Misplaced

“I’m not going to hurt you!” Nyva spoke loudly at the building. An overhang created a lightless corner that she needed to get by. “I’ need to be seen on camera making my rounds but I’ll ignore you if you ignore me.” She hoped the child knew how to speak. She had no idea how old it was when she noticed it on camera. Nyva did not realize what it was until she stood outside inhaling the sour, gamy scent of werewolf emanating from the darkness. She considered it might be feral and clenched her fists as she moved to pass by.

She felt eyes following her as she walked to her next visual check in, but the short journey was uneventful. After her rounds, Nyva sat at the bank of monitors to wait for her next walk-around. She checked the corner camera several times throughout the hour but did not see it again. She assumed that it fled as she completed her perimeter check until she hit the wall of stench at the corner on her next round.

“I wouldn’t be here in the morning if I were you,” Nyva said to the shadows and continued to walk by. She spent the next hour wondering if it would still be there the next time, and what that might mean. “Maybe it’s hurt.” The realization stuck with her until she stood outside again by the corner, the scent hung in the air.  “Are you okay?” she asked the darkness. She heard rustling in the darkness, then a child stepped into the light. Nyva guessed the young, blue-haired girl to be about six. The blue moonlight fell on her face as she looked up at the security guard’s shiny badge with brilliant green eyes.

“I’m lost,” she said softly.

“Lost?” Nyva looked the girl over. She wore a long light pink nightshirt with no socks or shoes. “How’d you get lost honey? You look like you were in bed.” The little girl nodded.

“I was.. and I woke up…,” she pointed to the edge of the forest. “…in there.” She looked down at her bare feet. “The ground hurt so I came here.” She stomped her foot on the concrete.

“You were asleep and you woke up in the forest?” Nyva asked to make sure she understood. She debated what to do with the obviously abandoned child. The girl nodded. “Fantastic.” Nyva thought sarcastically. She knelt in front of the child.

“I’m Nyva, what’s your name?”

“Stella,” the girl replied.

“Okay, Stella,” Nyva stood and patted her stomach. “I’m hungry, are you hungry?” Stella nodded with an eager grin. “Come on then, I know a great place.” She took the girl’s hand and led her to the parking lot.

“What about your job?” Stella asked.

“One of the other guys will take over when they see me leave with you. We have special rules for lost children,” she said. Nyva lied through her teeth, but she did not want to make the child feel worse on the night she was abandoned. There was no other security in the building, and she was definitely walking away from her job. They did have special rules for lost children, but she could not hand a werewolf over to the police. Luckily she did know someone she could leave the child with and help her find a new job.

“Do you know what I am?” Nyva asked once she pulled out of the parking lot.

“Uhuh, I can smell you.”

“You’re not scared?”

“No, why?” Stella asked. Nyva wondered why Stella’s parents did not warn the girl about the dangers of vampires; then, she remembered the girl woke up in a forest.

Someone should warn her,” Nyva decided.

“Vampires and werewolves don’t normally get along. If you ever see or smell a vampire that isn’t doing a human job do your best to avoid them, okay?”

“But my best friend is a vampire!” Stella replied with a confused tone.

Great, she’s already calling me her best friend. That’s the last thing I need,” Nyva grumbled mentally while she drove. “Well, friends are one thing, but still. You should always be careful around vampires. A lot of them like hunting werewolves for fun.”

“Since when?” Stella asked.

This poor child, her parents didn’t want her at all.” Nyva thought. “I hope you like Chinese food,” she said as they pulled into small parking lot. A red neon sign read “Donna Chang’s” on top of a quaint restaurant.

“I love it!” Stella said. She sounded excited about something for the first time since Nyva met her.

“Awesome, let’s go.”  An old, Asian woman approached them as they entered.

“WHAT ARE YOU!?” Stella let go of Nyva’s hand and ran to the old woman. She walked around her excitedly, sniffing the air around the woman. “You smell sooooo PRETTY!” The woman smiled at the child.

“Hello cub,” Donna said. “I’m a dragon. What are you doing here?” she asked Stella. The girl continued sniffing at Donna and pointed at Nyva without looking. She decided to change tactics.

“My name is Donna Chang, what’s yours?” Stella shook hands with Donna.

“Stella.”

“Stella, would you like to eat before you go home?” The girl nodded with a large smile. “Okay, go sit down and look at the menu.” The girl bolted off to a red booth with a golden table.

“Home?” Nyva asked. She looked around Donna to check how far away the girl was.” She leaned closer to Donna and whispered.

“I don’t know how you know where she lives but I’ll chalk it up to dragon magic. However, I don’t think it’s a good idea. She woke up in a forest. Her parents probably drugged and abandoned her.”

“WHAT?!” Stella yelled from the table while staring at them. “THAT’S NOT TRUE!!” Donna chuckled and walked to the booth. Nyva followed with her head hanging heavy with embarrassment.”

“No, it’s not true,” Donna said once she reached the table. She continued to smile warmly. “Nyva doesn’t know everything. I’m sure your parents will be very worried about you if you’re not in your bed in the morning.

“Okay, what do you know that I don’t?” Nyva asked.

“Stella is from a different Earth. Her powers kicked in while she was sleeping, but I can send her home,” Donna said. Then she looked down at the girl. “But if you keep visiting after I send you home I can teach you how to use your power.” Stella nodded then focused on the menu again.

“A different Earth? Those exist?” Nyva asked. “And you never told me about it before?” Donna shrugged.

“No reason to.”

“OH! Can Nyva come to my Earth?” Stella asked. “She can find a job there.”

“Why do I need a job?” Nyva asked. She did but was curious about how the girl knew.

“Because you stink like Zane when you lie,” Stella grinned. The answer only confused Nyva more.

“Who’s Zane?”

“My best friend!”

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