DISCLAIMER – This story features images of violence, adult language, and some adult situations.
The following story is Copyright © 2015 Padraig O’C. Copying this story without permission from the author is strictly prohibited.
“GOOD MORNING BELLINGHAM!” a voice blared through the clock radio as new light started to brush the shutters of the window, and right into the eye of a indignant sleeper. She was Nyla Clarkson, the daughter of an Irish-Canadian immigrant, and a mother of the local Skualip first nation of Washington. In fact her apartment was located on the outskirts of the city, in a house her father had purchase in his work for the county as a councilor. The light from the window, and the noise blaring from the radio promptly awoke the young woman. Well, was she really a woman? That question had bounced around in her head for several years, as Nyla was far from within the preconceived notion of what was inside the box of identity.
But that was not something she was in the mood to deal with at the moment. Not after a fight the night before with a friend of hers, and not after all the drama that precepted her life since she finally started her job at the Tribune. Nope, life had been hell, and as she snapped open her green eyes (a trait of her mothers partial nordic ancestry) as her body languished from a night of tossing, and turning. Yup, this was going to be a fun day. Slowly, she reached around for her smartphone, and activated the silly little computer while unlocking it. A few long musical notes played alerting her to a new email, and a few tweets.
Nyla was a young investigative reporter for the Tribune, well not really a ‘reporter’. That was what she called herself, but the Whatcom Tribune considered her a paid researcher. A young woman brought on after working hard to gain a Bachelor’s in social sciences, and then a Masters in journalism. Her intent was to spring forth and challenge the gender, the orientation, and identity barriers that were still heavily instituted in American life.
Her small three room apartment was made up of a living room slash kitchenette, a bathroom mixed with a laundry room, and then her bedroom. It was a nice little cozy place, but was restrictive in space (hence the word cozy in its application). Her life at this point had been nothing; but endless coffee runs, and waltzing around the libraries and archives of Whatcom county. College had only finished a year or so ago. Now she was in a job, and just making enough to get by. So as she stood in front of the mirror in front of her apartment trying to get ready for work, choices needed to be made.
Luckily her boss was not too controlling about what she could wear. The young woman was perhaps twenty-five years of age. Her face was rounded, and had a pixe nose. Calm green eyes were set above it, as which then moved down into a pair of slightly browned lips. Her face was scarred slightly just below her left eye. Her hair was long slightly curled which moved into tight ringlets as she moved. The hair itself was only visible in the right side of her head, as the left side was entirely shaved. In her right ear was a small dangling ear ring marked a circle of futhark runes.
“Ye look fine lov,” a voice appeared behind her as she was adding a bit of make up. Just a tad, and when the voice broke her momentary silence the young woman turnd around and sighed. Attired only in a bra, and boxers she whipped around to faced the dapper gentleman behind her. Damn him and his lack of knocking!
Jack. That was his name, Jack O’Shadows. A man with a miner’s build, thick corded muscles, set upon a small burly frame. A top hat upon a face shaped like an oval with a gently pointed strong jawline. A mouth which seemed to have been stolen from the chesher cat himself. He was dressed in a dark grey waist coat set over a velvet white silk shirt along with black dress pants, and shined riding boots. A cane was held by his right hand while the man gave a bow.
“Thank you Jack,” she replied in a cold derisive tone. Her body then slowly relaxed as she scolded herself. Why am I always so damn dramatic?
“That how ye be treatin yer ol’ teacher?” the man said. His voice lilting with a confusing mixture of Cockney and Irish brogue. He held aloft a time piece as his hand curled around it. One of his seemingly strangely long thing fingers clicked the switch on the old watch, and time started to slow down. She glanced over at the clock on the microwave, seeing how everything seemed to freeze.
“Someone’s dead,” he said to her, “Someone important.” The words barely caught her attention. Jack was a member of the Fae, a band of supernatural tribesmen who had lived on Earth since time began (to her knowledge that was). Jack was her supposed ‘mentor’, a man who had lived for eons and had decided that she was worth training. Now he was playing a house call after popping out of the Shadow to speak with her.
“Who?” she finally asked after finishing brushing her teeth. Nyla cleaned out her mouth to then gesture for Jack to follow her back into the living room. There she sat down and turned on her tablet to bring up the local newsfeed. There under a large headline was.
Mayoral Candidate Found Dead In Ritualistic Murder
“Richard Daniels,” she said with a lick of her lips. Jack quietly appeared behind her as he slipped in and out the other realm that ghosted just beyond the eyes of mortals, known as the Shadow.
There she sat to then read through the article while completely ignoring her partialy nudity. So use to Jack’s presence, and his observance she did not care. The Fae tutor knew that she was not interested in men persay, and he himself was more aseuxal than really enough to stare at the shapely girl before him. Nyla was a tad weighty with a decent layer of muscle, and runners legs along with a noticable bust. She rarely care about her appearance though and preferred and eclectic style of dress.
Even as she stood up to get dressed for the day she was rummaging around in the bedroom while holding up a pair of black tight jeans that had a few holes in them. Along with an old T-Shit declaring she was “Not Medicated Enough”, the woman then sat back down with the tablet upon her only sofa, a love seat, and absorbed the last of the article. Usually she would dress up in a nice collared shirt, or blouse. But today she was feeling particuarly scrumgy.
Nyla simply did not have time to pretty up for today. Something her boss was already starting to hound her on. Sexist ass. Her mind was more than fully vulgar at the moment with the lack of caffeine in her system. Hence Jack snapping his fingers and suddenly water started bubbling into the pot near underneath the cabinets of her kicthenette.
“I thought I told you not to use magic in my home,” she barked at him. The Fae raised an eye that seemed to glow for a moment, as a shudder ran through the building. A sign that Jack was getting annoyed himself.
“Who ye talking ta?” he replied slowly as the young reported turn, and then laughed, “No time ta get yer knickers in a twist. Off ye go.”
The man said and stamped his cane once. Nyla soon found herself sitting in front of a table after pouring some milk over cereal. Devouring it as fast as she could, Nyla then set the bowl in the sink and went back in the bathroom to brush out her hair. As she decided to put on something a tad more formal, she shed her shirt for a blouse. She took off the shirt a tattoo on her right shoulder blade came into sight.
The design was one she had been given as a child by Jack himself, a mark he told her would protect her from all the things that go bump in the night. Three tri-part lines that moved outward like the spokes of a wheel. In the spaces between the three lines were evenly spaced triangles facing into the center of the lines. A hooked line then came off the three central lines and was directed in a clockwise direction. Jack had called it the “High King’s Mark,” a sigil he said existed before the Fae came to Earth thousand of years ago.
She touched the tattoo, and a cool feeling came from the ink under her skin. It always felt cool, it never felt warm, well only when danger was near. Time to head out. Her phone started beeping as new incoming tweets hit her feed. Raising it up she started to scan the information coming from the blogosphere of locals yammering about the recent murder. She had to get down there. With a sigh the young woman turned as she grabbed her satchel, and shoved her laptop into it.
When she touched the door to leave she felt a sudden flash of fear pass over her. The young woman’s eyes narrowed as she stared at the door, and carefully began to move her finger in a swirling motion around the center. Nyla then pushed the door open to see who was outside, not a soul. That was good. Her eyes closed for a moment as she mumbled a few words, and her mind centering itself as Jack had taught her years ago.
Nyla disliked using the abilities her family bloodline granted her, but when there was a ritualistic murder of a prominent politican, the young woman usually got a bit cautious. Especially when her mentor walked out of the Shadow to speak with her. The young woman sighed in an attempt to disperse as much frustration as possible. With her satchel bag in hand; she walked down stairs and headed out to find the reason behind Richard Daniels demise.
Next Part: Chapter 2
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