn! Let's land there!" Angela called to her friend. It was well past dark, and a sudden change in temperature had encased the city of New York in the swampiest of fogs. Attempting to patrol the city in fog so thick was an exercise in patience, and Angela's was wearing thin. She landed on a midlevel high rise and Brooklyn landed beside her.
"What's up?" he asked her.
"This fog is impossible!" she groaned. Brooklyn chuckled.
"It does make things more interesting, doesn't it?"
"How can you just tear through it that way? I can't see but five feet in front of me! Aren't you afraid we're about to have a playdate with a power line?"
"Not really," he said with a touch of bravado. He didn't mind showing off for her a bit whenever he had the chance.
"Anyway, I'm used to it. There was often thick fog in Scotland. The sea brought it in before dawn, nearly every night." He laughed, "We used to play a game where we'd try to sneak up on each other and tag one another without getting caught. The thicker the fog, the better for that game." Angela smiled. She loved hearing such stories about the clan in the old days. She hoped he'd continue, but his face had fallen, and his eyes seemed to look beyond the fog into memories only he could see.
"What else did you play?" Angela urged him, hoping he'd continue.
"Oh, just regular games all hatchlings play," he said hurriedly, "We've just about finished our patrol. We might as well head back." Angela sighed.
"If we can even find our way back to the castle in all this."
"Don't worry, Angela. We can glide above it." Gliding near street level made it near impossible to see, but above the fog, the moon was waxing almost full. Its glow, as well as the light of the handful of towers that rose above the fog, illuminated the clouds to a stunning brilliance.
"It's strange, but kind of nice up here," Brooklyn called to her and she had to agree. Most of the city had disappeared beneath them and they had a clear view for miles ahead of what seemed like an alien landscape made entirely of eerily glowing clouds. Had it not been for the strange effect of the moonlight on the fog, Angela probably never would have noticed the sudden flicker of movement from a nearby rooftop just peaking over the clouds to their right. But the bright silver glow amplified the shadow on the clouds below and she called Brooklyn's attention to it.
"What is that?" she asked pointing. Brooklyn barelly caught sight of the winged silhouette against the clouds, before it disappeared into the fog, but he was certain he knew what it was.
"It's Demona!" he snarled, "Come on!"
"Wait!" Angela called but he was already well ahead of her, diving toward where the shape had disappeared. Angela followed her friend into the thick fog and felt a moment of panic as everything disappeared again. Certain she was going to land smack into the side of a building, she was relieved when the fog became thinner as she descended. The lights of the buildings gave her some sense of orientation, even if they had a strange, murky look as if they were reflected on dirty pond water. She couldn't see Brooklyn or the shape they were following, but if it was Demona, she knew it was beyond foolish to approach her without some sort of plan. She settled on a steel beam that supported the skeleton of an enormous advertisement board on the side of a building and looked around anxiously for her friend. She wondered if she dared to call out to him if Demona was possibly within earshot. If they were to face her, she felt much more confident with the element of surprise in their favor. There was the radio though.
"Brooklyn, can you hear me?" she called over it in a hushed voice. Its electronic chirp seemed to shatter the calm of the night as it reverberated off the brick wall. There was no response.
"Brooklyn, where are you?" she tried again a moment later and this time, the response was from Goliath.
"Angela, what's going on? Are you lost?"
"No. We're just separated in the fog. He went ahead of me. We saw something suspicious…and he thought it might be Demona." Goliath's reply sounded anxious.
"Brooklyn's radio is turned off. Try to find him but do not approach her," he directed, "We are coming."
"Got it," Angela assured him and peered out into the fog.
"Brooklyn!" she called out hopefully, to no response. She saw another vantage point, revealed by a break in the fog and glided there, still hoping to catch sight of his shadow or some sign of him.
"This fog is so thick, I can't see anything," she muttered to herself, "I might as well just sit tight and wait for the others." As she waited, she noticed the sounds coming from below her. Very few cars seemed to pass by, though she noticed the loud hiss of a bus's airbrakes rising from the ground. And then, she noticed a far more peculiar sound. It was water running, or rather, gushing, like the sound of a rocky stream, but quite close. It didn't sound to her like a storm drain or a broken fire hydrant would have, coming from down on the pavement below her. She wondered what business a sound like that had on a roof top of a building in New York City and peered curiously through the whisps of fog, trying to follow the sound to its source. Her eyes fell just below her, to the rooftop of the adjacent office building, which was partly obscured by a large awning, designed to keep the sun off a large, empty patio. Tables and chairs were piled to the side, turned over and stacked away from whatever purpose they were meant to serve and the only other feature in the space was a large fountain that sent water gushing down a manufactured rocky brook into a large basin at the bottom. And there, at the edge of that basin, was Demona.
Angela gasped at the realization of how close she was, how close she had been all that time without noticing her. Had she called out for Brooklyn from this vantage point, Demona might have attacked her before she could have even shouted for help. Angela hoped that Demona hadn't see her through the fog and it appeared that was the case. Demona sat at the edge of the fountain with her back to her, but Angela knew her by the shape of her wings and the flash of red hair that tumbled down her back. She was silent and still as she seemed to watch the progression of the fog.
Angela's heart ached at the through of Demona attacking her, but she now knew that it was not only a possibility, but a probability. Demona was her mother and Angela truly believed that at whatever instinctual level Demona was capable of, she still loved her. But Angela also realized that Demona had long ago chosen to live for what she hated, rather than what she loved, and she would never be safe in her company. As much as Angela longed to know her as she once was, Demona could only hurt her now, and could even kill her if Angela vexed her enough. And vex her she would, once the rest of the clan arrived.
"I thought you were behind me!" Brooklyn's voice startled her, and she whirled around to hush him. She gestured toward Demona and Brooklyn's eyes flared at the sight of her.
"Come on! Let's take her down now before she knows we're here!"
"No!" Angela whispered hastily, "I radioed Goliath. He said not to approach her and to wait for the others."
"Wait? So she can just escape?" he growled incredulously.
"No. Wait so she doesn't kill us both!" she reminded him, "We have no idea what she's even up to. If she's armed-"
"What does it matter if-"
"Shhh!" Angela interrupted him as Demona had risen and turned toward them. The dim, downward-turned lights of the patio were just enough to illuminate the large, menacing steel shape at her hip and though the shadows obscured her face, there could be no doubt that she was looking straight at the spot they were hiding.
"Fantastic, now she's seen us," Angela groaned.
"And now we have no choice but to face her or she'll get away again!"
"Angela?" they heard Demona call, "Is that you?"
"Maybe she hasn't seen you, Brooklyn," Angela whispered hopefully, "I'll go down and keep her busy, until the others arrive. You cover me. But keep hidden unless I need help."
"We can just as easily take her down between the two of us!" he insisted.
"And get blown to Swiss cheese in the process?"
"If you're so afraid of her, then why would you go down alone?" he demanded, "Tell me you don't still think…"
"I think she's clearly armed," Angela interrupted, not liking at all where the conversation was going, "And she already knows we're here. All the righteous rage and bravado in the world isn't going to make us bullet-proof. We're going to have to be smart about this and I think I can stall her until the others arrive." Brooklyn seemed to consider her points.
"Brooklyn, I promise," she pleaded, "I've learned my lesson. I'm not completely incompetent, you know." Brooklyn scoffed at the unfair way she put words in his mouth, but he reluctantly replied,
"Go. I've got you covered."
Angela crept down the steel frame of the sign they were hidden behind and jumped the last few feet to the paving stones below. She raised her claws to show they were empty and was relieved that Demona's posture remained passive and whatever weapon she was carrying remained at her side.
"So, it is you," Demona said, "I heard your voice."
"I was calling my friends on the radio," she replied quickly, not wanting to betray Brooklyn's position.
"Then you're alone?" she asked.
"No. They're a moment away."
"A moment away…but not quite here. Come closer to me. I won't hurt you."
"No, you won't," Angela replied bitterly, "I won't let you hurt me this time. Or ever again."
"I'm sorry," she said plainly. It was an apology that bore no emotion.
"I don't think I can believe that," Angela replied.
Demona did not respond. The wind had picked up and begun moving the fog away. At last, Angela could see bits of the sky, and the moon itself peeking through. It gave her hope that Goliath might arrive quickly and find them before a battle became necessary.
"What are you doing here?" Angela asked suddenly. She hardly expected that Demona would give her an honest rundown of whatever evil plan she was working on, but she had to keep her talking about something.
"I wasn't doing anything in particular," she responded in a guarded tone.
"Doesn't seem likely. You're always up to some unspeakably horrible plot."
"Not always. Suppose I told you that I was merely waiting."
"Waiting for what?"
"I don't know," she confessed in a tone that betrayed her frustration, "For something to happen? For anything to change? For a sign? For a reason to-" She paused and in the moonlight, Angela watched as her frustration seemed to melt into something more tired, like despair.
"For someone to come."
"Who do you expect to come find you here?" Angela asked her. Demona shook her head.
"Maybe Goliath? Or maybe Macbeth. The Weird Sisters. The Hunter...or even you."
"I'm not going to be your savior, Demona," Angela replied coldly, "That bridge is burned." Demona nodded.
"You don't owe me anything, child. And I've no right to ask it of you. I'll take my waiting elsewhere." She turned to take to the wind and Angela shouted, "No!" Demona turned in surprise and she whipped around to face her so suddenly that Angela posed to defend herself.
"What's that now?" Demona asked in a voice that was nearly a laugh.
"I'm not going to let you leave."
She laughed openly now and replied, "You're getting a bit insolent, my dear. Surely you don't intend to fight me alone."
"I don't want to," Angela said, all the while, moving to block her from the open end of the roof.
"No. You most certainly do not," Demona warned, her voice growing colder.
"But I most certainly will, if that's the way you want it," They were an easy arm's length away from one another, one poised to flee and the other poised to pounce. Demona swept away first and Angela tackled her.
"You're an arrogant little thing, aren't you?" Demona noted as she pulled away, blocking Angela from striking her.
"Some might say that I come by it honestly," she retorted as she grabbed for her again, "I'm not trying to hurt you now. But I'd bet I'm a match for you in strength."
"You are quite strong," Demona replied with a calmness that Angela found almost as patronizing as the way she effortlessly dodged her attacks and refused to counter.
"My form is improving as well," Angela insisted as she caught her footing and lunged again.
"Indeed, it is. Every time I see you. Your training shows." Angela glowered at the praise. There was a warmth in Demona's voice and a hint of pride in her expression that Angela didn't feel she was at all entitled to. Angela lunged at her again, finally managing to take her to the ground. With renewed confidence, she declared, "Don't underestimate me, just because you've made a fool of me before. I'm as formidable a warrior as the rest of the clan. I might just surprise you."
"I've no doubt," she replied through clenched teeth as she struggled to thwart Angela's grip on her, "Your father and I grew up together, training alongside one another. I know him. I know what he can and would do to me in battle. Your brothers, I taught and trained them myself. I played this same game with each of them, many a time. I know them as well. But you, my dear, have the element of mystery about you. I don't know you, or who you will become. I can only guess that your strength and skill in combat will equal, if not surpass my own very soon, as you seem to have the talent and will. Likewise, I am fairly certain that your gifts of intellect and passionate spirit will only grow, as your father and I shared those as well. So, I think perhaps you are right. You may yet take me by surprise me some night." Despite her suspicion that Demona's words were less-than-genuine flattery, Angela was felt moved by them and her grip loosened slightly.
"But tonight isn't that night," Demona said suddenly and before Angela could react, she found herself sailing backward into the fountain. Demona gave an amused chuckle.
"Good night, Young One. Be well." Then she spread her wings and whipped around, only to come face to face with Brooklyn, who knocked her to the ground with a sound blow to the head.