The Chase

By Eric Burns (


Here's a vignette on this subject I pulled from my website. The original (and character writeup) are at if anyone's interested.

There he was. The rat bastard who'd shot up a convenience store for twenty seven bucks, then fled the law. Izzy, down to the K-Mart, he'd seen him on America's Most Wanted, and there he was. Dana knew she had to be sure, though. She couldn't take the risk of making a mistake. She'd done that once and it'd been Hell. Dana should know.

"Hey man," her target said to the guy across the table from him. They hadn't seen her sit behind them, eating greasy eggs and drinking coffee, all to listen to them once she'd made her target. "I got to go. Heat's still on, y'know?"

"I know," his friend said. "Where you staying at?"

"Brookline, man -- just off Washington Street. You know, that old brownstone up there?"

"Oh yeah, yeah. I know the place."

Dana closed her eyes, feeling the fire under her skin, driving and pushing. Tasting the fire as it reached out, into the city. Looking for the fastest way, the best way up to that brownstone. Letting her taste the route much better than she could taste the toast in her hands. Yes. Yes she knew the way. Knew it better and faster than he did, she'd bet dollars to cheese. She took a drink of coffee and dropped money on the counter. Too much but she didn't care. She slipped out and headed the wrong way, to circle the block. He was going the other way, and now he'd probably be looking over his shoulder. But that was fine. She could taste his address and she knew the fast way, through the basements of the block of student housing, all interconnected, up the steps, across to the B Line which would take her three fourths of the way, and she'd get a car two before his....

And she did, and she found the address. Looked at the door and knew it was right. She checked the lock. It was locked. She took a breath, and closed her eyes. She wouldn't have much time. He couldn't be that far back. But if he saw his door unlocked or broken into, he'd run. She'd catch him but it wouldn't be clean and if it wasn't clean it'd get back to Dian and that'd be trouble. She felt the fire within her skin, but it wasn't her skin. It wasn't her at all. She felt the fire roil and shift and burn and the physical world drop away. To the casual observer she'd look like she vanished, but the very perceptive might see the burning ring of fire rise and roll, free, perceiving all around it now, even as the physical door and wall it was passing through seemed so remote, so distant...

The world pushed against her, outraged at her Celestial presence. Well, that was fine. She could settle back into Corporeality. And then search -- look for something with a name, with a face, with something from Toledo where he'd been shooting, a gun....

The room was filthy. As filthy as Dana's own. Pizza boxes everywhere, piled on the floor. Crusts and cockroaches and a television still on. Beer cans and soda cans and cigarette butts. It's a wonder the place hadn't burned to the ground.

Yet. Hadn't burned to the ground yet. Dana tore through things. An old knapsack. Piles of clothes. Piles of bills. Piles of--

There. Bus tickets from Ohio. Old wallet with his ID in it. Old ID, probably. He probably had new ID. CORBIN, Fern, Height five foot eleven, weight one eighty....

Key in the lock. She stood up, and waited, shifting from one foot to the other...

Fern Corbin stopped and looked at her. "The Hell," he asked, stunned.

"Not hardly," she said, smiling a feral smile. "Not hardly at all."

"Shit." He pulled out a pistol. "Girl, I don't know who you are or what you're doing here, but you got eight seconds to leave and you're turnin' out your--"

"Eight men, five women, two boys, one girl," she said. "Do you remember them?"

Corbin blinked. "The He--" But Dana didn't let him get his blasphemy out. Not this time. Instead she jumped at him, spinning in air, letting the fire in her twist her path so his startled pistol shots fired around her instead of hitting. She drove her fist into his solar plexus, feeling it crack and feeling him shriek. She turned on the ball of her foot, pushing him down and driving the pistol to the floor, where it fired again. Attention, but she wouldn't be long.

"Who are you?!" the meat wailed as she danced back out of his grasp.

"Who am I? Who am I? I'm what happens, Fern Corbin. I'm what happens to bad men who think they can get away with murder." She pulled her sword-hilt from the folds of her coat, and ignited the blade. It burned in the apartment, and it reflected in his terrified eyes.

She didn't take long. Dian hated it when she was late, and Mass was tonight too.


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