“District Manager?” I asked. Before I did anything this thing told me to do, I wanted to know why I had been appointed to a position I knew nothing about. But my god, whatever it was, it was ugly. It had to be at least eight feet tall and its head brushed the ceiling. The head was narrow and pointed, like an armadillo, but the ears looked wolf like, and stood up. If it had eyes I couldn’t see them. The body was a massive thing, all bulk with arms that seemed too small yet the hands danced in the air as it spoke. In a second of stillness I saw there were seven fingers, and each of them with a long shiny claw. If I had to guess, and I did, it looked like it was made of some sort of metal, and not really alive.
“First, here, I help you,” the creature waved a claw in the air and a screen appeared from nothingness, six feet tall and three feet wide, maybe, and a list of the men and women we had in jail began to scroll.
“Impressive,” I said, but before I could speak again it interrupted.
“You choose one or I choose two,” it said, nodding its head. Its mouth opened and I saw row and rows of teeth in its mouth, like a shark’s. “Bring your worst, or I take a speeding ticket.”
“I’ll go get Dernmond,” Harlow said, but he couldn’t get out of the office as long as the creature stood in the doorway.
“You don’t choose, District Manager chooses,” it cocked it’s head at me and grinning, its teeth glowing white, “insubordination, yes?” it asked.
“No, not at all, he’s just trying to help, but he’s right,” I motioned with my hand, “Harlow, bring Dernmond here, please.”
“I move,” it said and crunched in part of the wall as it stepped to the side. The blocks in the wall crumbled like sandstone and the ceiling shook, too. Whatever it was, the slugs from my Glock wasn’t going to hurt it. Harlow slipped past and I wondered if he was deserting. I would have.
“You have twenty-three inmates, the city holds twelve more, this is correct?” it asked.
“Yes,” I replied. “How am I to address you?”
“Oh, I forgot human manners! I am clumsy when I move and when I speak human. You are to address any of my kind by the title ‘Peacekeeper’ just as all of your occupation are called ‘peace officers’ is this not correct?”
“Yes Peacekeeper, but where are you taking Dernmond?” I asked. I heard Harlow bringing him down the hall.
“I show you!” Peacekeeper said and smiled. The teeth looked as if they were moving, and I felt my stomach turn.
I got home early and stripped down at the washer, and dumped everything in. I tossed a pod in and set the washer for one hour. The shower took a moment or two to warm up, but I stood in the cold water anyway. I wanted to feel something, anything, no matter what it was, other than what I was feeling. I sat down on the floor of the shower and threw up twice, and then turned the water as hot as I could stand it.
“Baby?” Steve was home. I could tell by the look on his face he had heard. He helped me out of the shower, dried me off, and led me to the bed. I watched the light coming through the windows turn to shadows, and felt like I could speak.
“What happened, Wanda?” Steve asked.
“We’ve been given our orders, Steve,” I began, “they aren’t here to keep the peace, that’s not why they’re here. I wasn’t sure they were alive, but I think they are now. But I’m the District Manager, which means I get to choose, or they choose, if they chose, I get chosen. So I’ll be doing a lot of that, I think.”
“Baby?” Steve asked, “What happened? Is it true?”
“Harlow brought Dernmond into the office; he’s the guy who raped his six year old son and posted the video on his ex-wife’s Facebook page.”
“Yeah, I know the name,” Steve said.
“The Peacekeeper wanted our worst, so we brought Dernmond into my office. The Peacekeeper put one hand on him, pinned him to my desk, and then took a claw of his other hand and sliced Dernmond’s belly open while he talked to us. Dernmond was screaming and flailing and blood was going everywhere. It ate Dernmond’s intestines right there in front of us, while telling us that we were to bring him our worst every day, one today, then two every day after that,” I said and closed my eyes as I spoke.
“It did something to Dernmond, injected him somehow, caused the pain to go away, and Dernmomd just lay there and whimpered. It ate his stomach, his liver, his kidneys, all while Dernmond watched until he bled out.” I nearly puked again.
“Fuck,” Steve said. “What the hell are we going to do?”
“I’m being taken to see his people tomorrow,” I said. “We’ll know more if I don’t wind up on the menu.”
End part two