Downtime

Downtime

A Chapter by North Dakota
"

Mordecai has a bit of an exaggerated emergency...

"

After chewing out his comrades for indilligence, Taylor and his remaining two squads were back on the road and homeward bound. Even after his encounter had long ended, Taylor still felt the nauseating and staggering effects of the stun grenade, giving him a major case of motion sickness. As he cradled his head in his hands, his thoughts began to bring him back to the scene. He replayed his actions and decisions in his mind, poking out small details and mistakes that he could improve. Ultimately, besides the injury, the mission went fairly smoothly.


While his mind was mainly preoccupied with the mission’s events, every once in awhile, his thoughts drifted towards the compound. How were things going back home?


“This is terrible!” Mordecai shouted in utter shock and horror.

“Really? This is terrible?” Rose questioned exasperatedly as she gestured back towards the kitchen.

“Yes! How can you not have any ice cream?!” Mordecai exclaimed, melodramatically waving his hands about.

“Because ice cream isn’t on the shipment list.”

“You had it last week.” Mordecai retorted.

“That was a special occasion, we don’t have it as an everyday item.” Rose shook her head dismissively, but still gave the man a grin.

“Well, we need to take care of this emergency right away. It’s the only way.” Mordecai gave his ultimatum with a steeled tone. Rose shot the man an interested glance.

“And how do you suppose we do that, genius?” Rose rested her head on her hand, using the counter to support her. As Mordecai brainstormed an idea, he could not help but notice the expectant gaze of his companion.

“Well?” She impishly rushed him. After a quick fit of pacing, Mordecai snapped his fingers as a joyous grin stretched across his face.

“If we can’t find it here, then we’ll go get it somewhere else. Easy as that.” The young man placed his hands on his hips triumphantly as he allowed Rose to ponder his proposition.

“Hm, I like the sound of it, but we’d need clearance to leave the compound, and I strongly feel that an ice cream run is not exactly worthy of a pass.” Mordecai raised his finger to object.

“Correction. You need clearance. I don’t. Being a hunter has its perks, and doing whatever the hell I want is one of them. You just follow my lead.” Mordecai said as he began to trek his way out of the mess hall.

“W-Wait!” Rose quickly hopped the counter, then called behind her. “Rhonda! Cover for me!” She shouted to one of the women in the back as she tailed the spontaneous hunter.


Mordecai, after luring her in with promises of freedom and delicious frozen dairy treats, lead Rose to the parking garage.

“Okay…” Mordecai let out a quiet, contemplating clicking noise as he browsed the vehicles. “Aha!” He exclaimed as he found his personal car. A grey Nissan Altima patiently waited for its master while idling in its usual parking spot.

“Alright, not gonna lie, I like the car.” Rose admitted as she traced a hand along the exterior.

“Practical, yet stylish, and I’m not even paid to say it.” Mordecai boasted while sliding into the driver seat, then took a hold of the keys which waited readily in the ignition. Rose took her seat in the passenger side as Mordecai cranked the engine. With the press of a button on his keys, the garage door to the compound opened before him. Mordecai casually drove out of the garage--closing the door behind him with the same button--and onto the road that lead out of the compound.


At the gate, two security booths sat, both with vigil guards standing by.

“What is your business leaving the base, sir?” The guard stuck his head out of the window as he spoke.

“Official hunter business. Raise the bar!” Mordecai instructed him to raise the boom gate. Just before he did as he was told, the guard shot him an accusing glare.

“Why is she with you?” He questioned, suspicion lining his tone.

“She’s a critical part of the mission--We don’t have time for this!” Mordecai exclaimed with an urgency that convinced the reluctant operator to raise the gate, allowing the two to drive out.

“Well...that could have went more smoothly.” Rose commented.

“What? We got through, didn’t we?” Mordecai grinned, boyish charm simply oozing from his demeanor.

“That we did...that we did.” Rose nodded as she trailed off, her gaze turning to the window. The Holy Sword Organization was set quite far from the city; to get to it, you had to drive up a mountain road that seemed quite precarious. Luckily, not much traffic goes through this area, so there’s nearly no chance of some random tourist getting lost and finding themselves at the door of the compound.


After getting back onto the main road, the two only had a twenty minute drive until they reached the city. As the duo made their journey, they shared all sorts of ridiculous small talk.

“Alright, alright, so here’s one.” Rose gestured with her hands for him to listen. “Did you know Helen Keller had a horse?”

“No.”

“Neither did she!” The slightly offensive joke caused both to burst into a small laughing fit.

“Okay, one more.” Mordecai huffed through his laughter. “Did you hear about the celebrity murderer?”

“No.”

“He was shooting for the stars!” The play on words made the couple snicker as they approached the bright lights of the city. “Hey, hey! There, right there!” Mordecai pointed to a small corner shop with dimmed lighting. He pulled the car onto the curb in front of the building, then turned off the engine. After stepping out, he hastened to the other side to open her door for her.

“Oh, what a gentleman.” She mockingly thanked him, giving him a slight blush, which he hid from her. As the two approached the shop, Rose opened the door, then held it for him.

“Oh, what a gentleman.” Mordecai impishly repeated, causing her to give him a swift boot to the a*s. The couple approached the counter, which was manned by a boy who looked to be in his teens.

“What looks good?” Rose thought out loud. The duo took a moment to browse the vast array of frozen desserts.

“I think I’ll keep it simple with a vanilla cone.” Mordecai ordered. “What ‘bout you?” He turned to the shorter girl, who seemed to be having trouble deciding.

“I think I’ll take a salted caramel.”

“Final decision?”

“Final decision.” She replied.

“That’ll be $6.53.” The squeaky-voiced teenager spoke, forcing Mordecai to cover his mouth to hold in a snicker. Mordecai reached into his back pocket for his wallet, then swiftly retrieved his company credit card from it.

“Are you sure they won’t know about this?” Rose inquired.

“No way; the accountants only check out the source of the bills if they’re huge, and I’m talkin’ ram your car into a Dairy Queen front door because it was really foggy that night huge.” The boy handed the two their ice cream cones, which they withdrew while uttering a small ‘thank you.’

“Have a goodnight.” He said, causing Mordecai to giggle again, which earned him a vicious elbow to the ribs from Rose.

“Thank you, goodnight!” She bid him farewell, and the two strolled outside.


The moon had begun its rise, bathing the entire city in a beautiful milky light that graced everything it touched with a elegant illumination. The lovely ambiance of crickets and distant crashing waves gave the area a relaxing mood. The two ambled down the sidewalk, jovially chatting while taking occasional licks of their ice cream.

“So, was it worth breaking out for a night?” Mordecai playfully nudged her.

“I gotta say, this has been fun.” She spoke in a bubbly manner as the two jokingly bumped each other as they walked. “But, you better hope Newman doesn’t find out you left the base for...this.” She motioned towards the ice cream cone.

“Well, maybe I’ll bring him back some and he’ll understand. I mean, come on, this is pretty damn good.” Mordecai admitted.
“Mine’s better.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay!” Mordecai shrugged then quickly dipped down and acquired himself a taste of her ice cream, causing her to sprightly object. “You’re right, that’s pretty good!” She muttered several obscenities, all the while, she never stopped smiling.


The two stopped walking, taking respite under a street lamp.

“It’s getting pretty late, we might wanna go back.” Mordecai spoke as he turned his head towards the compound.

“Do we have to?” Rose pouted, finally admitting how much fun she had been having.

“Well, we could just quit, ya know? Just get a different job, live in a little uptown apartment, get a dog maybe?” Mordecai sarcastically suggested.

“Alright, alright, I get it.” She rolled her eyes, but being honest with herself, that idea wasn’t against her wishes. “I really did have a great time though, we should do something like this again sometime.” Rose gave a warm smile to the hunter that forced him to reciprocate.

“Y-Yeah, we should. Maybe next time we could...get some dinner?” Mordecai forced himself to stop stuttering.

“Mordecai Jeremy Adams, are you asking me out on a date?” Rose questioned, a small amount of disbelief in her voice.

“No! I mean, yes? Maybe? I don’t know.” She cut off his babbling with a laugh.

“I get what you’re saying, and yes, I would love to.”

“O-Okay, good.” Mordecai tried to pretend like this wasn’t the most awkward moment of his entire life by hiding it with a nervous smile.


Rose thought about closing the distance between them, she thought about pulling him close and kissing him with all of her passion, but she restrained herself. If she did, who knows what would happen? Mordecai was already overloaded as it was.

“We should…”

“Get going?” Mordecai finished her statement.

“Yeah. Get going” The two finished their ice cream, then hopped back into the car.

The night seemed to have gone by so fast, but both Rose and Mordecai savored every single moment of it. You’d be surprised how little down time you get when one of you has to go hunt monsters all the time. The two reluctantly rolled down the road towards the compound, neither wanting to return to their daily grind. The vehicle came to a halt in the middle of the road.

For some reason, the guards had vacated the booths. Only the lone figure of one man leaning against the gate populated the area.

“Oh no, you don’t think?” Rose worried, but Mordecai only smiled in return.

“Don’t worry, I’ll handle it.” He stepped out of the car, raising a hand to wave, but got no response. “So, look, I know it looks...odd, but I promise, it was important business--”

“I said to have her home by ten, boy!” The figure shouted in a brash, over-the-top, ridiculous southern accent, immediately alerting the duo of his identity.

“Sorry, dad!” Rose facetiously shouted from the car, causing the figure to grin and step forward. As he approached, it was revealed that it was none other than Taylor White, Mordecai’s long-time friend.

“You know, add a banjo and a shotgun, you’d make a great dad.” Mordecai said, causing his friend to grin and wrap an arm around him.

“Well, first, I gotta beat the s**t out of you for not invitin’ me.” He admonished/threatened his friend.

“Sorry, Taylor, we forgot.” Rose apologized for the two, causing him to let go of the hunter.

“Ah, it’s fine. Just, next time you two go out on a date, let me know, alright? I get bored up here.”

“We weren’t on a date!” Mordecai interjected, causing his friend to laugh.

“Yeah, sure you weren’t, and I didn’t get strangled by a woman three hours ago.”

“Oh my God, are you okay?” Rose asked in concern, which the Lieutenant simply waved off.

“Yeah, I’m fine!”

“Of course he is. Hell, he paid a girl in Vegas to do it.” Mordecai said, which earned him a solid punch to the arm.

“So, ice cream, huh? Bring me anything?” Taylor asked.

“Nope. Gotta get your own, bud.” Mordecai said as he popped a cigarette between his teeth, stimulating a deep frown from Taylor. Just as he raised his lighter, Taylor gripped Mordecai’s cigarette and tossed it as far as he could. “Hey! Dick!”

“If the vampires don’t kill you, I’m sure as hell not gonna let lung cancer do it.” Taylor nagged his friend, who simply popped another between his teeth. “We can keep this up all night, boy.” Taylor warned.

“Ugh, fine, mom.” Mordecai groaned, then returned it to his pack, muttering about how he would smoke it later.

“There, now that you’ve saved our hero here from becoming an anti-tobacco commercial, how about we all go inside and get some dinner?” Rose suggested, getting a definite nod of approval from both men. The trio raised the gate, then piled into the car. Little to any of their knowledge, a dark, mysterious raven sat atop the fence, watching their every move. The eyes of this creature were not natural. In the center, the pupils were not like that of a bird, but of a human being. Something definitely wasn’t right...but for now, the three would simply enjoy each other’s company, oblivious to the coming threat.




© 2016 North Dakota



Author's Note

North Dakota
So I'm going to try--with the key word being try--to upload every weekend. Though I may end up posting a bit late or a bit early depending on how things are going. As always, thank you for reading and any comments or criticism are welcome!

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Added on March 20, 2016
Last Updated on July 1, 2016


Author

North Dakota
North Dakota

VA



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I'm an amateur author who enjoys writing more than anything. I hope to improve my writing style and etiquette through the criticism of others. So, any review or criticism would be greatly appreciated,.. more..

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