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.
Fuck it all to hell. The tanned woman mouthed as she walked out of the office. Her face was held in a cool masque of carefully composed spite. Most who saw her saw simply one really pissed of latina (the fact she was not hispanic was something that often riled the young woman). Did he seriously infer I was illegal? Her eyes twitched as she made her way past the serious of offices dedicated to the general newsroom. All the various editors were working away as the bullpen itself was full of reporters zipping about as they spoke with their camerman for articles the next day.
Nyla had worked for the Tribune for just over a year or so. Her actual memory of joining the company was one she often forgot as she found the job necessary, but completely droll. The only people she even liked there were the columnists dedicated to the entertainment and arts section, and also one of the editorial writers. Few there really knew who she was, just some scruffy punkette with a half shaved head, and long black locks of hair on the other side of her head.
The only reason she had gotten the job was her father’s former connections with the local Rotary Club, and her mothers work in St Thomas’. There were some advantages of working for years with local church parishoners. Though a few of the former members of the church had considered her a bit off, even satanic. Part of the problem, really.
Now after discussing the new research assignment she was off to finally have a late lunch. Or whatever she could afford to pay for with her current lack of funds. Ever since moving out on her own, Nyla was often bouncing between having too much money (when Jack dropped a few grand on her), or when she had none (when Jack or other Fae stole the cash for reasons she could not explain). In fact, if her mentor did not have the time to pay her now and then, the young woman would be drowning in debt.
“I love being the crisis councilor to former gods,” she said under her breath as she pushed her way into the records office of the Tribune. An aging woman met her eyes and gave a smile. Finally, an ally. Debra Lawrence was the chief copy editor for the expanded works compiled by the Tribune. A mixture of gatekeeper, and respected archivist, she knew the darkest tidbits of Bellingham’s history.
“What was that Ny?” the woman asked as she caught the tail end of the young researcher’s self-commentary.
“Oh nothing, I have a friend who likes to use me to mediate problems with his associates,” she said while lifting a hand to rub behind her ear in embarrasment. The woman gave a nod, and turned to finish compiling a list of notes created for Nyla’s latest assignment.
“I hear the Chief has you working on researching the big dispute of water rights between the county, and the Tsalemish Nation,” Debra inquired.
Nyla blinked as she slowly thought more about the job the Chief Erickson handed hear just minutes earlier. Water rights. She rolled her eyes at Debra’s inquiry, which gave the complete answer the older woman needed. The researcher walked a few steps further into the collective archives, and took a seat. Years of work, and articles were filed away within. Debra quickly set a some coffee in front of her as the young woman resolved to read the hard copy of her latest assignment from the Chief.
“Yeah,” she said with a resigned voice.
“Don’t you have relatives with the Tsalemish?”
“Kind of,” she started in response to Debra’s question, “My mothers family are mostly Skuallip people from around Pierce County.”
The young woman was only part Native, not even with really enough blood quantom to be really be a member in more conservative eyes. Yet, she still had active relatives over in the Tsalemish Nation. Her eyes narrowed as she noticed that Debra had already compiled a box of old articles for her. This likely mean that Erickson had not only planned this project for a while, but was planning an expose on a deal between the county and the tribe.
“Interesting,” was all miss Lawrence then said in response. The archivist knew when not to push an issue with Nyla who had a slightly infamous reputation for biting off faces when questioning her racial status.
“Upcoming negotiations between the County, and the Tsalemish several greivances lobbied by Tribal officials. Allegations by the Tribe accuse the County of negotiating in bad faith, and ignoring complaints of increase mercury caused by run off from a former paper plant in Bellingham Bay.”
Nyla shook her head at the start of the article. She knew only a little of the common problems the Tribe was facing today. Back when she was in her early years of college the young woman had watched the County, and the Tribe argue over the rights of the ferry that her home island of Anian. Many in the Tsalemish people still called it Tsalem Island as a reference to the lands they once held there, and abdicated in the Treaty of Point Eliott.
“This again,” she groused as she sighed. The animosity between the County and the Tsalemish Nation was only made worse by recent disagreements between the Sheriffs Office, and the Tribal Police. Last month a local native girl had gone missing, and after reports she had been last seen in the city of Ferndale the Sheiff had declined to comment on what many thought was a cover up.
The young woman shook her head as she sat down and started to organized the box the best she could. For the next hour as she ignored her stomach’s ongoing groans for food she organized as much she could by time and date. After putting in her hour for the day she shrugged, and set it all aside.
“Can you have someone deliver this to my apartment tomorrow morning?” Nyla requested as she stood and stretched out her arms. Her blouse was already ruffled from sloughing off her coat multiple times that day. Her hair was mussed, and needed to be brushed out.
“I can if you promise to have some fun tomorrow,” Debra replied with a coy smile. Nyla raised an an eyebrow as she crossed her arms. Did Jack pop in and share tea again? Her mentor had a nasty perchant for meddling. He had even given a few horoscope readings for local reporters when he decided to randomly flirt with everyone in sight.
“Tomorrow?” Nyla asked suddenly as she reached into her pocket and started to fumble for her smartphone. Wait was the date tomorrow? She gave a small nod, as she strolled out of the archives, and toward the elevator. Quickly she locate her calendar app, and noted that unbeknownst to her the day of her ‘blind date’ was in fact the next day. Crap. I have no plans for tomorrow. The reporter wannabe then clicked away into her texts and noted that her sister, Deidre, had left a reminder.
Deidre: Quinn remember that you have a date tomorrow.
“Oh yeah,” Nyla said. Why does she insist on using my real name. I HATE THAT NAME. She sighed, and shook her head. Then turned around and gave a wave to Debra who was just finishing up another archive request for another reporter.
Nyla would speed along after reaching her bike and turning around to find purchase a burger at a local joint. Eating it while sitting on her motorcycle she parsed through the headlines of the day. Not only was the middle east as usual still in an uproar there were turmoils going on in Canada with a shooting outside Ottawa. Always hell in a handbasket.
The young woman was a cynic, and it had nothing at all to do with the fact she could speak to the dead. She just did not trust the world at all. Everything always seemed to go south to the point where she wondered if she was cursed. Well she was cursed, a Thricebound as a few of the Fae locally would say. But she still did not know what it meant. After this case I’m going to use that trick Finn taught me to bind a Trickster into telling the truth.
She then casted off the remanants of her lunch and rubbed her jaw. It would take the rest of the afternoon to get the portents, and necessary regents for the incantation she was going to have to cast. The ritual alone would probably use up a sizable chunk of her rain day fun. Great. As she turned out on her helmet to start her errands she noticed something out of the corner of her eye. A brief flash of movement that disappeared. That ill feeling was back, and she whispered a prayer her mother had taught her as a child.
“Saint Michael sword of Yehwah guard my soul,” the young woman intoned. The research then rubbed her tattooed arm, and sent a prayer silent to Lugh, the Fae Lord of the Sun, “Lugh cast away shadow so I might ride well.”
Then the feeling passed, and she shook the funk from her mind, and slowly turned out into the street to begin gathering the implements needed to interrogate the dead.
Next Part: Chapter 5
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