These long autumn days were for the birds. Cassie glanced down at the clock on her screen and grumbled to herself. It was already pushing past 6 pm, and she was just now putting the final touches on her report. She rubbed her eyes, trying to clear her vision when Max yawned to her left. He was leaning back in his chair swaying back and forth. At least I’m not the only one miserable for once. His eyes glanced her way and that smile of his spread across his face.
“Paperwork sucks, right?”
She nodded in agreement. Cassie moved the cursor and clicked print. She stood up, walked over to the printer, and waited for several dead trees’ worth of paper to spit out with her long-winded report. I don’t know why we have to print these damn things out when we have computers, she mused. Probably because Murphy couldn’t work a computer if his life depended on it. He was always yelling at the damn thing and cursing it. Lucy, the receptionist, practically lived in his office helping him figure things out.
Cassie snatched up her papers and grabbed a manila folder. She placed them inside with the required information printed out across the top, then walked over to the file box and dropped it in. She reflected on her notes from the day, wondering if she’d left anything out. She laughed. Of course you left stuff out, you dummy. Like anyone would believe you had a premonition of what was going to happen. Still, she had to make it believable, so she made up stuff to fill in the holes. Cassie didn’t like lying on her report, but she didn’t have much of a choice. After all, this wasn’t her first rodeo.
“So, what are your plans for tonight?” Max asked with a big toothy grin as he dropped his file on top of hers.
“Going to grab something to eat on my way home. Then I’m going to take a long hot bath and try to forget today ever happened. You?”
Max grinned devilishly.
“Think I’m going to the ice cream parlor to get some delightful treats.”
A laugh escaped her lips before she could stop it. She was expecting Max to say something about hitting up a local bar that the cops liked to frequent after shift. Cassie was finding it harder and harder not to like the guy, especially when he would bat his big blue eyes at her. He was a character all right.
“What’s so funny?” he asked, wiggling his eyebrows.
“Nothing,” she said, stifling a grin. “Just took you for a beer guy, not an ice cream nut job.”
“Hey, don’t dis my rocky road. I’ll kill ya over that stuff.”
Cassie shook her head, pushing him away playfully. For the first time in forever she had let her guard down and it felt good. She found that easy to do with him for some reason. It was like something inside her had made a connection with him, but she couldn’t put her finger on what. Perhaps working with Max will be easier than I thought. He walked back to his desk and snatched up his backpack.
“You sure you don’t want to join me?”
“No, I’m good.”
Max smiled then walked through the doors, leaving her alone in the office. Night shift would come in shortly, but they had their own office section. She sighed, grabbing her coat and placing her gun in her holster. Once she was satisfied that everything was in order, she turned off the lights and made her way into the grand hall. It was dark outside and the streetlights had come on. When Cassie had walked to work that morning, she hadn’t expected to get off so late. But she didn’t think anyone would mess with her as long as she was in her police uniform.
Halfway out of the room she heard a bang and turned rapidly around to see what it was. Lucy popped up from behind her desk. She was wrapping her purse around her arm when she spotted Cassie looking at her.
“Oh sorry, didn’t mean to scare you, Cassie.”
Cassie blinked then realized her hand was resting over her gun, ready to pull it out at a moment’s notice. She sighed, trying to calm her nerves. The noise had practically sent her into orbit.
“No worries, Lucy. Are you heading out?”
“Oh, yes ma’am. Got a hot date with a guy from my apartment building.”
Cassie laughed. “Well, I wish you good luck. Do you need me to walk you to your car?”
Lucy seemed to ponder the question for a second, then she smiled and waved Cassie off.
“No, I’m fine. I’m right out front.”
Cassie nodded her head then pushed through the doors. She stood out in the autumn night taking in the delightful breeze. Putting her hands in her pockets, she made her way down the block heading home. Cassie was about three blocks away from her place when the delicious smells coming from a food cart caught her attention. Realizing how hungry she was, she stopped to grab something. It only took her a few moments to scarf down the food then continue on her way with a full stomach. Her eyes darted up and down the street. She suddenly realized it was too quiet. The sense that someone was watching her crept up her back, and the closer she drew to the alleyway ahead, the stronger the feeling grew.
She stood at the entrance to the alley looking down the black void. All she could see was a large dumpster and a few smaller trashcans littered throughout the area. But the feeling of being watched didn’t go away. A deep growl echoed off the stone walls. Cassie reached for her gun, hoping she was just being paranoid. Clicking and something that sounded like scraping nails grew louder as her breath caught in her lungs. Her gun was in her hands before she knew it, and Cassie slowly entered the alleyway. You know this is how stupid women get killed in horror flicks, you dumbass, she thought. She drew closer to the dumpster. Leaning over, she peered inside to see if anything was there. Nothing.
Cassie jumped, turning around to see a trash can flying into the wall.
“Who’s there? Come out, I’m a police officer!”
Movement caught her eye to the left. She turned to see a gray tail rise onto the nearby fire escape. Slowly, Cassie looked up and her eyes locked on a dark mass sitting above her. Red eyes stared down at her. She gulped. Her mouth dried up instantly. What the hell is that thing? The creature or man—she couldn’t tell which—smiled, and large white fangs reflected the moon’s light. Cassie freaked out, letting her feet take control. She didn’t care if her mind was playing games on her. Cassie sprinted the last two blocks to her apartment, charged up the stairs, slammed the door shut behind her, and turned every lock into place. Her breath was ragged from the exertion. She walked over to her chair and threw herself into it. Looking down at her hand, she realized she was still gripping her gun. She’d been so afraid, she hadn’t thought to holster it. But that didn’t matter now. She was home behind closed doors and safe. At least that was what she thought.
Thank you for reading chapter 6 of my Vortex Series: Book 1. Want to keep on reading? Click here for Chapter 7.
Each chapter is released on a month to month basis to my Dragon Ryder VIP Reader List. If you have missed a chapter feel free to check out the Library. The library will list all the available chapters.
Disclaimer: You are reading the first draft of this book. When the book is finished it will go through an extensive edit. It will also have a read through with my beta team. Then once completed ebook copies will get sent out to all members.