"Damn, I'm late," he cursed as his car sped into the parking lot, splashing through the puddles. Cramming what remained of his sugar-glazed breakfast into his mouth, he gave a quick glance into his rear view mirror to see how much of a mess he was, not that there was anything that could be done about it. Giving a futile attempt to flatten his wild, blond hair, the efforts could not tame the wild mane. He lightly jogged to the entrance, his generous stomach bouncing in his steps while shielding himself over head from what lingered of the drizzle with the few documents he had brought home from the day before while he clutched a large cup of coffee against his against his body.
"Spend all morning working on that, Rainer?" smugly jested Porter over his steaming mug, already well settled into the morning. "It looks great on you. Well worth the effort, I must say." The delayed employee tried his best to ignore his coworker, mumbling idle threats under his breath as he tucked in his shirt tails and tried to quietly get to his cubicle without too much notice. Passing through the fluorescent lit space, he briskly passed a dozen or so of the makeshift offices before reaching his. Slinging off his drenched jacket, a pinstriped noose was laid across his shoulders as while he tried to get himself caught up. "Sooo," chimed in Porter, inviting himself to occupy a wall within in the six foot square prison, "ready for that Acker file?"
"That was today?" Rainer groaned as he went through the morning motions, turning on his computer and flipping his calendar. "I don't remember getting it."
"It's under yesterday's coffee," the colleague pointed out, sipping his own brew. There were, in fact, three separate containers on his desk, each one neglected from the toils of a hectic work day. Luckily, they all happened to be placed upon one yellow folder.
"Why do you know more about my desk than I do?" rhetorically asked the rushing one, brushing off the cold drinks from the documents.
"Hey, someone's gotta make sure you don't get fired, and you don't seem to be helping that cause," Porter chuckled. "You're lucky, too," he said, changing topics. "You should be done with that appointment just in time to make it back for Slader's birthday party. It's a lovely diabetic cake."
"Mmm, tasteless," sarcastically responded Rainer, skimming through the pages. "I know I'd hate to miss that excite, but if duty calls-"
"Mr. Rainer," a sharp voice screeched. Another face entered the already crowded cubicle. "Did we have another rough morning?" The wrinkled hag raised a drawn on eyebrow sternly with the question upon seeing what a mess he was. "No time for a shave, I take it?"
"Sorry, Susa- Mrs. Raper. My... alarm didn't go off."
"Again," he confirmed. Multitasking, he deleted the company notices and announcements that cluttered his email without heed from the corner of his eye, no matter how highly important the sender claimed it to be or how much "food and fun" were guaranteed. The penciled brow finally lowered.
"See to it that you replace that troublesome device," she advised with authority before withdrawing her bun topped head. At the manager's removal, Porter silently motioned acts of merriment and inflicted punishment. "I believe you have work that could be done as well, Mr. Porter." He froze in the middle of an awkward dance, sliding an evil eye to the direction of the old harpy before taking his leave as well. Having barely had time to get settled, he already had to get back on the road. Slipping back on his damped coat, he grabbed a few assorted things he would need, including his unsampled coffee, and headed down to the garage. In the dank, dimly light basement, a couple of lopsided vehicles silently waited. Only one of the rust buckets would start.
"You're late, wild man," blankly noted the woman leaning against the sole working company van through a half-closed mouth gripping a cigarette, her comment seemingly aimed at humor despite her solemn tone.
"Do I have to get it from you, too, Hunter?" he begged, trying to juggle all of his materials at once. With indifferent eyes, she opened the passenger side door for her occupied colleague, not even asking if he wanted to drive.
"So, how much were you able to get read this morning?" she flatly asked while starting the ancient machine. "And don't bother with lies," she added, cutting him off before he could respond. "I can see the coffee rings on the folder."
"It's been a rough week, okay?" he defended, getting more acquainted with the file along the ride.
"It's only downhill from here," she muttered, blowing out a cloud of smoke through the cracked window. "Do you know Slader?" she abruptly asked after a silent pause. Her half closed eyes never strayed from the road.
"Not... well," confessed Rainer. "I've worked a few clients with him. Why do you ask?"
"That little creep keeps looking at me," she blatantly informed. Knocking off the ash of her tobacco out the window, she continued. "Say something to him." It was not a question, but an order.
"So, what? I'm fighting your battles now? Just tell him to buzz off."
"Ah, but then I'd have to speak to it." Again, she tried at humor, poorly executed with her monotone voice. "Besides, I don't want to give him the pleasure." Pulling along the side of the road, they reached their destination.
"Well, it is his birthday," reminded Rainer as he pulled some things out from the back. "Just sign his card with it. 'Stop it. You're weirding me out. -Hunter. P.S. - Best wishes'." Unbelievable, he thought he saw a flash of a smile appear on her frozen face, but it turned out to be her just shifting the placement of her cigarette. The two journeyed up the walk way. Knocking on the door, they received no response. "Huh. Guess no one's home."
"You're not funny," she revealed, turning the door handle. More sky appeared through the doorway as did the ashen remains of the building. Only the front wall remained from the rubbled structure. "So, four days ago, this place went up in flames. The police labeled it an arson." Wading through the jagged pieces with her tiny feet, she examined the remains. "You ever watch those detective shows?" she mentioned with a steep redirection of the conversation. "That's what this reminds me of."
"Nah," responded Rainer, pushing aside some of the bits near the center. "They aren't believable." Raising his bronze headed mattock, he cracked away at a slight indention in the burnt mess, clearing out a small dip. "Looks like a crater," he guessed before hitting the bottom, shatter it. "Or a nest. This was an egg, alright." Peering around at the radius and depth, he tagged on, "A big one."
"It gets worse," Hunter hated to say as she effected a shaft. "This looks like a candle stick, and, judging from these runes, it was used for a ceremony."
"So, we don't just have a dragon on our hands," Rainer signed wiping his webbed hand over his furry face, "we have a crazy cult act?"
"Most likely a summoning or resurrection, by the looks of it," she further revealed upon finding more artifacts and bones. "By the looks of it, some sort of self sacrifice to bring forth a god of destruction to wreck havoc across the land, possibly fueled by human souls."
"Damn college kids," grunted the Fuath, loosening his neck tie. "So, what? Just go after it with some silver bolts?"
"You should know better. It couldn't be that easy," she stated. Pulling herself up from the ground, she dusted off her hands. "Probably a class three we're dealing with. Whoever did this knew what they were doing. This took planning, research, effort. This was meant to cause some major damage. Who knows how deep this goes." She signed deeply. "I think we're going to have to call in this one in." As she dialed upper management, Rainer leaned against his pick in contemplation. The hairy giant hung his head.
"Well... there goes my weekend."
Everything you know is a lie. Hundreds of years ago, stories of whimsical beasts and dreaded horrors were common place, but, over time, they were belittled to the stuff of fairy tales. These are actually the bastardized chronicles of history guarded from the public's knowledge. They were purposely exaggerated to make the proposed creatures and nightmares seem even more unreal, safeguarding the truth further. If they knew of the threats that surrounded them everyday, modern life could not exist. An order has existed since this time of yore to guard this secret and keep the peace. Many men have dedicated their lives to this task, entrusting it over generations. Humanity was not the only one to join the ranks as, at times, those shielded from the rest of the world took up the call.