Annie and Spencer glanced at each other, bemused. Both shut off their flashlights and cautiously crept along the alley, following the sound of garbage cans being clacked together.
Stopping short, they listened to angry grunting and plastic bags being ripped apart, with unwanted items strewn into the road. Slowly, they stepped beside the garage door and poked their heads around the wall, expecting a gaggle of bored teenagers. Annie’s jaw dropped.
In the bright moonlight, they saw a man . . . but not a man. He was easily over seven feet tall, very thick and muscular. Whatever he was, he lifted the can above his head with no effort and dumped the contents on the ground.
“That is one big . . . what is it?” Spencer asked.
Annie flashed her light in the creature’s eyes, temporarily blinding it. She took in its face, its pockmarked skin covered in battle scars, its delicate features for a creature of that size and girth, a long, thin nose, close-set eyes, and squared yellow teeth. To Annie, the creature’s face seemed nearly human. Though he was bigger than even a large human man, she could see his human-like limbs, long and thick, and five fingers on each hand.
“I think he’s a large demon?” Annie asked. But there was something in his quizzical expression, his lack of communication.
Is he human or demon?
“What are you doing, sir?” Spencer asked cautiously, his palms facing the being that he too had been struggling to identify.
There were two basic classifications for demons: humanoid or animalhood. A humanoid demon had delicate human features, relatively hairless skin, and independent thought. They were vampires, furies, succubae, banshees, and the like.
The other demons, animalhood, seemed less like people and were covered in fur or scales. Some had four limbs and a head, but they lacked speech and independent thought. Usually, that particular demon lived in the wilderness, away from civilization and hunted prey.
Both Annie and Spencer saw this creature as something different.
The demon grunted in surprise, offered no explanation for his presence, and in one easy motion, tossed the garbage can at them and ran down the alley.
“Crap, that thing is huge,” Spencer noted as he and Annie charged after it.
For his size and girth, he lumbered down the alley quickly. Fearing exposure if they teleported after it, Annie and Spencer pumped their arms and picked up their pace to keep from losing him in the darkness.
The demon turned left at the next intersection as if he knew where he was going, running faster without tiring. Annie and Spencer followed and were soon dripping in sweat, with cramps in their legs and sides.
Without warning, the demon slid to a stop. Annie and Spencer slowed and crept along the edge of the sidewalk, trying to ascertain what had stopped him so quickly. Blocking its path was an equally tall and sturdy man, his eyes glaring at the creature. Annie observed him quickly but in the dark could only see his tunic, tied at the waist with a thin string and a sword hanging at his hip.
“What the hell?” Spencer murmured
They observed the man with the sword intently. He removed long, thin hair from his face as his eyes darted from the demon to them. He shouted harshly at the demon.
“What did he say?” Spencer asked Annie.
“I don’t know,” she admitted. In an instant, the demon ran one way, the man the other.
“Go!” Annie pointed. She followed the demon, leaving Spencer to chase the man.
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