I acted shocked, making an exaggerated look of surprise from Stocky’s face. “What the fuck?” I said with his voice. I looked at the other two. “Did she teleport?”
Handsome just whipped out a gun and shot me in the face, at the same time that Tall stabbed me in the back with another knife. The bullet bounced off “my” forehead and the knife blade slipped off my skin. I smiled.
“I guess my reputation precedes me,” I said.
I heard Tall started to scramble for the door, but I whirled and caught his wrist before he completed his second step. With a deft motion, I swung his body around hard enough to dislocate his arm at the shoulder. Handsome tried to back away, but his retreat was blocked by a wooden desk in the corner, and I slammed Tall bodily into him. The two men hit the wall hard enough that I heard Handsome’s ribs crack.
I could never properly remember the cut offs of the Class system, but in my base form, I could dead lift a car and a pistol shot would hurt like hell, but only bruise me. When I possessed someone, that power carried over, but every person also gave me a little extra. Some were faster, some were stronger, some were tougher. But each one also had something extra. Not much extra, always low level, but usually some kind of new ability that I could find useful in a pinch.
I could see the glimmers of people’s auras when I was in my own body, and I’d gotten fairly good at reading them. Stocky, I could tell, would be tougher; going by how the bullet at close range had barely stung, I was guessing at least double in toughness. He also had some kind biological weapon. I focused for a moment to bring it forth, an innate intuition always helping me to know what it was and how to use it once I focused on it.
Hmm… acid breath. Strange. Given his proclivities, I would have guessed some kind of binding agent, like webbing or sticky slime.
The two other men were clutching themselves in pain, Tall crying out as he rolled onto his back, holding his dislocated right arm with his left. Handsome was curled up against the wall, clutching his sides.
I stepped on Tall’s chest. Stocky’s weight was sufficient to pin him, and with his arm disabled and in pain, he had little means of leveraging himself or throwing me off. He kicked at me, but it didn’t hurt, and I shifted my weight down until he struggled to breathe. I let him writhe for a bit, then backed off, taking my foot off him.
“So,” I said once he’d caught his breath. “It seems you were expecting me, hmm?”
“Go to hell… bitch…” he huffed.
“What’s this about?” I said.
“As if you don’t know.”
I frowned and stepped on him again until he almost passed out, but backed off at the last second. “Tell me anyway.”
“You think… we wouldn’t… track you…?” he wheezed. “You think we wouldn’t… put two and two… together?” He grinned. “We know who you are. You were their fuckin’ spy. The saboteur. Fuckin’ with our shipments, tellin’ your team every route, every meeting. You think we never knew about you, but we ain’t stupid. We knew there were insiders. It was only a matter of time before we figured out they were all the same person.”
There was a loud, wet hack, and I looked to Handsome. Blood was coming out through his lips, and he was gurgling. Still, he managed to choke out some words. “Hrk… bitch… bounty… on your… head...” He managed to sneer through the blood. “You like… to set up… guys like… us? We… set you up… this time… bitch!”
I paused and turned. I went and picked up Stocky’s knife, held the point towards my eye, and let his body fall forward towards the windowsill, the butt of the handle aiming for the ledge. As he fell, I slipped out of his body, re-appearing behind him. All men who left my possession had a moment of disoriented shock that lasted a few seconds. Unfortunately, in a quarter of the time it would take for him to realize I had released him, he pitched face forward onto the knife, stabbing it right through his eye and into his brain.
His body bucked on the ground as it underwent the death spasm. I ignored him and looked past the broken window into the darkness. I could see them, now, an entire line of auras heading my way. From their shapes, I could tell that the men they belonged to were carrying weapons, guns to be precise. Even with my strongest durability boost, I was not entirely bullet proof. More than one body had been shredded to pieces by sustained machine gun fire, one getting his head blown off by a point blank shotgun round to the temple. And once a host body died, my own body was immediately ejected, leaving me even more vulnerable. After surviving a few such encounters, mostly by pure luck, I knew better than to take chances.
My ability to see the glimmer of people’s essence did partially work through walls. As I slowly turned, I realized it wasn’t just a line of men approaching, but an entire ring of individuals converging on the building.
“Well played,” I said. I reached down and yanked Stocky’s knife out of his eye, then went back over to Tall and Handsome. Tall had gotten to his feet, managed to find Handsome’s gun on the floor, and now aimed it at me. He fired, but even in my base form, I was just quick enough to duck his trigger finger, and hurl the knife hard enough to bury into his chest, down to the hilt. I struck his heart and he staggered back, the gun going off one more time to uselessly put a hole in the ceiling.
Handsome seemed to have resigned himself to his fate, and lay there shuddering, his breath labored. I’d clearly punctured a lung when I slammed him into the wall. I squatted down and pulled his head up towards me by the chain. He let out a hiss of agony. His life force was flickering.
“You had to know you weren’t going to be the ones collecting the bounty. Was it really worth it? You think, what, the cartels will give your cut to your family? They’ll just pocket it like do your lives.”
He glared at me with an intensity that almost took me back. “I never… worked for… the cartels…” he wheezed, but managed to force himself to go on. “This was… revenge… Fantasma…”
I frowned. “For what? Did we kill a brother of yours or something?”
His teeth grit so hard I heard his jaw creak. “You killed… everyone… in my town… my home… is a crater…” he sucked in a shuddering breath. “The cartels… are monsters… but it was you… you Fantasmas… who destroyed our country…” He let out a hack and wailed in pain for a moment. I eased my grip. “Your cure… was so much worse… than the disease…”
I frowned and lowered my head. “Yeah. I can’t say you’re wrong.” I looked him in the eye once more and selfishly hoped that he could sense my sympathy. I kept one hand on his chin, and placed one on top of his head. “Good night, friend.” I then spun his neck in a full circle, snapping it and putting him out of his misery.
I stood and sighed. I looked at the other two men and wondered at their motives. Possessing a body didn’t allow me access to the mind of the host, but given Stocky had been willing to give what he’d thought was a helpless woman an unwanted dicking, I didn’t have much sympathy for him. Tall, I would never know. I didn’t really believe anyone in this world was innocent, but Handsome’s spite had been genuine. Whatever else he’d done in his life, I had a feeling he probably didn’t deserve what we’d done to him.
I stepped outside to greet the wall of people approaching the motel. They stopped a fair distance away, but were still practically shoulder to shoulder, all with the guns aimed right at me. I made a humorless smile. It’s not like I was ready to die, but if I didn’t make it out of this, I couldn’t say it was undeserved.