So what is one supposed to do when fighting against a man whose identity still remained a mystery?
Apparently, we expend generous amounts of government funded time and money working towards the educating the public on their own safety whilst working diligently on his capture on the sidelines. A small team of people with mixed occupations met on a daily basis, sharing data and strategies that could achieve either a lower death toll or a successful capture. Alyssa began as an Investigative Journalist for the WestCoast Inquisitor, yet now she was a liaison for the Special Case Unit, a small sector of the police force dedicated to anything related to NightShifters. Most days she spent her work hours giving seminars and school presentations on personal safety. Other times, she compiled her knowledge into articles for the public press. While being the face of the SCU was an exciting job, Alyssa still enjoyed the thrill of submitting her articles in for review and editing.
“Good,” her editor smiled, “finally some new details.”
Alyssa began to explain how they had suddenly noticed an increase in deaths in the suburb of Haymarket. It was no surprise either; the area was dense in strip clubs, prostitutes and young women as they wondered from bar to bar.
“You become so excited when you talk about the demons. Are you afraid of becoming one of those victims you write about?”
It was a miracle Alyssa had escaped harm so far. In fact, she had come to believe that the NightShifter enjoyed the attention, which probably was not entirely a good thing either. After all, if he did not want anybody to know about what he was doing in those early mornings, he would have disposed of the bodies secretly.
“Somebody needs to do it,” she proclaimed proudly, “somebody needs to keep warning the public about him, so that no more people need to die.”
The woman sighed as she raised her hand and rested on her head; her over-worked body seemed to be at an all-time low. “You’re an attractive young girl, Alyssa; a perfect target for this sick fuck. I am not going to tell you to stop doing what you do, because you are good at it, but just do not forget to protect yourself. Your mother—”
Alyssa knew exactly where this was going, not only was she her editor, but Tina was her Aunt.
“Your mother is always complaining to me about it. So yeah—just make sure you watch out for yourself too.”
Alyssa stood to her feet to make her way to the elevator. These lectures were far almost part of her daily work routine. Her office was another five stories down, the missing thirteenth floor. Due to their sensitive field, they had their own floor dedicated to their team and work. This floor was only accessible through one elevator and via an access card to secure privacy. It was not entirely to protect them from the NightShifter, but rather, public scrutiny. In total, fifteen people had access to this room. There was herself, Elle, eight police officers, two forensic analysts, an investigator and one physician. Tina and a few other higher personnel also had access to this restricted area, but rarely visited. Apart from Alyssa, Elle and two officers, the rest of members were only in this building if Elle had asked them to come, like today. When she entered the room, she greeted the officers one by one. Alyssa wondered what Elle had planned for this briefing since she rarely called all members here on such short notice.
Finally opening the doors to her officer, Elle walked out, joined by a thin timid teen boy with coal black hair and a messy overgrown fringe. He dressed in similarly dark tones, which all together, flushed the colour from his skin. Alyssa knew of only two points of identification for a NightShifter; the first was the absence of any colour in their hair and eyes, leaving them dark and void. The second was their matching uniform, which she had not seen yet but if Alyssa didn’t know any better she would have thought that this boy was a—
“Behold, a NightShifter!” Elle declared enthusiastically, holding her hands out and ‘show-casing’ him.
The boy bowed politely with his hands held together nervously in front of his body. As he rose to full height, she took note of his uniform and the two congruent lines that ran parallel down the torso, finishing at the waist where the front piece ended. The coat reminded Alyssa of some kind of obscure tailcoat. It was obvious that she was not the only one who felt uneasy in his presence. He was a serial killer possibly hundreds of years old, yet had the face of a seventeen-year-old boy. Why exactly was Elle converging with NightShifters anyway? One man raised that into question just as it crossed her mind. It was Constable Luke Darley; a witty officer in his late forties who face showed signs of early ageing.
“If I may ask, what the heck are you doing with a NightShifter?”
Elle patted the boy on the back, causing him to jump a little in fright. “I actually know a few Shifters who I contact quite frequently. Cassiel is going to look at some files and see if he can identify the Shifter we have stationed in WestCoast.”
Alyssa studied his dark eyes as they scanned the room while Elle explained how NightShifters assembled in groups according to their position on the globe. All those stationed within a certain set of co-ordinates group together. She handed a thick file of photographs from upon her desk to him for reviewing. It was rather disconcerting to know she stood beside a man who had also possibly killed hundreds. Yet what perplexed her more was his reasoning, why had this Shifter turn against his own kind? Alternatively, was it simply that Elle had some sort of control over him, like she domesticated a wild animal for her own use?
Elle peered over the boy’s shoulder; being able to stand almost thirty centimetres above him. Cassiel was probably short for his age, which she gathered would be eighteen or seventeen. He shuffled the photos he had looked at to the back. “This is brutal stuff, looks like he put some quality time into this.”
Elle nodded. “Any boys in your assembly group stand out of the crowd?”
Cassiel shook his head, continuing to look through each of theA4 sheets of photo paper. Scott Hanson, one of their forensic analysts, broke the lingering silence. “Is your DNA really—”
“Unreadable? Yes” Cassiel interrupted bluntly, ending Scott’s sentence prematurely. “Our cells contain a sequence of illegible DNA and the only people who can understand that, is the physicians that the Academy has trained.”
The Academy, or so the Shifters call it, was a nickname given to the source of all Shifters in existence. Despite commonly referred to as an ‘academy’, it is not a school or even a training facility. Elle had explained that building itself did not physically exist and only NightShifters could reach its location. The Academy gave the NightShifters their powers, dispersed them across the globe before ordering them to kill. One Shifter may live for a thousand years, possessing over twenty hosts and killing at least 36 400 people in that time. One of its most influential features was the extensive medical support system that attended to the needs of the NightShifters and their hosts. These physicians have the power of slow ageing and disguise. Apparently, one physician may live for over three hundred years and like the Shifters, gaining a new physical appearance each fifty years in order to preserve their identity.
Cassiel lifted his right hand and scratched the side of his nose. “So in other words, he can squirt cum all over the girl’s corpse and you can’t do a thing.” Alyssa found herself a little disgusted at his complete honesty and choice of words. “Even if you did have his DNA and could read it correctly, it still doesn’t tell you who his host is.”
There are two types of people in the world. Those who were purely human, like herself and 95% of the human population, the other 5% were Hosts. These unfortunate souls had been born with a certain chemical balance, a gene that makes their bodies susceptible to possession from NightShifters. At the age of fifteen, a NightShifter is able to gain control of his body, using him to do his dirty deeds. The SCU’s task was to track down these unfortunate teens and young adults so they could destroy the Shifter through an exorcism. Any other way would only result in in the termination of the Shifter’s cycle, which would begin again in the next fifty years.
Unfortunately, Cassiel seemed to have no idea on the man’s identity. “I’m sorry; I can’t really help you just by looking at somebody’s work.”
Work— Alyssa felt herself laugh softly at the thought of a NightShifter referring to this crime as some kind of art piece. Nevertheless, he was right; simply looking at somebody’s mangled carcass could not identify who had actually done it. Alyssa could not even begin to imagine the kind of face this villain could have. Somebody who could do things like this surely he had to be a misogynistic, oversexed man whom had nothing better to do with his time than to abduct, rape, torture and then butcher young women. It made her unbelievably sick, yet intrigued in ways even she was still trying to comprehend. Officer Jane Watt, Constable Luke’s first assistant raised her hand. “We should let the public know about the uniform, hair and eyes; your average WestCoast citizen would not even know who they are looking out for.”
“What and get yourself killed” Cassiel scoffed, “I don’t think this type of guy wants little police officers on his back.”
“Alyssa has been writing articles about that sort of stuff for years now,” Jane contested, “He hasn’t laid a finger on her.
Jane was right, Alyssa felt proud and invincible. A front page worthy article could be her claim to fame and she could see the title now.
— By Alyssa Wright
Elle agreed, giving her access to Cassiel intel. What a privilege, a one on one interview with a NightShifter. Once again, they were moving forward, even if it were just a tiny step, it was progress none the less.