Note: Originally this was a submission for the Crimson Pact Anthology. Sadly it was not chosen, but was a learning experience. I've removed the one reference to the anthology so that it is more stand alone.
I followed Mike as we stalked down the dark streets of suburbia. Our target was near, and though I had yet to pick him out, Mike had. He was on the trail and nothing was going to shake him. The others said I was crazy for putting so much faith in Mike, but he had proven himself time and time again. Mike had that sense for unnatural evil that let him know when it was nearby. Undead, poltergeists, or in this case a demon, he could pinpoint any of it. I am not sure how, but my theory is that it is the scent. He catches a whiff of something the rest of us just cannot quite smell, at least until it is too damned late.
I was going to need his nose in top form tonight. We were on the case of a body stealer. Cursed thing would jump into a host and use them for its own vile fun until they burned up from the inside or local law enforcement caught up with it. Then it would just ditch the body, letting its victim deal with the consequences. I think it liked leaving some poor host to suffer in a jail cell with the memories of what had happened more than it liked committing murders and other perversions while it controlled the host.
Mike waved his nose through the air as he sniffed for our quarry. I kept close behind, trying to be ready for whatever Hell we were about to walk into. We stayed close to the shadows. At least while it was in a human host, the darkness was no more the body stealer’s friend than ours. Actually, with Mike's senses leading the way, it was one of the few advantages we might have. Thank God for small blessings.
We were nearing an alley running between two houses, they were either abandoned or should have been, when Mike's nostrils began to flare and he came to a halt. This was the sign that he had just gotten a strong scent and we were just about on top of the bastard. He bared his teeth and he was crouched down like he was ready to go for the throat, the evil taint putting him on edge. That scent got to him and he knew it needed to be destroyed; it came down to an instinct for him. I put my hand on his back to calm him down. Mike is a big boy, and I have seen him give all hell in a fight, but his job was just to find the demon. It was my job to actually take the thing down.
Mike reluctantly backed down and I took the lead. I moved forward carefully, trying to be as silent as death. An old security light someone had set up on a telephone pole flickered in an unnerving way, almost like it did not want to shine on what it saw happening from its perch. As I neared the mouth of the alley, the stench hit me. I could not smell evil the way Mike could, but this close I could damn well smell the blood. It use to twist my stomach. Frankly, I wish it still did. That would mean I had not been around it so much that I had gotten use to it.
I edged around the corner, wanting to see the creature before it saw me. Pale moon beams and the flicker of the security light provided illumination for the horrid scene. I silently cursed myself for not moving faster; maybe if I had the poor person being cannibalized might have been saved. Judging by the sweat suit, the victim was probably a late night jogger that had been caught off guard. Crouched over it, back to me, was the body stealer, or at least the unfortunate sap that was stuck as its host. It was a man's body, dressed like some nine to five office clerk.
I did not waste time. This was not some film where the hero challenges the beast to one on one combat. I held up a glass jar covered in runes. Smoke seemed to swirl within it, the trapped essence of a few other demons I had managed to take down. I began the chant to my spell, rattling it off as fast as I could without making any mistake that would fizzle the incantation.
The demon heard my voice and turned. I could see now how the front of the host's shirt and face were covered in blood and gore. The big knife he had used to slice open the victim was hard not to notice as well. I should have started out farther back I realized. This guy was fast, covering the ground too quickly. I was close to finishing the spell, but he was going to be on me in half a heartbeat. I was dead, or at least should have been.
Thankfully, Mike had my back. Despite being told to stay back, Mike tackled the bastard and bought me the time I needed. He did not give a damn about the knife, he just knew that evil son of a bitch was coming at me and had to be stopped. As they rolled on the ground I opened the jar and pointed it at the host body. The body jerked as my magic drew the possessor out, pulling it into the magic jar, which I then quickly sealed.
I went over to where Mike was trying to get up. He had a nasty cut down his side, but nothing that would kill him. I looked over at the host. He was groaning, trying to regain consciousness. I'd have to figure out some way to help him stay out of jail, not to mention help him to deal with the horror he had been through. I smiled at Mike then patted his head, "Good boy Mike, good boy."