|Summary:||Priscilla the cat is treated in a most undignified fashion.|
Some of the run-off from the Quarter ends up here in the Seventh Ward. Along their shared boundaries are more bars, but a large part of the ward is given over to more residential sorts of areas. Homes here range from run down, but still expensive given their locale, to downright resplendent. There are a couple of grade schools, churches and grocery stores among the homes.
The range in style of building and upkeep is what really gives this place character. Go down one street and you might find a small mansion with breathtaking French architecture. Head down another and the houses could be boarded up or graffitied. The only thing in common with many places is that they are old and some damages have been repaired, while others are left to sit.
The dark part of the Seventh Ward is not where one really wants to go hang out during the day, nevermind at night. Nevertheless, here Luke is, on foot, his bike parked about a block back, studying his phone with a frown on his face. "Dammit," he mutters to himself, and turns down a literal dark alley. He pauses, glances up to see where he is, and mutters, "Oh, come /on/."
Zephirin isn't particularly afraid of the dark- its part of his element. He's hunting, as he is often want to do- looking for those who'd make good marks for his particular brand of hunger. Zephirin leans against the wall at the mouth of the alley Luke had just turned down. The spicy scent of Zephirin's personal tobacco blend floats through the air as he smokes and listens.
Funny thing about Luke: he doesn't ignore people. Most people on a mission, they just keep going, they do the mission, they ignore everything else, especially in a dark part of town. This guy flashes a wry grin at the man leaning on the wall, nods politely, and waves the phone, a cheap smartphone. "Lost cat," says the Constable sourly. The ring is in plain sight and apparently the mission isn't very secret; he begins wandering deeper into the alley, phone in hand.
"Lost cat, huh?" Zephirin wonders quietly, as he takes another long pull at his cigarette. The dull-orange ember at the end flashing a brighter red as the man smokes quietly. He watches still. "Not a particularly good part of the city to lose a cat." he notes, as his eyes turn towards a house that's lights are on. People are inside. He's just watching for now.
Still, Luke is an interesting diversion- Zephirin slides a little deeper into the alley, keeping his distance from Luke- more a witness than an active participant. "What sort of cat?"
"Haven't seen one like that." Zephirin offers- still just watching Luke as he wanders around, looking for a cat. The dark-skinned beast grins quietly as he watches Luke's frustration and movement- following his phone like that. "So, you got a cat-finding app on there or something?" he asks, "Some sort of GPS enabled collar?"
"GPS tracking chip." Luke pauses and looks the alley over slowly, with a rather penetrating stare. There's a large dumpster. He shoves the phone into his pocket and starts for it - it's the only thing something as big as a cat could conceivably hide in. "Why am I starting to regret my life?" he muses to the world at large, then rolls up his sleeves and shoves the lid back on the dumpster. "Stand back," he warns Zephirin. "This is going to get messy."
Zephirin chuckles, standing back as requested. His eyes slide again towards the building he'd been watching- the people are still inside. Music can be heard, albeit faint."Good luck." he says, before taking another long pull on his cigarette. "So, is this your cat?" he wonders next, "Or are you some sort of Pet Detective?"
"Black Constable," Luke says distractedly, and hauls himself up and over the edge of the dumpster. "The jobs are weird. The pay is damn decent." He perches on the edge of it, wincing. "She said dead or alive," he says with a shudder, and... drops into the dumpster. Squelch. "Ugh." And then the bags start getting tossed out one by one. This is why he had Zephirin stand back.
"Ah." Zephirin offers quietly, still watching form his position- attention still split. Looking to the house- then back to the dumpster. "Well, if a cat hasn't jumped out of that dumpster, I'm guessing that cat is dead. Could be in a state of superposition, somewhere between life and death until we know."
"I suppose that's possible," Luke says distractedly, with a grunt, as a particularly heavy bag gets heaved out. "Could be some kind of weird ghost cat. I've heard of ghost cats before, but..." Heave. "Don't think I've ever known anyone who's seen one..." Toss. He looks around one last time, then clambers out of the dumpster, considerably grimier. "Ugh." He gives himself a reflexive shake, half a shudder.
"Any luck in finding your potentially dead cat?" Zephirin wonders as he watches Luke dig himself out of the dumpster. "You know, you could have just dumped the whole thing over." he offers, helpfully, after the fact. "As for ghostly cats. Yeah, can't say I've ever seen one of those, either." he continues, as he takes another long pull on his cigarette. "How long as the signal been coming from here? HAs it moved at all?"
Luke wipes his hands off on his jeans and shudders again. "Let me check." Out comes the phone, and he pokes it a couple of times to get the app up again. "It's moved." That's hopeful! "I dunno what you've heard about Constables, but we're not in the habit of flipping over entire dumpsters for fun. Plus if the cat had been alive, that would've been bad for its continued survival." Luke begins walking, following the signal. It's leading him along the line of trash bags. "Though I'm getting less and less hopeful."
"Mm." Zephirin intones, shaking his head. "I've heard enough." he replies simply. "Ghost hunters, shit like that." the Beast replies as he continues to watch Luke and his work. "Doesn't seem that glamorous." he says with a chuckle- smiling still. "Still, as long as you like it and it puts food on the table." he says as he continues to watch.
"That it does and that I do. First steady job I've had that didn't involve being someone's lunch." Luke wanders the length of the assembled trash bags like a general inspecting his troops, phone held over each one... and then he stops and crouches down over one. Out comes a pocket knife and he cuts it open. "Doesn't smell like dead cat..." Weird. "So, the signal's been either intermittent or dampened since I got it. It /was/ moving. I lost it for a while, had to do a ritual or two to pick it back up." Trash spills out onto the alley street. Luke begins laying it out. It looks like it came from a public trash can, maybe - lots of drink containers, soda cans, food wrappers. Maybe the park across the street. No dead cats, though. He waves the phone over the assembled trash, but not much changes.
Zephirin chuckles quietly again- tossing his cigarette off to the side. "You sure that's not just drift from the satellite? Those things aren't exactly the most accurate in the world. Lots of margin for error." Zeph states. "Why does someone need a cat alive or dead? Seems a little odd, that."
"So does hiring a Constable to find your cat," Luke points out, and stares at the trash. "This is getting ridiculous." But, they pay him the big bucks for a reason. "I was hoping not to have to do something dramatic," he grumbles. "It's a cat, for fuck's sake, how hard can it be?"
"Dramatic?" Zephirin wonders, still quietly watching. He begins to roll another cigarette. "Apparently its not so easy as walking around and using a phone." he notes, "So, you don't ask many questions, then? They hire you and you just go ahead and do it?" Zeph wonders next, "Even if it seems sort of fucked- like being hired to be some sort of cat bounty-hunter?"
A quiet chuckle slips out. "Sure I ask questions," Luke says mildly. "But the lady who lost this cat, she's little and old and sweet, and when she waves a big wad of cash as promise on delivery, you don't say no. OK, gimme a second." And he wipes his hands off one more time, then digs into his other pocket for... a deck of cards, wrapped in cloth. He steps away from the trash and crouches down to put the cloth there and open it up fully. The card deck is at least two inches high, and the backs of the cards are many and varied. He picks the top half of the deck up and begins shuffling. "I can't believe I'm doing this." Reading tarot for a cat.
"Well, I hope it works well for the you. And the cat." Zephirin says with a grin- looking again towards the house he'd been staking out. "So, how's that work- tarot, that is?" he wonders. "Some sort of focus for you?"
"I ask a question," Luke says, and draws one single card. He blinks at it, then looks at the trash. "And I get an answer. Or... a lot of answers. Suddenly I'm not liking this much." He reaches over and picks up a green and blue soda can, shakes it. Something metal rattles inside. He flips it over, shakes it out... and out drops a GPS tracker. "Son of a bitch. She's deliberately evading me." He reaches down to pick up the little metal thing.
Zephirin chuckles quietly. "That's one hell of a cat." he notes, "To have removed a tracking chip. So... is this a real cat?" he wonders, next. "Or are we talking cursed spirit inside a cat?" he asks next- still smiling quietly. "So, what's your name again? I'm Zephirin."
"Luke," says Luke distractedly, still staring at the mess. "Hi Zephirin. Nice name. I like it." He's quiet for a moment or two, just... absorbing this. "She's somewhere close to water. God, I hope it's not the swamp." He winces. "Knight of cups - the spirit and the physical. Yeah. Cat-spirit. You'd think the old lady would've said something about that!" He sounds a bit aggravated.
"Why would she?" Zephirin replies, "You're just the guy who was hired to find a cat." he chuckles, "Why give you a chance to have the proper tools to succeed- that be madness." he jests quietly, as he finishes rolling his cigarette- having taken his sweet time in doing so. He lights the smoke, and again that spicy-scented blend of tobacco and herbs fills the alley. "Water, huh?" he asks. "There's a lot of water in a place that's under sea level." he remarks.
"You've got that right," Luke grumbles. "I guess I should be more cynical." He straightens up, finally. The smoke is good - it's better than the stink of trash. He tucks his cards away, then grabs a bag and tosses it into the open dumpster. Thump! "It's somewhere with blue water. I'll know it when I see it - I've got a sense of it, sort of." Great, now he's obsessed with finding this cat. "It's blue and green and... brackish, with open air. The delta, somewhere." Better that than the lake, at least. "She's a /cat/, she can't have gone all /that/ far." Right?
"Cats can get pretty far." Zephirin notes, "I particularly a pretty cat, if she's friendly. If she's smart enough to drop off a tracking chip- she might be smart enough to use human emotion towards whatever quest she's given herself." he remarks with a quiet smile. "You'll be hard pressed to find too much blue water in New Orleans. I'd say you're looking for a swimming pool. All the water around here is silty from the Mississippi. Kicks up a lot of mud."
"Nngh." Luke scowls and tosses another bag in, then another. At least he cleans up after himself? He's not doing much about that one empty bag, though. "So, don't suppose you know any places like that around here? It would have to be sheltered, and... probably pretty. Lots of birds. Maybe a pond? Do they have ponds?" He's totally going to drag Zephirin into this - the poor man might not get to eat for a while if he doesn't tell Luke to fuck off.
"Around here?" Zephirin wonders, looking around quietly. "Hrm." he thinks a moment, looking from place to place- "City park isn't too far from here, not sure if that fits the bill for sheltered. Maybe the zoo, a bird exhibit? They got a Flamingo thing. I'm sure they got otherbirds."
"Show me," Luke says. Toss - there goes the last bag. He wipes his hands off and winces. "I mean, please? Sorry, I'm not a native. I'll pay you." He gives Zephirin a hopeful look. "The zoo sounds like the best bet so far."
"Alright." Zephirin offers, "If you're paying." he says, looking again at the house he'd been watching. He could always catch up again. "Zoo is this way." he turns and unerringly begins to move towards the direction in question. He seems to know his way about- taking the most direct route possible towards the location in question. "So, what got you into the Constabulary?"
Located in Audubon Park, the zoo is home to about 2000 animals; among them their famous white alligators, part of a popular Swamp Exhibit, which depicts life in the Lousiana swamplands. A colorful carousel has its own menagerie of 60 creatures including horses, rhinos, elephants, and giraffes. The center of the zoo features the Four Elephants Fountain, where visitors are greeted by playful statues of elephants and rhinos, both of which can be seen in the flesh as well. A walk through a grove of live oaks in one corner of the park brings one to another fountain depicting Hygea, one of the remnants of the park's earlier days.
"Being a freak," Luke says cheerfully, gaze fixed straight ahead. He's now rather driven to find this damn cat. "Last job I worked was a night job. It really... sucked me dry, if you know what I mean. Taught me a few things about pouring drinks, though. This one, I was looking for something useful that pays more and... now I'm hunting down an old lady's cat. Better than bleeding." He looks ahead towards the zoo with curiosity. "What about you, what do you do?"
And to the Zoo they finally get- its night, so the place is closed. Zephirin looks over to Luke as they walk- finding their way to the gates. "I work the docks." he replies, with a quiet smile. "So- how do we get inside is the next question." he says, as he looks at his fellow. "How do you feel about breaking and entering?"
"Like the last time I did it, I fell into an open grave," Luke says, and eyes the gates warily. "But we know where she is /right now/. I could check the cards again. See if she'll still be there in the morning." And get extra obsessed with the cat. Or shaken, or spooked, or... "Dammit. Let's walk the edges, maybe? Go around and see if there's a place that even looks like it might be what I saw?"
"Up to you." Zephirin notes as he continues to smoke quietly. "Its your hunt." he notes, "I'm just along for the ride." he notes, and he begins to walk the edges of the zoo. "Its an interesting diversion, at least." he says with a smile- always smiling. "Lets see what the edges of the Zoo have to offer."
Around the edge they go, Luke staring inwards all the while. There are parts that run along roads, but one side of it is all river. It might be a long walk - it's big. At the back of it there's a park, and that, at least, is open; it has soccer fields and a tree-lined drive, as well as paths back up to the zoo. "This feels right. I think that's a river over there." Luke nods towards the glittering line of the Mississippi in the distance. "Cats, man. Would you ever own a cat?"
"Don't much care for cats." Zephirin replies, "They're nice enough, I guess- I just don't have time for a pet." he explains, "I certainly wouldn't own some kind of genius spirit cat. Seems like a dangerous pet to keep." he says as they walk- his speed is lazy, languid- like a slowly swimming shark. He's not in a hurry to get anywhere.
The path leads inwards, and there's a spot where the fence becomes a mere half-fence, with a gate in it, a sidewalk leading deeper into the park. Luke eyes it, stares off into the distance, and... "Worst we can do is get arrested for breaking and entering, right? And considering it's not exactly well-guarded..." That low fence would make a great entry point. "You sure you're in this? Exactly how much am I paying you?" He flings over a grin.
"Good question." Zephirin replies. "Depends on what we see when we get to your cat. I mean, it costs more if I've got to fight. Less if it goes through without a hitch." he says, "Might not even be payment in money. Favors are certainly worth something." he mentions as they come up to the low fence. "I'll let you decide if its favors or money." Zephirin suggests.
"Fighting is a nope. Unless the cat attacks us. Favors is a maybe," Luke says, regarding that fence... and then he takes hold of it between its pointy spikes and hops over it. Decision made. He's going in. "Thing is, they can't be Constable favors. Constables don't do favors. Gotta pay for our services, it's the rules. Does that work?" He casts a look around the place uncertainly. There are alligators here. Probably best not to run into those.
"I am paying for your services." Zephirin notes- "I'm paying up front, is all. You'd basically be on retainer- with your payment already given." he says with a chuckle- making his way over the fence without too much issue. "But, you gotta do what you gotta do." he says with a shrug- he doesn't seem too bothered by the requirements. Nor does he seem particularly worried about alligators.
"Hmm." That's another way of looking at it. "You know, that probably does work. Okay. Favors are fine." Luke flicks over a smile. "Exactly who am I maybe owing favors to, Zephirin? Are you Accorded?" The zoo spreads out before them, a darkened tangle of wildlife and greenery with sidewalk paths winding through it.
"I am." Zephirin replies simply, smiling still. "For a little while now, at least. Since I got back to NOLA." he explains, "The name is Zephirin Kincaid." he states as he continues that walk through the zoo- keeping his head low and quiet. "Any of this look right to you, Luke?" he wonders over to his current companion as they hunt the elusive fluffy cat.
"I'm under Lucas Winters," Luke says, and shakes his head. "I have a bad feeling about this but..." He points at the back of the park, a darkened corner full of trees. "That way." Right into the scary dark part. And they're not using lights because security - if there is any - might spot them. Since when was it a good idea to walk into the dark with a living nightmare?
At least this particular nightmare is genial and friendly. A likable nightmare. He still seems unworried about the darkness they are moving into now, "Oh, this is nice." he mentions, looking about- eyes unclouded by the darkness. It reminded him of home. Still, he was careful as they walked- keeping his eyes out for trouble, despite his languid and lazy demeanor.
"Since we're talking exchange of favors, Zephirin, can you find things? Because all I've got are omens and maybe a tracking ritual, and that would take a day to set up." Luke, too, is looking at things, and he can't see in the dark, so there's an extra element of paranoia to the set of his shoulders. Something out in the darkness makes a "Grrwhumpf," sort of sound. The zoo is definitely not silent.
"Depends on what you want me to find." Zephirin notes. "I can find a lot of things pretty easily, if I've seen it before, at least." he states as he gazes through the darkness- to him, it was nothing at all. "I need to directly see, touch, or hear something to track it." he explains after a moment. "After that, I'll always know what direction it is." he says- keeping his eyes out for white and fluffy as they walk.
"Damn," Luke says, impressed. "Might come ask for your help again if this works out." He digs out the GPS tracker. "This used to be in her skin. It's got her blood on it. Would that work or do you need to actually pet the cat?" Note to self: not letting Zephirin touch him now. Oh wait, he can be seen. It's no good now. There's no sign of white and fluffy, but the trees are getting thicker. They seem to be on the outskirts of the zoo, with all the animal sounds coming from deeper in.
"No." Zephirin replies. "Won't work like that. I'd just be able to track the skin, that blood." he offers simply. "I'd have to touch the cat. Or see it. Hear it.." he continues to go on. "But, once I do, once I've directly sensed it. Then I know what direction it is." he say with a quiet smile. Thick trees. Darkness. He doesn't mind either of those things. "Anything looking familiar?" he wonders, "I think we're near the bird exhibit."
"Useful." There's the sound of birds. Luke turns in that direction. "Okay, think like a cat. She needs water. She needs... somewhere quiet, but close to water. And prey." Birds. He steps off the path. There's something dangerous about stepping off the path, about going deeper into the wooded area. There's a fountain nearby; it's making a quiet rushing sound. One can almost smell the wildlife, the sense of wilderness. This is a spiritual sort of place. If one listens very, very closely, one can hear a distant rumbling. It sounds like... purring.
Zephirin looks up, quietly, nodding as he follows along- letting Luke lead here for the moment as they head towards the sound of birds- towards where water is. He takes a slow, quiet breath- "You hear that?" he wonders, looking up- over to Luke. "Sounds like a purr, maybe?" he says softly. He's getting quiet. Creeping.
"If you wanna do that finding trick, now's a good time..." There's a particular tree whose roots have left a hollow of earth exposed. Beneath it is a fluffy white Persian cat - who is currently nursing six still-wet little white kittens. She's got a relatively fresh bloody mark in her shoulder from where she scratched out the GPS tracker. Luke hasn't spotted her; he hasn't got Zephirin's ability. No, he's looking at the trees, expecting to be pounced from above at any moment.
Zephirin sees the cat, tapping Luke on the shoulder and pointing towards the tree in question. Towards the cat and her litter of kittens. "There's your cat." he offers with a quiet whisper, "Looks like she was pregnant." he says- the blood on the wind there. Nose twitching. He continues to walk towards the cat- quiet now. Careful.
The cat lifts her head, eyes still fogged with happy mommy hormones - and then her gaze sharpens and she /hisses/. It's not a normal cat hiss. It ripples, somehow, rising into the air, whispering through the trees, and the birds next door go /nuts/. A second later, Zephirin's getting divebombed by a large, fat pigeon, which slams past him and into the ground with an unpleasant little cracking sound.
Luke, who'd been crouching down to peer into the tree's roots, goes very still. "Oh shit."
Zephirin leans back, still smoking that cigarette as the pigeon dive bombs him and misses completely. "Huh." he says, "That's not normal." he notes as he looks to Luke, "So- are we doing this alive, or dead?" he wonders next- as he gives the pigeon a little touch with the toe. He still seems rather unafraid by the situation- but, he can't hardly be cut. HE can soak up a bullet to the gut. A pigeon attacking him isn't particularly frightening.
"Alive if at all possible," Luke says grimly. The trees above them are moving - Zephirin will be able to see the gathering birds, mostly city and river birds, with a few seagulls, just fine. He starts taking off his jacket and getting closer to the tree - time to bag a kitty. That will be when the flock of birds descends.
Zephirin just frowns as more birds descend and peck and fight at him- it doesn't hurt, but it is distracting as all get out. "Son of a bitch." he growls, as he starts to move forward- time to try and grab a cat. "What kind of cat commands birds?" he asks, swatting at the birds who come close- trying to keep his focus on the cat.
"The hungry kind," growls a feminine voice furiously. "Let me go, you oaf!" It's not hard to grab a kitty. She sounds like a Southern Belle, right down to the accent. "How /dare/ you intrude on a mother and her kits!"
Luke just reaches out to grab the kittens one by one and tuck them into the bundle of his jacket, earning himself a hard swat. The cat's blue eyes flare with power and it does /something/ - but whatever it is doesn't seem to affect Luke just yet.
Zeph grabs at the cat- missing it. "Well, maybe you oughta get where you belong, cat!" he says next. "Talking cats, attacked by birds. Welcome to NOLA." he grumbles as he misses the cat, who dodges out of the way. Or maybe it was the seagull in his face. Either or.
Luke has the easy part of this job, grabbing kittens. Kittens are small and wiggly and make adorable "meer" sounds as they're scooped up, but there are six of them. He lets Zephirin tackle the cat - hopefully not literally - and yells, through the flock slamming into him from all sides, ow - "We're not going to hurt you! Mrs. Mordeau is looking for you!" Maybe that'll help.
"Get back, filthy heathens! And give me my kittens!" Zephirin's going to get swatted at this time, and he finds himself teleported suddenly back a yard, his skin smoking hot.
Thud! Zephirin is hit by whatever it was- skin steaming. He doesn't seem hurt- not at all, just upset. "You little witch." he growls quietly as he comes forward again, smoke rising from his flesh without any real affect beyond the swirls in the air. What few scorched patches of skin Zeph has seem to heal almost immediately - wounds closing and not even blood showing as his skin returns to its previous state. Again, he marches forward to try and grab the cat.
Scoop! Zephirin's got the cat and Luke's got the kittens. "Beast!" she shrieks. "Monster! Help! Murder! Rape! Someone! SAVE ME!" ...And how does the cat expect to explain the shrieking to the concerned caretakers heading towards them? Probably by saying 'meow' and being adorable.
"Goddamn motherfucking birds!" Luke yells irately as they swoop and claw at him. "Let's get out of here!" It's a bit of a ways back the way they came to the low fence, and they're being chased by goddamn motherfucking birds. He scoops up his coat and starts in that direction with an armful of mewling kittens.
"That's witch, not bitch, you ignorant... Yankee!" The cat struggles mightily, then grunts, trying to claw her way up Zephirin's shoulder and onto his back. He's perfectly safe - armor is very good against cat claws. "I will bite you, I will eat your liver, you, you... this is kidnapping! Kitnapping! Monsters!" Caterwaul.
Luke is just trying very hard not to trip in the dark and land on the kittens. That would be absolutely the /worst/. "You can see? Get us the hell out of here!" He's following Zephirin through the dark and the flock of birds, which do make it difficult for the approaching guys in security uniforms to get any nearer. They're shouting things like "Hey!" and "Stop!"
"Yeah, I can see in the dark. Just keep close." Zephirin says- leading the way through the zoo- birds and chaos and darkness and all the rest. "No!" Zephirin shouts back to the security guards. "Fuck off!" he says again, "And you- little witch- shut your mouth. I was born in NOLA." he growls as he hurries along towards the low fence.
"Well /he/ sure wasn't," snaps the cat irritably. "And you, what's a good local boy like you running around with a menace like /him/ for?"
The fence is straight ahead; the birds are starting to peter out. Luke's looking quite a bit bloodier than he was when he went in, but it's superficial. The kittens are still mewling for their mother. "I hate to ask this but... have you got a car?" Luke's beginning to see he's /woefully/ unprepared for this job. "Looks like your favor's getting bigger."
"Car? No." Zephirin replies, to Luke. "But, I might be able to get something going." he says as they reach the fence and with a *hup!* he gets himself over the short fence. "Of course, there's something else I might be able to do." he says as he nods towards the road. "We'll grab something on the road." he says, "Like a cab, maybe?" he wonders over.
"Oh! Right! Free cab!" Luke follows considerably more slowly, but he hurries to get out of sight of those guards. "The Constables have a retainer with a cab company. Let me get someone. Just keep holding onto her until we get there."
The cat is now singing the song of her people, yowling mournfully.
"Yeah, I got her." Zephirin says, looking over his shoulder to see if the security guards have followed after them. If so, he'll have to do something about it. He's got the cat held tightly. "There you go- good idea. Free cab."
One armful of mewling kittens, one phone. Juggling commences. Luke presses a speed dial button, waits, and... "Yeah, I need someone right now at the Audubon Zoo. We're kinda running hot here. Two passengers and... uh. Cats. One cat, six kittens." He pauses, then lowers the phone and blinks at Zephirin. "Well. They took that pretty well."
Which will be when someone behind them yells, "Put the lady down!" The security guards here are equipped with tasers, not guns, however, and they're not exactly fit - plus they came through a flock of birds and are now looking a bit battered. There are two of them, however.
Zephirin nods, looking back to the security guards. "Lady?" he wonders, holding up the cat. "You see a lady here?" he asks, as he comes closer- close enough that his eyes are easily seen. "Don't you think you should run and hide? Its deadly. If I let it go, it'll come and get you. You can't run..." he says softly. The words carry something to them. Something wicked.
That particular guard goes pale as Zephirin dangles the cat at him. Total silence from him - he makes the tiniest of whimpering noises. There's a pool of spreading wetness on his khakis. All of the sudden he whirls and bolts.
"Sam?! What the fuck?!" yells the first guard. He gives Zephirin a nasty look. "You were still trespassing. Stay right here!" he orders, and then whirls to go run his partner down and figure out what's wrong with him.
"Well," says the cat huffily. "At least /they/ show proper respect." Fear is respect in her book. "Let me down!" she demands a moment later, and starts squirming hard, back feet clawing at Zephirin's hands.
A yellow taxi rolls up and the light flips off. The window rolls down to reveal a man of Indian descent. "Naveen?" Luke says, clearly relieved, and then he's getting into the back of the cab quickly and kicking the door open for Zephirin. "Get us to the Mordeau place on Sunset, please?"
"Noooo!" wails the cat. "I hate cars!"
"Will you shut up, Cat." Zephirin says as he gets into the cab with Luke. "Its weird when animals talk." he notes, "That's not what animals do. Animals do two things- stink and taste good. And trust me, I've eaten a cat before. Don't think I won't do it again." he informs the cat as he holds her tight- teeth and claws just not breaking his flesh.
"They said one cat, not one /talking/ cat," Naveen observes, eyeing them in the mirror.
"I'm kitnapped!" the cat wails - but she does it much quieter this time, so it's less of a wail than a whimper. She's gone still in Zepharin's grip, though from how tense she is, she isn't happy to be there.
"No she's not," Luke says, and unveils the kittens from the jacket, leaning over to let the cat see them. "She's getting rescued and returned to her proper owner, Miss Marjorie Mordeau."
The cat commences with some very feline sniffing of the kittens, and their cries start up again.
Sirens start somewhere in the distance. Naveen pulls the cab out and starts driving. "Forget I asked," he says with a chuckle.
"Anyways, we need to get moving. Sounds like we made some waves." Zephirin says with a grin. "And shut your mouth you little white witch." he says, looking to Luke. "So, were you being paid for one cat- or seven?" he asks of Luke.
"Just the cat." Luke looks at the just-born kittens. "They're not old enough to live without their mother, though."
At this, the cat gives him the darkest of dirty looks and lets out a threatening growl. She then tries to shift around in Zephirin's grip and get closer to the kittens. "Excuse me," grumbles the cat, "They need to nurse."
It's actually a very short ride - Miss Mordeau's house is just two or three blocks over on a lovely, tree-lined street with moss and manicured lawns and creeping ivy. The cab pulls up in front of one of the houses at Luke's direction.
"They'll nurse soon. They'll be fine." Zephirin states to the cat. Opening the door when the arrive and stepping outside. "Alright, lets finish this up, Luke." he offers over to the other with a little grin. "BEen a fun evening."
"And you've more than earned your favor." Luke climbs out with the kittens and adds back to Naveen, "Stick around a few minutes?" Then it's up to the door of the little house to deliver the witch her familiar.
At the knock, there's a cheery, quavery, "Just a minute!" from inside. One minute later, the door opens to reveal a grandmotherly woman in coke bottle glasses. "Oh!" she squeaks at the sight of the cat. "Priscilla, you came home!"
The cat, with a suddenly pathetic look on her face, says, "Mow." So pitiful. The claws are trying real hard to dig into Zephirin one last time.
"Sounds like a plan." Zephirin replies as he holds the cat out to the woman who answers the door- "I believe this is yours." he says, once more offering the cat. "I'm rather well done with felines for the evening."
The witch leans forward with a benevolent smile to pry the cat off Zephirin. She's remarkably strong; despite Priscilla's squirming, the white cat is pulled away and cradled close. "Thank you both so much," she says, beaming.
Luke regards the cat and the old lady, then holds up the bundle of his coat. "Miss Mordeau?"
"She had kittens." Might as well get it over with. Luke opens the bundle.
The cooing and beaming that follows is unprintable; Miss Mordeau seems delighted, and she expresses her delight with offers of cookies, tea, herbal supplements, and hugs. It's several minutes later that Luke and Zephirin are released to return to the car, with a fresh - and large - wad of cash shoved into Luke's hand. He pockets it and gives Zephirin a look. "You're gonna take that favor out of my hide, aren't you.""We'll see later." Zephirin offers over to Luke. "I'll come calling and the favor will be paid in full. Don't worry, it probably won't get you killed." he says to Luke with a grin. "A pleasure doing business with you, my friend." Zephirin offers with a nod of his head- and off he goes, into the night.