“Damnit, boss, you said it was a gremlin!”
“Did I? Strange, I don’t recall.”
He glanced up to see his boss squatting on the roof above them. Forty stories up. He muttered something unfavourable as the figure waved.
“What was that?”
“Nothing,” he said, his hand clenching around his phone.
“Indeed. Well, seems like Jake’s running late. You’ll have to do this one alone. Can’t fall behind schedule, after all.”
“By myself? Boss, I’m flattered at your faith in my abilities, but-“
He cursed as he disconnected the call, shoving the phone into his pocket, and opening his bag. He unzipped the extra compartment and pulled out the red coiled rope. It was slightly faded in colour, some parts blackened and frayed, but he was unconcerned at its whining.
“Job to do,” he shrugged as he shifted the bag more comfortably on his shoulder. The rope began to glow. The light sputtered slightly. “Yeah, yeah. Complain, complain. What about me, huh? Think I want to take on this chimera by myself anymore than you do?” The glow increased until the rope began to hum in vibration. “That’s better.”
He glanced around the corner, only to jerk back quickly as a garbage can flew past his head. A furious roar followed.
“Off to a great start already.” He looped the rope and slung part of it over his shoulder. “Right, probably a good idea to move.” He ducked as giant claws dug into the building next to him. Debris clattered behind him and a long, thin neck chased him into the next alley. There was a hissing noise and he could not help groaning. “I hate snakes.”
There was a spitting noise and the ground behind him sizzled as acid ate its way through the concrete. He ducked behind a car, cringing as it, too, was sprayed, and began to melt. “I take it back,” he called out. “Snakes are great.”
The sound of a building crumbling answered.
Peering through the window, he saw the creature rear back. He swallowed. The rope in his hands was hot as energy coursed through it. His muscles tensed, and then he was moving, leaping over the car that was mostly gone.
The chimera struck. He threw the rope forward and the loop widened, hovering for a moment, before snapping forward, around the head. The rest flew from his hands and twined around the body, constricting.
There was a furious screech, and for a moment the creature writhed, and he feared that it had failed, for it was looking at him, its mouth open, and he could see the acid dripping from its mouth.
He saw the muscles move. Saw it aim. Then the rope began to glow, and he knew that the spell had activated. For a moment it was so bright that he could not see. He threw a hand over his eyes in surprise. It had never flared this brightly before.
When he lowered it, the chimera was on its side, eyes glaring, as it lay, unable to move. In front of him he could see a few drops of acid hissing on the ground, but he was unharmed. He let out a breath, shivering slightly at the close call. The creature must have been immobilized before it could complete its action.
He turned at the sound of footsteps.
“Happy now?” He grouched.
“I knew you wouldn’t die.”
“Yeah?” He snorted. “How did you figure that?”
Her eyes flicked down to his bag. “It’s ruined.”
He scowled at her evasion and glanced down, only to shout in dismay. “She’s going to kill me,” he stared at the remains of the doll his wife had made. Acid had eaten away all but part of the head and one of the arms.
His boss’ lips curled upwards. “I’m sure she’d be happy to make you another one.”
Part II of Secrets. Can be read as a stand alone or a sequel. I hope it satisfies some of your curiosity!