“You are shitting me right?”
I froze at the sound of Duncan’s voice. I’d heard something, a faint sound, behind us but it had barely registered as being worthy of my attention. Duncan had turned around to check and I guessed whatever he’d been confronted with surprised and dismayed him. Rather than look back, I opened my senses, ignoring the visual signals from in front and concentrating on whatever signals were coming from behind me. As my consciousness touched against something, there and then gone as soon as I felt it, I heard a low chuckle. A familiar chuckle.
“Aw man.” I couldn’t help but voice my frustration. I understood why Duncan had sounded the way he did. Stood behind us, at the entrance, the only entrance, to the alleyway we were stood in was the very person who’d sent us down there. A person we thought we could trust. A person who I thought had been badly injured and needed our help. A person who was quite possibly the person we were trying to find and stop. We were, quite possibly, fucked.
Well, without blowing my own trumpet too much, had it been Seth and Duncan they’d have been fucked but actually we probably weren’t. I just like a sense of drama. As it was we had a trump card, I had a trump card, although I really didn’t want to have to play it. I’m still not comfortable with even acknowledging it exists.
“I should have known.” I called out; still facing the end of the alleyway, there was no need to face him, not yet. “Nobody has a moustache like that and is a good guy. Villain 101 I believe.” That chuckle again, it had an insidious quality, like it was somehow alive and trying to find a way in, no doubt for some nefarious purpose or other. On reflex I shielded my mind, you can never be too careful. Hell not being too careful had clearly got us into this mess. It got us into most messes to be honest.
“And yet you barely passed the class.” Again with the chuckle. I felt it slide against me. Yep definitely more than just an expression of dastardly glee. “So, did you see where they went?” His voice took on a taunting quality, one that elicited a synchronised growl from the two of us. I glanced briefly at Duncan hoping I could communicate some sort of plan without having to resort to verbal, or mental, communication. I had a sneaking suspicion both could be overheard. Of course it would have helped if I’d had a plan. Still, I caught Duncan’s eye and rolled mine in a vague, I have an idea follow my lead, kind of way. Duncan grimaced, an expression I took to mean, okay but it better be good. I nodded and Duncan dropped to a crouch as I turned hands up, energy already crackling between my fingertips. The entrance to the alleyway was empty. I scanned around, where the fuck had he gone?
That chuckle, this time from above. I looked up to see a figure hovering, just a few feet above head height, still at the entrance to the alley but high up enough that I’d initially missed him.
“Hmmm, impressive.” Godsdammit he still sounded amused, and not at all surprised by electro hands. I filed that thought away for later consideration. “Although I feel an axe, maybe a war hammer would be more so.” The figure bobbed up and down ever so slightly, arms outstretched. “Not just any axe, maybe a fire axe. No?” I have to admit, the fact he was levitating may have put me off my stride, certainly it took a couple more seconds to realise my brain was screaming, zap him already! It took a couple more for that message to travel to my hands. Turns out those seconds were invaluable. As electricity arched in his general direction, something crashed into the side of me knocking me to the floor. Breath oofed out of me, and I struggled to refill my lungs as the weight of whatever it was that had struck me, squashed down, crushing my lungs. I pushed against it, rolling away on reflex as soon as I was no longer pinned. Without wasting any more time I popped up into a crouch, my assailant mirroring the action. We faced each other crouching, hands raised, waiting for one or other of us to move.
“Duncan? What the fuck?” I stood, slowly. In front of me a distinctly puzzled Duncan did the same. I tilted my head and waited to see if he’d try and jump me again, and not in the sense he usually did. “Dude?”
Duncan opened his mouth, closed it, opened it again, thought better of talking entirely and shrugged. I slowly surveyed our surroundings, finding it hard to believe that it had really been Duncan who’d attacked me, expecting to see another, hidden assailant. No-one. I turned towards the mouth of the passage, not really surprised to find it empty. Somehow he’d used Duncan to create a diversion, but for what reason? Considering how the day was already going, I should have guessed it wouldn’t be long before we found out.