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Author Topic: Phoenix: The Rise and Wrath of Abigail Begich  (Read 330 times)

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Offline The InfamousTopic starter

Phoenix: The Rise and Wrath of Abigail Begich
« on: August 21, 2013, 11:09:20 PM »
Based on a true story, and my ex...

Chapter 1 - The Rabbit

As rock and roll blared from Abigail C. Begich’s bedroom, she dressed for a certain occasion. She pulled her black uniform trousers up over her pale legs and wiggled her bottom to fit in their seat. After she buttoned the pants, she picked up a black tunic lying across her bed. The short woman’s legs extended completely as she strode across the bedroom to her full-length mirror. She marched rather than strode. She had been trained well.

Abigail wrapped the uniform jacket around her and fastened it tightly at her throat. She smiled slightly at the jagged “SS” emblems on her lapels. Then she picked up a cap, the typical Nazi SS cap, and placed it upon her blond head.

“Brilliant,” she said.

She blinked and frowned. She looked down and groaned. She’d forgotten to put her boots on. Her feet were bare. Abigail went back over to her bed and sat down. All the while, Marilyn Manson’s remake of “Sweet Dreams” played from her massive radio that sat on her dresser. After she laced up her black steel-toed combat boots, Abigail glanced at her watch. She was never late. Never. She wondered if she could make it to the QuickStop for a Mountain Dew. She was on a tight schedule and at this time of night, she’d have to be wary of muggers and rapists in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Oh well, she thought, I’m frickin’ thirsty.

Abigail made sure she had everything she needed for the occasion before turning off her beloved rock music. Once done, she headed out into the night, her mother yelling at her from the porch to be back before midnight. Abi just rolled her eyes and flipped a middle finger over her shoulder.

It began to drizzle, but that was alright because the young woman had known better than to expect the fates to spare her such misery. She was wearing a black leather trench coat, belt tied tightly around her waist. Abi was a cruelly beautiful woman. At 22 years-old, she had hazel eyes that altered color depending on the light, and her mood.  Her flesh was mostly a smooth pale tone. She had full lips that were usually displaying a vicious scowl. She was only 5’4”, but packed a mean punch. Abi had been first in the state’s High School weight lifting championship, and had only gained strength and power once she’d enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. But she was out now. She had been out of the corps for a couple years, but not lost a bit of strength. Her true strength, however, lay beyond what eyes could see. Her true strength was within. Her true strength was her spirit.

She’d been walking for ten minutes and the rain was smearing her black mascara. She cursed the water around her. That only seemed to make the light rain come down harder. She scowled fiercely as she held herself, digging her nails into her biceps. Then the QuickStop lights came into view and she let out a sigh of relief.

“Gawd damn it, finally. Gawd damn this stupid rain…”

Unfortunately, her journey to the corner shop would not be without incident.

“Hey girl, it’s gettin’ kinda late, ain’t it?”

The bully had barely gotten the words out before Abi stopped and turned to face him and declared, “And you’re kinda country for these parts, aren’t you? You obviously have no earthly idea who I am so I am going to give you the opportunity to get the hell outta my face before something awful happens to you and your friend.”

There were two of them.

The two men looked at each other. A car drove past them, splashing Abi with most of what had been a puddle. The two men laughed at her. Abi’s cheek twitched.

“Sexy accent.” The first man was brown-haired and had a beard.

“A feisty one, ain’t ya?” the second guy commented.

Abi almost chuckled. “You have no idea.” She let her arms relax by her side.

“Where are you from?” asked the second guy. He was almost as short as Abi. He had black hair and wore a brown leather jacket.

“None of your frickin' business, dirtbag.”

The black-haired man guessed, “Sounds like New York.”

The first man said, “Come on, let’s get her.”

They expected her to run, give them some fun.

She did not. She moved toward them with purposeful strides. The second man thought twice and backed away but the first kept coming at her.

“Dude, her hat,” said the second guy stated. “I think she’s a Nazi!”

But it was too late for his friend. Abi was in range. As the man decided to just go for it, Abi easily deflected his reaching right hand and brought her steel toe up into his groin. His eyes bulged as he collapsed onto the sidewalk. Abi took the time to check the time.

“I’d love you kill you both, but I have somewhere to be.” She turned on her heel and marched briskly away.

The thug who was still standing got brave. He charged her. Due to the level of downpour, Abi didn’t hear him coming. She was tackled to the pavement and busted her bottom lip.

Abi blacked out…

The Phoenix took over. She elbowed the man in the face several times until it was bloody. Then Phoenix wormed beneath him until she was on her back and clutched him by the trachea. Her gloved fingernails pierced his throat and blood seeped down the gasping man’s neck. With the strength of ten men, Phoenix hurled him off of her and he landed right next to his friend. She then stood up and began looking around. There must be a sharp weapon around there somewhere. When she looked back, the two men were hauling ass across the street, nearly getting hit by a Taxi cab.

Abi returned. She knew something had happened, but was not sure what. She only knew that the bullies had gone, so she was glad. At least this time there wasn’t a body count. She turned and headed for the QuickStop. She checked her watch again.

It was 10:44. She snarled viciously. If it had not been raining, she would’ve noticed saliva sputter from the corners of her mouth. But it was washed away. She bypassed the QuickStop and went down an alley. It was at this point, she began cracking her knuckles and noticed blood on her leather gloves. She stopped and blinked, partly out of confusion and partly out of worry for the individuals she hurt. She figured that they’d live, otherwise there’d be more blood, and shrugged it off. Abi let the rain wash away the blood from her gloves and continued down the alley.

She arrived at an old apartment complex at 11:03. She ran up the stairs to the roof. When she pushed the door to the roof open, she was breathing hard, and being eyeballed by nearly a dozen annoyed or concerned people.

“Sawrry I’m late,” she said. “Almost got mugged…or something.”

“Come on,” said the leader. “It’s about to begin…”

They were not concerned about her personal safety. The leader was wearing a black cloak and hood. The others were adorned in similarly dark apparel and everyone was kneeling around a pentagram. Abi walked over and sat beside the leader. She was his right-hand member. They were a Satanic cult, albeit one that had no idea what they were doing. Only the leader had any inkling of the power they were trying to invoke. Most of the others were just there for the thrill of doing something creepy on a roof at night in the rain.

Abi glanced at her watch. It was 11:05.

“We still got some time,” said the cult leader. His name was Azazel. It wasn’t originally. He simply thought it would be cool if he changed his name to something evil-sounding. “Tell us about your near-mugging…or something.”

Abi sighed and shrugged. “I don’t even know what they wanted. They just attacked me. I kicked one in the nuts and then walked away…”

A woman in the circle said, “You go girl! Friggin’ vagina power!” Everyone looked at her like she was insane. For these people, that’s saying something.

“Anyway,” Abi continued, “the other dude tackled me and I guess I beat his ass. Don’t really remember. Must’ve been my inner badass.”

Azazel smirked. “You are truly remarkable. You are the only one of us who has ever been able to harness the true, pure power of the demonic realm.”

Abi didn’t believe that was what happened. “Yeah, if you say so, dude. All I know is they bounced fast.”

Vagina Power chick said, “They probably couldn’t handle your extremely awesome accent.”

Azazel let out a breath of exasperation. “Linda, we all have something to bring to this discussion, but I think from now on, the thing you should bring is silence.”

Abi laughed. “You totally stole that from Red Dwarf.”

The group laughed.

“Oh crap,” said another member. “It’s 11:10! Get ready!”

Getting ready meant kneeling in a circle around the evil symbol and bowing their heads. Azazel took a curved blade from a sheath under his cloak. He produced also a baby rabbit.

“Whoa!” Abi exclaimed, standing up. “Hell no, mofo! We are not killing a bunny; I don’t care if we’re tryin’ to raise Satan himself!”

Everyone knew Abi’s passion for animals. Azazel just figured she’d go along with it for the sake of the ritual. She was expected to receive much power after all.

“Come on, Abi,” said Linda. “We don’t have time for this. What’s one little rabbit?”

Tears began to stream down Abi’s face and mingle with the light rain. She pointed emphatically. “You did not tell me about this, dude! You said we’d be cuttin’ ourselves!”

Azazel said, “Abi, shut up! We’ve got like fifteen seconds to do this! If you’re not with us, go away. We won’t hold it against you.”

Abi tried one more time to be reasonable. “Put…the rabbit…down…now.”

Though frightened by Abi, Azazel brought the knife closer to the animal. “Ok, if you don’t stop, I’m gonna demote you –”

“Aaaaaaah!!!” Abi’s scream startled everyone, even Azazel.

She launched herself at him. He rolled backwards, still holding both the rabbit and the blade. He knew if he didn’t get out of her way, he was as good as dead. He had not seen Phoenix rear her ferocious head often, but when she did, he knew to run. Unfortunately, there wasn’t anywhere to run. He scrambled to his feet but the rain, combined with the fact that he was wearing a satin robe, caused him to stumble and fall on his face. Abi leaped onto his back and yanked the animal from his grasp. Then, instead of beating him senseless, she got up and cradled the creature in her arms, away from the group.

Azazel stood up, embarrassed, and brushed himself off, which looked ridiculous in the rain. “You’re being ridiculous, Abi.”

Abi, now herself, wiped her red eyes as she pet the rabbit. “No. No, I’m not. You can do whatever you want, but I’m not gonna let you hurt this innocent animal.”

“Fine,” said Azazel. He grabbed Linda by the hair.

“Hey!” she screamed.

Abi didn’t look as Azazel stabbed Linda repeatedly in the stomach and let her fall onto the symbol. Blood and rain mingled in the pentagram at 11:11 PM on November 11th, 2011.

Chapter 2 - Trespass


“Azazel, this is Abi,” Scott introduced her to his best friend.

Scott Tucker was Azazel’s best friend and a mutual friend of both he and Abigail. So when Azazel asked him to find him a woman to date, Scott got right on it. The meeting was set up in a coffee shop in Allentown. It was noon and Azazel was waiting for them at a table, nervously bouncing his foot. He was wearing a grey hoodie and a pair of Van sneakers.

Abi looked Azazel up and down and then gave Scott a derisive glower. “Seriously? His name’s Azazel?”

“Oh, sorry,” Azazel said, “where’s my manners?” He stood up to shake her hand.

“It’s ‘where are my manners,’ man.” She shook his hand firmly. She could feel the sweat on his palms.

Scott nudged her with his elbow. “Don’t be a grammar Nazi, Abi.”

She glared. He smirked knowingly.

“No, my real name’s Alex,” said her insufferable date.  “My friends call me Azazel. It’s a thing. You can call me whatever you want.”

Abi nodded curtly and dropped her backpack by the table. “Very well.”

Alex sat down and Abi noticed he hadn’t pulled her chair out for her. However, she was not completely broken up about it. Chivalry was not something she was used to. She’d only been with one chivalric man and had long-since given up hope of seeing him again, or meeting anyone like him. She sat down and cocked her head at Alex, her visage like that of a statue.

Scott began backing away inch by inch from the couple. “I’m gonna…go…look for some coffee.” He turned around and left the café.

Abi sighed audibly. She tried to smile but it ended up looking forced and bored. Alex picked up on it.

“Hey, you don’t have to be here. I mean…”

She interrupted, “It’s not you, Alex. I, uh, have been through a lot…and bringing another person into my life right now, even as a friend…it’s complicated. It’s painful.”

“What accent is that? New York?”

Abi ignored his lack of appreciation or even acknowledgment of her confession. “Yeah,” she said as she begged her eyes to find something else to occupy her mind. “Staten Island.”

Alex took a sip of his coffee. “Do you drink coffee?”

Abi looked him in the eyes. “Only after I’ve killed someone.”

After a brief and anxious laugh, Alex took another sip from his coffee, this one lasting much longer than the previous. Abi glared him down. Then she looked away again.

“So tell me about yourself,” Alex said. “Scott told me you were in the Marines.”

“This is accurate.”

Alex bit his bottom lip and creased his brow in confusion. “You go overseas?”

Abi was still staring out a window. “I did. That is as much as you’re going to get from me on that topic.” She leveled a steely gaze at him. “Now change it.”

Taken aback, Alex nodded and cleared his throat. “Ok.” He pretended to examine a coffee menu. “Um, how about religion?”

“What about it?” She leaned back in her chair.

“Well, are you religious?”

“Used to be. Next subject.”

Alex rubbed his nose with his thumb and chuckled. “Wow, you’re gonna play this all mysterious and stuff, aren’t you?”

Abi snickered and removed her glasses. “Yeah, well, if you’d been through the crap I’d been through, you’d be guarded too.” She began wiping her glasses on her black T-shirt.

“You can talk to me, you know,” said Alex.

“No,” she replied, returning her glare to him. “I don’t know.” She put her glasses back on.

Alex said, “You’re very beautiful. You should let your hair down. Are you a natural blonde?”

“I am. And I do. I just put it up today ‘cause I have an interview to go to later today.”

“Ah,” Alex said. “So you’re unemployed.”

“Not for long.” She ushered a waitress over.

“Planning on murdering someone?” Alex whispered with a smile.

Abi’s head snapped around and her glare intensified. Her cheek twitched. “Why do you ask?”

“You said you didn’t drink coffee except after you’ve murdered someone.”

“I’m ordering hot cocoa, dude.”

“Ah. Sorry.”

She narrowed her eyes at him and turned to the waitress. Once Abi ordered the drink, she eyed Alex for a few seconds before saying, “I’ve never killed anyone who didn’t deserve it. I’m not a murderer.”

“Uh, I was joking, Abi.” Alex scratched his neck and glanced around nervously. “And I thought you were too - about drinking coffee after you kill someone.”

Abi smiled, but made sure he knew it was fake. Her eyes were stone cold. “I was.”

Her hot cocoa arrived. She thanked the waitress and took a sip.

Alex inquired, “What’s the job?”

“Hmm?” She blinked and set the hot cocoa down.

“The interview?

Abi nodded. “Oh. Right. Uh…security. Heard of Darkwater?”

Alex shrugged. “Vaguely. But not really.”

“Well,” said Abi, “it’s not with them, but a company like them. They do security, defense contracting, private investigating, consulting, stuff like that.”

Slowly nodding, Alex then stood up. “I’ll be right back. I gotta use the bathroom.”

He glanced back only once as he made his way through the café and into the restroom at the back. Abi was not stupid. She knew something was up. She had thrown the name Darkwater out there intentionally. She wanted to know who was listening, who was interested in her, and who this man worked for. She was about to stand up when she felt a strong hand press down on her shoulder. A man leaned down and whispered something in her ear. His hot breath made her sweat almost as much as growing fear did. Abi nodded slightly and remained in her seat. When she looked behind her, the unknown man was gone. She wiped her eyes, desperate to remove all traces of fear before Alex returned.

But she was shaking, and she was sweating. And those visible signs of terror could be picked up by anyone, even Alex.

“Come on, girl,” she muttered under her breath. “Get a hold of yourself.”

The jukebox in the corner of the shop began playing “Hallelujah” by Jeff Buckley as Alex returned from the restroom. She wished the world was different. She wished everything would move slow enough for her to think clearly, not leaving her vision a blur.

Abi closed her eyes and exhaled. The fear left her. When she opened her eyes, she saw her target.

Alex sat down across from her and smiled charmingly. “Anyway, we were talking about you…”

“I want to talk about you,” Abi said. She smiled and this time made damn sure he believed it.

Her smile was infectious and he looked down, smiling as well. “Alright. My mom and dad both died when I was 8. I grew up with my grandparents in California. I guess you could say I was privileged. With the money I was supposed to use for college, I moved here. Not sure why. I just felt like it was something I had to do. Anyway, I’ve been living here for about four years and I love it. I work as a librarian downtown.”

“Interesting,” she said with another smile. “How interesting. Hey, you wanna get outta here? I can’t stand this gawd damn music.”

“Me neither,” Alex answered with a chuckle.

Over the next several months, Abi dated Alex. She got involved with his work at the library and he barely knew anything about her work with the security firm. She manipulated his life to suit her desires and needs. Six months after they’d met, Alex invited her to join his “group of political activists and religious free-thinkers.” They actually turned out to be Satanists and radical left-wing crazies. She joined knowing full well what they were. There were originally only five of them. Scott had known nothing of their activities, until he bumped into them doing a ritual.

At first glance, it seemed like some people sitting around singing. But when he interrupted them, he quickly and abruptly discovered the truth.

Scott knocked on the door of Alex’s bedroom. “Dude,” he called out, “you said we were gonna meet for pizza.” He opened the door. “What in the hell are you guys singing –?”

Five people were holding hands and sitting Indian-style in a circle. They were not singing, but chanting. What convinced Scott that they were doing more than singing was the fact that any item in the room weighing less than a pound was levitating.

When Alex and the others turned to look at Scott, the items fell.

“Damn,” Alex groused guiltily.

 “Jesus Christ!” Scott shouted in alarm. He rapidly back-pedaled out of the bedroom.

To everyone’s surprise, Abi leaped to her feet and howled in an unearthly tone, “Do not utter that name!
She began walking toward Scott.

“What the hell is going on?” one of the occultists asked Alex.

“I don’t know!” Alex admitted.

As Scott turned to run down the hallway, Abi seized him by the shoulder and slammed his back against the wall across from the open door. She pinned Scott there and snarled fiercely.

Scott yelled, “Abi! Stop, please!”

“I am NOT Abigail!” She did not have a Staten Island accent at this point.

Grinning wickedly, one side of her mouth twitched as she squeezed her friend’s throat and lifted him a foot off the floor. Everyone except Alex fled. He grabbed Abi and shook her.

“Snap out of it! Abi, stop! It’s Scott, your friend! Our friend!”

Abi dropped Scott and blinked. She flinched from Alex’s hands touching her and scampered down the hall, getting into a defensive posture she’d been trained. Scott rubbed his throat and gasped, eying her carefully. Alex held his hands up to show that he was not a threat.

“Are you alright, Abi?” Alex asked.

Abi didn’t move. She kept her eyes locked on Alex’s eyes.

Scott supported himself against the wall. “Abi,” he wheezed, “I thought the Phoenix was gone, or at least…” he coughed. “…at least caged, under control.”

Alex lowered his hands and turned to Scott. “You…wait…what? What in the world are you talking about? What’s the Phoenix? Who’s…? What the hell is going on?”

“I’m sawrry,” said Abigail, her accent back. “I’m fine now. I’m sawrry. You’re safe now.”

Alex exclaimed, “For how long? God damn it! You’re insane!”

Scott turned to Alex. “What do you expect, you idiot? I didn’t know you were into this devil-worship crap! That crap is not good, especially for people like her!”

“We’re done,” said Alex to Abi. “Stay the hell away from me.”

Abi said, “Alex, you want to raise demons, gawd damn it! Well, here ya go!” She opened her arms to indicate herself as she stepped toward the two men. “You ain’t gonna get closer to Lucifer than me, baby!” She laughed insanely and gave Alex a murderous scowl.

Alex clenched his fists and stepped back. “Fine! You can stay in the group, but you and I – we’re done. Alright? Can you deal with that or am I gonna wake up without a penis one day?”

“Maybe if I’d screwed you,” Abi said, crossing her arms defiantly over her chest. “But you weren’t worth it.”

She turned on her heel and marched away. Alex was going to say something unwise but Scott clapped his hand over his mouth and shook his head.

“That’s not a good idea, bro.”

November 11th, 2011

The cold rain pelted Abigail C. Begich as she made her way home. She began to regret staying out so late. She had to work tomorrow and she didn’t even get what she was after. She glanced at her cellphone to find it was almost midnight. Still she saw no demons, no spirits, no ghosts, no supernatural entities or events of any kind. Abi was clearly disappointed. She wanted chaos. She wanted destruction. She wanted darkness. She wanted death, so long as innocent animals didn’t get hurt.

When she got inside and removed her gloves, she realized that her fingernails were a bit too long and too sharp. They were definitely more like claws. She went into the bathroom and examined them more closely in the light. A horrifying thought ran through her mind and she quickly picked up and looked at the tips of her leather gloves.

“Damn it,” she grumbled.

Her nails had pierced the gloves, which served to explain the blood. There would not have been any blood if her claws had not extended from the gloves. Abi tried to remember the confrontation with the two would-be muggers, or whatever they were. She considered they may have been rapists, but doubted the Phoenix would have allowed them to live if they were. The Phoenix protected Abigail, or at least that was how Abi saw it. If anyone tried to hurt or violate Abi violently, the Phoenix would take over and things get bad.

After washing up, Abi went into her bedroom. It was a little before midnight when she collapsed onto her back in bed, almost missing the eyes that watched her from the dark closet. She inhaled sharply and went for the 9mm Beretta holstered beneath her bed. When she checked the closet, it was empty.

“Great,” she grumbled, “now I’m gettin’ paranoid…”

She sat back down on the bed and laid the pistol down on her pillow. Abi just sat there staring at the closet door until a minute after midnight. Then she finally went to sleep, pistol in hand hanging off the bed.

Allentown, Pennsylvania appeared exactly the same to demons and angels as it did to humans. The only difference was that their view of it was less practical and more metaphorical. The buildings were rundown and in some cases on fire. The air was visibly polluted with smog, poison and spirits. The human beings and other physical aspects of creation that moved about did so in slow motion because spirits move faster than light. This gave demons a clear advantage over people.

The Begich residence was consumed in both fire and black smoke. Despite this, four holy guardian angels stood at each corner of the suburban property. Their appearance was of golden fire. Their swords, shields and spears were inflamed with Holy Spirit and engraved with meaningful and powerful symbols, runes, and ancient letters. Their eyes were cerulean blue and their hair was long. They each had two white wings, but unlike the myths about angels, there were no halos. All four angels appeared as men in their 30s. Their fiery armor bore a resemblance to chain-mail and plates used by medieval knights.

The three dark spirits that approached them were something else entirely. Demons were not the same as fallen angels. Fallen angels are angels that have fallen, and are purely spiritual entities. Demons are what used to be giants and monsters that have died and now haunt the world, straddling both the spiritual and physical realms. As such, no two demons look the same. The leader of the three resembled a young man in most ways, but had stalks coming out of his back. The stalks used to be wings before they’d been shredded. Blood dripped from what was left of his wings. His long matted hair was jet black and his slick, oily flesh was grey. He had no nose or eyebrows. Broken and rusted chains dangled from the lead demon’s wrists and neck. The armor worn by the demons was dark and barbaric, in many cases formed from the residual displaced energy acquired by conquered spirits.

In a blinding flash of white light, a fifth angel appeared between the demons and the front gate. He was much more regally dressed than the other celestial messengers. His hair was longer and he had a trimmed beard and mustache. His eyes were bright white.

The angel addressed the demon: “Asmodeus! Have you forgotten the law? No house protected by guardians may fall under your jurisdiction! Turn back now or invite destruction!

Asmodeus stopped in his tracks and growled. “The law cannot be forgotten, for we are constantly reminded of our folly and sins, Prince Raphael. Do the Lord and his legions scoff and laugh at me now? Is this trespass my folly or is there a betrayal in the ways of light? For I am confident in my proclamation, Prince Raphael, that this is the house of one of those who have called upon the presence and services of myself and my kind.”

Raphael nodded once. “There is no betrayal. There is no trespass. You may have all of those who have called upon your name, but the Lord has forbidden anything evil to happen to this one. Go! Choose for yourself from ten other heathen! They surely deserve what they have sought. Yet this woman is off limits, Asmodeus.”

The demon took a step forward in anger. “Off limits? Dear uncle, have you lost your way? It is past the hour and past the day. It is due for a new age and a new law. You yourself bound me in the river in Egypt, yet the rebellion there has released me! And I was summoned to this place! I cannot be refused, Prince Raphael. If you try to refuse what is rightfully mine, I will take human form and ravage the land and make the prophecy we now see here take form in the physical dimension! Stand aside!”

Raphael drew his sword of fire. “One word more and you shall not see any dimension – physical or spiritual – for a length of time twice as long as your imprisonment in the Nile!

Asmodeus drew a shorter, jagged sword. “Curse your law, uncle!”

Lightning cracked where they stood.

Abigail woke up with a start, eyes wide. Sweat stuck her bangs to her forehead. She leveled her handgun and got to her feet shakily. Making it over to the window, she peered outside. She was dismayed at the thunderstorm that was taking place. She turned to check the clock on her nightstand. It was 1:14 AM. She let her head drop and moaned before returning to bed.

I have to get up at six, Abi thought, I can’t be late.

More lightning crashed outside. She groaned angrily and stomped back over to the window. When she looked outside again, she saw that lightning was striking in the same general area repeatedly.

“Oh balls,” she said, cocking the Beretta.

Abi huddled in the corner where she could keep an eye on both the window and the door. She had a feeling the storm had something to do with her participation in the ritual earlier.

Mad at herself, Abi scowled. “So much for getting some gawd damn sleep…”

She woke up at 6:25 AM for no apparent reason. Later she would remember hearing a voice – maybe it was a literal voice, or maybe it was one in her head; she wasn’t certain – but it woke her up at just the right time because if she’d slept any later, she would have been late for work.

Abi drove her black 1980 Pontiac Trans AM to a three-story building in the business end of town. The company was called DinoCorps, but Abi wasn’t sure why. The company provided several security aspects and services for a multitude of Pennsylvanian businesses, but was branching out to other states. It was no secret that the CEO of DinoCorps had aspirations of reaching the same level of notoriety as Darkwater.

Once she parked in the nearby lot, Abi nearly ran to her the morning meeting. It was 7:29 AM. She thanked God she wasn’t late. She found it a tad odd that she then overheard a child, a young girl, down at the other end of the hall say, “You’re welcome.”

She didn’t wonder why a child was in the building until later. Much later.

Abi sat down at the conference table as her manager was commencing the meeting. She mostly ignored most of it, as she customarily did, until the boss addressed her.

“Begich, you and Danson are going to be at the Golf Course. The mayor is going to be doing some golfing and would like additional security. He told Burton why, but not me.”

Burton was the name of the CEO.

Danson smiled at Abi. She frowned at Danson, but nodded to the manager. Abi couldn’t stand Erik Danson. He had a crush on her and made it obvious. He was a jock, something Abi abhorred. He liked to stand close when he spoke to people, and to make it worse, he had a body odor that could make someone vomit. When she questioned him about his personal hygiene, he had told Abi that he liked to go natural. She had, in turn, informed him that he naturally stinks and should check out some natural deodorant. He had just laughed it off, thinking she was joking.

“Do we have to take a company car?” asked Abigail.

“Yes,” was the manager’s response. “You’re going to be meeting the mayor of Allentown. How’s it gonna look if you pull up in a Trans AM?”

Abi shrugged, face straight. “Bloody awesome?”