November 10th (How Redundant)
“Alexis,” I began shakily as I led her to the corner of my office, setting her down on a stool I knew she would complain about later. “What in the name of all that is right and Holy happened?!”
She rolled her eyes, taking a hair tie off her wrist, pulling her electric blue hair into a matted ponytail. “What do you think, Fernsby?” She snapped. She stared at me for a minute, looking me up and down before shriveling up her nose. “Are you going to narrate—”
“YES!” I screeched. “Why does everyone keep asking that?”
“Because it’s weird, Nick. Really, truly, weird.” She said as if I didn’t already know this.
I scowled, leaving her alone to think about what she had said and whether she was going to apologize to me or not. I heard her scoff, but I ignored it, turning instead to my wall of tinctures, potions, antidotes, poisons and—
“Wait, since when did you start making poisons? Doesn’t that go against your little good guy shtick?” Alexis asked.
“The poisons are for research purposes only. I would never use them on anyone, but to make an antidote for them, I have to first create them.” I smiled mischievously. There weren’t a lot of creatures left in the world who spent their days slaving over beakers and crucibles, the smell of dirt and burning plants wafting in the air. But I, dear listeners, find it quite enjoyable.
I heard a thump from behind.
“Alexis, you—” I turned to see her slumped against the wall, her face as pale as the full moon, her eyelids heavy. “Holy—Hey, stay with me, Alexis,” I said nervously, grabbing a tincture of vervain and an assortment of other plants and a stray cloth. One I hoped was clean.
“Shut up and fix me,” Alexis said groggily.
I rolled my eyes as I began my work, trying not to gag at the sight of her wound. Two bloody puncture wounds—wounds that could only be made by vampires—adorned her neck like some sort of sick necklace. I shivered. I hated blood.
Alexis, though weak and irritable, laughed. “Could have fooled me.” She glanced at me, wincing as I dabbed my tincture on the wound. “Will this help?”
I nodded. Even though Alexis was one of the local werewolves and had exceptional healing capabilities, a vampire bite needed to be treated with the utmost care and caution. Especially since the blood of wolves and vamps don’t mix well.
“How did you let this happen?” I asked.
She sighed heavily. “Tensions are high now after everything that happened. Mavericks has a few of us stationed around town, trying to keep the peace if necessary. But, unfortunately, I had to save one of the witches from some angry vamps. Wish I would have been able to avoid their fangs. . .”
“I didn’t realize things were that bad,” I admitted, searching for a bandage in the drawer of my old desk that took up half the office.
“Of course not. You never leave The Courier.” Alexis smirked.
“I do too!”
I felt my cheeks redden as I thought. “Well, sometimes I run out of certain herbs and make a trip down to the bayou and talk to the voodoo practitioners or run into Weeping Crow Occult Shoppe.”
“That doesn’t count.”
“Does not.” Alexis laughed.
I scowled, procuring a bandage and carefully finishing my work. Finally, I sat on the edge of the desk to look at her. She must’ve lost a lot of blood on the way in. She looked like she was about to pass out.
“No, no, no, I’m not going to pull a ‘Della.’” Alexis snapped.
I snorted a laugh at that. “I doubt Mavericks would want you starting that little name trend.”
“Well, too bad. If she’s going to be teacher’s pet, then she’s going to—”
“Get bullied like you’re a third-grader?” I finished for her.
She sat fuming for a minute, refusing to look at me. I didn’t blame her for not liking Mavericks’ newest little project. Truth be told, she had been relatively insensitive towards me the first time I met her. Though admittedly, she didn’t know not to bring up musicals. I still felt hurt for that, but Alexis had far more reason than I to not like her. But I think she should tell you that story.
I looked at her expectantly as she sat squinting at me like I belonged in a psych ward.
“Nick, I’m not going to tell you my sob story.” She scoffed.
“No, actually you are. Mavericks decreed it. Every Courier has to report to me. Think of it this way: you’ll be getting your fifteen minutes of fame.” I smiled, hoping she would give in.
“If I say no, you won’t ever stop bothering me, will you?” Was her response.
“Exactamundo.” I winked. “Name, job, and why you are gracing us with your presence.”
She sighed heavily.
“Alexis Martin, great-granddaughter of one Bayou Gil, part of the Lupine pack. I am a reporter and researcher here at The Utopian Courier, but sometimes Mavericks has me watching over the town. Before he enlisted my help, I was keeping some of the kids around here out of trouble. Great Grandpa and Cheryl had an after-school program, and I would see if I could help the kids learn how to cook and all that. One day, one of the kids didn’t show up, and I went looking for her. It was my first little mystery. Nothing important really, she had just wandered into the woods and couldn’t find her way out, but still. Mavericks saw potential in me and offered me a job.” She sighed heavily when she finished, reaching up to touch the bandage on her neck. “Does that suffice, Fernsby?”
I nodded, satisfied. But there was still one thing that was bothering me. “Alexis, who bit you? It wasn’t one of the Ambrose’s, was it?”
She shrugged. “I don’t think so. There are a few clans that hang out around the edge of town. But I didn’t recognize the guy. Why?”
“You know better than anyone that if one of the Ambrose’s attacks a Lupine, it would be like declaring war.”
She nodded. “Nick, we are already on the brink of war as it is. I wouldn’t be surprised if wolves or vamps started dropping dead. I really wouldn’t. October was a weird month, and some people don’t agree with Mavericks’ little pet’s choices. People are scared.”
And in my experience, fear is a great motivator when it came to war.
Tales From The Courier Will Return
Copyright Utopian Courier Press 2021