He rolled over, a loud alarm sounding. James DeLuca grunted and covered his ears with his pillow. Just when he had started to drift back into the wonderful world of dreamland, his bunkmate, Ethan kicked the underside of his mattress. “Come on, Jamie. You’ve got to get up. It’s been spotted.”
The ‘It’, Ethan had referred to, was a shape shifter. The team had been searching for ‘It’ since for about a year, and now, ‘It’ was at large. This time, though, ‘It’ had been spotted inside the barriers protecting the academy. The academy was a school for students in their late teens and early twenties who wanted to be a part of the SBHA, otherwise known as the ‘Supernatural Bounty Hunters Association’. This was the first case of the New Year, and boy, was it an important one.
“You’re late.” His twin sister tapped her foot at him, waiting impatiently outside the door to his living quarters. “Lay off, Alice.” James said, rolling his taupe eyes. He picked up his rucksack, which was full of supplies, and swung the bag over his shoulder. It was heavier than he expected, so it caused him to lean to one side. Once the whole team had assembled, the headmaster (who had been waiting patiently for them to stop arguing) advanced toward them, accompanied by a new, slightly sinister looking student. “This is Alexander. He’s new, and has been assigned to your team.” The peculiar looking young man took a couple of steps toward them, one arm extended, with a friendly smile spread across his lips. “Hello.” He said, arm still held out, waiting for one of his new team members to shake. Alice obliged, and took it happily. “Welcome!” she said, smiling cheerily. “This is Ethan,” she said, cocking her head toward the tall, blond-haired boy. He responded with a smirk, and pushed up his thick-framed glasses, as they had fallen down the bridge of his nose. James rocked uncomfortably on his heels and scoffed. Alice rolled her eyes. “And this is James. My brother.” She gestured her hand toward the messy-haired brunette. Alexander took a step toward James, and held out his hand. James sighed, and unhappily shook it, his grip tightening. “Nice to meet you,” Alexander said, the same smile on his face.
The next morning, James woke up, and got dressed, ready for a day of classes. “Morning,” he said, arriving at the cafeteria for breakfast. Ethan smiled. “Good morning,” he answered, mouth occupied by a piece of the Belgian waffle he’d been eating. He looked over at the line of students waiting for their food, and noticed his sister having a conversation with the new kid. “Do you like him?” he asked, leaning an elbow on the round lunch table. Ethan shrugged. “He seems alright. He’s just a new kid, nothing wrong with that. I could have done without a new team member though.” He tilted his head a little. “Why? Do you not like him?” James shook his head a little. “I dunno.” he pursed his lips. “I guess we’ll just have to wait and see, huh? So far, though, I’m not sure.”
TWO WEEKS LATER
A couple of weeks had passed since the initial meeting of Alexander, and he had pretty much stolen James’ self-appointed position of ‘Team Captain’. “Guys, come on!” he said, flopping himself down into the La-Z-Boy chair in the break room. Alice and Ethan were the only ones there; Alexander was probably off doing something of his own. “Something’s definitely up with this dude!” he gestured dramatically with his arms.
“Look, James.” Alice rolled her eyes again. It seemed to be her only reaction to her brother lately. “If something was really ‘up’, don’t you think he would have tried something by now?” Ethan nodded in agreement, and James responded with yet another groan.
“But he broke our parabolic microphone!” he remarked, becoming red with anger.
“It was an accident. He dropped it when we were packing up.” Ethan held up the broken device.
“So? He broke the electromagnetic field detector too!” James kept his lips pursed, and slammed the device onto the table. “And the voice recorder!” he rebottled, a triumphant look on his face. His two friends began to look a bit uneasy.
“Maybe we should ask him about it. It is kind of suspicious that all of our equipment’s been broken since he joined…” Alice stood up and began to walk toward the door. She turned the handle. “Alex, I was ju-“ her clipboard dropped to the floor. What she saw in front of her, was an absolutely hideous looking creature. It was scaly, with glossy black skin and gray, lucid eyes. “Jay!” she called, hesitantly moving backward. “You might want to come see this.”
Armed with an anti-matter gun and a capture capsule, James and Ethan walked up to Alice and looked over her shoulder. Ethan’s eyes widened and James took a step forward, handing the anti-matter gun to his sister.
“Hello,” the tall creature’s voice wasn’t heard by the others. To James, it sounded like it was being whispered directly into his ear. It began to take a step forward. “You couldn’t just leave well enough alone, hm?” the voice echoed more, and became louder in the dark-haired male’s ears. The creature reached out to touch James’ cheek. Genuinely terrified, James began to step back, into a corner. “I knew it.” The stuttered words escaped his lips and he dropped to the ground. The monster moved its claw to his throat and proceeded to lift James up. James began to cough, choking due to lack of air. Just when he could feel himself slipping out of consciousness, the creature dropped him and fell to its knees.
Alice stood in the other corner of the room, anti-matter gun in hand. Her breath was heavy, and her eyes were welled up with tears. Smoke floated from the gun’s mouth. “You didn’t.” James huffed, dropping back to his knees.
“Get the capsule.” She looked in Ethan’s direction. He picked up the clear, glass tube and took it apart. Walking up to the mass, Ethan put each side of the capsule around the mass and pressed a button, sucking the creature inside and locking. Ethan strapped the capsule to his back.
“Glad we got that over with,” he said smiling at James. He reached his hand out for his friend to take. James smiled his toothy grin, and pulled himself up with his friend’s help.
“Thanks.” he brushed himself off and walked out the door, backpack slung over his shoulder. “We should get this to the headmaster.” He said.
They didn’t see the mass changing shape inside the capsule though. They didn’t see the gray, lucid eyes darting about, looking for a way to escape. And they found one. There was a small crack in the tube, and the creature managed to squeeze itself out of the tube.
By the time they reached the headmaster, it was gone. And so was Alice.