It was just another day in New York, where the lights never turned off and the people never slept.
Where the good and evil of the city sometimes blurred into a grey that no one could tell apart.
Where the impossible and the possible walked hand in hand. The possibility of magic was something the world always looked for, and yet, here it was right under their noses.
Two creatures, spirits of untold powers, lived in among the populous, their lives shrouded in mystery, and perhaps even danger.
Spirits who had walked the earth for decades, centuries and eons. Watching the rise and fall of more than one civilization.
New York was just the newest home for them, traveling and traveling, they finally pulled to a stop in the lively city, and lived together in a loft that overlooked the city, it was a large and open loft with a good view, and it was worth the money.
On that particular day, it was raining- rain that wouldn't last for long, but the clouds and puddles would remain. It was cold out, but inside, from the cozy loft, a pair of eyes watched.
Amber eyes, with cat-like irises, tracked the line of cars, ever-moving on the streets below, while a white-tipped tail thumped in excitement.
A dark silver fox, quickly took the form of a woman with a smile.
They had come to the city, paid as contractors to get rid of a few.... inhuman anomalies.
Everywhere you go, when people hear something in the dark- the last thing they need is for their creative imagination to be proven right, that there are still some monsters lurking in the shadows.
They were paid on the harder jobs- and their pay was hefty.
Lorna left the window to pour herself a glass of wine, enjoying the nice night. They didn't have to go straight to work, they'd relax for a day or two and then get the work done. Unless it was an emergency, Lorna couldn't be forced to work right after moving into a new place.
"So, we have a week or two before they start bothering us about doing our jobs, and I've never been to New York before, so what do you want to do first?" She asked her friend as she sipped at her glass.
The loft wasn't large but they had a wonderful view. Lights of New york met their gaze every evening, and she knew a certain fondness would grow for this place. It seemed it was already growing for the white plush carpet. There she lay writhing happily against its fluffiness. After years of hardwood floors this simple pleasure was a delight by all means. Shavonne was so lost in the feeling of the soft surface against her body, she almost missed her friends words.
A deep sigh escaped her muzzle before letting the change take place. The red and black striped fur started to recede, leaving slightly tan smooth skin in its wake. Ten digit hands and feet took place of her paws, and her tail simply disappeared. She always hated her human form, it seemed so tamed. The need to be wild always coursed through her veins, and she constantly wondered how her darling roommate managed to stay so calm. Pushing herself to her feet, she paced over to stand beside her.
Turning her back against the bar, her honey brown eyes shifted back to the window. "Must we go back already.....We just arrived, and never have time to enjoy any place before the come a howling like wolves." The tone in her voice told many emotions. It started out as a plea, which lead to a bitter end. Tilting her head to one side, "Pour me a glass please...My nerves have been worked enough." It had been days since they had a break, and their contractors treated them like slaves. Immortality came with a price, and for them it was their freedom.
"I know, I don't like it any more than you do, but what else can we do?" Lorna spoke as she poured her friend a glass of wine. smiling sadly.
This had been going on for some time- the people who came to them had been running them ragged, one job after another- without pause or break. She was tired and her nerves were shot as well, but there wasn't much she could do, so she calmed down and tried to think of options. She took a sip and savored it for a moment.
"We'll stay here for a while longer. They can afford a few days. This next one isn't supposed to be too bad, not a horrid emergency. No one's been killed, there's no signs of agression, just seems like someone's stirring up a bit of trouble, just scaring people." She explained quietly. She looked out at the city again, wondering how much of the city they could enjoy before they had to leave.
"Don't worry, one of these days, we'll be able to just settle down and enjoy our lives again. It'll be just like the old days, like before anyone knew what we were... back when we were just simple fox spirits, nothing compared to what we are now." Lorna added, as much for herself as her friend.
One of these days.... hopefully soon.
She walked over to the kitchen and opened up the refrigerator, finding it solely stocked with dog food.
"Are you kidding me..... They did it again. Do they really think that we eat this? Dammit, all I want is some good food, you know, not like the shit we were left with during the last job... I think the dog food would have been better than that food." She spat, irritated.
"Let's go get some food." She offered, already pulling on a coat and downing the last of her glass.
Shavonne reached out, taking the glass in a firm grasp. Her eyes rolled as she brought the crystal to her lips. "We could always disappear and not bother helping the mortals. They seem to bring themselves right back to a problem we fix. Its a never ending cycle." She said in a rather rude manner before taking a sip of wine. The flavor was like heaven, and she wanted to empty the contents of her glass at that very moment. Though she managed to keep her self control and lowered the alcohol from her face.
She casually swirled her cup by her fingertips, while listening to her friend speak. If there wasn't a huge emergency why couldn't they handle it their damn selves. Her mind was beginning to race with discouraging thoughts. A small sigh of annoyance escaped her lips as she pushed herself off the bar. "If it were a couple hundred years ago people in this age wouldn't survive a day." Shavonne said with a bright smile, but despite the forced action she did not believe they would ever be free. As the years went on they became more busy. The shackles around their necks grew tighter, and more of their wild nature became caged. However, she didn't want to ruin Lorna's mood.
Walking over to the near by closet to grab her own hoodie. She pulled it over her slender arms, and zipped it up to her neck. The design of a skull and cross bones always made her giggle. At least the humans made amusing clothing. "I can't believe they still try to feed us like they would feed their pets. I'm in the mood for Italian, I grew fond of their pasta's when we were in Italy." Her word tumbled over her shoulder as she made her way to their front door. Pulling at the handle she opened the door, "After you mi'lady."
Lorna smiled at Shavonne as she spoke, nodding along to her ideas. It was true, this generation was honestly helpless.
"Don't worry, our contract will end soon, one more year, then they have to approach us with a new contact, and we can deny that one. We've done our work, we deserve to relax... go back to the way things were." She murmured as she passed through the door. "Agreed. I can never turn down some good pasta." She offered, grinning as they walked out, riding the elevator down the building and then walked out the front door, holding it open for Shavonne.
"After you." She smiled.
After getting out of the building, the cold wind whipped Lorna's hair before she could manage to pull it back, keep it in order. She shivered slightly, wishing that she could change back into her normal form. She longed to have the long, insulating fluffy fur instead of this bare and naked skin, and inefficient clothing. She could see her own breath as she lead the way, walking down the sidewalks, wandering around, looking for a good Italian restaurant. They passed by three, but the smell showed that it wasn't good, and the vibe in the three places wasn't what they were looking for.
Finally they found themselves at a smaller place, Lorna's nose telling her that the pasta was handmade, and the vibe seemed quiet and cozy. It wasn't packed, and it was a candle-lit place. They were placed at a table right away, a place by the window. Lorna looked out at the street, sighing.
"I'm tired too. Believe me, I'm tired of being at their beck and call, treated like a tool instead of something with thoughts and goals. I'm tired of their demands, and... I'm tired of them trying to figure out what we are, trying to take our blood and figure us out. I'm tired of them going through our history and asking questions. It's none of their business." She muttered angrily. "I've told them how many times that I hate needles and I hate being a guinea pig, and yet.... and yet..." She trailed off, looking distraught, but in a moment, she collected herself and took a breath.
"Either way, lets just enjoy our meal, what are you planning to get?" She asked.
Shavonne followed her out of their temporary home to the elevator. It seemed she was lost in her own world. Barely even paying attention to Lorna's words. How could she believe when their contract was up they would let them go so easily. That would lead to false hope, and illusions of freedom. Something like that seemed to good to be true. The humans would force them to do their dirty work, or take them captive. A deep sigh vibrated through her barely parted lips, but she refused to ruin her friend's mood.
Though she lacked the ability to smile back at her as they left the building. She couldn't even bring herself to hold her end of the conversation as they tried to find a suitable restaurant. Shavonne simply enjoyed the cold of the night. It reminded her that she still had the ability to feel something. Even if it wasn't all that warming and cheery. Yet a sense of relief washed over her when the smell of fresh pasta washed over her. Inside she knew if her tail was free it would be wagging happily. They quickly entered the candle lit pallor. The low ceilings seemed to glitter with hand painted stars. This place wasn't high rated, but the owners clearly tried. She was going to tip them highly for their efforts.
Once seated by the window her eyes drifted out the window. Though it wasn't the streets that called to her. It was the sky, ominous clouds rolled over the moon. Giving it depressed shadowed look. It was mesmerizing, but the beauty of it quickly washed away. Thoughts of needles sinking deep into her flesh, and monitors beeped into her ears. Lorna's word were almost to much to bare, "Almond biscotti..." Her words trailed off into a whisper. She never needed a menu to pick that dish. It was always her favorite, but at that moment she couldn't think about it. "Why do you bother letting them poke and prod at you still. Last time I nearly bit someone's hand off. What I am is none of their business. You don't see me chewing on their legs asking ooo what do you taste like." She couldn't help but smile wickedly at her words, it was almost a tempting idea at the time.
Lorna sighed, looking away for a moment, not wanting to answer.
"I don't know... I just keep hoping for some respect from them... Some kind of realization that if they just listened when I tell them about myself, that I am giving them all the information they need. But they just want to take everything apart and try and figure out how we got like this.... I guess I should just try your methods- It would probably have a better chance of working." She spoke softly.
Her eyes traveled around the room, searching for something.
"I'm thinking that after this next job, after our contract ends, that we quickly get the hell out of here... escape to some remote place.... somewhere.... where the people don't know about us, where they can't find us. Some place where we can be ourselves. I've managed to befriend a few of those lower humans in most of the places where we're constantly asked for- they'll help us however we need them to... We just need to...." Lorna trailed off as a waitress moved towards them with a smile and a pair of menus.
"Hello, ladies, I'm Britney, and I'll be your server for today... is there anything I can get you to drink?" She asked politely as she laid them down on the table.
"I'll have a cup of coffee, plain is fine." Lorna replied, then looked to Shavonne.
Shavonne looked over at the young girl. Her long blonde hair fell into a frame around her face, and she seemed so genuinely happy. It honestly made her bitter, "I'd take a sweet tea with a wedge of lemon." She replied bitterly, somehow managing to keep the feeling from shrouding her words. The waitress nodded quickly before turning away to go make their drinks. Honestly Shavonne didn't care if she ever came back. Was it envy that made her so angry, or pure jealousy. Either way it made her skin crawl, "If only it was that easy....You know as well as I do if we leave....They will come looking, rewards will be offered all over the world. Do not think for one second we can trust anyone. Everything is worth a certain price." Her head shook in disbelief as she spoke. Lorna always looked for the best in everyone. Always trying to find any happiness.
Honestly Shavonne wished she had such qualities. Her gaze then shifted back out the window. Several people walked by, and not evening realizing the creatures behind the glass. The world was so sheltered. How they even survived a day was fascinating. "Ma'am....ma'am..." A small whisper of sound echoed into her ears. Not even looking back, she knew the waitress had returned. Apparently she must of asked what else she need, "Almond biscotti." Her words a thread of sound. The waitress had to lean in closer to even hear her. Then a sudden urge crept over Shavonne, quickly she turned facing the girl. Their eyes mere inches from each other, "BOO!" The waitress squealed loudly, and back peddled. Almost loosing her footing as she tried to regain her composure.
Several others in the restaurant looked over at their table. Some were tried the shield their laughter, while others scowled in her direction. "Don't stand to close. I bite." Shavonne said with a bright smile.
Lorna watched Shavonne's behavior and listened to her words quietly.
When the waitress huffed, somewhat offended, Lorna repeated what her friend wanted, and then ordered some spaghetti and bolognese sauce. She wanted something that would fill her up, that would be warm with a little kick to it. After Lorna said this, the waitress nodded, curt and short, walking away. Her smile had disappeared. Ah well, Lorna couldn't blame Shavonne for her behavior- she had a lot to deal with, they both did.
As the woman walked away, Lorna seemed to sink into her seat.
"Ok, brainiac- if we can't get out of this by deals and small amounts of cash as well as hiding in under-developed nations, what do YOU propose that we do, besides bitching about the situation and attacking everyone?" Lorna spoke bitterly, her eyes downcast as she stared at the table. All she wanted was a shred of hope to hold onto through all of this- she just wanted a dream of hope...
She turned her head and looked to the sky and frowned as she noticed that the rain was quickly turning to small flakes of white snow.
How damned depressing....
"I just want to get out of this situation. We've been cooped up in this.... this... shitty deal for well over half a century, bordering on a fucking century, and all I have to get me through this is the same damned thing every damned year: Oh, yeah, we'll let you go after just five more jobs. I'm trying to be good, I'm trying not to loose my patience.... I'm so tired... I just want to stop... I just want to get out of this... I miss our home... I miss our lives... I'm sick of this, I'm sick of having to move around all the time and take care of these stupid idiots' problems. I'm so frustrated and angry, and all I want to do is tell them to fuck off- but what good would that do?" She snapped, her nails dragged down the table, making a screeching sound- more of the other people in the restaurant threw dirty looks at them- Lorna could care less. She was past her boiling point for years, and finally, she couldn't take it anymore.
"I'm sick of being treated like a slave, I'm sick of snapping at them, and have to apologize because our anger scares them- because we're more powerful than them. I'm sick of being prodded and poked and questioned. I'm sick of the goddamned jokes about what we are! I'm so sick of being treated like we fucking owe them! What have they ever done for us?! Sure, we get nice housing, and an allowance that would make most millionares envious, but for what? So we owe them? So we're indebted by their self-serving kindness?... You say my ideas won't work- So what the hell can you come up with? If we fight them- that's game over- You know that! They'll alert every damned group they have and say we're dangerous and need to be killed. I'm not in the mood for a drag-out war, dammit! SO TELL ME, WHAT ELSE CAN WE POSSIBLY DO, SHAVONNE? TELL ME!" Lorna yelled, tears welling up in her eyes.
They were interrupted by the waitress, who was carrying plastic bags, who tried to politely tell them that they were making too much of a scene and asked if they'd please leave the restaurant with their food or to calm down.
Lorna waited for a moment, shaking, then turned to the waitress, snarling that they were leaving- slamming down a hundred dollar bill on the table and then snatching up the food from her before storming out of the restaurant.
The snow was sticking to the ground- it would be cold tonight.
Shavonne watched Lorna's rolling emotions intently, this is what she waited for. All the hope to die away within her friend. So she could actually see what the world really was. No longer did it sparkly brightly with happiness, it was now cold and dark. Very few things she still considered beautiful. Though she did not to try to stop the growing anger in Lorna. Did she want to see her rip the heads of the restaurant's guest apart. Was it a need to hurt her beloved friend? Shavonne wasn't sure what caused her actions, but now the feeling of regret ate away at her stomach.
Lorna had left the building in tears. Is this how you treat your friends? The thought shimmered into her mind. Slowly She stood to look around at the crowd. There eyes seemed glued to her, "I'm sorry for the trouble I have caused." Those were the only words she said before walking out towards the door. The feeling of their gazes still burned the back of her neck. She couldn't change the past, but she could fix their future. For years she been planning how they would escape. Though she still needed help, quickly she left the restaurant. Her senses on full alert. Lorna's scent still lingered, and Shavonne followed. Each step she took began to speed up. Until she saw the snow speckled hair of her friend, "LORNA! WAIT!" Shavonne yelled after her as she tried to catch up.
"I didn't mean what I said. If we don't have hope....Then we have nothing....I should have told you I've been planning our escape since our last contract. Though I doubted you wanted to give up on mankind..." Her words tumbled out of her panting mouth. She now was a few inches behind Lorna, but she refused to stand by her side. At that very moment she didn't even feel equal to her. Though she managed to find a way to continue, "I just can't trust people.....If we do this we have to cut all ties with mortals. Our whole lives would be a secret more so than now. Do you want to live like that? I honestly think its worth it...but don't forget everything comes at a price..What are you willing to give up?" Shavonne couldn't help but to ask. Would Lorna give up their friendship to stay open, or would she become invisible for the sake of freedom.
Lorna ignored Shavonne as she continued to walk, needing a moment to think.
The anger was slow to burn away, even in the presence of the snow and lowering temperatures.
"How long have you known me for? Do you take me for a fool?" She snapped, "I didn't have much faith in humankind, it was always wavering... I just enjoyed their fleeting lives... they interested me... until they managed to catch us like this.... I'll miss the nice foods we've enjoyed, and the experiences, but.... I want to be free of this... I'm willing to leave these humans behind..." She said quietly as they walked back to their apartment.
"I'm tired of being something I'm not. I know you're not comfortable as we are now, either. I miss the freedom and I miss being able to move freely." She explained as they made their way back their loft. "Now, lets eat before we talk anymore... I'm hungry." She spoke as she set out the food on the table.