Prompt: oversize; pajama clad hero
For a moment, Vicki remained asleep and dreamed of an unstoppable alarm clock, one which even unplugging could not silence. Then reality broke in and she awoke. From the nightstand, she grabbed her gun and badge and the shrilling Paranormal Field Detector. Pounding down the stairs from the loft, she slipped the badge onto the chain around her neck and awkwardly stuffed the PFD into the pocket of the shorts she slept in. At the door, she stuffed her feet into shoes and prayed whatever was out there did not require full gear or shielding to fight.
She hardly needed the PFD to tell her where to find the problem. All she needed to do was follow the piercing shriek and the concerned neighbors rushing toward it. Great. Nothing like weird incidents in the middle of the night with lots of witnesses. The PAU wasn’t paying her enough for this. Everything converged on the neighborhood park; a good crowd had already built up.
“FBI, folks, make a path,” Vicki barked. People parted and the chatter increased. She got the usual disbelieving looks, though for once she did not know if it was because no one had seen in almost 300-pound FBI agent or if they had never seen an FBI agent show up to a scene in her pajamas. Over everything, the shrieking noise continued. Damn dramatic bogeymen.
“What’s going on?” Someone asked. “What’s that noise?” “What’s the FBI doing here?” Questions pressed in around her. No one wanted to leave the scene, even though they had every reason to be afraid and should have been at home in bed. Vicki reluctantly dropped her gun into a pocket and turned to the crowd.
“Okay, everyone, sorry for the disturbance. You all need to clear the area. There’s a possibility of a broken water main.”
“Why’s it making that noise?” A chorus of voices asked.
“Most likely that’s the result of highly pressurized water escaping a small crack. For your safety, I have to ask everyone to leave.” She pushed the crowd back from the concrete perimeter of the park. They began, reluctantly, to disperse on their own. Vicki mentally urged him on, hoping to get them clear before anything weirder, and less explicable, than the noise started.
Some guy stuck around, clinging close to Vicki. “Isn’t that unusual?” He asked. “Don’t you normally see breaks with cars hitting hydrants?”
“Sir, I really insist–”
“And what’s the FBI got to do with it?” People started to linger, listening to them argue. Vicki looked him over in the yellow light of the street lamps. Early twenties, street combat attire choices, carrying concealed. What the hell?
“In case you couldn’t tell from my clothes,” Vicki said coolly, “I’m just from the neighborhood.”
Back on the park’s playground, the noise suddenly died down, the auditory equivalent of water leaving a bathtub after the plug is pulled. Just the opposite started visually; white mist or steam started pumping out of the ground just by the merry-go-round. It rolled in slow waves from that center point, out toward them and everything else. Vicki pulled her gun.
Then all of a sudden, the guy was in front of her. He stood, legs spread and feet planted, like he had superhero aspirations. “If you can run, now would be the time to do it.” He pulled a gun from a shoulder holster, something that looked like a water pistol.
“Excuse me? ‘If?'”
“I’ll hold it off,” the guy said and started pulling the trigger on his little water gun. It shot a stream of liquid at the approaching fog. It made contact with the leading edge of the wave. Like a living thing, the fog recoiled, hesitated, and then started a rapid retreat. It coalesced as it went until it looked like a white arrow shooting in the opposite direction.
Vicki cursed and chased after it. She could feel the shorts riding up as she ran and it made her feel like she had just charged into battle in a bikini. The fog decided to take a corner and she raised her gun to fire as it presented its broadside.
“Don’t!” Something crashed into her, then ricocheted off. Vicki aimed again, but the fog had disappeared around the corner. Her chance was gone.
The guy sprawled on the ground, knocked over when he slammed into her. “Bullets won’t do anything to it,” he explained as he got to his feet.
Vicki grabbed him by the collar and jammed her barrel under his chin. “You stupid dick, what do you think you’re doing?”
“You don’t know what you’re up against,” he said in a high, frantic voice. “Don’t you realize that?”
Vicki said, “Do you know what will happen to you if I pull the trigger right now?” She ground the barrel into the skin under his chin for emphasis. Then she shoved him away hard enough to almost knock him on his ass a second time. “Not damn thing, except a bruise and a week of smelling like sulfur. Which is more than I can say for your toy there.”
“You knew? You’re carrying for–what, demons?” He at least had the decency to look a bit embarrassed as he holstered his gun.
“Banishing rounds. And you, you’re an amateur hunter? Exorcist-for-hire?” In her pocket, her PFD’s tone cut off as it lost track of the fog.
“A hunter.” He opened one of the pockets on his camouflage vest and took out a business card. Todd Murphy, paranormal investigation and removal. Great, Vicki thought, a hobbyist. “You’re not really FBI, are you?”
Vicki held up her badge then, because pulling rank on him would be the only upside to this, she flipped it to the second badge.
“Victoria Lightman, FBI, Paranormal Analysis Unit? We have one of those?”
“Plan on getting to know them. You’re coming with me and telling me everything you know about that fog and how you knew it would be there.”
“I’m not really–”
“It wasn’t a request,” she snarled.
He held up his hands and walked where she pointed. “By the way, you sure can run for such a big girl.”
“I can still shoot you, you know.”