Genre Dark Fantasy
Excerpt The Beast Within
I scrubbed at the floor, arms aching, as I tried to remove the blood. The floor was covered in pink tainted water but I seemed to have gotten most of it off.
Tossing the cloth into the bucket, I stood up, wiping my hands on my t shirt. Judging from the stains on it, I was going to have to throw it out anyway. I really should have asked for a clothing budget when I took this gig.
I caught movement in the doorway. He was there, lurking in the shadows.
“I’m sorry,” he said softly.
It took all my self-control to say, “It’s fine.”
It wasn’t fine. He tore a man to shreds, mangled his corpse and he was sorry?
“I killed someone Izzy.”
Turning to face him, I said, “Well, that will teach you to upgrade your security when I tell you to. Your lucky he didn’t get out of here. According to his ID, he was a reporter.”
Adam bowed his head and sighed. I guess knowing who the guy was didn’t make it any easier, but it wasn’t my job to make him feel better, I was just here to clean up the mess. Well, technically my job is security expert and advisor to the Alpha werewolf of the city. Cleaning up after his cursed son is just a bonus. One I didn’t ask for, but who else was he going to call?
“I’ll be sure to invoice your father,” I said.
It would be double time too considering it was 3am.
Adam moved aside as I stepped out of the room. His dark curly hair fell over his face as he kept his head bowed in shame. As a human he was quiet, apologetic and a pushover. Nothing like his father, Mr. CEO.
He was cursed when he was in his teens. I don’t know by who, but he was never in control of the beast within. All werewolves can control the change, shifting seamlessly from one form to the other. For Adam though, he had no control and the shift was agony. He was kept locked away in this huge mansion, making him the source of many rumors, which was probably what led the reporter here in the first place.
Bet he didn’t think he’d end up a stain on the floor, I thought.
“Goodnight Adam,” I said.
He muttered something in reply, but I was already half way to the door. I stepped out into the frigid morning air. Maybe I could get a couple of hours sleep before my morning meetings.
“Werewolves,” I muttered.
Once behind the wheel I took another look at the reporters credentials which I found buried in guts. His name was Noah Baxter. I tossed the id into the glovebox, I’d dispose of it later. For now, I just wanted to sleep and get the image of blood out of my mind.
I met with Adam’s father before lunch the next day. I was strictly off book, so he didn’t like me hanging around his office. I didn’t like getting called out in the middle of the night, I guess we both had a reason to be annoyed. Knowing about the supernatural puts me in a unique position. I have the skills necessary to help various beings out, for the right price, and they know I won’t reveal their secret. I haven’t always known about them. A few years back when I was fresh out of college and desperate for work, I took a job as a PA to a man called Hank Fletcher. I thought he worked in home and private security, I had no idea he spent his days working with werewolves, demons and vampires. When he clued me in I was shocked to say the least, but I was smart enough to know what would happen if their existence became public knowledge. Hank was a good man, he taught me everything he knew, although at the time I had no intention of using it. He died suddenly, three years in. His death left a hole, and since I needed the money, I decided to fill it, temporarily at least. That was seven years ago, I guess it took over my life.
“Isabelle, to what do I owe the pleasure? “Mr. Foster said as I entered his office. The cold look in his eyes betrayed his real mood. I had no love for him either, but he was one of my top paying clients.
“It’s Izzy,” I said. I hated my full name. It made me sound like I was some dainty little girl, which I most definitely wasn’t. I’m a black belt and I can turn pretty much anything into a weapon if I need to. You have to be prepared in this game. Everything I was up against had fangs or claws or super strength, so I needed to be able to protect myself.
Unfolding an invoice from my pocket, I placed it on his desk. It was for my work last night, plus the late night call out fee which brought the total to 2k. For last night.
“Yes, I heard about the incident. Very unfortunate.”
That was all he had to say? His son massacred a man and it was unfortunate? Unfortunate was getting a parking ticket or losing out on a promotion, not cold blooded murder. I waited while he wrote me a check, biting my tongue.
His office was void of personal items, except for one photo of Adam. He looked about seventeen, leaning on a red corvette. He looked different, confident. Cocky even. Was that before the curse? I wondered. If his manners were anything like his father’s, then I’m not surprised he pissed someone off. It was one of the reasons I didn’t deal with witches, one cross word and you end up spending the rest of your life as a toad, or worse.
“I will be going on a business trip in a few days. Given what happened, I hope you’ll make yourself available during that time to ensure nothing happens again,” Mr. Foster said.
Sure, it’s not like I have a life or other clients to deal with.
“I’ll keep my phone on,” I said. I wasn’t promising him anything, I had plans with Gavin this weekend. He has been away on business for weeks, and I was looking forward to our reunion.
Once I had the check, I headed up town to meet with my next client, a woman called Dusty, who happened to be a vampire. She ran a tea shop, while trafficking blood through the city in her spare time. Vampires weren’t a huge problem, mostly due to Dusty’s efforts. By keeping them supplied with blood acquired from the local hospital, it stopped them from snacking on humans. I acted as security to the transactions.
It’s amazing what goes on under regular people’s noses. How much they don’t see. Ask someone on the street if they believe in werewolves or vampire’s and they’ll laugh in your face. Right after they bought a cup of coffee from one or sat next to one on the bus.
Dusty was carefully slicing a large chocolate cake when I entered her shop. There were a few customers, but otherwise it was quiet. Dusty was short with red hair and really pale skin. Most vampires covered that with fake tan, but Dusty went au naturale.
“Can I interest you in a slice?” she asked.
“I would, but I’m planning a romantic weekend, so better not.”
She tutted, “Please, there isn’t an ounce of fat on you.”
My job did have some perks, always running around meant I rarely had to go to the gym.
“What time is the delivery?” I asked.
“Half eight. Dimitri will meet you in the usual spot.” Dimitri has a similar job to mine, although he works primarily with the vampires.
“I’ll be there.”
My mouth was watering at the sight of the cake, so I relented and took a slice to go. I didn’t have time for lunch anyway.
At eight fifteen, I parked my car a block away, and walked to an alleyway near Dusty’s shop. I found a spot in the shadows and waited. At half eight, the truck backed into the alley, and Dimitri hopped out.
He was a tall, hulking man who always wore a leather jacket, even in summer. He gave me a nod to let me know he had seen me.
A few minutes later a scared looking intern arrived carrying a cooler. He looked like he was going to piss himself. Dimitri took the cooler from him and looked inside.
“What’s this?” he asked. “We need more than this.”
“I tried, man, but they’re clamping down. I barely got out with this.” His voice was high and whiny.
Dimitri swore in Russian. I stepped forward, making the intern jump. He hadn’t seen me.
“I swear it’s all I could get,” he protested.
“You better make up for it next time,” I said.
He opened his mouth to argue, but thought better of it and took off.
“The clients won’t be happy,” Dimitri said.
“I know. Make sure the worst get their supply. Let the rest know what will happen if they break the rules, ” I said.
Vampires could last a couple of months without blood, but it drove them crazy. The last thing I needed was more trouble. As much as I would have enjoyed pounding on that guy, we couldn’t afford to alienate him. Besides he was human, it wasn’t his fault he had gotten sucked into this mess. He didnt even know what the blood was for. The only thing he knew was that we had incriminating evidence of him stealing painkillers from the hospital pharmacy.
The vamps would have to tough it out a while longer.
About the Author
S. K. Gregory was born in Northern Ireland in 1985. She is the author of several series of books including Daemon Persuasion, which was published by Mockingbird Lane Press.
She loves horror movies, reading and archery. In her spare time she runs a review blog for authors. All of her works are available to purchase through Amazon.