Dark Water

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So, I was reading through my old stories, and though I had good ideas, putting them into words proved to be too much of a challenge for me. I took it upon myself to try again, keeping the characters, their personalities, and the major plot points, and here is what I came up with. I would greatly appreciate feedback, and suggestions are not only welcomed, but encouraged. So, without further ado, I present you with the first rewritten chapter of my NaNoWriMo novel from last year, "Dark Water."

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January 12

What has happened to us? I ask myself this question every time I wake in the mornings, every time I turn on the news, every time I pass a scarred child in the street. Our world has become as rough as the curse on my skin; it's as if we've burned everything that was once sacred and buried it beneath the rocky surface of the now universal mindset of self-preservation and satisfaction. I pray every night that we all survive the poisons in the night air so that we may awake again the next morning, but each day that I rise with the sun, I wonder if it's really worth it to get out of my bed. Of course, I always do slide from under my sheets, motivated only by my will to be better than everyone, my will to rise above that mindset of selfishness. I do not rise for myself, but for everyone else. Everyone that needs me. Because in this world, we are no longer the only things that rise each morning. Evil rises as well. Death stirs in the shadows.

Chapter One

Daniel Shaide walked through the brisk winter air, pressing through the crowds as he usually did as he made his way toward his office building. It wasn't an office in the conventional sense, though, since a conventional office would never suit an unconventional man like Daniel. He was an odd man, full of quirks and imperfections. He was the only man in the city to have his job, and there were only two others in the world who shared his job title; "Investigator of Paranormal Occurrences and Demonic Happenings" was what he wrote on his business card, though the children in the area referred to him simply as the "Demon Hunter." His job title was one of his major quirks, since it was such a defining part of his life, though an even more shockingly unique part was the scar he bore on his arm. It ran from shoulder to palm, pulsing a soft purple with his heartbeat. It was a constant reminder of the life he had left behind in the desert years ago, a life that haunted him every time he removed his jacket.

If you didn't know anything about him and couldn't see his left arm (or the scar he had on it), he would probably appear to be a relatively normal person. He kept his hair tidy, brushed his teeth and showered daily, put his pants on one leg at a time. He wore simple clothes, with a white shirt, jeans, and a long coat being his garb of choice, and the only really odd thing he had on his person being his combat knife on his hip, a piece of his past life that he carried willingly, unlike the scar. In earlier years such a thing would be unacceptable, but things had changed since then. His blue eyes were sharp, as was his tongue, and it seemed that he could kill you with a glance or cut you deep with his words. He kept his black hair short, as long hair could get in the way in closed situations. Truly, he was not a particularly noticeable person, which meant he achieved his goal. He was someone who could move in the shadows, beneath watching eyes, and would only be known when he wanted to be. And typically, he wanted to remain unknown.

The young man looked at the world around him with his cold blue eyes and wondered what would happen if a Desert Crawler tore through the building in front of him. He thought about what he would do if a giant bird swooped down from the grey sky above the steel rooftops and clawed through the crowds. He pondered how he would react if a man possessed by a devil were to smash through the glass door in the front of the coffee house he just passed. What would become of the people if the ground opened beneath his feet and Lucifer himself rose from the flame? He ran through scenarios like this all day, every day, because it was his job to do so. And every once in a while, something big would actually happen. Most of the time, however, he was stuck working simple hauntings or small demon infestations. Nothing major ever happened anymore. Not here.

When he took his job as an investigator, he quickly learned the best part of being his own boss: he could get coffee whenever he wanted. On this day, like every day, he did just that; stopping at the No-Name coffee shop was part of his routine. He liked to be able to sip at the drink, the fiery liquid nipping at his lips and providing them some reprieve from the bitter cold. His routine was sacred, because it was the only order he had in a world run by chaos and disorder. He thought about this as he walked past the offices, the concrete behemoths that watched the city with glass eyes. He also thought about why he had organized his work-week to include Saturdays, when everyone else was home with their families. Perhaps it was because he had no family, or perhaps he just loved his work enough to want to work on the weekend. Or, perhaps it was because he had nothing else to do. But Daniel refused to think of himself as a boring man, so it certainly couldn't be the last possibility.

"Hey mister!" A young voice called as a hand pulled on Daniel's coat. "Didja hear the news? The governor of New York was shot!" Daniel turned and looked down at the boy over his scarf.

"Oh yeah?" He feigned interest, because though he didn't care for politics, the boy was obviously intrigued by the situation. "That's pretty terrible. Do they know who did it?" Daniel spurred the boy on, hoping to make his day a little more interesting.

"No, sir," the boy replied impishly, suddenly shy now that Daniel was actually looking at him. Perhaps he was intimidated by the fact that Daniel was at least two feet taller than him. "They're investigating, but they aren't getting anywhere. I read in the paper that the bullet exploded, or something. I didn't know they could do that, but you know, the paper don't lie!" His excitement and naivety made the investigator smile, though nobody saw past the scarf. Of course the papers don't lie, he thought, they just don't tell the whole truth.

"

Well, that's certainly something, isn't it?" The boy nodded, excited to be passing information to someone more than twice his age. "Thank you for sharing with me. Knowledge is power, they say," Daniel mused as he turned to continue on his way. It was setting up to be an interesting day.

After around an hour of walking through the snow, the small building began to come into view. It was simple, just another concrete box, yet set apart, dwarfed by the monsters that stood around it. It was also the only building with any type of decoration in front, with a garden that Daniel cared for himself and protected with a greenhouse-box under the cover of the veranda. Simple, yet refreshing in its grey environment. Daniel walked to the door quickly, anticipating the transition from the icy world to the warm, insulated office within. The door swung open and a bell chimed; a beautiful silver bell that hung above the door, one that had been drawn from beneath the sand during Daniel's days as an explorer. Yet another reminder of how things were, though this one was reminiscent of happy times.

The building was rather simple, with the outside door opening into a dimly-lit waiting room for clientele, furnished with a single couch and coffee table. There was a door on each of the four walls: the one that led to the outside world, one leading to the meeting room, one to his analysis room, and one to his personal office. He sipped his coffee as he stood in the doorway, and let the monotony of his life guide him like a puppet, drawing him along the same path he took every morning into his office. The monotony was killing him slowly, draining his motivation, wearing away his spirit. There were times when he longed for his old life; a life of risk, of monstrous demons, of dead cities, of the desert. He dreamed of it nearly every night. It was calling him, pleading with him to return, but he ignored it. He probably couldn't live through another adventure.

Stepping onto the thin carpet, Daniel couldn’t help but think that something was slightly odd. The floor creaked the same way, but the ground was damper in some spots than in others. Footprints, perhaps? A visitor who, knowing he wasn’t welcome, entered uninvited, bringing a bit of the frozen world with him on his boots? Daniel closed the door slowly, wincing at the pure sound of the silver bell. He snuck across the room, treading as lightly as he possibly could, and reached the door to his office. It was slightly ajar, the bolt not in its rightful place, though not wide enough to allow Daniel a look inside. Taking a hold of the doorknob, his heartbeat racing, the young investigator closed his eyes for a moment. It had been so long since he had felt such danger, such fear, such excitement. Oh, how he missed the adrenaline. One last breath filled his lungs, and he pulled the door open, revealing a large figure sitting in his chair. As the door opened, the figure stood abruptly, throwing the chair onto the ground and sliding the desk slightly forward. Daniel pulled the lid off of his coffee and threw the cup, a scalding-hot rain showering onto the intruder.

“Agh!

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