Elliot woke slowly and with a sense of clarity.
She gazed at the ceiling for a drawn moment, wallowing in the silent darkness with either hand resting on her belly. Eventually, and with a soft sigh, she rolled onto her side and peered at the clock by her nightstand.
She had barely four hours of sleep, and yet her body replied with a certain energy, unable to let her succumb to the darkness. Despite the lack of sleep, she felt mildly rejuvenated and eager.
Eager. Elliot mused, what an odd word for such a situation.
With a groan, she kicked the blankets aside and sat upright, allowing her bare feet to press on the cold floor. The contact woke her instantly.
Elliot reached for the bedside lamp, the only working light in the bedroom, and clicks it on. Her room is normal-sized, perhaps a tad bit small, but that had never truly bothered her. Her suitcases remained shut at the foot of the bed, the only ones she had opened happened to be those that contained her documents.
Padding noiselessly towards the window, she pulls the curtain back with her index finger and studies the world before her. The street is empty, tall street lights casting warm glows of yellow and white intermittently. Quiet and dead.
Unlike Manhattan city which would be buzzing with life at this hour, this town was mute at such an hour. Then again why would they wake so early? It was a sleepy, quiet, humble town.
Elliot’s gaze flickers about listlessly before she steps back and lets the curtain fall shut. Approaching her suitcase, she unzips it and rummages through the minimal contents for her outdoor outfit. Stripping off her oversized band tee, Elliot shrugs on her sports bra, a clean pair of underwear and jogging shorts. Wearing her socks and sneakers, she connects her iPod and earphones before slipping it into her pocket.
Heading for the door, she stopped and pivoted, swiping her Glock and tucking that into the back waistband of her shorts. Though the town was quiet and sane, it did not mean certain deviants lurked in the darkness.
She had learned that the hard way.
The night air is frigid cold and as Elliot inhales, she feels it grate her lungs like knives slicing skin. She starts in a quick walk, stretching her arms overhead and forehead, allowing her ankles to flex and warm up before she begins.
Once warm enough, she decides it’s time to jog. Her medium gate is almost soundless as her runners kiss the concrete and blood begins to pump in her constricted veins, providing heat where there was only cold. She follows a random path down the streets and turns a corner, branching towards what seemed like a park.
The path winds through the land, and music blasts in her ears, blocking out the sounds of her measured panting. Running had always been a way to clear her mind, and she did it ritually every morning as a reward for surviving another day on this hellish earth.
While she ran, her mind was blank. It relaxed and allowed her to simply be.
The iron-railing of the park, all but invisible in the inkiness, are soon behind her and the tall concrete buildings of the Eastside loom large. She bounced up and down to the steady rhythm of her music. Stick sweat soaked her light hoodie.
She panted as she wiped her mouth on her sleeve. She could only imagine how badly she stunk. But something about the run made her feel rejuvenated. She stopped at a sleek, erect water fountain. Faint light tinting the eastern horizon in shades of orange and grey. Elliot sighed and stooped low for a large drink before straightening and wiping at her mouth again.
Her eyes scoured the park and the street next to it. The bookstores and houses.
No sign of life.
Her gaze swept over the stores, noting how they had been boarded up by the window, thick silver chains and locks placed over the front. The houses had their curtains were drawn over, cars parked within garages and those that hadn’t had been covered with silver materials.
Elliot’s head angled towards her back where the path winded down a few slopes and hills until finally, it disappeared into the woods. She studied the trees which in the growing daylight seemed less frightening but still tall… looming.
She shook her head and turned onto the path where she had come from.
Jack leaned across the passenger seat and grinned up at her through the partially lowered window, “Well, good morning to you too.”
Elliot studied his face a moment before opening the back seat and dropping her briefcase and bag on the seat. She shut it and entered the front passenger seat, coffee mug in hand. “You’re late.” She repeated, humorlessly, and Jack caught onto her serious mood.
His smile dropped, a sheepish smile curling as he rubbed the back of his neck, “Yeah, about that, I overslept-”
“It’s eight-thirty,” Elliot spoke, sipping her black coffee tentatively with her gaze fixated on the windscreen ahead. The day was slightly dark with light precipitation pattering on the roof overhead, “thirty minutes late to work, Jack. Which for me, as a new representative, is a wrong first impression.”
Jack backed out of her driveway, his adam’s apple bobbing whilst swallowing a thick, nervous glob. “Yeah I’m sorry about that, I’ll take the bl-”
“I do not want you to take the blame,” Elliot cut him off rather cooly, already pulling out her phone and swiping through numerous emails that had piled while she slept, “I want you to take responsibility and wake up in time. If you cannot do that, I would rather hire my own car for rent.” Her steady gaze finally rose to his side profile, “can you do that, Jack? Can you get me to work on time as you had been assigned to do?”
Jack cast her a sidelong glance, hectic hues had formed on his cheekbones, clearly flustered over being reprimanded by a female. “Yes ma’am.”
Their gazes locked for a brief moment, and through it, Elliot sees sincerity and slight shame on his part. Her features soften with a sigh, “Thank you.” She turns back to her phone and sorts her myriads of email from important to miscellaneous.
A missed call from her Boss back in Manhattan followed by a text.
Check your email once you settle in.
“How was your night?” Jack drew her attention from the phone, and Elliot took another sip of her coffee, allowing time to filter through her thought process.
“It was fine,” she concluded.
Jack nodded with a pleasant hum and drummed his fingers on the steering wheel. When the silence drew itself, he cast her a funny look; “My night was great as well, thanks for asking Winter.”
“Great enough to sleep in, I assume.” She concluded, and he began to speak but thought otherwise. Their building came to view seconds later.
“This is it.” Jack pulled into the partial empty parking lot. Elliot opened the door and straightened her suit pants, adjusting the white blouse she wore. Opening the back seat, she shrugs on her suit jacket and picks both bags.
“Let me-” Jack slid on his messenger bag and carried her briefcase. Elliot shot him a small smile then turned forward, each step of hers was purposeful and deliberate - the hard clicking of heels as they walked across the parking lot and into the building.
The outside resembled the inside. Hardly taken care of. Stained walls, stained carpets, the front desk was empty.
Elliot drew to a halt, casting her gaze about inquiringly. “Where is the front secretary?”
“Uh-” Jack looked about as well then let out another apologetic smile.
Elliot’s lips tighten at the corners, a muscle in her cheek jumping at the realization that half the precinct’s members were late. Desks cluttered, papers on the floor, coffee spills. Those that were present sat hunched over their desks, yawning and rubbing their eyes of exhaustion.
Her gaze is that of disapproval while flickering from one face to another, furniture to floors and walls to doors. It was a rundown precinct. No wonder their residents had every reason to be afraid and board up their stores and houses. The police could hardly do the job.
“Where is my office?”
“Right this way,” Jack jumped ahead, relieved to draw her attention elsewhere for her mood began to darken and the atmosphere around dimmed.
Elliot followed close by his heels, then hovered by the doorway of her new office space, scrutinizing everything her gaze could touch. A simple empty desk, metallic cabinet, two couches placed against the wall and shelf. Her window overlooked the forest in the distance.
“Do you like it?” Jack inquired rather shyly as she moved about, touching an item here and there, testing the sturdiness of her desk as she leaned on it and placed her briefcase down.
Elliot sucked her inner cheek as her hands came in contact with the wooden surface, and squeezed. Finally, she met his attentive eyes, “Have everyone by the board room at nine-thirty, no earlier and no later than that.”
“Oh, okay- may I ask what this is about?”
“This is about everything, jack.” Elliot pushed off the table and approached the window, she drew the curtains further apart, scrunching her nose as dust tickled her nostrils. “It’s about damn time someone did something to this place.”
The board room was bustling with life, but not the energetic kind. A nervous, grump sort of atmosphere as employees grumbled to each other, whispering about the new arrival.
They fell silent at the sound of approaching footsteps, all eyes darting towards the entrance as the woman made herself known. With her hair cut short to the nape of her neck, Elliot sharp unapproachable features seemed to soften, if not by much. And though she stood at five feet five, her aura of dominance was enough to raise her an extra three feet. She moved like liquid, each step calculated, each breath measured.
“Good morning,” Elliot regarded the crowd, shutting the door just as an employer jogged to catch up. She shook her head and waved a dismissive hand. Tardiness was unacceptable. “Seeing how much time has been wasted, three hours to be precise, since morning until now I would prefer to keep this meeting short.” Elliot set the briefcase down and clicked the buckles open, she glanced up last minute and smiled - it did not reach her eyes. “Is that fine?”
The people seemed taken aback by the short, petite woman. Some unnerved, others stunned, while a certain handful just looked on with slight scowls at the audacity to storm into their precinct and make her presence known.
Grumbled agreements echoed. Elliot nodded and handed a file to Jack, “Jack will hand every one of your papers with rules and regulations I had drafted. This includes what time you are meant to be in the office, penalties for tardiness, your dress code-” she openly eyed a man with stains over his cop uniform, another woman’s all-too tight bottoms which outlined her underwear and finally another man who had begun to light his cigarette only to still beneath her cool gaze.
He lowered the lighter, and she nodded.
“Read over the rules, each morning we will have ten-minute briefings where all of you will update me on the town’s status. As of now, I am still new and need to learn the ropes, therefore, I would appreciate it if you could all draft the problems currently occurring... including security breaches.” A pause, her heart was thundering for some unknown reason; “I know this may come as overwhelming information but before you make me your enemy, remember that I am on your side. There is only one reason as to why I am here.”
A certain uncomfortable yet knowing silence fell int he room.
Elliot studied each passive face, “The Lycans.” Lycans. Beasts. Hybrid wolves. Leaders. Power holders. “The Lycan Hunt and Security team would not have sent me had they known that I would be of no use. But they knew that I am skillful and well experienced in this area.”
“So respect me, and I will respect you. Trust me, and I will trust you. Disrespect me, and I will shove my gun so far up your ass, you’ll taste gun powder for a month.” For the first time in a long time, Elliot smiled genuinely, “Understood? She did not wait for their response, already gesturing their leave. “Get to work people, remember to send me your documents of what you do and how much you have achieved over the past three months... including the current security problems.”
Jack whistled lowly as they began to file out of the room, still in shock and slight dazes over what had just occurred; “I think they hate you.”
“They won’t be the first,” Elliot muttered, shutting her briefcase.
“So,” he began to walk by her side, keeping in stride with her short but hurried footsteps. “What now?”
“Now,” Elliot entered her office, “we visit the pack.”
“The pack?” Jack’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion, then smoothed over as shock settled. “We can’t.”
Elliot sat on the couch and kicked off her heels, pulling on converse in their stead for comfort considering she would be walking for long “What do you mean ‘we can’t’ Jack?”
“I mean what I said, we can’t.”
“And why is that?”
“No one is allowed without special permission.”
Elliot faltered, her gaze straying to his; “What do you mean ‘special permission’?” And then she remembered. Check your email. Cursing softly, Elliot rose and made for her laptop. She scrolled through her email and clicked on the first unopened marked ‘important.’
“You’re fucking joking.” She whispers in shocking deflation.
Jack whistles behind her, reading the email as well. “As much as I fear you... I just have to say... I told you so.”
Scowling, she turned a deaf ear to his words and focused on the email.
Dear Miss Winter,
In regards to your mission as a rule enforcer into the Lycan territory, we are saddened to inform you that you will not have access to enter them unless you seek permission from the following people;
Warren, CEO of Bank of America.
Janet Yellen, Chair of the Board of Governors of the USA Army.
John Lucrat, the current President of the United States.
However, you should know that though they may grant you approval and access, the final decision lies in the hand of their leader.
Bureau of Lycan Enforcers.
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