Detective Hunt bent down. His long, tapering fingers flexed to carefully inspect the shards of glass lying on the ground.
“There’s nothing that has been taken,” he announced to the anxious crowd trying to push past the security that had been set up around the site of the break-in. “I still can’t imagine why someone would break into your bakery, Mr. Adams. I expect it was some drunkard or some random person who wanted to mess around. We’ll catch them very soon,” he finished.
Mr. Adams, who owned the bakery, didn’t look very convinced. His gaze lingered near the big board which once used to proudly adorn his workplace- Adams’ Family Bakery- but now lay uselessly aside, ripped away by the intruder. His eyes shifted to his trembling family standing beside him. His wife and two sons were supposed to be in bed right now, happily sleeping and dreaming. Instead, they had all been dragged out of their beds on hearing the crash of glass and metal, and heavy, thudding footsteps fleeing into the winter night.
Most importantly… Detective Hunt was wrong. Something had been stolen- a very special, secret ingredient. But how could Mr. Adams ever tell the world?
He nodded silently and turned away from the investigating team. He stepped gingerly into his beloved bakery and looked around. He still couldn’t bring himself to believe that the secret ingredient was gone. He climbed back out, and muttered into his wife’s ear, “It’s not here. The thief took it.”
Mrs. Adams’ pale face grew paler. “But then… what about our guests?” she asked, a faint tremor gaining hold in her voice.
Her husband could only shake his head. “Let’s get the kids to bed first,” he sighed. Both of them started walking towards their house, which was just a short distance away. The boys scampered about, clearly unaware of the seriousness of what their parents had just discovered.
Much later, after they had been tucked in, the couple sat distressed in the living room. “I think we should wake them and tell them,” the lady of the house voiced her opinion again. Mr. Adams clearly denied. “Let them rest. We will inform them about the theft tomorrow.”
“THEFT?” someone screamed. Both of them whipped around.
A young woman was standing in the doorway of the guest room, eyes wide at what she had just heard. From the room beside hers, two young, handsome men drowsily stepped out on hearing her scream.
“Hey, Iris Jones, tone it down, will ya? Some people are trying to sleep here,” one of them said, rubbing his eyes. She shot him a withering look. “You aren’t even human, James,” she hissed. “Anyway, what is all this talk of a theft about?”
Both the men perked up into attention as soon as she spoke. “Theft?” they repeated after her. Mr. Adams shifted uncomfortably. “The ingredient which you gave… it has been taken. I’m sure the popularity of my bakery will go down now.”
The man other than James spoke nothing, but stalked right up to the baker, and looked straight into his eyes. “I’m an angel, James is a devil, and Iris is a former werewolf. You know all of that, don’t you?” he snarled. Mr. Adams nodded quickly, suddenly terrified.
“I had asked you to employ Iris in exchange for the ingredient come straight from Hell. Why did you agree then, if you couldn’t keep it safe eventually?” he continued without waiting for the baker to answer or respond in any way whatsoever. James was frowning too, and scaly wings sprouted from his back. He advanced menacingly towards the wife, intending to threaten her too.
“DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT WAS MADE OF?” the angel finally snapped. Mr. Adams’ knees gave way due to the sheer force and authority the voice carried. He shook his head slowly and whispered, “…no.”
“It was composed of moonbeams that we were extracting from her body when she was a werewolf in stasis,” James explained. “Now that she is fully human, we can’t find any more of that precious resource. We’re doomed.”
He jerked his head to ask for Iris’ opinion. She shrugged. “Ben has said everything,” she gestured to the irate angel. “But I must point out that our host is human, and can only do so much to keep the moonbeams safe. What was their job in the cookies, anyway? They never even changed the taste.”
James smirked. “You’re all about the flavor, aren’t you?” he sniggered. She elbowed him. “Don’t let Ben hear you. He loves his food, too.”
James rolled his eyes. “The moonbeams were to help us seek out potential supernatural people among these humans. The episode of your flight from the werewolf clan made Heaven and Hell sit up and take notice. Don’t tell me you already forgot,” he lightly bumped her nose affectionately. She had always been like a little sister to him.
She fell deep into thought, so James turned back to the others to find Ben passionately bickering. He yawned and turned back around to talk to Iris. At least, she wasn’t as boring as Ben.
But all that greeted him was a yawning space where she was standing just half a minute ago.
“IRIS!” he roared, tearing out of the door and into the street in an instant. He frantically looked around. Where had she gone off to at this time of the night? After staying in stasis, she had finally turned into a full human, but she was still weak. It was not right for her to be roaming outside yet! His wings disappeared spontaneously as he came into public view.
He breathed in relief when he noticed her familiar silhouette peering over the shards outside the bakery. As he started making his way towards her, reprimand ready on his tongue, she cautiously stepped in.
What was she doing?
He followed her hurriedly, trying and failing to not make any noise. She noticed soon enough, and smiled at him. “Do you still think I need following?”
“Yeah, you do!” he scolded her tenderly. “Don’t give me a shock like this the next time, okay?”
She rolled her eyes and beckoned him closer to her. She pointed to a trail of footprints in the farthest end of the bakery, leading away from the cash counter. “The investigating team missed this. How could they do such a sloppy job?” she remarked. He stared in amusement. “They missed this because these are not normal footprints, Iris,” he responded. “Only supernaturals or those who have been, formerly, can see them.”
“Why is that so?” she questioned.
“That’s because the thief has consumed the moonbeams. They’re a werewolf now,” he answered.
Both of them looked at each other. That was definitely not good news, since it meant a long period of stasis for another unlucky person.
“Let’s get back,” he suggested, and she obeyed.
When they reached home, they went to the baker’s sons’ bedroom to wish them good night. But the moment they stepped foot into the room…
“Ew! Something is under my toe!” Iris exclaimed. James sat her down and examined her toe. Silvery stuff came away into his hand. Something clicked into place inside his head.
“Iris…” he mumbled. “The kids broke into the shop and swallowed the moonbeams.”