First Day. Short Story.

Hey, so just a quick warning there won’t be a short story on Friday, but I’ll be back on Monday and everything will continue as normal then. Going for a colonoscopy and an gastroscopy tomorrow so I figure give myself the time to recover and all that. Not particularly looking forward to it (big surprise) but it won’t be that bad, going by the last time the worst part of it is having to drink what is basically 2 litres of laxative. Yay Crohn’s.

Though hopefully I’ll be able to see what’s happening during the gastroscopy, because it’s not every day you get a chance to see what your insides look like!

 

_____________________________________________________________

First Day.

“They’re real?”
“Yeah? Of course they’re real, I thought everyone knew that.”                                                    “I thought they were like an old wives tale, something you tell to kids so they eat their vegetables and scare them away from crime. How come you never hear anything about them on the news?”
“They report on it all the time, they just leave out the Three Hundred angle, call it gang warfare or something like that. They’ll report it just like any other crime.”
“So what do we do about them?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, how do we stop them?”
“Are you crazy? We don’t. I don’t want to get mixed up in any of that, we just stay far away from them.”
“They’re criminals! They’re murdering people!”
“Criminals with a mandate from the Gods. Do you really want to piss them off?”
“The Gods are real too? I need to sit down.” Jack stumbled over to the small, over stuffed couched, Doug rolled his eyes.
“You’re one of those huh? Atheist? Well, were I guess. Never understood it myself, I mean sure they don’t exactly pop in all the time these days but they’re around enough. Small ways. They’ve stepped back a good bit, still not a good idea to cross them.” Doug looked at Jack for a moment, he was pale and clammy, “You really didn’t know what you were getting into here, did you?”
“No one told me this, no one told me anything about it. I was just told that I was assigned here, that’s it. Nothing else…What else is real?”                                                                      Doug shook his head, “I don’t think we should get into that right now, it might fry your brain. You’re gonna see a lot on this job, if you don’t think you’re going to be able to handle it, it’s best to transfer out now. No one will think less of you, you wouldn’t be the first or the last. You look like you need a drink, c’mon lets go to Joseph’s”

The bar was small, intimate, booths lined the wall and tables were dotted about the room. Doug strolled up the bar, “Hey Tommy, how’s things?”
“Ah same old, can’t complain. The usual for you?”
“Yeah, that’d be great. This is the newbie, give him something strong, would ya?”
Tommy smiled, “Yeah, no problem. He’s looking a little pale though, make sure he doesn’t throw up on the seats. It took me forever to scrub it all out the last time.”
“Don’t worry, I think he’ll be fine.”                                                                                         Tommy put the drinks and the bar and Doug paid. He grabbed the two glasses and joined Jack. “Here, drink this.”
“What is it?”
“Don’t ask, just drink. Trust me it’ll do you some good.”
Jack took a tentative sip, “wow, this is actually really good.”
Doug smiled, “Told you, I’m not going to steer you wrong. We’re going to have to have a conversation. I don’t know why they keep sending people over to us unprepared. Right, tell me what you know.”
“Well, the usual stuff I guess. I went to church when I was younger and just kind of fell away from it.”
“Yeah, that’s happening these days. The Gods have calmed down a bit from their early days, they’re less flashy now, more into the whole invisible guiding hand stuff. They don’t really care too much what people are up to for the most part.”
“So all those stories are real?”
“Well, most of them, you get embellishment, people changing stuff around, but the core of it is real.”
“So the Three Hundred are out there? Just wandering around?”
“Yeah, but it isn’t a bad thing. Usually they take out the worst of the worst. One or two are actually pretty decent, but you will want to avoid them for the most part. There are a couple that are dangerous to everyone, but they haven’t been active in a while.”
Jack took a gulp of his drink, “Why don’t people know about this stuff?”
“They do, they just ignore it. It’s easy to dismiss stuff that isn’t really obvious. The Gods don’t interfere unless it’s really important. I think the last time they popped up properly was about four hundred years back. That was when that false prophet came along, so they took him down.”

Jack took another gulp from his glass. “So then is it true? How the Three Hundred were created?”
“Well, we think so.”
“Then why don’t the gods do that kind of stuff any more?”
“Smite people for being sinful and all that? They were…different then, if what I’m told is correct. They’ve loosened up a bit. We don’t really know why but there’s a few theories out there.”
“So I’m not going to be turned into an eternal monster if I sin?”
Doug chuckled, “They’re not monsters. They look like everyone else. They don’t age and they can’t die but they’re not real, literal monsters. Most of those died out years ago. Besides, they only go after bad people.”
“Why only bad ones? They can do what ever they like, can’t they?”
“Well, from what I hear they believe that if they help cleanse the earth of sin they will be cleansed of theirs. The worse the sin they faster they get to die and move on. It’s kind of a double edged sword though, a lot of them can’t really control themselves once they get started so they inflict pain and torment before killing. Personally I think that’d cancel out what ever good they’re trying to do but it’s none of my business.”

Jack drained the last of his drink, “Ok, so what exactly are we going to be doing here? I mean if most of the monsters have died out, the Gods don’t interfere and we leave the Three Hundred alone, what is our job?”
“There’s plenty of people and things out there that aren’t quite every day humans. There’s demigods, heroes, creatures that pass for humans and ones who are no where close. We look after them. We investigate any crimes they’re involved in and just generally try to keep the peace between everyone. When we go back to the office later you’ll see a few of them hanging around, don’t worry they’re all lovely.”
Jack shook his head, “I’m sorry, but you’re joking right? People would know, how could they not? Everyone has a camera in their pocket these days, there’d be proof.”
“Oh it is there. Pictures and videos. We have some people that help scrub out the more dangerous stuff to stop people from getting hurt, but we let a good lot of it through. I could show people plenty of sites with real pictures, and they’ll dismiss it as photoshop or a costume. People don’t see it because they don’t want to, plus a lot of these creatures are adept at using magic, they tend to keep themselves hidden most of the time. Usually if anyone comes out about it they’re labelled as a loon. Remember that singer a few years back? Came out about demon filled sex parties and then her career pretty much died because everyone thought she was crazy? She was telling the truth, or at least it wouldn’t surprise me if she was. I’ve heard stories about the parties her manager throws and let me tell you…Are you ok?”
Jack had gone pale again, he was slightly slumped over the table.
“Look, just take a few deep breaths. You’ll adjust fast, everyone does if they stay. Most people aren’t coming at it from your perspective but hey, you’ll get there.”
Doug stood from the table, “In the mean time I’ll get you another, I’ll even pay if you just do one thing for me.”
“What?”
“If you’re gonna throw up, do it outside, I don’t want Tommy pissed at me again.”
Jack’s eyes widened slightly, he lowered his voice to a whisper “Why? Is he some kind of creature too?”                                                                                                                                    “No, that bastard will just water down my drinks for the next six months.”                      Doug clapped Jack on the back and went to the bar.

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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