Severed fingers came in the mail that morning. They were delivered in a small, inconspicuous box. One that was plain and bore only a single name. Prizma. The rookie had screamed when she opened the package. In her panic, she had knocked the box over, spilling the fingers onto the floor of her cubicle. Had it been a prank by a senior agent, I would have found it mildly amusing.
But that wasn’t the case.
The fingers were not macabre props.
There were five in all, each from a different donor. I noted that and other details as I bagged them one-by-one for the lab downstairs. The cuts were surprisingly clean, removed from their hands so smoothly that I could pick out individual layers of tissue, fat, and bone. Whatever had done this was
sharp enough to slice through them without leaving a mark. It had also been hot enough to instantly cauterize the wounds without burning away the flesh.
A scant few weapons could cause wounds such as these, I mused, frowning down at the digit between my gloved forefinger and thumb. I knew of only one person who kept two of them in his possession at all times. And I prayed to the gods that he wasn’t behind this.
At my name, I looked up. My sometimes partner, Lux, pushed his way through the remnants of the gathered crowd. Like me and the spectators, he was an angel. I mean that literally. We are celestial beings of faith and virtue with the ability to wield light as a weapon. While we don’t actually have halos over our heads, we do have wings sheathed in pristine, white feathers that shimmer like mother of pearl. We all wear white uniforms with most bearing the silver insignias of our rank. As Brigadier
General of the Department of Demonic Investigations, I wore gold.
DDI is the branch within W.E.I.R.D. that specializes in hunting demons. We work in teams to investigate demonic possessions, attacks, hauntings, you name it. Unlike the Mortal Realm’s AEON Agency, who prefers to arrest and deport these wretched monsters back to the Netherworld, we kill them. And I, being the eldest and most experienced hunter, am in charge of the entire department.
Not that anyone would ever guess that from just looking at me.
I died when I was thirteen. Illness. I have no memory of what happened after everything went dark. Next thing I knew, I was waking up in a soft bed in the afterlife. I had been resurrected as an angel, and my body was restored exactly as it had been before my death. Well, almost. My hair had turned as white as the sacred ibis, a sharp contrast to my gingerbread brown skin, and the color of my eyes had changed to gold. I haven’t changed even the tiniest bit physically since my rebirth over 5000 years ago. Take it from me, being stuck as thirteen-year-old girl for all eternity sucks.
I dropped the finger into an evidence bag, nodded to the Lieutenant as he reached me. Lux was a lanky fellow a few thousand years my junior. He tended to be over ambitious at times, but he’s a good kid. And a great demon hunter.
“I spoke to Blaze,” said Lux. He shoved locks of his winter white hair out of his eyes only to have them fall right back into place. “He assured me he had no idea what was in the box.”
I sent a glance towards the courier at the back of the dispersing crowd. He was one of the newer faces I had begun to see in the last month or so. There weren’t any pips or insignias on his shoulders, which told me that he wasn’t a W.E.I.R.D. Agent, just a worker. And he looked extremely agitated. Of
course, I doubt he ever expected to deliver a box of severed fingers, so it was to be expected.
I bent over the evidence bag to fill in the required information. “Did he say who gave it to him? Or give you a description?”
He scoffed, glanced at his notes. “Yeah. Six feet or so tall. Wearing all black. Didn’t speak a word.”
I muttered in Ancient Egyptian.
“Sound like someone you know?”
“Unfortunately,” I said stripping off the gloves. I nodded to the bags of fingers on the desk. “Take those down to the lab for me. Tell them I want IDs on the vics and an advanced panel of tests. If Demon Steel was used, I want to know it.”
He made a face, but retrieved the bags. “What about you?”
“I’m off to see an old acquaintance.”
His tone was hopeful as he asked, “Need any backup?”
“Sorry, kid.” I reached up and patted him on the shoulder. “You’re not qualified for this one.” I dropped the gloves in the trash bin as I strode away. No one is.