The black car with the dark tint windows far past the legal limit circled the parking lot slowly.  Mike stopped chewing his burger just enough to watch it go around twice and leave.

He knew they were looking for him; he just didn’t know who they were.  He shoved a chip into his mouth and crunched.

It was then that he saw the woman in the next picnic shelter down.  She was eating her lunch too, but she wore the face that suggested whoever was in that car was looking for her as well.  She twisted her head around, saw Mike, let her gaze linger on him for a moment, and then finished her scan of the park.

Are the looking for me, or for her? He thought.  It’s probably best just to leave her alone.  Don’t want to start any trouble now.

But maybe she knows who they are.  Or maybe she can tell me something.

Mike balled up the wrapper from the burger and pitched it into the garbage can.  Sipping his drink, he walked towards the other shelter.  She watched him approach, angling her body into a quick escape posture.

“Afternoon,” he chirped as he nodded and slid into the bench opposite of her.  She continued to glare at him, not moving or saying anything.  “So I saw you eyeing that car that just pulled through here.”  He waved the cup of watered-down tea at the parking lot.  She didn’t move, but he could pick up in the defensiveness she was assuming.

“So?” she spat.

“So maybe you could tell me who they are.  Are they after you, or me?”

At this, she relaxed, but not much.  Mike drew another sip of his drink, air bubbles making the gesture louder than it should be.

“Why don’t you start by telling me what about you makes you a threat?”

Mike pulled the straw away from his mouth.  Clever girl.  He started thinking back through the last couple of weeks, finding the right place to start his story.

“I saw something I probably shouldn’t have.”

“Like you’re seeing me right now?”  Her tone was sharp, heated.  “No, I’m not invisible, and you’re not crazy.  Nor am I  ghost.  I’m as real a threat as you.”

Now it was time for Mike to drop his guard.  “I’m not sure I follow.”

“You saw a beast.  A monster.  Right?”  He nodded.  Whatever Mike had seen that Saturday night wasn’t human.  He was sure of that.  “You saw a demon, straight from Hell.  I can see it in your thoughts.  Those men,” she jerked a fist with her thumb sticking out towards the parking lot. “Are bounty hunters.  They’re all that stands between humans and the supernatural world.  A thin veil and a secret organization whose main purpose of existence is to keep these two worlds from ever colliding.”

Mike sucked one last bit of water out of the cup and set it on the table, pushing it away so he’d know it was done.

“I’m afraid I still don’t understand…”

“It’s simple.  They’re after you because you saw something and they want to either erase your memory, recruit you, or kill you.  Depends on whichever mood they’re in when they find you.  They’re after me because I am one of those somethings that needs to be put down.”

Mike thought he could hear a clicking noise in the back of his head.  But he was still a bit skeptical.  She didn’t seem like a demon, or anything malicious.  Her glare hadn’t softened either.

Either way, it seemed like she could read his mind.

“I don’t seem that different from you because humans are very, very bad at identifying anything humanoid other than human.  For a human to correctly identify a species other than its own, it has to look completely different.  It has to walk on four legs or be covered in fur or something.  But if you see something dressed in the skin of a human, then it’s always going to be a human to you.  So, what did you see?”  It seemed as if she became warmer, but only a shred.

Mike thought back to the night before the hunt had started and began to recount the episode for her.  He had heard something outside the apartment complex that sounded like it came from the woods just behind his building.  Curious, he stepped out onto his balcony to see two shadowy figures just at the edge of the forest.  One was holding another up by the neck or shirt; Mike couldn’t tell.  The light from the lone street lamp had reached its boundaries just inches from where the two figures stood.  The stronger being then threw the lighter one into the woods and took off.

Unsure of what to do, but thinking he had just witnessed a crime, Mike dove back into the apartment and called the police as he pulled on his shoes and grabbed a flashlight.  Then he did something foolish; he went after them.

Fear mixed with bravery as he carefully picked out what he thought was the trail the shadows had taken.  He kept an eye open for any red blood spatters or anything else, but saw nothing.  The deeper he went into the woods, the more he began to wonder if what he had seen was real.

He could hear the police car pull into the otherwise quiet parking lot.  He could see the red and blue flashes of the lights.  Soon the entire complex would be awake with curiosity.  Mike dashed back to the parking lot, pointed his flashlight down the trail, and told the story over a few more times to different cops and detectives.

Two hours later, nothing was found.  There was no trace of the figures he had seen.  The police told him they would return in the morning to do a more thorough search.  Mike went back to his apartment and tried to go back to sleep.

Sometime before dawn, as the eastern sky was just beginning to blush, he heard a knock at his door.  Instinct told him not to answer it.  So Mike slipped down the hallway to the door and listened to the voices on the other side.

Two men were talking quietly about the incident he’d witnessed.  Mike was able to deduce that they were here to talk to him about it, but a different sound told him this wasn’t the case.

He heard two clicks, and then one of the men asked “What dosage level is that?”

“150 milligrams.  Enough to knock him out long enough to get him back to headquarters, but not enough to wipe the memory of the scene.”

At that, Mike stuffed some clothes into a bag and grabbed all the essential items that would leave a connection to him.  He snuck out the balcony, dropping down the three stories and slipping off into the woods quietly.  As the sun began to rise, he was now aware that he was being hunted.

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