The title says it all. You guys asked for it. Fair warning: this is a very rough draft. It is pantsing at its finest (or worst, depending on your point of view). No editing has been done and I’m still not sure where the story is going. All I know for certain is I am liking the characters and the world intrigues me. The snippet stops mid-scene for reasons. The rest will be posted in a day or so. With that said, here goes. Oh, working title is Rogue Walker (The Sam Walker Files). Yes, it will change, but I needed something before Myrtle the Evil Muse came up with a title on her own and trust me, you don’t want that. Now, on with the snippet.
I hate Mondays almost as much as I hate mornings. Monday mornings top the list of times to be avoided, especially in my line of work. That’s when the idiots who acted without thinking—and often after ingesting too much booze or pills or other pharmacological concoctions—over the weekend realize they have a mess that needs to be cleaning up yesterday. When that happens, too many become even more foolish and don’t even pause to act like they’re thinking. Instead, they compound the problem, crossing the line that brings them to the attention of my bosses and, therefore, to me.
My name’s Sam Walker and I work for the North American Paranormals Council. It’s their job to keep the paranormal community in line. The last thing we need is for some moonsick shifter or a magicker whose talents have gone wild to attack a human. When that happens, I get a call. I guess you might call me the Council’s fixer.
More often than not, that means I’m judge, jury and executioner.
Folks like me are why the paras and humans can co-exist without war breaking out.
Thank all that is holy, the humans still don’t know the true extent of our existence. If they knew exactly how many different species of paras existed, panic would result. It wouldn’t matter they still outnumbered us by a magnitude of at least one hundred. All they’d see were the monsters from their nightmares, waiting to steal their children and murder the rest of them in their sleep.
That’s why the Council laid down strict laws forbidding interaction between many para species and the humans. It was also why there were safe zones created near the magical rifts that now dotted the Earth, rifts that tore away the veil separating out kind from theirs. These safe zones became home for those who either couldn’t or wouldn’t live in peace with humans. The only places where humans couldn’t come without risking more than their lives. Doing so risked their humanity because we still didn’t know what exposure to a rift for more than a few minutes would do to them.
I closed the door and, with my back to the room, bowed my head, blowing out a long breath. I didn’t need to turn to know the gruff voice matched the gruff expression on my boss’s face. Of course, it was near impossible for him not to look that way. Part troll, part dwarf, Redmond Oakley ran what he euphemistically called a reclamation agency. Most of his employees focused on finding paras who went missing. Sometimes of their own accord and sometimes because they crossed the wrong person and sometimes—fortunately not too often—because someone took them to find out what made them what they were.
But all that was a front for our real work. Just as the bar Red owned was a front. Here, we did paperwork and met clients. At the bar, we gathered information and kept an eye on those paras who loved their drink and drugs and couldn’t hold their tongues if their lives depended on it.
I glanced at my watch and rolled my eyes.
“Late? Really?” I crossed the office and dropped onto one of the chairs in front of Red’s battered desk. As I did, I considered reaching out with one booted foot and nudging the corner of the desk to see if any of the stacks of files and loose paper would fall. In the five years I’d worked for him, the stacks had grown and multiplied until there wasn’t a bit of the desktop visible. “It’s not ten yet and I’m not scheduled to go on shift until eleven.”
“Then why’re you here, Walker? I’m not gonna pay you overtime.” His almost black eyes glittered and one corner of his mouth lifted in what someone might generously say was a smile.
I barked out a laugh and crossed my legs. “When have you ever paid overtime, Red? You’re a stingy bastard but we love you anyway.”
I grinned as he growled. But the sparkle in his eyes gave him away. I might frustrate the hell out of him at the best of times, but he liked me. More than that, he liked the bounties I brought in. Besides, he knew I always got my paperwork in on time and did my best to make sure the other enforcers did as well.
“Yeah, you say that to every guy who signs your paychecks.” His voice rumbled deep in his barrel chest.
“You haven’t signed a check in years, Red. Everything’s digital now.”
“You’re such a bitch, Walker.”
“No argument there, Red.”
Survival in this world meant being able to take care of yourself. Doing what I did, you’d better be a ballbuster who wasn’t afraid to draw blood if you wanted to live to see the next day. That was the first lesson my mama taught me when she sat me down at the ripe old age of ten and told me this was my legacy. She’d been an enforcer until she disappeared on a job for Red. My dad had been one until a feral wyvern killed him protecting its nest.
I’d been nine when Dad died and twelve when Mom didn’t come home. Red took me in and put me to work. First, just helping out around the office. Oh, he made sure I finished school but he also made sure I got the training I needed to carry on the family legacy. The Walkers have been enforcers for generations, and he didn’t mean to see that end.
“But you’re my bitch.” He grinned and cracked his large, hairy knuckles.
I arched one brow. Nothing else. I didn’t need to do or say anything, not when he paled and swallowed hard, realizing how badly he stepped in it.
He licked his lips once. “You know what I mean, Sam.”
I waited, watching as sweat pricked out on his forehead. Then I grinned. I didn’t mind letting him sweat, but I knew what he meant.
“No worries, Red. Just don’t say something like that in front of anyone else.” That was all the warning he’d get.
Featured image created using Midjourney AI (and I haven’t taken time to edit it in any other program. So we will make believe that the werewolf actually has two rear legs and the woman doesn’t look like it already hit her in the face. VBG). I will admit to having way too much fun with MJ but I’m doing my best not to spend a lot of time with it right now since Myrtle the Evil Muse is actually wanting me to write.
So, do I keep going with the WIP and posting snippets or not?