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Some Monsters Are Human
(closed rp)

Having Lucas to help had helped Aria cope a little better with the desires she longed for, that pulled at her nearly every time she went out of her apartment, sometimes being home didn't help either. It was only with Lucas that she felt like nothing could hurt her. Now alone and doing her Atharim duty the darkness was all that much closer. The hunger for pain hung just out of sight as Aria filled through her wallet looking for odd occurrences that would indicate monster. Going to Mass had helped, but still she didn't enjoy the thought that she'd not had her sins forgiven. The world was getting heavier, yet she had more control over her ability since meeting Dane, and even more after meeting Lucas, but it still weighed heavy.

The world was a horrid place. The news was dreary and dark and almost always filled with death. Aria would prefer not to read the news, go on living as if it didn't exist, but sadly it did and she had to scan it. Father Stone was pressing her for reports. She had none to give him that he was happy with. She'd reported on her research thus far into Ascendancy, but with no action taken, even though she'd sought out Michael Vellas and didn't find him, he still wasn't happy. Aria knew she'd have to make a more risky move, but she didn't exactly know what yet.

And meeting Nox had also made things a bit more complicated. He was a godling, a talented hunter, and he used his ability to further the cause, but if anyone knew, they'd probably both be dead.

A recent murder popped up on her wallet, Aria didn't see anything overly supernatural about it. But when she looked at the connected stories it was a mass string of missing girls found dead, beaten, raped and butchered, ironically the media called this serial killer "The Butcher". Her wallet was probably her most useful tool since coming to Moscow, she pulled out the general locations of each of the kills and mapped them. It was what the CCDP would do, and they'd probably have that area already watched, but what they didn't have was a Sentient, or Furia, who could follow the creature to its lair. It could be human, but it could be rougarou, or something even worse.

If she were at HQ she could pull up more detailed records, but she didn't want to step foot in the basement of the mansion tonight. She wanted to hunt. And this looked like a good place to hunt as any. It was on the outskirts of the city. Quiet and less likely to be found. It was likely they would be holed up in some run down building or something, but not every monster liked to the dark depths of things.

Aria took the metro to the area. She hated the metro even late at night, at night was worse than the crowds during the day, the creeps that thought they could come up to you smelled of alcohol or were just plain creeps. Tonight was no different. A creep came up to her and put his dirty arm around her shoulders. Aria wanted to put her dagger through his heart, but she took a deep breath and pushed his arm away trying very hard to not give in to the hunger. He resisted and he pulled her closer with some crude remark that Aria couldn't hear through the desire to hurt him, to make him stop touching her. Aria turned with her dagger in her hand the moment she did. She pressed it against his most prized body part and looked up at him. The violence clearly written on her face. "Get away, or you'll lose more than your hand."

He backed off with some guttural words, thankfully the metro stopped at Aria's final destination. Aria glanced around only on other person was in the car. He seemed surprised. And also angry. It was like he was filled with cold rage. Aria didn't like the way he felt any better than the creep. She hated the metro at night!

Aria put the dagger back under her coat, the sword on the opposite hip flashed into view before she hugged the opening closed again to get off the metro. Aria extended her sense to the extreme limits. It was difficult to maintain, but with the area less populated it was much easier, less people to deal with. Though it still was a challenge. It had been a long time since she'd hunted outside the city.
The last few weeks without using the Force had been an interesting experience. Almost like before he ever manifested his power. But nothing had compared to that first time he'd drawn on it after Ascendancy had finally lifted the ban. He'd forgotten the sheer pleasure it elicited. He'd gotten used to ignoring it and had gone on to experience other aspects of life that were not without their own interests and pleasures. But now, power restored, he couldn't help but revel in it.

In his room, Marcus smiled at the feel of the Force now coursing through his body, the sense of majesty and power. Multiple weaves emanated from him like tendrils, floating about at his every thought. Once he'd seen Vellas do it that fateful night- knew it was possible- it was as if the barrier had dropped. He'd been correct. His Force metaphor had hindered him in this case. And it turned out to be nothing difficult. Merely dividing his attention, as he would do with his hands and fingers.

Now threads of the Force emanated from him, two, then three, then four weaves, all held simultaneously. They were meant to do nothing of course but let him glory in his restored power. No human experience compared to this feeling, the sense of utter control and domination, of being connected to the heart of multiverse itself, to its power. He was a god among men, a man of note even at his young age, working with the most powerful man on earth. He felt that virility burn from his chest to his groin, that sense of sheer potentiality, a dynamo ready to walk among the people.

He released the Force easily. His ban had given him a greater sense of control. The time without it had, perhaps, weaned him of a dependency he'd not realized he'd been developing. A dependency to deal with stressful emotions, to hide from people, to deal with difficult or dangerous situations. Even to observe people. His non-power fueled activities- his date with Elouera or his socializing with the others in the consulate, that night with Spectra, his work, even workouts and fighting in the gym- had helped him to cease relying on the Force as a crutch. No longer was he cut off completely from humanity. He would go much farther this way.

He decided to walk through the Square, to observe the people. He had no wish to give away his abilities now that he had them back. He stopped at this stand or that vendor, feigning interest. He sat in one of the outdoor cafes of the GUM- heedless of the cold- watching the patrons walk in and out. The richest in Moscow milled about, people of privilege and power. But amid them were tourists and others, the everyday people.

Marcus was of both and none. He knew power and riches. He knew poverty and helplessness. After a time, he stood and up and continued to walk.

His eyes lit on one man, large, very strong, muscles that he knew were tight below his winter coat, and he smiled a cold smile. Of course, I would see Klaus at this moment. At the gym, the man walked about as if he owned it. The son of one of the Consuls the man seemed to think himself invincible. And of course felt it was his right to treat others however he liked- which was usually badly. He was a bully through and through.

Marcus well remembered the day Klaus' girlfriend "accidentally" fell against the leg-press machine, bruising her eye and forehead. She had been emotional with Klaus about something- it was hard to understand what she was saying through her thick Cuban accent- and after a moment of irritation at the interruption, Marcus had turned his back to his sparring. The scream and the crash whipped his head around and there was Klaus was helping her up, bruises already beginning to show.

But the furtive looks he gave, the compressed lips, the vein in his forehead, and the fear in her eyes told him what really happened. The man was a Consular's son and Marcus was still very new at the Kremlin. Still, Marcus almost decided to pay him a visit...almost. But he didn't have the Force then. And, to be honest, there would be more repercussions than he was ready for. At least for now. Down the road though....Still the reminder of his his impotence enraged him.

Malik surged to life, eager, hungry. Marcus had kept him at bay for months, controlling his desires. But it was finally time. He hungered to impose order on the universe, even if it was just a small thing.

Darth Malik took a metro to a poorer area and then went into a run down department store to purchase a dark hoody and t-shirt, a pair of nondescript jeans, gloves and a pair of boots. When returning to the station, he went into one of the bathroom stalls and changed from his stylish but casual clothing into that outfit. It wasn't meant to stand out. After depositing his clothes into one of the pay-as-you-need storage lockers, he caught the first subway train.

He wasn't looking for anything in particular. Or rather, he was aware that there was a multitude of possibilities he'd find if he waited long enough, just like back home, if he observed and listened- and followed. He had no work tomorrow. Indeed, he'd even made arrangements for an excursion out of town for the weekend- something he might now forgo if his hunt was successful. No one would know he was still in Moscow. His stomach fluttered a bit, excited at the opportunity, rage simmering.

Over the next few hours, he rode one train after another, in a multitude of directions. Oftentimes, he almost found a reason to begin, someone to to watch more closely. But each time he thought of getting off the train to follow, he held back. The man who surreptitiously whispered threats of spankings to his little son might have done. As did the woman who's nails no doubt left half-moon impressions in her daughter's arm. Then again, it wasn't exactly the crime he wanted to right, not those little things that might have been impulse.

He hungered for something darker. There were the two young men who taunted the man with the withered leg as he tried to reach the door in time. The woman flinching at at glare from the man with her. The teenage girl who shrunk in on herself anytime someone jostled her, fear evident. The old woman whose thick caked on makeup failed to disguise a black eye. So many possibilities offered themselves- people who he could follow and watch, see what injustice they perpetrated or endured.

He watched and his anger began to build, only a slow simmer, but hours went by, fury at the petty cruelties and indignities that people inflicted on others, on those that they should care for or those that depended on them. His rage continued to build, nursed as he watched and watched, the water in the pot building to a slow and steady boil.

But each time he considered leaving, he checked the temperature and it just wasn't hot enough yet. There was always something more that could be added, more fuel to the fire. He sought...something. It had to count. These people that thought themselves invisible, able to do what they wanted, as if no one would notice, as if no one would intervene, as if there was no judge to impose sentence for what went on behind locked doors. Well, most of the time they were right. Most of the time. But for one person tonight- he smiled grimly at the thought- for one very lucky person well....they would find out the truth. Oh yes they would.

It was late at night when he saw another potential target. Of course he wasn't really a target. A handsy drunk really didn't qualify. He'd stop him, of course. The woman though- short, dark hair, wrapped in a leather jacket- seemed on edge, as if wired. He'd seen that before, the jumpiness, the quickness to anger and threat. Something had happened to this woman, experiences in life that had pushed her to very edge. She'd stopped the man in his tracks- but with a dagger rather than simply words. Her threats held the the most savage force of a woman who'd been pushed to the breaking point. When she put her dagger back, Malik noticed a sword peaking out.

Few things in his experience that could do that to a woman were good. Few. And while the rage was still there, roiling beneath the surface, the fact was that it was getting late and the number of opportunities was vanishing. The need for it to matter, to be perfect, had caused him to let a few go that might have proven fruitful. Malik laughed at him, blamed the past months and fraternizing for his not acting right away. Marcus pushed him down, snarling. He was Sith. He did what he wanted, when he wanted. He had not gotten soft.

The doors to the car opened and the woman walked out. By then, he'd not held the Force for hours. It wasn't something he could hold all day long, especially when he was just waiting. He needed to be fresh. But now he seized it. He went to the open door and watched her stalk away, determined. Where was she going? Was there someone she was determined to kill? An abusive husband? A lecherous father? Someone else? Was that the person that hurt her, made her this way? He was curious.

The door dinged its signal to close and Malik stepped off the car onto the platform. He'd see what tonight had brought him.

Edited by Marcus DuBois, Nov 10 2014, 12:27 PM.
Aria left the metro with her sense wide open. It was hard to maintain for long periods of time, but it was less populated here on the outskirts of the city, the number of people was far less than in the inner city where she usually hunted.

It wasn't far to where the last crime scene had been found. Aria knew she couldn't get close to it, but she didn't need to.

The site was barricaded off and it was clearly not the murder site only the place where the creature had dumped the body. There was some sort of humanity in the creature, someone who wanted the girl's bodies to be found. Recognition was a motivator. But for a monster it was highly unusual. But rougarou could be highly functional. So you never really knew.

Aria walked around the area looking and searching for the right trail to follow. The area blocked from traffic wasn't very large, but she had to keep out of sight none-the-less, the CCPD were probably watching things very closely, and the tunnel scene was a bit too fresh in Aria's head. An officer who could wield the power of the gods, and his boss who wasn't overly surprised by her or the oni she'd been fighting. That didn't make for a good combination.

Aria found the trail she was looking for. The desire had been only mildly sedated as she followed it through the alleys and vacant lots.
Malik stayed back far enough that she could not hear him. The Force wrapped around him and he was able to see her easily from a distance. They were in the outskirts of town now. She checked her Wallet and then kept walking. He was puzzled. So she wasn't going home to someone. She was going somewhere she needed directions to.

He sighed. Perhaps this had been a mistake. But he was out and she was up to something. He would at least satisfy his curiosity. It always had to be right, it had to be something that he truly felt in his bones. He'd been out many times before, back in Chicago, when he'd found no one. This night would probably be the same, but he might as well see it through.

They walked for quite a distance, the neighborhood thinning to run-down houses interspersed with trees like weeds. He heard dogs bark in the distance, saw the occasional light on inside. He wondered what she was doing there. A young woman- he guessed she was pretty, though not his type- out here was asking to be raped and worse.

A thought occurred to him and he smiled. Perhaps that was exactly what she was doing. A vigilante, a woman who'd been pushed over the edge by some heinous crime- rape or worse- and was now using herself as bait, ready with her dagger and sword. Stupid, of course. She had to weigh 100 pounds and was not over 5 feet tall. She'd be dead or worse at the whim of someone like that- more likely lots of someones. It would not be pretty.

His smile widened. This could work very well. She'd draw the damned to him, unaware that a dark angel watched over her. His teeth showed. This could be quite fun after all. His heart beat faster and his breaths became deeper, in preparation. It wasn't his favorite. He usually liked to take his time, to extract the justice and the admissions over a while, so that they really understood why they died. But taking out a pack of would-be rapists would do.

She turned a side-street and as he followed he saw an open area surrounded by trees. Two squad cars were parked, lights illuminating everything. Yellow crime scene tape cordonned off a section where there was little activity at this hour. It was pretty much deserted except for the cops that were in their cars. They must have been guarding the place.

Moscow winters were cold, but he'd bet that the scene had been processed earlier and just needed some paperwork to release it back to the city. A news story he'd scene when he got back from the gym that afternoon flashed to his mind. Another body of a young girl had been found. All the victims so far had been kidnapped and then tortured before being killed and dumped. The were calling the killer The Butcher. The last one had been in this area, just outside of town. This must be the location where the body was found, dumped like trash. His nostrils flared. Now that was a person he'd like to meet. He coudn't help but smile and draw on the Force more strongly. That would be a very good day.

She stood, watching scene from a distance. She didn't seem scared. Though she kept back, she didn't really hide the fact that she was looking around, as if trying to find something. His head tilted. This was getting more odd. What was she doing there? Had the latest victim been her sister or someone she knew? He thought about her weapons and shook his head. Did she think to stop the guy?

Abruptly, she started off in another direction, away from the police. He followed to see what happened.
The world slept as Aria hunted down whatever killed those girls. She wasn't exactly sure it was a monster, too many inconsistencies with rougarou, but it could be something else, something not human. Either way if was human she could always send an anonymous tip to the authorities if it proved mundane. Aria wondered why Dane's doctor had not helped track down such killers. She was surely capable of blocking her abilities, which could really mean only one thing. She was Sentient.

A Sentient sat on the police force just interviewing perps. They could put her to so much better use if they only knew her abilities. Maybe that's why the she'd run across the godling officer. They were putting together a different kind of task force? An interesting concept. If only the Atharim were so progressive. Aria sighed.

The trail was much easier to find as she went through the streets. There were less and less people and soon the houses and buildings were so far apart, Aria wondered if this was still even considered Moscow.

The street lights were no more, Aria walked by the light of the moon alone. Very few cars passed her direction and the only sounds she heard were those of nature. Farther and farther from the city she walked. It was going to be hell getting home.

A house with a single light on drew into view. At the very edge of her senses she could feel the hunger of this creature. Aria pulled out her sword and walked cautiously up to the picket fence. It was dilapidated and the paint looked old and faded, and parts were devoid of any paint at all. There were animals around, they were a presences, but no real emotional output unless they really got excited. Aria opened the gate slowly to avoid creaking. Aria could see a few goats asleep by a lean-to and a dog paced by the door. It looked at her and gave a soft rumble.

Aria moved slowly, and the dog followed her through the yard. When their paths crossed Aria held out her hand and the dog sniffed it. And when it gave no air of commotion Aria scratched the straggly thing behind the ears.

There were two people, the one upstairs was full of evil, there really was no other way to put it. Aria caught a glimpse of him through the kitchen window, he was cooking a meal with a headset on his head.

But it was the one who was farther in the house that drew Aria's attention. The fear, the pain, the worry, it drew her. The man inside was busy. Aria started looking for another way in. Someplace to see what was happening inside. This was not a monster, and she knew she should leave, but the one inside made Aria reckless.
Malik followed from a distance. The woman was focused. She didn't use her wallet to chart her direction, but she was definitely headed somewhere specific now. She was always headed in the same general direction even as she took a side street that went another way for a bit. He furrowed his brow. What was going on? The direction she took led them further and further to the outskirts of the city. From time to time, he could hear barking in the distance, but other than that, it was quiet, very quiet. He pulled on the Force. Something was going on. Small lone women did not usually spend their evening somehow following a trail to somewhere.

He followed, his heart starting to pound. This was very very strange. He disliked things out of his control or understanding. But he refused to give into his irritation. He had the Force in his hands, he dominated it. He would see and understand this thing.

She got closer to a house that sat alone in the distance, a single light on to illuminate it. It was run down and falling apart, including the picket fence that surrounded it. The light that reflected off the slats showed they not white, but rather dark grey and black.

That was her destination and she pulled out her sword, walking closer to the fence. His curiosity was peaked and there was no way that he was going back. What was she doing here? She carried that sword as if she had used it before. She opened the gate quietly and stealthily moved closer onto the porch. He followed carefully, picking his way across the street. He stopped at a tree and watched her. A dog growled but then did nothing more than come up to her and sniff her hand. She looked through a window and then looked around.

Malik waited to see what she would do. She might be the prey he was after. But he had to be sure.
The fear drew Aria in. It was strong, it was mixed with pain and helplessness. There was no hope left in the person beneath the farm house. Aria searched the perimeter of the house and found an entrance to the storm cellar below. The fear was nearly overwhelming from this particular vantage point. Just inside Aria could feel the victim of this man, waiting until he returned, the unknown was far worse than knowing in some cases. How long until you ended up just like one of the other girls...

The door was locked, but it was made of wood. She could shoot the hinges off, but that's too noisy. Aria sighed. Looking around she saw nothing of use. The only of real use was her sword, but she'd never thought to use any sword as an ax before? The blade did not dull, nor nick on stone or metal, wood should do even less harm. But would it work.

Aria glanced around, and raised her sword above her head. She took aim at the hinge locations and hoped to break through the wood there to get inside. Hopefully that was all it would need. Aria took a deep breath and swung her sword into the wood. It was a loud thud, and the wood broke away. It wasn't nearly as sturdy as it had looked. Aria hit the area above the same hinge again and she could see a dim light through the wood. A few more swings and Aria was able to move the storm cellar door from the opening.

The fear and pain were only a mere feet away. She took the first step down into the storm cellar, the boards creaked under he feet. Aria closed her eyes, behind the closest door the fear shook. Her hands trembled with the fear. Aria reached for the door... SLAM! Everything went black.
He watched her walk down the porch steps- that dog followed at her heals- and around the side of the house. After a minute or two, Malik took his chance. He walked to the fence and went inside. She was looking for a way to get in. He walked up onto the porch- grateful for his dark hoody and skin- and carefully looked inside. There, he saw a man in the kitchen with headphones on, putting a plate on his table. The man, maybe in his late 30's, greasy thinning red hair set in a bad comb-over, and was big in the shoulders and arms. He had a gut on him too. Malik didn't like the look of him but that meant nothing. This guy could be just some random guy. If the girl was his prey, then this poor schlub was an innocent. The man looked at something in his hand and then got up and left the table. Malik watched for a while, waiting for the man to return.

It did strike him as odd, though, that she should go from a crime scene to this out of the way place. If she was some sort of killer, why choose a victim so far away? Why the visit to the crime scene at all? Could she be an accomplice of his? If so, why the sneaking? Why pull out the sword? None of this made sense to him. He needed to see where the girl went.

He carefully left the porch and followed around to the side of the house. Carefully peeking around the back corner, some very nasty weaves prepared just in case, he saw....

....nothing. Just a storm cellar entrance in the ground. He looked around. The back of the lot appeared to be cleared fairly regularly and there weren't any places to hide. He looked up the side of the house and saw nothing. The lights in the window were off. Where had she gone?

He carefully moved to the door and was surprised. It looked like the wood had been chopped open with an axe. He wondered if that was old or new. He looked at the door, closed, and then the packed snow surrounding it. There were chips of wood against the white of the snow. This was fresh. So she'd gone in down here after breaking through the door. He stood there for a moment, debating. Warn the man out front or follow after her?

He still didn't know what was going on or their relationship. He needed more information. Using a weave of air, he dampened the sound around the hinges while another weave of air pulled the door open.

He looked into the darkness, waiting- he always loved the hunt, the knowledge that the person was soon going to realize how very badly they had fucked up, that a god was coming- and then stepped in, listening with his Force enhanced senses....
Splitting pain pierced Aria's head. She came to with a vile hand clutching the hair at the nape of her neck. She tried to move and get away but his grip only tightened. The feelings of ... evil ... radiated from this man. He was a monster, but not of the type she hunted. Aria could barely see anything, the pain throbbed in her head. She could barely focus as she was shoved behind a few barrels close to the wall. The man followed and the wall??? slide closed behind her. Aria could hear screaming, could feel the fear and pain of the girl she'd been feeling before. She wasn't screaming for release, it was a cry of pain. Aria knew the difference. Her body trembled with the girl's fear. The fear and pain were no longer intoxicating, they permeated Aria's psyche like they were her own. It overwhelmed her sense of self.

Guiding Aria through the labyrinth he built beneath his house, he spoke, but Aria couldn't focus on him, there was only the fear, the earth shattering fear. Her own fears, coming to the surface. She feared death, but a new fear emerged, one she'd never felt before, that of loss. Tears fell as Aria thought about not seeing Lucas again. The man laughed at her weakness. "So fragile. You shall be most exhilarating."

Aria struggled to remember what she was, who she was. To pull herself from the depths of the girl's fear, and her own.

He dragged Aria through each room. The first he thrust her into was his butchering room. Inside hung things you'd see in a meat shop. Except there was no hanging animals, Aria saw a foot lying in the corner discarded for whatever reason. There were fingers in a bowl waiting to be processed for some sinister purpose. The were organs in jars filled with something. Aria couldn't tell, as her stomach emptied its contents on to the floor.

Her natural reflex gained her freedom, but only for a moment as he flung her against the wall. Aria's breath was crushed from her chest and he backhanded her with the hand he'd been holding in her hair. Aria could taste the blood in her mouth, just as Father Stone had done to her. It was enough that Aria could pull herself out of the darkness of the fear inside. Aria tried to move quickly but he saw her move. Where was her sword?

The man moved quicker than he looked, he threw the butt of his rifle into her gut and Aria doubled over in pain.

He grabbed her again by the neck and moved her through the labryith again. The next room was even worse than the last. It was covered in things Aria didn't want to know what he used them for. But some of them were clear to her. None of them were nice. This was where he raped the girls, and from the looks of the blood stains on the floor he was not too pleasant about it.

Aria's mind wandered with the pain inside, to the things she'd done with Dane. To the pain they had inflicted, no that she had inflicted on the reporter. To the beginning of her end. The memories brought back those feelings. The darkness threatened to consume her. The need to hurt him, the need was beyond hurt, she wanted to kill him, and make him suffer, like he made these girls suffer.

Aria tried to fight back but she didn't have the strength needed or the leverage to do so. He held her so in the right manner her ability to fight was hindered. He was bigger and stronger, so it wasn't difficult to keep her that way. He was practiced in the maneuver it seemed.

The last place he wanted to show Aria was the girl who was screaming. He opened the door and Aria could clearly see a girl with red matted hair in a dirty silk nighty. Aria wondered if he'd dressed her up or found her that way. Aria's heart leapt into her throat, the girl was pinned to the floor with what looked like a bowling ball, or several. They were crushing her stomach, she could barely breath and yet she found the air to scream. Aria could feel the pain in the throat it was raw from screaming. The pain from the weight on her chest and stomach. The chains keeping her from moving the weights bit into the girl's wrists and ankles. Aria swallowed the bile that rose in her mouth at the sight, the pain was too much. The fear rose in her, her own fear.

He opened the door to the room next to the redhead and dragged Aria in. Chains hung from the walls and he grabbed a pair of manacles and fought with Aria as she tried to gain the right leverage. He took the manacle and clocked Aria across the face with it. "Hold still, bitch". By the time Aria had recovered from the blow he'd had her restrained with chains.

She heard the door lock behind her after he slammed it shut. Aria fell to the floor trying to maintain her being of self. A screen flipped on, the sound blaring the screams of yet another girl. Aria watched in horror as he did unspeakable things. Aria tried to focus on something other than the screen that lit the small room. There was barely room to lay down flat, much less do anything. The ceilings was barely able for her to walk under and came to an abrupt angle like a ceiling might do in the attic of the house, except this was underground.

Aria sought what Lucas had given her, sought the comfort of his strength. But it was not in reach. The pain and the fear and the hatred were the only things that mattered.

Aria heard him move the weights on the girl, dropping them someplace else with a thud that shook the walls. Dust and dirt rained from the ceiling. The chains were undone and the girls screamed as he hauled her away. Aria could feel the lust from the man. Aria closed her eyes and tried to block everything out, but she failed miserably, both screaming girls echoed in her head. She could only imagine the pain and fear from the recording that played. She could feel her own fear, the fear and the pain of the girl and all the horrid things he wanted to do to the red head. Aria had never know this type of fear... not ever!
He listened...and heard nothing. No sounds down in the cellar. And nothing from upstairs. He wove a faint blue light, enough to illuminate the room as moonlight would, and looked around. Right near the stairs into the cellar were stairs going up to the first floor. The door was partially cracked open, the light streaming in, but that was it.

He looked around and walked slowly, keeping his light still so as to not create moving shadows. Along one wall were shelves lined with regular tools and garden implements. The wall next to it had a shelf with jars and cleaners and other things. And the third had barrels stacked. The last wall had the stairs he descended from. That was it. The room was maybe 15 feet by 10 feet. And there was no one here. He did notice something on the ground near the tools. First he looked around and then knelt, still alert, and picked it up. It was the woman's sword. He slipped it into his belt loop.

He looked up sharply, scanning the room again. No one else was here. But in his mind his focus had already shifted from the woman to the man upstairs. He didn't think she'd leave it, not the way she'd held on to it. He remembered the crime scene. The dead girl- no, girls. Had this woman seen something there that the police had missed, something that told her this was The Butcher?

Darth Malik smiled. Now this was more like it. A serial killer who tortured and killed women. Oh he could have some fun with someone like that. So where had he taken her? Carefully, Malik walked up the stairs- they were concrete so there was no creaking- until he got to the door. He looked behind himself one last time before letting the weave of light go. Then he wove his listening thread- four of them and sent them out the door in random directions. He heard nothing except the sound of the heater fan blowing, the slow hum of the refrigerator, and the click of an old style clock.

Malik pushed open the door, a weave of fire and air at the ready. Just an old couch facing an old flat panel TV. The walls were a yellow brown and the room smelled musty. He walked forward and looked to the left, seeing the front door and the kitchen he'd looked into earlier. The man's dinner lay on the table, only a few bites taken. On the table were also a pair of media headphones. He came closer and picked them up in his gloved hands. They were old with a radio receiver and 500 TB storage. He hit the "now playing" button and the title "t17" came up in the holographic display in the air. He turned the volume down to 1, put the speaker near his ear and pressed "play". Screams fountained from the headphones, throaty fully bodied from the depths of ones soul, interspersed with quiet from having to breath or pleas and tears. He pressed stop almost at once. He knew those screams. He knew what caused them. This was the guy. And now he had that stupid girl who'd thought to hunt him.

He noted that the holographic display also had other information. The device was tied to a home security system. "Perimeter breach- cellar." So that was how he knew. He put the headphones down and walked to the bedroom, Force senses at his fullest. There were only a few rooms, a bathroom and a couple bedrooms. There was nothing in the first room that was strange. But then again, dust settled over most of the stuff in there. It wasn't used. There was a picture of a severe looking mother and a child that looked odd. The other room though, was lived in. A TV and a bed was pretty much it, windows boarded up, dirty clothes covering everything. He didn't touch the TV or the drawers. He had a feeling what he'd find. Trophies and recordings, most likely, so that he could relive his moments while in bed. The lotion on the nightstand was half empty.

But no man and no girl. Could they have left? He would have heard a car start. There had been a car. He went back out to the living room and peered out and it was still there. So they still had to be here.

Malik breathed deeply, feeling the Force flow through him and he smiled. It was time. This one, more than any other. He would beg and plead as those girls did. The girl. Malik's nostrils flared, his head filling with rage and anger...and anticipation. This one would be the best he ever had.

He went back downstairs, alert, using his listening weaves, his ball of blue light. This time, he studied the cellar space while mentally reviewing each room upstairs, placing it in relation to down stairs.

He shook he head. Far too small. One of these was a fake wall. He wove a cube of air to sheath the walls and floor and then hardened it. No sound would penetrate now. Another weave ripped the tools and rack from the wall leaving it bare. The white paint was brown with dust and cobwebs and scuffs. No seams appeared. He did the same with the shelf, jars breaking and shelves clattering to the ground. Finally came the wall with the barrels. There it was. Hinges and a door. There was a biometric lock on it but that was a joke. He wove a thread of fire around the seams of the door and then used air to slide it out gently.

Darth Malik stepped into the dank hallway. He noticed the walls had been covered in sound suppression material. It made sense. But he could hear just fine now, down here. The screams echoed.

Weaving fire and air, he strode through the hall.

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