It was pretty late in the afternoon. There were a variety of supernatural creatures sitting and standing around the dimly lit room in the back of the warehouse.
Three beautiful sirens sat in a row of office chairs with iridescent scales trailing up and down their arms and legs. The rest of their bodies were covered by their business casual dresses. They sat cross legged, nervously chattering amidst themselves.
Standing beside them, leaning against a desk, was a dark elf in a blue business suit casually flipping through takeout menus on his phone. His skin was like charcoal, hair dark as night and his eyes a pale white.
On the other side of the sirens was a grecian Lamia (child eating demon) snacking on some beef jerky nonchalantly. She was fairly normal looking, with dark ringlets, fair skin and red irises clad in a dark green pantsuit.
The only one properly sitting behind a desk was the huldrekall (male siren). He was gaunt, balding, and had rather gaudy facial features, but his suit was crisp and what was left of black hair was combed and clean cut. Carefully he read over a report he was having to deal with.
A giant brown were-bear was by the door pacing back and forth from wall to wall, occasionally garnering attention from the others who were just as worried as he was.
There was a vaguely normal looking Filipina woman sitting on top of the hudrekall's desk. She had a red flowy top and a black skirt. "If you continue that, you'll wear a path into the floor." her voice was lightly accented, "Then you will have to answer to the janitor."
That was enough to stop his pacing, but he glanced over at the group. His voice was deep and gravely, "This white spider presents a most serious threat."
"We are well aware," a dark skinned valkyrie with long micro braids pulled into a ponytail spoke. She wore a pair of khakis and black polo leaned against the wall by the windows - blinds drawn for privacy. She looked up from her phone, "but how will we deal with it."
"We have to find out his it's motives." The dark elf spoke gently. "Does he present a threat to us?"
The huldrekall reviewed his notes, remarking in a nasally voice, "I would like to point out that this is a male white spider demon. Extremely rare. Possibly powerful."
One of the sirens chipped in, "And he's apparently teamed up with a vampire."
The Filipina woman smirked, "They do not scare me." she folded her arms, "If they are keeping up their disguise around a human then they will be vulnerable."
"Are you suggesting…?" the bear piqued.
"Absolutely," A soft chuckle left her lips. "Let's pay them a visit."
"That's suicide!" One of the other sirens cried out.
"What's he going to do?" the Filipina woman pushed off of the desk with her hands, causing her mid torso to separate, "Rip me apart?" a dark laugh resonated in her throat.
Warily the others agreed and the plan was set.
After the first two days of being avoided Arlene decided to take it up with HR.
As the head of HR, Benjamin was one of the most dependable people she knew when it came to team morale and hosting successful meetings. He was an older fellow and had been with the company for well over 20 years. He was set to retire the next year but was in no way ready to do so. Ben had a full head of white hair, laughlines, the broadest a smile and a sense of humor that could light up a room. He always wore a blue sports jacket, a light blue button down and khakis. Seriously. The man probably had at least 5 of each to wear during the week.
Arlene had only seen him once in another set of colors, and it was only because she ran into him at the store over one weekend.
Thursday morning they had their employee rally with cupcakes and drinks. After Ben's stirring speech about teamwork and respect everyone stayed and chatted a bit before they had to get back to their respective sections.
Jerry, an older employee from the accounting department, dipped out to get back to his number crunching, and LaShonna and her line workers grabbed some cupcakes and ran back to processing.
Only a handful of people actually stopped to talk to Arlene, which was disconcerting. Arlene was so used to everyone being so nice and and talkative towards her. Now, at best, she got a nod or a simple good morning.
With a sigh she headed back to her office to finish up some paperwork. Pondering continuously if it was something she did. One of her mottos she forced herself to follow was to not take anything personally. This ongoing issue was a little hard to ignore though.
Just add she reached her door, lost in thought, the inventory supervisor Jasmine suddenly appeared behind her. "Ms. Arlene! Do you have a minute?"
Arlene feels like she should have jumped, but with the number of times Victor had snuck up on her, she was actually getting used to it. Arlene turned around and smiled at the woman, "Of course."
"What are you doing after work?" The Filipina woman gave Arlene a curious grin.
Arlene could swear that her incisors were longer than normal, but so were both of the guys'. "Just going home and cooking."
"Oh good, can I kidnap you?" Jasmine chuckled, "I promise it'll be fun."
Arlene inwardly laughed, Jasmine's version of kidnapping was apparently getting an early dinner and seeing a movie.
It was a little odd, especially since they hadn't really hung out before outside of work, but Arlene was enjoying the company. Jasmine also insisted on treating, which helped Arlene out because she was broke until payday.
The dinner was amazing, the movie was a fantastic superhero movie and the next thing she knew, they were sitting in a corner a small coffee shop, talking about old movies.
"I loved the sequel, but I still feel that the original was much better." Jasmine took a sip of her latte.
"The sequel had its own merit. Also bear in mind that there was a different director who had a couple different ideas." Arlene took a sip of her hot tea with milk. "You know, they actually made a director's cut of that movie explaining why certain things from the book were cut."
"Oh really?" Jasmine seemed intrigued, "Do you have it?"
Arlene nodded, "Would you like to borrow it?"
"Absolutely." Jasmine had an all-too-serious expression on her face. "Let's grab it from your place when I drop you off."
Arlene nodded and mentally added that the woman must really like movies.
Dante felt... weird. He'd woken up 4pm, and Arlene was not home. Usually about that time each day she was back and starting to cook after changing into her pajamas.
It was a little concerning when the sun was already starting to set and there was still no sign of her. Not that it was any of his business but the human had a pattern that she seemed to follow and this sudden disruption…. Put him on edge.
Around 6pm Victor emerged from the bedroom and yawned. The white spider demon had been staring at the crossword puzzle in today's newspaper for quite some time at the dining room table. Not to solve it, but lost in deep thought.
"No dinner?" Victor pouted as his stomach growled. He then glanced at his companion, "Where's Arlene?"
"I don't know." Dante leaned back in his chair, rubbed his eyes and sighed.
"Wait, is she okay?" Victor glanced at her open bedroom door.
"I don't know."
A pitch of worry took over the vampire's voice, "Do you think she got lost?
"I don't -"
"No, she knows how to get home." his ramble cut off Dante's answer, "oh no!" he gripped the back or the dining room chair, "Maybe she got into an accident. But she doesn't have a car!" his eyes went wide and he held his hands to the side of his face, "Oh no she must have gotten run over -"
"Victor!" Dante glared at him in exasperation,"Chill!"
The vampire sighed and moved towards the kitchen, "I'm sorry, hunger makes me paranoid."
Dante shook his head, "It's weird but I don't think she's in danger."
Victor quipped with a shakey vice, "Yeah, lose our food source only after a week, right?" Dante snorted.
Just as soon as Victor started making a sandwich with what was left in the fridge, the front door handle rattled and Arlene's voice could be heard on the other side.
Dante threw a smirk his way, "And you were so worried."
Something suddenly went screaming across his senses, telling him that a dangerous entity was just outside. Victor seemed to pick it up it as well, and they both tensed, watching the front door.
"What do you think that was?" Victor whispered to Dante.
"I don't know," the spider stood and made his way next to the vampire, "but whatever she dragged home feels...maniacal."
They waited with baited breath as the harsh click of the lock sounded and the door swung open.
"Hey guys," Arlene cheerily announced, "Come on in Jasmine."
It was then that they got a good look at the creature their host was bringing in. She appeared normal but what belied human skin was a legendary vampire from the Philippines, the manananggal. Even though her bat-like wings were not exposed her aura held a degree of madness, sending both guys on high alert.
As if not bothered by them at all, the woman walked inside, spotting them immediately. A smirk crossed her face, "Are these the guys you were talking about?"
"Ah! Yes!" Arlene then held her hand up to introduce their "guest", "This is my coworker Jasmine. She is in charge of inventory at my job. Jasmine these are my temporary roommates Dante and Victor."
"Pleasure to meet you." she held or her hand to greet them. Just as they warily shook it she spoke in a tone just below what a normal human can hear. Only special humans heard a hum, however Dante and Victor heard her loud and clear, "So you are the reason she smells so weird."
Both tried to cover up their surprise, as Arlene carried on the conversation obliviously, "I'm lending her a copy of a movie."
"Oh, okay." Victor replied.
"Yes," Jasmine seemed to relish in their discomfort, "It's been ages and I really should watch it again." A light gleamed in her eyes as she stared them down.
"Well lemme go grab it." Arlene excused herself to search for the movie in her large dvd library.
"Arlene tells me you two were homeless before taking you in. What business does a male white spider demon have in Savannah?" she focused her gaze on Dante.
"We travel a lot." Dante glared. "I could ask you the same thing."
Victor decided to take a more eloquent, bomb diffusing route, "This is a beautiful country and we stopped by here to see the coast. Unfortunately, our resources were extremely limited, so when we stumbled across Miss Arlene she was kind enough to take us in."
"Interesting. So she became your food source." the manananggal seemed to ponder this, she then turned to Victor with a grin, "have you sampled her yet?"
Victor unwittingly blushed, "Absolutely not! That would be rude."
His reaction made her huff a laugh, "Well you guys seem alright. You seem modernized enough."
""Modernized?"" Both stared at her dumbfounded.
"You find alternatives to the old ways of feeding. Jeez you don't know that term?" Jasmine smirked, "Just make sure you two behave. If you cause any trouble, Arlene will kick your ass."
Dante looked on in indignation, but knew it was better to keep quiet.
"Well I will say, if you plan on staying then you're going to need a job. There are plenty of places for people like us to work." by this time Arlene walked back over, "Especially if you plan to eat this woman out of house and home."
Both Dante and Victor glanced at their host who looked sheepish, "I was going to talk to them tonight about it."
Jasmine just laughed, "No time like the present!" The manananggal suddenly blinked as if she forgot something then reached in her pocket and procured a small yellow Post-It note, "Here." she offered it to Victor who hesitated but accepted it, "This is my blood dealer. Should come in handy for you."
The unexpected gift really threw him through a loop. "Thank you."
"Keep out of trouble you two. We are watching you."
And on that note Jasmine thanked Arlene for the movie and left. Leaving behind a small pocket of awkwardness.
Victor was examining the post it note while Dante seemed a bit aggravated.
"So." Arlene clapped her hands, "I suspect you guys are hungry."
Working on more, let me know what you think!