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Urban Fantasy Fantasy Fiction

Do you remember the feeling of dread before going to school – where you knew the bully kids awaited you with another nasty surprise? Or the wretched math class where every number seemed to float around your head meaninglessly, making you dizzy. That’s exactly the feeling I have every day while going to my job. A day after day grind of feeling miserable – like I’m being punished for something I didn’t even do. You see, even though I hated numbers and anything to do with them, I ended up working for my dad’s finance firm. How’s that for irony, huh…

I worked hard at my work place so I didn’t have to bring the nastiness back home and ruin my hard earned peace. I pop the left-over spaghetti and meat-ball dinner in the microwave and went to freshen up. Once in my pajamas, I grabbed a cold, cold beer from the fridge, played an episode of Supernatural, and settled in to enjoy my Friday night. Yeah, yeah I know you’re judging me right now but hey, I bet even you can’t deny the appeal of what those Winchester guys do

“We’re surrounded. Send help as soon as you can” I whispered in the comm device attached to my collar.

“How many?” the dispatch asked urgently.

“I sense more than a dozen Ace, hurry up. There might be more farther away”.

“I’m on it. Try holding ‘em off. Team’s on way”, before I could disconnect, she spoke again, “…and Casper, take care” the call disconnected and I turned to the frightened 8year old twins that were my charge tonight. The kids were huddled together on the asphalt, hugging each other with white knuckled grips.

“Don’t worry kids, help’s on way” I crouched in front of them, “can you climb that tree over there?” I pointed to a tree on my right that looked pretty easy to scale. Eyes still wide with terror, they both nodded in unison. ‘Good. Atleast their father wasn’t a complete idiot’. I thought to myself.

As soon as the kids were up, I heard a gun cocking behind me. I whipped around and shot in a millisecond in the direction of the sound not giving the guy a chance to pull the trigger. A grunt and a thud and a body hit the ground. They were tightening the noose around me; I could feel it in the shift of the air. I sucked in a long breath and held. Closing my eyes I gave command to my other senses. I strained my ears and felt the air moving along my skin. Twisting on my feet in a circle; I opened fire. There were sounds of bullets connecting and rending flesh and bodies hitting ground all around and then one more gun shot rang out. I lurched on my feet. Then there was darkness all around me.

I sat up in bed where I’d fallen asleep while watching TV, soaked in sweat and breathing like I’d just run a marathon. I rubbed at the phantom pain of the bullet to my gut from my dream. My alarm blared from the bed-side table.

By Monday morning I was a freaking zombie fueled by extra espresso shots and sugar overdose. The dreams weren’t new to me but they’d become more persistent as of late. I used to have one in a few weeks but now I felt like they waited for me to close my eyes. Don’t get me wrong, I fucking liked the dude I was in my dreams but they left me feeling like shit the morning after.

I threw back the last of my caffeine fix like a shot and powered up my computer. As was my routine; I opened up my email. Same old bullshit… wait a second… what… there was an email waiting in my inbox. I clicked it. The sender was “The Guardian’s Guild”. There was some sort of invitation letter inside.

“Dear Mr. Blackwood,

The Elders here at The Guardian’s Guild would like to invite you to the initiation ceremony of the new Guardians. You will be, if you choose to accept this invitation, one of our new recruits. You can find all the details about The Guild on the website address mentioned at the end of this email.

If you choose to accept the invitation, we urge you to travel to Montauk. Our transport will be waiting for you outside the station at 4pm Sunday 12th September. We hope to see you at the ceremony.

And as promised there was a website provided at the end. To say it was weird would be an understatement but I also found myself getting intrigued so I clicked at the link and started reading.

As I read through the history of The Guild it became clear that it was some kind of an elaborate prank but still I could feel my heart race inside my chest. These Guardians seemed exactly like the dream version of me. Their job was to find and protect the special kids. The website claimed the kids to be some kind of super humans with various abilities like Psychics, Elementals, Telepaths, etc.

I closed the website and opened up the search bar to do some digging even though the sensible part of me kept telling me it was all a joke and I was wasting my time. I gave that part of my brain the shut up call and typed “The Guardian’s Guild” in the search bar. Nothing. Just a mobile game. I entered the names of the founders mentioned on the website one by one and found exactly nothing. With every null search the sane part of my brain got stronger and told me more forcefully what a sham all this was. But the dreams… I ignored the email and went to work.

The dreams kept plaguing me all week and by Friday I was on the verge of tearing my eyes out. I’ll admit that I’d reread the ridiculous email so many times that I could now recite the whole damn thing by heart. Maybe finally I’ve crossed the border of crazy town.

When I woke up gasping from yet another crazy dream on Sunday morning I couldn’t take it anymore. I did the craziest thing of my whole miserable existence so far. I packed up my bag, threw it on my shoulder, decided to throw caution outta the window, and go check out the truth behind the email and these pestering dreams that felt more like prophecies or visions or something.

When I stepped out of the train station, sure enough there stood a guy holding up a card with my name written on it in block letters. I approached him cautiously waiting for him to whip out a gun any second, all the while choking the sound of reason still trying to talk me out of my stupidity.

“Casper Blackwood?” the uniformed guy asked in a gruff voice.

“That’s me”, I made an awkward attempt at smiling that probably made me look constipated.

“This way Sir” he motioned with his gloved hand to a black van with tinted windows. Closing my eyes, for the last time I questioned my sanity, nodded to myself in encouragement, and climbed in the van.

It turned out the windows not only kept the insides of the van hidden from the outside prying eyes but also kept the ones inside in the dark. And apparently I wasn’t the only stupid person born in this world. There were four guys and two girls already inside when I climbed in. all of them looked around my age. All seven of us avoided each other’s eyes – maybe because deep down all of us were questioning our recent choices. For all we knew we were going to end up as slaves in some coal mine deep in Africa. Or we were about to become entertainment for some seriously psychotic serial killer whose MO was to lure dumb people into his lair by sending them ridiculous emails claiming they were about to become some kind of super soldier.

After almost an hour of listening to the silent wheels turning inside all seven of our heads, I felt the van turning on to a gravel path. Another few minutes and several turns later we came to a stop. The door was opened from the outside before I had any chance, and a smiling giant of a guy greeted us.

“Good evening ladies and gentlemen. I hope you had a comfortable journey?” he raised his eyebrows and almost all of us mumbled our assent.

“Right. If you’ll please follow me” we were in some kind of an underground compound. So serial killer’s lair it is… here I come.

We entered a huge lobby which had an aquarium in place of the whole wall on my left and a dozen couches in the waiting area. On the right there was an inverted U-shaped wooden counter as the front desk and manning it were half a dozen uniformed staff. Our guide exchanged pleasantries with one of them and the lady handed him a bunch of key cards.

“Alright so guys, I’ll show you all to your rooms. You guys go freshen up and enjoy the complimentary drinks and snacks in your rooms. Then I’ll meet you at the foot of these stairs at 8pm sharp and take you to the ceremony. Any questions?”

“Are you guys for real?” one of us asked from behind me. Yeah right dude, like the killer will tell you he’s a killer. The guide as expected chuckled at the silly, childish question, “I’ll let you decide that for yourself once you attend the ceremony. Now come along.”

“Are there any more of us new-comers or is it just us?” someone else asked from our little group.

“There are more. They arrived earlier”. He showed us each to our rooms and left. So far so good. The ceremony started with an intro and history lesson about the guild’s purpose and at the end we all mingled during dinner. We were to be starting our guardian training from the next morning.

After a month of hardcore training and reading the accounts of former guardians, I felt like a different man altogether. My family knew that I’d had enough of Finance and left country to find the true me. The next leg of our journey as a guardian took us on missions accompanying senior guardians to get the hang of things. The Guild was like a whole network of people working different jobs to make it possible for us guardians to secure our charges.

I learned the first day how the guild chose the guardians and about the enemy who wanted to snatch these kids to use in their terrorist plans or kill them in case of failure before we could protect them. Almost all the parents had an idea that their kids were somehow different from others by the time our teams found the kids so the parents were instructed by our teams over time what it truly meant and what danger awaited their kids.

I felt, for the first time in my life, that I was born with a purpose. I felt alive. This job was invigorating. It has been a year since I was assigned my first solo mission and I remember how pumped up I was and how scared that I’d fuck things up. I still felt the same on every mission just like now. I was going to Wyoming for an assignment. The details would be handed over to me from the Wyoming branch upon my arrival.

The family lived in the middle of nowhere. The kids’ mother passed away during their birth and the father wasn’t exactly friendly when I told him why I was there but the team had done its work well and he didn’t object in parting ways with his kids. He almost looked relieved making me feel sorry for the kids.

“We’re surrounded. Send help as soon as you can” I whispered in the comm device attached to my collar.

“How many?” the dispatch asked urgently.

“I sense more than a dozen Ace, hurry up. There might be more farther away”.

“I’m on it. Try holding ‘em off. Team’s on way”, before I could disconnect, she spoke again, “…and Casper, be careful” the call disconnected and I turned to the frightened 8year old twins that were my charge tonight. The kids were huddled together on the asphalt, hugging each other with white knuckled grips.

“Don’t worry kids, help’s on way” I crouched in front of them, “can you climb that tree over there?” I pointed to a tree on my right that looked pretty easy to scale. Eyes still wide with terror, they both nodded in unison. ‘This is one of my dreams’ I thought to myself as an overwhelming sense of déjà vu engulfed me.

As soon as the kids were up, I heard a gun cocking behind me. I whipped around and shot in a millisecond in the direction of the sound. A grunt and a thud and a body hit the ground. They were tightening the noose around me; I could feel it in the shift of the air. I sucked in a long breath and held. Closing my eyes I focused my other senses. I strained my ears and felt the air moving along my skin. Twisting on my feet in a circle; I opened fire. I remembered the bullet I’d taken in my dream and subconsciously kept waiting to get shot. I just hoped the team would arrive before that to secure the kids.

There were sounds of bullets connecting and rending flesh and bodies hitting ground all around. Suddenly there was fire all around us; in a perfect ring securing us inside. I whipped my neck toward the kids up in the tree and saw their hands spread in front of them and eyes closed in concentration. They were fire elementals after all, but they could handle it this well, I had no idea.

“Casper this is Rush, we’re here mate. We’ll give you the all clear soon”. I sighed in relief and waited inside the circle of fire, hearing the sounds of battle outside and itching to join. But I knew I had to stay with the kids, they must be on the verge of collapsing by now.

As silence fell, Rush’s voice came through the comm device, “Clear. Come on let’s move out”. I sighed in relief and gathered the kids as the fire died around us. We started making our way back to the vehicles when a twig snapped behind me and then one more gun shot rang out. I lurched on my feet. Falling down, I had this sense of peace that I’d completed the mission. So the dream was some kind of prophecy. Then there was darkness all around me.

September 03, 2021 20:41

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2 comments

Angela Kaufman
05:45 Sep 09, 2021

Hello Jade, I really liked how you played with the idea of the dream which became reality later in the story. It sort of tied up the ending in a satisfying well. One criticism; We got quite a lot of detail about Casper, the main character bit you sort of skimmed over the children with special powers in danger and their parents. I wanted to know more about this danger of terror, more about why these guardians were needed. Otherwise it was quite exciting. Well done.

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Jade Wolf
16:07 Sep 09, 2021

Thank you so much for taking the time to point out what the story lacked.. i get your point and now that you mentioned it, yeah the kids description is lacking... Short stories are new to me and i strugle with summing up a whole story in under 3k words. I hope i do better in the future. And i'm glad you liked it :)

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