A/N: I do not own Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) or any of the elements related to TMNT in any way, shape, or form. Only Diana Charday, her father, and Derek Collins belong to me.
Derek Collins clenched his jaw in barely suppressed anger as he surveyed the teenager before him. He wanted nothing more than to take his nine-iron and beat her head until her skull caved in, but the police officers surrounding her were too great a threat. The little brat had absolutely refused to cooperate, something that shocked him. What teenage girl wouldn't want the satisfaction of co-owning a mall, for God's freaking sake? All he wanted was the deed to the land, and she'd be able to afterward brag to her little friends about how she could get all the shoes she wanted for free.
But she'd refused to sign and hand it over, absolutely confounding Derek. It just didn't make sense.
But the longer he stared at her, the more he began to realize. A necklace strung with turquoise beads around her neck; the tasseled deerskin jacket; the eagle feather earring…Even if she was only half Navajo, Niyol Charday had been damned smart enough to breed Native American pride in his daughter.
So he tried another approach.
"Really now," he said in his oily smooth voice, "Be reasonable, Miss Charday. If you were to co-sign…I mean, think of the possibilities! You'll not only become rich, but soon we could be business partners. All I need is for you to sign the contract, and hand over the deed to the land."
Venom laced the girl's words as her glare bored into his eyes. "People still live on the res, Mr. Collins. I hand over the deed to you, and lots of families aren't going to have anywhere to live or go."
"That shan't be a problem!" he replied, having prepared for this after being stunned with it by her father. "I already own an apartment complex in Oklahoma. I'll have them give your people temporary lodgings until we can have a permanent settlement built for them. Things will all work out in the end, Miss Charday, if you just trust me and work with me. Would that be so bad?"
She continued to glare at him, then said very casually, "Kind of funny, isn't it? I never would have expected someone who threw such a huge sob story at Dad's funeral to recover so quickly."
Anger seeped into his words, and he dropped the smile. "In this day and age, you've got to move on with life, kid. The working world doesn't stop just because one guy died."
"Gee," she said innocently, "For a business shark, I'd have thought you'd respected my dad's wishes about leaving us and the res alone, even after he died. Guess that doesn't apply to the daughter, huh?"
His hands curled into fists as he crushed the contract, fighting the desire to beat the girl senseless. "You're making a mistake." he growled.
"Alright, Mr. Collins, that's quite enough!" one of the cops said in a would be casual voice, though Derek noticed her hand moving toward her taser as she stepped between he and the teenager. "Diana's had a rough past couple of days, losing a family member and all, and she doesn't need this sort of harassment."
"You need to refrain from further contact with Miss Charday, or we will have to arrest you." another officer growled, making him flinch back. The little bitch had told them about him hounding her! Forcing his expression to remain as neutral as possible, Derek Collins brushed down the front of his attire and looked instead at the officer.
"Very well," he said in frayed tones, "You've made your point clear." And he turned to leave, storming out the door of the lodge house in a huff, making his way back to his limousine. As he wrenched open the door, much to the dismay of the hired help, he turned back to look over his shoulder. Diana was standing in the doorway, arms crossed as she glared at him.
"You know what they say about those who only anticipate a frontal assault." He called to her sweetly. In response, Diana's glare deepened to a hateful scowl, and she put a middle finger up at him. Snarling in annoyance, Collins stepped into the limo and slammed the door shut, already planning his retaliation. Her father hadn't slowed him down, and neither would she. He would have the deed to the reservation, one way or another!
"Is there anything I could do for you, sir?" his manservant asked nervously as they were driven along.
"Do you know many men willing to dress for camouflage purposes and work a stake-out?" he asked without hesitation. "Charday is bound to slip up sooner or later, just like her father did…"
Two nights had passed since the visit from Derek Collins, but Diana was feeling no less nervous about it. The police had escorted her home from school each day, but they couldn't stay overnight, and some deeper gut instinct told her that if Collins was crazy enough to try anything—which he is, she told herself—he'd do it at night.
Most kids would have started closing the blinds on the windows, but she knew better. She kept at least one window on each level and side of the house open, so she could walk around and look for any possible attack that might be launched. Her uncles had always called her paranoid, but Diana felt confident it would help keep her alive. Certainly her father would have approved.
It was during one of these moments, thinking about her dad while she was checking the windows, that she noticed something. There, just there out of sight, hidden in the woods in the distance, something shifted in the trees. Something too large to be a bird or a squirrel.
Looked like Collins was up to something after all.
"You're not getting that deed, jerkface." She muttered under her breath vehemently. Her mind was already reeling, trying to think of different ways she could try to keep it from him, hold off until she was eighteen, but none of them seemed plausible. And with the way her imagination went, most of those seemed to result in her morbid death and the destruction of the res.
Angry, she stomped into the kitchen, trying to find something to eat despite her lack of appetite, when the thought occurred to her.
Dad had a sister living in NYC, Diana's Aunt Sephra. Aunt Sephra would take care of her! And surely New York, New York was far enough away that by the time she got there, Collins would give up.
There was one catch: she didn't have a car, and she couldn't risk having someone drive her there, for fear Collins's goons would follow.
"Crap!" She groaned, starting to pace. "Looks like I'd have to walk to New York. Yeah, right. Think Di, think!"
But the more she thought about it, the more it seemed like she had no other choice. And after all, Dad had always talked about how their Native American ancestors had limited modes of transportation…
"Great. Just freaking great." She muttered as she ran to the upper levels of the lodge to start packing her duffel bag, resigned to the course of action before her. Slipping into her father's office, she kept low to the floor, just in the event the side with the office window was being watched. There was a secret drawer in underside of the desk, a space Diana had used to crawl in all the time as a kid when she'd played hide-and-seek. Her fingers found the catch and the drawer swung down, the yellowing envelope with the reservation deed falling forward. For a second, she could only stare.
"A freaking piece of paper," she said in a low mutter, tears starting to sting her eyes, "Dad died over a freaking piece of paper."
But that piece of paper is the only thing keeping Dad's people alive, another part of her reminded herself. We can't let that greedy son of a dog get it.
Sighing, she extracted the envelope, tucked it inside her jacket, and shut the drawer, crawling carefully back out of the office and toward her room.
"Okay…gotta think about the essentials." she murmured as she looked around, trying not to force herself to bring everything with her. She immediately put on her second-best pair of track shoes, and stuffed her best pair into the bottom of the duffel bag. Her cell phone, its charger, spare clothing and a toothbrush quickly followed the shoes, and it wasn't until Diana was packing the flashlight that she remembered she needed money and food.
"Crap." she groaned. Her immediate thought was to grab cash, but going to the kitchen last and leaving through the door was stupid. She set the bag down, then calmly walked down the stairs and into the kitchen, her eyes carefully sliding to each of the uncovered windows in turn. The house was being watched from the north, the south and the west sides…but the east seemed strangely empty.
"Couldn't hire enough goons, you creep?" she chuckled dryly, retrieving the essentials. Two loaves of bread, sandwich fixings, and a jug of cranberry juice were soon loaded in her arms, while she stuffed several granola bars and a bag of her father's homemade trail mix in her jacket's bottom pockets. She carefully made her way back up the stairs, taking care not to glance out the windows again. She added her small rations to the duffel bag, then grabbed her wallet and stuffed it into one of the jacket pockets she'd emptied. Her father's wallet was still in his room, and she knew also where his jar of change and hidden stash of money were kept. A twinge of guilt twisted her gut, but she forced it down, reminding herself her dad would have wanted the deed kept safe, and so she snuck into his room, fighting back tears. The wallet and the jar of change were on his nightstand, while the stash was hidden in his hookah pipe.
"Mind if I take a puff, Mr. Collins?" she said to herself, wishing she was old enough to blow smoke in his face. She pulled the money out of the pipe and surveyed it carefully. Three hundred dollars.
"Better than nothing," she reminded herself as she pocketed it and the wallet, opting to leave the noisy change jar behind. Her father's lighter also found its way into her pocket, and she was just turning to leave when something caught her eye on the wall.
Her mother had been a sucker for mythology from any and every corner of the world, and her father had taken great pride in all of his American gods. And so her mother had commissioned for them a painting that her father had never taken down, even after her mother's death.
The man in the painting had angular, elven features, sharp eyes, and a mischievous smile that kept the viewer guessing what he found so amusing. He wore a black suit with white, webbed designs, and strands of silvery, gossamer-like material wrapped around his fingers, dancing to the corners of the canvas, trapping a figure in the background.
Anansi, the trickster spider god.
Anansi, capable of both helping and deceiving any who called upon his name.
A strange urge rose in Diana. She didn't believe too strongly in the old gods, and her father would disapprove she wasn't calling on one of the Navajo figures, but she felt just desperate enough…and hadn't her mother mentioned Anansi was fond of women…?
Taking a deep breath, she focused on the eyes, and spoke to him as though he were standing in the room with her.
"Hey, Anansi. Um…I know I've not exactly ever talked to you…and you don't really have any reason to pay attention to me…but I'm in a bit of a sticky situation. My dad died. Over a piece of paper that claims the right to our reservation. And now this guy wants it, and I'm guessing he is probably willing to kill me in order to get it. I can't let that happen. I've got to get to New York City, and I've got to hold this creep off until I turn eighteen. So…I don't know…I was wondering if maybe you could…you know…help?"
She stared for a long moment at the painting, half-wishing the spider god would start talking to her, but all she got in response was a minor headache.
"Stupid." she grumbled, stomping back into her room. She was just shouldering the duffel bag when a tiny voice whispered somewhere nearby.
The drain…climb the drain outside the east window…they won't be watching…you're going to be followed, but you need a head start…climb down the drain…
The voice startled her, but the suggestion took greater root in her mind. The east side of the lodge house was still unchecked by whoever Collins had watching the house, and the drainpipe did run just outside that window. Smiling with a grim determination, she went to the bathroom and carefully lifted the window open. Pulling herself up onto the pane, she scrambled to get a good hold but avoid falling at the same time. Finally, she was able to reach the drain pipe, and a grin of triumph turned up the corners of her mouth as she started to shinny down…
"She must have escaped through the east window. I'm sorry boss, but that kid is smart."
"YOU IDIOTS! What do I pay you for?" Collins roared, slamming the phone down.
"Sir, please. Compose yourself." his secretary Teresa said nervously.
"Shut up, Teresa." he snapped, throwing a paperweight at the wall in anger. "I'm not about to let some little teenybopper get the best of me. Give me the damn paper and coffee."
Wordlessly, she set the steaming mug and copy of the New York Times on his desk before him, then quickly backed out before she got too far in his line of fire. Snarling in fury, Collins snatched up both, taking a deep swallow of the bitter drink as his eyes scanned the front page. At first, his anger seemed to keep him from actually being able to read anything, until an arrest notice caught his eye. Some science-techno-geek, with some kind of machines called…'mousers.'
The more he read, the more his anger began to ebb, and the corners of his mouth started to twitch upward.
"Baxter Stockman, huh…?" he murmured aloud, the wheels in his brain turning.
A/N: Yes, there's going to be a lot of the supernatural elements in here. You don't like it, so sorry. R&R would be appreciated.