A stand alone short story, featuring the cast of Uncommon Animals.
When Chelsea had been told there was going to be a hunt in the tunnels under New York City, she’d created a mental picture of splashing through damp, dark sewer tunnels with flashlights.
While the air was uncomfortably damp and the walls shimmered with moisture, the floor was mostly dry and bright lights hummed on the ceilings as they passed through.
Chelsea rolled her eyes. “Cut the shit. Where’s my monster?”
A few chuckles from the rest of the team answered her before Andy did. “Jess has the map. Just follow her and stay alive.”
Chelsea dutifully followed orders, sheathed her axe, and headed into the dampness under the city.
The change from the woods to the concrete jungle of New York City put Chelsea’s teeth on edge. And somehow, the single room at Andy’s haunt felt like a cage, despite being only slightly smaller than her cabin. There definitely wasn’t room for even one easel, no matter what Andy had insisted.
His frown grew. “I thought you said Bob didn’t kill her.”
“He…” Chelsea sighed. “It’s not his fault that the nix fucked with his head, but he might be wrong, and I can’t leave until I know.”
As Chelsea parked her car in front of the weathered dock, a sense of deja vu washed over her. This was how the whole mess started. Heading out to fight a river monster without Bentley.
Her emotions didn’t settle so much as subside. She could feel the anxiety attack building, but she could hold it off for now. She hoped.
She pulled out the map Andy had printed for her. It listed potential attacks and areas the nix was mostly likely hiding.
There was an obvious bend to the river where she could sit and wait. “But how do I get out there, Bent?”
The big mutt whined from his bed as his tail thumped.
He paused and put hands to his face in mock shock, accentuating his fabulous eyeliner. “Is this the nun?”
Irritation burned her face. “I was not a nun. I attended a religious art conservatory.”
“Wait?” A huge smile bloomed on Andy’s face. “There were actual nuns? I just thought my boy was having delusions of Julie d’Aubigny.”
“I’m looking into Bob.”
Chelsea licked at dry lips. “Because it doesn’t make sense. Kipsies aren’t real, but he thought one was coming. He really believed it. There’s something weird here.”
“Well, there’s no credible sightings of a Kipsey in the local waters. It’s all obvious animals and hoaxes. And Bob has no known history of violence, not even in passing. Like I couldn’t find any unexplained injuries or attacks near his home/business, no missing pets or people either. And he’s lived here all his life, so it would be pretty easy to find this stuff.”
“Good start. Have you talked to any of his friends?”
“No, mostly because it hadn’t occurred to me to do so. This i