I wrote this little urban fantasy short
-short when I was still waiting to be approved. The story began with a wonderfully genre prompt given to be by Martee
, so naturally my muse latched on and dragged the ideas kicking and screaming to the writing table. I think I'm going to go ahead and make this into a longer composition at some point in the future, seeing as I need a good topic for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year.
At any rate, I hope you enjoy. Please feel free to leave comments and criticism, as long as the criticism is constructive and not OMG U SUXORZ. I have had quite enough of that, thank you very much. Also, if you do decide to leave something, please let me know if you would like to see this continued.
Sometimes boring is good. Sometimes, the humdrum monotony of a mundane life is exactly what you need... and you miss it when it's gone.
It all started with a voicemail. Simple, innocuous- a brief message left on the phone system at my office. It was a regular morning, the kind I'd faced a thousand times before over the course of my life. Until-... until that voice started to speak. Then I knew-- nothing else would ever be the same. Boring had become a thing of the past...
...and when "excitement" rears it's ugly head, it's usually to bite me in the ass for missing something important.
Let me start from the beginning. I'd been without a job for weeks. It's not like I hadn't been looking, mind you. It's just that, well... okay, fine. I admit that putting "problem-solver" on my resume wasn't nearly as useful as I had hoped. Some people assumed I therefore had no education and used it as a euphemism for "blindly stumbling along with logic," and others looked at me like I had walked out of The Godfather and forgotten to hide the lingo. But what was I going to tell them?
"Hello there, thanks for having me in for this interview. What do I do? Well, I could probably benchpress your car and set things on fire from a hundred paces. No sir, I am not pulling your leg. No sir, I've never done work in this area before. No sir, I have no idea what Java is. Oh, wait, isn't that another word for coffee?"
Needless to say, the world doesn't really work like that.
So there I was: jobless, restless, and pretty damn close to homeless. I'm pretty sure my bank account at the time had a value that could be counted on one hand... if each finger represented a nickel. Embarassing, I know, but between you and me, I've been really bad at saving money. Don't judge me; it's not like I can claim a "werewolf warranty," or a "tulpa tax break." Still, even though I can sometimes get away with charging an inordinate amount for the "jobs" I do, I don't do it often enough; by that, I mean, it's really hard to charge that kind of money with the clients I get. They're usually desperate, confused, and... well, face it; no one comes to my doorstep unless they've tried literally everyone else.
And I'm a sucker for a sob story. Don't look at me like that.
I'd come home the night before. Tired, trashed, and terribly touchy, that was me, and you would be too if you'd spent the better part of the hour of the wolf lurking outside some shady-as-all-hell abandoned warehouse waiting for something to happen. Needless to say, nothing interesting had happened. Nothing. Absolutely nothing. Cosmic sense of humor: one. Down-on-his-luck not-so-average citizen: zero. I'd collapsed into bed and fallen asleep for a time that was most definitely not long enough when the phone rang. What with my mind being in such a calm, serene, and charitable state, I proceeded to do the obvious.
Ignore the damn thing and go to sleep. I can sleep through earthquakes if I have to.
So here I was, the following evening, with the damn thing flashing with all of the modesty and terribly unattractive "come hither" of a rather blatant and not-particularly-pretty hooker. I'd miraculously gotten the chance to sleep through the morning and well into the afternoon even with the damn thing flashing and beeping every so often. I was getting a bit sick of it right now, so I punched the thing, if only to get it to shut up... er, that came out wrong. Anyways, I hit the messages button, and it slowly began to replay a large number of spam messages. I let the unexcited an obviously pre-recorded voices serve as a backdrop to the sounds of a frying pan as I tried to cook myself some eggs and failed miserably. I was contemplating whether or not every kitchen stove had been hit with some sort of "doesn't work for guys like me" curse when a blood-curling scream from the machine left me scrambling to pause the damn thing so I could turn the volume down.
Once my heart could be coaxed down from its unsafe perch near my tonsils, I replayed the message. Wincing at the scream, I forced myself to sit down and listen to the whole thing. There was a scream, a very unpleasant squelch, and silence. For a few agonizing moments, everything was quiet, and then I could hear the quiet sounds of sobs coming from the background. And then that voice spoke. It was normal, almost, until you realized there was another distant voice layered beneath the first. Two voices speaking the same thing in unison, as if someone or something had hijacked a body and forced the poor soul to speak for them.
"It's starting, you know. And someone's late to the party."
I knew that voice. I knew what it meant. And it was right. I was terribly late to the party.
I just wished someone had told me that the damn party was taking place.
The phone rang again. I picked it up immediately this time. "I hope you left some of the fun for me," I quipped, pulling on my boots as I did. "Because I am not going all the way to the back-ass end of nowhere to find out somebody got the munchies and ate all the hor' d'oeuvres before I got there."
The voice on the other end chuckled, that same distorted echo of multiple voices talking in unison but coming out of one mouth. "Of course. Better get here quick, though; there are these absolutely delicious wontons and I don't think it's crab in them." The being on the other end hung up, laughing as he did. I'm pretty sure I heard him flirting as he closed the phone. Prick. He gets to have all the fun while I get to do the dirty work.
I laced up my boots and reached for the bag hanging on the chair nearby. Then I turned and kicked in the door nearby, hearing it bang off something soft inside with an unfortunately satisfying noise. A muffled squeal of rage came from inside, and I looked down at the woman who sat bound and gagged on the floor of my closet, looking for all the world like a trussed up, five-foot-nothing red-headed bundle of anger and hatred. I carelessly picked her up despite her protests and struggles. They were making it harder than it needed to be, though, so I banged her head against the door frame once. And then backed up on the pretext of grabbing my coat and banged her head again for good measure.
She stopped struggling after that. Though the look in her eyes could fry an egg from across the ocean.
I sauntered up to my car, trying to look like anything but some mad serial rapist who abducted an innocent woman. I tossed her in the trunk, checked the sigils, and rolled her over. The broken stubs of what had once been wings were slowly healing, with what looked like burn marks and scales covering up the torn shards of bone. I sighed. At least she wasn't high-maintenance. I slammed the trunk closed over her wordless screams, tossed my bag in the backseat and settled into the driver's seat. My own back was burning, and as I reached a hand awkwardly behind my back, I came away with a handful of soft feathers. "Dammit." I absently scratched the healing wounds directly over my shoulder blades.
"I don't get paid enough for this."
With a silent complaint and a rather loud series of angry swear words, I revved the engine.
"Alright lady, let's go meet your Daddy. I'm sure he can shed some light on the situation."
It was going to be a long night.
I hope you've enjoyed. and now that you've read it, I can put the following here:
To put some context to the short, since I had the tendency to write my application stories in media res, the basic storyline is as follows. Our protagonist, a fallen angel, works and lives among humans as one of them. He, like many others, is on probation, trying to do enough good deeds to weigh his karmic scale back to the good side so he can ascend into heaven again. However, like fallen angels, there are also risen demons, kicked out of hell for being too good. Most do the opposite of the fallen; causing chaos and destruction to tip the scales so they can descend to hell again. For every Fallen and Risen who dies among humankind is destined to be treated as one of them upon their death; only through Ascending and Descending can they return back to where there nature calls.
Cheesy, sort of. But I liked the concept of watching these powerful beings suddenly thrust into a world that they don't understand, and having to learn things for the first time that seem completely normal to us.