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Urban Fantasy

“So what’s the catch?”

“A choice, no catch. You can either stay here and meet your fate or leave with me.”

Romina Vega flipped the business card between her fingers, thinking. 

“You make it sound easy. I can’t just stand up and walk out of here. If you haven’t noticed…”

Romina pushed forward, repositioning herself in the metal chair. Her chains chattered as she moved.

“If you tried to leave, the guards wouldn’t be able to stop you.”

Romina pressed down a short laugh. There was no indication that she posed a threat to anyone. She was young, barely into her twenties, somewhat slight of frame, and noticeably malnourished. Her hair was a plume of dark coils and unkempt chaos. She wore the customary green jumpsuit of the women’s prison, which nearly swallowed her entirely. She sat up and rested her weight squarely on the pads of her feet as if she was preparing to bolt.  

“Don’t play with me, old man. I know where I am and I know what I did to get here–”

“Yes. About that.” The man reached inside his briefcase and pulled out a black legal folder. He opened the file and used his long index finger to skim across the printed report. “I know what happened. What you said happened and what the authorities charged. Between you and me, I believe your account.”

“Why?”

The man gave a half smile. “Why wouldn’t I believe you? The evidence is all there. I would be blind to ignore it.”

“The police and the judge seem to think differently. They said I did it. I killed my aunt and mom.”

“But I know you didn’t. You couldn’t have.” 

“The courts sure think it was me. Hell, all of Georgia thinks I did it. Why not you?”

He smiled indulgently. “Because… I know what killed them.”

“Really?” Romina scoffed. “What do you know that the court and the jury haven’t already disproven about my case? I’ve been convicted for their murders. Considering the circumstances, I honestly don’t blame them for coming to their decision. I don’t know what was real about that night anymore. Maybe I went insane. Maybe I made it all up. “

“Or maybe you were attacked by a being, not of this world. You came face to face with something. You fought it. Injured it… And lived to tell your story.” 

“A story nobody believes,” said Romina with a sneer. The memory of the nightmare played once more in her thoughts, bringing back the pain of loss it always carried. Her eyes lowered to the table, unable to sustain the weight of guilt pressing down on her shoulders, reminding her of what she couldn’t do. 

“You saw it, Romina,” the man urged.  

“It was a monster,” Romina said in a low voice. “Could have been human at one point, but… Maybe it was an alien? A demon… A… I don’t know what it was. It looked like a giant bat.”

“It was what we call a Revenant. A being not unlike what you might consider a bat, only it’s not. It’s more like… well… A vampire… Or a parasite. It feeds off of living flesh and terrorizes those it once knew or came in contact with at one point.”

“That thing was a vampire?” Romina did not hide her disbelief. 

“Probably not in the traditional context you would think. Dracula is far from what a vampire is. He certainly doesn’t look like what one is. Bram Stoker took the idea and put an agreeable face to the real terror those things are. Demons more closely describe them. However, even that term only provides the visual.”

“What are you trying to say? I was attacked by a demon vampire?”

“Well…”

“You can’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining,” said Romina. “I know what I saw and what I saw wasn’t no damn vampire. I don’t know what the hell that thing was but it certainly wasn’t what you’re saying it was. Either you’re here to poke fun or you’re trying to make me look crazier than they already think that I am. I’m not crazy! I’m not on drugs! I didn’t imagine that fucking thing! And I sure as hell didn’t kill my goddamn mother! I don’t give a damn what the State of Georgia or the D.A. or anybody wants to believe! I’m not a fucking murderer and I didn’t kill my family!”

Romina could barely catch her breath. She glared at the man as he sat placidly in his seat across the table. Her words had no effect. He stared coldly back at her as if looking directly through the whirlwind of her heated emotions. She got the sense that the man saw all of this before. Perhaps too many times enough to no longer care and possibly predict what would happen next. Again her chains tugged her down into her seat, reminding her she could do nothing further than the length of each link allowed. Her thighs burned with excess energy, demanding to be freed from the seated position so they could stretch and move with violent intention. Still, the man sat, eyes forward, and expression calm despite her fury. She could do nothing to harm him and she hated that he knew this despite what he suggested earlier. 

He had a kind face. The type that could appear fatherly. His hair was shock white as if he had seen far more than what Romina experienced. He wore all black, making his physique difficult to determine. However, she assumed he kept himself up. He looked like law enforcement or possibly an agent of some other agency she did not know about. She could not determine what sort of officer the man was as he did not display a badge like most would. Whatever enforcement the man represented did not require him to make his authority known plainly. It was all assumed which made her all the more curious.

“Who are you?” Romina asked.

“Who I am is irrelevant. Who I represent is more important.”

“Ok, so then who do you represent? CIA? FBI? Italian Mafia? What is this?”

“I am from an order of defense no man knows about. No other agency in the world is aware of our presence. We operate beyond the Veil. Given your natural skill and intelligence, we believe you would make the perfect candidate for our program.”

“Program? You’re here to recruit me?”

“You have been chosen.”

“Chosen? By who? For what?”

“Come with me and I will tell you everything you want to know.”

“How about you tell me now,” Romina challenged. 

“Doesn’t work that way. I’m here for a limited time. Once I walk out that door, the offer goes with me.”

Romina considered the offer once more, unsure of her answer. Although she did not trust the man sitting across from her at the interview table, she could not dispel the possibility of taking the offer and being freed. The past year of the murder trial and subsequent sentencing hearing made the days spent behind bars seem to flash by. After her sentencing, time bled into each hour drawing out the torture of her incarceration as she waited anxiously for the set date of her execution. So far, the attorney assigned to her case was not confident in the success of the appeal process. The first two returned denied and the third was decided with a high probability of denial also. No one believed her account of the monster coming into the small apartment shared by the three women. Not even the court-appointed psychiatrist considered her unchanged statement as truth. Instead, the doctor suggested the murders were caused by some sort of drug-induced psychosis causing her to hallucinate. Romina insisted she did not imagine the creature, nor would she allow the court to label her a drug-addicted psycho that raged during a bad trip. The trace opiates found by the police in her blood were not enough to support the intoxication theory. The jury quickly dismissed this explanation as the reason why her mother’s throat was torn open and her aunt was found mauled by the kitchen sink. There could only be one conclusion that made any kind of sense to those participating in the trial. A monster did not break inside her home and gruesomely murder her family. According to the State of Georgia, Romina killed them. 

 “If I say yes, and I go with you… What happens next?”

“You walk away from here never to return to this place again.”

“And then?”

“You will train. Be educated. Prepared.”

Romina considered what the man said. “Prepared for what?”

He sat silent. 

Steady. 

“You’re serious, aren’t you,” said Romina. “You can get me out of here? Just like that?”

“Exactly that. Do you not believe me?”

“Honestly, I don’t know what to believe. I don’t know who to trust.”

“Trust God.” 

“Trust God,” Romina shook her head. “He’s probably the reason why I’m in here. Why did all this happen? My family is dead and I’m in prison. Some thing created by God is why I'm here talking to you. And you want me to trust God?” 

The man stood. His dark frame suddenly filled the space behind him as his long black coat and suit wrapped about him. His white hair and glacial eyes caught the light from the overhead lamp and made his face appear more brilliant than the rising sun. Romina almost gasped in awe realizing the man wasn’t exactly what she thought he was. 

He was something else. 

Something more. 

“You will soon know all the secrets kept from all of mankind. It won’t matter if you don’t believe… In time, you will.”

Romina looked up at the man, shrinking away from him as his presence became overwhelming. His gaze was no longer tender or fatherly. Instead, it pressed down like a weighted blanket. He stood over her a moment before gathering the links of her shackles between his talon-like fingers.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God. Hell is real. What you saw was real. And there are worse things than death in this world.”

The man pulled at the chains until the links bent and pulled apart. Romina looked down at her broken binds, then at the man.

“What are you?”

“I am what you will become...”



[Exert from Current first rough draft project Hellseeker: The Awakening]




March 11, 2023 02:27

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3 comments

Mary Bendickson
18:15 Mar 16, 2023

Good luck with this. Great segment!

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Michał Przywara
00:21 Mar 13, 2023

That's a neat take on the prompt. Definitely feels like the start of something bigger, and I see it's indeed an excerpt. The man says to trust in God, but his offer has a bit of a "deal with the devil" vibe. It's not much of a choice, is it? Here's a mysterious stranger, who's powerful and secretive and probably dangerous, but on the other hand, prison for something she didn't do, and execution. Critique-wise, I think it had good pacing. Her incredulity is believable, and we get the backstory without being knocked out of the dialogue. The ...

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Nicole Farmer
22:38 Mar 13, 2023

It is exactly that! I'm thrilled this gave what I was trying in earnest to give LOL. The scene does play a bit further, but in keeping with the restraints of the prompt and not wanting to cross over the 3K mark, I did make some adjustments, but yes, this is an exert and I'm already about 30K into the project. Still working on it and hoping to have it fully realized by the end of Spring.

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