Sunday, September 23, 2012

Tormented: Chapter 1


A wolf howled in the distance as Angelina tucked a strand of her unruly, wavy, blonde hair behind her ear.  She paused a moment looking around the area double checking that she was alone before entering the old abandoned warehouse.  No one was permitted to leave the city boundaries by themselves for their own safety and protection.  The warehouse was located just outside the walls.  She had snuck through a cracked part of the wall she had discovered a few weeks ago during her daily run.  The crack was so narrow, that she had barely squeezed in between the gap.

The building had at one point been used for scientific research but an explosion over 30 years ago forced the research team to close it down.  Now abandoned with no electricity running through it anymore; the only source of light she had was from the full moon outside.  It shone dimly through the big windows that were now broken from years of neglect.  She didn’t want to bring a flashlight because it would have drawn too much attention.  The warehouse had now become the perfect place to find what she was looking for.  She waited a moment as her eyes adjusted to the darkness.  Even though she still couldn’t see as well as she would have liked, she knew immediately that she wasn’t alone.

            “She’s mine,” a tenor voice echoed in the darkness.  Angelina spun towards the sound.  Clenching her hands, she tried to keep them from shaking.  Thrill mixed with fear filled her making her heart beat faster.  Slowly, the man who had spoken emerged from the shadows.  He didn’t appear to be much older than Angelina.  He wore a pair of tight dark blue jeans with a flannel button down shirt tucked into them.  A big gold belt buckle caught her eye.  On either side of the ‘cowboy,’ two women slinked out.  They both had blonde hair. 

The woman on his right had her hair cut short in a pixie style.  She also looked about 23 or 24.  She had pale blue shorts and white tank top.  On her feet she wore strappy wedges, perfect for the end of summer heat. 

The woman on his left however had long hair and she had pulled it back into a pony.  She looked older than the other two, most likely in her mid-30s. She wore black leather pants and a tight shirt to match.  On the base of her neck was a thick choker. 

Though they looked and dressed completely different from each other; they all had one thing in common, they all looked hungry.  Their irises were just as black as a moonless night.

            “Who are you?” Angelina managed to ask surprising herself by the tone of her own voice.

            “Who or what,” the man began, “do you think we are?”  Staring at him blankly she took a step back.  He cocked his head slightly waiting for her answer.  Angelina’s gaze dropped to his lips as they formed a wicked smile, exposing his white teeth.  His upper canines slowly grew to a sharp point.

            “Vampires,” she whispered in unbelief.  “You exist?” she asked swallowing hard realizing their plan.  His smile widened.  Angelina glanced around, “Maybe this wasn’t the best time to come here,” she chuckled nervously.  All 3 of them glanced down at her neck. 

The woman on his right deliberately licked her lips, “Let’s get on with it.  I’m hungry,” she moaned. 

            Angelina took one more step back, slamming into a wall behind her.  “Well it was nice meeting you all, sort of.”

            The other female attacked.  Angelina dodged the vampiress’s swift advances.   Angelina’s demeanor changed from scared prey to overwhelming laughter in an instant.  “One thing is for sure, you nitwits are so predictable,” she said rolling her dark grey eyes.  The air around them all grew thick, anger now filling each of her attacker’s eyes.  The woman that was ‘hungry,’ now charged.  Angelina grabbed her arm and then swung the female vampire into the wall that up until a moment ago Angelina had been cornered into.  Pulling a dagger out from under the back of her shirt Angelina swiftly pierced the vampiress’s heart.

            An ear shattering scream filled the air.  The woman disintegrated into dust right before Angelina’s very eyes.  The other two vampires stood frozen momentarily in shock.  They glanced at each other than at Angelina.  Together they stormed towards her pinning her down.  Yes, do bite me and see what happens, Angelina thought as she smiled to herself.  She had dosed herself heavily with Locine before she had left that morning. 

It was a terrible way for a vampire to go.  The drug would destroy their desire to eat.  Essentially making the loathsome creatures die from hunger, and she didn’t feel a bit guilty about it.  Her job was to protect her people.  The best way for that to happen was to take as many of them out as she could.

            “FREEZE!” a deep masculine voice shouted.  Angelina not only heard the word with her ears, but it also rang so loud in her head she did just that, she froze from pure shock.  The smile faded from her lips.  Her eyes darted towards the far corner of the room where the exclamation had come from.  The creature who had spoken had up until that moment covered his power from her, a power unlike anything she had ever felt before as an Ultorum.  He moved towards them.  She couldn’t see him do it but she did feel him.  Her body tingled slightly as if he had just brushed up against her.  “She has Locine in her veins.  I can smell it,” he continued his tone even, flat, as if he was bored.  Angelina cursed to herself.

            “Seriously?” the woman cried out frustrated.

            “Damn it-,” the cowboy swore.  He glared at her then with one purposeful blow he knocked her out.  When she came to she found herself in an alleyway back in the middle of Midway.  How she had gotten there she didn’t know.  She was far away from where she had been previously.  She rubbed her head surprised she had even awoken in the first place.

            “Angelina?” a frantic call cried in her head.

            “Yeah Spence,” she answered still rubbing the spot where she had been hit.

            “Oh my goodness, whew,” he replied relieved.  “We thought we had lost ya there for a while.  Your boyfriend over here has been freaking out.  He was just about to send a squadron to your location.  Frankly he’s been getting on my nerves.”  Angelina pictured Spencer glaring at Michael as he spoke, “He hasn’t left my office in hours.  He just kept walking back and forth, and back and forth again, asking if I had heard from you like every five minutes,” the annoyance in his voice was very obvious.  Slowly, she began to stand trying to ignore the pounding ache on the side of her head.  “You didn’t go out on your own again did you?”

            “No,” she lied, “and Mike’s not my boyfriend.”  An older woman that was walking by looked at her wildly.  “Ultorum,” she almost shouted from aggravation.  The woman glanced at her grey eyes, huffed, and then walked away.

            Ultorum is Latin for avenger.  To the general public Ultorums are thought of as a higher trained Police Force.  They are a specially trained tactics and analysis team.  They observe and keep the city or town for which they live, in-order.  However, there are certain differences between Ultorums and the regular Police.  First most are trained from a younger age.  They are found and brought to train during their senior year of High School.  A few select even brought sooner.  Until Angelina, they had always been spotted by their intensely green eyes.  Second, they are stronger and faster than their partners.  Third, they fight the supernatural, namely vampires.  The general public had no knowledge about the third part.  If they ever found out mass hysteria would inevitably follow.

            “Don’t lie to me Ang-,” Spencer warned.  Angelina rolled her eyes, “And don’t roll your eyes at me, I know you are.”

            “Okay, fine I’ll try not to roll my eyes at you,” she shot back sarcastically.

            “Ang,” he sighed, “the boss ain’t gonna be happy about this.  That’s twice in a month.”

            She nodded her head in response her shoulders slumping slightly, “I know.”

*                      *                      *

            The Ultorum’s Agency was a two story building comprised of a small infirmary, a gym with male and female locker rooms, and a communications room all on the first floor.  The second held three classrooms, the general office area, and then the Chief’s office just beyond that.

            When Angelina arrived she immediately ran up the stairs and headed towards the Chief’s door.  Noticing it shut, she paused by the main classroom where everyone received their first hour of the seven hours of training.  The students in the room were all between the ages of 17 and 18.  Angelina smiled remembering her first days.  It seemed like such a long time ago, a lifetime. “The thing you need to know about vampires,” Mr. Ling, the instructor, began, “is that they do exist.  In fact, you may have even been used by them without even realizing it.”  His receding hair line was the only evidence that he had aged.  He even wore the same glasses he had when she was in his class.  “They have telepathic abilities that make you believe, do, and remember what they want you to.  They can heal any bite they create so the next day you have no recollection of what took place.

            “When you see them you might be surprised.  Apart from their eyes they will look exactly like us.  There isn’t some kind of magical power that changes the appearance of a person when they become one of the affected.  Nothing makes them have taut, sexy bodies with rock hard abs and perfect hair, like a creature out of some kind of romance novel.  That is unless, like us they have worked for it.”  Angelina laughed to herself; she knew that for a fact.  In the 4 years she had been an Ultorum in the field, she hadn’t found a single attractive one yet.

            ANGELINA!” the Chief yelled.  She jumped in surprise.  Bowing her head again she headed towards his office.  “Close the door,” he commanded.  Without hesitation she obeyed.  His office walls were covered with awards he and his team had received when he was an active field agent.  His desk (one of the few pieces of furniture in his office) was almost completely bare except for a plaque that held all the names of those Ultorums who had lost their life for the cause and a thin tablet that was his personal computer.

            He was an average sized, middle-aged man.  He still had a good thick head of hair, though it was beginning to turn grey.  He often wore button up shirts and slacks to work sometimes he would even include a tie.  However, today he adorned a faded navy polo shirt with a light pair of khakis.

            He waved his hand towards the chairs that sat on the other side of his desk.   “I don’t get you,” he continued slightly cooler, “how many times do I have to tell you this Ang?”  Angelina frowned slightly as she sat down.  His red face looked as if it might explode, a vein in the middle of his forehead had begun to throb, “YOU are supposed to go to YOUR post and stay there until your relief arrives.  After that you are supposed to head BACK here and report to me.  Not disappear for hours on end; going who knows where for who knows how long after your shift has ended.”

            Angelina took a moment before responding; “Whatever happened to equal opportunity then chief?” she questioned quietly.  “Ever since what’s her face died in London, you took me off my team and now continually station me to the stupidest part of the city.”

            “It’s not the stupidest part,” the Chief interjected.

            “Really, the Town Hall isn’t the stupidest part?”  Angelina crossed her arms defiantly, “Then please enlighten me on the location that is worse to protect than the one where, if our enemies were to invade, they would have to kill everyone in town to even get there.  Not to mention sending me there in broad daylight,” she emphasized by waving her hand towards the glass window.

            The chief cleared his throat.  “I know that you ranked number one on most of the exams, and broke most of our records but,” he hesitated.  Angelina knew what was coming.  She couldn’t even count how many times she had heard the next bit before.  “You are different, special in so many ways.  I mean even your eyes are different than ours.”  She locked gazes with his light green eyes.   

            “Oh so that’s it,” she mocked knowing she was pushing the boundaries.  If possible his face turned redder, almost purple.  “It’s not because I am a girl, well that’s a relief.”

            “Well, you are one of the few that are.  Stephanie hardly even goes out as a field agent, yet you never hear her complaining.  Liz, the only other female potential for years to come, is in training and if she passes she’ll probably relieve Spencer at that time.  You however bring an opportunity that no one, and when I say no one I mean no one, else can.  That being said yes, it is from your eyes.  If you and one of the other Ultorums…say Michael-”

            “What?” she demanded cutting him off, “What if I don’t want to just stop everything, marry an Ultorum and become a mother?  Am I just supposed to roll over just because everyone thinks I’ll bring in the next generation of protectors?  All my life after you and mom found out my own ‘potential’ everyone who knows anything about what we do or who we really are, has told me that, ‘that fact alone should make me proud’.”  She deflated slightly, “You of all people know me…you know that I can’t just like lie down and let everyone tell me who I am or what I should do.  So why can’t I be treated like an equal?”

            “To be honest sweetheart, I don’t want to lose you,” he countered softening a little, “And you are right.  I don’t want to lose the possibility of having more Ultorums like you.  Not only are you faster, stronger, and,” he cleared his throat, “obviously more spirited than most around here but you can also blend in.  Imagine the possibilities if there were more Ultorums like you, men and women that would be able to blend into their environment and not be spotted a mile away.  You can’t blame me for wanting the best for our future.”  Angelina’s head dropped in submission; she knew that was the end of it.  The Chief, her father, had made up his mind.

            “Your right sir, I’m sorry,” she muttered after a moment of silence.

            “You are dismissed,” he waved her out.  She got up to leave, “And,” he quickly called out, “if you ever decide to go out on your own again, I will personally kick you off the division…permanently.”