The door opens, the tiny bell rings. Cars drive by outside. The middle-aged man with an apron comes into the space behind the counter, holding a tray of cakes. He looks at the customer; it's a young woman with blue hair. Her skin is white almost like porcelain, and her features do resemble a doll more than a human. She wears a black dress with frills and lace on the sleeves, knee length white socks and black flats with bows on them. She is elegant, but one feature stands out, an eye patch covers her left eye, its decorated in frills like the rest of her.
"Adel, what can I do for you today? The man smiles to the girls.
"The usual." She replies.
"Will that be all? "
"Yes. Thank you" she takes the money out of a small elegant purse hanging from her shoulder.
She puts the money on the counter and takes the paper package; it's giving off a sweet smell.
"Thank you, come again." the man watches her leave the bakery.
The girl walks down the street. She stops at a red light. The streets are empty aside from an occasional car. It's still dark , the tall buildings block the light of the early sun. It rained that night, puddles on the sidewalks and the streets , the moisture in the air making the chill that much more unpleasant. A passing car splashed water on a woman standing on the opposite side of the street. The light turns green. The girl known as Adel crosses the street and walks into an alley between two skyscrapers. There are dozens of small shops and cafes, just beginning the preparations to open for the day. It's early, the morning traffic hasn't even begun yet. She enters a small coffee shop squeezed in between a large boutique and a restaurant. The attendant greets her.
"Good morning, Adel." He is a young man with blond hair and glasses.
"I've got your order ready to go." He hands her two paper cups, covered by plastic lids to keep the contents hot, and placed in cardboard tray for easy carrying.
She takes the coffee thanks him and leaves. The alley is starting to fill up with people, most of them wearing suits and holding briefcases. They spill out of the metro, just the first wave of commuters to work. Stairs at the end of the alley lead down into the subway. The train hasn't left yet. She gets on, all the people got off; no one is going the same way. The car is empty. The train reaches its last stop, she gets off. The station is mostly empty; most people who live here have already left on an earlier train.
The neighborhood is different from the city center. There are no skyscrapers here, tall buildings yes, but not as tall. The place has a rundown look to it. Passing by several buildings the young woman makes a turn left and walks into a building made of red brick with a neon sign on that says "Studio". She takes the elevator to the top floor. The elevator opens and in front of it is a wooden double door. It's not locked.
Inside the lighting is dim. The hall leads into a large room. The room is split in half by a red theatre curtain. The large glass windows are covered by thick white curtains that are closed. A table stands in front of the window that part of the room is lifted up slightly, with a couple of steps leading to it. On the lower area is the black leather sofa and an antique looking coffee table with a TV placed on a smaller table right in front of the red curtain. Adel walks past the sofa and the TV, behind the curtain and up the stairs. She opens the door. The room inside is lit by red neon lights, every corner; every wall is covered with dolls. Human sized dolls and doll parts, some are dressed and look like real human beings others are half finished and just stare blankly from their spots. With her head resting on the table a red-haired woman is sleeping. Her hair pulled back into a messy ponytail. Adel waves the sweet smelling bag in front of her.
"Wake up, Pamela"
The woman stirs. She sits up looking disoriented for a moment. Adel puts the cup of coffee in front of her.
"Thanks" she says taking of her glasses and rubbing her eyes.
"I'm trying to make a breakthrough in my research." She said getting up and stretching her arms. "I'll take a shower, then we can get started on breakfast" she takes a small sip of her coffee.
Adel sets the table in the make shift living room. Croissant and cupcakes are now unpacked and sitting on a plate. The sound of the shower running can be heard from behind the curtain. Adel sits down and turns on the TV. The morning news are on. The middle aged man talks about sports results, and then a different man starts talking about traffic accidents over the weekend.
"There has also been an increase in dog attacks recently. Several people have been attacked by dogs in the suburbs. A couple was taken to the hospital due to severe amount of bites. While there is a fear of rabies, the doctors say there is nothing to worry about. We advise to take caution and not leave your home after dark if you live in the western suburbs as these attacks mostly happen after dark. If you notice some strange looking dogs in your area please call this number …." Pamela changes the channel to some classical music performance.
Her red hair is neatly done up into a new pony tail flowing down onto her shoulders. She's wearing a white shirt, that is halfway unbuttoned and an equally white sleeveless shirt underneath, tucked into some black pants. She is wearing black ankle high boots on heels.
"You're leaving?" Adel asks
"I have a few meetings today." She says walking over a large desk standing near the window.
It is covered in papers and folders. Pamela takes the black leather jacket of the tall rotating chair and puts it on. Reaching into her pocket she takes out a pack of cigarettes, the brand looks nothing you could find in the store: the box is black and it has a golden butterfly on it. Walking back to the table she lights it with a lighter.
"I'll come with you." Adel says.
"No need. You'll just get bored" Pamela grabs a croissant from the table. She puffs out smoke that smells like incense more than tobacco. "I got a call from that institution. School has already started a few days ago, you should consider going."
"I don't want to" Adel says looking at the floor.
"I don't blame you. Just consider it, alright."
"Oh, and before I forget. It might take a while before I come back. I'll need you to take some medicine to Mr. Thomson tonight. His back has been acting up again. You remember the address?"
"Well, I'm off" Pamela turned around heading towards the door.
The door shut behind her with a click.
The classroom door closes with a click. A dark haired boy looks at the empty seat as the male teacher takes attendance.
"Absent again?" a much bulkier brown haired boys says chuckling.
"Hey, isn't the same last name as that artist?" some girl whispers.
"I guess she thinks she's too rich to come to school like the rest of us."
"Silence!" the teacher scolds the class.
The class begins without any further interruption. The day passes by and the final bell of the day rings and everyone stars leaving, the halls are full of students. The dark haired boy silently leaves his desk , long after everyone has left. The tall, well-built brown haired boy waits outside for him.
"What's on your mind?" he asks.
"What you mean?" the dark haired boys says.
"You always have that look when something is bothering you. So spill it."
"It's the new girl isn't it? "He laughs and slaps the other boy on the back. "Man, you always hate it when people skip school. Bet that's why they made you class rep for the third year in a row. "
"That's not why." He said defensively.
"Well what is it then?"
"I did a little digging on her. "
"Two years ago she was in her final year of school, and then she has been in the hospital for a year. I don't know the exact reason why but … It just doesn't seem fair – how they talk about her... "
"Can you blame her for not wanting to come back? I mean twenty or something and still going to school. Pretty embarrassing, right "
The boy shot him a glare.
"What?! I'm just saying…."
"Yeah, you're right, but school is an important step in one life. I think I'll go talk to her, at least make sure she's caught up to the studies and the homework. "
"Sorry, I got practice in twenty minutes." The taller boy said.
"Don't worry about it. I'll see you tomorrow"
"Yeah. See ya."
The dark haired boy looks at the small sheet of paper with the address. The subway is full of people going home from work or school. He exits the train in the last stop and walks between the block houses looking around anxiously. It looks unwelcoming and not as neat or looked after as some of the other parts of town. There are a few drunks wandering around, even though it's still light outside, a homeless man going through the trash in a shadowed alley way. He hurries away upon seeing the man. Stops to ask a woman with a grocery bag for directions. He reaches the red building and looks though the names on the mail boxes. The name is no here. The slip of paper only has top floor written next to the address. An elderly woman comes down the stairs.
"Excuse me. I'm looking for a classmate of mine. Is there someone with the last name Carmine living on the top floor?"
"Carmine? No, I don't think so. The top floor has no apartments on it- it used to be a theater. Last I heard it's been rented out for a company that uses it for storage. Nobody lives there. "
"I see." He said disappointed. "Thank you for your time"
"Nobody lives there?" He wondered to himself looking at the top floor from the outside of the building.
There was a long line of long glass windows, no curtains and the outlines of something like boxes stacked on top of eachtoher could be seen. Crumbling the piece of paper he put it back into his pocket and headed towards the subway.
Adel headed towards the small bungalow with a light grey fence. She wore a regular white shirt and a white knee length dress over it. The sleeves of the shirt decorated with slight frills. The straps of the dress were frilly and had black roses on them. The skirt of the dress was decorated as well with a pattern of silver roses on the right side. The tall collar of the skirt was unbuttoned. Adel knocked on the door. An elderly man opened.
"Good evening, Mr. Thomson. "
"Oh, it's you Adel, come in."
"I'm just here to deliver your medicine."
"Margery made some apple pie. At least have some before you go."
"Why not." She said after a brief moment of consideration.
She enters the house. When she leaves it is dark. The lights in the street are on but the gaps between the lanterns are dark. The young woman calmly walks the street; there are no people around no cars either. The streets of the suburbs are empty. Thomson house is on the edge of the suburbs where the street ends and open fields begin. The shadow of a factory in the distance. Adel walks away from the house heading towards the main street where an occasional car passes by. It is quiet. There is another street to her right. The lantern in that street blinks, flickering eerily. A gust of wind blows, the lamp buzzes. A dog growls.
Adel turns her head to look into the street. The light flickers, smell of iron hits her with the wind. Swinging in the wind from what appears to be leash is a woman, crimson flows down from her body staining the ground and flowing downhill towards the street. The sound of tearing flesh pierces the air. Adel looks from the body of the hanging woman to the left. There left in the street is a stroller; a dog standing on its hind legs has its head in the stroller. The bottom is dripping with blood. A gasp escapes her. The dog moves, pulling its head out, the muzzle stained with blood. It growls and runs towards her.
She braces herself. Raising her left arm in a defensive position. The dog jumps and bites into her arm. She quickly raises her arm and dog that is biting into it, its paws lifting of the ground and slams it into the nearby concrete wall. The animal yelps and goes limp, unconscious. Voices in the distance, sounds of people running towards the commotion.
"Miss, are you alright?" someone asks Adel, who is looking at the torn sleeve of her shirt, there is no blood.
"Do you need an ambulance?
"Oh my god, what happened here?!" somebody screams
"It's fine. It's a prosthetic" she says and starts walking away.
"Wait, you should probably stay here for when the police comes." The man says hesitantly.
"Just give them this." She takes out a card from her pocket. "They'll know what to do. "
The man looks at the card. It's white business card with four red diamond shapes and a crescent moon in the middle and a phone number below the image.
Pamela gets out of the red sedan and walks into the café. There are a few customers inside. A man with a long black jacket, black turtle neck sweater and grey pants and shoulder length dark hair sits at the back corner. She heads towards him and takes a seat at his table.
"So , to what do I owe the pleasure this time, detective Amon?"
She begins taking out her pack of cigarettes when a panicked waitress rushes over.
"Miss, you can't smoke in here."
"It's fine." Pamela says calmly and makes a dismissive gesture with her hand.
The girl returns to the bar like nothing had happened. The man chuckles.
"A useful trick, but it won't help you to get out of that parking ticket."
"What parking ticket?"
"That's your car, right?" he points to the red car outside next to a no parking sign.
"And since whens that's your job?"
"It's not." He said matter of factly "You may be a magus but even you should abide by the rules."
"Which brings us to the reason I'm here. "
"As you are aware, strange things have been happening lately. "
"So I've noticed." Pamela said.
"This latest incident is bizarre, but the worst part of it is that the police can't really do anything about it. You've heard about the dog attacks that have been happening?"
"I have. "
"It's definitely unnatural" Pamela said blowing out a puff of smoke." But I would need a thorough investigation to tell you anything more. "
"You'll take it?"
"Of course. We'll discuss the payment later, but you can start by getting me out of that parking ticket." She said, blowing another cloud of smoke. " I'll need the police information as well."
"Of course. I'll bring it over to your place, later. "
A while after it got dark rain began to fall. Adel sat on the sofa in the dark gazing at the window. Small gap in the curtains letting in the light from the street. The door silently opened and the lights switched on.
"Oh." Pamela said putting her hand bag down seeing Adel. "What are you doing in the dark?"
"Sorry, I broke it." Adel said, her left arm hanging uselessly, hair slightly damp.
"Let me have a look at it." She said, tossing her jacket on the sofa. "What happened?"
"A dog attacked me."
"Dog?" Pamela's eyes went wide.
"It was unnatural." She began describing what happened.
Pamela pushed up her sleeve. Taking a set of small set of tools she began inspecting the arm. The surface around the bite marks was cracked. Teeth marks were quite deep. The arm itself was skin colored and felt soft to the touch like human skin, but it lacked warmth, the part where it was attached to the elbow looked like a ball joint on a doll. Taking a small screw driver Pamela removed the arm from the joint. She pressed the sides and a panel opened revealing the inner mechanisms.
"It bit thought the cords - that's why you can't move it properly." Pamela said examining the muscle like strings inside the arm.
"How long will it take?"
"I should be able to fix this in a day or so, but I have a lot of work. For now I'll give you a spare one from one of my dolls. It won't be as light at this one so it might be a little uncomfortable." She said moving behind the curtain and emerging with another arm.
Adel winced as Pamela attached the arm. It wasn't as soft or elegant, it looked a dolls arm, the joints in the fingers and spot where the palm attached to the rest of the hand were all round. Adel moved her new hand, inspecting the fingers.
"Get some rest now." Pamela said. "And don't worry about getting breakfast tomorrow. "
Adel nodded and headed behind the curtain. She passes the stairs the lead to Pamela's workshop, there is a small room converted into a kitchen on the right. A shower and a toilet stand under the platform under stairs, hidden by a curtain when use, the curtain currently hangs opened, dim light reflecting from its plastic surface. At the back of the hall is another room. Adel opens the door, the space inside is small but it's enough. There is a bed, an old table with a chair, a door to a storage closet, now converted into a wardrobe. There are books on the table and papers. She gets changed into her night gown, a ground length white gown with frills on end the sleeves. The new arm feels heave and takes a few tries to get it into the sleeve. Eventually she succeeds. Getting into the bed she pulls the covers over herself and goes to sleep.
Amon opens the door to his office. It wasn't locked, he remembered locking it however. Inside, sitting next to the desk was young man with dark hair, glasses a black jacked with the school emblem on it. He seemed to be asleep, with his head resting on his hand. As he closed the door the boy jumped awake.
"Sorry, the receptionist let me in." he said.
"Do you need a ride home or something?" Amon said walking behind the desk.
"Actually I was hoping you would help me find someone. "The boy said.
"Look, we maybe cousins but I have a serious job to do. We're working a big case right now. I can't promise you anything."
The young man let's his head down.
"I know that you're busy, I'm sorry. I'll go now." He said getting up.
"Who are you trying to find?" Amon asked
"A classmate of mine, she has never actually been to school though and I think the address she gave was a fake. I just want to make sure she's alright and not in any danger. The school tried to contact her family but they never seem to be home."
"What's her name?"
"Carmine" He said sounding amused.
"What's so funny?"
"The address was not a fake, but you should leave it alone, for your own good. I'm serious"
"If you say so."
"Look, if you don't mind waiting a few minutes, I'll give you a ride home." Amon said.
"Alright. I'll be outside."
Amon walked out of his office with a briefcase about ten minutes later.
"Ready to go?"
They got into his car. A black sedan type car.
"Before I drop you off I need to go see someone for work." He said.
"It's alright. "The young man responded.
As the car drove from the main road and made a turn into a strangely familiar neighborhood it began to rain. They stopped outside the same red brick building. The young man found himself staring at the top floor. There was no light up there. No sign that anyone lived there.
"Wait in the car." Amon said getting out.
While he was staring at the dark windows the top floor, something pulled his gaze away. It was a girl walking in the rain without an umbrella. She was not in a hurry, like a person trying to get away from the rain would be. Her hair was blue and contrasted with the white of her shirt. Her clothes looked expensive. Grabbing his bag he rummaged in it for an umbrella. Getting out of the car he walked up to her. The girl looked at him but said nothing; he reached out the umbrella to her.
"Here." He said smiling.
She held her left arm with her right one, just looking at him, before slowly reaching out and taking it.
He heard Amon call him and ran back to the car waving at her.
Adel awoke, sun shining in thought the small window in her room. She turned on her side sleepily, her half opened eyes meeting the back umbrella resting on the table. She frowned at the object.
"How am I supposed to return that?" she thought . "He didn't even say his name."
Getting out of bed she opened her wardrobe and took a white shirt that just like everything had long wide sleeves with decorative frills and lace. Placing it on the bed next to the dress from yesterday she grabbed her towel and left the room. As the door closed behind her she hear the faint sound of tiny claws scraping across the wooden boards of the floor. A black Pomeranian emerged from the kitchen and walked up to her. It waged its tail happily. Adel eyed the dog suspiciously. Pamela came in parting the curtain.
"Oh, you're awake."
"We have a dog?"
"Oh, this? I spent all night making that. Honestly, I've never made a dog before."
"You made it?"
"To help you investigate the dog attacks. Hey, come here." She motioned for the dog to come.
It turned around and walked up to her. Pamela picked it up.
"I'll show you." She said going up the stairs.
Placing the dog on the table she pressed a spot on the neck and it stopped moving. She opened the top part of the head. Inside was dark purple crystal ball.
"That stores its visual information."
"So it's like a camera." Adel said.
"It's magic, but yes, it just like a camera. Everything it sees will be sent and shown in there "She pointed to a much larger purple orb, so I can see everything as it happens. Its eyes are just like yours. "She said running her finger over the smooth blue glass inside the dog's head.
Adel unconsciously moved her hand to the eye patch.
"If anything happens, I can take over from here. You should be fine. Now let's go over the case information." She closed the head and the dog wagged its tail barking happily.
The living room smelled like coffee.
"So what are your impressions, having been at the scene." Pamela asked handing her a cup.
"I think it's someone like you- someone with the power to control."
"You're right; it's definitely some kind of mind control." Pamela said. "But that doesn't help us at all"
She took a folder and tossed a bunch of pictures on the table.
"In the past two weeks four have been attacked, this would make it a fifth incident. However over the course two months it would make this the sixteenth incident. Of course it was never the same dog, because once a dog attacks a person it is put down. Out of all these incidents, all except one has been lethal. "
"The one on the news, yesterday the couple was put in a hospital." Adel remembered
"They got lucky. "
"Something about this is strange." Adel said" if they use dogs to kill people, that I understand, but the woman. A dog could not have done that. "
"True. However there was nothing like that in any of the other crime scenes. This might mean that they have someone working with them, or that these are two unrelated incidents that just happened at the same time."
"Is there a pattern?"
"Yes. All attacks happened when it was dark. This tells us something about the killer. All of the dog attacks happened after six o'clock so- after work hours. That is also when there people walking dogs around."
"So they most likely have a day job." Adel said.
"Probably. The first victim was most likely a homeless man, the police found a dead body in the alley about twenty minutes from the suburb area. Some by passer discovered a half-eaten body; it was hard to tell if he had already been before the dogs stated eating or died because of it. But it shortly after this that the attacks began. "
"A homeless man?" Adel borrowed her brows in thought.
"Yeah, a test most likely "Pamela said. " They wanted to see what they can do, so they must have acquired their power quite recently. All the other incidents were the same: people who own dogs had their dogs suddenly turn on them and keep attacking until their owners were dead. Most attacks involve large to medium size dogs. All the incidents happened around that suburban area, so they must be someone who lives there or passes through the area on the way from work. "
"What should I do?" Adel asked
"Take it with you; go ask around about anything suspicious in the area. Regardless whether they are a magus or an ability user, they must have left some traces behind. If we can learn the range of their ability we can use to our advantage."
The Pomeranian hopped on the girls lap.
"Shouldn't we name it?" Adel said.
Pamela was in thought for a while.
"Let me see. This is the first dog I've made so prototype α1, the eyes are model β2, so… how about Albert."
Adel laughed. This reminded her of the first time she met Pamela.
It was spring; the warm sun coming in thought the hospital window. She had just woken up from a yearlong coma. The room was a standard hospital room but everything felt strange. She opened her eyes wider and realized that she indeed had two eyes. Raising her hand to her face she looked down seeing an arm that should not have been there. Throwing the cowers off she examined her legs – her right leg was there. She didn't notice the woman with hair sitting in corner of the room. It was the sudden smell of something herbal or floral, familiar yet undiscernibly that drew her attention. It was then she noticed the woman and nearly fell out of the bed, her body weak from not being used.
"Don't make a commotion" said the woman. "My name is Pamela. I' m a doll maker and also a magus. I made that arm and that leg and your eye."
She wanted to respond but her voice didn't seem to work.
"I know what happened to you. I was there when they found you. I'm sorry."
Weakly she reaches her hand out towards her. A desire to embrace the strange woman surging in her but her muscles is too weak.
"We still can't find the people responsible. You're not safe here. Come with me- it'll be safe. You'll need a new name too. αΔ3λ4 - it's Greek. Your eyes is the first like that so – α , the arm is made from a new material so I haven't made many of those either – Δ, as for the leg – λ. Put all those together and it sounds like – Adel. "
It had been a lot to take in at the time, but things have been getting better since Pamela showed up.
"Albert?" she looked at the dog on her lap. "I like it"
After a shower and change of clothes she put a leash on the dog and went outside. People stopped to say how cute it was all the way to the underground. She walked around the suburban neighborhood for a while not noticing anything strange. There weren't many people around; most were at school or work. There were a few cats out but no stray dogs anywhere.
"I guess it's just as Pamela said- the killed has a day job" she thought to herself.
"Adel" she heard a voice call out.
"Hello, Mr. Thomson" she said turning around.
"I heard about last night. Are you alright?"
"I'm fine, thank you." She said.
"Who's your little friend?" the elderly man bent down to pet the dog.
"Oh, this is Albert. I'm looking after him."
Albert licked the man's fingers wagging his tail happily.
"Such a pity" the man said "the way these incidents have made people fear dogs. Several neighbors have given up their pets already. It reminds of something happened years ago. There was a man who lived here, who hated dogs." The elderly man pointed to the end of the street" he lived in the house I believe."
"He hated dogs?"
"I don't remember his name; it was over five years ago. But a dog had scared his grandson and the boy was so shocked he lost his speech. The man began to hate dogs to the point he began to poison them."
"Poison?" Adel was surprised.
"He used to work at the factory before it closed. They made chemicals and pesticides there. He used meats with the chemicals in them to lure and kill dogs."
"What happened to him?"
"I don't know. I think he moved after the factory closed."
Amon got out of the car and entered the red brick building. The door wasn't locked. The greying evening sky was visible thought the gap in the curtains. Pamela was sitting at the desk going thought some papers.
"Any progress?" He asked
"A possible suspect, Adel is looking into it now. She should be back any moment."
"Who's the suspect?
"A former dog poisoner. Alfred Davis. Began poisoning dogs with chemicals after a loose dog scared his grandson. It was in the papers a few years ago." She handed him a printed out copy of the article.
He read through it.
"I think I remember this one. People complained about the dogs going missing for a while. Then they all turned up dead in that factory. We never arrested the guy; there wasn't enough evidence, even though everybody in the neighborhood claimed it was him. Do you know what happened to him? You think it's him again."
"He got what he deserved." She said glancing outside.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"See for yourself" she threw him a folder.
"What is it?"
"A medical record."
Amon's eyes went wide for a moment.
"How did you get this?"
"I have my ways" she smiled
"It can't be him" Amon said after looking thought it.
"You can never be sure." Pamela said taking out a cigarette. "That's why I sent Adel to inspect the situation. "
Adel entered the hospital lobby. Approaching the reception she smiled at the nurse there.
"I'm here to see a Mr. Alfred Davis. "
The nursed looked her over.
"I'm a student doing a project." She said sheepishly.
A black Pomeranian dog slipped in through the door and headed into the nearest hallway.
"Honestly" the nurse sighed. "I don't know what good seeing him will do. But make it quick. Third floor, to the left, he should be the only patient on that section of the floor."
Adel walked up the stairs to the third floor. Taking a turn to the left she nearly bumped into a young man with a red hat and a dark green coat. He moved past her without so much as an apology. She continued walking. The door was half ajar. There was a nurse inside. The window was slightly opened, curtains flapping in the breeze. In the bed was an elderly man with a life support machine and a breathing apparatus attached to him. The nurse turned noticing Adel. A vase of bright red carnations resting on the bedside table.
"Can I help you?"
"I'm doing a repot for school. What happened to him?"
"Chemical poisoning, very severe. It led to kidney failure and partial paralysis. His been like this for the past few years.
"Would it be possible to talk?"
The nurse shook her head.
"I'm afraid not."
"Goodbye then." she turned around leaving the hospital.
Albert slipped out the door after her.
"How did it go?" Pamela asked, upon Adel entering thought the door.
"He could not have done it. The nurse said he had paralysis and he's attached to life support."
"A magus could find ways to bypass such disabilities. "
"There were no signs of soul displacement, from what I could tell" Adel said."
"That brings us back to square one." Pamela said putting out her cigarette into the ashtray.
"What about the grandson?"
"I already checked. After the incident the family moved into another city. The boy lives and goes to school there. "
"Then the boy I saw…" Adel remembered" I thought it was his grandson at first. There are no other patients currently in the same hall so there was no one else he could have been seeing."
"Around my age I think, I can't tell exactly. "
"Did you see anyone similar last night?"
"I have Amon looking into something. I have my suspicions but I'll wait to see what he finds. There should be another attack tonight, so I'll need you head out with Albert. The fact that we don't know the range of his ability bothers me. He might need to stay close to the target he is controlling; if that's the case we might a chance to capture him."
"Be careful, for now the target is an unknown."
Adel went out the door with the black dog following behind her. As soon as the door shut the phone began to ring somewhere under the stack of many papers. Pushing the stack of folders and papers Pamela reached for the red dial up phone.
"Yeah, it's me. I've talked to some workers who used to work back at the factory. Few were there during the incident. He was caught stealing chemicals from the tanks in the factory. He fell destabilizing the contained and causing it to spill- factory was closed down because of it. He's been hospitalized ever since. But one of his colleagues said something interesting."
"He had seen the man in park with some kid. But this a while after his family moved away, the man confirmed it was not his grandson."
"Five or six years ago he might have been kid, but now he would be around the same age as Adel." Pamela said.
"So that's how it is. Did you know, Amon, hate is also a poison. One that can be passed from person to person. So he passed it to the boy."
"You were right he did have an accomplice. "
"This only leaves the question of how he gained his ability." Pamela said.
"Are you sure the old man was not magus?"
"Adel checked him. He is human. "
"Damn it." Amon cursed on the other end of the line.
"Lately there has been a rise in the number of ability users, especially in this city. When a person has a near death experience, something deeply traumatizing or even clinical death, sometime the survivor gains a unique skill or ability from the experience. Usually that possibility is less than one percent. "
"But lately there has been increase right?"
"Yes. Suddenly young people with abilities have been popping up like bubbles in a boiling pot. If I had a guess I'd say the possibility has been raised to nearly a hundred percent."
"So what you're saying is that somebody has is creating ability users."
"Most likely, but they don't seem to be taking the quantity over quality approach. All these people seem to be directionless, lost, using their new powers to lash out against the world and create chaos."
"That means more work for us and more problems for the city."
"There's more to it. The magic has always been limited recourse in the world. The world can only handle so much of it, that's why magi are a minority and the rest of humans are oblivious to magic. But if this keeps up, the unnatural emergence of ability users will increase the amount of magic in the world beyond the point it can take and it will begin to break down the natural order of things and eventually the world itself. "
"So we catch this kid, he might be the lead to find the one behind this?"
"A likely possibility."
"I'm stuck in traffic on the other end of town. I'm afraid you'll have to go get him alone."
"Don't worry. I've sent Adel, she'll handle this."
"What can one girl do?"
Adel walked down the dark street in the suburban area. There weren't many people outside: in the last hour she had only seen two. People were afraid of the dog attacks and avoided going outside after dark. This increase the chance that Adel would become the target. She removed the eye patch, revealing a purple eye with symbols around the pupil. It was dolls eye made by Pamela, one that could see through magic as well was see spirits, the colour contrasted with her natural blue eye and looked creepy so she kept it covered, but even though the cloth she could see things with it.
After two hours spent walking in circles she picked up no traces of anything suspicious. Unendingly her feet had led her to the house formerly inhabited by the dog poisoner. She noticed a faint light beam, not inside the house, but outside. His family still owned the house, despite living in another city. Tried to open the gate but it was locked. The only way in was to climb the gate. She could see thought the fence- the shimmering golden shape of a person in the deep dark blackness. No other details were visible. Albert could not follow her. Briefly considering it she moved away from the gate, into the dark watching for anyone coming out.
No one seemed to be coming out. Twenty minutes passed and there was no light flashes, no sign of a person. She thought about climbing the fence and going in for a look. Footsteps echoed behind her. Turning around she saw a blond man with a golden retriever walking up the hill towards her. She hurriedly covered her eyes with the eye patch.
"Adel, what are you doing here this late?" he greeted
"Mr. Brown, good evening. I'm just walking Albert." She said pointing to the dog next to her.
"You got a dog of your own, that's great."
"That medicine you gave Tara really helped by the way" he petted the dog next to him that seemed more interested in Albert.
"Glad to hear it."
"Does anybody live there?" she asked looking at the house
"I saw a light walking past it. Looked like a flashlight."
"Seriously? I was going to check up on the place. Since I live next door the owner's family asked me to check on the house from time to time. "
He unlocked the front gate. The house was two story high, wooden planks on the outside windows dark. A white stone path leading to the house from the tall gate, a smooth tall concrete surrounded the house. The man took out a flashlight of his own.
"I don't have the key to the house itself, I hope it was nothing" the man said as they began to circle the house from the left.
The man kept looking at the windows. Tara – the dog barked. They had reached the end of the yards where a wooden shed stood. The door of the shed was open.
"That is not usually open." he said. "There should be a lock on it"
Approaching the shed saw the padlock broken on the ground.
"What was in here?"
"I don't really know. Anyway, I need to repot this to the owner, he might know and then call the police."
Adel gave the spot another look. There was an imprint in the dust, something large and round was there.
"Is there another exit from the property?" She asked.
"The back gate, but I don't have the key for that; the owners said they lost it a long time ago."
They walked over to the gate. It looked much older than the front gate; it was smooth, nothing to grab on to while climbing, the lock on the gate didn't look damaged.
"And it opens up to…" Adel tried to think.
"The river road, I walk Tara there sometimes."
The man walked out of the property with Adel following close behind, then locked the gate and headed home. She heard Pamela's voice coming from Albert.
"Head back; there is nothing to do here at the moment."
Amon had arrived at the studio bright and early that morning. Three cups of coffee siting on the antique coffee table next to the plate of doughnuts.
" Why change the pattern? Why now?" Amon looked at Pamela.
"We know for sure it was the same person. The night something gets stolen a dog attack doesn't happen. Besides none of the locks on the gats were broken so he used a key. The old man could have given him the key since they were close"
"You sound like you've been there." Amon said.
"In a way." She responded looking at the Pomeranian sleeping on the cushion next to the sofa. " I also have a good guess to what was stolen from the shed. "
"A contained for chemicals, right? " Amon answered
"Yes, that is my guess. He must have had a few of those since he was stealing them from the factory."
"But it makes no sense. He has powers, why need chemicals?"
"Who knows? Maybe he wants to pay homage to his mentor. "
Amon's mobile phone rings. He picks up and immediately goes pale.
"Somebody saw a pack of dogs, about twenty of them moving through the north part of town. A witness just reported seeing it."
"So all of these attacks were a test, to see what he can do. Now he makes his move." Pamela turned to Adel. "I'm going with Amon, you- head to the suburbs. "
"I'll the men to open fire on any dogs wandering without owners." Amon said reaching for the phone:" we can't risk him launching an attack of that scale."
"No need." Pamela said." It's true he use the dogs to attack people but the dogs were always his goal- to make people fear them, to make people hate them and to kill them. The object of his hate is not humans but dogs, however that does not excuse him from the murders he committed, but before we can take him in he needs to be neutralized. I'm counting you, Adel."
The young woman nodded.
The sun was setting. There had been reports all day of dogs and groups of dogs seen moving through the city but the area Adel was in was quiet. Long hours passed, people shot her and Albert looks of mistrust but nothing beyond that. Warnings were issued thought the television and radio for people to stain inside.
Adel noticed a familiar looking dog running, the golden retriever Tara. It ran past her, there was blood on her fur. The dog just ran like the devil was chasing it. Running after her was the owner, one arm slightly bleeding with a bite mark on it.
"She jumper out the window broke the glass by ramming it and bit me when I tried to stop her. I don't know what got into her." The man stopped, breathing heavy from running.
"Don't worry, I'll go look for her. You should get that wound looked at."
"Adel, are you sure? "
"Don't worry, I'll be fine" she smiled at him.
"If you say so." He turned around and started heading home.
Adel walked down the hill where she had seen the dog run. Removing her eye patch she could see what looked like a bright golden beacon. With her normal eye she could see the dark fields and the shadowed image of the factory.
She passed the warning signs with the signs of toxic danger .There were paw tracks in the mud. While the factory had been cleansed after the chemical spill, there was fear that the environment was still contaminated and no one wanted to work there. Carefully she bent down to get in thought a hole in the fence. The door was opened. She entered the building looking around. The large room where the tanks of chemicals used to be was removed, not it was just a wide empty space. Some of the chemical tanks used to be built in to the floor, now leaving giant pits. As Adel moved closer, walking between the pits on the metallic bridge she noticed sighs of life in there, golden glowing shapes crawling about.
Footsteps reached her from the other end of the large room. A person with a flash light entered and behind him was a mass of dogs.
"Who are you?" he noticed Adel
It was the young man she had seen in the hospital.
" Let me guess , you're looking for your puppy. " he said, then noticed Albert next to her" Well, today is not your lucky day.
"What can one girl do?" Amon's voice echoed from the other end of the line.
Pamela almost laughed.
"Adel's ability makes her special. Her power to put is simply is amplification. Everything that exists is made of multiple parts- aspects: elements of nature, life death. Adel can amplify all or one of the aspects, even the void- the gap that exists between aspects. That girl is something that maybe only happens once in a thousand years. "
The boy closes his eyes and extends his arms towards Albert. The dog sits still by Adel.
"What?" He opens his eyes, looking at the dog confused.
"Stop this." Adel says. "Surrender peacefully."
"Surrender? To you? "
"You killed people; you have to answer for that. Please come with me and turn yourself in."
"Are you stupid? The dogs killed those people, not me." He laughed.
"I know you can control them. "
"Wait I remember you! In the hospital and then that night you were there. You know too much." He closed his eyes again and the dogs began moving towards her, more dogs came running through the other door. They were all large and medium size dogs of various breeds. The none large black one jumped at her. Adel closed her eyes, and opened them. Both eyes were now red with a pattern of two crossing spirals. The dog hit an invisible and was knocked backwards before it could get to her.
"You're like me" the young man was shocked. "I thought I was the only one. "
"No. There are many like you, but they are not like you. They use their power for good and helping people."
"I am helping, helping to get rid of those mangy animals."
"No, what you did was murder. "
The dogs bit into her right leg as she made a step forward. But she didn't react, there was no blood.
"Don't come any closer!" he yelled
"Alright, I don't really need to." She said. The air becoming heavy and crushing his body to the ground. "Amplification: aspect gravity, width 1 meter, length 1 meter. "
The boy was struggling to keep himself from falling face flat to the ground. All the dogs seemed to still and lay down not moving. She approached the boy. The leg with the dog bites on it was stating to crack around the marks of the edges. She was stumbling at the gravity field took effect. Albert tried running after her but was forced to the ground, it's body creaking and making cracking sounds.
"Get away from me" the boy yelled as Adel moved closer but he could hardly stand up, falling on his back in front of her.
"This is crazy. You're not human. You're some kind of monster."
"Amplification: void" her eyes turned black with the spiral pattern assuming a white colour. A black aura surrounded her body, flowing from her into the boy. He screamed out, more in fear than in pain. A faint purple glow surrounded the boy's body; the black began to consume the purple until it was all gone.
"What did you do to me?" he looked at her horrified.
The crushing gravity stopped. All the dogs in the room began acting like normal dogs, looking around, whining, walking and looking for their owners. The boy reached out closing his eyes but nothing happened.
"You can't control them anymore. You're done. I took your power away. But you still have to answer for what you did."
Police sirens could be heard outside. The boy tried to run away but was stopped by Amon walking in thought the door. He forced the youth to the ground and handcuffed him, two police officers came in and took him away.
"Well done" Pamela said walking in.
"I think Albert is broken. I might have over done it." She said looking at the dog doll that lay on the ground unable to get up.
"I'll make a new one. Let's go celebrate. "She said.
"Maybe later, I fell a little sleepy"
Turning around Pamela barely managed to catch the girl as she fell. Eyes closed, prosthetic leg shattered and barely supporting her weight.
"Maybe you overdid it – just a little bit."
Amon helped carry Adel to Pamela's car.
"I'll let you once we question him" he says.
"Alright, see you then"
Adel awoke in her room. Getting out of bed she noticed her leg was replaced with dolls. Memories of last night came flooding back. She looked at herself in the mirror, the eye patch removed and resting on the table.
"You're some kind of monster." The word echoed in her head.
Taking the eye patch she covered up the glass eye. Pamela entered her room with a tray of pastries and coffee.
"Morning." She said forcing a smile.
"Well, Amon finished questioning the lad, turns out his ability was natural. He had no family, Davis was like grandfather to him and the hate for dogs just got passed like an infectious disease thought their interactions. It's a pity things turned out that way. Hate is a poison, one that eats way your soul until you become something that's not human anymore – a monster. "
Adel turned to look at her face.
"Don't worry about what he said. You're fine. Now get some breakfast we have long day ahead of us."
1 α –alfa
2 β - beta
3 Δ – delta
4 λ - lambda