Author: Odette C. Bell PM
Agent Mira forms part of the very defensive line between good and evil, heaven and hell. It just so happens that her part of the line is insignificantly small. But that all changes, and soon Mira's life is in hellish amounts of danger - literally.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Mystery - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,385 - Reviews: 6 - Favs: 4 - Follows: 1 - Updated: 06-11-12 - Published: 11-24-11 - Status: Complete - id: 2973719
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Where Mira first meets Michael and proves just how unlucky she is….
Mira very rarely felt like an agent. Even when she was flying across a rooftop in hot pursuit of a demon, there was always some part of her brain that couldn't quite believe it. She just didn't quite trust herself enough.
It was fair to say that the Agency shared her misgivings. Throughout her selection, training, and even graduation, her superiors had always been plain about her prospects. In ordinary circumstances, under ordinary conditions, involving an ordinary enemy, Agent Mira could be relied on to get the job done. And that was just it; she was never going to make it above ordinary.
Mira blew on the window and rubbed at a smear with the cuff of her sleeve. Great view from this abandoned farm house, pity it had to be a Hell Hole really.
It was very early morning, so early the sun had only just managed to send a few weak rays across the hills in the distance. Why couldn't she work during the day? Was it so much to ask to spend a proper night in bed once in a while?
The mark gradually began to shift, so Mira put her shoulder into it, rubbing the window harder till she could see clearly. Really, this farm house wasn't such a bad place, once you got past the satanic symbols smeared across the broken walls, it had a pleasant rustic charm. A bit of plaster and a lot of paint, and this place would make a wonderful country home. It might be a bit hard to re-sell considering its diabolical history, though.
Once the window was clean, and she had ascertained that absolutely nothing was moving in the cold summer morning below, Mira kicked off into the rest of the room. Hands clasped at her back, she paced around the small attic, shifting her head slightly to dodge several suspended beams.
In usual Agency style, they'd hardly briefed her at all. She'd received a curt phone call from her Controller, giving her the place and time, and that was about it. He'd mumbled something about another team having cleared the 'truly evil one's' from the building last night. Apparently all she was expected to do was hold fort until the sun rose, and only until the sun rose.
Hold fort, that was it. Mira jabbed her foot into a little pile of dust and crunched it under the toe of her boot. That was about all she was good for in their eyes.
In theory, some enterprising demonic force might try and repossess the building, take advantage of its newly-cleared status, perhaps a passing gargoyle or some unusually forthright zombie. In practice, it never happened though.
Nope, nothing was going to happen here. Mira patted the wall with a flat hand. 'Earghhh!' the wall was sticky, and she yanked her hand away, large goops of clear slime catching on her skin. 'Oh, that's so gross!' Mira snapped backwards from the wall, shaking her arm in great arcs, trying to dislodge the gelatinous substance.
She took a closer look at the wall, wiping her hand against her thick jacket. She hadn't really paid much attention to it before; it was kind of dark, after all. But now, as she looked at it, she gulped. All across the surface, all down one face of the wall, over the cracks and holes, was a clear sticky film. It looked like something that might surround an insect larva, or the foetus of some alien child. 'Ewwwww!' Mira bounced up and down on the balls of her feet and made a disgusted face.
She took it all back: this wasn't some charming country cottage that had simply had the misfortune of becoming a satanic hidey-hole – this place was rank.
Mira pushed herself back until she was standing roughly in the centre of the room, as far from the walls as she could manage. Her face felt pale and her skin itched. What in all of Hell was going on here?
The walls began to ooze. Where before the slime had simply covered the surface, it now began to bubble and drip, falling to the floor in great big drips.
'Ahhhhh,' Mira danced from foot to foot. This wasn't in the manual. Dripping walls had never been covered in training, nor had she ever read about them in the Standard Grimore. What was she supposed to do?
There was no hope of a reprieve either. Mira watched the slime gather at the base of each wall, it was becoming thicker now, and had taken on a pallid-white hew, like sections of squid flesh. There was no backup for this mission; she didn't even have a Controller in her ear.
It was just her and a melting house.
So there was only one thing to do, right? Get out of the melting house.
A wet dollop of slime landed on Mira's head and slid down her neck. She gave a sharp shriek and pelted for the door. Her boots caught a pool of slime and she skidded into the hall.
'Oh God, oh God, oh God.' It was everywhere, seething and bubbling as if it were alive.
She somehow made it down the stairs, even though by the last step she was ankle-deep in the gunk. All around her the building seemed to melt, the wood and plaster almost completely engulfed.
By the time she managed to cross the floor, the ceiling above had begun to sag and was threatening to knock off her small beret. 'Eeeeeekkk.' She shook her hands about and took huge lumbering steps through the goo.
The door stood before her, but she barely recognised it. Only the tarnished-brass door-handle was visible underneath the bubbling mass.
There was nothing else for it. As best she could, Mira stumbled towards the door and kicked out with all her might. Her foot dove through the goo and finally connected with what remained of the wood. Though the goo had considerably slowed down the force of her kick, she still managed to keep enough strength to snap the wood. With a dull crack, the door gave way.
As the door fell forward, a great wall of white, rubbery slime took its place like plasma sealing the wound. With a gulp any cartoon character would have been proud of, Mira plunged through it.
It was like jumping into a great big bucket of... yeah... snot.
When Mira had fought her way to the other side, she fell flat onto the grass and gasped for air.
Click, click, click. Even though the slime still covered her face, Mira knew what that noise was.
She froze, prostrate on the grass, still completely covered in the, by now, opaque goo.
'What in Hell is it, sir?'
'Looks like some kind of neo-demon, maybe still in the larval stage.'
'You mean like that spore creature we found at the municipal tip last week?'
'Yeah kinda, but this one is twice as disgusting.'
Mira listened to their words with the kind of abstract interest being completely covered in demonic slime could afford a girl. Sure, their words kind of stung, but right now she was a little too shocked to care.
'It's not moving much? Do you think it's too young?'
'I don't know, Merry, it still looks pretty dangerous, maybe we should get the Captain over here.'
Oh this was just great. This was completely and utterly fantastic. Wasn't she just so darn lucky? 'Look, I'm an agent,' is what she tried to say, what really came out sounded like a gurgling growl.
Click, click. 'Don't even think about it, little demon; we've got a whole Unit here.'
Unit? Mira made the mistake of opening her mouth and gasping. Rather than sucking in a breath of air, she pulled in a mouthful of slime. She began to cough and splutter.
'Woah, what is it doing?'
Mira rocked backwards, patting her chest with one hand as her throat constricted further and her breath became more ragged and wheezed.
She started to panic, but she was running out of oxygen. She tried to point at her throat in the hope that the idiots before her would understand, but she could hardly move her arm.
'What's going on here?' Out of nowhere a set of strong arms pulled her up and, looping around her middle, slammed hard into her chest. 'There you go.'
With one last wheeze, Mira's throat finally cleared and she sagged into the arms behind her.
'So you were just going to let her choke to death, then?' the voice asked from behind her. It was deep and melodic, but the tone was even and strict.
'Ummm, we thought it was a demon… what…. What is it, anyway?'
'As far as I can tell, it's the agent that was on duty in the house,' she felt the Captain twist his head, 'or whatever is left of it anyway. Looks like you just made it out.'
It took her a moment to realise he was talking to her. Whether it was from the shock or something else, she'd zoned out. His words brought her back with a cold wave, and she pushed herself up and free of his arms.
'Are you alright?' he asked.
She attempted to clear her throat, but just nodded instead.
'Right. Look, go and report to your Commander, you two; I think the show's over here.' She heard the Captain wipe his hands together.
In a second several sets of footsteps receded. Slowly, carefully, her body filled with bitter embarrassment, Mira put a hand up to wipe the goo from her face.
'Controller said there was supposed to be an agent in the building,' the Captain didn't move from behind her, 'those idiots were supposed to check the building before they cast the detonation spell. I'm really sorry about that. If it's any consolation, I don't think they'll be making it into Unit anytime soon.'
No, funnily enough that wasn't much of a consolation. Detonation spell? They were going to destroy the place all along and no one had bothered to tell her? Mira pulled a clump of goo from her hair and flicked it onto the ground. Of course that made more sense now. The Agency would hardly let a demonic treasure trove like this continue to stand. It had been the home of various satanic cults for over 100 years. Continual exposure to evil like that would have seeped through the entire building, rotting the wood like acid.
The Controller had told her to be out of the house by sun up. She should really have put two and two together. Still, a simple elaboration would have been nice. 'We are going to blow the place, so you might like to leave a little early', would have been a welcome warning.
'You sure you're okay?' The Captain clapped a hand on her shoulder and wiped off a clump of slime.
The simple move sent a shiver down her spine, which she hid with a little shake. 'Hmmm,' was all she could manage for several reasons.
'Anyhow, I'm sure we can manage it here if you want to go and catch a….' he coughed slightly.
'Shower?' she filled in, finally clearing her mouth enough so her words were more than sickly gurgles.
She turned to him to salute or something but froze, her fingers spread wide like a cat sprung mid pounce.
'Not that I'm saying you ah…. You probably just want a shower, right?' He was standing with his hands loose at his sides, his head dipped slightly towards her, a pleasant, almost cheeky smile on his perfect face.
Michael, Michael, perfect Michael. 6ft tall, broad but not stocky build, beautifully-proportioned shoulders, a chiselled jaw you could crack a nut on, and the deepest, palest brown eyes.
She made a noise, close to the coo of a bird.
'Anyhow,' he reached out another hand and lightly patted her shoulder as he pushed past her to survey the house as it continued to melt on the spot, 'You're dismissed, Agent.'
It took Mira another millisecond to run away. She tried to time it, to mollify it into a determined jog, but it was a desperate flee. She was covered in goo and had just met the man of her dreams... If she ever got her hands on the Fates they were so dead.
Whack. It went something like that, didn't it? When a situation got so ludicrously ridiculous that it was like a smack in the face with a rolled-up list of your faults and failures? This whole thing was whack.
Mira walked her fingers over the table in front of her. The tips of her fingernails pattered out a little beat across the wood. Her left foot tapped against the table leg. She leant on her free hand and stared down at the document before her with the kind of blank, unperturbed face only naivety can afford the damned.
A Notice of Assessment. She almost choked when she'd seen it on the table. She'd even hesitated before hopping in the shower. For just a second she'd wanted to sit down right then and there, still sticky from the remnant of her disastrous morning, and get all the bad news out.
Now she was showered and her hair was twisted up in a towel, though various untamed strands sent twisting water down her front and onto the plush fabric of her bathrobe. The shower had calmed her a little, taken the edge off her burning embarrassment. But now her shame had been trumped by a twitching despair. Was this it? Had she stuffed up one too many times? Were they going to sack her?
Mira's foot banged harder against the table leg until a little red mark started to appear over her already hot skin. This wasn't fair. She walked her fingers over the document and, pushing her finger into the paper, pulled it towards her.
The Agency, apparently, wished to inform her that they were currently conducting an 'audit' into her performance. That's right, an 'audit'. Like you do when you count up how many pens are left in the stationary cupboard. Was Mira a couple of pens short now, is that what they were trying to tell her?
'Ahhh!' Mira slammed an open hand down onto the table. Not too hard though, she wasn't trying to break it, after all, and she didn't have anyone to impress. The frustration was just building across her back with the squeeze of a straight jacket. This was just so unfair.
From now on, according to this fantastic letter, the Agency would be watching her every move. They hadn't phrased it like that, they'd mentioned something along the lines of 'performance assessment', but she knew what that meant: stalking.
They'd go through her files too. Not that they'd need much reminding; her errors weren't exactly forgettable. She was barely a rookie as it was. She was only one step above paper work for a living. And what else would a dried-up field agent have to look forward to in the wide world of Agency? Nothing. Oh yeah, her life was going exactly how she'd hoped...
Mira leaned back into her chair and tried to sigh, but she couldn't force the air out. It just seemed to sit in her chest with this aching pressure. It was like she was suffocating while still breathing or drowning without being near a drop of water.
After about five minutes of wallowing, Mira scrunched up the letter and threw it at the wall. It was time to ignore it. The Agency could try to ruin her day/life, but they surely underestimated her impressive ability to pretend. She could pretend everything was fine, and Heaven, that's just what she was going to do.
Mira forced a grin and stuck to it until it softened into a smile. She was on duty tonight, something about rooftops. You could see the whole city from up there, and if the view didn't kill her, God knows her fall from grace would.
This story is complete. It's about 95,000 words long. It is available for sale through Smashwords and the Amazon Kindle Store. If you can't afford to buy it, please PM and I will be happy to DocX it to you.
Thanks for reading!