Dim sirens and bright swirling lights echoed and flashed off the brick buildings and up into the atmosphere, resettling on the endless city that sprawled around them. It was quite rare that any territory had to use this system to alert their neighbors that something was amiss, but everyone knew that when they were in use, something had to be wrong.
Miles away, Patrick stood in his normal position on the rooftop, nine stories above the ground. He was alert in his vantage point on the spacious roof, leaning on the brick barrier that separated him from the long drop down. He glared out over the tops of the surrounding buildings, hoping for an inkling of something, anything. Whatever the reason for the alerts and confusion, it was too far away for him to see it. Something strange was happening this humid night, and he was certain he wasn't the only one aware of it.
"Come on, Jobro." He ran a hand through his thick, sandy hair as his faint blue eyes habitually surveyed the city that stretched out as far as he could see. "Where are you?"
The skyscrapers that loomed in the distance flickered with lights through the haze, as they always did. Everyone knew the towers never slept. If it were any other night, it would've been an added sense of comfort to know that he wasn't the only one awake. But he knew better, and could easily feel the added tension in the air because he was aware he was accompanied by several other watchful minds.
A massive slam sounded from behind him, but Patrick didn't move. From what little specific training he had, he knew this – keep his eyes where they were supposed to be.
"Betcha thought I wasn't gonna make it, eh?"
Patrick grinned. "Took you long enough, you bastard."
"Yeah, yeah." Jonathan sidled up, staring out at the flashing lights in the distance. His friend stood almost a full head taller than him, but that wasn't so strange because Patrick was, through the competitive eyes of their world, abnormally small. Not that he minded; being small had its advantages, minus the rare occasion when he'd get roped into a dogfight. Being nimble and having shorter limbs couldn't account for much there.
Patrick glanced over at his friend's angular face to try and pick out any hints of worry or other emotion, but received no such inclination.
As usual, he thought.
His eyes glanced over Jonathan's determined stare, at the lengthy thick hair that stuck up ever so slightly in the front, and the brown sideburns spreading down past his cheekbones. He took particular note, as he often did, of the symbol below Jonathan's ear, just below the jawbone. It was the Raptor's mark – a tattoo of a red circle with a falcon wing through the center – the honorary marking for the group of which Jonathan was the leader. Patrick rubbed the unmarked area of his own neck. Soon, he hoped, he would have one of his own.
"So, what's happening?"
"Dunno," Jonathan said, rubbing the hair on the side of his face, apparently satisfied with the texture. "Sent a few guys to edge in on the side to see what was happening, but we haven't heard back yet."
Patrick kept his eyes trained on the lights, hypnotized by the swirling motion. "Any hunches?"
The captain snorted. "Your guess is as good as mine, bro."
"Just thought I'd ask."
"Well I just thought I'd tell ya." Jonathan shifted his weight to his other foot, leaning in similar manner to his friend.
They continued to observe the eerie shadows from the lights several miles away in silence. Patrick knew he should be watching the street more carefully, as was his duty for that night, but he was too enthralled with the spinning rhythms of the lights in the distance. The sirens continued to blare, but their length from the Raptor's home merely proved to fill in as the background noise against the unusually still city.
"Keep sharp, bro," Jonathan said suddenly, as he moved back a few steps towards the open door. "This'll be most likely when someone's gonna come in."
"And if they do?"
"You know it's your turn."
Patrick bit his lip. His stomach lurched, turning itself into a twisted mess of convulsing knots and butterflies. Initiation.
"Hey, don't worry about it!" Jonathan clapped Patrick's back, startling him. "All the kids downstairs like ya, you'll be fine."
"Kids? They're all older than you."
"Yeah, well, don't tell 'em I said that, eh?"
Patrick snickered and shook his head as Jonathan closed the door behind him. He was a funny one.
Still, the thought of initiation made him both excited and nervous. In one respect, he could have the full trust and protection of his Raptor family. On the other hand, he knew initiation always had to come from the capture of an outsider. Territories directly surrounding Patrick's home knew the consequences for taking their chances in the Raptor's area – death when caught. Other territories had different rules for their initiations, like sneaking into a foreign territory for a night or so. Making it back alive and without detection resulted in their own initiation. For Patrick, Jonathan, and the rest of the Raptors, however, they had to kill. It kept their numbers high and their members on top.
And though it made him unsure about how things were going to play out, there was no way Patrick was going to let any of them get through with their petty games.
A/N: The new and improved Sirens is on it's way. Huzzah! Enjoy the ride!