"The world is rapidly changing around us. Without adapting to this change we might as well count ourselves extinct. It is time for humans to recognize that we are not the only inhabitants on God's green earth! I would like to announce the existence, as scientifically proven by Dr. Edward Chase Ph.D and his associates, supernatural creatures walk amongst us. That they in fact have walked amongst us for thousands of years! As the people of the United States of America, it is time we open our arms and hearts to them!" The president of the U.S.A announced one snowy afternoon in January. Shouts of triumph and riots broke out across the nation. Police were forced to pick a side. Life as the American public knew had changed forever. Blood banks popped up in hordes in every state, state forests were dedicated to werewolf packs, and hybrids struggled to find a place where neither side wanted them. Sanctuary towns were declared and schools were separated. A set of laws were passed to protect humans against their new predators and counter-laws were created to protect predators against discrimination.
A tiny factory town in norther Michigan is said to be the first in a long line to lead a revolution to equality. This poor town is named Trade. In the 1940's Trade was a busting steel factory town. Homes populated both sides of the streets and it was one of the first to abolish "Jim Crow" laws. However after "The Announcement", as the broadcast came to be known as, history began to repeat itself in Trade. With the closing of the steel factory Trade was split into three sections: south, center, and uptown. The south held the abandoned factory, the junkyard, and homes infested with domestic abuse and illegal drugs. Criminals quickly made the south their home. The center is dotted by The Checkerboard, a small mom and pop diner that is from another time. Behind that is a run down "by the hour" motel. On one side is the flower shop, now closed and rotting, and on the other is the pharmacy. Across the street is a small grocery store and gas station. A movie theater lays to the right and a nail salon/barber shop to the left. The library is behind them on Haynes street and marks the beginning of uptown Trade. Central Park is an acre of land that sports forested trails, playground equipment, basketball hoops, a volleyball net, and a fenced in area for dogs to play. Opposite the library is Saint Peter's General Hospital complete with surgical wing, birthing center, and emergency center. The four story building is the one of the newest aside from the high school. The elementary school and intermediate school have been combined into one building to safe space. Within this area apartment buildings sprout from the ground like wildflowers, two story pseudo-mansions dot the land. This is where the richer live. On the outskirts of town, almost passed the city limits is a warehouse store where things can be bought in bulk. Capping both sides of town are two faded hanging banners that read: Welcome to Trade.
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Mason barely flinched when the woman ran into him. He ran a hand over his sweater and nodded softly. The woman's eyes were bright and wide. She clearly had been paying attention. A gentle grin pulled at his scarred lips.
"It's okay." He assured her and returned his attention to the sidewalk ahead of him. He had too much to do to wonder why the woman's eyes flashed when she looked up at him. He tried not to let it bother him too much as he returned to his motel room. He checked his phone for the third time that morning. Still nothing. Nothing was still a good thing. His first victim's blood was barely cold. He had a list of names that needed to be taken care of, he had a plan to stick to his plan, but surprises did occur. Over time Mason had learned to flow with the surprises and work around them. Sometimes he was even able to distract the police by placing certain names at the crime scene. Sometimes the names took care of themselves.
At the motel room Mason spent an hour cleaning the Remington, the wooden stock shone in the light as he polished it. With all of the parts oiled, checked, and reassembled he was finally satisfied. The performance of his sniper assured the success of the hit. He treated all of his weapons as an extension of his arm. Countless hours have been spent at the firing range honing his skills. He didn't compete anymore, but he had several trophies sitting on a polished shelf in his Chicago home.
Mason waited for evening to roll around. The sun was just starting to set as he pulled another sweater over his shoulders and headed for the northern side of town. There the hospital lights twinkled and shadows waltzed passed windows. The EMT's silence was as deafening as its sirens. He dark skinned woman to duck out of the employee entrance by the loading dock. The yellow overhead light buzzed while moths swarmed around it's eye. She paused to fish through her purse. The woman was named Christina Somes, she was a call in nurse and lived alone. The quick google search of her revealed that she had two boys and a dead husband. Technology, and small town nosey neighbors, had made Mason's job that much easier.
Christina struggled into her rusted car and turned over the engine. It cranked, sputtered, and refused to run. She cursed and slammed her hand against the steering wheel. The day's stress was settling on her shoulders and fat tears were starting to roll down her cheeks. She had watched a teenage girl fight for her life after swallowing a handful of pills. Afterward a boy with an incurable disease thanked her for dinner while a new mom held her baby for the first time. Chris was there for all of it and so much more. She held hands and hugged strangers, she prayed with the roughest looking people.
She turned the key and the engine cranked. Nothing happened.
A little more than 24 hours had passed since the department had visited the most recent crime scene of Trade. While it wasn’t exactly the quietest town in the world for criminal activity, murder was not exactly commonplace either. It was usually hate-crime or violence and that was not something that was unique to their town. It did not matter that this town was full of hybrid creatures or supernatural beings. Discrimination and unrest could be found around any corner, but the media liked to make Trade sound worse than it was. Maybe that was so they felt that they could still influence public opinion of supernatural creatures. Not everyone was so willing to find acceptance in their hearts yet. That didn’t mean that Louisa had to understand it either.
Fatigue was something that plagued the woman regularly, but it hit her especially hard when she had an open case to work. Of course, she was not deluded, and she knew that it would take some time to work the case but the best place to start would be to find out more about the person in question. The victim had been left without his belongings which meant that it would take a little longer to identify him especially since Derek had already managed to identify what type of being he was through the smell of his blood. A smile plagued her lips as she thought about how useful such a talent would be to her in this line of work. It certainly saved a lot of time.
With paper in hand, Louisa made her way out of the office down to the morgue where the victim’s body was waiting to be examined. The cause of death was obvious, but they would need to analyse his teeth to see if they could be matched to any dental records and at least try to run his DNA through the database. Most of the hybrids here avoided permanent records, especially ones that the police had access to.
[b “Hey Dennis. Derek has signed off on the autopsy. He has asked for dental records, DNA match and then run a swap around the bullet wound to see if we can figure out which gun killed him. It might help us find a starting position for this damned investigation.”] She sighed as she placed the paper down on the steel table in front of her, leaving her hand to rest on top of it while she gauged whether Derek had taken in everything she had said. He was one of the most brilliant minds she had ever come across but as a daemon, he sometimes exercised an ego that made it appear like he wasn’t listening to anyone else.
[I “Yes ma’am. On it.”] He replied swiftly, taking the paper from under her hand and reading over it before he moved to the area where he was keeping the body.
[b “Right, I will leave you to it. Holler when you get something!”]
[center [pic http://worldartsme.com/images/line-dividers-clipart-1.jpg]]
[right [pic http://I.imgur.com/3pfkksS.jpg]] Things were beginning to get really difficult at work. It used to be such an integrated place. Somewhere for humans and supernaturals to mingle and forget about the world outside. However, in recent months the owner of the bar was growing increasingly worried about the two mixing. Humans had become more hostile towards beings not of their own kind, and supernatural beings were becoming suspicious, so segregation seemed to be the best way forward. Now, humans were allowed into the bar in the day, the only staff to work there were also humans but as soon as it turned midnight it became a haven for the supernatural residents of Trade. Most of the beings were nocturnal so it made sense to do it that way. That was how she managed to secure her job and it made her feel confident that she wouldn’t lose it any time soon.
She made her way through the streets now that it was daylight outside and she made her way towards The Checkerboard where she would get herself a takeout breakfast to take home with her. She was in a world of her own, staring at the cars across the street and normally her witch senses and even her vampire senses would have let her know someone was nearby. On this case she was so wrapped up in her thoughts that they failed her, and she found herself walking straight into Mason who appeared to be walking in the opposite direction.
Isabella found herself apologising almost instantly and took a second to glance over the stranger. He was new to Trade and she had never seen him before, but he made the hairs on the back of her neck stand up. There was something slightly off about him, but she couldn’t quite place it.
[b “I’m sorry.”] She repeated holding her hands up in front of her taking a step around him so that she could reach her destination. Isabella shook her head as if it might help her shake off the feeling she could just by having a moment of contact. She arrived at The Checkerboard and placed her hands on the door to pushed it open. Sarah looked up instantly and glanced over at someone else who worked at the place before she made her way over to her.
[I “I am so sorry Isabella. It’s probably best if you don’t come in here. After that hybrid got killed the other day, Billy doesn’t want any trouble and he just…”]
[b “Say no more Sarah. Forget it.”] With that, Isabella turned out of the door with a frustrated sigh and made her new destination: home.
Sweat dripped down Mason’s face. His dark t-shirt was plastered to his back and chest. His legs carried him through Chesterfield Park’s forested sidewalk. The park was empty and the perfect place for him to work his muscles unobserved. He woke every morning at four to workout, eat, and shower. Then at seven he cleaned his weapons and studied his targets. Any missing information dictated how the rest of his day would be spent. Slowing to a walk, he went over a mental calendar. He needed to keep the deaths flowing and keep a variety on the way he killed his victims. The police worked faster than he expected, it probably didn’t help that he was forced to kill on their doorstep. The werewolf-fairy hybrid was messy and unpredictable. That happened sometimes.
Mason stepped onto the sidewalk that would lead him to the center of town and to his motel. As he walked he wondered if he should risk getting an apartment. There were new people flocking to Trade, one more stranger wouldn’t be abnormal, but in his line of work having a paper trail could get complicated. The greatest lawyer in the world couldn’t deny a paper trail that was clear. A soft buzzing draws his attention. Flicking open his phone, he listens carefully to the automated voice on the other end. A smile pulls at his lips as he flips the phone off. He liked the simplicity of his work sometimes. He loved how it paid and how it could turn into a puzzle. The voice had instructed him to meet the driver in the parking lot of the steel factory. There he would pick up an envelope with a more time consuming target. He was advised to be careful or he could be exposed.
Mason chose to eat at The Checkerboard, he ordered a simple breakfast and watched the people around him. His waitress wore a nametag that read Abby, her hair was black and fell down her back in tight curls. A smattering of freckles decorated her cheeks and her glasses sat low on her nose. A small diamond ring was on her left hand. Mason eats slowly, enjoying the peace and watching Sarah, the owner of the diner, talk to man in a brown uniform.
“I think it’s time for us to put signs up.” Sarah said sadly, wiping the counter with a cloth.
“Billy would be making a huge mistake. The Checkerboard is a place for everyone.” The man answered, sipping at his coffee. Sarah shook her head at the words.
“Billy was almost arrested the other day. A man wanted to bring his child in for warm milk. The father pulled out a vile of blood and mixed it with his pop like it was sugar in his coffee. You know Billy, he tried to kick the man out in front of his own son. For god’s sake what has the world come to?” Sarah dips her cloth into some water and then moves to deal with another customer.
Leaving the diner, Mason starts back to his motel. There was a lot he had to do, and he needed to start on his new target as soon as possible.
Soft hands were placed over another’s as two women talked over the tall bar that stood between them. Isabella was the woman stood behind the bar. This is where she worked, and she should have been doing exactly that, but the place was empty apart from a drunkard sleeping in the corner on one of the booths and the woman who looked helpless before her. Sometimes she hated the fact that worked in a 24-hour bar, but she didn’t really have many options around here. Isabella was not just a hybrid, but a hybrid of rarity and very limited understanding. She did not even know how the combination of supernatural creatures resided within her, so she hardly expected anyone else to understand so she kept it to herself, portraying herself as nothing more than a witch. So, she had chosen to work a simple job and lead a simple life in the hope that no one would notice her.
There was so much unknown about her kind: a hybrid werewolf, witch and vampire. All she knew was for such a rare supernatural being to exist, it required the blood of Gods to surge through her body. She had learned that without that, it would be genetically impossible for a werewolf vampire hybrid to exist. It is this holy blood that carried the powers of witchcraft that gave her the ability to manipulate energy to provide her with healing powers as well as astral projection and energetic healing which meant she was able to alter the moods of those around her if she wished to do so.
When the moon was full she transformed into her werewolf form, but she had been told by someone who claimed to understand her that her hybridity allowed her to transform at will should she ever wish to practice and master the talent. The vampire is in was supressed and she did not feel the need to hunt. Her holy blood dampened the blood-lust found in vampires and all she had was their physical strength and the ability to drink blood should she ever find herself in need. Not that she could envision such a possibility. Since the witch side of her was the easiest to understand and control, that was the image she chose.
Isabella pulled her hands away from the woman who had swallowed her sadness now she had made contact with Isabella. She had shifted the energy of her mood to one that would make her smile rather than wallow in self-pity. “You should be getting home. I know it’s going to be difficult since your boyfriend isn’t going to be there, but you are stronger than you realise, and you will be able to get over him.”
“You’re right.” The woman stood up from her seat, almost stumbling from the amount of alcohol in her blood. She could smell it. Sometimes she wondered what it was like to feel the effects of alcohol but since the only way for vampires to actually experience intoxication, they must drink intoxicated blood and she would [I never] drink blood willingly. “I’m going to go home and forget about him.” The woman made her way towards the door and Isabella laughed quietly to herself, shaking her head.
“Be careful. Don’t forget you are only two doors up. Don’t go wandering around the streets at this time. Straight home okay?” She said as she finished polishing up a glass and placed it on the shelf with the rest of them. Her shift would be over soon, and she would finally be able to go home and get some sleep. All she would need was an hour or two. Another benefit to having vampire traits was that she barely needed any sleep to function properly. She watched the woman out of the bar and then made her way over to the sleeping man, taking his mound of glasses so that she could wash them, deciding to leave him asleep where he lay.
The hospital buzzed with gossip and Chris’ head screamed with each new voice that rose above the last. A deep wrinkle had formed on her forehead as she checked patient charts and made the grueling task of washing bed pans. As a nurse it was her job to make sure the hospital was running smoothly. Jessica Wiggs, another nurse working the early morning shift, pulled her aside. The girl was a few years younger than Chris and was slim in build. Her dark red hair was overdyed and thinning in places. The light blue scrubs she wore clung to her. A thin layer of sweat beaded on Jesse’s skin and her eyes shifted back and forth.
“Whatever it is, spit it out Jesse. I’m hungover and ain’t got the time.” Chris drawled, her stomach doing somersaults. Sighing heavily, Jesse takes a step closer.
“I need you to do a pregnancy test. Please, and I need it kept hush hush.” Picking up a box of gauze and then a box of medium gloves, Chris turned and faced her. Jesse was one of the more promiscuous nurses that sometimes had relationships with her patients. She claimed there was something about seeing them weak in a hospital bed that stroked her in the right places. Keeping her face as neutral as possible, Chris nodded.
“You know the drill, piss in a cup and get it to me. I’ll slap a label on it, or fuck it use my own name. We’ll see what happens.” she didn’t need to ask to know that Jesse was afraid. If she was pregnant that brought up several questions that she probably couldn’t answer. The chances of the child surviving the pregnancy were already reduced due to the fact that Jesse was an elf/druid hybrid. The two species had issues carrying children without being mixed together. According to Jesse it was a miracle she was even born. The risks were tripled if the father wasn’t one of the two species that Jesse had flowing through her blood. Judging by her nervousness, the father was probably a predator type supernatural where the baby would more than likely eat her from the inside out.
“Thank you, thank you so much Chris, I owe you one really I do!” Jesse nearly threw herself at her. Putting up her hand, Chris stops her and opens the door leading into the hallway. She nods before leading the supply closet and starts back on her way. A non hungover part of her felt bad for her. Depending on what the father was changed everything about how they would care for the pregnancy. They needed to know immediately or Jesse could lose her life. If she was even pregnant at all. Licking her lips and checking in on one of her older human patients Chris decided that Jesse was in some deep shit either way.
Derek's nostril's flared at the scent of the blood stained pavement and his pupils dilated at the desire for blood began to intoxicate him, if only for a moment. It was within a vampire's nature to have such a reaction at the sight or smell of blood but he had learned to control it throughout his century's of life. As soon as he detected Louisa's presence his eyes returned to their normal size and he flinched slightly, trying to remember to make himself appear more human wherever he could. He breathed in deeply and allowed his eyes to fall upon the woman as she questioned what her next steps should be and he waited for her to go about her work before he began inspecting the body again.
He looked at the bullet wound and for a moment before looking down at the rest of the body while his senses tried to determine his species. He was not of one that was for sure. He breathed in, allowing his scent to cloud his mind and detected werewolf to begin with but he knew the scent was not strong enough for that to be him dominant species. That was the thing about hybrids. It took him longer to detect them because their blood and their scent was very different to that of a 'pure blood.' Fairy. That was the other species that he had been having trouble detecting. He hadn't met many fairies so it had been harder for him to recognise.
Derek's attention then turned to the pool of blood on the floor. It had been a long time since he had taken blood from a living being by force and it was clear that this was something that killer was used to. He too was someone who demanding blood but for a very different reason. No - this man enjoyed taking lives. Derek simply [I needed] the living to survive. He demanded blood but he never took the life of another. At least not since he had somewhat civilised himself amongst humans. For a moment he was reminded of the vampire he used to be and he had to close his eyes to force the ghosts of his past from his mind.
He rose from his crouched position and took a moment to stretch his legs, only to look more human since vampires could have stayed in the position for hours without the slightest threat of cramp and after he spent a few more minutes inspected the scene he figured that there was not much else he could take from the scene other than the male's species since further investigation revealed that his belongings had been taken. Maybe he would be better with Louisa questioning the shifty looking witch.
Seconds later he was be her side and stepped in front of her slightly. He did not even notice that he was doing it but it was instinctive and a protective habit he had developed over the years he had spent working with her. Louisa smiled towards him softly and her returned it instantly showing the mutual respect the two had for each other.
[b "Please tell me you have made more progress than I have over there?"]
It didn't take long for the police to arrive and as soon as they did he had made it very clear that he would only speak to a member of the unit designed specifically to help his kind. While the police might be of a supernatural nature themselves, he could not trust letting anyone know of his ability unless they had been trained in the correct field. Unless someone was supernatural themselves, the would not have detected the magic running through his blood but even then, most kept their distance. Magic was something that scared people and he had no doubt that things could turn badly if it was abused in anyway.
He felt a soft nudge on the back of his neck. It was liked the feeling of snow falling against warm skin but it was enough to make him turn around.
The USB had arrived. He seemed to relax slightly knowing that they were on the scene and he took a moment to observe the two moving towards the cornered off section of the street. The man looked just like everything vampire he had ever met. Sweet on the eyes and a body that was designed for hunting. The other detective was a woman, a human woman. This fact alone surprised him. It wasn't exactly common for a human to find work with a vampire and survive to tell the story. They were known for their naivety and her vampire boss could kill her in a split second his a blood-lust overcame him. His eyebrow was raised in surprise and intrigue and he found himself wondering about the nature of their relationship and how she managed to work with someone who could be so temperamental.
He wasn't left waiting long after their arrival and he noted that it was the female detective who had taken the lead on questioning him. It was hardly a surprising move since no one knew blood quite like a vampire did. What he liked about this woman was that she didn't want to waste any time. Harrison cleared his throat and offered his hand, noticing that she inspected if for a moment before meeting it with her own and nodded her head towards him slightly.
[b "Yes...It's a bit of a sensitive matter and I wanted to make sure that the person I spoke to was someone I could trust. I mean, the USB was created to protect people like...people like me and I don't trust the police."] Already he had made himself sound suspicious and he detected that from her in an instant but it was her job to be suspicious of everyone. She didn’t say anything else but simply left a gap for him to speak so he didn’t hesitate to take it. However he lowered his voice before speaking once more.
[b “I arrived just before it happened. I knew it was going to happen. I mean...I have visions, it’s part of my ability."] He looked at the woman to gauge her reaction and he was satisfied to see that her demeanour had not been altered by his revelation. [b "I had the vision this morning. They work a little funny. Sometimes I get them while it is happening and other times I see it before it happens but there is no way of knowing how soon. Today I seemed to get here too late. Seconds after I arrived a hooded figure shot a gun from across the street."] He pointed to where he had seen the hooded figure. [b "Then I tried to see his face but something was blocking me. All I got was a scar... I know it's probably not much use but I want to help."]
There was really no need to drive to the location of the body as she had first expected. The moment that Louisa had set foot outside the precinct she could see the bright lights of the sirens and the fluorescent nature of the police tape that had cornered off part of the street. It was really quite daring to commit such a crime so close to the station but it was a useful hint to the nature of their suspect. It showed how arrogant the assailant must have been; arrogant or unfamiliar with the town. She made a mental note of that as she stormed towards the scene behind her boss who seemed to move at lightening speed. She could never keep up with him but she supposed that would be a race she would always lose: human versus vampire. It had made lots of people uneasy to have a vampire head up the USB but to this woman, it made more sense than having someone who knew nothing about the nature of such beings. She would follow this man anywhere and she trusted him with every fibre of her being. She wouldn't be the detective she was today if he had not taken the time to impart his experience upon her and take her under his wing. With his guidance she had come to learn a great deal about his world.
Her eyes glanced towards the man as the thoughts passed through her mind but she forced herself to look back towards the approaching scene. She took a deep breath and reached for her badge, flashing it at the policeman guarding the scene. After a brief inspection she was permitted to duck under the tap and by the time she could look up to find the positioning of the corpse, Derek was already knelt beside the body. If she didn't know him so well, the sheer speed of him might have startled her but at this point she was used to it. Louisa shifted quietly and took her place on the other side of the body, waiting a moment for the forensic team to take the last of their required photos and move to leave the two detectives with the body.
[b "The officers have taken a statement from some potential witnesses and whoever called this it. Apparently one of them will only speak with one of us. Do you want me to question him?"]
[I "Yes, you do that and I will look over the body and see what we can find, if anything. This one looks like a clear shot to the head, perhaps from a distance. It's a professional hit and I doubt we will find much evidence here."]
Louisa nodded, took one last look at the face of the man on the ground, eyes staring up at her without a soul. A shiver ran down her spine and her shoulders retracted as if to straighten herself up again. When she felt as though she had gathered herself, she made her way towards the figure waiting on the edge of the tape for someone to question him. The male looked on edge and it was clear that he had witnessed the kill. She had seen the look in his eyes before. That same look that every witness got after such an event. It was as though the shadow of whatever they had witnessed had permanently been etched into their eyes. The haunting and despair was something she had lived with herself so it was easy to recognise.
As she neared him she could see that his pale complexion was not his natural colouring. His obviously strong jaw-bone seemed tense and his grey eyes glance up towards her and her shifted his stance. Louisa nodded towards him and ducked under the tape and joined him on the pedestrian side.
[b "The police said you would only talk to someone from the USB."]
Lizzy felt as though she was a broken record, just repeating the same thing. Eventually the police and detectives moved onto a dark haired man. She arched her eyebrows at him before turning and sauntering away. She could easily smell the difference between human and supernatural. That man had magic flowing through his veins and she wanted no part of it. Licking her lips and rolling her eyes she wondered how long it would take for the police activity to calm down. Lizzy ducked under a string of caution tape and started toward the sidewalk that would lead her downtown Trade. On a waitress’ budget she could only afford a shitty apartment in a collapsing complex. Her landlady was a bitter old hag with two cats and one annoying songbird. The woman had a habit of wearing her curlers too tight and blasting Wheel of Fortune at ungodly hours. She couldn’t help the frustration that filled her. Being questioned was not her favorite thing in the world considering she wasn’t that great of a liar. Trade was Lizzy’s forth town in the last year and she was hoping that she could settle down for a little while.
Pulling her badge from her purse, she keys herself in and starts up the flight of stairs to her apartment. Flies buzzed around the ancient light bulbs and she was pretty sure she could see cockroaches scurrying in the shadows. A disgusted shiver ran down her spine as she fished for her keys. Lizzy’s apartment was pristine, as she liked it. Plants clung to life on her window sill and the room smelled like day old bread. Wrinkling her nose she lights a few candles to destroy the scent and sheds her uniform. Running a hand over her naked body, she checks herself for signs of aging. Unlike vampires, succubi aged as a sign of how hungry they are. The hungrier they are the more they show their age. Another major difference between the cousins was that succubi did not show their true nature, or face, until their prey was well in their clutches and couldn’t escape. Padding to her bathroom Lizzy bathes and turns in for the night. She had to be up before the sun rose to walk to work the next morning. As another night of her not feeding passes her apartment smells a little more like stale bread and her plants wilt a little more. Outside her apartment on the cracked concrete steps is a black cat with bright green eyes. It watches the police carefully and the man that had been questioned. Flipping its tail back and forth, it watches the sidewalk for its master, protecting her and looking for prey for her.
With deft fingers and an expert eye Mason Crator disassembles the Remington 700 sniper rifle, oils it, wipes it free of his fingermarks, and shoves it back into its foam lined case. Clicking the case shut he then wipes the outside free of any and all evidence that he touched it. When he picks it up his hands are covered in tight black leather gloves. He is wearing a dark blue hoodie sweatshirt and dark jeans. The pothole road is empty save for himself and a long black SUV. The driver stares straight ahead unblinking as Mason opens the back passenger door and slides the case onto the seat. Next he grabs a duffle back from the floorboards and shuts the door behind him. Turning his back to the SUV he starts back toward Trade and the driver reverses and leaves. A small smile pulls at Mason’s lips. There was something satisfying about the exchange. The man that drove never spoke or looked at him and he preferred it that way.
He was careful he wasn’t seen entering the back of the motel. The no vacancy sign buzzed loudly overlooking the parking lot and a vending machine droned on, however he welcomed those noises. Occasionally a car would go by painting his room with headlights and he didn’t mind that either. All of these things were apart of the motel’s charm, what made it different from the last. He needed the little differences. His job took him all over the world and into the darkest places she had. After a while, a short while, every backwater town and village blended together. Sometimes years would pass before he could go home. This made him look for the subtle differences everywhere he went.
Flopping the duffle bag onto the bed, he opens it up and pulls out a yellow folder, a smaller gun case, and several tall stacks of hundreds. Perching on the end of his bed he unwraps the cash and starts to painstakingly count it. Satisfied that it was all there, he simply transfers the money to a backpack he kept hidden under the bathroom sink. Next he opens the gun case to see what he would be working with. He isn’t surprised to find a small pistol with matching suppressor. The message was clear, this hit would be closer than the last and he needed to be ten times as careful. Next he opens the folder and studies the face and other information that had been provided. His new client liked to go ahead of him and gather everything he needed and that was fine by him. It gave him less things to worry about. The clock was now ticking and he had two weeks to find his target, study them, and finish the job. The client would then contact him on his burner phone. They would arrange a meeting, and a meeting place. The process would be repeated until there was no one left. Tucking everything away where it needed to go Mason climbs into bed. He would be up with the sun where he would start his morning workout. He also planned on getting to know the locals a little. He knew he would be here awhile yet.
It was nothing but a deep sense of shock that had awoken the male from his sleep that morning. The vision of a hybrid’s body left on the darkened streets with a bullet hole in his head was now etched in his mind. Harrison Rogers allowed his hand to move up to his head where there was a sharp pain nagging at him, as though it was him who had received the bullet to the head. Visions such as this one often haunted him but every single one was different. This was the first time he seemed to feel the pain of another’s wound. He pushed his hands into the bed so that he could sit up against the wall and he allowed his thoughts to translate into a spell that turned on the lights and ensured that there was a glass of water and two aspirin waiting on his bedside table by the time his eyes had adjusted to the light that flooded his bedroom. He wished that there was a spell to alleviate his headache but of all the useful things magic was for, dumbing ones pain was not one of them. He might be able to take away someone else’s pain but not his own.
Harrison shook her head and reached over for the cold glass, beads of water travelling down the side of it as though the room were too hot for the content of the glass. He took a sip and allowed the pills to follow and prayed to the Goddess that they might get to work quickly. For now he would have a shower and hope that it might wash away the frightened image of the corpse that had almost been burned into the forefront of his mind. It didn’t work. He knew that the image wouldn’t fade until he made his way to the scene and saw it for himself. His visions weren’t exactly clear cut. It could have been something that had already happened, something that was about to happen or maybe it wouldn’t happen for weeks yet but this one seemed so vivid, almost as though he was there watching the bullet enter the man’s skull, watching his body slump the the floor, watching as the life left his body.
When he was dressed he grabbed his keys and pulled on a jacket and made his way to the scene of the crime, knowing exactly where it had or would take place. He knew every inch of Trade and that meant he also knew the shortcuts. The sooner he got there the sooner he could work through whatever was going on in his dead. His car raced through the deserted streets, stopping at the few interchanges in his path until he pulled onto the familiar street. He found somewhere to park his car and climbed out. The adrenaline had caused his heart to race and his eyes darted around erratically looking for the body but it wasn’t there.
A sigh of relief escaped his lips and he allowed her back to slump against the car. He wasn’t resting for long though, the flash of silver and the sound of a small explosion filled his ears and he saw the bullet enter the man’s head just as vividly as it had been in his vision. At least now he understood why it had been so clear. Not even magic could intervene on this occasion. All he could do was try to take in whatever he could remember about his assailant so he might aid the police but his face was concealed by a hood. He close his eyes in hopes that his third eye, his magical one, might reveal what was underneath it but it was as though something or someone was blocking it. The only thing that came to mind was a feeling of disfigurement or some kind of scar, the rest wouldn’t come.
Harrison clenched his fisted and slammed it hard again the roof of his car and silently punished himself for being too late. His headache was sure to stay with him now. All he could do now was wait for the police to arrive.
Lizzy hugged herself against the rain and chilly air. She was walking home from work when the gunshot echoed in her ears. The only thing she had seen was a dark shadow darting across the street to the junkyard, jumping the fence, and then nothing. She hadn’t been the one that called the police, but she was the only one in the street when the police showed up. Shivering against the wind she huffs slightly as a sharp faced cop asks her again what she saw. The cop had rich brown tousled hair, the beginnings of a mustache, and bags under his eyes. Lizzy had to look up to him to see his face. After another round of questioning she was asked to wait to talk to the detective before she went home. Leaning against a cop car with Trade stuck to the side of it, she watches the red and blue lights wink off windows and puddles along the street. The pavement looked like black glass and the orange street lights made the fog eerie. More cops pulled up to block off the area and question those lingering in the bar. Trade was getting worse ever since the announcement had been made. The theater had special times
for “supernaturals” at least that’s what most called them, and there was signs popping up in certain stores saying “Humans Only”. The sight made her heart hurt, but she endured. Lizzy had hid her true nature from the world for many centuries and would continue to do so until humans were ready to accept them. She expected the worst from people and so far they were not disappointing her.
She was surprised however that she wasn’t asked what her species was. It probably helped that she looked more human than some of her supernatural cousins. Lizzy had attractive curves, a soft face, and blonde hair that stopped at her shoulders. She looked like the girl next door and that made humans more willing to talk to her. She used her features as a lure to hunt. Her features also got her a job at The Checkerboard and paid her bills. Shifting her weight, she waits impatiently for the detective to show up.
Christina Somes returned from a sixteen hour shift at the hospital to her empty apartment across from Chesterfield Park. The apartment was were she raised her two boys, where her alcoholic husband passed away, and where she spent hours drowning her sorrow in a bottle. Dropping her heavy purse on the ground by the door, she sheds her jacket, and kicks off her shoes. Stained furniture collected dust in her living room and the bunk beds where her sons spent their childhoods were cold. Her kitchen was tea stain yellow and the once white tile was cracked and dirty. There was no point in keeping everything pristine, she didn’t care and no one came over. Her sons had moved out and never called. She kept a same emergency fund in case they did and needed something, but the last time they called it was Christmas. The conversation consisted of how they couldn’t make it.
Sighing heavily Chris makes her way to her fridge. Inside is a half empty ketchup bottle, a jar of pickles, and a six pack. She bought more booze than she did food now. She didn’t have anyone to cook for. Grabbing the six pack she makes her way to the living room and flops herself in the lazy-e-boy chair. The same chair where her husband and spent his last breath. Clicking on the T.V, she watches the weather while drinking.
A woman bites down on her lip as she reads through the notes that had been sprawled on the paper before her. She could have made her job easier and typed them up like the other detectives but she never liked technology so didn’t surrender the time to learn the co placated programmes that had been installed on the systems. Her views led her to believe that it was partly due to such developments that the world began to sink itself into the poverty-stricken mess it was in now. It wasn’t just Trade that found itself with an increasing rich-poor divide but at least here the reasons were more human...or at least down to human discrimination and unrealistic belief systems that force inequality onto the other creatures of the world.
The woman shakes her head as if to get back to her thoughts about technology. She doesn’t want to waste her time thinking about the mess that people had made. Instead she forced her brain to decipher the scribble she had made. Besides, she had been taught that police work is better done the old fashioned way and that computers would never be able to outsmart the mind and someone destined to work on this field. The thought brought a smile to the woman’s lips as she thinks about her old mentor and how he used to tell that that it was her stubbornness and devotion to tradition that made her different from some of the others and the fact that she [i actually] cares about the people she is looking out for meant that she would always succeed in the end. Even if sometimes it felt as though she was losing.
Louisa Walker, the detective in question, picks up the sandwich that has been sitting on the plate at the edge of her desk for several hours now. Hours that have seemingly passed without her notice. As she bites into the bread, her nose scrunches up into an unsatisfied expression and she places the sandwich back on the plate as she spits out the content of her mouth into the bin. She reaches for the mug of coffee to wash out the taste it left in her mouth but even the coffee tastes stale. A frustrated sigh escapes the woman’s lips and her hands press against the desk so that she can push the chair from underneath her a rise to her feet. It was time for her to get out and take a break and replenish her energy sit hat her appetite didn’t creep up on her again later.
That had been the plan at least. She looks down at her watch and realises that she had worked through the night again. Any food that she would be able to get at this time would be breakfast and that would only be possible at a select few places. Her plans for food would have to be put on hold for now though. A man bursts through her office door.
[right [pic https://i.imgur.com/hcj1ftg.jpg]]
[b “Body. Come on.”] Derek Squire: Man of few words. She grabs her badge and her gun and heads for the door to the scene of whatever crime took place in the early hours of the morning. If she were a betting woman she might guess that the victim was another hybrid. Whether it was simply because of the unaccepting nature of the residents of Trade or whether it was just bad luck, these hybrids and creatures were beginning to turn up dead all over the place.
Derek grabs his credentials and weapon too and heads for the door, Louisa close behind him and the two of them get ready to begin another cycle of questioning and investigating after they both spent their evening working on cold cases or ones that had not yet been solved. They were some of the few left who actually seemed to care about justice in a world full of injustice.
Darren Warner sprinted down the street. Around him the ground was slick with rain. Dim orange street lights chased his shadow as he glanced over his shoulder. Twice his boots threatened to trip him. It was a mistake. An honest one. What was a wolf-fairy hybrid supposed to do? One can only take so much shit before they snap. At least Darren thought so. Ahead of him, a couple stumbling out of the Ram’s Horn forced him to duck into a piss alley. Plastering himself against the worn brick wall he tired to be invisible. The couple ignored him. What they did was not any of his business. For a moment he wished he could take it all back. The night stole his soul just as easily as it’d fallen on the steel town of Trade. Wetting his lips with his scale dry tongue, he pushed on. Searched deeper into the night for some sort of hidey hole. Little did he know, he was being watched. Hunted.
Chancing glances down every darkened alley resulted in nothing more than shadows. Homeless men and women huddled together around makeshift fires. Prostitutes leaned toward him and then cursed him as he ignored them. An hour before daybreak he paused, leaned against an abandoned volkswagen. Bringing himself to the junkyard at the south end of Trade seemed to be the most deserted place to hide. Though Trade was empty anyways. Damp and shivering, he allowed himself a moment of rest. Sliding to the wet earth with a sigh. Running a trembling hand through his dark blond hair, he pondered what to do. He couldn’t go home, couldn’t face the peaceful pack of Trade. He couldn’t leave. Well, not easily. His only hope was to--
The thunderclap of a gunshot silences Darren’s thought just before it ended. Stunned silence bounces off of rusting shells of forgotten cars. Thin glass windows rattle, a few crack but don’t break. A thin stream of blood begins dribbling out a quarter sized hole in his forehead. The bullet had pierced the car door he’d been leaning against. Limply his jaw slackened, falling open in a soundless scream. Dark green eyes rolled toward the paling sky. Slumping forward, his lifeless body finishes in a heap. A half mile away, a tall shapeless figure stands from a crouching position. A gloved hand wipes a cigarette out on the concrete edge. The figure allows himself a long moment of silence before stuffing the nub into a pocket. A ladder deposits him into the alley between a general store and dance studio. Bar patrons looked up from their drinks at the gunshot, but none moved immediately. Soon someone would call the police, one of the few good people left in Trade. Most of the respectable residents had moved on or died. The figure crosses under an orange street light before reaching the junkyard. Approaching slowly, the figure caught the glint of still wet blood on his target’s forehead. Darren was an unnamed male, a deposit in an offshore bank account. Crouching, a gloved hand pulls a vial from his breast pocket, which he fills with a few drops of Darren’s blood before fleeing the scene. The 700 Remington tucked against his broad chest under his jacket.
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