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The Struggle. Chapter one. (Story Commission) by IsaacKonos

The Struggle. Chapter one. (Story Commission)

Monday afternoon, the narrow streets of a small town in the depths of the countryside were empty, calm, quiet, and organized. Everything should be as it should be, nothing out of the ordinary.

That was precisely what Fiona thought as she walked home. The path she took back to her flat wasn't long, so it wouldn't be a tiring walk. Life as a former brigand, cheat, and highway robber had been hard by itself, not to mention that back then, Fiona had been widely seen as undesirable because of her past and the circumstances of her birth. However, none of that could compare to the overwhelming prejudice her and all the other mutants, as they are often called, suffered.

You see, a long time ago, Fiona had been a ne'erdowell until a fateful encounter turned her into a were-hellhound. Meaning that the woman shares her body with a supernatural devil dog. A demon. That doesn't make her exactly a mutant, but people don't really care about such distinctions at this time. Although she was not the only one, there are many other superhumans, mutants, demons, witches. You name it.

Talking about witches, Fiona couldn't wait to get back to her small flat she shares with a powerful magical user named Maebh, Maebh Branstoirm. Maebh was Fiona's Mistress, not in the sexual sense of the word by any means of the imagination. But they both have been together for a very long time, in fact, centuries, and even more than that, Miss Branstoirm had total control over the hellhound "sealed" inside Fiona's body.

A hellhound who also had a name, of course, he did. Called Calaxanthre Bregeuea, a beast dog who had his own thoughts and personalities. But stuck inside the body of a woman, which he supposed wasn't bad at all. Fiona, Calaxanthre, and Maebh had a beautiful life together, Fiona and Calaxanthre could share their thoughts all the time and in real-time. A fast way to gossip, one could see it that way.

Although most of the time, Fiona and Calaxanthre are sharing thoughts about ordinary, random things, today, Fiona could feel the hellhound dog inside her being a little bit agitated. More agitated than he usually would be. Asking the supernatural beast wasn't working since Bregeuea didn't know how to define what he was feeling at the back of his supernatural mind, as to what was the source of that agitation.

Since the pair couldn't figure out a solution in the immediate present, they both decided to continue on their path back to the flat as if things were all running normally. Passing by some other people, and seeing casual, not ill-humoured, hate posters taped to the walls. Just one more wonderful Monday afternoon.

Finally, stopping at the entrance of the old flat. Calaxanthre started to feel “generally” a lot more anxious. To the point Fiona was having some trouble controlling the super-dog within her. But, it was only when she finally unlocked the door and stepped into the apartment itself that she noticed the main reason behind why the hellhound within her was so flustered.

The whole place was a mess! The furniture was in scraps, wallpaper pulled out of the walls by force. Those were unmistakable signs of a struggle, and that was not even close to the worse part. Not yet. Fiona immediately walked around the whole flat, checking every room, opening every door, moved around every piece of destroyed furniture both the woman and the hellhound inside concluded Maebh Branstoirm, the wise and powerful witch, was kidnapped. Due to Calaxanthre’s supernatural senses there was no need to worry about the possibility of someone still being in the apartment, if one of the kidnappers were left behind Calaxanthre would have known.

Fiona was panicking deep inside and so was Calaxanthre. The supernatural beast was doing his best to calm himself down in order to not disrupt Fiona’s peace of mind.

"Fiona, listen!!! Listen to my voice!!! I'm talking to you!!!"

The distinctive, hellish voice snarling like an echo inside Fiona's mind.

"She is ok! She is very likely fine! You know, Maebh!"

"Yes! I know! But what are we going to do? you might get seen! It's too dangerous!!!"

"If you allow me to take control, I can use my powers to track her down!"

"But, you have to!!!"

"Not now!!! I know... I know about a PI firm... There is a woman, I believe her name is Qyauk... Miss Qyauk. Yes! Exactly!!! That is it! Cajuea Qyauk, I have heard she has a lot of experience with Missing persons and kidnappings."

"Do I need to remind you our situation is not exactly common at all..."

"I know she works with mutants, and from what I know, she seems to be one of them as well given her exceptional abilities."

"But we are not exactly Mutants, my darling. We are something a little bit... different."

"If not her, then I don't know about anybody else. We must give it at least a try, Calaxanthre!"

Fiona finished with that last sentence in her mind to Calaxanthre and then, they both left the flat not long after the end of the conversation. They made sure to give the impression they were acting normal since there was no way for them to be sure if they were followed or watched. Whoever was behind what happened, they indeed weren't amateurs. Maebh Branstoirm wouldn't allow being taken away easily.

Another very concerning detail was what happened to essential items from Miss Branstoirm's personal collection. Calaxanthre was puzzled by that in ways no one could possibly imagine. Some mighty, strong items were left behind; meanwhile, some silly, ludicrous items were taken away. But also, crucial things were taken too, and the absence of these items were filling the hellhound with a sickening sense of dread and anxiety. Emotions that the supernatural, hellish dog hadn’t felt in millenia. Whoever kidnapped the witch, they weren't looking after some quick cash or to satisfy an impulsive desire.

The walk from the modest flat to the PI office was calm; to be fair, it was overly calm. The growing sensation of being observed was only growing more influential within Fiona and Calaxanthre's minds. Things got even worse when they entered the downtown area.

After leaving the quiet streets from the Delray Hollow, crossing the large, concrete avenue bridge that connected that district with the downtown area, the feeling of being followed and watched only got worse by the second. Calaxanthre and Fiona couldn't tell if it was because of the presence of more people around them, but that could be the cause.

Perhaps it was only due to Calaxanthre's enhanced, supernatural senses. As mentioned before, Miss Bregeuea was a hellhound, that means many things, but one of them was the ability to feel deep inside other people's souls if desired. In that specific situation, From Fiona the supernatural beast was feeling fear. It was a feeling he was used to in others, but not himself, and it was also causing his supernatural senses to be a lot more attentive than usual.

That is part of what constitutes chaos. When you are genuinely in chaos, and you don't know what is going on, then you start to imagine what is going on. The reality is your imagination, and at the same time, the reality isn't pulled apart at all; you can't distinguish between both.

On the other side of the bridge, a few blocks away from the central plaza, was the PI office. Nothing glamorous, honestly, the place was quite modest. An old, three-story building, hidden from the street behind other buildings that had their entrance facing the main road.

The only way to access it was by passing through a narrow alley. At the moment, the tricentenary woman stepped into the alley Calaxanthre instincts went to full alert mode again.

"Stop!!!"

The supernatural -beast within her yelled at the back of her mind.

"What was with is"

"I felt something, someone."

The alley was dimly lit, and the vapor coming out of the manhole made it impossible to recognize anything. Fiona gave some small, tempting steps into the thick cloud of steam smog filling the alleyway. The woman was so quiet out of fear that she could listen to her own heartbeats and feel the sweat droplets forming at her own forehead.

It was then, all of a sudden, a hand grabbed Fiona firmly by the shoulder. Calaxanthre jump-scared in the confines of the woman's soul out of pure fear. How could it be he didn't notice that person coming or approaching. Fiona immediately turned her face to the hand to see its owner, and when she did, her expression changed abruptly.

"Let me out! I vociferate! Let me out!!!"

Calaxanthre was yelling, literally, in Fiona's mind.

"No! No! No! Wait! I think I know who she is..."

"Who are you, Miss? Don't you think you are too far away from the central plaza? These blocks are dangerous!"

It was no one more, no one less than Cajuea Qyauk, the lead detective herself. Both Fiona and Calaxanthre didn't know what to do precisely, but then, once supernatural-dog penetrated into the insides of the detective's soul, they naturally calmed down. Calaxanthre was able to see it all, a noble, valiant soul; and very smart too. But Miss Qyauk was so much more than that.

Since the hell-dog could see what others couldn't, he was able to see all the horror Cajuea had already faced during her years as a private detective. Helping mutants alike, the woman had seen things that even the most talented writers would have a hard time writing down. At that moment, Calaxanthre finally began to relax his hellish nature, his hellish spirit. He knew Cajuea was the right person to help them out in this endeavor.

"Cajuea?... private detective?!!! I'm Fiona... Look, something happened to my... roommate."

Fiona was out of herself, still. Even though Cajuea was the person she was looking for, she didn't know how to tell the detective the details of the situation. She didn't know how to explain the paranormal details.

"Miss, if your problem is a missing person. You should probably look for the nearest police station."

"No! you didn't understand. My roommate happened to be kidnapped, but not under normal circumstances. I was told you are detective used to dealing with, not so ordinary clients..."

At that moment, Miss Qyauk's eyes changed drastically, but she was far from being convinced.

"Well, obviously you don't like one of those who can't be mentioned. But, you do have my attention for a limited time."

And even before Fiona could take her breath to start speaking once again, Cajuea abruptly interrupted.

"Not here. In my office. Take the lead, please."

Both women walked into the old building right after. The first floor was the workshop, and like many other workshops was messy, with oil stains around the floor, some mechanical parts over here and there. Not only vehicle parts, but electronics and computer parts too. It was all thanks to TJ, probably.

TJ was a spectacular driver. There were many reasons he was so good at it, for instance, he is always working on modifications and upgrades to his cars. The human didn't have many cars, but he manages to make the most out of what he has available at hand to work with it.

As if that were not enough, TJ was also an informant. That explains his workshop having so many cables and electronics scattered all across the place. The ambiance wasn't amicable, but to be friendly surely was not the human's primary goal.

"What’s such a pretty woman doing around this area of the city?"

"Get back to work TJ, she is a client."

"Seems a little bit out of “phase” with our clients."

"Excuse me, but why do you need to make all these presumptions about my person?"

"My lady, I'll be direct with you about how I work. You tell me something you don't know and want to know, and I'll give it to you. Whatever it is."

After receiving such a harsh answer, Fiona turned her face to Miss Qyauk waiting for any counter-response.

"Don't listen to him, he is just a driver."

"Just a driver?"

Said TJ feeling insulted.

"A good driver, does it sounder better?"

Cajuea said, without stopping walking and climbing the stairs towards the second floor and Fiona did the same as TJ got back to work on the skeleton of a V8 engine, he was previously dismantling.

"Please don't mind TJ, sometimes he overworks himself, and he gets very stressed with that. He has a small obsession with his cars and pieces of equipment, but TJ is indeed very good at what he set out to do."

"She is right, Fiona. I can feel it in his soul."

After a short walk of a few more steps, the woman stepped into Qyauk's private office. Cajuea used her hand to offer her a seat; meanwhile, she sat at her large office desk positioned right in front of the tricentenary, young-looking girl. The Lead detective opened a small, elegant decorated box on her desk, which happened to contain some equally stylish tobacco cigarettes and handmade cigarettes.

"Would you like one?"

"No, thanks."

"I would like one."

"* No, it’s my body and lungs that have to pay the price!*"

"Alright, Miss Fiona. Tell me why do you strongly believe your situation can't be helped by the police, but instead by me."

"I understand you're more used to deal with mutants and things alike. But... I believe the best way to do it's by showing you, instead of explaining it to you."

"Well, then show me."

The Lead detective answered with a direct, not amused tone. Her eyes were faced direct to Fiona's eyes, looking deep inside her. Sometimes Cajuea’s eyes could give an unnerving, penetrating look. Right now the beast sealed in the depths of Fiona’s soul felt as if Miss Qyauk was looking right at him instead of Fiona. Of course, that would have been impossible. After all, Cajuea was just a human, useless, that is what she wanted them to believe.

Fiona stood up and after she gave about two steps backward.

"Ok, you can go out. But don't scare her and don't do anything stupid! we need her help."

Immediately there was a rush of air, but it wasn't like air moving around at elevated speeds due to a simple pressure difference. It was more like energy was being concentrated at one specific point in the private investigator's room, considerable amounts of energy to be more exact. Magical energy. The lady's white skin was replaced by fur, thick dark fur. The physiology of her body changed as well, from a pretty, young-looking woman into a quadrupedal, feral beast.

By the time the metamorphosis was over, Fiona was no longer the young-looking lady. She was a hellish dog with a distinct collar hanging around the neck. Miss Qyauk's room was filled with a strong smell of sulfur, but despite all the events that had just happened in front of her eyes, Cajuea Qyauk was calmly smoking her handmade cigarette.

"Quite interesting, but you could have just said that you have a hellhound sealed inside of you. Not to mention now, I'll have to ask Mr. Geofforrey to clean up my room, and I'll have to reorganize the paperwork again."

"the paperwork didn't look all that much organized first place."

"I can hear you too."

Calaxanthre Bregeuea felt sprawled. It was not impossible, but definitely not typical for humans to be able to hear his thoughts. Only Fiona and Maebh were able to listen to her thoughts naturally, and communicating with anyone would require a considerable amount of mental effort. That was only one more evidence that Cajuea Qyauk was much more than a simple private detective who likes to help mutants in exchange for money and sometimes even for free, from what Fiona has heard.

"If that happens to be true then you are now able to understand why our situation is so dismal!"

But it was that precise moment someone walked into the room. Mr. Geofforrey 'Griz' DiAerli. The first thing he saw was the tall smoldering werewolf standing a few inches away from the door. The man felt his body hair jumping out of his body, and if it were not attached to his body, his hair would have created its own legs and would be running away from the room.

"What the fuck!!!"

The angry, loud voice out of the human gots the supernatural beast's attention almost immediately. Calaxanthre turned his face towards the Geofforrey. The hell dog’slarge, sharp fangs didn't contribute to calm the man down. Plus, the potent sulfur smell coming out of the dog's body and jaw was almost making Mr. Geofforrey throw up the contents out of his stomach, but he was holding up.

"Geofforrey, calm down! She is a client!"

"She?! How can you even tell if it is a she a he?"

The hell dog responded with a slightly loud, angry growl.

"How can you possibly work with a human being like him?"

"It's fine! he is a nice guy."

"To who are you talking to?"

"Geofforrey, why don't you wait outside and I'll explain later."

Geofforrey was a good guy, but he was also brusque and short tempered. He was an acceptable, knowledgeable, and reasonable, but sometimes he fails to control his personality and character.

After finding themselves alone again, Fiona, Calaxanthre, and Cajuea resumed the negotiations from the point they had left.

"Ok, I'll help you. But, obviously, since I assume, we will be dealing with mighty magical objects, maybe some devils and maybe even a witch. If it is not the witch herself, we will be looking after; if I'm not wrong and obviously I'm not; I'll tell you from upfront this endeavor won't be any way easy. Do you understand and agree?"

"Yes, we do!"

"Perfect. If that happens to be the case, I would like you to wait here for a moment as I talk with my associates. Ah, obviously, I'll ask you to return to your human form. Discretion is a powerful tool, and if you want to see your "roommate" alive and well again, it'll be crucial if we have it on our side."

Fiona and Calaxanthre waited for about half an hour in Cajuea's private room. The hellhound, now back to her human form, sat in there lost in her thoughts and trying to calm down the supernatural dog within her.

"Christopher?! Why do you think about him? Shouldn't we be concerned about Maebh?"

Calaxanthre’s thought to Fiona.

"I know... it is just..."

"I have told you many times this won't work. The guy's family is extremely orthodox, and we both know this relationship won't get anywhere."

The private room's door opened. Four individuals walked in. Cajuea Qyauk, Geofforrey 'Griz' DiAerli, TJ, and Preregrine Dobhran. Dobhran was a mutant, but there was no need to tell since he walked through the door, manipulating some small, bright sparks of electric current with his left hand. The whole firm was together in the room, and even though they were used to dealing with mutants and other things out of the ordinary, they didn't look like they were enjoying the idea of expanding the firm's operational field.

Fiona couldn't get her eyes out of Dobhran hand's direction. It wasn't like the woman hadn’t seen mutants before, it was more because that Irish man could manipulate electricity with incredible mastery.

"Have we meet before, young lady?"

"I don't think so."

"You keep staring at me."

"It's just the way you use your hands to play electricity. I have never seen anything like this before."

"Ok! Now that everybody knows everybody. This is Fiona, she is our current client. She is a hellhound who belongs to a witch, the person we are supposed to find, and she is probably older than everybody here in this room together. That is all that you need to know about her for now. Any questions?"

Miss Qyauk took the lead and made a straightforward brief to the team. Although, there were still some objections brought by some of the members, starting by the human, informant-guy, the good driver.

"I hope the Miss werewolf here is willing to pay well because whenever there is a witch involved, there are devils involved, and to get information out of devils can make things a lot more expensive."

"TJ, how many times I'll have to tell you we are paid to be professionals, and as professionals, we shall not make presumptions before getting our hands to work?"

"Since the driver guy had a question, I would like to ask something as well. After all, I'm the one who actually deals with information in this firm."

Said the Irish, the mutant. Dobhran also happened to be a hacker.

"I know we are not allowed to make presumptions."

The mutant said while looking direct into Miss Qyauk's face.

"But I'm just curious, to be honest. I assume your friend, she probably has or posses some magic items, am I right?"

"She does. Why?"

"Oh, nothing utterly special. The reason behind my question is that even if I know very little about such mystical objects, I know some of them can retain within them data. To be more precise, metadata."

"Like a computer memory cache?"

Asked Cajuea.

"Sort of. To be fair, I don't know if it can be described exactly as a computer memory cache. But supposing that it could behave this way, there might be some valuable, small, information such as the last time your friend used or touch one of her magic objects before she went missing."

"That is a brilliant notion, Dobhran."

"I take it that we should return to my flat then?"

Fiona asked, standing back up and ready to leave.

"Obviously. We must."

"How many times have I heard say the word "Obviously" Today?"

Fiona asked, but Cajuea completely ignored that specific question. It was almost like the woman hadn’t said anything at all. Lucky Geofforrey came to her help and gave her a hand in that particular matter.

"Get used to it. It's like her favorite word. She says it all the time, sometimes, to her, it works like a period at the end of every sentence."

"That is dumb."

Calaxanthre said to Fiona, and even Fiona gave a disconcerted look back to Geofforrey.

"It makes her feel like ... I don't know... an ultra "Profissional" detective or maybe like Sherlock Homes. She has read all the bocks, even the first ones from the 1860s written in archaic English from that era. Well, good luck, she'll probably ask me to stay here and take care of the HQ as you are all out facing... whatever is it you all might find."

"OBVIOUSLY I'LL ASK YOU TO STAY HERE, GEOFFOREY!"

Cajuea yelled from far, as she was already climbing down the stairs back to the workshop floor.

"TJ, we need a car."

"Ok, tell me what do you need, and I'll get it to you. Which type of car?"

"We are in four, and since we don't know what we might find along the way, maybe something big and fast might be our best bet."

"I have something perfect for you."

The human disappeared into one the darkest corners of the first floor fo the old building. Sometimes even Cajuea wonders with herself why the human wouldn't turn some lights on. Maybe he likes the darkness. Although, in reality, TJ likes to train himself to see things in the dark as a way to be some sort of better night driver. Even if there was no concrete evidence between the relation of walking through dark places and driving better at night.

Back upstairs, Fiona had an enjoyable small talk with Geofforrey. Geofforrey took advantage of that brief moment to apologize for his earlier reaction when he opened the door of Miss Qyauk’s private room and saw the woman morphed into a beast. Although, their small talking was interrupted when Calaxanthre thought to Fiona.

"By the power of all Crystals, what in the hell is this powerful smell?"

There was a loud noise coming from downstairs, not an annoying sound. It was the noise of an engine, a car's engine. Not any car either, it was a four-door Pontiac Tempest GTO. The car might be old, but it was in perfect condition.

All things considered, the tricentenary woman, the lead detective, the mutant, and the informant behind the wheel. They were good to go. Being a good driver and a car lover, TJ had that need almost inside of his soul to press gas pedal deep before actually putting the car to move. That was not good because since it was a V8 engine from the 1960s, that car actually consumes more gas than it runs.

"I'm sorry, but this gasoline smell is disturbing me."

"Me too."

"Could slow down a little or stop accelerating too much?"

Said Fiona from the back seat behind Cajuea, who was sitting at the front side of the vehicle on the driver's side.

"Gasoline smell? Slow down? My dear, do you have any idea what car it is? This is a GTO muscle car. This car was designed to be fast and designed to be taken over its engine limits."

Dobhran, the mutant who was sat by Fiona's side, almost immediately started to giggle low and to himself. Cajuea looked at Fiona's eyes through the internal mirror before saying.

"Big mistake, darling. Now he won't shut up his mouth until we get to your flat."

"Sometimes, this PI firm looks a lot more like a big family than anything professional you can imagine."

Said Dobhran right after the lead detective finished her sentence. Despite the small debate between the team, Calaxanthre was enjoying the car. The explosions of fire within the beast, the ground shaking tremble of its power, the bestial roar when it’s revved. The massive potential of all that kinetic energy just one footfall away. Just the annoying smell of gas wasn't doing any good to the poor, hellish doggo, and since the human refused to take his foot out of the gas, Fiona would more likely be adamant about not sticking her head out the window.
The Driving from the PI firm office at downtown back to Hollow district was short, but during the way, Miss Qyauk noticed a few details which very likely went missed by all the others present in the GTO. The astute woman saw an all-black colored SUV passing by on the other side of the road.

An old Chevrolet SUV. All black color and with very dark insulfilm covering all windows, making it impossible to see the insides, even during daylight. Its nickname was "end of the line car." It is the car the corrupted police officers use when they want to erase someone and leave a message behind.

That was definitely not a good signal. If that wing of the local police department was directly involved in the disappearing of the Miss Branstoirm could mean they are about to put themselves in big trouble, not to mention the chances of Miss Branstoirm to be alive could drop down quite a lot.

As the team arrived at the address of Fiona's flat TJ parked the car not in front of it, but on the other side of the street. Cajuea Qyauk was the first one to get out of the car, instead of looking around or direct at the building she looked to the pavement and to the ground/sidewalks around the place. The lead detective was looking for bullet casings.

Since it was typical for the corrupted wing of the local police department to execute people even during daylight, Cajuea was concerned that might have happened. But since she didn't find any casings on the road or on the footpath, that possibility was eliminated.

TJ and Dobhran exited the vehicle right after. There was no need for talking between to decide what each member of the firm had to do. Dobhran went to the trunk of the GTO so he could gather some tools and other things he might need to use to execute his hacker job. TJ immediately spotted two guys smoking together around the corner of a small alley.

As the human was the informant, he figured out they were probably gang members who use that spot to sell drugs, and he was right. He walked into their direction as if he were a customer, but his primary goal was to gather any useful information, as he was sure those guys probably remain in the area or that spot daily, and they must pay attention to everything that happens around them.

Fiona and Qyauk walked into the building normally, as Fiona was bringing a friend to spend the evening. That wasn't normal at all since the entire vicinity knew that the two women who live together in that flat generally don't receive any visitors. The neighbors probably noticed as well by now that Miss Branstoirm was nowhere to be seen as the apartment was too quiet. Considering that the neighbors also saw the black SUV driving around the area, people would start to ask Fiona questions sooner or later.

That was precisely what Cajuea Qyauk wanted to prevent and to do that, the lead detective had a straightforward script in mind. Get inside the apartment, execute fast but detailed surveillance, and put themselves on moving, mainly because they have already exposed themselves. The location was a low, middle-class residential area, full of small and cheap apartments and neighbors who love some gossip, not to mention the gang members as well. That said, Cajuea assumed everybody already knew she was there, and that was not a good thing, but a traditional assumption.

The two women passed through the building's reception and stepped into the elevator. Cajuea immediately noticed that there were two cameras at the lobby positioned in such a way that each camera could record in opposite directions, meaning that there were no blind spots, at least that reception. That was good news if they could get a record of someone walking into the building alone and them leaving carrying something, a big box, a blanket, or whatever that would be a lot of help.

On the Eighth floor, the elevator door opened, and Fiona and Cajuea stepped out. Miss Qyauk gave a complete 360º look around through the hall without raising any suspicions, she was trying to look for windows, ventilation tubes, and any other means someone could have accessed that floor of the building without using the elevator. In a few moments, the two women were inside the flat.

Cajuea looked around, and obviously, she saw what Fiona saw. Clear signs of a struggle all around the first ambient of the flat. But, the lead detective also saw many other details Fiona and even Calaxanthre failed to notice. Just by giving a first glance around the furniture and the place, she noticed that whoever was trying to kidnap the witch had a hard time. Looking to the floor, there were steps marks, but at some point, the kidnappers were failing to even get closer to the Miss Branstoirm.

How did Cajuea notice all that? By the patterns of the steps on the floor fo the apartment, she counted two pairs of footsteps, so two criminals so far. Maybe Miss Branstoirm was arriving home when the whole action happened, but the critical point wasn't that. The important detail was the kidnappers were trying to jump onto the witch, but at first, they seemed to be failing to do that.

Falling the footmarks track, it was clear that the first foot track disappeared once it got a few inches to the main door leading to the inside of the apartment. A few inches away from where the footmarks went missing, a small corner table was totally crushed, almost like somebody was thrown on the air and landed on top of it, wrecking it. Maybe the witch managed to defend herself at first by using some spell, very likely.

However, as the lead detective was beginning to put together the pieces of what might have happened in the old, cheap apartment, at least inside of her mind only. Someone knocked at the door. It was a brutal knock, almost like whoever it was behind it was about to put it down with the power of his hands alone. Fiona jumped scared in a flash, although Calaxanthre told her to calm down that everything was alright.

Cajuea Qyauk moved to open the front door of the flat quickly, but she did so without a care in the world. That Fiona even more frustrated, but to her surprise, it was no-one else other than Dobhran, the hacker, electrician mutant.

"Don't worry, it's Dobhran's way of letting us know he doesn't like to be left behind and waiting."

"I thought we were supposed to be discreet..."

Cajuea and Fiona talked to one another, until the Irish guy interjected, almost laughing.

"Discreet? In this neighborhood? That is not gonna happen. From what I have noticed, you don't need security cameras at all over here. The walls have their own eyes and ears over here."

"Dobhran is right. Besides it, given the way people behave and using as an example your upstairs neighbor who didn't stop yelling at her husband since we arrived, the strong knocks on the door Dobhran gave were good because they might have made us look more ... normal... at least to this area of the town."

"She is... right Fiona..."

"Well, obviously, the only reason you took so long to come after us it could only be because you found something interesting. Tell us."

"Outside, I found a junction box for internet, so I decided to give it a quick try, and I realized that the security cameras they have here are part of a private, outsourced security firm that keeps all their devices synchronized through the internet. Including the cameras too. Although, what is really interesting, it's so far I didn't see anybody coming or out of your flat from yesterday to today. At least that is what the camera's records show, but I didn't have the time to check if it was altered. Given that the files are stored in a cloud service, I find it very difficult, but it's not impossible. I need more time."

"Fascinating, Dobhran."

A small interruption cut the conversation, a phone call.

"Go ahead TJ, just let me set my phone to speakers mode."

"You people are going to find it really interesting. I was talking to those two gang members, and from what I discovered. They told me that around the same time Fiona told us she was out of the flat they were here selling some "stuff," and they felt the temperature drop down quite a lot. I mean, they said it felt like out of a sudden it felt like winter."

"At first I didn't care so much about, but then I remembered since we are dealing with a hellhound and a witch... well there is only one kind of creature that can cause a sudden drop of the local temperature with its appearance. A strong devil or a group of devils."

"This case is starting to become really interesting that would explain the endless amount of errors inside the log of the cloud files I was trying to hack a few moments ago."

Concluded Dobhran after TJ finished his conclusion about the possibility of other supernatural creatures such as devils being involved.

"Obviously, our next stop it's Southdowns."

"Southdowns? The middle/upper-class neighborhood? Why is that?"

"Just think about it my darling, Devils are nasty, but fancy creatures. Where else do you think we can find a huge amount of them gather together?"

Cajuea said, and right after, Dobhran interjected.

"I believe I'll remain since I want to study the mystic objects you witch friend and the kidnappers left behind. See if I can figure out why they didn't find them interesting or of no use."

"Fiona, tell him to be careful some of those objects are powerful and dangerous."

"Just be careful, and don't touch anything."

"Relax, I'm not an amateur. I'm a professional."

Leaving the Irish man behind alone at the old flat, only with his toolbox at hand, the other three got back to the GTO. During the short walk from the lobby back to the GTO parked in front of the place, Cajuea heard a song. A bird. Not any bird, but a crow. A black crow standing on the thick powerline of one the light poles of the street. Nothing out of the ordinary, if not by two small details. One, crows are not common around this area of the city. Two that thick powerline was energized, and that crow should be on fire by now, but it wasn't. Lastly, Miss Qyauk couldn't confirm, but she had an impression that crow was observing them. But better not make any presumptions.

The Struggle. Chapter one. (Story Commission)

IsaacKonos

6 June 2020 at 15:42:23 MDT

Fiona, a tricentenary hellhound, went back home to find out her Mistress, Miss Maebh, was kidnapped. The lead detective Cajuea Qyauk will put all her ability and intelligence at work to help Fiona find her owner with the help of Geofforrey, The mutant Dobhran, and The informant TJ. What dangerous they'll encounter during their endeavor?


A new story commission. A suspense, investigation story with magic, devils, mutants and much more. Thanks ashsukea (on FA) for commission me.

Submission Information

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