Alex Entry 1
The breeze was light in my hair as I squinted through the scope. It was a cool summer night and there would have been a chill on my back if Dustin hadn’t been standing so close to me. His body was much warmer than my own and I could feel the heat radiating off him as leaned over to look at the ground below us. “Steady Alex, you don’t want to miss.” He chuckled as I flicked a strand of my hair from my view. I sighed to let him know I was through with his coaching. “Are you sure he is the one?” he asked just as I brought my breath in, preparing to take my shot.
This comment was enough to really piss me off, so I turned to him and gave him a look that made him instantly raise his hands in defense. “Sorry, you know best.” He chuckled as I turned back to the scope of the gun.
I took in a deep breath as I had every time before, my finger found the cool metal of the sniper rifle easily and as my breath left my lungs, I pulled it. My target was dead in an instant, I saw the blackness of his life force leave his body quickly, snuffed out by my bullet.
Dustin nodded to me as I turned back around and began to pack up the rifle into its case. “You did good Alex, especially for your first time with this gun. A few more weeks with it and you’ll probably be the best shot in the world with it.” He smiled, obviously proud of me.
Unlike a lot of the others, Dustin had somehow come to expect me to amaze him with feats like this. That’s probably why I spent the most time with Dustin, he didn’t look at me like I was some freak of nature. Of course, I definitely am a freak of nature, but that doesn’t give anyone the right to look at me like I’m one.
When we got back to The Big House, I kicked the door open since Dustin and I both had our hands full of weapon cases. The entrance way was empty, but the piles of shoes scattered across it told me that everyone else was already home. Dustin and I walked down the hallway to the kitchen where I could smell my dad’s chili cooking on the stove.
“We’re home!” I announced upon walking through the archway and into the kitchen.
Suddenly everyone was on their feet. The twenty or so people who had been sitting by the fireplace in our kitchen stood and clustered around Dustin and I. Taking cases out of our hands and asking us all sorts of questions.
By this point in my life, I was fairly used to the muddle of people that occupied my home. We didn’t call it ‘The Big House’ for nothing. It was old and sprawling, with winding hallways and narrow rooms scattered all over the place. The favorite place of most of my family however, was the kitchen, that’s where my dad was usually up late cooking until the last of us trickled home and got something to eat before bed.
Tonight it seemed Dustin and I were the last home, since we were greeted eagerly by most of the older members of the family, the younger ones less prevalent as most of them were probably in bed already.
“I hope you’re hungry sweetie because your father made your favorite, chili.” My Aunt Lilliana, Dustin’s mom, smiled. Then she took the last case from my hands and walked down the hallway to my left where the staircase to the basement was.
“Of course she is! It’s not like she’s got her mother’s appetite!” My father joked as he set two bowls of chili down on the counter. Everyone laughed at his joke but I just sighed as Dustin and I sat down to eat at the counter. All of the adults had taken the chairs from the dinner table to sit in front of the empty fireplace with their tea and coffee.
Dustin was still chuckling when we sat down. I rolled my eyes. “What? It’s still funny even after hearing it for the thousandth time.” He shrugged.
I smiled and shook my head, deciding it was best to concentrate on eating as much chili as possible instead of why Dustin still laughed at the awful jokes my father constantly told. Besides, it isn’t even a big deal. They always joke about what mom is. I thought to myself as I shoveled a spoonful of chili into my mouth. Yeah, just keep telling yourself that Alex. I sighed before focusing all of my thoughts on the chili so I didn’t have to hear the residual laughter leaving my family members’ lips.
After eating three bowls filled to the brim with chili, I was stuffed. On most nights I would have considered staying up and talking with some of the older members of my family but after eating that much chili, and it being out so late and all, I was pretty exhausted. I said goodnight to everyone, including my father, who was just finishing packing the leftover chili in the fridge, and walked up the winding staircase to my bedroom on the third floor.
It was dark in the hallway and dark in my bedroom. I sighed, feeling too lazy to turn on the light I flicked my wrist and a flame snapped into my hand, from there it was just a few more flicks until the candles I had in my room came to life and danced with fire.
Kicking my door closed as I walked inside, I stepped over the pile of books next to my bed and to my dresser, tossing my skin-tight black suit into the hamper and pulling out shorts and a t-shirt. I was planning on brushing my teeth of course, but the chili hit me really hard and I wasn’t particularly interested in standing anymore. So, I decided that before I spent any more energy getting ready for bed I needed to lie down. On your back Alex, you don’t want to explode like a chili stuffed balloon. I smiled before allowing myself to fall onto my bed. Of course, just as I got comfortable, I heard a knock at the door. I mumbled something that sounded vaguely like come in into the pillow I’d thrown over my head. Then I heard someone open the door.
“You did really well today Alex.” Dustin said as he stood in the doorway.
I chuckled and pulled the pillow off my face so he could actually understand what I was saying. “Well, when you mom is a warrior of the lord and your dad is a professional monster hunter, you usually end up with some weaponry skills. You know, mixed in with the glowing eyes and all the other random crap.”
Dustin chuckled uncomfortably. “No Alex, you did a really good job.” He rubbed the back of his neck as he leaned against my doorframe. “It’s not always about your parents you know. Sometimes you are the one who succeeds.”
“Yeah, yeah, sure Dustin.” I rolled my eyes, thoroughly through with him being uncomfortable as I was with him trying to tell me why I was the way I was.
“Well goodnight Alex, see you at breakfast.” Dustin sighed at shut the door. Leaving me to my peace and quiet, and the shadows of my candles flickering in the dark once more.
I looked up over my head to where the set of silver bow and arrows my mother got me for my sixteenth birthday hung above my headboard. I sighed deeply; expelling all the air from my lungs, swirls of silver sparkles erupted from my breath. Of course, if anyone else were watching me, they wouldn’t have seen anything. But I did, freak of nature Alex, whose mom is an angel and dad is a human. A badass human, but still a human.
With that thought, I decided it was best I just go to sleep. There were always nights like this when I would get thinking too much about everything. Thankfully I learned the best way to deal with being me, was to ignore it. With that, I climbed under the covers and with a wave of my hand all the candles in my room went out in an instant.
I wouldn’t consider myself a morning person, but I always manage to wake up easier when I’m at home. I’m not quite sure if it’s the smell of banana pancakes or the sound of my younger cousin’s little feet galloping down the hallways that does it, but somehow I’m always up early enough to catch my grandmother coming back from the market down the street with fresh bread for the toast.
Breakfast time in the big house is a process, it’s certainly not smooth, but somehow we always manage to get everyone one fed and out the door in time to go about their daily routine. It’s the only meal we usually get to eat all together so it’s a little hectic. That’s why when I clomp down the stairs in my fuzzy slippers and my NYC sweatshirt I’m not surprised to find the usual disaster.
The five youngest cousins are all in their usual seats at the counter but they are covered in pancake mix that apparently was spilled as they ran by my dad who was mixing batter and talking on the phone with my grandmother who is furious that the bakery down the street is closed. Of course, my dad is trying frantically to reason with her and explain that it really isn’t imperative that we have toast this morning but she is pretty adamant as usual. Aunt Lilliana is scrambling eggs and trying to explain to her husband, that he shouldn’t be hounding their youngest son, Ben, so much about training and let him have the last year or so he has to be a kid. My grandfather is already sitting at the table with my dad’s youngest brother and are organizing ammo on the breakfast table. Of course, meanwhile my aunt Christine is trying frantically to set the table.
Overall, it was a mess and not everyone was even downstairs yet. Of course, all order usually returned to the younger kids the moment grandmother walked through the door.
Sighing, I took my position inside the kitchen. Placing cups on the counter in front of each of my younger cousins, then I filled them all, pulling the water from the sink in a smooth motion of my hands and transferring it into each cup in one motion. As usual, they all looked at me in awe, despite the fact that I’d probably done this in front of them every morning since they were born. Children are so easily amused.
Next a bowl of batter was thrust into my arms by my father and I began mixing and dolloping onto the open spots on the skillet as my father removed the finished pancakes. With a smile on my face, I decided this was exactly how I wanted my mornings to go for the rest of my life.
“Alexandrea,” my grandmother called to me as I placed another plate in the dishwasher. “I am taking the youngin's here to the park, would you care to join us?”
I smiled and stood up, wiping my hands on a dishtowel. “I would love to grandma, but I have to get debriefed for last night’s mission.”
She nodded and ushered my cousins out of the kitchen and towards the entry way. I sighed and turned back to the dishwasher to stuff the last plate inside. Afterwards I strolled out of the kitchen and swiped my field journal off the table by the basement stairs. Its leather was soft and worn and the pages were tattered from being rained on and tossed around.
As I walked down the rickety stairs to the basement I remembered the day I’d gotten it. Sixteen, that’s when you are supposed to have your first mission, of course, I started much earlier than that. I don’t remember the first time I was dragged along on a mission because I was of use. I must have been five or six. Standing on the sidelines with my father carrying me or walking me around. I was supposed to point out the monster, whoever it was, and then I’d be ushered away by my dad so that the crew could take care of it from there. Of course, Dustin argues that this doesn’t really count since I didn’t really get to participate. He’s right, the day you join the crew is the day you get your field journal. For me, that was my twelfth birthday.
I remember it like it was yesterday. An evening mission, simple, silent. It was the perfect first mission. We had gotten information that there was some type of demon that had set up camp in an abandoned church on the south side of town. We planned to hit at 7pm, of course, since it was late June it was still pretty light out, the crew decided this would be the best time to roll in, considering the demon we were after would probably be laying low before going out that night. I was to be the third man in the door, my uncle Louie would go in first, next would be my dad, and then me, and I’d get to take the shot. One holy water capsule bullet to the heart. The demon would be on the ground in seconds.
Of course, like most first mission stories, mine went just as planned. No surprises, no mistakes. The only thing that didn’t go exactly as I planned was the shock I saw in that demon’s eyes when I entered the room. It must have been the sight of such a little girl gunning him down that frightened him. I almost laughed, if only he knew how unlike any other little girl I was.
I stepped onto the cool stone floor of the basement and walked carefully between the cluttered shelves stacked with books, papers, vials, weapons, anything you can possibly think a family of demon hunters could have accumulated over the years. The back section of the basement was a lot less cluttered than the rest of it, since grandpa insisted on keeping the chairs clear for sitting and the table reasonably clean. That day, all the chairs expect for my chair, the one next to my father, were occupied, and the only things on the table were a case of holy water bullets my grandfather seemed to have been counting, and everyone’s field journals.
I sat down in my seat, which just so happened to be across from Dustin’s. He smiled at me like he always did before our debriefs, it was a smile of encouragement, he was trying to tell me not to be too hard on myself, not to be too critical. Well, as usual Dustin, that is not going to happen. I thought to myself.
“So before we begin the debrief is there any new information to report?” Grandfather asked as usual. To which surprisingly there was no response. “Nothing? Really?” he asked again. We all shook our heads. The demon that Dustin and I had killed was the first one that we’d been informed of in over a week. That wasn’t usual, certainly not for summertime.
Grandfather grumbled something that was probably along the lines of us not looking hard enough and shifted in his seat. “Well let’s get on with the debrief then.” He sighed. “Alex, full synopsis on the target.”
I cleared my throat. “Class C demon, male, mid-forties, brown hair, brown eyes. Went by the name Todd Clarkson on his ID, which was fake.” I rolled off my tongue. My field journal was open and all the information I stated was in it, but I never really needed it for debriefs, it was more of a formality.
“And you identified him by?” My grandfather asked, he probably already knew the answer though, most of the missions I went on didn’t require any further identification then me looking at them.
“Aura color.” I answered, as usual.
I got a nod and then he moved on to Dustin “And the weaponry report Dustin?”
Dustin glanced down at his journal and began to read off the weapons we took on the mission, and which one we used to make the kill.
“And who made the shot son?” Grandfather asked, recording the gun we used in his journal.
“Alex did.” Dustin smiled “She did a hell of a job too, one bullet straight through the heart from a quarter mile away.”
Everyone sitting at the table nodded their approval and my father smiled at me the way he always did when I did something particularly impressive.
Grandfather was sitting back in his chair now, with his hands clasped on his lap. “That is one hell of a shot, especially since,” He paused and turned back a few pages in his journal until he found what he was looking for. “that was the first time you’d ever shot that gun.”
“Well it was a little reckless of me to try and take it since I had no prior experience.” I frowned. I mean, I knew it was a great shot, but at the same time, could they not see that this whole half-breed thing was going to run out eventually. At some point, I was going to find something I couldn’t do, right?
“No, no, Alex. You knew you could make the shot and you took it, there is no use doubting yourself. Especially not after proving it was possible.” Grandfather said “Now, let’s get to the rest. What was done with the body?”
I let Dustin take the rest of the debrief, he had done it a million times before just like me, and I wasn’t really feeling the whole talking thing right now. Besides, sometimes I liked getting lost in the swirl of auras that I always saw around me. At the table there was a heavy concentration of the light grey that I always associated with humans. They all have about the same aura, at least in color; it’s the feeling that really tells you a lot about a person though, not the color. Color gives you species, human, demon, or angel, and of course then there’s me. I’m a fun mix of human and angel, at least that’s the best way to describe it, my aura is like this sparkly silver color, whereas humans have light greyish auras and angels have this iridescent white aura. Of course, the auras I am usually looking for are the black ones, demons.
Overall it probably sounds like a pretty unamusing thing to be able to see, and to be honest it isn’t that exciting. It’s the not-visual stuff that’s really interesting. Like if I don’t focus my eyes, or I close them, I can feel these deeper aspects to everyone’s auras. It’s not like they are an actual color, but they usual just remind me of a feeling.
For example, Dustin’s aura reminds me of the fireplace in the kitchen. Sometimes when I close my eyes next to him, I can feel the comfort wash over me in a wave. I told him this once, he laughed at me a bit. Despite his initial awkwardness about it though, he was actually kind of interested in the whole thing.
I guess that’s something that humans have going for them above demons and angels, they have this special curiosity in the way things work. I think I have that too, at least a little more than angels and demons do anyway. It’s always confused me why angels and demons never stop and ask any questions about the world, meanwhile humans are discovering things and end up being the only ones who are actually interested at all in how any of us came to be. Instead of having any interest in the past, angels and demons are just caught in their never-ending war against each other. Honestly, I don’t think either side has really stepped back and thought about what got them started in the first place.
The debrief ended with the usual jargon from grandpa, something along the lines of job well done, if only we had a crew like you in my day, etcetera. I wasn’t really listening because at this point I realized that things were moving really slow, and I was certainly not a necessity at the moment to the crew, so there might be a small possibility that I’d get to visit my mom.
This honestly didn’t happen often, I usually get to see her once or twice a year. She always makes a point to come for my birthday and then occasionally there is a point in the year where I am not too busy with crew missions and she is not too busy on some holy crusade where I actually get to see her. Don’t feel too bad for me though, you have to understand that real angels are nothing like the ones humans talk about. Heck, they don’t even actually call themselves angels, that’s the human name for them. They are warriors, literally warriors. I swear that what I gather from my mom talking about their schools that they learn nothing but how to use their powers and their weapons to kill demons.
“So dad,” I started, I was trying my hardest to look extra hopeful so that he’d be more likely to say I could visit mom. “I was wondering…”
Before I could finish he looked down at me and sighed “Yes Alex, go ahead and visit your mother. I do expect you to be home in two days though. We are bound to get a mission sooner or later and I’d rather you be here for it.”
A smile to my father and a fist bump to Dustin as he walked by and I was on my way, dashing up the stairs to my room to pack a bag.