Under the Bed
Nettie is eating ice cream. The cold burns against her silver incisor, but feels good against the small cut inside her mouth she’d gotten last week. It’s an even trade.
Nettie is all about even trades.
Most think that they liked to be paid in money. Old money, sure, gold and silver that doesn’t have the same sort of inflation risk as paper, but that implies that they have something to spend it on.
No, Nettie’s maybe the only one who knows what sort of things monsters like to be paid in and is willing to provide it. Which is why she’s sitting in the middle of a park at 3 am waiting for her contact to arrive.
At 3:03, her contact’s preferred meeting time, the fog rolls in. Nettie rolls her eyes as it creeps through the sparse trees ahead of her, turning the grass silver under the moonlight with precipitation. So dramatic and not at all secretive. Her eyes flick up to the security camera mounted on the lamppost across the street. She wonders when the government will admit they see monsters at night. She hopes it’s not in her lifetime.
That’d be bad for business.
The outline of a tree several yards away from her begins to waver. It looks like someone might be behind it, a darker band appearing around the trunk as if someone is hugging it. Then they’re gone and the same wavering, black shadow appears behind a tree several feet ahead of it.
Nettie watches and eats her ice cream, glad that her leather jacket is hiding the way her arm hair is standing on end. She’s never been the type to hide her fear.
Then she met beings who enjoyed it.
A dark pool in front of her widens, the shadows twisting upwards. She calmly takes a bite of the cone as the shade forms, the shadow creature not stopping until it’s reached its full height at seven feet.
She feels the sensation of pumice in her mind and frowns. “Gren? Where’s Mandy?”
The shadow figure ripples, for once not kicking up a fuss at her nicknames for them. An orange light flares briefly in what one might assume was its hand but she knew to be its mouth.
Her spine snaps straight. “What?”