4: Nam


She watched the two guardsmen with both respect and frustration. She wished she could warn them they were in over their heads. Benjamin had not resorted to flux thus far, showing no inkling to her or them that he was anything but a local criminal, but she knew from other sources that he was the style of flux artist called a Keth-ethen, and could swiftly kill both men without difficulty. No doubt, he wished to preserve the illusion of being a local to avoid attracting the attention of otherworldly hunters such as herself.

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The older guardsman was not so spry as his partner, but he surprised her by surmounting the gate anyhow. From his hair and face she knew he would be around a half-century old, making him her junior by two decades. Nearly all of Earth’s population was of the Osril species though. Most Osri with his years were no more agile than those of her own Gireid race four times his age. Taking that into consideration, this man was doing quite well.

Her specter arrived as the second patrol vehicle pulled up next to Benjamin’s sedan opposite the first. As the bird circled, the huntress watched through the specter’s eyes, which were now closer to the scene than her own.

The first man approached the open driver-side door with caution, his weapon drawn. These guardsmen of Earth had excellent training, she noted with approval. She reminded herself that, on this world, they were called ‘police officers’. That term was both amusing and appropriate to her. In the dialect of the English speakers on her world, ‘to police’ meant ‘to tidy up’ or ‘to pick up litter.’ What a delightfully understated metaphor for law enforcement.

The first guardsman drew back and covered, while the other, also with weapon in hand, gingerly opened the back door. She peered past him, saw the girl on the back seat, laid upon her side, straining her neck around to look up at her rescuer.

“Thank you, Jesus,” the guardsman exclaimed in relief.

She sent her own prayer of thanks to her own gods to fly alongside his. No matter how many girls the monster had already taken, one fewer victim was indeed cause to thank Heaven.

The girl clearly did not understand yet that she was now safe. Terror burned in her eyes, duct-tape covered her mouth, and zip-ties bound her wrists and ankles behind her back. She appeared unharmed save for her rumpled nightgown though, and no more disarray than should be expected from being forced out of her bed and into a car. But whether or not she had suffered any physical trauma, that intense fear would leave deep scars.

Although they would be deep, though, they would be nothing as deep as her scars would have been. The world might look horrid to that child right now, but Nam considered her a fortunate girl.

The huntress sent Ooe ahead after the guardsmen pursuing Benjamin. Then, as she joined the chase herself, she sent a second warning to Rogan across the Paeth, then verified that she was out of sight of all Earthly eyes. Triggering an unin that decreased her weight, she sprang upward to settle on the big toe of one foot atop the barbwire strand that crowned the fence. After a moment to be certain of her path below, she dropped down softly within.

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