“Okay people. I know it’s been a long night, and that it is now dawn, but we need to find this person’s background information, hunt them down, and bring them in. Granted there was no actual killing, but nonetheless, they need to be brought in.”
The research crew was silent, restless; needing sleep. The chief was growing impatient and rubbed his balding head.
“Okay, you can all go to the lounge or the dorms for a couple hours, but 2 hours only. You’ll feel a lot better afterwards.”
Everyone got up and headed to their desired spot for rest. Everyone, that is, except one. Chief was about to leave himself, but then heard typing, and saw the top of the woman’s head. He sighed and walked over to her.
“You can go and rest now.” But the woman didn’t answer. He grew puzzled and said it again.
“I don’t need rest,” she replied. “I need straight facts, and you need to know who she is.”
He walked around the computers and stood behind her chair.
“What are you looking at?” he asked leaning in.
“I think you should see this,” she said in return and pulled up a clip from the security camera that was above the counter. The chief watched intently as the clip rolled.
“Watch her as SWAT comes in.” He did so but didn’t see anything.
“You see it?” she asked, but he said, “See what?”
“I’ll slow it down, and make sure your full attention is on her. She’s the shadowed figure to the right.”
Rewinding it, she slowed it down and played it again. He watched carefully. She crouched there for a moment, and after she handed the witness the figurine, it looked like she disappeared into thin air.
“Wait, wait, wait. Rewind it a little. Keep going, keep going, stop. Pause it right there.”
The screen froze as he looked at it harder. The picture was blurred, but she did not disappear into thin air. She, in fact, ran faster than the average human being.
“She didn’t just evaporate.” He pointed to the blur. “She ran.” The woman grew confused. “That’s impossible. No one can run that fast.”
The chief stood and pondered this for a moment. “Doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. But then again, we’re not ones to go and throw logic out the window and begin looking into the silly supernatural shenanigan horse wash either.”
During that time, Iris made had finished 25 out of the 60 chores her uncle assigned.
“Time for a quick break,” she told herself and headed to an unlived part of the forest. Her feet made her move like the wind and found a nice open spot to relax. Finding a comfortable spot of grass, she sat down crisscrossed and laid down with her arms crossed in front of her.
Iris dozed for a while, but then a sound in the distance made her jump. She lifted her head abruptly, and her tiger-like claws came out. Silence - that was never a good sign. Iris looked around slowly and allowed her fangs to slowly come down, ready for attack. Nothing sounded, and nothing appeared. She smirked.
“Let’s have a little fun, shall we?” she said aloud and rushed to a hiding place.
The person who was behind her was now confused. “Where’d she go?” they thought, scanning the terrain. They took another step, this time looking to make sure they didn’t make a sound. Iris didn’t know where this person was, or who, but she intended to find out. She looked but saw nothing. The person continued stepping one step at a time in silence, but then they tripped.
Iris turned sharply towards where the cry came from.
They had forgotten they were sneaking up on her.
Iris smiled, and dashed out to the middle of the opening again, acting like she was asleep. The person got up and looked ahead. “Huh? She wasn’t there a minute ago.” They thought, but nevertheless, they continued forward and held the camera up to their eye. Iris knew what they planned to do, so just before they took the shot, she dug her claws into the ground and zoomed off in the other direction. The flash went off, but she was gone in an almost ghost-like manner. They thought they got her, but as they looked up, Iris was no longer there. They looked back and forth, but not behind.
“Trying to capture me in my true form, are you?”
They stood straight and flushed pale in fear.
She snatched the camera and threw it away, which caused him to turn around, and the camera to break.
“Hey!” he said, but stopped, seeing her appearance.
She cocked her head, and before he could stutter a syllable, she hit his sternum with her lower palm, which sent him flying into the opening. He landed on his back and was out of breath. Iris crouched down, and leapt out of the shadows, landing just above the man. His eyes widened, and she placed her index finger on his chest. “What is your name, little fawn?”
“Uh, duh, de, uh...”
She shook her head and put pressure on her finger. “Just spit it out!”
“Alright, alright. It’s Arthur. Arthur Headwieler. I work for the press.”
“Mm. And why would you be out here in the middle of the woods, where no one lives for miles?”
“Well, f-for, uh.” She pressed again. “Ou, okay for a job. It was for a job I was assigned to.”
“By who? What is the name of your employer?”
“Albert Genievo. He’s my boss.”
“Genievo? As in the owner of Genievo Press?”
“Yes. Yes. That’s where I work.”
Iris pondered why the press would want to see her, and how they even heard of her. She looked at Arthur again, and asked, “How does Genievo know of my existence?”
He was quiet, not knowing the answer.
She sliced his chest with all of her fingers, and he wailed in pain. “That’s a warning. You answer me right away. None of that stuttering, and ‘uh, well’ nonsense. Understand?”
“Now tell me how he knows I exist.”
“Look, all I know is that he spends late nights in the office and hacks into the security service computers, and checks out what’s been happening.”
“Is that so?”
He swallowed and nodded. “That’s all I know.”
Iris looked ahead, and thought things over, while he stayed quiet. Looking back down at Arthur, she leaned in beside his ear. “I will spare your life if you do a job for me.” He listened. “Break into his office, look at the computer’s history, and print out all the information about me you find. Do that, and bring it all in a box back here by noon on Friday. If you fail...the consequences, will be severe.” She lifted her hand from his chest, but he remained still. With Iris standing up, he slowly sat up.
“What are you doing sitting there? Go!” She told him, and he scurried off, but then she cut him off, with her hand held out in front of her. He stopped short, almost falling, and she spoke. “Another thing. You breed a word about what just happened, you’ll go to jail for treason, fraud and hacking into government files. Do you understand?”
She hid her fangs, he nodded, and she let him pass. She sighed.
“Just what I need. Publicity.”
Later, Iris returned home and went to her room.
“Iris, you’re early. Everything alright?”
“Can you just turn on some meditation music?”
“Oh, rough break?”
“New problem emerged, and I need to meditate to think about it.”
“I’ll pull out the bamboo set.”
“Think you should add some wind, rain, or river sounds too.”
“As you wish.”
The music started playing, and she changed into her meditation outfit. Oriental in origin, but it’s what she called it. Charles opened a wall that went up vertically, and she entered the bright white room. Bamboo stood on either side of the room, and a sandbox of light, soft sand dipped down. In front of it, a scenic view of a clear blue sky as far as the eye could see. She took a seat on an oriental pillow, crisscrossed, put the back of her hands on her knees, closed her eyes, and began to sink into the limbo of deep thought. Charles was kind enough to close the door so she wasn’t disturbed.
She sat there for two hours before her uncle came to the main door, outside the room.
“I’m sorry sir, she’s meditating. Has been for a couple hours now, actually,” Charles said to him.
“She’s trying to clear her mind of nonsense so she can be at ease.”
“Oh. Well, when she’s done, can you be kind enough to tell her that I stopped by?”
“Of course, sir.”
Back inside the hidden room, she still sat lost in thought. The music continued its soothing melody, and the sounds of nature furthered the calmness that helped Iris to clear her mind. Whenever she would meditate in the past, she didn’t emerge for several hours at a time. Charles remembered a time where she stayed in that room for two weeks without eating, sleeping, or even moving a single muscle. Today, he was hoping she didn’t do that again for she had things to take care of.
A few more hours passed, and she hadn’t moved. Charles began to wonder what exactly it was she was thinking of, but he dared not disturb her. Then, as a song ended, she opened her eyes, and they almost beamed a fierce green, they were so bright. Charles sensed she had moved, stopped the music before another song could play, and opened the door.
He hesitated as he pulled up the timer. “Nine hours.”
She walked on to her flight platform.
“Are you sure you want to do that right after meditating, mistress?”
She turned to her right and grabbed a flight suit. “Where are my wings?”
“Over in the deck storage. Why?”
Iris didn’t answer and just went straight to it. Understanding her logical train of thought, he didn’t speak another word. She slipped on the stabilizer tail onto her ankles, and then strapped on the wings themselves to her arms.
“Are you tagging along, Charles?”
He was silent, but then answered, “Not this time. I think you should deal with this one on your own.”
She shrugged, and pressed the button that opened the ceiling, and spread her arms. Gently flapping twice, she began to hover, and flapping a third time, she shot up to the evening sky.
The city was all alight as she reached her maximum point, and then she started to glide with the currents of the wind. Every once in a while, she’d flap her feather tipped wings to stay at maximum height, and she continuously scanned the grounds for a suitable spot to land where she felt the need to. Iris soared for 15 minutes before she found an opening in a small group of trees that seemed to spark her need to land. Just as soon as she saw the spot, she lifted her head, causing her to spike, and then she folded her wings down that made her plummet towards the ground. The wind rushed past her like a comet to the atmosphere, and she dropped closer and closer to the ground. Just before she hit the ground, she let out her wings with a jerk and allowed her feet to get to their rightful place. Then, as she landed, she put her fist to the ground and knelt. Iris lifted her head, almost glaring, and the glint of the park light created a ray across her eyes, which made them glow like those of a cat. Voices were heard from the front side of the trees she lay low behind, and she crawled with the prowess of a jungle cat to get closer without revealing herself.
“I’m telling you, Justice, something weird is out there, and if you’re not careful, it may come after you.”
One of the shadowed figures said, “Don’t be ridiculous Jay. I don’t believe in such things.”
Then the taller figure grabbed the smaller one up by the collar. “So just get your job done so we can move on with our pointless, little lives. Got it?” He asked shaking him once. The small one nodded, and the taller one dropped him. Iris recognized the name, Justice, but stayed down to see what they planned to do next. As the small one fell, he shuffled his feet and ran the other way, but then a third figure appeared out of the shadows. “Give you 50 bucks if you hit him at the base of the neck.” The tall one said, and then Iris saw a glint of a knife being pulled out, and then knew she had to take action.
The third figure raised the knife to throw it, and then Iris made her wings attach to her back and grow dark and ugly. Removing the stabilizer tail, she zoomed by the third figure and yanked the knife from his hand.
“What’s wrong?” the tall one asked.
“My knife’s gone.”
Iris hid behind the tree that was behind them and tossed the knife aside. She didn’t notice, but she had been cut.
“What do you mean gone? He’s getting away! Knowing Jay, he’s probably going to tell the authorities.”
“And that’s my problem because?”
“Hey. I hired you so that you could fix this problem. Not so that you can drop your knife and let him get away.”
“Exactly. You hired me. Therefore, it is not my problem.”
“Of course, it is!”
“Look. I’m an assassin, not a magician.”
Now was her moment, so she jumped out from the shadowed tree with a thud. The two men jumped and turned to face her.
“Who’s there?” they asked after a moment of silence.
Iris closed her eyes tight for a moment and then opened them. “Your worst nightmare,” she said with a voice that did not belong to her; the voice was deep and gruff, almost demonic. The two of them took a step back as she came into the light, revealing her dark winged body, claws and fangs. Since her hair was tied tight behind her head, it was easy to think that she was a man. Iris showed her pearly whites in the light that was there, which made her fangs even more noticeable, and they shuttered.
Just as it looked like they were going to run, she struck at them, causing both of them to fall on their stomach. Though the air was knocked out of them, they turned around and tried to get back up as they saw glowing green eyes pop out of the darkness. Scared, the assassin got up and started to run, but Iris looked up and leapt out at him - wings catching the air rushing by her, and she caught him.
“Ah!” he cried as she carried him to the water tower on which she stood on two nights before.
Setting him down, she then went to Justice, who was well on the run. Growling, and scanning a suitable place to pluck him from the ground, she then plunged down behind him.
“This is going to be close,” she thought as she saw him closing in on the main streets.
She flapped to gain speed, and then extended her hands to reach for his arms. Justice glanced back to see if he was being followed, only to see that she was nipping at his heels.
His pace quickened, but not enough to lose her. They drew closer to the streets that were being used, and Iris knew it was now or never. Glaring, she flapped again, and snatched him upright as his right foot hit the pavement, and zoomed up at an angle so she didn’t cause unexplained damage. Justice struggled, but, surprisingly, she was the stronger. She flew up and then turned upside down to head back to the water tower.
“Whoa! Ah! Put me down!”
She simply turned her body back around with a jerk that made his left arm come loose.
They got to the tower, where the assassin was looking for a way down, and she threw Justice down, for he was holding on for dear life since his arm came loose. As he landed quite harshly, she circled the tower.
“Ou,” Justice said upon his landing.
Iris, still having the gruff voice, then asked them her questions.“Why were you about to kill Jay?”
“How do you know,”
“Why?” she shouted, interrupting, and because they were scared, they answered without hesitation.
“He, he was part of something big. One of my jobs and he grew scared and was gonna turn us in because of it.”
“What job?” she asked hovering a moment in front of them, and then as Justice answered, she continued circling slowly.
“We, we were going to kidnap the mayor’s daughter, and then steal some nuclear things from the docks, use her for ransomed and threat to blow the city.”
“Well I suggest you don’t because it will take your lives either way,” she replied. “Now tell me. Where have you stowed all those young women and children you kidnapped all these years?”
“How-,” Justice began, but then the assassin nudged him, telling him not to ask questions. However, Iris heard him and flew close to his face. “Answer the question!” she shouted, scratching his face across an eye.
His head turned in pain, but he answered out of fear for his life. “In an unoccupied part of the forest!”
“The authorities have already searched there. It was the first part of town the thought to search.”
“They didn’t find them because they’re not out in the open.”
“Then where in the forest did you hide them?” she asked, perching in front of him. Her wings were still extended to show dominance, and bring an unwelcomed fear to their hearts.
He stuttered but managed to say, “Underground. In a cellar that only I can get to.”
This interested Iris and she brought her face closer as she tilted it. “And why is it that only you can get to it?”
Justice realized his mistake, and stayed quiet for a moment, but spat it out as she put her sharp claw under his chin with a slight pressure. “Because there’s a tunnel from my house to that cellar!”
Iris turned his head to face her with the claw that remained under his chin. The moonlight revealed the four cuts across his eye, and she noticed that his chin began to quiver.
“I think you know what I’m going to ask next.”
The assassin stayed silent and brought his knees to his chest as Justice answered.
“2250 Northwood Way. It’s the last house on the left. The tunnel starts in the bedroom closet. You can make your way from there.”
Iris smiled and then slid her finger out from under his chin without scratching him. He let out a large breath and almost started to hyperventilate.
“You will not hurt another soul, nor take those who don’t belong to you.”
She turned to leave, but then stopped, and turned her head to look at him again. “Do yourself a favour. If you’re doing this because you’re lonely…find yourself a girl who will commit to you, and leave it at that.” Justice slouched as she dove down to grab her stabilizer and the knife.
As she flew back up, she threw the knife so that it stuck in the tower just at the assassin’s feet.
“You dropped this…Reginald,” she said to mock them, and carried on, changing her voice back in the meantime. She contacted Charles and confirmed the layout of Reginald’s house to be sure it was the truth that was drawn from his mouth.
“Thank you, Charles.”
“You’re welcome, miss. Um…you didn’t use that big voice of yours again, did you?”
She hesitated, but then said, “Yes, Charles. I used my big voice. I also made my wings look dark and ugly and my eyes glow if you care to know.”
“I did. All were necessary for me to get information out of them. And if I’m correct, he’ll have a party by the time I get there.”
“You’re not going tonight?”
“No. I have some unfinished business to take care of tonight.”
“Aw. Right. That chap who sold the women.”
“Just be careful, Iris. He may have grown wise, and rallied his friends to help fight you with weapons we cannot heal easily.”
“Stuff ‘n’ nonsense. He was too scared to do such a thing.”
They finished their conversation, and Iris continued to fly her way to where he worked.