(This is the opening for an upcoming book, in a pulp noir style.)
The ear-piercing scream shattered the inky midnight blackness. A shadow moved along the strangely empty street. A dark-suited man followed closely, eerily silent considering the sodden conditions of the city. He paused, considering the scream, and the sudden silence afterward. Hearing nothing else, the man moved on, trailing the still-moving shadow deeper into the heart of the city.
Further into the city, the shadow became harder to follow. Streetlights flickered in the wake of the shadow’s passing, causing the mere mortal to fall further behind. The man, intent on his tracking, paid little attention to his surroundings. The buildings in this run-down portion of the city loomed close, leaning inward to form a deep valley of murkiness. Only when the sole light of the alley flickered and failed did the man’s natural instinct kick in. He sensed danger lurking, waiting for an unwary traveler.
Having lost his quarry, the man quickly turned and hastened away, tracing his steps back to the beginning, where he’d first caught the scent of the hunt. He slid something from his inside breast pocket, a sleek black cellphone. Dialing without looking, he connected with a throaty voice on the other end.
“So? Did you find its lair?”
“No,” the man sighed. “I nearly had it, but it seems as though the creature knew I was following. It twisted and turned through several streets, backtracking on itself a few times. Probably trying to confuse or lose me before it slunk away to rest.”
He imagined he could hear his associate nod through the phone. There was a tension there, stress that had been building throughout the weeks they’d worked together on this job. The creature would need to be found, and captured, soon, or they would both become targets themselves.
“Come back to the office,” the sultry voice commanded. “We both need some rest. We’ll pick it back up in the morning. You do remember where you lost it, right?”
“Yes, I remember,” he chuckled. “On my way. You should go ahead and go home. I’ll file a report when I get to the office, then head out myself. See you around ten tomorrow?”
“Ten, it is. Night, Sam.” The phone clicked, the call ended. The man, Sam, tucked the phone back into his pocket, mentally preparing his report for his employers. The remainder of the trip to his office was uneventful, no shrill screams or fleeing shadows to disturb his journey.
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