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Nightbane with Doberman Form
Artemis is a Nightbane that takes the form of a large Doberman dog. Robert and Mick are officially her handlers. She is allowed some time outside the PAB but must always be accompanied by a handler. Per PAB rules, Non-Human Intelligence must be controlled or eliminated. PAB uses her supernatural abilities to track supernatural beings.
“So, I guess I’m supposed to tell you what my ‘deal’ is. You’re a shrink, right? Dad says we all have to talk to you. So. Fine. Whatever.
“So you know my dad. I know, I look nothing like him. Guess I look a lot like my mom. Though I guess I’ll never really know. Never seen her before, at least not that I remember. I used to ask dad about her all the time, but he just tells me that she’s dead, and leaves it at that. He didn’t even have any pictures of her back home. Maybe he doesn’t like to think about her. Or maybe it’s just because that’s the way he is: super-disciplined. The house was always so spartan and plain. Not like family homes you see on TV all the time. He always got super mad when I left anything out of place. Maybe he thinks pictures of mom would be out of place.
“Wouldn’t know if it’s still like that, though. When I was in kindergarten, I remember getting into a fight with another boy at school. My dad was so pissed, like overly worried. I remember him getting a bunch of phone calls and him getting really agitated. Every time I tried to listen in, he’d shut the door in my face, so I never got to hear what he said, but I knew he was talking about me. The next Monday, he told me that I was coming to work with him. Heh. I thought that was going to be soooo cool. I probably wouldn’t have been so stoked if I realized he was going to LEAVE me there. I remember crying and wailing, asking if I could come home, and he was just like “THIS is your home now. You’re gonna have to get used to it.”
“Well, I DID, eventually, I guess. Took a while to get used to sleeping in the barracks, but complaining didn’t do any good. I ended up getting taught by a bunch of dad’s co-workers. Like, typical stuff like math, reading, computers. Then, not so typical stuff, like how to track targets and stuff. I thought that, maybe if I learned everything they taught me and did well, maybe dad would take me back home. Nope.
“And they taught me all about the monsters. That they were real, and walking all around us. I get this weird . . . I dunno, tingly feeling in the back of my brain around certain people. They said that that was my “gift:” I could tell which people were really the monsters. And they told me that I could do a lot of good if I could tell them which people were the monsters. They used to take me out to places, like the zoo, and walk me around, asking which people gave me the “tingly” feeling in my head. I felt like a pig looking for truffles or something.
“So, that went on for a while. Then, one night (like last year), my dad and a bunch of the other guys from the barracks were going out to do something, and they wouldn’t let me come. I was pissed that they wouldn’t let me go, so I snuck into the back of one of the vans and hid under a blanket. I was kind of weirded out that they had, like, these huge crates of guns and stuff with them. Like, I mean, heavy artillery. Like they were going to take out a small faction of Al Qaida or something. It was crazy. And then, they were dressed up in black fatigues. Serious stuff. Anyway, it was a long ride before the van stopped. The guys got out of the vans, and I heard talking, but couldn’t make out what was going on. The back of my brain was tingling like crazy, like constantly ringing.
“Suddenly, there was gunshots and shouting. I tried ducking low between the crates, though I could hear bullets cut into the sides of the van. Then I heard my dad shouting, and I started to get super freaked out: I didn’t know if he was in trouble or not, I couldn’t see a thing. Then I heard him yelling out, like, in pain. Like the worst pain of his life. I never heard anything like that before, it felt like icicles piercing through my entire body. I was panicking hard at that time, and he just kept screaming out.
“That’s when it happened. I felt like I was crawling back into my own clothes, trying to hide, but I was actually shrinking. I just didn’t realize it. Everything got darker, and then I realized that I could hear, and smell everything. And then the insane urge to get out of the van and make sure dad was okay, just kinda dug at me, and so I bolted through the back of the van. I don’t think I even bothered to open the door.
“I didn’t even stop to realize that I wasn’t me anymore. I ran over to dad, who was on the ground, and there was this . . . thing, this giant monster thing hunched over him, tearing up dad’s leg. I remember just picking up speed and lunging at it. I knocked it off of dad, and just tore at him with hands and mouth. Except I didn’t really have “hands” anymore. I didn’t stop until that thing stopped moving.
“I never killed anyone before that, so it was a pretty big shock. I started freaking out, and then it all kind of set in that I wasn’t “me”. That freaked me out even more. I called out to my dad, and I just remember this look he had on his face. Maybe it was the shock of having his leg torn up, but probably more that his daughter had turned into a dog. Like, literally. A dog.
“So, yeah. All this time, being told that monsters are bad? And guess what? I am one.
“That’s probably why dad can’t stand to look at me much now. And probably why he wants to send me to D.C. He says it’s to “train” or something, but I really think he just doesn’t want me around anymore. I don’t know.
“So, that’s it. What else do you want to know?”