Zephyr sat in the local coffee shop, reading in the newspaper about the most recent murder. It appeared that the killer had left his calling card once again with the victim, and the body was torn to pieces as all the others had been. That is, if the murderer could even be called a person. It seemed more like some kind of beast. A demon maybe?
He stood up from his seat, folding the newspaper and walking out of the shop. It was already dark outside, with only a few people out on the streets. With the string of murders in town, Zephyr was almost surprised to see so many people, especially the lone woman across the street.
Talia examined the people on the street with a suspicious eye. She had been charged with tracking down the killer responsible for the recent murders. There weren't many people out tonight and most of those that were did not seem to be good suspects. A man across the street that had just exited a coffee shop caught her eye. He seemed shifty and the other people were avoiding him. She began to approach him.
Zephyr raised an eyebrow as the woman made her way towards him, crossing the street. He figured there would be no point in trying to walk away from her since she seemed so determined and serious. He waited for her to reach the sidewalk before addressing her.
"You got a problem?" He stared at her blankly.
Talia was slightly shocked by the bluntness of the mysterious man. She didn't remember the last time someone had been so direct with her.
"Not if you don't. I just have good reason to get involved in people's business."
"Oh? What gives you the right? You must've had a reason for walking over here." This woman was fearless, he'd give her that. But that boldness could easily get her killed.
"My name is Detective Talia and I'm investigating the recent string of murders, and I can't help but notice that those murders are featured in the headlines of that newspaper you have." She may have been new around here but she wasn't going to let this mystery man question her authority. Although she hoped that her boldness would pay off, it wasn't her typical course of action.
"Does reading the newspaper make me a suspect or something?" She had some nerve waltzing over like that just to point out the newspaper and announce herself. Maybe she was crazy?
She was beginning to regret being so brash with this man, he didn't seem to be intimidated by her position in the slightest. "Not a suspect but a person worth talking to. Do you know anything about what's going on?"
Zephyr almost wanted to laugh, but this woman was ever so slightly too annoying for that. He held up the newspaper for her.
"Maybe try reading the paper if you want information? And if I were you," he leaned closer, lowering his voice "I wouldn't walk around these parts announcing yourself as a detective. Especially at night."
His warning caused her hand to go to the pistol concealed in jacket. This guy may not be much help, but at least he wasn't trying to harm her. "Thanks, I'll keep that in mind" As she went to leave, she stopped and grabbed the newspaper out of his hand. "I think I'll take your advice on getting information as well"
He nodded. "Smart woman."
So she had a gun too? He had noticed her hand move to the concealed weapon momentarily when she panicked from his warning. She must have been the real deal if she had that kind of weapon on hand. All the same, a gun wouldn't help her much against multiple assailants... He cursed at himself internally.
She stopped. Maybe she would get something out of this man after all. She turned back towards him.
He sighed slightly.
"You shouldn't walk alone around here. Even with a gun"
Talia frowned slightly when she realized she had given away the location of her weapon. She had made a lot of rookie mistakes while talking with this man. She looked back at him. "You're welcome to join me, but I can take care of myself"
"I doubt that." Was she really that cocky? She obviously wasn't from around here if she thought she could survive a fight in this part of town with only one weapon.
She frowned at his doubt in her ability to stay alive around here. "Then I guess I need to have you around to help me stay alive. Although you don't look like much of a fighter."
Zephyr smirked at her reaction. If only she knew.
"You'd be surprised what I'm capable of."
A woman's scream cut through the night as Talia was about to respond.
"I guess I'm going to find out."
She gestured for the man to follow before running off towards the sound of the scream.
He ran after her towards the source of the scream. They rounded the corner of a nearby alleyway to find a group of thugs harassing a young woman, pulling on her clothes and pushing her around.
"Stop it!" The woman cried out, catching a glimpse of Zephyr and Talia as one of the men pushed her against a wall.
"Leave her alone!"
The thugs paused and turned at the sound of Talia's voice. They laughed when they saw who was attempting to stop them.
"What are you going to do to stop us?" The leader called out.
Zephyr sighed and stood in front of Talia.
"We could start with breaking every bone in your body and then we can leave you to rot like the scum you are."
One of the men laughed loudly. "You and a woman against four of us? You don't look like you could even tear a paper in half let alone break a bone"
Zephyr smirked. They'd regret that shortly.
Talia looked at Zephyr in shock. What was he saying? Was this an attempt to intimidate them? She was unsure but she prepared for the fight regardless. The thugs began to advance. One of them stayed back, holding the woman in case things got too out of hand and a hostage was needed. Zephyr took note of this before one of the thugs dashed forward at Talia. Zephyr grabbed his arm, using his momentum to throw him against the wall. A sickening crack resounded as Zephyr broke his arm in the process, kicking his leg out from underneath him and turning to the other men.
"I hope your bones aren't weaker than paper, or this would be no fun."
The men hesitated to advance, how had this thin man beat up one of them? Talia looked at him in shock, she didn't think he was capable of that. Zephyr began to advance on the thugs. As he was doing that Talia started to move towards the hostage
The two thugs rushed at Zephyr, brandishing weapons at him. Zephyr sidestepped to avoid the first thug, tripping him as he did so. He caught the blade of the second, twisting his arm back and head-butting him, knocking the man unconscious. He turned his attention back to the first man as he regained his footing.
"Should I break your legs...? Or your skull?"
The thugs were so distracted by Zephyr that Talia was able to close on the one holding the hostage. The thug noticed her before she reached him.
"Come any closer and she dies." He said bringing his knife closer to the hostage's neck.
The last thug lunged at Zephyr with his knife, aiming at his neck. Zephyr quickly dodged the attack and kicked the man in the knee. He fell to the ground and Zephyr grabbed the blade from his hand, bringing it to the man's neck.
He kicked the man in the back, a movement followed by the loud crack of his spine. Zephyr then turned his attention to the man holding the hostage. The thug defensively backed away from the two of them, still holding his knife against the throat of the hostage.
"So, how do you want to do this? The easy way or the hard way? You just saw what he can do"
"Take another step and the woman dies." The thug threatened, pushing the blade into her neck slightly.
Zephyr glanced at Talia, turning the knife he held in his hand until he was holding the blade between his fingers. The thug looked at the blade in Zephyr's hand.
"Let go of that knife. I'll kill her, I swear!"
A twisted smile spread on Zephyr's face. "You said to let it go." In one swift movement, he threw the knife, hitting the thug in the shoulder, causing him to drop his own blade and release the woman. She quickly ran behind Zephyr and Talia.
As the man stumbled backwards Talia advanced and delivered a brutal kick to the thug's groin. As he fell to his knees she struck his head with her knee rendering him unconscious. Talia returned to the woman and her fellow rescuer.
"Hi, I'm Talia and this is..."
"Zephyr..." He looked away as the woman looked at him, a bit frightened.
She turned to Talia. "Thank you for rescuing me."
"You're welcome, we're happy to help. We can escort you home if you'd like."
"Um, yes that would be great." She said still glancing nervously at Zephyr.
"Where do you live?"
"Just around the corner, I was on my way home."
Talia turned back to Zephyr. "Will you be joining us?"
"I guess. Someone should call the police to pick these guys up too." He nodded back at the incapacitated thugs.
"I'm sure that a policeman will walk by and find them. Let's just get her home."
The woman led them to her home and went inside. She thanked them graciously.
"So, I could use some help investigating these murders. Are you interested?"
Zephyr stared blankly at her.
"You're kidding right?"
"Look I'm new around here and I could use the help of someone that knows this place. You can refuse if you like."
She started to walk away, it was a little much to ask considering they had just met.
Zephyr sighed in irritation. This woman was rather forward, he'd give her that. And if she was investigating the murders, she was bound to get herself into trouble. He walked next to her.
"Fine." He crossed his arms. "But what's in it for me?"