- Tch, these fuckers are a pain in the ass
This thought crossed Special Agent Travis’ mind while escaping through the maze of alleys of the zone he usually patrolled, taking any possible shortcut to lose his pursuers. Behind him and following closely, a gang of at least four bandits, which were already a problem, but Travis had the feeling that there were many more hidden in some of the abandoned buildings of the neighborhood. Every time he made a turn, he felt a gaze on his side like he was constantly being watched, as if they knew exactly where he was going, or rather, as if he was being lured into that specific direction.
He couldn’t remember when or where these guys came from, but when he realized what was happening, he was already running for his life. Of course, it wasn’t his first time, but there was something else that was making him feel uneasy, even an hour ago, right before the attack happened.
It was a night like any other, the sleeping city was totally covered with a pitch black veil that was the night sky. Maybe sometime in the past it would have been decorated with hundreds if not thousands of white brilliant dots known as stars. We know they were there even if they were not visible nowadays.
Travis was finishing his usual route, before coming back to the HQs (short for Headquarters), write his routine and repetitive, since usually not much happened, report on tonight’s activities and get back home for some well-deserved sleep. But his plans changed the moment the corner of his eye noticed a quick and sudden movement on an alley on his left behind side. Even though it was probably just a rat or even his mind playing games with him, he decided to go take a look just to make sure it was nothing.
He started walking in the direction where the noise came from, while instinctively putting his right hand on the handle of his sword, which was inside its moss green sheath, strapped to his left side with a big brown belt, that also held in place the long coat (that was intentionally the same color as the sheath) he had over his normal clothes, and covered from his neck all the way to his ankles. Travis didn’t really like the belt because it was too heavy, rigid and restricted his movement, but was the only way he could think of to carry his beloved sword in a comfortable and practical way. There were people who carried it on their backs, which was much easier and it negated the weight problem entirely, but it was less accessible and, if taken by surprise, could be a huge disadvantage, so Travis gladly traded a bit of comfort in case he was faced with a situation like that.
Immersed on his thoughts, Agent Travis cleared the distance to the alley and with his usual confidence and unconcern started looking for the source of the movement that made him divert from his usual path.
There was nothing unusual about this particular alley. A space about four or five meters wide and more or less fifteen meters long separating a grocery store and what seemed a big departments building. Graffitis run through the grey walls covered with overflowing trash containers which made the space look narrower that it actually was. At the end, a brick wall rose with a repetitive pattern of red and grey from the concrete in between the bricks, barely visible only thanks to the lamppost in the street at the entrance of the alley that illuminated almost every corner inside it.
Travis entered 5 meters deep until he was standing right beside a pile of garbage and took a look around, but didn’t see anything at all. The only part he couldn’t see perfectly was the back wall, but there was no way someone would hide there without him noticing, so confirming the theory that it was just his imagination, the agent turned around and was ready to make his way back to the HQs, when the same movement that stopped him before happened as quick as last time, but this time accompanied by the sound of glass bottles bouncing against the floor before breaking into million pieces, and a rhythmic and fast tapping sound going crossing the alley from right to left. Slowly taking his sword out, Travis continued his 180° turn to make a full turn just to catch a little silhouette hiding behind a big trash container placed almost at the end of the alley.
Calmly positioning his sword between his body and the container, pointing forward in case whatever was hiding wanted to jump him, Travis started walking towards it, at the same time he asked
- Hello? Who’s there?
Not getting a response, he added sighing - I’m not a bad guy and I don’t want to hurt you, so please show yourself.”
He waited a couple of seconds, but again, no results. Whoever was hiding in the shadows didn’t want to be seen, so, losing patience and wishing to finish this nonsense so he could get back , Travis jumped to the side, maintaining his posture and leaving a safe distance between him and the container, revealing to him the entire corner and the person hiding in it.
To his surprise, it wasn’t either a criminal nor a bandit, in fact, it wasn’t even a human being. Just a moment after, his eyes got used to the low light and he was able to spot now two but four furry legs that finished not in legs or hands, but paws, supporting a bony and sloppy torso. Its long tail curved almost making a perfect circle was hidden between the legs, which added to his trembling and wet eyes, was a sign of fear. His light-brown hair was full of stains of dirt and blood, clear signs of abuse and probably a hard life in the streets.
Sighing even harder than before, releasing all the air in his lungs and tension accumulated on his body, Agent Travis sheathed his sword and carefully crouched until he was making almost a full squat to try and put his hand on the little dog’s head, which almost instantly tried to escape but was cornered, so he started to growl and show its teeth to try and scare the human so he would withdraw his hand.
- Easy there buddy, I only want to pet you, you don’t need to be scared - said Travis while finally putting his hand on the dog’s head and gently moving it to the sides, occasionally scratching behind the ear.
A minute or so later, the agent stood up, took something out of his pocket and unwrapped it. It was a cereal bar that he was saving for his trip back home, but seeing the situation, this dog would definitely need it more than him, so he broke it in two pieces and put them on the floor for the little guy to eat.
After sniffing the mysterious gift from this stranger, the dog opened his mouth and almost instantly the bar was gone.
- Sorry little friend, that’s all I have left for tonight, but I’ll make sure to bring you some more tomorrow - Travis said while petting him one more time before turning and starting walking back.
Apart from the dog incident, the way back to the HQs was much like any other night. It was a 15-20 minutes’ walk and the closer he got, the more lights, cars and even people entered the scene, which was surprising due to the fact that it was 4.30 a.m. according to Travis’ watch. Despite having a cellphone, he used to use a normal wrist watch on his left hand so he could always just take a quick peek without needing to reach for his phone, which he kept on his pants back pocket.
After filling the report, skipping the embarrassing part where he got on edge because of a dog, Travis waved his goodbyes to some guy he had never seen before who seemed to be tonight’s guard on duty and began his walk back home. It wasn’t weird that he didn’t know the guard, it happened sometimes that new people came in to work at the station and every administrative worker would be moved around from a sector to another, and sometimes they were repositioned somewhere they’ve been before. For example, there was one man in particular that Travis really liked because he didn’t talk too much and had almost the same taste in music as him, so the nights this guy was on duty, Travis would be greeted by some good music which was a pleasure after patrolling all night long.
It was a lovely night, the weather was a bit cold but Travis’ coat kept him perfectly warm and protected him from the occasional wind currents. Agent Travis lived close enough to be able to walk from home to work and vice versa, but far enough so it wasn’t a very populated or centric zone, so he really liked the little trip back because the city was so quiet that the only sound that could be heard were his footsteps… Or it should had been, but almost half way through, when the majority of the city lights were far away now and only some occasional lamp posts gave enough light to not trip with a broken tile, he suddenly stopped, turned around his head keeping his torso looking forward and spoke to nobody:
- It’s rude to follow someone you barely just met, you know? -
- … -
- Come on, I know you are there Mr. Mysterious Spy, or should I call you ‘Mr. Guard’?
A second later, a figure that seemed like he wasn’t there before, emerged from the shadows where he had been the last minute, his face still hidden.
- When did you notice me? -A chilly and almost playful voice answered the question before standing below a lonely lamppost, revealing himself entirely. It was the new guy at the HQs, the security guard of that night.
- Almost from the beginning. At first I thought it was just a coincidence, but a couple of minutes later it was pretty obvious. You were pretty loud for a stalker, you know?
- Oh Agent Travis, don’t misunderstand me, I’m not your stalker, I’m not interested in you at all, but I’m quite good at infiltrating so this job was entrusted to me by my boss. Nothing personal.
At this point, Travis noticed something that put him instantly on edge: the handle of a sword was showing above his shoulder. It wasn’t odd for an agent to have a sword, actually, it was almost a requirement, but the fact that this guy was spying on him on his way home made clear the fact that he wasn’t actually an agent… So, stalking, carrying a sword and impersonating an agent… These facts made the situation pretty obvious for Travis… The person following him was a bandit, a criminal.
So, having this into consideration and without hesitating, Agent Travis took his sword out of his sheath, pointing it to this mysterious criminal and asked:
- You know, it’s not fair that you know my name but I don’t know yours.
- I’m sorry to disappoint you Mr. Travis, but I cannot give you that information.
- Nah, don’t worry, I was expecting that answer, and I assume that asking you why you do this and who do you work for is also pointless, am I right?
- I like that, you understand pretty quickly. As a consolation prize I’m going to give you two pieces of information. Number one, even if it’s not my name, you can call me ‘V’, and number two, any information I give you is useless either way.
- And why is that Mr. V?
- Well that’s because, Mr. Agent, after tonight you will be dead” The guy said quietly, almost whispering, but loud enough so I could hear it, while taking his sword out of its sheath and taking an aggressive position.
- Hmm… Those are some big words to say, so I’m going to ask you the following question.
Hardening the grip on his sword, which was on his right hand, Travis lowered his center of gravity, took a step forward with his left foot so it was in front of his right one and took a final look at his mysterious attacker before completing his sentence:
- Do you have the strength to support your words?
Hello fellow readers, my name
!"#$%&/@ but you can call me "Biri" and
I'm Sword Society's writer. This is my first time ever
writing and on top of that English is not my first language so I know I'm going
to make a lot of mistakes, but I'd really appreciate if you can help me with
that. I have a lot of ideas and I hope I can portray them in the best way
possible for you. Thanks for taking the time to read SS's (Sword Society) first
chapter, and I hope you stay throughout the entire story.