WHEN TROUBLE BRINGS…

Chapter One

Bright jets of white light flew hundreds of feet in the air, coupled with shards of broken stone as a huge hole was blasted in the side of a building six feet from where Goliath stood. He covered his head with his wings against the rain of stone and looked around angrily, searching for the source of the gunfire. "Where are you?!" He cried, carefully lifting his wings for another look around. "I'll find you if you don't show yourself now!"

"I'm sure you would, Goliath. In fact I know you would." Out of the dust thrown up by the explosion stepped a figure with a wing span almost as wide as Goliath's but with a female voice edged with anger and malice. Demona levelled the huge bazooka again. "But this way is a deal more fun. For me anyway." Closing one eye and wrapping a talon around the trigger she fired, the recoil putting her back a few feet, causing her to spread her wings again for balance.

The rocket shot forward faster than Goliath could see and as he leapt away again, the tip of his tail was caught by the flames of the blast, causing him to roar in anger. His eyes flashed with a pale white light, lit from within by his own anger as he pulled himself to his full height.

"We can't continue like this." He said carefully. "I am not going to fight you. Not any more."

"You will soon enough." Demona, lowered the bazooka and actually leaned on it, flexing her talons and smiling wide, showing off her fangs. "You may not know why yet, or even why you're fighting me now, but why don't you check on how your little human friend is doing. She'll tell you soon enough just why you will be fighting me tomorrow night."

"What have you done?!" At once beside himself with worry Goliath took a few steps forward.

"Me? Oh I haven't done anything." Grinning wide as church doors Demona let loose one last blast of the bazooka, dropping it and scaling the wall of a nearby building with heavy thrusts of her talloned hands. She watched from a height as the blast sent clouds of thick grey smoke rolling down the road and called down; "Tomorrow Goliath. And I do want to see you, so you'd better be quick, it's nearly sunrise." With those words she flew off, her familiar high pitched call a sound dying slowly on the wind.

Dragging himself to his feet Goliath let the glow fall from his eyes. She was right, he'd have to be quick if he was to make it back to the clock tower on time. He took to the nearest building reasonably unmarked by the rocket blasts and used it to gain the height he needed to glide away.

None too soon either, for as soon as he'd flown off, his figure slowly shrinking to a small speck in the distance, the calvary rolled in, sirens blaring, five or six squad cars plus two vans, screeching to halt beside the carnage, Elisa Maza at the head.

She pulled her custom red jacket close around her with a sigh, slipping her gun back into the holster under her arm. "Too late." Picking her way through the wreckage she looked at the wall above her head for telltale claw marks. They were easy to find, all the way up the wall to a point about thirty feet up where they suddenly stopped.

She flicked her hair over her shoulders and turned back to the rest of her team. The rising sun shone bright through the gaps between the buildings and she squinted against it, holding her hand over her eyes as she spoke. "Sorry guys, too late. We missed them, whatever it was."

"Whatever it was…? The reports were all of winged monsters! Anyway, this 'whatever it was' was heavily armed; would you look at this?" One of her companions picked up the bazooka lying abandoned on the ground, still warm and smoking. "Where on earth did they pick this up from? Whoever, whatever it was?"

Elisa shook her head, knowing full well what this 'whatever' was. Demona. She'd seen the gargoyle gliding full pelt over head just a while before, probably trying to reach a safe spot to roost before sunrise.

"I don't know." She said carefully, running her hands over the weapon, careful all the while not to touch it. "Either way, take it back to base, we may be able to get some prints off it."

Yeah right… gargoyle prints? They'd have me for breakfast!

All the same the young officer took out his notebook and carefully began to write down the information.

"Detective?"

Elisa turned, smiling at what she saw there. "Hi Matt." She poked him. "When are you going to stop calling me detective? I'm your partner, just Elisa will do, or even Maza. No one seems to know my first name around here."

"I know, I just like winding you up." Matt Bluestone grinned and raked his hands through his hair. "So was it them?" He moved closer and spoke in a hushed stage whisper.

"Yes, but there's nothing I can do now. I'll have to wait until nightfall, I don't even know if he made it back alright."

"Goliath?"

"Yes. He should have, but I can't be sure. In fact, I'm going to check, cover for me here?"

"Sure. And let me know ok? I'm curious."

"Me too. I wonder what it's all about this time." Turning to leave Elisa stopped herself just at the last moment. "Oh yeah, and I'm going to pay Xanitos a visit too."

"Xanitos? What do you want to see him for?"

"It's his bazooka, take a look." She pointed at the huge weapon then slowly moved on, walking down the road with her hands thrust deep into her pockets.

Matt watched her for a moment or two, then moved quickly over the where the weapon was being tagged off. "Just a moment guys." He said, nudging them aside and turning the thing over himself for a better look.

There, nestled in a corner, under the barrel was the little bug symbol, Xanitos Enterprises.

"Ok, you can take it now." He said, "just be careful with it."

The men nodded and proceeded to heave the weapon into the van.

***

Gasping with suppressed pain the little figure leaned heavily against the wall, her fingers gripping at the windowsill as she looked out on the morning sun.

Beside her, on his knees in front of the nearby window a man in heavy black clothing mirrored her movements, gripping at his skull and stomach with loud groans. "Make it stop!" He yelled, kicking wildly at the windowpane watching as the wood split in half.

"I can't!" The woman yelled back, "I have no control!" She hugged the wall, slowly sinking down it onto her knees, holding her head in her hands.

It was always painful, every morning and every night, the transition from gargoyle to human then back again tore her body to shreds every time. But it was worth it, she knew that, so Demona didn't complain. Instead she bit her tongue against the pain and went with it, knowing that in but a few seconds it would all be over.

Then it was. Just like that.

Rolling over onto her back she lay there for a moment or too, trying to regain her breath, sucking in great lungfulls of clean refreshing air.

Beside her, Macbeth did the same, falling limp as the sun shone down on his body. "Is it- is it like that, every single time?" He enquired, still breathless from the pain.

"Every time." She said.

"It's not worth it. Can't you do something?"

"I'll get Puck later. And thank him for this little gift of his. For now, I'm just going to use it to my advantage if that's alright by you."

"That's fine. Just warn me next time so I can put some distance between us. Please."

"Of course." Demona smiled and ran her hands over her body, delighting in the feel of human flesh beneath her questing fingers – yes fingers; not talons. Even lying on the floor in this way was in itself an adventure, without her tail and wings in the way. "I'll put as much distance between us as you like. How about this?" She rolled over, moving steadily across the floor until she was up against the opposite wall.

"Far too far my dear." Macbeth raised himself on his hands and knees crawled over to her, starting at her bare toes and moving up her body until he was looking down on her face bracing himself there on his fists.

"I thought you wanted some distance between us?"

"I did, but how could I possibly stay away for long? Stay away from a vision such as you?"

Demona blushed, the colour rising fast in her flesh-coloured cheeks.

Bending his head, Macbeth gently brushed his lips against those of his Demona… no, his Ms Destine. He tangled his fingers in her fiery red hair, pulling her tighter to him. "God, I love you." He hissed, forcibly stroking her neck and shoulders. "So, so much!"

"I know, I know." She said, laughing and putting her head back for him. "And I you. More than anything."

"More than you loved Goliath?"

Raising her arms up above her head she sighed. "Easily. He was nothing, a fantasy. I was young and foolish; I thought I knew what love was but clearly I had no idea. This, my feelings for you – that is love."

The pair lay entangled for quite some time, rolling each other about on the floor, laughing and playfully grabbing at each other.

"You know, this is much more fun when I stand a chance against you." Macbeth gently stroked a tendril of red hair from his cheek. "At least like this you're on the same level as me."

"Maybe," Demona playfully rolled him over and pinned him hard with both hands above his head, "but I'm still stronger than you, and stronger than Goliath. In fact I'm stronger than all of them and now is the time to prove it." Her eyes flashed red.

"Now you would go and spoil it by talking about them." Macbeth sat up, and let her slide down his stomach into his lap. "Forget about them. You've got Goliath spooked, he'll be in shreds by tonight, let him enjoy his pain!" He pleaded with her. "Just let them get on with it."

"Magic hasn't help me with them," she said, "neither has science, Xanitos proved that time and time again, but now with brute strength and some sense I'll see them all as rubble like the rest of my clan."

"Demona please-"

"No!" The red glow in her eyes deepened. "They have toyed with me for the last time. It finishes tonight! I'll have them all tonight. Now are you going to help me or not?"

"Of course I am, you know I am." Macbeth gave in, rising slowly to his feet and helping the little gargoyle-come-human do the same. "I said I would. But I can't help feeling that we should just leave while we can. Or just get them now. It will be must less hassle."

"In case you forgot, My Love, we don't know where they roost during the day. Nobody seems to know a thing and that human friend of theirs is annoyingly close. She won't even let a word slip in passing that she even knows them. Her and that red-haired guy."

"Alright. We'll do it your way." Reaching behind him and into his pocket Macbeth pulled a small silver key, flicking it into the air and catching it before gesturing to a cupboard on the opposite side of the room. "I thought a change of clothes would be in order." He mused, moving to open the cupboard. "You can't very easily walk the streets in that get-up can you?"

"What's wrong with my clothes?" Demona twirled on her toes, her loin clothes flapping in the small breeze generated by the movement. "They've done me well enough up until now?"

"That may be, but now you're Ms Destine, remember? Businesswoman, earner of big money. You're on the same plain as Xanitos now, while you're human. I've been planning for this for a long time, for when we went away together, but now is as good a time as any to see if this will really work."

Inside the small cupboard was a suit, a red almost as fiery as her hair. A short skirt with a split up the back, a matching tapered jacket and a long sleeved white shirt. Even a pair of tights and shoes to match, along with a dainty handbag.

Macbeth spread them out for her and grinned at the look on her face. "I thought you'd like it." He whispered.

"Real clothes." She breathed, taking the skirt in her hands and running her fingers over the inner lining. "I've never had real clothes before. All the other times, I just wore these… or stole clothes. I never had real clothes all of my own."

"I know, and I thought since this was your first time as Ms Destine you should have the very best and act the part in costume. Now put them on and we'll step to it."

Demona ripped off her old clothing with the speed and enthusiasm of a child at Christmas, tossing them to Macbeth and dragging on the new clothes with careful precision.

Doing up the last button on the jacket and slipping her feet into the shoes she turned to him and smiled. "What do you think?"

"I like it. I like it very, very much. It suits you."

"Excellent." She moved closer to him and put her arms around his neck, finding that in these shoes there was no need to stand on tiptoes to reach his lips. "Now." Pulling away again she stepped daintily over to the window and looked down onto the busy street. "Let's pay a visit to our dear friend Elisa Maza."s