(WP) America’s Most Wanted: Shifter Edition

(WP) America’s Most Wanted: Shifter Edition

               The onset of shifter viruses was what started it all. Turns out, not all shifters, or weres, were just wolves. They were almost any animal you could possibly think of: foxes, bears, even lizards. It was a fucking furry’s dream come true.

               But with these shifter powers, people began to evade police and the law, committing heinous crimes and eluding all attempts to catch them. So, America’s Most Wanted: Shifters was born in a misguided attempt to keep them in line.

               Rafael Mendoza worked for the show, as a bounty hunter behind the scenes. He didn’t enjoy the requirements of his job, but there weren’t many respectable occupations available to convicted felons. He couldn’t exactly afford to be picky; he had to put food on the table somehow.

               Even if it went against every moral tenet he’d ever been taught.

               His latest assignment was a young woman on the run, a sixteen-year-old kitsune who’d robbed several gas stations on the coast, at gunpoint. Her grainy black and white picture from the security footage was tucked in his trembling hand.

               Jesus, she was just a kid. And a desperate one, by the looks of her. Rafael’s stomach squirmed in discomfort. He didn’t want to do this, at all. But perhaps there was a silver lining to be had.

               He would detain the kid, but he would make everyone swear that she would not be placed in an unsafe place, that she wouldn’t be killed.

               These people may have been shifters, different, but they were still human beings.

               Didn’t everyone deserve a chance to right their wrongs?

               His mind flitted, briefly, to the skeletons in his own closet; if he was ever found out, it would be more than just his livelihood at stake.

               Walking out of the office to his nondescript, red four-door, he shoved those thoughts out of his head and got in, turning on the air-conditioning. Before he sought out his mark, though, he needed a proper meal.

               **

               After about forty-five minutes of driving, Rafael came across a tiny, dingy diner that had a broken neon sign above it that proclaimed ‘The best pie this side of the country!’.

               Somehow, Rafael doubted that, but he was far too hungry at this point to be picky.

               He locked the car and loped inside, shoving his hands in the pockets of his jeans.

               Inside the diner, it was cool and quiet, the air thick with the mouthwatering aromas of coffee, frying bacon, and something sweet, like vanilla.

               He sat down and ordered a cup of black coffee, bacon, eggs, and waffles with butter and syrup, and a carafe of orange juice.

As he waited for the food, his mind churned with what he would have to do.

God, he hated his job. Sure, he was good at it, but that didn’t make his moral compass dysfunctional. He knew what he was doing was wrong.

As Rafael ate, he went over the case file the company had given him on his target. Akiko Tsunabe, 16 years of age. Born 9/4/2001. Kitsune, fox shifter, descended from a family in Japan. Robbed several gas stations at gunpoint. Is considered to be armed and dangerous. Approach with extreme caution and do not engage.

This was going to be one hell of a job.

**