Chapter 3

The early morning just kept getting better and better. As I stared glumly into the blackness of my room, my eyes having already adjusted, I couldn't help but feel irritated. The yellow eyes inched closer, focused only on me, as the creature who they belonged to stepped into the dim light.

Seeing in the dark wasn't really a problem with me. One of the perks of my abilities was being able to see with only the smallest amount of light and in New York, there are almost no places where there isn't the slightest bit of light. Another perk of my ability was an incredible sense of smell that would probably rival that of any canine. I had smelled the creature before I saw the eyes, but at the time, I thought it was just another stray animal climbing the fire escape. Christ, "climbing the fire escape"? How stupid does that make me?

The creature seemed to glow, bathed in eerie moonlight. More or less, it looked like a dog, perhaps even a purebred, but a couple of more steps into the light removed that illusion. With a coat of shiny black fur, the Chimera would've looked very much like a trophy-winning mutt, until you saw past its head.

The white-furred paws were tipped with gleaming nails, made solely for slashing and maybe a bit of gouging. Its tail was too long for any dog, at least three feet long, and coated in dark emerald scales like a lizard's, swishing in anticipation. On top of that, it was also huge, probably capable of taking on two grizzly bears on its own if it wanted to. The eeriest part was the way it - no, he - moved his mouth. The all-too canine muzzle moved and shifted in an attempt to speak.

"Is it breakfast time already?" he asked in a raspy voice, cocking his head in interest and baring sharp pearly fangs.

Swiftly, I grabbed the closest thing I could find - a pillow, very damp with sweat - and flung it at the Chimera. He swatted it with his serpentine tail and grinned.

I continued to glare at the beast. "Christ, you're ugly. I hate seeing ugly in the morning," I noted with narrowed eyes.

Orthrus looked at me amusedly, the heck if I knew how he expressed it with that face of his. "You have become complacent, Agent Bennet. I could've easily mauled you in your sleep."

"Good to know," I said with a grin...or bared teeth, depending on which side you're on. "Why are you here?"

"Watching you sleep," he said easily, always in an attempt to creep me out.

Orthrus had been with Ms. Ashe the first time I met her all those years ago. In fact, he had stood over me while Amelia and a few other agents faced the monster. Funny how I was never afraid of him despite how hard he tried to scare me. As far as I knew, Orthrus was an experiment gone wrong. No one would tell me who made him, not even Orthrus or Ms. Ashe, but it didn't really matter. Despite how he looked on the outside, on the inside he was all too human, which was in some ways much worse than if he had been the ravenous animal he should be.

"That's very Twilight of you," I grunted. "Your stalker issues aside, why else?"

"Someone's in a bad mood," he snorted, but flicked his tail at me, flinging a brown manila envelope on the bed. "Amelia wants to speak with you."

I eyed the envelope suspiciously. "Two in a row...goody," I said unenthusiastically. "Why send you? Couldn't she have just told me yesterday?"

"Careful, Christopher. I might think you're no longer pleased to see me," he replied with another snort. "I'm sure she'll tell you tomorrow." Orthrus yawned. "Now if you don't mind, I need me some sleep."

"Pillow?" I demanded as he went.

Orthrus shifted his tail and swatted the pillow I had thrown at him back on the bed. With another arrogant flick of the tail, he leapt and landed easily on the fire escape out my open window. "Ah, I almost forgot. William said he'll be at the coffee shop tomorrow."

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