I must admit, I’m not feeling the introduction as much as the rest of the story so far. It’s not bad per say, but I might take it another direction. Definitely enjoy the characters though, and I think I can get a fully completed draft in a couple of weeks. I’ve already started doing some work on the ending, but I obviously won’t post that here 😉
One left. Alexis grinned and raised her weapon triumphantly. Her fingers were numb, her neck was strained and bent, her back ached. But victory was soon to be achieved. With a flourish, she engraved her signature on the parchment. Once, twice, three times. That was all. It was over. Alexis leaned back and sighed, brushing away her black hair with ink-stained fingers. She grabbed the last piece of paper and placed it on the stack. Fifty three sheets of paper. All of them dead boring. She picked up the stapler, gave the pile a sideways glance, then dropped the stapler back on the cluttered desk. Alexis pushed her chair back with a groan of relief, scooped up the papers and headed off down the corridor.
She had only taken a few steps before James rounded the corner in front, coming into view with a skinny teenager at his heel. When James saw her, his face softened into a smile.
“Alex! I was just looking for you.”
“There a problem, boss?” Alexis slouched against the wall, tucking the paperwork under her arm.
“Not a problem, per say. What’s all the paperwork for?”
“Last night got messy.”
“That was the necromancer, right? How messy are you talking?”
“No casualties, ‘part from the necromancers. They’re coolin’ off in the morgue. There were a few bites and scratches, though. Had to hack off a guy’s arm with my knife so he didn’t turn.” She said, gesturing to her belt.
“Right then. I think you may have to make a report at some point. But that’s not important now. You busy today?”
“Eh, I’ll have to head off to a farm soon. They think they’ve got a werewolf on the property, and it’s a full moon t’night. Might as well see if I can catch the fucker before he shifts.”
“Alright. Well,” James said, scratching his sandy mustache, “I have a favour to ask. This here is Craig.”
“Hello, ma’am.” The teenager said with a soft smile and a wave. Alexis grunted and looked back at James.
“Craig is a student at the Supernatural Containment and Control Academy. First year. He has requested some practical experience. He was assigned to train with Chandra and Vivian, but they’re still working on that demon cult case. Would you mind taking him on?”
“Sure. Why not. Someone to feed to the werewolf in case things get hairy.” Craig’s face dropped, Alexis flashed a grin.
“Be serious, Alex. We can’t alienate every new candidate.”
“Is Vic comin’ in today? I can handle a wolf on my own, but he’s been out for the last two and a half weeks. It’s pretty fuckin’ sloppy.”
“He’s still sick, apparently. I’ll definitely hassle him more soon.”
“Seriously? I swore I saw him at a bar a night or two ago. Ah, whatever. So, you’re givin’ the kid to me? I’ve never had a trainee before. Excitin’ shit.”
“Yes, Alex. Just don’t break him too early, okay? I need to go talk to David and Thomas, they’re going to join Chandra and Vivian.”
“Yeah, cool. If you need an extra pair of hands on the case, just ask.”
“Your job now is to take care of Craig.” James nodded, smiled and turned back down the corridor. Craig gave a lasting stare at James’ back before turning around to face Alexis. She grinned again. Craig cleared his throat and stepped forward.
“Ma’am, I hope to…”
“Do I look like a ‘ma’am’ to you?” Alexis interjected. Craig swallowed.
“I mean, uh, well… yes? What do you want me… to…”
“Alexis. Everyone calls me Alex, though. Call me Alex.”
“Ah… okay. Well, Alex, I hope to be of use to you, and that I will learn a lot from this experience.”
“You want to be of use?”
“Great.” Alexis shoved the stack of papers into Craig’s arms. “Take these. Don’t mess up the order. Follow me.” She pushed past Craig, walking quickly down the corridor. Craig turned and hurried after her.
“I must admit, paperwork isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when I think of monster hunting. How much is there?”
“Job’s about eighty percent paperwork, by my count.” She chuckled when Craig’s face fell. “Nah, just fuckin’ with you. It’s not normally this bad. The job yesterday went pretty pear-shaped though.”
“You said you cut off someone’s arm?”
“Yep. Saved his life.” They came to an elevator in the corridor, Alexis thumbed the call button. The doors slid open sleekly and silently, Alexis barging in before they had quite finished opening. Craig teetered after her, shifting his grip on the stack of papers. The elevator started downwards with a soft thrumming.
“So,” Craig began, desperate to break the silence, “we’re going after a werewolf today? I’ve never seen a real one before, but we’ve been doing some study on them, and I think they’re fascinating. I wonder what they’ll look like in the flesh, probably far more interesting than what’s in my old textbooks!”
“They look like big wolves.” Alexis replied flatly. “Until they stand up, anyway. Then they look like angry dudes with a body hair problem.”
“Right… uh, what are we going to do to take it out?” The elevator stopped, doors sliding open smoothly. Alexis started up, Craig broke into another awkward half-jog to keep up.
“I’m going to shoot it. Shooting things tends to work.” They walked through a broad corridor, their boots clicking on the tiled floor. The walls were adorned with hundreds of pictures, pictures of triumphant men and women holding their kills. They passed into a broad room, well lit and well populated with civilians and hunters alike. Long lines weaved through the room, leading to a desk at the side of the room.
“There,” Alexis said, pointing, “dump the paperwork there. It’s not my problem anymore. Secretary can make sense of this mess.” Craig trotted over to the front desk, pushing past the line.
“Sorry, sorry, sorry!. Please let me through, I work here. Sort of.” Eventually he made it to the front, and dumped the stack of papers on the desk.
“What’s this for?” The secretary asked, staring at Craig with a sour expression. “You don’t work here.”
“I… um… this is paperwork that Alexis filled out, she asked me to bring it…”
“Oh, you’re the trainee.” The secretary grabbed the stack of papers and shoved them under the desk. “Good luck with King.”
“Alexis, Alexis King. She’s totally nuts. She’s been here for eleven years, and she doesn’t have a lick of sanity left in her head. I suppose anyone would go balmy, going after horrific monsters for eleven years.”
“Well… alright… I’ll keep that in mind.” Craig gave a saccharine grin and backed out of the line. He hurried to the massive glass door, where Alexis was leaning.
“Took ‘ya long enough.”
“Sorry, ma’… Alex.”
“Come on, then. We’ve got shit to do.”