“Seven trolls were spotted in lower Manhattan tonight.”
“Any particular reason why the trolls were out and about?”
“None that we know of.”
“Was any Spirit Soldier on patrol? Anyone of ours make a report?”
“SS15276 reported gunshots and green slime in the vicinity.”
“Gunshots?! What idiot would shoot at a troll?”
Fred Wright smiled.
“A frightened civilian maybe.”
“Very well. Get me Freeson.”
Fred coughed uncomfortably.
“Er…he’s already here. He doesn’t think you’re handling this situation right.”
“Does he now?” A light smile played on Kara’s thin red lips. “Things couldn’t be better then. Thanks, Fred. And tell my father to come in.”
Fred saw the look in her eyes, a murderous, naughty look that played in her lovely blue eyes. Fred was glad he was not going to be facing her next.
A few minutes after Fred left the room, Matt Freeson walked in. Kara did no more than spare him a glance that clearly said, “Have a little faith. I’m your daughter.”
Matt knew the look on his daughter’s face better than Fred, and he knew there was no point telling her anything now. Matt couldn’t help but wish that Kara had been at least half as obedient as the Spirit Soldier he had named her after. Before Matt could say anything, Kara piped up.
“So, what exactly have I not been handling well?”
“We’re trying to keep our existence a secret, not have it broadcast on the 9 o’clock news.”
“Nothing of the sort happened. It’s all been hushed up.”
“Yes, but this has been the third incident this month. Something’s causing these incidents, these outbreaks. And unless you find the reason, they’re going to keep happening. You need to find the cause. Or else, that news report isn’t far away.”
Kara was about to snap back, when her phone began to beep. She flicked it open and put it to her ear, brushing aside a lock of her brown hair. Matt could hear Fred’s voice on the other.
“There’s an emergency situation on the east side. It might be related to the troll situation. I thought you might want to know.”
“I’ll be there in 15 minutes.”
She rushed out hurriedly, grabbing her leather coat in one hand, while dialing another number on her phone with the other. Matt started off, “Be caref…” but his voice trailed off when he realized he was talking to the flapping door of Kara’s office.
Kara was treading her way around the back alley carefully, gun cocked and held over her torch. She stepped forward stealthily, keeping a look out for any signs of activity.
The unearthly scream sounded unlike anything Kara had heard. She had no idea what to make of it. She took a step forward, and then stopped, frozen in her place. She couldn’t do much more, because the growls were coming from behind her, low and rumbling. She flipped around, the torch beam flashing around in a half circle of brilliance. She wasn’t quick enough though. The beam barely caught a flash of fur leap away into another alley. A horrible thought entered her mind, and the fear that accompanied it nearly paralyzed her.
She spoke into her earpiece.
“ Possible lycanthrope situation. All units on red alert. Repeat. Possible lycanthrope situation. All units on red alert.”
Simultaneously, she flicked a small switch on her gun, putting it in silver mode. She knew that her gun would now fire Ag 1.25 9 mm bullets. She started scouring the alleyway, trying to keep the fear from her breath. Another voice crackled over the earpiece.
“Try to catch it alive. We haven’t had a decent lycanthrope specimen in 9 years.” Typical of her father to intrude academically even at a time like this.
Her father’s little interjection nearly made her miss it. Something that looked like a large fuzzy cloth was just barely visible behind a pair of upturned dumpsters. Kara took a cautious step towards the dumpsters, keeping her eyes on it.
And stepped on a crumpled piece of paper.
“Damn!” thought Kara.
In the time that it took for Kara to have that thought, the beast clambered onto the dumpsters and lunged at her. Instinctively, Kara ducked, and the beast’s momentum carried it over Kara. Its length seemed to stretch on forever above her. Kara pointed her gun straight up, took aim and fired two shots. The beast hit the street on the other side of Kara, rolled a few times and crumpled against the far wall. Kara stood up slowly, keeping a close watch on the prostrate form, watching it heaving, listening to its erratic breath. She had taken two steps towards the beast when the wheezing noises stopped entirely. Kara kept staring, half-expecting it to spring back to life. After what seemed like an eternity of watching, Kara finally heaved a sigh, pocketed the torch, holstered her gun and spoke into the earpiece.
“We have a stiff werewolf.”