Prompt Short Story: Magic (Lawkeepers 9)

18 year old Annie Jenings was bored. She’d done her chores  – swept and mopped the floor, filled up the horse feed, generally tidied the three roomed building she lived in with her one remaining parent, and now she was bored. Her da was supposed to be tending to the health of the horses – walking, brushing, whatever – for the folk who paid him, but she was pretty sure he was at the inn, drinking away the money she hadn’t stolen while he slept, and squirrelled away for food.

She supposed that meant he would be gone until the money ran out or the inn kicked him out to sober up. Annie brightened a little, that meant she didn’t need to be bored at home. She could go and visit Irving! 

Irving Napier was the 28 year old son of the oldest, and richest, family in the village, and Annie was in the process of trying to seduce him. She had played the game before, on boys her own age, but never seriously (and didn’t some of them get upset about that!), but Irving was different. Not for his money, though that would do nicely. No. He was a shy man, pale from a lifetime spent in study, but beneath the surface was an intelligent, funny, gentle person, and Annie was carefully peeling back his layers. She liked what she found, but she also liked his area of study.

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Prompt Short Story: Memories (Lawkeepers 8)

Shia and Patterson poured blood-spiked coffee from the carafe – hers black, with plenty of sugar, theirs with cream and even more sugar.

“How are we doing this, then, boss?” Shia asked, leaning against the counter.

Patterson tilted their head in thought, “This dude’s a telepath – and by all accounts, a strong one. I think we persuade him to show, rather than tell.”

Shia nodded, “OK. You or me? Or can he do both?”

“That’s one of the things we need to find out. But first, we need to make him talk to us.”

The pair had run down yet another lead on the witch. On arrival, they found yet another almost abandoned house, the only person there a short, weedy man, tied to a chair with multiple bruises.

His relief at being freed made him open his mouth to begin with. Before his reticence had returned on the way to the Lawkeeper station, he had revealed that the witch – or her cronies, at least – had captured him some weeks ago, and were trying to get him to use his powers as a tracker. According to his rap sheet, this was his regular job, so quite why he required kidnapping for it, neither were sure, and at this question he had remembered himself enough to shut up.

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Prompt Short Story: Diet (Lawkeepers 7)

Shia kicked the door closed with one boot, hands full of grocery bags, keys in her mouth. She mumbled at Frankie as she poked her head out of the home office.

Frankie grinned, interpreting the grunts as the request for help that they were, “I can help, one sec.” She disappeared back into the room and returned in a few seconds, bare feet padding across the hardwood floor to the breakfast bar.

She began passing items to Shia, who placed them in their correct spots – cupboard, fridge, freezer, counter, “Good day?”

Shia shrugged, “Quiet one. No sign of the witch, she’s gone to ground again and Patterson is getting antsy. Did manage to bust a couple of vamps trying to trick humans into being eaten, though, so that was good.”

Frankie steeled herself, “So when you find the witch. Like. What then? You go in with lots of backup and keep out of danger, right? You’ve told me how powerful she is, surely Patterson won’t let you in the way of her magic?”

Shia’s shoulders stiffened and she half-turned to Frankie, voice ever so slightly cold, “Patterson and I will decide together at that time, and if finally catching her means going into danger, then that’s what I’ll do.”

“And what about me? If you die, what do I do?” Frankie asked, handing over a packet of deli ham. “Your blood keeps me alive, it fights my leukaemia. Without it, I’m dead.”

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Prompt Short Story: Blood (Lawkeepers 6)

The first human to reach over 130 years old stared out of the car window as they passed through the neighbourhood he had grown up in.

“This was so different in my younger days,” he sighed, almost to himself.

The driver nodded politely and made an agreeing noise, unsure if the old man could even see or hear them through his reverie.

A medical marvel, he was. Not only the first human to reach 130 (and still that – 30 years later, nobody else had come close than 120), but also, apparently, regenerating. Aging downwards. Becoming younger by the year.

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Prompt Short Story: Messages (Lawkeepers 5)

Arriving home, Kyra locked the door to her flat, her shoulders visibly slumping as she let the weight of the day pass. She removed her coat and scarf, hanging them on an old-fashioned hat stand. She looked longingly for a moment at the soft sofa, then shook her head. Later. There was one more thing she had to do today.

Kyra entered the darkened room and closed the door behind her, activating the deadlock ward with one thumb. A light shimmer passed over the door, confirming that nobody else could enter.

She turned to the room itself. It was small, barely more than a cupboard.. A ball of light magic cast a soft glow over a desk and chair. On the desk, sat a black box.

Kyra pulled out the chair and sat down. She turned two sets of dials on the box to the right combination, and snapped open the double lock. The front and top opened, and she pushed the box towards the back of the desk as she reached inside.

Cradled carefully in her slender hands was an old, battered typewriter. The metal casing gave it weight, and the slight aura of magic gave it gravity, as she set it down within reach and laid her fingers on the keys.

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Prompt Short Story: The Boss (Lawkeepers 4)

Kyra folded her arms and sat back in her chair, “You want to do what, now?!”

Patterson looked over at Shia, who shrugged, and back at their boss, “I want to set a trap for Justinia.”

“Using yourself as bait.”

Patterson nodded.

“And me as a lure.”

Patterson nodded again. 

Kyra reached up to run her hands through her hair, then remembered she’d had it cut short last week in a moment of…self doubt? Madness? Need for change? Something. She already missed the hair that reached down to her tailbone. It would take years to grow back. She sighed. She knew why she’d done it, and it was too late now.

Patterson was patiently awaiting her attention. Their reaction to her haircut had been extreme, but then, they understood, at least a little. They’d known each other a long time, as friends, then lovers, then friends again. She had moved up the ranks while Patterson had chosen to remain in the field, determined to capture Justinia. She understood, but sometimes that meant saving them from themselves.

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Prompt Short Story: Remembering (Lawkeepers #3)

Patterson shifted in their sleep, the cot in the back of the van creaking as they sought a comfortable position. Shia looked back in concern as they gave a whimper. And then another.

With a sharp intake of breath, Patterson woke, one arm flailing to escape the blanket. They looked around, their soft brown eyes wide, taking deep breaths as they brought themselves back to the here and now.

In the apartment. Across from a large, empty, rundown building. Another stakeout, a long one this time, information gathering rather than taking action. It meant downtime, time to think, time to dream. Time to remember.

Losing the witch again had triggered a flood that Patterson had long been holding back. There had been no sign of her since, and the captive they’d taken was unable to tell them anything about her whereabouts, as he had only ever seen her as a projection. As far as Patterson was concerned, the other information he was spouting in hopes of making a deal could be dealt with by someone else. And yet, here they were, following up a lead from the guy.

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Prompt Short Story: Stakeout (Lawkeepers 2)

Patterson stretched in the back of the black van, their eyes never leaving the monitors showing feeds of the front and back of the house.

Shia yawned and slumped further down in her chair, I. Am. So. Bored!”

Patterson shrugged, “Sometimes that’s the job. You want be a Lawkeeper, you have to take the fun with the…less fun.”

“Sitting in a van, drinking coffee-laced blood, staring at screens where nothing is happening. Definitely the less fun.”

Patterson leaned back in their chair, “My first long stakeout was watching the entrance to a cave lair – there were more of those back then, houses were still the place where humans lived, only the fanciest of extranaturals dared join the natural world. We’d been tipped off that this was where a particularly nasty creature was taking young men from nearby towns. We didn’t know what creature it was, so we had to watch and find out. Anyway, me and my mentor, Xulien, sat for three days, in a hastily constructed tree blind, waiting for something to happen. Eventually, it came out to get its next meal. Turned out to be a rather large and especially ugly Manticore.”

“A what?”

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Prompt Short Story: Lawkeepers

Pattinson straightened their suit jacket as they got out of their car. Sniffing the air, they sighed as the scent of blood permeated the miscellaneous smells of a quiet neighbourhood. She never waited for them. Always eager, always running in ahead.

Opening the front door of the house they had spent most of the last 3 days watching, they stared at the bodies on the ground, at the girl covered in blood.

Her eyes narrowed as she stood up, “You’re late.”

“You’re overeager.”

She snorted, licking blood from her fingers, tongue darting quickly between her extended fangs.

“Took a minute longer than expected to persuade the Council of our findings. Fortunately for you, they agreed to the execution order.”

“Of course they die, these ghouls were killing people for their parts. They knew the laws, they broke them, they paid. Drink up while it’s still warm, then you can take me somewhere nice before you do the boring paperwork.”

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