The mortal bounty hunter for the gods, Jared Club, is not having a good spot of luck. First, he has to deal with a rogue Leprechaun, which makes him question whether he should be doing the job at all. His personal assistant isn’t helping matters either with her questions about what he really does for a living and Club suspects that the man that he has as a tracker who thinks he is a werewolf diddled on the floor because Jared knows darn well that he never spilled anything there. If that wasn’t enough, a goddess has called upon him for assistance. He discovers that a mystical wolf with the power to cause avalanches has sired a pup that lives in the mortal world as a domestic pet. It is up to Club to stop the beast before it becomes aware of its power. Will he be able to, or will it become the instrument to his demise?
I really hate burnt toast, occurred to the raccoon as it lay on its stomach, tied, spread-eagled across the large gold-filled cauldron placed in the center of the clearing within a thick strip of trees just outside of Dublin. Its muscles were aching after being captured an hour before and attempting to untie any of the four knots that held its thick brownish-grey with black-tipped furred legs fast. At first, it had tried to snap at the twine with its razor-like fangs by extending its head and sharp snout, but found the twine tied too tight. The rodent was surprised that it had gotten into this position, being slightly over three feet long and weighing a heftier thirty pounds. It had foolishly thought its prey would not have handled it with such ease.
Jared Club, bounty hunter of the gods, protector of the implosion of humanity, currently one big-assed rodent. Muscles throbbed and trembled violently in protest of the position they found themselves forced into. Muscles that he didn’t know he had, screamed at him. It made him wonder if in his human form he even had those muscles that screamed the loudest. Jared hated shape-shifting spells just on principle. He didn’t quite believe that all of the original matter that made up his body truly came back after he had reverted from animal to human form. At least, that’s what he told himself after several dates had looked at him as they stood naked and said, is that it? The part he worried about the most was the selective aspect of shape changing through an incantation rather than natural ability. Incantations required concentration because a person wanted to be mostly the beast they were mimicking. There was a secondary incant that had to be included to keep the vocal chords as they were, otherwise that person loses the ability to recite the incantation to revert back to human form. The hunter thought that the dangers to the shapeshifting incantations, therefore would have been misspeaking, a punch, kick, knife or other potentially damaging objects to the throat. What he had not thought of was fucking burnt toast.
Hours before, Club had made his way through the thick-brushed gully in the Cooley Mountains south of Cairlinn, Ireland, to the clearing that he was to investigate for suspicious activity of one leprechaun, Lucky Liam of the Charm clan. He had to handle the assignment carefully since he was on the outer edge of the Sliabh Foy Loop Trail, an area that the European Union had deemed as a protected area for Leprechauns. It may have been thought of just a lark at the time when the area had received its designation by the mortals, but if the hunter were spotted with his mark, it would both turn the good-natured non-belief to the truth of the existence of Leprechauns. With proof of those fairies, it would lead to close inspection of the other fairies and begin the uncovering of the existence of the gods. As a bonus, Club thought sardonically, he would be tried for poaching a protected species.
He had tried the day before in human form with Hans, his wanna-be werewolf tracker, but with all the crackling of branches and the inherent lumbering there had been signs of activity hastily covered up by the time they had gotten there. He sent Hans back through a portal to the office the night before and as soon as he had awoken that morning, he had recited the incantation to become a raccoon in hopes that his mark would not suspect a forest creature as a threat and catch the perp in the middle of his illegal activity of unicorn rendering for profit. As he scampered through the trees and thickets with effort he had wished he had ate before he left the inn he had stayed at. He slowed his pace as he neared the clearing, stopping to stand on his hind legs and sniff the air. He’s near.
The raccoon slowed his pace and stopped just on the inside of the trees where he had an unobstructed view of the twenty foot in diameter clearing. In the dead center was a small table covered with a white cross-stitched lace covering and a plate with four pieces of toast. There were two, plastic, foldable chairs that were placed opposite of the other. While one was empty the other was occupied by a Leprechaun whose attire of a bowler with a four leafed clover stuck in the buckled hat band, buckled shoes, and a three piece suit with a bow tie were all the same colour, forest green. The redness of his hair and eyebrows stood out against his suit, as well as made the freckles that spotted his ruddy cheeks.
“Top of the mornin’ to ye, creature not indigenous to this region, but for the sake of pleasantries, I will overlook that,” said the smallish wisp of a mortal looking man. “Care for a bit of a nosh in this chilled morn?” he asked as he added a wink from one of his green eyes. The Leprechaun smiled wide, but the raccoon did not move from its partially hidden spot in the trees. “Where are me manners? The name is Liam, of the Charm Clan,” he said as an introduction. “But you can call me Lucky.” He watched as the raccoon considered his offer for a moment then waddled over to the empty chair. He folded his hands in front of him as the animal hopped onto the chair and grabbed one of the pieces of toast.
The raccoon was about to take a bite, but stopped as if it remembered something. It gave a nod of appreciation then greedily stuffed the toast into its mouth.
“I’m afraid that I forgot to pack any jam or butter,” Liam said apologetically.