Disclaimer: Mike Mignola, Guillermo del Toro, Dark Horse Comics and probably a whole bunch of other people own the rights to Hellboy and Company, not me. Don't sue me, I have no money.
What the…? Grumbling, I grab the pillow out from under Wizard and cover my head with it.
I feel Wizard walk onto me and sit his rather considerable weight onto the small of my back. Then he starts to slowly extend his claws into me.
After throwing the pillow back onto the other side of the bed, I start groping around on the nightstand for the phone. Luckily for my hide, Wizard follows his pillow. I manage to find the phone just as it starts to ring again. I grab it and bring the handset to my head, knocking the base to the floor in the process.
"Mmph?" I'm sure on some alien world that might have actually been a 'hello.'
"Miss Cavendish? It's Dr. Manning," says the voice at the other end of the line.
"He's not here," I mumble.
I try and hang up the phone. Oh, yeah. I knocked the base to the floor. Bother. I can hear Manning talking about knowing where Abe is and something about a case to the nightstand. I pick the phone back up. I manage to crack an eye open and look at the clock.
"Dr. Manning, what could possible be so important that you needed to wake me up at two something in the morning!?" I growl.
"We have a case that requires your talents, Miss Cavendish," he answers.
"And you would know this because…?" I snarl.
"Mr. Chavez has suggested that you be brought in on this case," he replies. I'll get Uncle for this. "We will be arriving for you in about half an hour. Please be packed and ready to go."
"What breath taking location are we going to this time?" I ask almost civilly. "So I know what to pack."
"Australia," he answers. "We'll see you shortly."
He hangs up and I drop the phone on the floor. I snuggle back into my pillow and try to get a few more minutes sleep. My eyes pop open of their own accord. Australia? Did he just say Australia!?
I all but kill myself trying to get out of bed. When I finally do get myself disentangled from the covers, I step on the dropped phone that's now making a funny beeping sound and nearly twist my ankle.
"Ow," I hiss as I quickly limp downstairs.
I head for my office and turn on the light on the desk. I stand there and blink for a minute while my pupils adjust to the light. I go over to the corner and pull up the rug. I place my hand on the safe that's built into the floor and unlock it.
I scrounge around in the papers and finally find what I'm looking for: my passport. I shut and lock the safe as I open my passport and check the expiration date. Blast. It expired over a year ago. Lovely. Now how do I explain this to Manning?
I get up and drag myself back upstairs. Turning on the overhead light, I head back toward the bed. I ignore Wizard's accusing stare as I pick the phone up and put it and its base back on the night stand.
I'm not sure if I should pack or not. Without a passport, I won't be allowed to leave the country. What the hey? Let's have an exercise in futility. I go and pack. Then I change into something other than a ratty pair of sweats and a t-shirt. By the time I'm done, I could almost pass as human. Now if I could just stop feeling like the walking dead. I even manage to email Helen about feeding Wizard while I'm gone.
As I turn off the computer, the buzzer to the gate goes off. I open the gate without bothering to ask who it is. I drag my coat on, grab my bag and then head out the door. I get to the bottom step as a black sedan pulls up. Manning steps out and I hand him my passport.
"It's expired," is all the explanation I give.
"So?" he replies. He hands back the passport without even looking at it. "You don't seriously think we have passports for those two do you?"
I stand there holding my passport in my hand and just stare at Manning. I hate it when my brain refuses to work.
"Get in," he says. "We'll have the briefing on the airplane."
I slide into the back seat as Manning holds the door open for me. I contemplate lying down and taking a nap until I realize that I'm not alone back here.
"Hi," greets John.
"Hi," I manage to respond.
"Here, I thought you could use this," he says as he hands me a large travel mug.
I check the contents. It's coffee.
"You should be knighted," I say as I take my first sip of caffeinated heaven.
"You have to be an English subject to be knighted," he chuckles.
"I don't care," I reply. "You deserve a medal or something."
"Thanks," he says smiling.
I drink my coffee in blissful silence the rest of the way to the airport. When we get there, we go through the same routine as we did the last time I went on a mission with them. This time I don't wait to see Abe and Hellboy get out of the truck. I don't think I could stand that long, so I head up the ramp and have a seat in the cargo area. I glare at the two crates marked 'Live Cargo.' I hate the thought of them being stuffed into those things again.
A short time later, Hellboy and Abe join me. Abe sits next to me and wraps his arm around me. I gladly just lean into him. I lean my head onto his respirator and listen to it oxygenate the water and then pump that water over his gills. It's very soothing to listen to, and I start to drift back to sleep.
"Wake up, love," Abe whispers. "Manning is coming."
"Let him get his own pillow," I mutter.
Abe pushes me back into an upright position as Manning walks in. As the plane starts to taxi down the runway, Manning starts the meeting.
"We have a female entity raping men in Alice Springs. Every one of the victims described an incredibly beautiful woman," Manning starts. "She kidnaps her victims, assaults them and then releases them."
"How do we know it's not just some nymphomaniac that's doing this?" ask Hellboy.
"First off, she has claw-like fingers and toes," Manning responds. "During the assault, she partially turns into an animal."
"Well, that's different," Hellboy states. "Any thoughts, Blue?"
"I'm afraid that my knowledge of Australian mythology is sketchy at best," Abe replies. "I believe that we will be meeting someone who knows the local legends when we get there."
"Ok, other than violating these men's basic human rights, what harm is she doing?" I ask.
I can't believe I just managed a coherent thought at this hour of the morning.
"It seems these men are unable to, uh, perform after they're released," Manning answers.
So much for acting smart.
"Perform?" I ask.
"They can't, um, you know, uh, do it," he replies.
I continue to stare at him blankly.
"You mean they can't have sex?" asks Hellboy.
Ok, sleep deprivation and my brain just don't mix. I should have seen that one coming a mile away.
"Yes," Manning responds.
I could swear the man was blushing. But then again, it could my poor sleep starved brain playing tricks on me.
"Dr. Manning, is this meeting over?" I inquire.
"You don't have any thoughts on what it could be?" he asks.
"Right now, I don't have any thoughts at all except when do I get to sleep?" I respond.
"Very well then," he says. "We'll continue this meeting later then."
At this point, the plane has reached cruising altitude, so I get up and head for the front of the plane and the cots that are bolted to the wall. I crawl into one and promptly fall asleep.