Dark, you can't come soon enough for me
Saved, from one more day of misery
Everything I love, get back for me now
Everyone I love, I need you now
-Tegan and Sara, Dark Come Soon
Caylee Phoenix panted heavily as she turned the corner, feet skidding on the wet floor. On either side, brick rose up, dwarfing her. Never had she felt so small in her life. She cursed herself as her feet slipped, sending her tumbling forward. Luckily, she didn't hit the floor. Instead, she continued to run, with the rain beating down on her back and soaking her hair.
She cursed herself.
She hadn't even seen their faces.
It was too damn dark; they'd ambushed her and her brother at precisely the right moment, as the moon was covered by cloud. They'd done their reading; she knew that much.
Caylee skidded to a stop, glancing over her shoulder. Nothing. She fell against the wall, feeling her wet hair sticking to her face. Glancing up at the sky, she still couldn't see the moon.
Her teeth dug into her bottom lip, biting so hard that she felt pinpricks of blood rise.
She had faith that her brother would escape, that she would return home and in hours he would be there.
Caylee brushed her hair back from her face, taking a deep breath as she did so. She began to walk again, feeling the water drip down from her hair, tricking under her blouse and running along her back. Another glance upwards showed her that the moon was still covered. If only it wasn't, she knew she would be dry in no time. The moon enabled anyone from the other side of the Gateway to use their powers, or at least made them more powerful. Right now, she could have done with that.
She stuffed her hands into her jacket pockets and continued on her way. The humans she passed didn't glance once at her; they preferred to ignore them. No one would come to her aid, or to the aid of her brother.
There had been so many attacks on her kind; violence and murder and kidnapping, most of them directly in front of other humans. But witnesses were hard to come by. They accused the Gates, as they were commonly known, of sticking too closely to their own kind, but they did the same. They would defend each other against the Gates, no matter how wrong it was.
X X X
She pushed against the crowd of people heading away from the city centre on their way home from work. Her body shook and trembled, sensing the others of her kind that were in the area. Slowly but surely, they were adjusting. Some had jobs, those that could get them, those that could blend in. She passed a few begging on the street. Not just her kind, but others from that side of the Gateway, too.
She avoided their eyes; she couldn't afford charity.
Caylee darted out of the way of a few humans who seemed determined not to move aside. The Gates were more powerful, and stronger, but none of them dare exert their superiority; not now, anyway, when relations were so fragile.
She paused at the end of the street, briefly watching the multitude of people pouring out of offices. Across the road, she saw a man drop a file, papers scattering everywhere. As he bent down, she saw it; a tattoo of a full moon, on his hip, revealed as his shirt rode up. The sight made her breath catch in her throat.
They were enforcing it.
They were forcing the rule that all the Gates had to carry markings of what they were, if it wasn't obvious already. Caylee would not have to go through the process of having a needle dug into her skin; it was clear anyway that she wasn't human. But still, it was bad enough that job forms now had a Species section, underneath disability.
Although they were not supposed to discriminate against them, no one cared if they did. The werewolf, now grabbing the papers before they blew away, was lucky just to have a job.
Caylee turned down a side street, away from the hustle and bustle of the commuters, and stopped outside a very unremarkable wooden door. Opening it, she found herself standing at the bottom of a staircase in a dark, damp corridor.
It stank. She wondered if, before the Gateway opened, he had perhaps had a better office. Demotion for humans who helped the Gates was, like many other things, something mostly ignored.
She climbed the stairs, ignoring the squeaking and creaking on almost every step. Once she reached the top, she found herself finding a board, arrows pointing off it.
First Floor; Legal Advice for Demons, Werewolves, Vampires & Others.
Second Floor: Housing Queries
Third Floor: Samuel Bode, Private Investigator.
She scoffed at the first floor sign, only able to imagine what kind of legal advice they gave to her kind. Just drop it, most likely. Caylee climbed to the third floor, where there was only one door with Samuel Bode's name written across the front.
She didn't bother with knocking. Caylee pushed the door open slowly, glancing quickly around the office before her eyes fell on the man. He was standing with his back to her, half leaning against the window with a phone to his ear.
"I'm sorry, Mrs Jenkins, but the rules on that aren't clear yet...no, I don't know if possession equals cheating, on either part...well, yes, but I deal with them on a different level...look, you would be better off talking to a marriage councillor...yes, yes, it's confusing for us all and...please don't use that language with me, Mrs Jenkins, I'm sorry I..." He groaned, clearly frustrated, and brought the phone away from his ear. Caylee coughed, gently, and Samuel whirled around.
He looked dishevelled; stubble was heavy on his chin, and his hair was untidy, long, falling down into a pair of baby blue eyes. She took a step forward, throwing her shoulders back and trying to hold herself back from the tears that threatened to spill over.
"How can I help you?" he asked, with none of the usual fearful reaction she got when humans addressed her.
"It's my brother," she said, trying to keep her voice steady and sill. "He's gone missing."
He looked momentarily surprised, before gesturing to the chair on the other side of his desk. "Please, take a seat Miss..."
"Phoenix," she replied, curtly as she sat down. "Caylee Phoenix."
He nodded and sat opposite her, surveying her. She wondered if he found her attractive. Many of them did, but none would admit it. The colour of her skin repulsed them, the unnatural crimson hair sent fear coursing through their bodies. Fear and lust.
"How long has he been missing?"
"Two days. I know it isn't long but...but we were attacked."
He nodded, frowning as he glanced down at some papers in front of him. "What time of the day was it?"
His head snapped up, one eyebrow raised. "Two nights ago was a full moon."
She had learnt that, before the Gateway opened, humans didn't care much for the cycles of the moon. They'd notice it, of course, when the moon was full in the sky and hanging like a plate, gazing down on them. But then the Gateway opened and now humans tracked the moon as religiously as they had in the past.
Understanding dawned on his face at the single word.
"Right. Cloud. So...where was it you were attacked?"
She explained the where and the when, before her eyes drifted down to his desk. "Why are you not writing this down?"
"Because I can write the facts down after." His voice was clipped and sure, and she nodded, slowly. "Miss Phoenix, I assure you, I am and will take everything you say seriously. I am not the Police."
She nodded, before locking her eyes onto his. They were sincere; it was hard to hide anything in a pair of baby blues. Caylee let out a deep sigh, before hanging her head forward.
"Why are they doing this?"
"I don't know," he replied, and when she looked at him, it was to see him staring out the window, gazing over the skyline of the city. "I'm sorry, Miss Phoenix, but I don't know. I think it's fear, though. Fear that if they give you too much leeway, you'll destroy us all." He scoffed, before turning back to her. "But I have seen more good come through that Gateway than I've seen in humanity for a long time. They don't see the potential we have to work together."
"Humans don't like outside influence," she whispered. "They're scared of it. Just look at, what was it, V? If aliens really did arrive on this planet and offer you help, you wouldn't fall for it like they did; you'd be scared they really did have a plan to wipe you all out. It's everywhere. Even your fictional superheroes face mistrust from the public in their worlds."
Samuel shrugged. "But they have their own champions. Superman has Lois Lane; Spiderman has, well, Peter Parker. He pushes his own cause; he tries to help the world see him for the hero he is. Maybe you have to do the same."
"When in every reference to us in pop culture is linked to horror?" she scoffed. "I heard you talking to someone about a possession. As long as there are those that do things like that, then the rest of us will face the brunt of the blame."
Samuel nodded, shrugged and let out a deep sigh. "It's true, but...but there's always hope, Miss Phoenix. Now, about your brother..."
X X X
He asked to be taken to the place where she had been attacked. She stood on the pavement, arms wrapped around herself as she shivered. The wind blew against her, cooling her down. He stood on the exact spot where her brother had been when they'd been attacked, and his eyes fell on her.
"Are you cold?"
"Yes," she snapped. "Darkness brings warmth."
He nodded, frowning as he scanned the area. "The moon, it brings out your powers?"
"Yes, but it's...complicated. I've heard people compare it to the way a lizard must sit in the sun, absorbing the heat until it is active. It's a similar way, but cloud cover...interferes with it."
"What about the effect of the full moon?"
"It makes us stronger. But any phase of the moon is suitable."
"And everyone from the Gateway..."
"Works in the same way, yes."
He nodded, crossing his arms as he stared down at the floor. "So the only way they can stop your brother escaping is to block him off from the moon?"
"They will have him locked up, somewhere, then. I will need time, Miss Phoenix, to investigate this fully." He lifted his head, his eyes locked on the camera across the road. "You know, I heard that we're caught on camera three hundred times a day. Crazy, huh?"
Caylee turned her head, staring at the camera. "Do you think that would have caught them?"
He nodded. "Undoubtedly. I'll try to get the footage. In the meantime, I suggest you go home, get some rest, see if your brother tries to contact you."
"Do you think he will be able to?"
"I don't know, but it's happened. And you do need the rest. I'll contact you soon."
With that, he set off down the street, disappearing quickly from her view.
X X X
But she couldn't rest. How he could expect her to do so, when her brother was out there, in danger, she had no idea. Caylee and her brother had temporarily set up home in a small flat, on the south side of the city. Here, the buildings were mostly abandoned and run down. Because of this, many of the Gates who had decided to stay in the city lived in the south.
Caylee stood in the flat, staring out at the city. In the distance, she could see it; the light glow on the horizon, the only indication that there was something unnatural out there. The Gateway.
She felt tears rising up, and reminded herself that demons did not cry. If only, she thought, they could find a way to get back through.
She wanted to go home.
The sun dipped down, reaching out with the last of its red and yellow rays. Almost like a cry for help, for salvation; don't let me go. The light kept the creatures of the night at bay.
She wondered how long before they grew thoroughly fed up of the situation they were in.
It had the potential to break into all out war, and she wasn't the only one who thought so. Every day, a new attack was being reported on the news; the politicians urged their public to not fear the Gates, to accept them, to learn to live alongside them. But she could see it in their eyes.
They didn't care.
Not about them, anyway.
They just didn't want the inevitable to happen.
The knock at her door made her jump.
Caylee whirled around, dropping her arms from where they'd been wrapped across her torso, and stalked to the door. She yanked it open, not allowing the hope that it was her brother to fill her.
Still, disappointment filled her when she saw someone very different to him standing before her.
Unlike him, the man did not have the similar red skin as Caylee. His hair and skin were natural, normal, human. Tangled light brown hair fell down a young looking face and a pair of the sharpest brown eyes she had ever seen stared back at her.
Her eyes fell to his hands.
"What do you want, wolf?" she asked, though not unkindly. She could hear the tiredness in her voice, and wondered what he thought of her. The wolves had always had respect for the demons, and she was surprised that one dare knock on her door.
Then again, a lot of things had changed recently.
"May I come in?"
She took a step back, sweeping her arm across and gesturing him inside. He moved slowly, almost clumsily, and looked around.
"I live upstairs," he explained, and his voice took her by surprise. On the other side of the Gate, she had only ever heard wolves speak meekly and uncertainly. His voice, by contrast, was strong as he turned to her, looking her directly in her eyes. "My name is Kray."
He laughed, a smile lightening his eyes as he stepped further into the flat. He glanced around, before sitting in the middle of the sofa. She felt anger bubbling under her skin, she felt her eyes narrowing.
The cheek of it all.
A werewolf, making himself at home in a demon's presence.
If she had been told about it, she wouldn't have believed it.
He lifted his head, his arms spread across the back of his sofa and his legs stretched outwards. "Your brother has gone missing."
"How did you know?"
"News travels fast. Do you have a television?"
"No...why, is it on there?"
He shook his head. "Radio, then?"
She nodded, quickly, and turned around, entering the small kitchenette. Quickly, Caylee flicked on the radio. The sound of static filled the air, as he told her which station to turn to. She did as he said, before realising she was following the orders of a werewolf.
Well, I'll be damned. She stood up, glancing towards Kray. If I wasn't already.
"Reports have come in of a vampire in the area going missing...the police are searching for information..."
Kray stood up, his face dark as he stared at her. "They are scared. Terrified. A vampire went missing from London last week, and his kidnappers turned up drained of blood or decapitated. Someone rescued him and it turned out badly."
The moonlight filtered through the window, and she felt it pouring in through every inch of her skin. Kray seemed to shine in its light.
"They don't want that to happen again. But another vampire has gone missing and it's from the same place where you and your brother were a few nights ago."
"Have you been following us?"
"No, but they have." He nodded his head towards the window. "They're trying to track us. And luckily, I'm friends with a demon who knows a lot about computers. He hacked into the database. You were caught on camera, Caylee Phoenix. And no, their faces are not on it." She had opened her mouth to speak but he had cut her off, second guessing her question. Kray took a deep breath, before continuing. "Caylee, I can help. We can help. We've set up our own...support system, if you will. We can find your brother."
"I have someone on it."
"Of course. Samuel Bode? He's been nicknamed 'the only hope', you know. The only one in this damn city who will help us. But he can't do everything. Don't get me wrong; he's good. But he doesn't have the resources we do. He can't see in the darkness, his strength is static, consistent. Not like us. He'd be useless once the night comes. We're not."
Caylee's eyes wondered to the window. The moon was rising. She could feel it building up inside her, giving her strength and warming her body. Her tongue ran along her bottom lip and she nodded, slowly.
"Help me, then."
Kray stood, flashing her a wide smile. "Glad to."
A/N: Another of the 100 Theme Challenge and, as usual, an idea that I may return to again in the future. It's one that's been in my head for ages; a kind of fantasy/horror/noir style story. Anyway, these are the three main characters I've been thinking about. As always, great to get some feedback, and I return all decent length reviews.
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