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Jael Carver

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Friday, April 11

Benson Ranch, outside of Top-of-the-World, AZ

Detective work was mind-numbingly boring. Jael had known this when she had decided to start doing it, but knowing it and experiencing it where completely different things. Had she been in a car, watching a house, she could have had her computer with her or something. But out here, all she had was her ipod and her camera.

The night was quiet; the only sounds were the occasional hoot from the owl that lived in the barn. The barn was right next to the tree that Jael had set up residence in, allowing her a hidden view of anyone who might enter or leave. All the intruders so far had left behind their trash – beer cans and condoms, mostly – in the barn, so this seemed the best place to watch.

Sighing quietly, Jael checked the camera again, making sure it was prepped. The advanced camera was ready, right down to being on the low light setting. Her ipod was grinding out a mix of Archangel, Prodigy, Dethlok and Frankie Is The Devil. As the T’rr’r and hard rock music ripped through her ears, Jael tiredly considered packing it in again. It was almost three a.m., and no sign of her prey. Nodding to herself, she decided to fly home, report to Dr. Sakolove and get the minimum three hours of sleep she needed before school.

She was a second away from shifting her feet and flying out of the tree she’d picked as her vantage point when her nose caught a new scent – a whiff of booze that hadn’t been there a moment ago. Jael’s heart began to pound with expectation as she shut off her music and removed the earbuds, the silence of the area as loud as the music had been.

That silence was broken by a giggle and urgent whispers. Jael waited patiently, her heart pounding and her camera in her hand. Even though she had no intention of attacking the approaching people, she still had that tingle of anticipation, the one that preceded a kill. Perhaps this could be a substitute for hunting, Jael thought. We’ll see if it sates me afterwards, like the rapist did. Just the thought of killing the man who had made her erupt caused her to shiver with delight, just a little.

Six kids stumbled into view with a cooler and bottles in hand, already drunk and giggling. They were young, about Jael’s age, and clearly locals; one of them was wearing a jacket marked with the area school’s colors. The camera was already in place, and she made a small adjustment to get the kids in the shoot. As they stumbled toward the old barn next to the tree, she took care to get a clear image of each of them. Her uncle could identify them and have them stopped.

As the kids disappeared into the wooden structure, Jael floated out of her tree, feeling satisfied. “Case solved,” she muttered as she followed the path back to the road. She’d gotten better at navigating from the bird’s eye view, but she still preferred to stick to known roads at night.

It was a good thing that she did, because she found their trucks. Grinning, Jael pulled out her camera again and floated around the backs of the vehicles so that she could snap pictures of their license plates. That should seal the deal, she thought smugly to herself.

But she wasn’t satisfied, not in the least. That tingle was still in her gut, demanding completion. Shivering, she pulled out her cell phone and called her savior, the one man that could make this go away. “Charles,” she whispered when he picked up.

“Jael… hold on,” he replied. A second later, he was there, his mind slipping into hers, so gentle. *You’ve certainly worked yourself up, haven’t you?*

Yes, Jael admitted to herself, knowing he’d hear.

*Just a moment.* Jael waited patiently, not at all surprised when the tingle faded away into nothing. Sakolove had done this for her before: calming her need to kill. Sometimes, she wondered why he didn’t turn it off forever. The only answer, and one that didn’t make sense to her, was that he couldn’t. He could do so much, why not this? *All fixed.*

Thank you. Jael paused, thought over her words carefully and thought, I need it again.

There was a silence in her mind; Sakolove’s ‘voice’ was heavy with emotion when he replied, *Very well. You stay out of trouble. I’ll find someone for you.*

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