Root of All Darkness

“Did we find the bodies yet, Finch?” Shaw asked. Her words were very sudden over the communications network. It made Finch jump a little bit in his chair even though he had ample experience with Sameen Shaw’s abruptness.

“Yes, Ms. Shaw. Mr. Reese and Detective Fusco found the unfortunate victims in a cellar uptown. They had been drained completely of blood. A horrible fate I suppose the machine should have warned us about. And yet it failed to find the threat before we could neutralize it.” Finch said. His words and tone were professional but just underneath the surface he was obviously wracked with emotion.

“So we’re dealing with some kind of vampire. Is it our number? Is our number a vampire?” Shaw asked. Her voice was level so it was hard for Finch to tell if Shaw was being serious. He hoped she was not.

“While the circumstances seem appropriate now that Halloween is coming soon, it is my theory that their blood was used in some back alley transaction. Perhaps some sort of medical facility for criminals.” Finch said. He then paused for a moment. “I fear what the answer may be but where are you, Ms. Shaw?” He had a sudden dread in his voice.

“I’m the only one on the ball, Finch. I’m closing in on our number.” Shaw said. She drew her pistol from its holster.

“Ms. Shaw, please wait for back up. I have a feeling – ” Finch said before getting cut off. There was suddenly only static on the line. Shaw turned off her comm system for the moment and took her earpiece out. It wasn’t standard protocol but the static was irritating.

The underground chambers Shaw was walking through were not all that different from the old subway system she had been forced to stay in while she hid from Samaritan. It made her a little restless at first but she tried to think of all the positive missions she had completed underground. She thought of the tunnels she had protected Genrika in and touched the Order of Lenin medal in her jacket pocket. She tried to distract herself for a moment by counting the flickers in the lights. She quietly cocked her pistol and prepared to enter the next chamber. She kept her gun low, ready for knee caps.

“Hello, Sameen. I thought I turned off his cellphone.” Root said.

“You did. I had a second tracker hidden in his shoe.” Shaw said.

The number, Mark Bozard, was sitting in a chair which he was tied to. His head was slumped forward and he was not moving. Shaw could not see his face but she could guess what was going on and what had happened.

‘You killed him.” Shaw said. It was not a question.

“I thought we didn’t do that anymore. So, why?” Shaw asked. Her gaze was even, completely unjudgemental.

“He killed a lot of people. He had to be put down. You wouldn’t understand.” Root said.

Shaw frowned. “I think I could understand if you let me try.”

Root stepped around the body and got close to Shaw. She reached out to gently stroke Shaw’s cheek with her thumb. “He was a vampire. He was going to keep on killing.” She said. She reached and pulled back the upper lip of Mr. Bozard and showed off his fangs.

“I can believe it,” Shaw said simply.

“You can. Can’t you?” Root asked with a thoroughly amused, flirty smirk.

Shaw allowed herself a slight smile. “You may be crazy but you’ve never lied to me. Not when it counts.”

“I could never lie to you.” Root said with a look that made Sameen turn away for just a moment.

“Why didn’t you tell the team?” Shaw asked. “They would believe you. You have proof.”

“I couldn’t. They might believe me but they wouldn’t understand.” Root said with a sigh.

“Because you’re a vampire too,” Shaw said. Again, it was not a question and was said with absolute certainty. As usual, Shaw’s face betrayed nothing. On the other hand, Root’s eyes widened in surprise and she glanced at Shaw’s pistol. Finally, somebody had managed to surprise the unflappable Root.

“I am.” Root said softly. She looked away quickly, afraid for a moment of what she would see in Sameen’s eyes.

“If I was going to kill you, Root, I would have done it the first time you kidnapped me,” Shaw said.

“Thank you, Sameen,” Root said. “To be fair, I didn’t take any joy from the killing. We have a code that we keep. Killing like he did is forbidden. I’m different, I only feed from blood banks.”

“Tell me about it,” Shaw said softly.

Root smiled. “I can’t say no to you.” She took a deep breath. “When I ran away from home, I was looking for revenge. That didn’t change as I got older. That anger never really goes away. When that vampire found me in that dark place, both literally and figuratively, he offered me power. With my computer skills and my new supernatural powers, I could punish anybody I wanted to. I was on the verge of killing a lot of people.”

“But you didn’t,” Shaw said.

“No. I did kill but it was not the bloodbath I dreamed of. I found the Machine and my world changed. I had to be worthy of her. I changed. When I met Harold, my ‘life’ changed again. I don’t kill like that anymore. I might still have that thirst but I have a duty to the Machine, Harold and you.”

“And me?” Shaw asked with that same hint of a smile.

“Of course. Always you.” Root said. “Any more questions?”

“Not right now. I suppose I can live with this new information.” Shaw said.

“Good. Please don’t tell Harold.” Root said.

“You think they wouldn’t understand?” Shaw asked.

“I think Harold has a particular worldview that he’s not ready to give up”

“I think we can keep this one secret from him,” Shaw said.

“Just this one?” Root asked. She looked into Sameen’s eyes.

Sameen Shaw smiled slightly.

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One Response to “Root of All Darkness”

  1. Halloween 2016 Wrap-Up | Wolf of Words Says:

    […] Awakening in Neptune  Root of all Darkness […]

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