Sonja barely heard the clock in her living room chime 1:00 am when she turned off her light and climbed into her bed. Her silk pajamas rustled against her sheets as she pulled them up to her shoulders. "I still need to get a new mattress," she mentally reminded herself. "This one has no bounce to it." As she flipped onto her stomach, she yawned, "Too thin." She then buried her head into her pillow and started to drift off to sleep.
The sharp pain coursed through her, causing her eyes to shoot open in shock and her scream to vibrate throughout her room. When the dagger protruding through the mattress and into her abdomen turned abruptly, Sonja screamed again, but ceased when the piercing cry merely became a choked gargle.
As she lay there, struggling for her last breaths of life, her last sight was of two gloved hands appearing from under her bed's dust ruffle and pulling a masked figure, clad in all black, behind them. The solitary figure slowly stood, his menacing build looming over Sonja's now lifeless body. Examining his handy work, the intruder slowly bent down again, reaching for his weapon of choice, an antique twelve-inch dagger, which still remained under the bed. Then, satisfied with a job well done, the figure walked to the bedroom door, slowly stretching his cramped muscles that he received from hiding under the bed for hours. The stunning silence rang in his ears and as the killer walked across the room, he misjudged the distance away from the desk and slammed his knee.
Throughout the soundless night, only two words made themselves known.
Bright and early Tuesday morning, Darien danced down the corridors, on his way to the lab. Glancing briefly at his tattoo monitor, he saw the six red segments, and he knew that he had to get his shot soon. However, even though he was stuck at The Agency working for The Fat Man, Darien was in a great mood. He could not explain the spring in his step or the smile on his face.
As he reached the sliding door, he noticed that it was still ajar, which immediately triggered the alarm in his brain. He stopped dancing and slowly walked into the room.
"I *was* going to say good morning," he said as he noticed Hobbes and Claire sitting in the lab. "But I think that would be a poor choice of words."
"We have a new case, partner." Hobbes said as he removed a comforting hand from Claire's shoulder. Darien looked at his Keeper and saw her red-rimmed eyes, still wet with tears. His good mood instantly vanished.
Five minutes later, in The Official's office, Darien was filled in with the whole story.
"Normally, we don't get involved with homicide cases, but we were actually called to work this one." Eberts mentioned to the duo that sat before the desk. "Add to that the fact that the victim was a personal friend of one of our agents." Eberts walked around the desk to hand files to Darien and Hobbes, and continued to explain the details. "This is actually the fifth victim with this particular MO. Single, blonde, between the ages of 25 and 35. All were contributing members of the scientific society. All killed on the night of the full moon."
"Why does the full moon bring out the crazies?" Hobbes mumbled to himself.
"Sonja Miesner was last night's victim," The Official interrupted. "She had been specifically assigned to work on a project with the set goal of finding antidotes for certain chemicals used in biological warfare."
Darien shot to attention. "Wait, she was *assigned*? She worked for the government?"
"Another agency to be exact." Eberts was the fount of knowledge this morning. "They're having a hard time finding someone with her qualifications to take her position. It's the repeated nature of these crimes that had our agency assigned to the case. It's too big for the normal police."
"I want this guy found," The Official bellowed. "Before the next full moon. Is that clear?"
"Crystal." Darien mentioned. He paused for a second before asking, "So, Claire knew her?" The memory of those tear soaked eyes stood out sharply in his mind. He hated seeing friends in pain. Any kind of pain.
The Official frowned. "Apparently, they have been close since high school. Kept in touch for years. Claire was in the room when I informed Eberts of the case, and she broke into tears right then. What is it with women and crying at the drop of a hat?"
Darien wanted to jump across the desk and slap The Fat Man for that comment. One glimpse at Bobby, and Darien knew that his partner had the same thought in mind. Even Eberts looked upset at his boss for such a cold comment, but they all knew that none of them would do anything about it. Except maybe sulk.
"Okay Chief," Hobbes attempted to break the strained silence. "How do you propose we find him? Hang out in shifty bars and wait for someone to stand on a table, screaming a confession?"
"You know, I've heard of stuff like that happening." Darien quirked.
Charlie scowled. "Very funny, you two. Keep it up, and you'll have plenty of time to pursue careers as comedians." He paused to clear his throat. "Actually, in order to get a clue about what our guy might be like, I've called in a professional analyst for a profile reading."
Hobbes sat up straight and started to fidget with his suit, attempting to straighten it. "You *do* mean Joyce, right?"
Both The Official and Eberts sighed. "Yes, Robert, we called her into action."
Darien's perplexed look could not be hidden any longer. Slowly raising his hand, he coughed to get attention. "Um, once again, the plague of being a new guy kicks in. Who's Joyce?"
"Invisible Mom." Bobby sounded like a school boy describing his teacher that he has a crush on.
"Joyce is the Agency's chief profiler. She gets the job done quickly and usually without causing a commotion. That's why she's called invisible: sometimes you do not even see her working." Once again, Eberts provided the information.
Darien was beginning to understand, but one question still bothered him. "Well, why Invisible *Mom*?"
Eberts and The Official looked at each other, and Charlie nodded. "Because she, um, takes care of people," Eberts finished, with what looked like fear in his eyes.
"Yeah, like that guy currently in the hospital. She took care of him *real* good." Hobbes was in his own little world.
The Official leaned over to his phone and hit an extension button. "Joyce, my office please." Darien was shocked. The Chief actually said "please." And sounded sincere. Something told Darien that this Invisible Mom was not one to mess with. He turned to watch the door as the knob slowly turned, and heard his partner shift in the chair next to him, determined to look his best. As Darien watched, a woman walked into the office, a serious look to her face and a determined poise in her walk. Yep, *definitely* not one to play around with.
She walked past Darien without even passing him a glance. As she passed Bobby, he spoke up. "Hey Joyce. How you doing?"
Joyce paused mid-step and looked at the agent. A sly smile appeared on her face. "Bobby Hobbes. Haven't seen you in a good long while. Are you on this case?"
"Yes ma'am. Bobby Hobbes is already at work. Ready to catch the killer. With your help, of course."
"Of course." Invisible Mom turned back to The Official. "Already set with the profile. Was finishing up some last minute details when you beckoned, but it's nothing truly important."
"What have you gotten for us?" The Official sounded anxious.
"All right, I was able to get onto the latest crime scene unhindered, and that provided me with more information than I usually get. This guy is a pro. My estimate is that he's the same age as his victims, probably Caucasian, with a personal vendetta against this particular type of woman. He's been hurt, either physically or emotionally or possibly both, by a woman who fits this description." She paused to sit down and make herself comfortable. On the Official's desk. "There were no fingerprints on the scene, as always, but this time there was something different. He got sloppy. Investigators noticed the vanity desk slightly turned at an angle from the wall, possibly from someone running into it. Normally, this would just mean that the guy wasn't paying attention, but in this instance it means that we receive a clue."
"How?" Darien inquired.
"Well, Sonja was currently on the verge of a breakthrough. Because of this, she constantly had her tape recorder going, so that she didn't miss any thoughts that she had at a fleeting moment." Joyce reached into the bag at her side, searching for something as she continued her news. "She had forgotten to turn it off last night, and we now have a sound file of our perp."
"*We* have it?" The Official pondered aloud.
Joyce pulled a plastic bag from her purse, and showed it to the group. Inside, a lone recorder sat. "The authorities didn't know what they were looking for, so I hijacked it for a little bit. But by listening to this, I was able to tell more about our killer than a normal scientist would be able to if he looking at a complete DNA strand."
She pressed play on the device, setting it down on the desk, and everyone in the office listened as the sounds of the young woman getting ready for bed played through the manufactured silence. They heard the brush coming in contact with the vanity, and the mattress creak as Sonja climbed onto it. The strained "Too thin" filled the ears of the anxious men who were hearing this for the first time, and when the scream of pain started, Eberts visibly jumped in fright. The scream continued, causing Darien to think about what could cause such incredible anguish. Then, as the silence started again, everyone in the office heard the knife scrape across the floor as the man picked it up. Everyone leaned close to the recorder, trying to hear the events clearer. They listened as ominous footsteps crossed the distance from the bed to the door, and they heard when the criminal's knee came in contact with the desk. Then, when the two phantom words vibrated through the hush, Eberts, The Official and Hobbes all whipped their heads around to stare at Darien-
-Who slowly raised his head to meet the accusing gaze of his co-workers. "What?"
"That sounded awfully familiar, partner." Hobbes spoke for the entire group. "Not to sound suspicious, but what exactly were you up to last night?"
"Sleeping," Darien quickly defended himself. "First good night's sleep I've had in a long while. And why did everyone instantaneously think it was me? For your information, a lot of people *do* use that phrase."
"You sound determined to cover up for yourself, Inviso Boy," Joyce implied.
Darien did a double take. "What did you say?" He looked at his boss.
The Official just shrugged. "She does her job really well."
Joyce cleared her throat, a sly smile appearing on her face. "Actually, you have nothing to worry about, Agent Fawkes. After listening to this tape the first time, I recognized your personal catch phrase and took the liberty of matching this sound file against a saved sample of your own voice. The tone and structure were close, but there were noticeable differences between the two." She turned to The Official. "Your little project boy isn't the culprit." She paused. "At least, I'm pretty sure not. There was some interference, and it keeps making me doublethink my decision."
"See Fawkes, you're all clear. Well, almost." Bobby attempted to defend his partner.
As Darien and Hobbes walked back to the lab, Darien would not stop being paranoid. "But what if she's wrong? What if it really *was* me? A Simon Cole thing all over again."
"Fawkes, calm down. I know Invisible Mom and she's rarely, if ever, wrong about stuff like this. If she said your voice checked out, then it's all good."
"No buts. Trust me. Would I steer you wrong?"
Darien just glared at his partner. Then, they entered the lab.
Claire had apparently collected herself. She sat before her microscope, gazing at the sample on the stage of the equipment. Hobbes gently cleared his throat, causing Claire to look up. Darien noticed that her eyes were still rimmed red.
"Darien. I completely forgot about your shot. Sit."
Darien climbed into the chair while his Keeper filled a syringe with the clear blue liquid that he had grown so dependent on. He faced forward, as he anticipated the familiar sting of the needle. When half a minute had passed without it, he turned to face her and realized that she had not moved. She just stood, staring at the counteragent in her hand. Hobbes also caught on.
"Claire? You okay?"
"Her eyes used to be this color," Claire said absentmindedly. "When she laughed, they sparkled. Drove guys crazy with that." She choked back a sob. "If we catch that son of a bitch who--" With that, her reserve broke and she fell to the ground, tears streaming down her face. Darien jumped out of the chair and put comforting arms around her. She fell onto his shoulder, making only the sound of sharp intakes of breath. Darien began to stroke her hair in a calming manner and noticed out of the corner of his eye when Hobbes stormed out of the lab.
Claire started to calm down and pulled herself away from Darien, wiping her eyes. Looking at the floor briefly, she gasped and hit her forehead in frustration. Darien followed her gaze and saw the blue liquid leaking from the crack in the syringe onto the tile floor. "I am so sorry Darien," Claire said with her English accent. "I'll start making another batch immediately. Just be careful until it's ready."
"Are you sure? Only if you're ready to work right now--"
"I can't let my personal interests get in the way of my job. Go find Bobby and see what he's up to."
Darien nodded and slowly walked out of the lab, quietly assuring himself that his Keeper would be okay.
As Darien walked toward The Official's office, he literally ran into his very rigid partner. Darien lost his balance and fell backwards to the floor, stunned that his diminutive partner had not even swayed from the impact.
Fawkes' gaze followed the figure before him, starting at Hobbes' feet which were planted firmly to the ground. Gazing upward, Darien saw the paper grasped so tightly in Bobby's hand that it was nearly crumpled into a ball. Up again, and Darien saw his partner's chest heaving with intense breaths, and one gaze at the face told Darien that Hobbes was not in the mood to talk.
"Get out of the way Fawkes," Hobbes demanded. Darien crawled across the floor to the base of the wall as quickly as he could. Hobbes' eyes had murder streaming through them, and Darien came to the conclusion that the fear he was feeling at the moment must be identical to what his friends felt whenever he went quicksilver mad.
As Hobbes stormed off, Darien called out, "Where are you going?"
"Ask your boss," Hobbes growled back as he turned a corner, not even pausing in his step.
Darien picked himself up from the ground and hurried to The Official's office. The sight before him made him stop dead in his tracks. The drawers of a file cabinet were thrown open, and papers were scattered everywhere. Eberts was on the ground, trying to sort them into various piles. What really got to Darien was the look on his boss' face.... or at least what he *could* see around the ice pack that The Official was holding up to his jaw.
"Find him and bring him back," was all The Official would say.
Eberts looked up at Darien. "Robert came in here and demanded a warrant for a search on the last crime scene. When The Official refused, he took it by force."
"Where do I go to find him?" Darien questioned.
Darien knew he was in the right place when he found bright yellow police tape ripped from the barriers. He looked inside the door and found Hobbes standing in the middle of a hall, glancing around.
"I'm not going back Fawkes." His partner's voice sounded cold. "Not until I find this guy. For Claire's sake."
Darien nodded, even though Hobbes' back was to him. "I'm all for it. But did you have to punch the 'Fish?"
Hobbes visibly relaxed a little. "You would have done it too if you had gotten there first. Fat Man deserved it." Together, they walked into the bedroom-
-And stopped dead. The once white satin sheets on the bed were now thoroughly stained a rusted red. Ever since he was young, Darien had been amazed at how much blood the human body contained, and now he saw that amount spilled before him. Even Hobbes seemed shaken up a little. "What kind of sick bastard would do something like this?" Darien could hardly recognize the sound of his own voice.
"One with less of a conscious than our own little Swiss Miss--" Hobbes suddenly stopped short as a terrible thought hit him.
"Hobbes? Hey, what's going on in that crazed mind of yours?"
"Fawkes, think about this. Every murder had the same MO."
"Right. Blonde, mid twenties to mid thirties, science ori-en--" Darien caught on. "--ted."
"Claire!" They both yelled at the same time.
"What's wrong with you two? Why are you following my every move?"
Back at the lab, Claire sat at her notes while Bobby and Darien watched her. Finally, Darien spoke up.
"Claire, when was the last time you were published?"
She looked confused. "As in?"
"As in had something that you had written published in a scientific journal." Hobbes finished Darien's thought.
"Right after grad school. Why?"
Hobbes and Darien looked at each other. "We have a plan."
Almost four weeks later
After a poor week of assigned paperwork for Hobbes after "decking a superior agent," the partners had set their trap. They had Claire write up a report about a subject of her choosing. She chose to continue the research on the possibility of making layers of tissue invisible during complex surgery. With a fake pen name and her knowledge of quicksilver, she was able to make several incredible claims that got her name into several scientific journals. Plus, The Official was able to pull a couple strings to get her articles published sooner than usual, complete with pictures of the genius. Almost overnight, Claire had become the most famous blonde member of the scientific community. Then, using Eberts' computer skills, they were able to alter records that gave Claire's alternate persona the luxury of living in one of the safe houses that The Agency had "lying around."
The full moon was that night, and they had their plan set. Darien would go with Claire to the safe house while in inviso-mode. He would search the house, and if it was safe, she would get comfy and Darien would keep watch from the shadows. Hobbes would stay on the lookout outside, set to give Darien backup should he need it.
They all left headquarters together: Hobbes in the van, and Darien in Claire's SUV with her. As they got to the assigned street, Hobbes stayed back as not to look suspicious, and Darien let the gland do its thing. Claire felt the air in her vehicle chill as her fellow agent disappeared from sight.
They pulled into the driveway of the safe house, and Darien let a small whistle of amazement escape from his lips. How was The Agency able to afford this? The three story house seemed to tower into the night, all dark and foreboding. Darien half-expected to hear the theme from some horror movie chime through the darkness. This was the perfect moment for it.
"All good here." Hobbes' voice filled Darien's ears through the headset he was wearing. 'Never leave home without it.' Darien thought to himself.
Together, he and Claire left the car and headed to the front door. Their plan involved making this look as natural as possible, including putting the house keys on her normal key ring. There was nothing that they had forgotten in making this ruse seem real. Entering the house, Claire held the door open for Darien to enter first and check the entrance. They walked together so that the footstep sounds of Claire's heels masked the slightest noise of Darien's sneakers. The kitchen was safe when they went there and the three rooms around it. So, up the stairs they went to the second story. As Claire entered the bedroom, Darien immediately checked under the bed. Except for a couple terrifying dust bunnies, nothing was there. A look in the closet and the adjoining bathroom proved that she was alone.
Darien let the quicksilver slide from his body but still kept his voice low. "Get ready for bed," he told Claire. "I'm gonna check the other rooms and then come back." With that, he left the room, closing the door behind him.
Claire was grateful that he gave her the privacy to get changed by herself. Still, she could not help but feel slightly uncomfortable being alone. She had completely agreed to be bait to help catch Sonja's killer, but she still did not like putting her life on the line. Basic human survival instincts, she told herself. She started to get undressed quickly, this way she would be ready before Darien returned. Somehow, the thought that she had a former thief watching her back for a criminal calmed her.
Meanwhile, Darien had completed checking the other upper story rooms and was standing in the second story hallway, giving Claire extra time to change. He let his thoughts roam while he stalled in the black hallway. Was this right to make Claire do this? What if this guy doesn't take the bait? Can we be certain that we'll be able to protect her if he does? Every thought plagued Darien's conscience and started to give him a headache.
He headed back to Claire's room, his conscience still working overtime, and softly knocked on her door. Claire evidently heard the barely audible noise and opened the bedroom door for him. When Darien looked at the bed, he noticed that Claire had set a chair not too close to it for him to sit in.
"Can't have you uncomfortable and unready to work," she explained when he gave her a puzzling look.
Darien sat down in the chair as Claire turned off the overhead light and slipped herself into bed. As she got herself situated, Darien felt the need to make one smart remark.
"Never would have thought of you as a flannel wearing person."
"I'm not. Only on special occasions, like when a homicidal maniac might come after me during the night." She paused. "Darien?"
"Do you really think he's gonna show up? I mean, we didn't make this seem too obvious, did we?"
"I was thinking the same thing earlier. I came to the conclusion that he'd be an idiot if he didn't try."
"Seems somewhat odd....hoping for a killer to break into where I'm sleeping."
"Tell me about it."
With that, Claire rolled over to face the window and Darien kept his eye on the closed door.
Back in the van, Hobbes had his binoculars out and had them set on the house. From where he sat, everything looked okay.
"Perimeter secure," he told himself. "Penetration by the enemy not plausible. Mission guaranteed."
He loved talking business talk.
Hobbes was not able to see through to the back door. A solitary figure quickly manipulated the lock and entered the house undetected.
Darien snapped awake when the tiniest creak on the stairs grabbed his attention. He had no idea when he had drifted asleep, but he knew that it was time to play. He sent the signal to the gland and felt the quicksilver cover his body. He could not wait for the poor loser to enter the room so that he could rip his head off. Darien paused--irrational thought. Sure sign of...
He flaked the quicksilver from his wrist just in time to see the second to last segment turn red. Pain shot through Darien's skull as the demon in the dark recesses of his mind forced its way to the front. He knew that if he were able to see his eyes, they would be nearly solid crimson. But, of course, he didn't care about that anymore. He kept any sign of his pain hidden, sitting silently and motionlessly in the chair, watching with monotone vision as the bedroom doorknob turned.
As the bad guy entered the room, Darien's mouth began to water in anticipation. He saw the curved dagger in the killer's hand, and, despite his attempts to keep a sound mind, Fawkes knew that he was about to lose it.
The figure stopped at the side of the bed, close to where Darien sat, still hidden from sight. The killer paused, then raised the dagger with both hands high above The Keeper's unconscious form. As he prepared to slice downward, he met an invisible obstruction that prevented his arms from moving. The man pulled with all his might, but he met extreme resistance. He looked at his captured hands just as another pair appeared over them, apparently the force holding them back. From those hands stemmed arms, and then a torso, all appearing from thin air. Finally, the head of his opponent appeared, and the predator was suddenly filled with fear as inhuman eyes bore into him.
"Tsk tsk. That's not nice." Darien said in a serpentine voice.
In the van, Hobbes cursed at the sound of Darien talking to someone. He had missed the man.
The man mustered all the strength he had and tore his hands from Darien's grip. He ran out of the door with the agent in close pursuit. Darien got within a finger's length of grabbing the perp, when a final shot of agony tore through his mind. Darien collapsed to the ground in pain, a terrifying roar escaping from his throat. On hands and knees, he paused, facing the floor, and then he calmly removed the headset. Gazing up to the attic stairs to which the killer had run, Darien's hideously red eyes cut through the darkness. It was the beast's time for fun. And a hunt was the best form of entertainment for a beast.
Hobbes heard Darien's cry of pain and then everything went silent. At first, he thought that his partner had been cut down by the perp, and he was all ready to rush in, guns blazing. But then, Hobbes remembered that he hadn't heard a scuffle, and knew that it wasn't the killer who had hurt Darien...it was Darien himself. Quicksilver madness.
Quickly, Hobbes thought about how this could be happening. The only explanation: in their hurry to get their plan underway, they had forgotten to check the monitor. The curse of routine.
"Watch that tattoo a little more closely, Fawkes," Bobby muttered as he reached to the back of
the van to grab the tranquilizer gun. He then burst out of the van and started toward the house.
Despite the scuffle that had occurred in her own room, it was the sounds of screaming that woke Claire from her slumber. One look to the chair at her side confirmed her suspicions about the activity. At first, she was about to get out and help with the problem. However, a little voice in the back of her mind convinced her that it would not be a good idea at the moment. Her presence might be a distraction that could blow the mission, or possibly cause her friend to be injured. She stayed in the bed, but reached for her gun by her side and watched the door, anxious to learn who would be victorious. Whoever it was, something told her that her weapon might be necessary.
In the corner of the attic on the third floor, Duglass Peters hid under a sheet that had protected some of the stored furniture. For once, he was truly afraid. What *was* that thing? The memory of those burning red eyes bore a hole through his mind, shaking him at the core. Never since this all began did he feel scared in any way. Never frightened of capture, or of damage that the women could do if they fought him. But now, it was genuine terror that held him frozen in the vast attic. He hoped that whatever had grabbed him downstairs would be too lazy to search the entire top floor for him.
Just then, Duglass heard footsteps clomping on the stairs. The *man*, if that's what it was, did not feel that it had to keep its approach a secret. Duglass actually expected to hear the monster cry, "Come out, come out, wherever you are."
Darien peered into the darkness, his eyes reflecting any light that passed over them and gave him a ghastly appearance. The attic was just one giant room that covered the entire third floor. Cluttered with discarded furniture and random knickknacks, a search would take forever...for a sane person. Darien just smiled a cruel smirk and started running through the room, knocking everything out of his path, making it impossible to hide.
The killer's breath caught in his throat. He was going to be found by this maniac. As Darien ran through the room, thrashing and growling, Duglass sweated over how to get away. Finally, when Fawkes was just about to discover him, Peters broke from his hiding place, trying to get a swipe at his pursuer with his weapon. Darien dodged at the last second and merely suffered a sliced shirt. Duglass pushed past and bolted down the stairs, determined to get out of the house before the monster got to him.
Duglass got to the second level of the house just as a smaller man bounded into his path of flight. With all the strength he could collect, he shoved Hobbes out of the way, practically slamming him through the nearby wall and knocking the two guns from the agent's hands. Peters continued his escape, and was nearly at the front door when he heard the other man cry out, "Fawkes, no!!" The criminal looked up just in time to see Darien leap from the banister of the second floor and fall right in front of him. Darien landed perfectly, crouching with the impact. He slowly rose from the ground, lifting his head to get complete eye contact with his prey. His chilling grin still plastered on his face, he took a bold step toward Duglass-
-Who held his dagger in front of him, desperately knowing that it was possibly his only means of survival. The creature before him was crazy, that much was clear. Sure, Duglass had killed a couple women, but this guy far surpassed him on the loony meter. His insanity almost radiated from him, giving the room a tense atmosphere.
A hideous chuckle escaped from Darien. "Is that all you got?" He stared at Peters, knowing that the little man was petrified of the unruly and hideous monster that stood before him. The small bit of Darien's conscience that remained tried to take control of the situation, but the beast would not let him. He gazed at Duglass through the long strands of hair that had fallen into his face. His back was arched slightly, giving him the appearance of a creature about to pounce. His hands would ball into fists and then shoot out the next second, like claws. He looked carnal, feral, dangerous.
Duglass choked back a cry of fear and continued to hold the dagger protectively in front of him. He continued to watch his attacker, afraid to make one wrong move that would give it the advantage. Unfortunately, he blinked, and that was all Darien needed. That split second of vulnerability when Darien shot to the man's side and grabbed the dagger from his trembling hands. That brief moment that let the monster know that it had won. That sliver of an opportunity for it to appease its desire for destruction.
Hobbes grabbed the tranquilizer gun from the floor and jumped to his feet. Watching the scenario below him, he tried to aim at his partner. However, Darien was holding the perp in front of himself, like a shield, and made any shot impossible, even for Hobbes. Bobby cursed under his breath and intently watched for a clear shot to present itself.
In the bedroom, Claire could not take the suspense any longer. She threw the sheets back and went into the hall, gun in hand. She gasped as she saw Hobbes standing a few feet from her, gun raised and aimed. One look to the lower level, and she witnessed Darien holding a scared man in front of him. Even in the obscure darkness, Claire was able to see the reds of Darien's eyes. She almost felt sorry for the man in Darien's grasp. Almost.
Darien grabbed the man's head in his arms, prepared to snap the neck of his prey, when a sting in his neck jolted him. He reached up, removed a dart and looked behind himself. From the shadows, Joyce stepped forward, tranquilizer gun in her hand. "Knew you all would need backup."
As Darien sunk to the floor, he saw Invisible Mom wink and heard her say, "See you on the flip side of sanity." Then, everything went black and silent.
And the full moon shone brightly outside.
Epilogue-The Next Day
Hobbes came into the lab and threw a folder onto the counter. "Full confession. The man was petrified that the 'invisible, red-eyed vengeance demon' was gonna come after him again."
Claire picked up the file as Darien also walked into the Keep. "Duglass Peters. First victim, his doctor."
Bobby nodded. "Apparently, he lost it when she informed him that he had cancer and there was nothing to do about it. The same night, he took her down. Wasn't enough for him though, so he started going after all scientists that even remotely resembled her."
"The guy was a raving lunatic." Darien said as he went to the fridge and pulled out his lunch. "Worst I've ever seen."
Both Hobbes and Claire shot him a look.
"What?" He questioned, then he caught on. "Oh."
Claire sighed. "I guess it was a really good thing that Joyce was there." She paused, thinking. "What *was* Joyce doing there?"
"I think I can answer that," a voice sounded from the door. The trio turned to watch Invisible Mom enter the room. "You're not the only one who knew Miss Miesner, Claire. With my line of work, I've come to know many different people from different agencies, and even some in this agency that you wouldn't even know about. Sonja was one person that I actually got along with, and I was quite shaken when I heard that she was the latest victim. I know that you all are very capable of handling cases by yourself, but I wanted a chance to get at this scum as well." Joyce paused to recollect herself, and then she continued. "I wanted to see true justice carried out against him, and I knew that wouldn't happen if some red-eyed lunatic ripped him apart before we had the chance to arrest him."
Darien looked down at the floor.
"And now it's done, and back to work I go." With that, Invisible Mom left the Keep, leaving the others to ponder when they would see her again.