The Skeptic - Anders
Official Document Resource #--37
I’m a skeptic. I’m not sure if it was my upbringing or simply being fooled one too many times by my older brother. Either way, I’ve come to a very firm disbelief towards all supposedly supernatural or paranormal encounters. That was the stuff for fantasy novels and TV shows, not for real life.
But some beg to differ.
For the sake of the story, we’ll say my name is Maria Anders. When I first came to Deinsport, I found it to be a very depressing city. Dark, rained too much. But it was a good place to settle down in if you wanted to keep a low profile from certain others of whom I won’t mention.
To keep things short, I got involved in some shady business in my late teens. In a big toss-up of employers, I eventually fell under the hire of someone who was semi-legal. Lester was definitely the nicest employer I ever had. But I got tired of it. Yes, I was ready to leave that life behind and settle down with something less dangerous.
But that didn’t seem to be my luck.
Two years passed with only minor incidents threatening my new stability. Lester didn’t bother me, and anyone else either couldn’t find me or stayed away. But one chilly night, as I sat in my apartment in front of the TV, someone knocked at the door. It was a firm rap, insisting. I shut off the TV show, which wasn’t that interesting anyhow, and reluctantly went to answer. As a habit, I peered through the peek-hole. My breath caught.
I knew this man. I could recognize the narrow face, straggled black hair, and pale brown eyes anywhere. I cracked open the door.
“Steve,” I stated.
“You gonna let me in?” His mouth twitched into a smile. Here was a man who really enjoyed his job too much.
“That depends. You with Lester this time or should I be worried about an assault team surrounding the building?”
“Lester,” he answered coolly, “And a message.”
I opened the door wider. He took it as invitation enough to step inside, ignoring my scowl.
“I won’t be taking a job.”
“Maybe you better see the job first.”
I crossed my arms.
“It involves… something paranormal.”
“Is there a reason I shouldn’t just knock you out and throw you on the streets?”
“Aside from my amazing ninja skills,” he grinned irritatingly, “The case involves a group of paranormal detectives. Just take a look.”
His easy smile hardly matched the insistence with which he shoved a folder full of papers into my arms. I grudgingly opened it, glancing over the paperwork and photos.
“The DDS actually hired those guys,” he explained as I examined a few photos of some paranormal detective group, “They must be pretty convincing. But what’s more, we’ve found other groups that are already after them. They must be on to something. Lester wants to know what that something is, along with… evidence as to whether or not their group is a phony.”
“They’re fake. All paranormal guys are fakes. Case closed. As for the other thing, hire someone who hasn’t retired.”
“Don’t be so dismissive!” he protested, “I know you’re not big on supernatural stuff, but you have to admit that these guys must have found something important. Besides, you can get back at that guy…”
He pointed to the name of a group that I’m not in any position to mention publically. Needless to say, I had a grudge against them. But I still wasn’t biting.
I glared at him. He glared back, but with more enjoyment than a glare deserved to have.
“There’s also…” he paused for effect, like he was coming to the finale, “Good pay involved. And I know your current job position is a bit unstable.”
There it was.
Lester may be a nicer boss than most, but he was still relentless when he wanted something. So he had been the one causing problems at my work.
“So now we’re down to threats.” It was almost an accusation.
“If you insist on seeing things in such a negative light, then yes.”
Steve had to be the most infuriating mercenary I had ever met. You could put a gun to his head and he still might make a witty comment. I looked back at the papers. It wasn’t a bad job. And he wasn’t lying about the pay.
“So what’s it going to be?”
“This one, and he better not ask me to do any more. Am I clear?”
“Clear as glass.” He casually leaned against a wall. “So how about I stay a bit? Get some beer, watch a movie…”
My frown was answer enough. He didn’t take the hint. “We’re not friends anymore, remember? Out.”
This time, he didn’t argue. He got up and left my apartment for who-knows-where. With him gone, I sat at my table and started the work of reading through all the files. Jonathan Bell and Ivan Aquilla, the two oldest members of their little detective group… maybe they were the place to start. I checked the time. Past midnight. I resigned myself to sleep for the long day ahead, for there was much to do.
Now, you may be wondering, why would I post such a story to the DDS? I’m undercover, right?
The answer: this is a warning.You are being watched. And you are in much danger.