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.
Healing her shoulder would like take time Nyla did not have. A wonderful little note that boggled about her head, as she worked on regaining cognition over the next week. Being a Changeling had a few advantages, and one of them was the Fae ability of regeneration. Magic could not, and would not heal, but it did imbibe a strange faster healing property upon those who used it. Almost kind of hypocritical of magic itself in so many words. Nyla did not really care to think of her injuries. Her primary focus for the past few days had been one, find the alchemist, and then two, beat the ever living shit out of the Alchemist.
It was a sunday, well she thought it was a sunday. Nyla was never the best at guessing days, and was the one to stare at her phone all the time to reaffirm which day of the week it was. Part of that was her absentminded nature. Truth be told the woman possessed a near gold-fish memory. Or more accurately a almost utter lack of short term memory. A wonderfully annoying trait that forced her to constantly take notes, and to revise where she placed things. At the same time when certain spirits such as Poltergeist, or near-fae such as gremlins came into play, she usually screamed to the high heavens.
That sunday she awoke to the same annoying piercing white light as the day before. Something about early December (or was it mid December) usually brought out that horrendous light. It was paper white, the color of annoyingly bright halogens, and was the color splashed against the white storm grey clouds of the sky in winter. Temperatures were already starting to drop, she noticed that the night before when she had to wrap her scarf around her face while leaving only her eyes revealed. Even then the painfully cold wind-chill could only add onto it.
Food was getting low so before she decided to sp the afternoon with Jack, Nyla left on her recently repaired motorcycle (it still bored a large painful scrape on its paint job) out to the local grocery store. Choosing one she visited since time imemorial she spent an hour there perusing the store. In fact she was taking her time. Her shoulder was still sore from the breating she soundly received from the Golem, and her head still prone to aching. Even now as she strolled through an aisle dedicated to asian cusine she could feela panging throb in the back of her skull.
“Sierdin sket,” she said switching to the commong mundane slang of the Fae. A weird bastardized mixture of made-up cockney, horrendous hiberdian english, and a sprinking of french. Not to mention a massive inhumane injection of slavic, words from a smattering of asian, and african languages. She stopped when she recognized someone in front of her.
“Hoku?” she asked. The woman turned around to give a smirk at seeing Nyla. Hokulani Nakamura was dressed an ankle length skirt, and a green tanktop with a series of polynesian designs in black over the chest. Her long braid which seemed to only reach to the middle of her back, was recently died red, with stripes of white interlocked into it. An extravangant look for a woman who easily pushed Nyla’s buttons.
“How you doing?” the woman replied in a nonchalant manner. Her face set itself in a slight come hither look, while being hidden by a half-smirk. Nyla could only wonder what the woman was thinking about as she herself was clothed in a pair of man’s jeans, along with a pair of thick leather boots. Her shirt was a band shirt from a heavy metal group she listened to known as “Avalon’s Mist’ with a celtic knot, and a swoop raven over her chest.
“Sorry I didn’t call you back after-” she began.
“Its okay.” Hoku answered elegantly. It was people like Hoku that caused Nyla often to question where she stood on several spectrums. Being gay was not really the best answer, and nor was she bisexual. Her eyes snapped to the side as she avoided Hoku’s. The young genderqueer really not sure where her mind was drifting at this point. All she knew Hoku was the Alchemist though that would make no sense. Hoku’s skin was fairly tan for what she had seen, and the Alchemist had been fairly emanciated from what appeared to have been months of abuse of the enroarching briar brands. No way that was Hoku. Then again she was more interested in Hoku’s breasts and her behind than the woman’s possible connection to a mad-woman attempting to bind Cold Iron’s will to the world.
The polynesian notice her slight gaze toward a set of bosom and rolled her eyes. Dammit I’m a sierdin pig.
“You know my eyes are up here miss gender-whats it.” The woman said. The command caused her to blush as she sighed with a roll of her eyes.
“Its hard not to stare,” was her defense. Nyla blushed an even deeper crimson as she caused herself looking again.
“Yeah – yeah,” another roll of the eyes. Hoku by now was just trying not to laugh as whenever she personally encountered Nyla the entire affair usually ended in akward experiences to varying results. That would have to change in the future. Nyla wondered if Hoku was thinking of something as a small micro-expression passed over her face in a rapid fire manner.
Both then sat quietly as more tentative quiet for just a little bit longer.
“Are we flirting or,” Nyla asked.
“Ny we are not flirting, I was reprimanding you for staring at my breasts like a teenager,” the woman scolded her.
Now embarassment. So higly predictable. Why do I keep staring. Dammit I’m hot for her. Great fucking great. Sarcastic screaming proceeded in the depths of her mind s the young reporter wanted to kick herself. Oh to be a queer in this day and age. Still there was a level of basic etiquette one was supposed to follow, and that did not -sadly- include staring at firm bosoms. Not my damn fault! She grumbled to herself, and exhaled with a sharp frustrated sigh.
“Sorry I didn’t call back I uh…had to speak to my ex not long after our date, and it um brought up some bad memories,” that should kill that problem.
“Ah,” the response came. The two of them barely had a relationship. Nyla could only wonder what Hoku was thinking behind those dark chocolate eyes. Hokulani was one of those people who was hard to read. Her poker face was almost impenetrable from what Nyla could tell. Then again, Nyla was never the best at reading people, and had a history of blunders when it came to assumption. One reason why her other attempts at dating, or building even friendships kind of simply fell apart like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge.
“You want to explain why you were in the hospital?” Hoku asked. Her voice taking on a tinge of accusation.
“Job related accident,” was the quick deflection. By Morrigan’s will, I am starting to feel happy I did not continue with this affair.
“Hmmmm, alright,” the response was showing a dissatisfaction with Nyla’s less than stellar excuse.
Their exchange would almost stay there with the night before meaning nothing, and then Hokulani relented, just a bit. Nyla saw it in the released of restraint, and then the tension in Hoku’s back disappearing. The woman pushed aside her shopping cart and walked toward Nyla. Okay why is every damn exchange with her so damn weird, and helter-skelter. Every damn time.
“I need to get going but,” she was cut off.
“We’ll fix that eventually,” she said, “All this random nonsense in your life I believe.”
Cryptic, and kind of controlling wonderful. Why am I attracted to her again? Complications were part of Nyla’s life, along with the Alchemist there were many more who wanted her dead. Among them were a few Fae criminal bands who wanted revenge for her assistance in removing their illegal trade in a variety of topics. She could stare down such things, but not one angry polynesian woman, or Mateo. Gah.
“I take that all this dominatrix sounding cryptic talk means I’ll be getting a call,” Nylaeplied in a snarky tone.
“Dominatrix. Seriously?” Hoku stated with a chesher grin before sashaying out of the aisle. The young reporter got a breather, as she could only to think. Scared to see you come, glad to see you go. That stuck in her head for a bit as she finished getting the supplies for her apartment. After that encounter alone she was going to need a beer to sift through the boiling emotions in her body. Leaving them behind at the store mentally was one way how she was able to clear the storm away to then refocus on the problem at hand, a deranged psychotic woman playing god.
It was raining outside when she exited the store. The rain was eerie, and it felt icy cold as it struck her face, and hair as she walked out into the cold air. Temperatures had dropped over the past few nights, and even the rain was retaining the lack of warmthy. Freezing rain? No, this rain was not freezing as it hit the ground, it was just adding to the growing flood of water forming streamlets along the road. No this rain felt like it was sapping her energy, and her internal body heat as it beat ove rher body. It felt almost, magicla. Shit. Weather direction was the power of most SkyClan Fae such as Thunderbirds, or perhaps a even a powerful Tengu.
But still the Alchemist loomed in her mind as she considered who was behind the eerie rain fall.
That aught to be her first and primary concern. As she road back steadily toward her apartment a shiver ran downher spine. Suddenly without warning her sight into the Shadow activated itself and she found the road to her home laced with groupings of Seal People. Clusters of black clad people with hollow dark white eyes. All watching her as she made her way back to the apartment. Never in her life had she seen so many of the northern waking dead spirits. They usually were quite dangerous in such numbers, but for reasons she could not begin to fathom, they were just watching her. Their predatory nature on pause as she made her way back to her building, and up into her apartment.
She needed more information about who the Alchemist could be. Her problem of course being she had not a single idea of where to even begin. Her eyes slinked
There was a Seal Person sitting across the road from her window, and not in the Shadow. That was outright wrong. She would have to be careful if the Seal People were going to start exiting the Shadow. For the dead and dying spirits that became Shades to pass over to the mundane was a signal of dire consequences to come. Too bad she never learned divination, or Nyla would have been able to read the signs much more clearly. Omens were never her strong point.
“What is causing you to,” she said staring at the thing from her window. It was a small brown haired child with greasy looking hair, and skin. Its eyes were hollowed and white completely, and its jaw held tight as it was clothed in a nondescript pair of pants, and shirt.
“Dammit,” the kid looked liked one she had once seen out in the county. A faceless individual though, the Seal People could never get human bodies right.
If they were clustering around her that likely meant (in a blunt manner) that she was part of the upcoming problem. Nyla could avoid the entire problem, or more likely she blinked slowly. Yule and the Soltice was the big celebration this month right? Her eyes blinked again as she began to scrabble around her apartment looking for a calendar. The result of her search was a battered one covered in puppies given to her by her friend Susan. Thank you Susan. The words in her head were getting more and more vile with each passing moment.
“The twent-first or so.” Four days before Christmas. Of course only an evil mastermind would ruin her holiday.
“Now to get an idea of who you might be.” She mumbled to herself. In her time researching Richard Daniel’s Nyla had accumlated a rather large series of chicken scratch notes. The investigation from the Police’s side had gone on for a while. Key aspects of the crime were still missing as the killer’s weapon, and physical evidence of their president were non-existent. I’ve always hated magical murder, its so damn screwy.
The police to her knowledge, and careful informants within the police department said they were currently narrowing in on Richard Daniels’ secretary as a possible conspirator in what they were assuming was some sort of strange ritual cult, or likely a prank gone wrong. Truth was from what she had gotten from Mateo as he was sitting on the crime scene most of the time was that they had nothing. The killing was too strange, and several groups were pressuring the department to close the case with the most plausible suspect they could find. Detectives assigned the case were still stumped on why the killer would want to use the man.
She wondered if perhaps the police were sitting on information. Killings like these were percise, and likely it would make logical sense that the Alchemist was not a first time offended, or that Richard was her first victim. This was a targeted killing, and hopefully someone in the department had found evidence perhaps of the Alchemist ‘practicing’ for the ritual. Nyla wondered if she wanted to cajole Mateo into giving her the files. The other option was to break into the police archives and get a look at them, a move which she did not relish. Problem was, the situation was getting very problematic. Plans to lure the Alchemist out were likely going ot backfire as the woman appeared to be spying on people from the Shadow. A fact which scared Nyla, not to mention the Golem’s ability to attack from the realm of spirits.
Whoever had gifted the Alchemist with their magic, was someone incredibly foolish, or someone playing a long game. The last notion was scary. Who would play a long game with a localized power move if not for something greater. God I hate epic fantasy level crap like this. Her eyes closed as she resolved she would need access to the police files, or she could go locate an informant. There was always Finn, but he was not likely in on who could be causing trouble. Why do I always remember I have Thorn friends? Wait I don’t, briars take those knuckleheads.
There was one band of misfits who may have a notion of where or who the killer of Richard -might- be. The Society of Shadow, a junior band of supernatural enthusiasts who she had encountered a few times while dealing with angered spirits. The group was one of those wannabe ghost-hunter types, and eventually a year after her initial run-in expanded further into exploring the paranormal. Now they were an ongoing nusiance of hers, and one reason she was holding off launching her own paranormal blog. Nyla herself knew of a few conspirarcies, but the Society went on rants about Ancient Aliens, and the pyramids being designed by Greys. Sierdin nutters.
They would still have picked up something she missed. Nyla was good at research and digging up information, but there were reasons why Private Investigators often lived out of their cars. She sighed and double checked her phone. No current voice messages from her boss, and so she had time to contact Jennifer Ramirez, the current head of the Society of Shadow.
Nyla: Hey um, Jenn, I need to know if you have any files on strange ritual killings in the past few years.
Not wanting to stare at the phone while she waited the woman put away her purchsaes from the grocery store, before hearing the audible beeping notification.
Jennifer: We do. Why?
Ramirez and her did not end their last encounter on the best of terms. She punched me. The memory still hung in the front of her mind. Only a few months ago she solicited information from the Society in hunting down a rogue Shade, when Jennifer decided to air some choice footage from a co-operative hunt they had conducted. Several hours later, and a near street brawl Nyla had a bruised rib, and a black eye after shouting some very ‘nasty obscenities’ at Jennifer for being a ‘back-stabbing little bitch’. Of course they never conciled, and now here shse was trying to cajole information from a woman who hated her. My life is filled with cray-cray. Rolling her eyes while reading the text one more time she wrote:
Nyla: Jennifer, I need to find evidence of the killer of Richard Daniels. I’m being followed by Seal People, so you mind helping me out even though I hit you with a left hook?
Damn I am wordy. A succinct tone of whining was quite evident in the sarcastic remark sent in the text. Nyla herself rubbed the shaved shade o her head, and sighed.
Jennifer: Meet me at the usual place.
She blinked as the last message appeared. The usual- oh yeah that stupid coffee shop. Sierd. A small place in town called the Dive-Bomb, a weird little counter-culture hotspot for locals of differeing varieties. It was also a big place for yuppies, and local hipsters. Nyla loved their coffee, and loved the place, but at times she did want to scream when being dragged there. The Dive-Bomb was notorius in a way for some of the more ‘eccentric’ clientele, a few of whom were quite ‘interesting’ to say the least.
I’ll just go, if she has the information there’s not much else I can do. Already in low mood from seeing the gathered spirits of death outside, Nyla figured the situation could not get much worse right? Oh how wrong she was. As she wrapped a scarf around her neck for the cold ride back into town, she felt the sense of someone watching her. Her arm burned as she walked outside and peered back into the Shadow, the Seal People were gone, all except the strange child figure from across the street. Its hollow white eyes watching her as it manifested in the physical realm of the mundane.
Creepy little buggers. She thought as she rode past the creature, and slowly a smile creapt upon its face. In the guise of a young dirty child, the entity could only cackle. It had watched the Changeling for the past three days carefully while she recovered. Its mistress would be happy to know that once again the Thricebound was walking down the path set for her.
Next Part: Chapter 20
Thanks for reading! If you have any feedback please leave a comment if you can, or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org