A/N: A humorous take on the beginning adventures of The Five. How hard can it be to capture an Abnormal? ;D Thanks for reading and tell me whatcha think!
Disclaimer: Don't own and never will. 'sobs'
An Intrepid Tale
The rain thrashed hard against the ground, splashing against the moss-covered gravestone markers. Her heavy skirts brushed past Celtic crosses crookedly slanting in the wet ground, and ominous stone statues loomed over her, lichen distorting their blank faces.
Her lamp had burned out quite suddenly minutes ago. The rain doing quick work in dousing the waxy wick, plunging her into the near darkness of the night. Sheets of rain obscured sight and sound; the heavy drops pelting her thin coat like constant tiny pebbles hurled by a phantom school bully.
One hand clutched the useless lamp while the other swung a loaded gun to and fro, tense and alert, searching out the reason she had come to this cemetery in the dead of the night in a torrential downpour. Her finger rested lightly on the trigger.
A gasp escaped her as her skirts caught on clinging vines and fallen branches on the ground, nearly tripping her. They clutched at her and in the shadowed night, her mind conjured up imaginary ghostly hands of the dead surrounding her, seeking to make her a permanent fixture to their over-grown resting place. She tugged fiercely at her skirts, uncaring of a rip or two.
Soaked blonde ringlets swung when her head suddenly snapped to in front of her. The rain was loud in her ears, but that sound, the sound of scraping against stone, that sound...was quite close.
Her eyes darted around, halted frozen in her spot; her breaths, shallow.
There! The sound repeated itself. Closer. She swallowed and tightened her grip on the weapon in her hand. It was closer this time. Was it what she sought?
Straining her ears, struggling to hear over the never-ending rain, she waited for it to come again. Is it you? She silently asked. Where are you?
To her left, yes, there, by the large stone coffin. She'd heard it again. A tiny scrape against the stone over the rain. Giving her skirts one last fierce tug, she moved toward the coffin. It was darker here, the shade of a large, old tree threatened her eyesight into uselessness. Is it you I hear?
A flash out of the corner of her eye had her wildly spinning to her right and biting back a scream. The face of what was once a beautifully-carved stone angel twisted into a grotesque and frightening visage by weather, by time. The nose had been smashed off, dark lichen grew in warped patterns on the eyes, its mouth open to sing a hymn? To scream a warning? To giggle madly? Hands extended outwards greeting her to the cemetery and she shuddered away from it.
Heart coming down from a near fright, she mentally chastised herself.
A large, dark shape popped out directly in front of her from behind the grotesque angel.
Stifling another scream, Helen stumbled backwards, falling unceremoniously, feet up in the air onto the wet grass and dirt as the dark shape loomed closer and she brought her gun up defensively.
Nikola's laughing face peered back at her. "Boo," he repeated, grinning like a mischievous boy. "Nice knickers, Helen." He reached out to help her up.
Helen's eyes flashed and her finger squeezed the trigger.
Impishness morphed into surprise as the bullet barely grazed Nikola's shoulder. "What was that for?"
"I need a reason?" She slapped his hand away and glared at him.
"It's not as if I really saw your knickers, Helen!"
"Helen?" The stately figure of James Watson rushed out of the pounding rain and darkness of night. A swinging lamp gripped in one hand bobbled back and forth. "Are you alright? I heard a shot. What happened?"
"She nearly shot me!" Nikola exclaimed incredulously. He scowled, inspecting the shoulder of his coat.
Helen huffed, grasping James' extended hand and gingerly stood. "You frightened me badly, Nikola and in bad taste." She vainly tried to brush the mud from her soaked dress.
"You nearly shot me," Nikola repeated as if him scaring her certainly did not warrant a bullet in him at close range. He looked at James, seeking commiseration.
James looked blankly back at him. Nikola's disagreeable personality had them all wanting to shoot him at one point or another. James turned back to Helen, extending a arm. "Why don't we head back to the traps?"
"Those things will never work. And I'm not even talking about their poor construction." Nikola continued derisively pointing out flaws as the three picked their way through the cemetery in the rain. He shot the two looks behind their backs as soon as he realized they weren't listening. Nikola tugged his coat collar closer; his eyes lingered on Helen's wet blonde curls.
This was ludicrous. If he didn't love Helen so much...
The fact that the rest of the Five were miserably out here spoke highly of Helen's persuasive skills.
Picking their way back to the entrance of Holywell Cemetery where James had set up three large metal boxes with triggering mechanisms and a wire mesh cover, Nikola leaned against a large grave marker. "Where did you get the cheap material from?"
"Nikola, you're standing on someone's burial plot."
He turned. "It's not as if," he read the etched name, "Norris Ackerley is going to know. The man is probably nothing but bones, aren't you?" Nikola stamped the wet grass beneath him as if really talking to Norris Ackerley.
James and Helen shot him twin looks of exasperation before James exclaimed, "Oh blast! They've started collecting water in them."
"Congratulations, Watson. You have created a worthless trap, but an excellent water bucket." Nikola mockingly clapped.
A panting John Druitt suddenly materialized in front of the trio, immediately falling to the ground ungracefully. The bottom half of his coat was on fire, which he frantically struggled to put out.
"John!" Helen exclaimed over the pelting rain and she and James hurried to help him.
"Fire!" John's blue eyes were wide and accusing. "You didn't tell us it breathes fire!"
Helen paused in her assistance, looking utterly fascinated. "It does? Really?" She straightened, oblivious to John's disbelieving look and drifting off into her own little world.
Nikola looked tickled at John's put-out look. James petulantly scrutinized his traps.
His traps wouldn't stand against a fire-breathing abnormal. That was three hours wasted. Really.
Gazing at his destroyed and burnt coat, smoking faintly amidst the rain, John sighed loudly.
Catching his sigh through her distraction, Helen wrung her hands apologetically. "I'm sorry, John. Father only had hear-say to go off of when it came to this particular abnormal. You're not hurt, are you?"
"Just my coat." Half of it was gone.
"Pity." Nikola's smirk flashed in the night when the three glanced at him. His eyes dared John – the other volatile member of their little group.
James was still lamenting over his ineffective (useless) traps while Helen stepped between the two men. "John, which way did you come from? The abnormal might still be there."
"Helen, it's too dangerous. That abnormal breathes fire."
"Helen's mental faculties work perfectly and are definitely sharper than yours, Johnny. She heard you the first time. I suspect Helen here just doesn't care."
"This is a rather special abnormal," Helen insisted. "It can heal from any wound it receives! And...also, apparently, breathes fire." She looked befuddled. "Which is really rather odd."
"How did your father find out about this abnormal? My traps, Helen," James protested as she dragged him away.
"Nikola already said they weren't going to work." The man in question gave a smug, evil smile when James glared at him.
"Over this way." John led the way. "Nigel was skulking around somewhere nearby."
"A friend, one of his contacts, was bringing it to him when it escaped. I don't understand why we didn't find out about the fire-breathing earlier." She pulled her hat down to avoid the worst of the rain.
"Perhaps he wanted it to kill your father, kill you, and burn down your house," Nikola proposed. "In which case, he really isn't your father's friend."
The worst part of that, was that Nikola was utterly serious.
"Nigel! Where are you?" James belted out over the rain.
Helen wished that the weather had been more co-operative, but they simply could not wait another night. This abnormal was too valuable and now too dangerous to be left roaming. John lent her his arm as she slipped on the wet grass for the second time. Her lamp wobbled.
Nikola nimbly picked his way through while James strode down the muddy pathway, swinging his lamp to and fro, searching for their missing friend.
He really couldn't be blamed for what happened next. The moonlight was weak, the rain heavy and obscuring; James didn't really see the slick mud until it was too late.
It was a spectacular fall. Helen's mouth formed an 'o' as James' legs practically flew up into the air before wincing in sympathy as he fell with a splat and a thud on his backside.
It took a matter of seconds, but for the three watching, the comical slip and fall replayed itself in hilariously slow motion.
"James," Helen hesitated touching James, covered in mud as he was, "are you all right?"
"I'm fine." James cleared his throat, trying to regain his dignity. That was fairly impossible with a spot of mud clinging to his cheek. "Bit slippery there. Oh, shut up!" he snapped at a laughing Nikola.
John, at least, the decency to avert his face so James wouldn't see him laughing.
Brushing off the worst that he could see, James straightened his shoulders and cleared his throat again. "Nigel!" He accepted his lamp, lit once more, from Helen and was sorely tempted to swing it at Nikola. Vampires weren't impervious to fire.
Helen surreptitiously plucked a wet piece of grass sticking out of James' hair and shushed Nikola. "Nigel, where are you?"
"Here! Help me!"
The four, armed with newly-lit lamps, stumbled to a halt when they found the missing member of their group. John smothered another laugh.
Nigel Griffin was trapped. A network of tough vines and wood brambles from the monstrosity of a weeping tree entangled the poor man. His arms crossed against his chest and wrapped tightly with thin, whip-like branches. There was even a small wood vine wrapped around his neck.
Immobilized in a web, he looked like a virgin sacrifice.
"Good heavens, Nigel!"
"How did you get tangled up in there, Griffin?"
Nigel shifted slightly. "Well, it was rather easy, my scorning friend. With one foot in front of the other, combined with the disorienting rain and near darkness of the night, my poor vision, and well, there you go. Now if you would all please stop gawking at me and actually help, that would be greatly appreciated."
"Confess...when you saw that abnormal breathe fire, you were too busy running away in fright to see where you were going. Admit it." James, it seemed, was not above teasing his friends. He did not bother to suppress the amused smile upon his lips.
Nigel's eyes narrowed. "You have grass in your hair," he retorted flatly. Bastard.
"So long as you're all right, Nigel," Helen said, moving in to help untangle her friend from his plight. John stopped her, recognizing it was easier for him in pants than Helen's voluminous dress to move. He ripped away the branches and vines.
"So where is it?" Nikola crossed his arms over his chest.
"Right there!" Nigel, still slightly trapped, suddenly gestured wildly. "Watch out, you bloke!" He yanked his arm free.
Helen spun around, thinking it was behind them and saw nothing. She scowled at Nikola as he smirked beside her.
James scoffed. "Oh come now, I'm not going to fall for such a juvenile trick." Helen transferred her scowl to him and Nikola's smirk widened. James sighed and casually looked to his left, right into the eyes of the dog-like abnormal perched on a small stone slab.
Letting out a startled shout, James tripped over a grave marker, and with flailing arms, fell over it, onto his backside with a heavy thud. He groaned.
"I told you it was right there, James," Nigel snapped.
Nikola leaned toward James and said in a loud whisper, "That was certainly graceful, Watson. It's a good thing you're semi-intelligent."
James' hand twitched for Helen's gun.
The abnormal growled, feet spread apart.
The four left standing moved slowly away and apart, eying the abnormal as it eyed them back.
Appearing to settle on a target, the abnormal moved after Helen. "Why me?" she muttered indignantly. "Because I'm a woman?" Oh, the injustice of her fair gender!
"You are the least threatening out of all of us," John replied, taking careful steps toward her.
Nikola piped up nonchalantly, "It may think that, with all of your skirts, you have the greatest body mass, which makes you the juiciest meal." He smirked and wiggled his eyebrows at her. "Although, I'm willing to bet you would taste delicious."
Helen's eyes turned deadly.
"Helen, move slowly toward me," John murmured quietly.
Nikola rolled his eyes. "How chivalrous." James too, rolled his eyes – at Nikola's obvious jealousy.
Picking up a large stone, John managed to maneuver himself a foot away from Helen. Hefting the sizable rock, John threw it and then flashed out of sight as the abnormal jerked away. He materialized behind it and dove to catch its hind legs. "I have you now," John gritted out victoriously. He sailed through the rain, through the air in a dive.
He never saw the small stone slab until too late.
The abnormal saw him coming, saw the tell-tale red flash, and dodged nimbly, running off into the rain.
"Oh, we must not let it get away," Helen cried and gave chase, oblivious to John's unmoving form on the ground.
Nigel picked his way over to his friend lying on the ground and guffawed, crouched over John's prone body. "Blimey, John's gone and knocked himself out!"
Nikola bent over laughing. What a night this was turning out to be!
Helen scowled to herself as she tried to herd the abnormal...somewhere. With her heavy, dragging skirts and unsuitable shoes, she tripped and stumbled through the cemetery chasing after the dog-like abnormal. There was no evidence of grace and poise. "Oh, come back. Stop running," she huffed. Helen followed the abnormal, slipping repeatedly and rounding trees and winding through branches.
"Oh!" Helen jerked back comically as her hair caught on a branch. "Ouch." She tugged at it. Really now, whether it was her skirts or her hair, everything was getting caught. A growl caused her to turn her head. "Oh dear." The abnormal had noticed her plight. "Help?" she called in a tiny voice.
Help did arrive, speedily, but not without suffering through a mischievously admiring look at her predicament. "Focus, Nikola. The abnormal."
Nikola stepped into the abnormal's view, adopting a cautious step. "Easy. Easy, now. Just calm down; we're not going to hurt you," he said in a low, reassuringly tone. "Helen, don't move. It's all right, everything is fine. We're not going to hurt you." Nikola used his affinity with animals, crouching down into a non-threatening position and holding his hands out. "Easy. Easy."
Helen watched on, surreptitiously pulling her caught hair out from the sharp branches.
Wincing at his sore backside, James delicately righted himself on the ground. He felt the back of his head for any lumps and looked around for his hat; the rain was forcing him to blink rapidly.
A jerking motion to his right had him shouting indignantly, "Hey! That's my hat!"
The large squirrel chattered at him, clamped its teeth back on the rim of his hat, and disappeared behind a gravestone, dragging his hat with it. "Bloody animal..." Oh, it wouldn't do for their school-mates to see them now. The best and the brightest minds looking ragged and his hat had just been stolen by a squirrel.
Scrambling his way over to Nigel and John, James lightly slapped John's face, trying to rouse him. "John...John, wake up."
Groaning, John blinked his eyes open dazedly. His face was covered in dirt from his spectacular dive at the ground. With James' help, he gingerly sat up and disgustingly spat out some mud. "Are you all right there, John?"
John blinked again, hard, and was tempted to shake his head to clear it. Through his blurry, dirt-filled vision, he saw Helen and Nikola facing off against the abnormal in close range.
"Helen." John groggily got to his feet, shaking off James' hand and and staggered toward Helen. He shook his head this time, trying to clear the fuzzy stars dancing around his head and only succeeded in making the throbbing pain in his head worse. I'll save you, Helen, John thought. Narrowing his eyes and raising his arms intimidatingly, John ran toward the abnormal, yelling, "Ahhhh!"
Startled, James and Nigel exchanged 'what the bloody hell is John doing' looks.
The abnormal jerked at the big, black figure screaming at it through the rainy darkness and jumped back, growling. The connection Nikola formed with it broken.
"I had everything under control, you freakish giant," Nikola hissed. "Why are you always throwing yourself at things? The abnormal, the dirty ground, Helen?"
John looked challenging at him. Well, as challenging as one could with a blackened face of dirt. "Would you like to settle something that's been on your chest, old boy?" He spat out more mud, much to Nikola's disgusted recoil.
"I am neither old nor your boy."
In the midst of their argument, the abnormal turned its attention back to Helen and she stepped cautiously back.
"Easy. Easy now," Helen soothed, mimicking Nikola's words. She hoped that his uncanny ability worked for her too. "I don't want to hurt you. I just...want to capture you and study you, which, by no means involves any dissecting of any sort, by the way. It's rather remarkable, really, that you can breathe fire, and my father would like to study you as well," she babbled.
By its low growl and steady advance, it was evidently clear Nikola's ability to soothe animals did, in fact, not work for her.
Helen, to her immense shame, let out a rather feminine squeal as the abnormal opened its mouth and a jet of flame shot out at her. It caught the ends of her soggy dress and she stumbled back.
"Helen!" Nikola valiantly, heroically stepped in between her and the abnormal. His arms spread wide as if believing doing so would actually warn the creature off.
John's head continued spinning.
Nigel took the coward's way out and chucked a large rock at the abnormal's head and then ducked out of sight behind a chipped statue. He completely forgot about James, sitting helpless, now in the abnormal's sight. "Nigel!" James snapped, shuffling backwards behind a large gravestone. Perhaps this would appropriately work as a shield.
Silently smacking himself on the forehead, Nigel concentrated and faded out of view. Picking up another rock, he moved in a direction apart from the others and threw it, attracting the abnormal's attention. "That's it," he murmured. Nigel threw another rock. The abnormal growled menacingly and sprung forward. He smirked as the creature's head darted to and fro. Nigel thanked his invisibility. You can't see me, he taunted. Another rock was thrown in the opposite direction, but Nigel's horror, the abnormal merely growled and advanced toward him.
"Nigel?" James called out hesitatingly from behind his gravestone/shield. "A normal dog's sense of smell is incredibly sharper than ours; I believe this one is no different. I do not think it matters that it cannot see you; it knows you're there."
The abnormal's ears were pinned back and its long, pointed, (most likely razor-sharp, thirsting-for-blood) teeth were bared dangerously.
Nigel's mind pictured his scattered body parts, rendered and torn apart by the abnormal stalking him. Could one find body parts if they were invisible?
"Oh, bloody hell," he breathed, swallowing.
"Nigel, language," James absently admonished, flicking a speck of mud off his pants.
Meanwhile, the moment the abnormal's attention was diverted, Nikola had spun to help put out the flames licking Helen's dress hem. Efficiently, his hands worked to smother the fire; the heat hurting him less than a human. Concern shone in his eyes as he looked at Helen. "Are you alright, Helen?"
Smiling somewhat shakily, Helen said, "I'm fine. Thank you, Nikola." She suddenly slapped his arm. "Now get your hand out from underneath my skirts!"
He grinned rakishly at her. "Is that what you really want me to do?" Nikola's voice was low and husky.
In response, Helen pulled out her gun. "I can always take another shot at you. It will make me sad to have to shoot a friend, but I will do it."
Instead of being discouraged, Nikola slowly removed his hand from her many layers of petticoats with a smirk. His eyes sparkled at her in the heavy rain. "I love it when you get stern with me."
"Helen, are you alright? Do you need any help?" John, steady on his feet now, rushed to her side, crouched down and grabbed her hand.
"No, no. I'm fine. It just got the bottom of my dress. I don't need any help," she assured.
"I meant with getting rid of Nikola." John glared at the lecherous man.
Nikola quirked his lips. "Nice one, Johnny. It's just a shame you couldn't save Helen a few minutes ago, when it really counted. But you managed to knock yourself out with the thinking move of a simpleton." Nikola flashed a mock-friendly smirk and stood up, heading towards the abnormal.
"Forget the chastisement, James. How about some help? You're the genius." Nigel warily backed away, cloaked in his invisibility.
"Actually, that would be me," Nikola interposed. He steadily approached the abnormal from behind.
James shot the part-vampire a dirty look before analyzing the situation. This abnormal was proving difficult. They had to keep it from moving, and keep away from its fire-breathing jaws. The fire-breathing jaws Helen neglected to tell them about.
His poor, wasted traps.
"Think faster, James."
The abnormal's hind legs tensed, ready to pounce and James' enhanced intellect told his mouth to shout out his brilliant plan. "Run! Nigel, run!"
Nikola raised a surprised eyebrow. "He's more spry than I thought." The two watched Nigel vanishing into the darkness, to another part of the cemetery, with the abnormal snapping at his heels. "Now what?"
James got to his feet, dusting off his pants. "Now that Nigel's bought us some time - "
"Oh, is that what you call it? I thought Griffin was fleeing for his life."
" - we should come up with a plan. A co-ordinated plan, with each of us having a part," James continued, pretending not to hear Nikola.
Helen and John came up. "We need to inject this into it and simply wait for it to fall asleep. I can then take it back to my father's laboratory." She held up a thick syringe filled with a viscous liquid. "We just have to get close enough, that's all."
The four paused as they heard Nigel's faint bellowing for help.
"He really shouldn't be so loud, it is bound to attract attention," Helen fretted. "We might be mistaken for grave-robbers."
James waved her concern away. "He has to stop soon. He'll need the air to keep running."
John took the syringe from Helen and peered at it. Uncapping it, he studied the sharp needle. "Hopefully, Nigel will have tired it out some. But it is still dangerous to approach. I think I have an idea."
"You think?" Nikola mock-yawned. "I was unaware you were capable of doing so."
Ignoring him, John took a few steps away and called, "Nigel! Over here!"
"John! Grave-robbers," Helen reminded before Nikola pulled her away. The trio backed away to a safe distance to watch.
Soon enough, Nigel, panting desperately, legs pumping, dashed into sight. "H-h-elp!"
Nigel looked betrayed.
"This should work just as I pictured in my mind," John murmured positively. He flashed closer, just as the abnormal was dashing past him and with heavy concentration, eyes focused, mind clear, threw the syringe with a mighty throw, directly towards the abnormal's hind. He trusted his aim to be true.
The abnormal pelted out of view, after Nigel Griffin.
The syringe bounced once, twice on the wet ground, wrapping itself in a fallen leaf, before coming to a rest. Impotent.
John looked dismayed.
James gave him a sour, sardonic glance. "Remind me never to bet on you in a game of darts."
"Remind me to always play against you in a game of darts," Nikola said, not bothering to conceal his snickers. "Pathetic."
Helen wisely said nothing.
A moment of silence lingered while John's shame at his attempt faded.
A streak of white sped out of the darkness. "Look at the chap go," John said admiringly as they caught sight of Nigel again through the dark night. He leapt over cross grave markers and vaulted over stone coffins. The four turned to watch for a moment, making sounds of admiration.
"Those leaps are costing him speed and ground," James criticized. "He'd do better to run around them."
Helen went and picked up the syringe. "Our problem remains the same then. We need to get close enough to inject it."
"It is a vicious creature, Helen. Perhaps we are better off leaving this one alone," John proposed.
Nikola was cleaning his gloves. His supernatural vision caught sight of specks of dirt clinging to the cloth. "Yes, let us leave this one to burn down the cemetery and eventually, the rest of Oxford when it is discovered. When the church descends on the city amidst rumors of fire demons, it will be just what we need. Excellent plan."
"It cannot help it. The abnormal is reacting on instinct." Helen looked at her friends, all looking worse for wear, save Nikola. "It's frightened, that's all."
"Instinct!" James' eyes lit up. "That's it! We need to work with its instincts. It is a canine species at its most basic, so we should work with that. Frightening and threatening it won't work as we've seen what it can do." He snapped his fingers. "We need to appeal to its pack behavioral instinct. We need to make it submissive. Like with dogs, we need to establish a clear leader, a boss, an alpha. And you," James pointed to Nikola. "Are going to be the one to do it."
Silence. Then, "You're really not living up to your enhanced intellect, Watson. Are you sure that was your gift?"
James gave a frustrated breath. "With your vampiric visage, Nikola! If you approach it correctly with the right stance and your natural arrogance, the abnormal will have no choice but to perceive you as a challenge to its authority. You could force it into being passive."
"Nikola's arrogance and puffed-up superiority is stifling at times," Helen mused.
"Helen and I will try to keep its attention on you and away from us with the water from my traps; since it breathes fire, hitting it with a bucket full of water will most likely discourage it."
"So you admit your traps are buckets then?"
"Help!" Nigel's cry preceded him before his soaked figure raced around a large tree and he was immediately assaulted by thin vines and branches hanging low, leaves smacking him in the face and bringing the running man to a halt. With a few moves of frantic, fearful wrestling, Nigel had become ensnared, again.
"He is always getting trapped in stuff," James mused. "I was not jesting that first time."
"Nigel!" The abnormal's jaws were spread wide, ready to sink its teeth into Nigel's rear end.
Nikola snickered at the image, not at all fazed by the imminent danger his friend was in. "Behold, the superiority of man, in all his helpless glory, rendered to being a trapped deer."
John winked out from beside them, flashed in front of Nigel, grabbed him, and re-materialized a safe distance away. Nigel slumped against a large stone coffin, his legs heavy with weight and almost doubled over. He took in greedy gulps of air.
"Steady on, Nigel,"John soothed.
Nigel clutched at his chest, heaving. "I...I am going...to...die," he panted. With that gasping statement, he collapsed on top of the stone coffin, spread-eagled, and to all appearances, looking to accept death.
"You are merely out of shape."
"Says...the man...who never...has to walk anywhere again," Nigel snapped. "Hate..." He ran out of breath.
"John! Can you retrieve my traps at the front?"
It took less than a minute for the intrepid Five to ready themselves. Nikola faced off against the abnormal, holding it at bay.
Helen and James positioned themselves on either side, one of James' homemade water buckets (traps!) in their hands. They stood ready to discourage the abnormal should its attention be diverted from Nikola. John stood in between, ready to use his gift at the first sign of trouble, holding the syringe.
Nigel had passed out. No one thought to check on him.
Nikola preferred to coax the snarling abnormal into feeling safe, but inwardly preened at being the point-man. This was his chance to show off for Helen!
The abnormal advanced, teeth bared, eyes screaming murder. Nikola drew himself up and instantly reverted to his vampiric visage. He returned a growl.
The abnormal jerked in surprise. It gazed upon this new frightening stranger.
With his claws extended, Nikola bared his own teeth. Stepping forward, he swiped at the air to appear threatening. He took another step forward as the abnormal began to appear uncertain and backed away.
"Oh lord, this appears to be a bad presentation of a horror story," James muttered.
"Establish dominance, Nikola," Helen encouraged.
For some reason, all three men stopped and stared at her. Somehow, those words sounded...Helen blushed and ducked her head, especially at Nikola's slow, lascivious smirk.
The abnormal snapped its teeth challengingly, holding its position. Nikola responded by taking another solid step forward and displaying his wickedly sharp claws and pointed teeth. By his towering stature looming over the abnormal, Nikola definitely looked dangerous and larger to the abnormal. Most likely descended from an ancestor wolf like all wolves and dogs of the day, it possessed pack animal instincts. The hierarchal structure of alpha, beta, and omega.
The abnormal took a step back, no longer baring its teeth and merely watchful.
Nikola returned that watchful stare with one of his own. His vampiric eyes stared it down. John and James stifled snickers. Helen was awed. The abnormal finally turned its head away. Nikola Tesla – alpha to this abnormal. All hail.
John suddenly flashed in behind the abnormal in a sneak attack. With relish for the destruction of his favorite coat, he plunged the needle into the hind quarters and injected the liquid quickly before teleporting away.
The abnormal wasn't subdued right away. Instead, it growled and snapped its teeth viciously at its ring of attackers before dashing through Helen and Nikola.
Helen heaved the trap full of water at the approaching abnormal, but it darted past her too quickly. "Oh! Oh...no." Her blue eyes were wide with apology as her haphazard throw caught Nikola full-on, splashing him with cold water. Helen bit her lip and dropped the trap. "Nikola...I...I apologize greatly," she said in a very meek voice. He looked miserably drenched and unamused. A wet, drooping vampire did not a happy man make.
James took this opportunity to plaster his own wide smirk as payback for all of Nikola's smart remarks. His traps were NOT water buckets!
John laughed simply because he knew it would anger the vampire.
Nigel groaned his way back into consciousness. "My legs feel horrible," he moaned. "Whaa-" Nigel attempted to sit up and lost his slippery grip, tumbling sideways off the stone coffin and onto the ground. "Ouch." A string of curses followed. James moved to help him, tired from all the activity of the night.
Helen and John squinted through the rain, barely able to make out the abnormal. The injection began its work on the creature and it swayed unsteadily on its feet, slowing down to a drunken stumble through the cemetery stones. Until it walked head-first into a gravestone, yelped, and suddenly collapsed.
Hurrying over, John stopped Helen from picking it up and cautiously prodded it with a stick he'd found nearby. After poking it one time too many (it had, after all, been the cause of all the trouble; his coat notwithstanding), Helen slapped the offending stick away and gently picked up the abnormal. It was heavy, but not uncomfortable. She gave a triumphant smile to John.
Slowly, the Five grouped. This group of brilliant minds and ambitious geniuses.
Nigel looked exhausted and his breaths were funny. He walked on unsteady legs like a drunkard and had scratches all over his face. He scowled as James poked fun by imitating his running. An act that had James wincing at the hidden bruising all over his body from his constant falls.
Nikola looked disgusted with his drowned appearance, looking as if his mind had taken leave and he'd decided to bathe with his clothes on. By contrast, John looked as if he sorely needed a bath with his pale face covered in dirt and mud from his spectacular dive. His coat, half-gone, hung in burned tatters.
All in all, the intrepid Five were a sore sight.
Helen supposed she did not look any better in her dirty, mud-splattered dress that was singed with twigs in her hair. But she smiled radiantly at her friends, holding the sedated abnormal in her arms. Success! "That went rather well, don't you think? I mean," she rushed on in the face of their disbelieving looks. "We will have to, of course, refine our technique, but..." Helen sighed, slumping her shoulders and giving into the inevitable. "None of you want to do this again, do you?"
The four male members, in rare agreement, gave a resounding, "No."
The sopping wet vampire turned and trudged out of Holywell Cemetery, mentally steeling himself on his skills of refusal when it came to Helen's blue eyes. He was not-so-quickly followed by the bruised analytical intellect who had one steady arm around an exhausted invisible man with leaden legs. They merely wanted to go home and not be required to move for the next ten days or so.
Bringing up the rear, the near-immortal woman cradled an abnormal in her arms, escorted out by the man who could teleport anywhere, wearing half a coat.
Their intrepid adventures were done for the night.
"Why didn't you just shoot it?" Gregory questioned a scant hour later, taking the abnormal and staring at his dirty, disheveled daughter.
She looked scandalized. "I didn't want to hurt it, father."
His lips quirked. "In this particular case, Helen, you couldn't have. This abnormal heals from any wound it receives. You could have nicked it somewhere harmless, injected it, and brought it back here. It would have taken less than ten minutes."
Helen opened her mouth to refute that, but a soft, almost dumbfounded, "oh" came out instead. Her cheeks warmed under the grime.
Gregory patted her cheek fondly. "You're new at this, sweetheart. You'll get better, trust me." He studied the equally dirty abnormal. "My contact dropped by again. He told me about some rumors near the waterfront about a 'sea monster' swimming around."
"A sea monster?" Helen's blue eyes were alight with curiosity. "In the river? It is bound to be seen by hundreds of people. We should rescue it!" Helen picked up her soggy skirts. "I'll get everyone together!" She turned to hurry out the door.
Gregory called her back. "Perhaps you should change and take a warm bath, sweetheart. It may be harder for you to still get sick, but not impossible. The sighting can wait." He smiled amused, as Helen dashed up the stairs.
Changing and giving one last disgusted look at her dress, Helen excitedly planned. A sea monster! James, of course, would come up with a plan to lure it into shallow waters, and Nikola could use his formidable strength to help tie it up. Nigel and John would be in charge of placing it into containment...
Oh, and her part? Convincing her intrepid friends that they simply had to help capture this new abnormal in the first place.