Fatima Fayez’s short story “Hunting for Trouble” takes place 15 months before the events in SUPERNATURAL SHADOW.
Hunting a vampire the day after I killed my ex-boyfriend wasn’t the smartest idea. It was terrible actually, but I didn’t ask Javier to assign the job to another bounty hunter. Not when we both knew I was the best tracker on his team.
And there was no way I was turning down the twenty-thousand Euro bonus. It was a nice incentive to get over my personal problems.
I stood across from my target, Karl Guntar. The bloodsucker sneered at me; his lips curled upwards in a snarl. I ran my thumb along my damaged dagger. It had an engraved ‘A’ for my name, Aisha, although right now it could have stood for Angry. It was simply bad luck that the leech had shattered my favorite blade.
Dark blood dripped to the ground from the scratch I’d given him on his forearm. From the stench surrounding us, the grimy alley we stood in had seen worse.
The vampire’s sharp fangs were extended, their length marked him as an Elder.
I frowned. Elders were untouchable. Everyone knew that. On any other night I might have wondered who had placed the bounty on this leech and why, bloodsuckers rarely allowed outsiders to get involved in their business.
Whoever had done it wanted to send a message.
None of that mattered, I didn’t care about the politics. All I cared about was getting paid when the job was complete. A bounty for capturing an Elder vampire on the shortest night of the year explained the hefty bonus.
“You can still turn yourself in peacefully.” The assignment had been to retrieve the vampire alive, so to speak, but I considered changing his status from undead to dead, dead.
“You don’t have the authorization for this. You’re nobody.”
Shock and denial. Every assignment was different, and yet each mark reacted in the same way.
“Aisha Bone, Bounty Hunter.” I unclipped my badge from my belt with my right hand and raised it in the air. “This shiny thing gives me all the authority I need to retrieve a Karl Guntar. That would be you.”
“They don’t have a reason to summon me. They’re using you to do their dirty work.” He cradled his arm, noticing the blood.
I returned my identification back to its place. He was right, bounty hunting was a filthy business, but I liked my part in cleaning up the supernatural community from delinquents.
“They have the wrong vampire. Sebastian did it.” He took a step toward me and froze at my expression.
Pain and guilt.
“I’m sure you’re innocent.” I tried to ignore the sting of remorse and doubt the name had invoked. There was no way something connected this job to my dead ex. It had to be a different Sebastian.
I reached deep within myself, trying to focus. It was like dipping my fingers into a pool of cool water. I pulled away before I could shape my power into a weapon, I didn’t need magic to win this fight.
My fingers tucked away my shattered dagger, and another steel dagger found its way into my left hand. My muscles tensed, ready to pounce. Despite myself, the words burst out of me in a rush. “What did Sebastian do?”