This is a secondary world, modern fantasy setting. In the recent past - about the last two or three decades - people with supernatural natures have appeared in the populace. A lot of them match descriptions from legends, folklore and even pop culture, so they often get labelled with familiar terms. There also is some uncertainty how new or old this phenomenon is.
“I’m afraid if it was a copy of The Good Book, chances of getting the matter resolved are close to zero.”
Basil covered his mouth with a hand and gnashed his teeth. The alternative was yelling at a cop, which seemed unwise if you wanted her help. After a calming breath he said, “Look, it was theft, and it was right at the train entrance, so RepRail must have security footage. The on-board security said I should check with the station police, the station police referred me to border guard… Feels like I’m getting further away from a resolution. Who do I have to talk to to get things going before the footage gets deleted?”
The officer did look sympathetic, but that didn’t bring back that brand-new limited edition with illustrations by C. Cidrain. She sighed. “Since the theft was on Republic soil, you’d have to report it to their authorities. But you said you aren’t initiated, and they have exceptions to property law there regarding unbelievers owning items such as holy scripture.”
“Wait, wait, wasn’t that got rid of in the free trade agreement last year?”
“Officially. But I’ve seen some similar cases, and they were all wrapped up in red tape like a mountain mummy until the victim gave up, or until Republic authorities found some technicality or other loophole to throw them out.”
Basil vented some curses. “And the seller never asked about my religion.”
“They like money. Sometimes I wonder if some of them work together with thieves and buy back and resell.
“I’ll give you contact information, and you can try to get it pursued. If you know which number of that collector’s edition you had, maybe that gives you a bit more leverage than usual. I wish you good luck, but don’t get your hopes up too much. Sorry.”
Shortly he stomped off, carrying home a slim leaflet instead of the precious book he’d paid for.
Trying to keep control of her temper, Juno tapped her driver’s license lying on the countertop hard. “This is no fake,” she hissed, waving at the yellowed newspaper clippings about her death and recovery ten years ago she had produced as corroborative evidence. “If the state thought my actual rather than apparent age determined if I was allowed to drive a car, don’t you think the same should apply to other age limits?”
“I’m sorry, hon, it’s not that I don’t believe you—” her eyes flicked to a photo in the clippings, which was still accurate apart from the haircut “—but it would be just not right. Kids thinking you were their age seeing you smoke, what kind of example would that be?”
Behind the concerned face Juno saw a smug presumption of moral perfection. It made her want to break something, by preference the woman’s neck. After taking a few breaths to calm down, she collected her papers, by necessity slowly. Her fingers shook both with anger and withdrawal, and she did not want to damage the old newsprint further.
When the woman started another apology, Juno cut her off with “Fuck ‘think of the children’,” and stalked out of the little corner shop. The third attempt today. She never would have thought that the cashier at her usual shop quitting would cause that many problems. He had had no compunctions about selling cigs to someone who looked like she was ten.
Inspired by the prompts "Is it okay to sell cigarettes and alcohol to a hundred-year-old vampire in the body of an eight-year-old?" by Tango and "Moral versus legal" by Ellen Million
Don’t you hate it when you sit in your favourite bar and just want a drink and some quiet and someone asks “what’s up?” Fred was just the type to do that to me, and yesterday she followed it up with “Are you still chewing on that self-defence overkill thing from last week?”
“Nah, that’s up to the courts now.” I would rather not have thought about that one again. Imagine you come to a scene with one person with several broken bones, and another calmly waiting for the police, that is, me. There’s way worse, sure, but it’s damn creepy when the person waiting is full of bullet holes. Did they have to fold up a human to suitcase-size, if they don’t mind being shot?
“So what’s new?”
“I’ll quit.” Hadn’t meant to blurt it out like that.
“I just can’t take it anymore. There’s those freaks you can’t stop. How do you put handcuffs on a ghost? I saw one shove a person out of a window today. Right in front of me. Couldn’t do a thing.” And it knew exactly what it was doing, giving me a grin and a wave before floating through a wall.
That at least shut her up for a short while, but she started up again. “Still, most cases are normal crimes, nothing but regular humans.”
“Doesn’t feel like it, lately.”
Fred shrugged. “A blip in the statistics. Don’t rush things.”
I snorted. “If at least there wasn’t that much up in the air with civil rights for those freaks. There’s your problem right there. Call them human rights like you should, and it all becomes easier.”
Fred pulled a face. Her problem, she’d started the conversation.
I picked up my half-empty glass of beer again, and she kept staring at me while I drank, which got on my nerves. “What’s up with you now?”
“Just wondering if it’d make sense for you to join that new unit for supernatural crimes.”
“And handle more of that shit? Are you crazy?”
“They are looking into ways to neutralise, ah, unusual threats, and are bound to be the best informed on the general topic of all of us.”
Put like that it wasn’t that far-fetched. Still disgusting. Fred raised her hands, “Just a thought.”
“I’ll think about it.”
I’m still thinking.
Inspired by the prompt "A cop who keeps encountering preternatural creatures and incidents that make it harder and harder for him to do things "by the book," which he wants to do." by Elizabeth Barette aka ysabetwordsmith. Sponsored by Tango
The Republic had decided the “werewolf” question. Reading the detailed account in the paper did not make me feel any less disgusted than the short version on the radio had.
How many of the people actually affected had the lawmakers listened to before signing their names to that bill? Three? Well, they had talked to three, but they obviously had not listened. Must have been hard to hear about the media clamour, granted. That rampage in Mearen apparently had been too good for sales to pass up.
Following a morbid impulse I looked up some websites of sensationalist papers. Yep, right there was the rant about the pressure from the League of Nations that had led to that ridiculous “compromise” of classifying werewolves and similar shapechangers as animals for two weeks a month. Only.
At least nobody in my town knew I was one of Them. That tiny taste of it-could-have-been-worse turned sour when I came across the “perfidy of monsters hiding among us, ready to strike”. The rag had been crass enough to use a scene-of-crime photo of one of the Mearen victims at the end of the column. A young girl, I didn’t look too closely. Even a publicity still from Blood Moon Hunters or a similar pre-emergence horror flick would have been in better taste, and consistent with their habits.
I feared meeting people I knew. Who would be overjoyed being within their rights to shoot someone like me dead on sight in the right half of the month? For a long moment I considered looking into emigrating, but for all I knew it was only better on paper elsewhere. And I had to get ready for work, anyway.
Based on the prompt "Laws governing lycanthropes (like in [node:4398,title="that story where they couldn't hunt her once the moon changed"]), particularly their origins" by Clare K. R. Miller
That little kerfuffle last summer? Yes, I had my part in that. I was a bit down on my luck and squatting in an old house down towards the river, and one night I wake up to yelling and banging - sounded like someone was trying to take down the door, which made no sense since it was not locked.
So I take the big flashlight and check, and find some girl leaning against the door from the inside, holding up the handle trying to keep folks outside from getting in. She looked at me, eyes wide like anything and glowing, close to a panic, and when a racket started up in one of the rooms, I didn’t blame her. Sounded like quite a few, so if half circled through a window…
“Move aside a bit.”
“They want me dead.”
“I noticed. Move aside, and get ready to follow me that way.” I pointed to the back of the house, and she nodded. I wedged one of my hair sticks under the door - it was the closest to a wedge I had on hand, see? It bought us a bit of a head-start.
She could have outrun little old me, no problem, but she followed me, poor little thing. That house was a really old one, with a root cellar with a heavy trapdoor, and it seemed like the safest place to me.
“There’s no way out!”
“Stay calm. We’ll just wait them out.” It wasn’t all that easy. We had to both hang from the ring on the trapdoor, but the weight of the three of us was too much. Folks from the mob gave us a break sometimes, when they needed it, but we had to pay attention.
“We’ll die here. We can’t wait them out forever.”
“Not from here, eh?”
To that she shook her head.
“We don’t have to.” Just then another attack on the door distracted us. I’m glad gravity was on our side, really.
After a long while we could not hear anything going on outside any more, but then, as I said, the door was thick and heavy.
“I’ve been running and hiding for days; they just won’t give up.”
“And what day is it now?”
“Tuesday.” No idea, the little pup.
“No, in moon-phase.”
“Waning, half moon.” After a moment she added, “Only just past.”
“Thought so. See, werewolf hunting season is only half of the month, half-moon to half-moon.” She didn’t look like she got my point, so I said, “Between waning half and waxing half, you are a person, even here.”
“But not yesterday? That’s crazy.”
“Yep. But useful, right now.”
We waited a bit longer, just to be sure. But we did get away without a problem. I just had to find a different place to stay.
Based on the prompt "Waning Moon" by Eliza Gebow, combined with the prompts "eccentric" and "deadline" from origfic_bingo