Monster Hunter: The Blackrock Files Pt 4
I finally received my PUFF exemption when I turned 19. Usually it only takes two years of service, but there are some special cases like me who need to be trained on using their abilities so they don't hurt people accidentally; plus I really liked working with STFU. I also took the chance to finish what I started, returning to Oxford once I left STFU and earning my doctorate. It was on the identification, practical application and effective countermeasures of magical rituals and it took a good year of research and another year of field investigation, but it was so worth it. I also took some online classes for business, business management, communications and accounting.
The bad side of this time in my life was while performing field research in Africa, Evan was killed while on mission. When I found out I flew back immediately. I wanted to give him a proper burial, but the lich that killed him didn't leave behind a body and the only condolence I had on the matter was the team did manage to send the lich screaming to Hell. So, with Ms. Saint's help I bought a small plot and placed a headstone with a brief inscription: In Memorial to Evan Markson, Loved Friend and Teammate, May you rest in the Lord's peace. I loved Evan, but I also have to come to realize it was possibly a fool's love because he was a lifer inside STFU; he could never leave and I doubt the MCB would allow us to marry.
Then for the next year I worked freelance as a magical consultant, a monster hunter and when they needed me a STFU mission specialist. When I turned 23 I decided to become a full time professional hunter and I started my own agency in my home state of Texas called: The Blackrock Huntsmen LLC. I made it a point to hire PUFF exemption earners who were leaving STFU and wanted to keep fighting the good fight....for lots of money of course. That's also why my company motto is: Employing the Exceptional Individual. Our first year of operation was a very good year and we cleared $19,285,500.00 profit because we could take on some serious baddies that normal hunters could not engage without massive manpower and “don't aim that at my city” sized guns. There were only 17 of us, so I made an effort for us to operate in teams of at least three, but given some circumstances beyond our control, we often ended up hunting alone and that almost got me killed.
It was September, I was in the upper part of Washington state and I was hot on the trail of a doppelganger named Stygak. The sad thing is Stygak had earned their PUFF exemption ten years ago but now had made the mistake of killing the wrong people, a lot of them. Agent Paxton personally reached out to me to deal with the situation and informed me that Stygak's PUFF exemption had been revoked. I'll admit knowing that my exemption could be revoked is a little scary, but I also don't plan on going on a murder spree either.
According to my contacts and my own scrying spells Stygak was seeking a specific man named Paul Stokes. I rented a house, began surveillance and from what I could gather in the four days I've watched him; Paul Stokes, is a simple pharmacist, no wife, no kids. However, after working with STFU for so long and having Ms. Saint as a teacher and now employee, I learned nothing is ever simple. I took measures to ensure his safety by hiring a few of the local gnomes to tail him and to keep a look out for Stygak. I don't know how cheap they came because it was costing 5 cases of beer, 5 cartons of cigarettes and $400 a day to get them to work for a Baba Yaga.
While Mr. Stokes was at work I went to his house to establish sensory and alarm spells, along with some protection wards. I had just pulled up to my rented house, and was closing the car door when my power roared in warning. I sensed the bullet pass through the magical defensive barriers I now unconsciously keep up around me, and it's a good thing to. The .50 caliber bullet slammed into my right shoulder shattering my collar bone and shoulder blade and throwing me to the ground. If not for my barriers slowing the bullet, I would only have half a torso let alone a shoulder.
The pain is almost maddening and I cough up blood while I crawl in front of my car for protection. My eyes turn black and I quickly expand my magic in all directions to find out what's coming at me. The flow of magic tells me that five men in combat gear and armed with automatic weapons are converging upon me. My skin takes on a yellow-greenish hue and I stop the magic flowing to my injuries and focus it on the men approaching me; entwining it around and in them.
I speak in the harsh language of my heritage; the tongue of the Baba Yaga: Curse, curse, curse be upon you this day. Cursed be your weapons and may feebleness consume your vigor like plague. Cursed are you.
I hear the men cry out and then collapse. I listen for a few moments and I hear nothing but snoring. I return the magic flow to my shoulder and collar bone healing them as fast as I can because I'm about to have to entertain some guests.
It takes an entire hour for my bones to mend, but my flesh is still badly bruised and that is in my full transformation too; oh these guys have pissed me off. I bring them one by one into my house, tie them up and set them each at the dining room table. I search them thoroughly removing their weapons and neatly stacking those on the couch in the living room and then I start going though their wallets. Each one of them has a printed work ID for a company called Paranormal Tactical and it seems they are actually based out of a Seattle office; curious. Now that I'm ready to deal with them, I mold my magic, speak in Latin and remove my curse: Free, free, be free of the wretched chains binding you. Be free for I command it so.
They all snap awake as their strength is instantly restored.
“What's going on,” says Bradley, a nice looking GQ type with dark hair and deep blue eyes.
“The fuck! Who tied us up,” yells Marlow, a black man built like a freight train.
“Please gentlemen, no potty mouth,” I say stepping into their view.
“It's the fucking monster,” screams McArthur, a red head covered in freckles.
I slam my hand on the table to get their attention, “PLEASE....no potty mouth. We are adults and I believe it shows a level of maturity, intelligence and calmness when you can speak without swear words.”
I really should have used my left hand instead of my right when I hit the table because the pain coursing through me from my shoulder is excruciating.
“You got our attention,” says Davis, an older looking man with a sharp military high and tight haircut, “Why are we still alive?”
“Are you going to eat us,” asks the fifth and final man named Shaw, who has a hipster mustache; it looks hideous.
“No, I'm not going to eat you and you're still alive because I want to know why you were trying to kill me.”
“You're a monster and I rebuke in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ,” yells Shaw.
I sigh, shake my head and look Shaw directly in the eye, “That won't work on me you dolt.”
“And why not!?”
“Because, I'm a Christian.”
That definitely got their attention and they all seemed to finally calm down, either out of disbelief, relief or just plain shock....I honestly don't care. I take a seat at the table, “Gentlemen, please tell me why you are trying to kill me.”
It takes a few moments but Davis finally responds, “We were tipped off that you are a Baba Yaga and that you are responsible for several deaths. We were told you were worth around $2,000,000 in PUFF.”
“Well I hate to tell you guys this, but I'm PUFF exempt,” I say holding up the silver coin that hangs around my neck.
“PUFF exempt? What does that mean,” asks Bradley.
Oh, his eyes are so nice....seriously, I have to stay focused here, “Without going into too many details, it means that I served my government for a term of service faithfully and honorably and as a reward I gain immunity from the PUFF.”
“Bullshit,” snaps McArthur.
“Really? What did I say about the potty mouth?”
“Why should we believe you,” asks Marlow.
“Would you believe someone at the MCB?”
They exchange looks before Davis asks in disbelief, “You have the MCB's number?”
“Of course, I worked for them. Don't you? As hunters you should try to maintain an at least somewhat cordial relationship,” I say pulling out my cell, hit a speed dial button and put the phone on speaker, “You do know of Franks, right?”
Marlow laughs, “Everyone knows of Franks. You don't f...mess with him.”
The phone rings twice.
“MCB, this is Special Agent Grant how may I help you?”
“Hey Agent Grant, this is Nora Blackrock, you remember, Hex.”
“Oh yeah, it's been a while. What can I help you with Nora?”
“I have a problem. I have five hunters from Paranormal Tactical trying to kill me for PUFF.”
“What!? Are you okay?”
The men sitting around my table looked confused at the sound of concern in his voice.
“I'm fine. Mr. Whiskers has them tied up,” I can hear the chill running down Grant's spine at the mention of my cat, “Is Mr. Franks close by.”
“Sure, hold on. Franks. It's Nora.”
Hearing Mr. Franks voice is such a relief to me. So many people are terrified of him but I like him, he's serious but respectful to those who prove their worth in the good fight and I did that several times right beside him.
“Mr. Franks, it's so good to hear your voice.”
“Some Paranormal Tactical guys want to kill me and they don't know about PUFF exemption. I got them right here and you're on speaker so they can hear you.”
“I will make this simple. You kill her. I kill you. Understood?”
The men blanch, but Davis answers, “We understand loud and clear.”
“Thank you Mr. Franks, I'll call you if I come across something that needs your unique personal touch.”
He doesn't say goodbye, he never does but that's okay. I look at my guests, “Gentlemen, are you going to play nice now, so I can untie you?”
Davis looks at them and they all nod in agreement, “Yes, we will.”
“Good, and don't shoot my cat. Mr. Whiskers earned his PUFF exemption too.”
Davis and I sit down over a cup of tea; a habit I picked up when I was at Oxford while the rest of his team pack up their gear. I take a sip of my Prince of Wales tea blend, “So, Mr. Davis....”
“I'm sorry miss?”
“Please, call me Nora.”
“May I ask some questions first?”
I check my phone to make sure the gnomes haven't sent me any messages before answering, “If it helps you Mr. Davis, then please proceed.”
“You have a mummified cat.”
“Yes, Mr. Whiskers, and yes he's from the time of the pharaohs in ancient Egypt. He followed me home.”
Davis nearly spits out his tea, “Followed you home?”
“Yes, I was at Oxford and apparently my magic woke him up....or at least I think it's a “he”...I really can't tell. But, when he disguises himself he always takes on the visage of a tabby.”
“You went to Oxford?”
“I don't see why it's so unbelievable Mr. Davis. I went to Oxford and obtained my doctorate.”
“You're a doctor too,” he asks in utter disbelief and I can tell by the ripples in the magic around me that his men in the other room heard it as well.
“Okay, to save some time, I'll lay it out for you Mr. Davis and to your men who are eavesdropping,” I say setting my tea down, “I am a Baba Yaga as you have been told but I was raised in a Christian home just outside of Dallas, by two amazing and wonderful parents who I can only hope to be like one day. They adopted me out of Russia and taught me the value of life, compassion, love and defending what is good. My mom also led me to Christ when I was thirteen and I hold strongly to my faith for those who doubt, right Mr. Shaw?”
“Then one night my parents had the misfortune of being killed by a burglar who turned out to be a werewolf. However, during the attack my powers awakened and after I apparently killed said werewolf, I was taken in by our government. Obviously I cannot go into detail about my service or duties during that time and as a military man you, yourself can understand this, right” he nods while I continue, “From the time I worked for them until now I have learned 173 languages from Japanese to Ancient Sumerian, earned my doctorate along with several other degrees, fought against horrors unimaginable, and even started my own hunting outfit all before my 24th birthday....which is next month. I truly hope that is sufficient enough information for you Mr. Davis?”
“Wait...did you say you have your own hunting outfit?”
“Yes, the Blackrock Huntsmen, and I would like to get to the point at hand and know why you tried to kill me Mr. Davis.”
Mr. Davis sits quietly for a few moments, “We were given a dossier on you with a list of people you killed. Also given the PUFF, we jumped at the chance.”
“Without proper investigation I take it....please show me the dossier.”
He hands me a flash drive which I quickly insert into my laptop and begin pouring over the information. I quietly read for nearly fifteen minutes while his men return and sit at the table. When I'm finished I look him in the eye, “Mr. Davis, you and your men have been set up.”
“What the fuck,” blurts McArthur.
I just stare at him, “Potty mouth.”
Marlow waves his hand, “Okay, I gotta know. What's the deal with you and swearing?”
“Seriously? I'm a Baba Yaga, cursing is our bread and butter. To put it bluntly, I nearly killed a guy during a training session by using a curse word. My teacher told me that I have to be extremely careful about what I say, otherwise I could cause major death and destruction unintentionally. So, I prefer those around me not swear, so I'm not tempted.”
McArthur quickly asks, “So, you could kill someone by just saying “Damn you” to them.”
“I was joking and I nearly killed a teammate Mr. McArthur, so yes....and please, once again, no potty mouth.”
“Now, if there's no more questions,” replies Mr. Davis looking at his men, “How were we set up?”
“The dates you were given and the names of the people who were killed do not add up. Like this Tyrone Mitchell, the dossier says I killed him on January 12th, but that's impossible because I was in Norway dealing with a serious deep one infestation. Besides several of the names of the “victims” in your dossier were killed by an individual named Stygak.”
“It sounds like you were the one being set up Ms. Nora.”
“It does, but my magic is telling me the ill omen is over your head Mr. Davis. Someone or something wants you specifically dead and they expected me to be your executioner; but I don't kill good men,” Mr. Whiskers jumps onto the table when I say that and I place my hand on his back as my eyes turn black, “Hold very still Mr. Davis.”
“What are you doing,” asks Mr. Shaw.
“I'm trying to determine who wants him dead.”
The magic flows through me and is amplified when I direct it through Mr. Whiskers. I feel the ancient power of the pharaohs mingling with mine and the spell upon Mr. Davis is revealed. It's a death mark ritual and then I begin chanting in Svartalfar to reveal the caster. In my mind's eye I'm pulled through the magic of the mark and I'm brought to Chicago, to a red building....with a weathered eagle over the main entrance....I see a name....The Hampshire, then up, up, up the stairs to an apartment....number 1337. When I start to push inside I feel necromantic energies pushing against me. If I was there in person there is no way they could keep me out, but at this distance I can't get through.
I open my eyes and look at Mr. Davis, “Does an apartment 1337 in the Hampshire building in Chicago ring any bells? It's possibly a necromancer and they placed a death mark on you.”
“No, it doesn't.”
“Hey boss,” speaks up Bradley, “Didn't you once tell me that the way you got into the hunting life is by encountering a necromancer?”
“Yeah, he got away after he left me with about thirty zombies to deal with.”
“You survived thirty zombies by yourself?”
“Axes don't run out of ammo,” says Davis with a smirk.
My phone pings. The gnomes hit pay dirt.
“Gentlemen, I must be going I have something that I must deal with.”
“Need some back up,” asks Marlow standing from the table.
“Thank you, but no, I should be fine,” I say grabbing my coat, “Besides I think you have a date with a necromancer in Chicago.”
I didn't say anything to Davis and his men about their dossier, but it worries me because I was the obvious target and his team were just being used as patsies. However, working for the STFU and now with my own hunting agency I have no doubt made enemies, so I shouldn't be surprised, but with the specific victims, could Stygak be setting me up? If so, how would Stygak know I was the one hunting them? Regardless, Davis does have a death mark over him and that's serious but something doesn't feel right about this. I stop a mile away from Stoke's house and place a call to my agency.
“Hello, Blackrock Huntsmen, this is Julia how may I direct your call?”
I love Julia, she is a tried and true, 100% bull lady of Texas and if you don't want your spine removed never call her a minotaur, “Julia, it's Nora.”
“Oh hey sweetie pie, what can I do for you?”
“I'm just checking in. I'm about to possibly engage the doppelganger, Stygak. I'm texting you my GPS coordinates. If I don't check in, in an hour.”
“Oh I know honey. I don't hear from you, I blow the horn and we come charging in like General Patton's tank brigade.”
“Thank you Julia.”
“Don't mention it honey. You be careful.”
I hang up the phone and pop the trunk. I may be a Baba Yaga but I learned long ago that magic is not the answer to everything that I deal with, so I get equipped. I put on my tactical vest with extra magazines and a solid trauma plate over my chest and back. I fasten my leg holster with my HK45 Tactical pistol, grab my FN SCAR 17 Heavy and say a quick pray; Oh Lord, my God please watch over me and train my hands for war and if it is my time to meet You, then allow me to face the enemy with bravery. In Jesus name, Amen. I then load back up and continue on to Paul Stoke's house.
When I arrive at the base of his drive way my magic tingles; my wards and spells have been nullified. I place the car in park, step out, chamber a .308 round and send a warning down the magical bond I have to Mr. Whiskers. I pull out my phone to send an emergency text to Julia but before I can my magic screams in warning and I dive to the ground. Something passes just over my head, my hair stands on end from an electrical charge and my defensive barriers keep me from getting electrocuted. I look up and see....an Impundulu!
An Impundulu is an evil, man-sized black and white, immortal vampiric bird with the horrific ability to shape shift and summon lightning from South Africa, that can only be killed by fire. That can only mean....I look toward the house and see an African witch on the porch. The Impundulu are used as familiars by witches and being immortal are often passed down from mother to daughter. When I was in Africa doing my field research I encountered a witch who had an entire village enthralled with her black magic and she had an Impundulu. I killed her because she was using the villagers as human sacrifices and her vampire bird escaped; great.
The witch speaks in Zulu, “You killed my mother! Now I kill you!”
My eyes turn black, I strengthen my defensive barriers and I run for the cover of several large pine trees. The Impundulu launches a lightning bolt from it's talons just as I slide behind a tree; bits of dirt, rocks and splinters shower me. I look down at my phone and it's fried, so I toss it. I mold my magic and try to ignite that stupid vampire bird, but it's protected by the witch; that's just perfect. I fire several rounds toward the witch but Stygak pushes her out of the way.
Then Stygak in turn opens fire on me with a Keltec RFB-18 Bullpup, just as that blasted Impundulu hits the tree with another lightning bolt. I need to get out of here but before I can even think about going to my car the stupid witch hits it with a green fire ball; the car goes up like a kindling box. Wonderful, there goes my security deposit; good thing I sprung for the rental insurance but it's not going to matter if I die.
More bullets hit around me showering me with splinters; my skin takes on a greenish-yellow tint, my nose and ears increase in length and my teeth turn to iron. I begin speaking in the tongue of the Yumboes, African fairies from Senegal and create illusions of me running in different directions from the tree. Stygak begins firing at one, the Impundulu dives toward another with electrified talons and the witch breathes a cone of green flame consuming two others. I calmly bring my rifle up to my shoulder and put a round directly between Stygak's eyes and his brain matter splatters the witch in the face. The witch turns toward me and just as I squeeze off a round toward her I'm paralyzed.
Getting paralyzed threw off my aim and my bullet hits the witch in the stomach. She goes down, but I can't move and then I see a wight come into my field of vision. What the hell is a wight doing here!? Then I see Paul Stokes step out of his house, smiling....oh that can't be good.
I'm taken inside the house, placed on the kitchen table and I can see several zombies eating the gnomes I hired; poor little guys. The witch is carried inside by her Impundulu, who has transformed into a Zulu warrior and placed her on the couch. Paul walks in followed by his wight, “Really? On my couch. Do you realize how hard blood stains are to get out of fabric. Take her to the bathroom and place her in the tub.”
The Impundulu does just that as Paul walks over to me and then has his blasted wight touch me again, “When Stygak and I first met and he told me that a Baba Yaga was working for STFU I couldn't believe it, but here you are. During your time with STFU you cost my master considerable resources and it took a considerable amount of power to hide from you, but it was worth the effort.”
He unbuckles my tactical vest and slides his hand under my shirt. I may be paralyzed but I can feel his hands on my chest, fondling my breasts while his vile magic slithers it's way across my body, exploring my very being.
“You're a virgin,” he yells in excitement, “This just gets even better. When my master told me he wanted you dead for all the trouble you've caused him of course I obeyed....but to think of this happening. Do you know how much favor and power I will garner from my master by sacrificing you to him? A powerful magical enemy who is also a virgin...he will at least double the power he gives me.”
Great, this guy is an Old One fanatic.
Paul pulls out some kind of talisman and places it on my forehead. I can't see what it is but I can feel my magic being subdued and weakened; this is getting better by the minute.
“Now, I have to go save that worthless witch,” he says with disgust, “However, if not for her I would have never been able to properly locate you and lure you here.”
He leaves me with his wight and ever few seconds it touches me again; I guess Paul isn't taking any chances with me. He's gone for about 15 minutes and then comes back wiping blood from his hands, “You did a number on her for sure, but unfortunate for you she'll live and her pet bird is helping her to heal....but on to fun stuff.”
Despite the talisman, I try focusing my power to counteract the wight's paralysis but before I can make significant process Paul rips off my sleeve and brands my arm. I wish I could have screamed because that really hurt, but once he's finished...I can't feel my magic at all. He smiles caressing my face with his left hand, “I hate to damage any part of you but the Sigil of Black Silence will keep your powers sealed until I can perform the ceremony.”
I'm helpless as this wretch completely cuts off all my clothes and begins painting unholy symbols on my skin in blood. He actually ties me to the table, so at the very least he stops having his wight continue to paralyze me.
I thought this job would be somewhat easy, but I starting to get scared. Then a Bible verse suddenly pops into my head. Deuteronomy 31:6 Be strong and of good courage, fear not nor be afraid of them, for the Lord your God, He it is that doth go with you; He will never fail you, nor forsake you.
Thank you Father.
Paul cocks his head, “Are you smiling? You're going to die.”
“You know, you may have sealed my magic, but there's one thing that you cannot seal or mute or take away from me.”
“Oh, and what's that little Baba Yaga?”
He laughs, “Oh really? And what can your faith do for you?”
“Plenty.” I see Mr. Whiskers sneak in and being undead the zombies and wight don't even notice, “For one, I have victory through my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. What I bind on earth shall be bound in heaven and what I loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
He laughs again, “Oh please go on.”
“Paul Stokes, you are an evil man and in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ I rebuke you and I bind you in His holy name!”
His face distorts and he is utter shock when bandages wrap around him, making him fall into the floor. Mr. Whiskers lets out a distorted, dry and very shrill meow that hurts my ears. The zombies and wight look at my cat just as the main door is kicked in by Marlow. He doesn't say a word and backs out the door followed quickly by the undead; then I hear a beautiful chorus of gun fire. Then the Impundulu comes running from the back and takes on it's bird form the moment it hits the porch outside.
Mr. Whiskers comes over to the table and begins chewing and clawing through the ropes holding my left hand. He stops and hides under the table when the witch comes stumbling from the back. She doesn't even notice Stokes wrapped up on the floor; good, her attention is on the hunters outside. Once she goes out the door Mr. Whiskers goes back to work and the moment the rope on my hand snaps I quickly untie my other hand and feet.
Paul glares at me. I would love to beat the crap out of him but if I don't do something Davis' crew is going to be slaughtered by the Impundulu. I have to get my magic back and there's only one way to do that. I go over to my gear and pull my Ka-Bar. I take a few breaths to prepare myself before I saw the brand off of my arm; I definitely scream this time.
The instant the final thread of bloody skin is severed I feel my power return to me like a flood and I quickly direct my power to burn all the unholy symbols from my flesh. I then look at Mr. Whiskers and then to Paul, “Keep him company.”
Mr. Whiskers politely sits on Paul's face and I head out the door. The witch is already down and nearly blown in half courteous of a .50 caliber bullet to the chest. However, the Impundulu is giving Paranormal Tactical one hell of a beat down. The hunters are pouring round after round into the bird only to have it throw lightning bolts at them. I see that McArthur is down, but still alive for now and I waste no more time. My eyes turn black and I reach out with my power caressing the magic flowing around the vampiric bird and I ignite it.
The Impundulu shrieks in agony throwing bolt after bolt of electricity in every direction; I take cover in the house. The monster finally plummets to the ground and stops moving; I extinguish the flames so I can get a tissue sample for the PUFF claim. I'm tired and don't even think about being totally naked until Bradley comes rushing in and just stares. Mr. Whiskers automatically reacts to my mental commands and obliges by wrapping my private parts in bandages; I kind of look like I'm wearing a tube top and skirt.
Bradley blinks and then looks me in the eye, “Are you okay?”
“I am now. Why are you here?”
“Your creepy mummy cat,” answers Davis stepping inside, “It appeared inside our SUV out of a whirl of sand and then guided us here.”
“You left out the part where we almost wrecked,” adds Bradley; I really like his blue eyes.
“That's not important,” retorts Davis, “I've called for an ambulance; McArthur may not make it.”
“He'll make it Mr. Davis, I'll make sure of that,” I say walking toward the door, “Oh, and by the way the guy tied up in the floor is Paul Stokes, a fanatical necromancer and priest of the Old Ones. I think the MCB will want to ask him a lot of questions.”
I exhausted my power knitting McArthur's flesh back together and healing the injuries of the rest of the Paranormal Tactical guys and it was a good thing there was an ambulance on the way because they ended up taking me instead. When I woke up my head was pounding and Ms. Saint was beside my bed but she doesn't look happy, “You're alive, good.”
“I was almost sacrificed.”
“I know,” she says brushing hair out of my face, “The Paranormal Tactical team lead, Terrence Davis told me and apparently Micah Bradley was staying by your side until I arrived.”
“Yes, but don't get comfortable, Priscilla is getting you discharged as we speak.”
“No rest for the wicked, huh.”
“You are anything but, my daughter.”
That's one of the best things about starting my own hunting company, Ms. Saint and I are no longer bound by the teacher and student relationship we had to maintain inside the STFU....she's now my second mom. I smile, “I was thinking about expanding our roster, because I don't ever want to be without back up again.”
“What did you have in mind?”
“We hire human hunters.”
“We could, but that might cause problems.”
“True, but I think I know some I can reach out to and we can work on the rest later.”
Priscilla walks in, in her usual sun dress attire, sandals and sun kissed skin with her dark hair resembling braided cords, but they're not cords....they're snakes in disguise because she is a medusa, “You ready to go boss?”
“Yeah, let's go home.”
Three weeks later back in Texas I was sitting in my office when Julia knocked on my door, cracked it and said, “Sweetie, your one o'clock is here.”
“Thank you Julia, show them in.”
Terrence Davis, Micah Bradley, David Marlow, Creedence Shaw and Jacob McArthur stepped in and all of them were staring at Julia. She snorts, “You gentlemen have a staring problem?”
“They're enthralled by your absolute beauty. After all you are a gorgeous bull lady of Texas.”
“You got that right honey,” she says with a huge smile.
“That will be all Julia,” I say causing her to close the door, “Gentlemen, welcome to Blackrock Huntsmen, where we employ exceptional individuals. Oh, also word of advice, never call Julia a minotaur.”
Mr. Davis speaks up, “Why did you fly us all the way to Texas?”
“It's simple Mr. Davis. I almost died when encountering Paul Stokes and despite my abilities or the abilities of my other employees, we need back up. We need solid, reliable hunters with flexible minds who can work beside other PUFF exempt hunters like myself.”
Mr. Bradley steps forward, “We're already with Paranormal Tactical though.”
“I realize that, but I have also looked at what they offer and I believe I can offer a better deal.”
“How so,” asks Mr. Marlow crossing his big arms.
“On top of the PUFF you earn, I will also pay you $25 an hour during down time, three weeks of vacation a year, health insurance along with dental and vision and I'm talking premium coverage too: not to mention a 401k plan as well. Also if you fall in the line of duty and you have a family, I have set up a side fund to continue to provide for their needs and they will be able to keep their health coverage for life. So what do you say gentlemen?”
All five of them signed up on the spot but did at least give their former employers the courtesy of working a two week notice. Two days after they started with the Huntsmen, Micah and I went out on our first date. Granted our first date was him going to church with me and then out to lunch but it was a lot of fun. After that he was in church with me every Sunday, but things really didn't get “interesting” until our fourth date.