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Chapter 1

“Lyra, hurry up, the customer is waiting! ”

I snatch the package from the hands of this cretin of a secretary in order to run to get on my bike. I work as a courier in New York, and this idiot just made me lose precious minutes because he did his packing wrong. Time is money, I don’t have enough to waste.

I have already done more than kilometers today, yet I would like to be able to do at least two or three more races in order to increase my salary for the day. To achieve my goals, I race through traffic, weaving between cars, sometimes hooking up with a bus or taxi to pick up some speed.

My next client is in the middle of Manhattan. I have to go to the Verona building, in one of the big apple’s business districts. It’s a place I’ve never set foot in despite my job, because it’s quite a vampire neighborhood and they tend to call on their minions for the kind of service I render. However, it is not a problem for me to go there because the money has no smell, no race, no country no matter where it comes from, I take it without shame.

Following my GPS with one eye, I look at the buildings around me, vaguely wondering what to expect. As far as I know, I’ve never met non humans, and unlike the rest of the people I meet I’ve never been interested in them. Luckily, vampires are by far the most at risk, so despite living in a district exclusively inhabited by my race, I have some notions about them.

First of all, knowing that there was a time when they hunted my kind for food, I’m glad to be protected by the primary agreement. It is a non aggression pact that prohibits unauthorized hunting and consumption of other individuals.

Even though I have never trusted justice or the law to defend me, the bonus my company offers me for coming so far from my usual neighborhood helps me put caution aside. If things go wrong, I’ll let you know. Anyway, this isn’t the first time I’ve had to take care of my own safety.

Leaning my bike against the wall, I tell myself that after all, all humanoid bipeds look alike, so I don’t have to fear them any more than the others. Looking up at the building with its impeccable windows and vertiginous lines, I also think that most of the people inside must be careful about their brand image: Eating the delivery man would probably be a bad thing.

Pushing my cap on my head, I wedge my package properly under my arm, before going through the automatic doors, trotting to the reception, chasing all the doubts from my brain. The woman at the entrance watches me arrive with a stern look, wincing at my torn jeans at the knees and my Carapuce t shirt. I’m well aware that I’m , and past the age of Pokemon, but I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks.

Anyway, I’m not here to do a fashion show. Without giving him time to make the slightest remark, I attack directly:

“I have a package for Mr. Veroni, I have to go upstairs, it’s urgent! “!

She hesitates to give me access to the upper floors, pouting in disgust and still staring at me. What does she believe? That I come to do graffiti in the building?

“Well, at worst I can leave the package for you!” I say shrugging my shoulders. For me it’s not a problem, I would say “It’s your fault if the customer didn’t get it in time.”

She bites her lip, worried, fiddling with her files, weighing the pros and cons, while I pretend to turn on my heels.

“It’s good, it’s good! She ends up answering me badly. nd floor, the first office on the right”

Strategy of courier number one: When the welcome is not warm, oppose an apparent calm then insinuate that the interlocutor is risking his place. This is one of my favorite techniques, I love seeing little department heads go from arrogance to fear. With a smirk, I watch her hand me a badge with her fingertips.

“It is to be returned on leaving! She spits at me, turning immediately to face her computer screen”.

“No kidding ! ” I say in an acid tone. “Me who dreamed of starting a collection”!

I leave, while she throws me a furious sidelong glance. The pike was not mandatory, but I added it as an extra for fun.

I walk through the elevator door, finding myself squeezed in the middle of a troop of men and women in severe dark suits, dressed to the nines. I suppose most of them are bloodsuckers, but I wouldn’t know who they were and deep down I don’t care. I think only of my bounty and in the meantime I slip into a corner to watch them better.

At the nd, I rush to the office indicated, knocking on the door before entering without waiting for an answer. After all, the sooner I get over it, the sooner I get out of this place that makes me a little uncomfortable.

In my haste, I come face to face with a tall dark haired man in a suit and tie, whom I bump into, caught in my tracks.

While grumbling against people with too large builds, I take a step back, however I barely move when he holds me by the arm.

“Your smell is very pleasant… He says to me in a dreamy voice while his nostrils dilate”.

I blink, puzzled, thinking he doesn’t look sane. Raising an eyebrow, puzzled, I try to free myself by explaining to him what I’m doing here.

“I have a package for Mr. Veroni!”

He doesn’t let go of me, his black eyes staring at me with the intention of entering my soul.

“It’s me ! ” He says while a crooked smile stretches his lips. What a coincidence, I believe we were destined to…

I cut him his reply, which I feel will be very heavy, by pressing the package against his chest in a somewhat brutal way before handing him my tablet for the signature.

“Sign here, please! ” I replied coldly, nudging him to let go of my arm, which he still held firmly.

Once he finally decides to release his grip on my wrist, grabbing the package by reflex, I show him the screen and the place to sign. Whatever happens, stay professional: strategy number for delivery people. The technique usually works with all low level flirts and overly pissed off paperpushers.

Unfortunately, this time it’s part of the chess because he stares at me without moving, as if he was waiting for something other than the package which does not seem to interest him at all.

His eyes sparkle with a sparkle that tells me nothing worthwhile. Hoping to get it over with sooner, as all my fears seem to come to life, I resume trying to keep my composure, despite the unease growing inside me.

“Mr. Veroni, do you want your package yes or no? ” I asked insistently.

Unexpectedly, another mocking male voice resounds a little further.

” So, boss, your pheromones no longer work?”

I lean my head forward to get a better look behind my stupid client, discovering a man seated on a large walnut desk who looks at us smiling. He suddenly approaches with a predatory gait, sure of himself as if I was going to melt under his spell. I squint, observing this tall blonde with pale skin who contrasts strangely with his black suit.

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