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Fantasy Urban Fantasy

"I quit," Derek said as he flopped his head against the headrest.

"Yeah?" Lance, his partner, retorted. "To do what? Bag groceries? Flip burgers? Ours is a pretty specialized skill set."

"I'm just done," Derek sighed. "After twenty-five years, this job really tears into your soul. If you get to keep one."

They sat in an old sedan, built before plastic and crumple zones. A hunched figure piled in rags shuffled by them, pushing a scavenged shopping cart down the dark sidewalk.

"It's true," Lance was in his late twenties, his youthful looks tainted by premature worry lines and a hardness that his good humor couldn't keep at bay anymore. "You see things in this job that you can't unsee."

Derek watched the ragged figure turn a corner out of sight and shook his head. "In more ways than one," his voice was far away.

"Come on," Lance tried. "I know we've had a rough couple of cases, but this one is going to be worth it. Then you'll get your mojo back."

"I don't think there is any more mojo, man." Derek looked at his partner. His beard was heavily shot with gray and in desperate need of a trim, as was his hair. He could be mistaken for a homeless man if he weren't in a suit. His gray eyes were big and watery, glittering slightly with madness.

"When was the last time you-" A silver glow in the apartment across the street from them stopped his question. "We got something."

"'Course we do," Derek growled. He shifted and opened the door of the sedan unfolding from it. He was a large man, six feet and change and nearly three hundred pounds. Beer and stakeouts had given him a belly, but he moved with the speed and grace of an athlete. "Third floor," he said, grabbing his weapon.

They took off across the street and into the building. Derek had a longer stride, but Lance was lean and a runner. He kept up easily.

"I'll take the stairs to block that egress," Lance said as they came to the elevator and stair doors.

Derek looked at him for a long second, deadpan.

"Right," Lance said with an awkward chuckle.

They both got in the elevator.

When they finally got to the third floor, they hustled to the silver glow under the door. Derek didn't break stride and plunged through the door in a deafening shower of splinters knocking the door to the ground.

Lance leaped over his partner and the ruined door drawing his weapon.

Once Derek had recovered and drawn his weapon, they moved into the apartment to the room where the glow was the brightest. Again, Derek took point, pivoting around the corner.

"CIA, release the baby!"

The room was flooded with the silver light so bright it hurt. The source of the light was a winged woman. From head to toe, she only stood about three feet tall. Her hair fell to her waist and framed a sweet, cherubic face. She was covered in a belted dress. She stood on the edge of a baby’s crib, grabbing the child.

Hearing Derek's orders, she snapped her attention to the men walking into the room. Her sweet round face opened into a snarl of sharp edges and teeth as she screamed at the agents.

"Back away from the baby!" Derek ordered.

The screaming woman crouched and launched at them.


Nails shot across the room into her head and chest. Smoke and flame instantly erupted from the woman as she hit the ground. Derek walked to the flailing fairy and launched half a dozen more nails from his nail gun into her. The body disintegrated, leaving the final nail to bury into the now dark floor.

"Seemed a little excessive, don't you think?" Lance asked.

Derek bent over the crib to find a soundly sleeping infant swaddled in a pink blanket. Curls of cornsilk covered her head. Next to the baby girl was a tiny grey roll.

Derek lifted the roll to find a slug with eyes inside.

"Gross," Lance said. "Guess we have to send it back."

"For what?" Derek asked callously.

"All discovered Changelings need to be sent back to the fairies," Lance was almost shouting.

"Look at her," Derek held out the bundle. "She's ugly. You said so yourself. They aren't going to accept her willingly. They might even kill her."

"What they do with their own is none of our business."

"So you just want-" Derek took a deep breath. "You’re right." He handed the bundle to Lance as he shouldered by. "Paperwork is all yours."

"What the hell is going on?!" a man in pajamas stood in the hall with a bat in hand.

Derek tossed a handful of dream dust at the man and walked away as he collapsed.

Outside, the ragged figure was pressed against the car by a middle-aged man swinging a metal bat.

"HEY!" Derek bellowed, sprinting to the car. He snapped out his baton on the way, "Knock it off!" The man was swinging back with the bat again. Before the swing could start, Derek smashed the bat with his baton. Low, next to the man's hands.

TONK, then CLANG GA LANG as the bat hit the ground.

The man rounded on Derek. "What's your problem?" the words last steam as they came out. Derek had flipped out his badge to face level before the man had turned to him.

"I'll take it from here," His tone was hard and definite.

"He was loitering," the man protested lamely. "I have the right to protect my shop."

"Was he in your shop?" Derek glared at the man, putting his badge away.

"No," a weak reply.

"Was he trying to get into your shop?" Derek advanced on the man, veins bulging in his neck."


"So, you assaulted a pedestrian with a deadly weapon because they happened to be on the sidewalk near your business?" Derek was looming over the man now.

The man trembled in Derek's shadow. His eyes darted between the menacing expression above him to the baton looming at Derek's side. "I'm sorry," he whined. "I got carried away."

"Not yet," Derek growled. "But you will be when I get done."

"Agent Pritt!"

The voice cut through the night. It seemed to load tension into the standoff. The man saw another fed coming, and Derek loomed more. The man began to tremble.

"What is going on?" Lance asked as he reached them.

"Domestic dispute," Derek never looked away from the man. "I stopped it."

"It looks good and stopped," Lance said, trying to find the pressure release for the situation. "Is anyone hurt?"

"Not yet," Derek tightened like a spring.

"Fantastic," Lance grabbed his partner's meaty hand and squeezed sharp and fast to get the baton out of it. "Then I guess everyone can go about their night."

Derek directed his flaming gaze at Lance. The man didn't waste the opportunity and ran off.

"What the fuck?" Derek said, slapping the baton back from Lance.

"What were you going to do?" Lance demanded.

Walking to the ragged person, Derek said, “Teach him a lesson in the only language he understands."

"And then what?" Lance chastised.

"Are you OK?" Derek was softer with the ragged person than his attacker or Lance.

"You were going to beat that man to a pulp for assaulting an ogre Changling?" Lance demanded.

"It doesn't matter who he was assaulting." Derek helped the figure back to the shopping cart. The rags were not as bulky as they initially appeared. Eldritch light showed over the boy's face and hands, a weak glamour making him appear human to others without charmed eyes.

"That's the type of guy that can get away with beating a ‘Ling on the street, then run over a kid with his car, and then rape a girl in a bar. As long as they are the right demographic, no one is going to stop him." Derek looked Lance right in the eye. Lance wouldn't return the look.

Derek Gave the ogre boy a card. "You can get food and a bed here."

The ogre stared at the still-extended baton in Derek's hand. It had a shining stainless steel tip.

Derek folded it, put it away, and then tucked the card in a fold of the ogre's rags. "You can trust them." Then he got into the car.

Lance got in the passenger side. The bundle of slug the fairy had left behind was nearly the size of a baby. He stared at Derek's profile.

"What?" Derek was leaning against the headrest, eyes closed.

"That was a changeling," Lance stated. "And you not only let it go but told it where to find asylum."

"Correct," Derek grunted.

"The Changeling Interception Agency is not a refugee center," Lance snapped. "Our job is to stop changelings from being planted and apprehend the ones already here."

"I'm aware of the mission statement." Derek was so tired, down to his soul.

"So," Lance gestured out the window. "What the hell?"

"He wasn't hurting anything," Derek sighed. "Despite having a great reason to. In fact, most grown changelings don't hurt anything and are productive members of society."

"These things EAT BABIES!" Lance hollered.

"Their parents eat the babies," Derek corrected. “And it's usually ones that are going to die soon anyway. The Changelings are abandoned, so the human parents are left with something to keep loving." Derek opened his eyes and looked at Lance. "The Changelings are the ones that get the raw deal. They get tossed to this side of the veil with only enough magic for a half-assed reflexive glamour and aren't given the opportunity to grow up the way they should. All because something about them is undesirable."

"The kid tonight wasn't sick," Lance retorted.

"No," Derek conceded. "Tonight was one of the few good busts left. Real human trafficking across the veil. Only one or two organizations are left that still steal pretty blonde kids for slaves."

"And we stopped it," Lance said emphatically.

"We did," Derek looked at the growing slug in the bundle. "And now we have this abandoned baby to show for it."

Lance looked in his lap as if for the first time, and he deflated some. "What happens to it?"

"We better find something for her to imprint on soon so she can establish her glamour," Derek said. "HQ would want to send her back, but that would be like throwing her in a dumpster."


"The CIA is not a refugee organization," Derek threw the words back at Lance. He dropped his head against the headrest again and blew out a heavy breath.

They sat silently. Only squelching rustles filled the car as the baby shifted and grew.

"I quit," Derek said. "Gimme the kid."

"What?" Lance was stunned by the abrupt actions and allowed Derek to scoop the bundle away from him.

"I quit. I can't do this anymore. I won't." Derek got out of the car.

"But what do I tell HQ?" Lance yelled after him.

"I don't care," Derek called over his shoulder. "Tell them I died. Or that I fell into a bottomless pit. Or hell, tell 'em the truth."

He continued down the road with the bundle, which had finished growing. Lance was stammering in the distance, but it didn't matter.

The slug opened its eyes and looked at Derek.

Derek smiled, "Hi, beautiful."

The slug began to glow an eldritch blue. Derek blinked and let himself see the glamour. She was a beautiful blonde cherubic baby grinning back at him.

He pulled her tighter, "Let's go home."

October 08, 2022 02:27

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1 comment

Brenda Wilson
16:48 Oct 17, 2022

I got attitude vibes similar to "Lethal Weapon" with some "Men in Black" and "Artemis Fowl" mixed in from this. Very engaging!


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