As Michaela slept, Dan and Georgie met in secret.  
"Do you think she knows?" Georgie leaned against the dresser in what was now Dave's room, while Dave himself perched on the bed. 
Dave frowned, "I doubt it. I mean, obviously she didn't see the ghost or she would have freaked. Most do."
"We didn't," Georgie pointed out.
"Yeah, but we're use to it.  We've been battling demons and that most of our lives."
"True.  I wonder what the connection is though.  I sensed he was there during the fight too. "
"Did you see the way Mickey handled herself ?  I don't think she even broke a sweat."
"Man, was DD ever in for a surprise when he tangled with her!" Georgie chuckled. 
"Surprised me too," Dave flicked some imaginary lint off his tshirt before pulling it over his head, and placing it next to him. " I never would have pegged her for a fighter. Not a good one at any rate."
"That's because she's such a 'mom' type.  I bet she can cook too."
They grew silent for a moment.  "Her daughter seems a bit prissy though." Dave broke the silence.
"If she hadn't grilled you, you'd be saying how hot she was."
"Maybe. Easy to see she hasn't a clue that her Mom's being haunted though."
"She's a nonbeliever. Easy for them to deny just about everything. "
"Think we should tell Mickey who - what we are?"
"Not yet," Georgie straightened up from the dresser. "Can't bloody well just say to someone, "Oh by the way, we're a couple of demon hunters, now can we?"
**************************************** 

In the basement of a long abandoned house, DD pouted.  He would have denied this, if anyone had mentioned it, but it was true. He ran his fingers through his white hair and scowled. "Just how did that bitch, best me?"  He flexed his hands which still ached at the wrists.  "Dave and Georgie - now they always give me a run for the money," He smirked to himself, "but they are well trained.  But this one - nearly old enough to be my mum, and nearly snapping both my hands off?  Who is she? What is she?"  He ran his tongue over his teeth, then flopped in a chair, stretching out his legs.  Well, she would soon learn that DD was not one to mess with lightly. "I wonder if they've told her, DD stands for Devil's Disciple?" He mused to himself.   He poured himself another glass of wine.and leaned back, propping his feet up on the box that served as a coffee table.   "She'll learn.  When I'm done she'll be begging me for mercy, and calling me master."
There was a sound of hurried feet, and a voice called out,"DD? You won't believe it!" Nick came into view, massive in size, in such a rush he nearly tripped over DD's legs.
"Careful, you lout!  Believe what?" DD lowered his legs and sat up.
"Dave and Georgie have cleared out of their place.  Totally gone," he paused, "Word is they moved in with that witch."
"Moved in with her!?  That was rather quick, wasn't it?"  His brows furrowed. "She must be something very special then.   Special indeed."
******
 After two weeks of having the boys with her, Michaela thought they had all adjusted fairly well, and she had to admit it was nice having others round again.  It felt good to see her cooking devoured and appreciated.  To wake up to conversation, and occasionally find the coffee had already been made.  Although she felt Jamie's prescense, he did not put in an appearance, and she assumed he was waiting on them to acclimate to each other.  Elena called from college a bit more often, and that was good too.  The boys had move into one bedroom, telling Michaela that it just didn't seem right to take over Elena's room. That it should be there for her on weekends home or school breaks.  This touched her deeply, and she wasted no time in relaying it to Elena.   She sensed that although, they appeared to have no close family ties, Dave and Georgie valued family.  She didn't press them for details of their past, but felt they would tell her in time.  She knew they often went prowling at night, and this too she did not ask about, it gave her time to do her own prowling. If she didn't ask them what they did, maybe they wouldn't ask her either.
****** 
Michaela tossed and turned in her sleep.  Someone was chasing her, through an old abandoned building.  She ran to a door, and finding it stuck, shouldered it open. She closed it and leaned heavily against it, her heart beating wildly.  Outside the door she could hear a familiar voice calling her name, promising her protection, if she'd just come out.  Through her tears she whispered, "Daddy?"  She cracked the door open- wanting to see if it was him.   A taloned hand thrust through the opening ensnaring her wrist and the voice boomed, "Come to Papa!"  Screaming she tore free, and shot straight up in bed, staring about her in panic.
Now there came a knocking on her door, and Dave calling out to her, if she was alright, as he burst in with Georgie close behind, gripping a ballbat. 
"I-I'm fine.  Was just a bad dream," she frowned. "Sure seemed real though."
Dave perched on the edge of her bed, "Are you sure you're ok? Do you want to talk about it?"
As Dave spoke to Michaela, Georgie left the room only to return with a glass of water for her.  "Nasty stuff night tremors," he remarked sympathetically.  "That was some yell," he smiled at her.
"S-sorry I woke you both," Michaela sipped the tap water, embarressed. 
"No need to be sorry," Dave took the glass from her and handed it off to Georgie,"Now lay back down, and we'll all go back to bed.  Unless you want us to stay until you drift back off?"
"No, no need to stay," Michaela did as told, leaning back on her pillow.  
"Good, girl," Dave smiled at her and pulled her blanket up around her shoulders, tucking her in as if she were a child.   Both he and Georgie bid her good night, and left her room.  
Laying his hand on the deep claw marks on the door frame, he mused, "Think we can fix this before she wakes up?"
"I'll get the wood putty," Georgie whispered back, "Let's give her a few to nod back off though."
They sat in the kitchen for a time, carrying a hushed conversation.  "He's tracking her," Georgie stated.  
"Yeah, somehow old DD got into her dreams, and somehow manifested here too." Dave frowned.  "I wonder what his interest is?  Has to be more then the fact that she kicked his ass."
"Maybe he's figured out she's special?"
"Or wants to get back at us by harming her," Dave felt this was more logical.
Georgie stared over towards the counter where a light shimmering appeared. Dave followed his gaze as Jamie materialised.  Dave bolted to his feet, and Georgie laid his hand on his arm.  "No need, this one is on our side."
"Astute of you to know that," Jamie smiled.
"I also know you're her brother," Georgie smiled back, and at the looks he got added, "Picture in her room - I asked about it the other day."
"You were in her room before tonight?" Dave sounded a bit hurt.  
"You, my friend, were mowing the lawn - and get your mind out of the gutter."
"And you didn't tell me, you knew who was haunting her?"
"Haunting her? Haunting is such a nasty word. I prefer to think of it as visiting my sister," Jamie interjected. "So you two did see me at the diner."
"Yeah," Dave said, "Call it a gift if you want."
Georgie slipped out of the room and filled in the clawmarks on Michaela's door. He usd thin layers so that it would dry faster.  When he returned he found Dave and Jamie acting like long lost friends.
"Hey, Georgie, guess how Michaela is able to kick ass so well?" He didn't wait for Georgie to respond, "Jamie here, slips inside her and takes over! Isn't that something?"
"Takes over? You mean like possession?"
"A bit, but not really," Jamie said. 
"Neat trick," Georgie pulled on his lower lip , a habit he had formed when thinking." Is that why she fainted ?"
"I don't think so. She's never fainted before.  Maybe it's because I pulled out so quick. I was trying to avoid you guys." 
"Maybe," Georgie agreed. "Does she know you do this?"
"Yes, she does."
Dave and Georgie looked at each other then uttered one word together, "Cool."
"So tell me," Jamie leaned forwards,"How long have you two been able to see spirits and how long have you been demon hunters?"
It was Dave's and Georgie's turn to be surprised. "You know then?" Dave asked.
"I asked didn't I?"
"Seeing since we were kids.  Hunting since our early teens."
Jamie smiled, "You do have an impressive record."
"Record?"
"Yeah you know," Jamie gestured skywards,"Upstairs.  They do talk about you."
"Nice to know we've been noticed by the good guys," Georgie remarked, as he helped himself to some coffee that Dave had made.
"Now that we've had our small talk," Jamie became all business," what's with this DD fellow?"
Together Dave and Georgie told Jamie what they knew about DD.  He was one of those bad seeds you hear about. Just born naturally mean and perverse.  Tortured small animals as a kid. Bullied other kids in school.  By the time he reached his teens, he was practicing the black arts, and delighted in sacrificing animals.  He graduated to humans. Honing his torture technique to the point of being able to destroy minds without leaving any physical marks.  
Rumour was he had destroyed his own parents.  Now he was leader of a small group made up of corrupt humans and a few lesser demons.

Jamie listened a small thundercloud rolling across his features, "And he's out to get Mickey? Just because I kicked his ass?"
"He thinks Mickey kicked his ass - and with DD that could be enough," Dave replied.
"Very unstable, our friend, DD," Georgie added. "But surely, you knew this could happen at some point? Someone wanting revenge on her?"
"Yeah, I did. Just didn't think it would actually involve demons," Jamie frowned. "I thought we'd just be working the human element."
There was a small sound in the doorway, and the three looked to see Michaela standing there, bathrobe drawn tight against her soft body. Although her face showed surprise, she simply said, "Morning. I see you've all met."
"How long you been there, Mickey?" Dave asked.
"Long enough to know, there's some deep marks in my doorjam, and some demon named DD is responsible."
Jamie levitated and filled a coffeemug for her, settling it on the table."Don't try changing the subject with your ghosty tricks, Jamie. You never said anything about demons!"  
"It isn't all that bad, Sis - DD isn't a demon himself. He just hangs with some."
"Oh, like that's better.  He only hangs with demons," she smirked, then sighed, "I thought demons were myth."
"Well you can't have angels," Dave jerked his thumb at Jamie,"without demons."
"Jamie hasn't reached angel status, but I get your drift," Michaela plunked down on a chair and curled her fingers around the coffee mug. "So what do we do?"
****************************************
"You did well," DD patted the demon on its back then scratched the space between its horns, as if petting a cat. "By now Dave and Georgie have told her what she is facing, and the fear has increased. " He smiled a cruel smile," Of course she'll try and delude herself, try and be all logical - but the claw marks, will cause her to wonder. And she won't understand, and what humans don't understand they fear.  Fear is just so delicious, isn't it Brutus?" He clucked beneath its chin. "Nick? Have you found out more about the woman?"
"Only that her name is Michaela and she has a daughter called Elena off at college."
"A college girl? What fun." DD tilted his head back and laughed."Find out what school she goes to."
 
Michaela stiffened visibly,her face becoming somber, the kitchen seeming to close in on her. There was a deep foreboding sense of something not right. Immediately, her thoughts went to Elena, but she had just spoken to her that morning. Her voice had sounded haggard to Michaela's ears, but had Elena claimed she was just over-tired from exams.  Frowning Michaela picked up the cordless phone and dialed her. Hopefully, Elena would just laugh at her and call her over-protective and a worry wart.  It seemed an eternity until Elena answered, her voice thick as if she had been crying.  "Oh, Mama, I was having the worst nightmare!"
"Oh, baby, do you want to talk about it?" Michaela leaned against the kitchen counter, relieved that was all that was wrong.
"No. No, it's ok. Just a stupid dream. But, it seemed so real.  Demons or something were after me," she laughed awkwardly.
"Demons?" Michaela's stomach knotted.  Dave coming into the kitchen for a beer, caught her look, and made himself comfortable in a chair. He wasn't going anywhere until he knew what was up that seemed to be distressing her.  "The funny thing about roommates," he thought, "is you either grow very fond of each other, or one of you is on Ebay looking for a vood-doo doll."  He had to admit he and Georgie had grown very attatched to this woman.   At times it seemed as if fate had said, 'ok, here's a new mom for you,' as to make up for that long ago loss.  As far as mothers were concerned, neither he or Georgie had had much of one.  His mother had tossed him out to make room for a new lover, and Georgie's...well Georgie's had died long ago. From what Georgie could remember from being 6 years old, she had been all kinds of wonderful, but then his dad had married a woman who just never seemed to really care for him, or able to accept that he saw things others couldn't. Truth was Georgie scared her.  So when Dave was kicked out at 16, Georgie walked away with him.  Together they survived.  
Dave registered that Michaela's conversation had ended with the usual I love yous. 
He quirked a dark eyebrow at her, "What's up?"
"Nothing...maybe," she twisted the long pendant she always wore, a St. Jude medal,"At least I hope it's nothing.  Elena had a nightmare...about demons." 
Instinctively Dave rose and placed an arm about her, "hey, it was probably just that, a dream.  Weird timing, but you know how those college kids can be. Probably watched some scary program with friends, ate a ton of greasy pizza  and it resulted in a bad dream."
Michaela allowed herself the wee pleasure of leaning her head against his shoulder, taking comfort from him.  "Yeah, you're probably right. Just a bad dream."
What Elena had not told her mother, was this was not the first dream of it's kind. For nearly a week now, when she slept, if she slept at all, she saw the demons. It was so real, she could smell the foul stench of their breaths, and feel the heat of their bodies on her skin. They were nightmarish in appearance, except for the white-haired man who whispered to her, that she needed to come with him. That he would protect her.
He reached for her, but she instinctively held back. Something deep inside telling her that he was not to be believed.  The beasts writhed and undulated around her, licking her skin with forked tongues, as he insisted that he and he alone could save her.  
The dreams always ended the same way, with her jolting herself awake, bathed in sweat nd heart pounding. 
Lack of sleep was taking its toll on her, with dark circles forming under her dark green eyes, and her skin paling.  She was becoming jumpy and irratable.  Friends urged her to take a break, maybe take a long weekend home.  Even her professors were becoming concerned as her work suffered.  
She stood in the dormitory bathroom staring at her reflection wondering if any amount of concelor could hide the circles. Behind her she saw a man appear for just a moment. Turning to yell at him for being in the women's lavatory, she saw nothing. "Great," she mumbled to herself,"now I'm imagining things."   Yet she thought the image had looked oddly familiar as if she had seen him before... 

 

.

CONTINUE


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