Kat on Assignment Pt. 3

Read Parts One and Two of this story.

“So, does this happen a lot?” Kat said, pulling the first aid kit down from the top shelf. 

 A layer of fine dust covered it. There weren’t a lot of mini-golf related injuries. 

 Jeremy shrugged. “I guess so.”

He looked so small, sitting in a folding chair, clearly wishing he’d bolted before Kat had brought him inside. His demeanor was suspicious bordering on defiant, as though he wasn’t willing to believe Kat wanted nothing more than to help. 

“Why do they pick on you?” she asked as she lined up the supplies she needed.

“I dunno,” he said. “Because I exist.”

“Yeah, well, since that’s not going to change anytime soon,” Kat said, opening a packet with an alcohol wipe, “maybe you should take some self-defense classes. This might sting.”

She gently dabbed the wound, expecting Jeremy to squirm, but he didn’t so much as flinch.

“I could defend myself if I wanted,” he said, his jaw tight. “Then they’d really be sorry.”

“What do you mean?” she said, trying to keep her tone light while she opened a packet of antibacterial ointment. 

He wouldn’t be the first bullied kid to take revenge using a weapon, possibly hurting others in the process. 

“Nothing,” he muttered. “I wouldn’t do it anyway.”

“That’s good,” she said. “I wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to you.”

His mouth twisted into a sneer. 

“I’d be fine,” he said. “They promised me that.”

The hairs on the back of Kat’s neck rose. They?

Go slow, Kat. The only thing you know for sure is that he needs help. No way to know for sure what kind of help. Yet.

“Well, then, it’s a good thing you’re too nice a kid to really want to hurt anyone,” she said, squeezing the packet over Jeremy’s wound.

“I’m not a kid,” he said, jerking his hand away, leaving a trail of gooey ointment on the floor.

 Dumb, Kat, she thought. Kids never liked to be called kids.

 “Sorry,” she said, grabbing a paper towel, then squatting down to wipe up the mess. 

She slid the towel across the dirty linoleum and was about to stand when something caught her eye. Jeremy was wearing flip-flops, and there on the top of his foot… 

 A Mark. 

Kat’s pulse quickened and she looked up, looking into the eyes of the small, scared, dangerous boy in front of her.

 “Ki–Jeremy, your life is about to get so much better.”


Kat on Assignment Pt. 2

To read Part One of this story, click here.

Kat spun the trash bag and looped it around to tie it. Castle Park was quiet, save for the sound of mariachi music coming from the small radio Jorge kept on his cart as he mopped the floors.

All she had left was take out the trash and vacuum up the popcorn and potato chips from the carpeted areas and she could take off for the night. Just after midnight on a Friday night and all she wanted to do was take bath and go to bed. This job was aging her. Not the being a Guardian part–that was fun–but all the stuff that came with it, like working at an arcade. She’d never regretted her decision to follow in her father’s footsteps, but she had definitely been disappointed with how unexciting her day-to-day life was.

Trash bag in hand, she opened the back door and heard a commotion around the corner. She tossed the bag in the dumpster on her way past, and went to investigate.

“Stop coming here, freak!” A teenage boy said as he kicked a younger boy who was already on the ground.

Two other teenage boys shouted encouragement.

“Hey!” Kat said. “Knock it off.”

She stepped between the prostrate boy and the other three.

“Or what?” said one of the boys, just as another said, “Mind your business, bitch.”

Kat began to tingle all over.

“Excuse me?” She said, stepping toward the boy who had cursed at her. “What did you call me?”

“You heard me,” he said. “I told you to mind your business… bitch.”

He wasn’t the first guy to call her that, and she hoped he wouldn’t be the last, but it was the smug way he said it… She smiled. Continue reading


Kat on Assignment Pt. 1

     Kat stopped wiping the counter of the snack bar long enough to inspect her manicure. Hopeless, she thought to herself. This job sucks.
     It wasn’t just her ruined manicure that had her hating life. Dressed head to toe in polyester–black slacks and black and white striped shirt–she was made to look like a referee. Granted, on more than one occasion the whistle that completed the ensemble had been useful to break up an argument over whose turn it was next, but otherwise all that synthetic fabric made her itch.
     Not that I’ve got anyone to impress, she thought, surveying the crowd at Sherman Oaks Castle Park.With 18 holes of miniature golf and all the latest video games, it’s fun for the whole family! Or so the website proclaimed. Kat couldn’t imagine herself ever having enjoyed spending an evening mini-golfing with her parents. The thought of her very cerebral mother trying to hit a ball into a windmill made her chuckle, though, and she wished her parents were in the country so she could see her try.
     It was Friday night which meant a) there were as many adults as kids, b) it was noisy beyond belief with bells, buzzers, and Dance Dance Revolution being played nonstop, and c) she’d be working too late to meet up with that cute girl she’d met the day before while she was out running.

Taren: Field Notes–Windsor Days 10-13

Field Notes
Windsor Day 10
Visit from Callie’s parents; introduced me as her friend. Observed rest of visit from a distance. Parents seem genuinely caring; Callie was glad to see them, sorry for them to go.

Sought me out afterward for a talk. Broached subject of voices. No admission but showed extreme interest.

Windsor Day 11

Admitted to hearing voices. Went through appropriate list (doesn’t mean she’s crazy, they can’t hurt if she doesn’t let them, etc.) Relieved to not be alone. Voices tell her to cut herself and stop when she complies. Contact confirmed she wasn’t admitted on suicide attempt. Preemptive measure by parents.

She says she can quiet the voices when I am close to her. Began teaching her other methods for when I am not present. Continue reading


Taren: Field Notes–Windsor Days 5-9

Read Days 1-4
Field Notes
Windsor Day 5
Confirmed Josh is too old. Callie tops my list of potentials. Made further inroads. Likes chocolate. Had contact smuggle some in for me to give to her. Gaining trust. No Mark observed.

Windsor Day 6

Mark confirmed. (inside right wrist) Other scars present–cutter? Explains long sleeves even when warm.
Unlikely to find two Marks on same mission, but will continue looking.

Windsor Day 7

Worst episode I’ve witnessed Callie have. Set off by fellow patient, Lauren, calling her a weirdo. Able to calm her somewhat before orderlies arrived. Seemed upset to be taken away from me. Progress. Continue reading


Taren: Field Notes–Windsor Days 1-4

Field Notes

Windsor Day 1

Intake with Dr. Shaw. Cover story went smoothly, paperwork in order.

Brief meeting with contact inside.

No potentials met.

Windsor Day 2

First group meeting. Several are the right age; three present with appropriate symptoms.

Leading candidate is Josh, though possibly too old. Will start “school” tomorrow.

Windsor Day 3

During class, a young girl approx 12 years old raced from room clutching temples. Went after her but was stopped by orderlies. She wasn’t at dinner; will arrange further contact.

Windsor Day 4

Potential’s name is Callie. Arranged to sit next to her during group. She is more than shy–withdrawn. Caught her muttering to herself. She stopped immediately.

Long sleeves/pants. No Mark observed.

Continue to Days 5-9