A new day on the job, a new incident to handle.
This time it was another D-class incident, but of course, things had to go down the shitter right from the get-go. Today’s incident was a humanoid type.
After vermin and beast types, humanoids are the most common ones.
While most of them are in D- or C-class, there’s a huge fucking difference to them. Beast and vermin might be big and dangerous, but they lack intellect, brainpower, so to speak. They function purely on instinct.
Humanoid types are an entirely different story. Sure, they are only D- or C-class, and sure, they are often weaker than other creatures, but those fuckers are smart. Which means they are often harder to kill.
Most of them are creatures barely resembling humans, nothing but twisted things, walking on two legs and hiding in the gutters or an abandoned building.
Those are the easy ones.
Things get troublesome when they mingle, hide in plain sight, and take on the guise of a normal human being.
And guess what I had to handle today.
Today’s signature was located right in the middle of an apartment complex. When I saw it, I frowned instantly.
“Well, isn’t that fucking great,” I cursed to myself.
Sure, if I was lucky, the fucker might hide in some basement or an underground garage. But honestly, who am I kidding? When was I ever lucky?
No, I was sure that today’s job would most likely be a bit trickier.
If you’re hunting down a creature in an abandoned building, or hell, the freaking sewers, you can go in guns blazing. If the fucker mingles, you’ve got to be clever and handle the job with finesse. Two things I was severely lacking.
So, to sum things up, today was another shitty day.
The first thing I had to solve was how to enter the building should the fucker hide in one of the apartments. You can’t just wave your gun around and tell people their neighbors have been replaced by some supernatural creature that needs a few more breathing holes.
So, after some deliberation, I went with a plan, simple enough even for me. I’d pretend to be a handyman tasked with checking on the heater system, the pipes, or God knows what. After that, I printed out a fake repair bill. Headquarters had prepared me with an entire database just for those kinds of incidents. An old worn boiler suit above my protective armor completed the disguise.
My equipment today was a bit different from usual. As I said, I had to be clever and discreet and I fucking hated it.
Almost on instinct, I reached out for the stack of grenades in the back of the storage room. I caressed one of my little friends before I put it back with a sigh.
“Not today, lovely.”
After that, I picked up a silencer for my trusty gun and after a few moments, I grabbed one of the tactical combat knives. Sometimes things could get messy, and sometimes you won’t be able to use a gun, especially in close quarter encounters.
The moment I arrived in the area, I hit up my close-range scanner.
“Now, where are you, you fucker?”
Against all odds, I was still hoping to find it hiding in an underground area, but of course, the odds were against me. Fucking great, the thing was hiding in one of the apartment buildings. On the third fucking floor, to be precise.
When I tried the front door, I found it looked. No surprise there.
I stared at the bell system for a moment before I shrugged and pressed a random button. I kept ringing for what must’ve been a full minute before an angry male voice answered.
“Yeah? What the hell do you want?”
“Hello sir,” I started in my friendliest and most upbeat of voices. “I’m here for a scheduled repair in the apartment of Mrs. Mathews. I’ve got an appointment with her right now, but there seems to be a problem with her door opener. If you could be so-“
I didn’t have to go any further. There was a string of mumbled curses before the door was unlocked.
“Heh, easy as pie,” I congratulated myself.
I made my way inside, up the stairs, and entered the third floor. There were about a dozen apartments, so I hit up the scanner once more. After only half a minute, I’d pinpointed the fucker’s location. Apartment 307.
I took a deep breath, rummaged through my pockets, and pulled out the now crumpled up fake repair bill. For a moment I stared at it and frowned. Yeah, good job, you freaking idiot.
Then I rang the doorbell and prepared myself. No more fuck-ups, I told myself.
A moment later, a dizzy-looking brunette opened the door.
“Yes, hello?” she greeted me with a half-questioning, half-confused look on her face.
“Good day, miss, I’m here to check out the heater in your apartment. I was informed by your renting company that there’s some trouble with it, so I’d like to have a look at them and-“
“But, there’s already someone checking out the pipes in the bathroom, he told me there’s-“
“Shit,” I cursed out loud. The fucker was clever, all right. It must’ve taken the guise of some handyman to stalk its prey and enter their places. Exactly what I’d done.
The woman’s face changed to a scared expression when she saw the frown on my face and had heard my curse. She tried to close the door in front of me, but almost by instinct, I pushed my foot in.
“Hold on, miss, and listen,” I started improvising in a low voice as I forced the door open again.
“I haven’t heard of any other appointments regarding your apartment. So, the man inside might very well be a scammer. It’s very common these days. There’s some, eh, people, who pretend to work for our company to get entry into people’s apartments. They do it to steal their valuables or to hack into their Wi-Fi. I’m not sure how familiar you are with online-banking or PayPal hacks, but I assure you it’s no joke. You can cross-check the form I brought. It should give you sufficient proof of my identity.”
Without waiting for an answer, I shoved the crumbled up repair bill into her face and pushed myself past her.
“No, but-“ she protested, but I cut her right off.
“I’m going to give my supervisor a call to see if he can identify the man. Should there be any trouble, I’m going to inform security right away.”
God, I thought, what an absolute load of bullshit. There was no way she was going to believe me, was there?
To my surprise, she seemed to buy it.
“Okay, but what if he’s dangerous?”
“You don’t have to worry about a thing. Like I said, security is just a call away. For now though, please step outside, at least until I’ve confirmed what’s going on.”
Finally, she gave me a weak nod and pointed towards the bathroom at the end of the hallway. While I was still staring at her, I took out my phone and pretended to call my supervisor.
This seemed to convince her, and she stepped outside.
All right, fucker, time to get to know my little friend here, I thought as I caressed my gun and inched closer towards the bathroom.
The moment I stepped in, I found an older man below the sink, busily working on it. A toolbox was propped up next to him and when he noticed me he looked up in confusion.
“What the hell?” he started. “Don’t tell me that idiot Christopherson messed up the assignments again!”
Then he squinted his eyes and heaved himself upward. “Now wait a moment, who the hell are you?”
I stared at the guy about to pull out the gun, but something didn’t add up. This was too good, too real. Was this guy really-?
From down the hallway, I heard the front door being thrown shut, followed by a succession of disgusting noises. Flesh rending, bones snapping, skin stretching and then footsteps, big, hard, fast footsteps. Someone, no, something was getting closer, and quickly.
I threw myself aside, barely avoiding the swing of a huge, clawed hand, and crashed hard against the bathtub. A second later something huge and contorted rushed past me, straight for the poor handyman.
“What the-“ was all he brought out before a blood-curdling scream cut through the air.
Blood splattered and the wet sound of flesh tearing drowned out the man’s screams.
“Motherfucker,” I screamed as I ripped out my gun.
A contorted, blood-covered version of the woman’s face jerked into my direction.
“You’ve made a mistake, asshole,” I brought out grinning as I pointed the gun at it, “you should’ve focused on me first.”
My finger was on the trigger, and as I was about to press it, one of the creature’s arms shot forward.
Too slow, too far away, I told myself, but right then my hand was batted aside. The shot trailed off, and the gun clattered from my hand, vanishing somewhere in the bathroom.
The creature’s arms had become an elongated mess of bones and flesh, had stretched further and further beyond what should’ve been possible.
And that’s when I realized what I was up against.
Worst-case scenario, it was a freaking shapeshifter.
The creature’s mouth opened to a wide grin, revealing rows upon rows of long, needle-like teeth. A thick, heavy tongue pushed outward, licking blood and gore from its lips.
When the creature pushed itself upward, I realized how huge it was. Its legs had changed into a twisted mess of muscles. Its arms were dangling monstrosities, the clawed hands scratching over the ceramic tiles of the floor.
For an instant the creature’s hungry eyes met mine, then it rushed me.
I tried to throw myself back into the hallway, tried to get out of reach, but the thing was too fast, its arms too long. The claws tore over my chest, ripping apart the boiler suit and leaving a deep gush in my protective armor.
I didn’t even have time to curse as a second attack followed, this one aimed right for my head. I jerked to my left, but I still felt its claws scratch over the skin on my left cheek.
“Fuck,” I screamed up in pain. I felt blood running down the left side of my face.
The creature giggled in anticipation, licked the blood of its claws before it attacked once more. This time I could avoid it, fled down the hallway, and threw myself into one of the other rooms, the bedroom.
Shit, a freaking shapeshifter without a gun. This was going to get ugly, really ugly.
I didn’t have time to think, though. The creature crashed into the room right behind me, and a moment later it was upon me once more.
I ducked under a sideways sweep, but it left me wide open for a second attack. I felt a hot, sharp pain on my right side as the claws cut through the protective armor. The fucker had only grazed me, but it hurt like hell. I screamed, almost toppled over, but forced myself to keep my balance.
Another attack followed, but this time I was ready. Combat knife in hand, I dodged and rammed the blade deep into the creature’s arm.
It screeched up, pulled free, and then crashed its entire, heavy body against mine. The force of the attack almost threw me off my feet. I was dizzy, my head was spinning, but I saw its giant mouth open. Almost in slow-motion, I saw its jaw unhinge, its neck push outward, and when the head jerked forward, I let myself fall to my knees.
Combat knife in hand, I pushed myself forward, straight against the creature’s body. The blade cut through the leathery skin and muscular flesh below with ease. I pushed myself upward, driving the knife into the creature’s body with my entire body weight.
There was a loud, guttural scream. This time, the fucker was hurting, hurting bad. It tried to get free, tried to get away, and at that moment, I threw myself sideways, still holding onto the knife. The creature’s chest tore open in a wide arc. Dark, bluish blood erupted from the wound in its chest, drenching me and the entire bedroom floor. There was another ear-piercing scream.
The creature batted me aside, throwing me against the wardrobe at the back of the room. All the air was driven from my lungs and I collapsed on the floor.
“Goddamnit, why won’t you fucking die!?”
The creature’s eyes focused on me once more. It took one step, then another, before it staggered and crashed down right on top of me.
Then it lay still.
“Fucking hell,” I finally brought out, panting, and pushed the disgusting body off me. I was covered almost completely in its disgusting blood. The smell made me gag for a moment.
I fought myself back to my feet, checked the creature once more before I rubbed the blood off myself with a bedsheet. Only when I’d cleaned myself up did I contact headquarters.
“Yo, I took care of the creature, but the noise might have alerted one of the other residents. There’s also a victim, a handyman. Nothing I could do, unfortunately. I think its best-“
“Mommy, what’s going on,” I heard a quiet voice from outside in the hallway.
Moments later, knife still in hand, I found myself face to face with a small boy, about four years of age, standing in the bedroom’s doorway. His eyes grew wide. He started crying and rushed away.
“Exterminator 7D11087, what’s the situation?”
Instead of answering, I stumbled after the little boy who’d retreated to the living room. Fucking shit, I should’ve checked if someone else was around. The thing must’ve kept the boy alive to blend in better. Shit, I fucked up, I fucked up big time.
I stood there, in the door to the living room, and saw him cowering in one corner, half-hidden behind the couch, sobbing hysterically.
I took a step back and relayed the situation. Outside I could hear the blaring of the fire alarm, set off to get the rest of the residents out of the building.
“There’s a problem. We’ve got a survivor. The creature was a shapeshifter, took the place of a young woman, and kept her son around. He’s currently in the living room. Requesting permission to take the child to a hospital to-“
“That won’t be necessary, Exterminator 7D11087,” the computerized voice cut me off. “The buildings being locked-down as we speak and our clean-up crew is already on the way. We assure you we’re prepared to handle the situation. There’s no further need for your involvement.”
“But what about the fucking kid?” I yelled into the phone. “Don’t tell me-“
“The situation’s under control. Return to your base of operations immediately. Further dissonance will be deemed an offense and will be punished accordingly.”
I stood there, staring at the boy, opened my mouth to protest, to say anything, but there was nothing I could do. I’d already gotten a warning, and as I told you, you don’t mess with headquarters.
I took one last look at the scared little boy, cursed to myself, picked up my gun, and left the apartment.
Shit like this happens, shit like this happens all the fucking time. Evidence is a big no-no, but so are witnesses.
With a sour taste in my mouth, I made my way down the stairs. Outside, people were driven back by the police. One officer noticed me and the state I was in and demanded who I was and what I was doing here. He was quickly pushed aside by a man in a dark suit. After a few words, the officer took one more glance into my direction, before he nodded and went back to where he’d come from.
I turned back towards the building once more before I went on my way. I told myself to head straight home, but before I knew it I was on my way to the closest liquor store.
As I said, in this line of work, you can use the occasional drink, or a few, for that matter.
Fuck monsters and fuck headquarters.