D. Gabrielle Jensen
I guess the best place to begin is the beginning, right? Guess you need something to call me. Name’s Fia Drake. Fiammetta, actually. It means “Little Flame.” I think it had something to do with being born with this same red hair you see now. I couldn’t tell you, to be honest. I was abandoned, left to be raised by nuns.
Yeah, nuns. And you thought your childhood was rough. But that’s not even the start of it. Sister Agnes was the crazy bat directly responsibility for my upbringing. And she knew things.
They all did. See, somehow, I ended up in a very special convent with a very special set of secrets. There were three other kids there with me, all about the same age, and when we were all nine, ten years old, that crazy bat took us out in the flats behind the convent and taught us to shoot on these rickety old, handmade crossbows. A year into that, she trained us to shoot people with those same splinter-ridden hunks of oak.
You heard me. People. Well, dummies made of ballistic gel. Turns out we were being trained to hunt condemned souls. Trained, groomed, whatever. The wrinkle was the only way to catch these souls was when they possessed a human. That was the ultimate goal; to catch them. Send them back to Hell where they belonged.
I peaced out of that madhouse when I was sixteen. Yeah, I’ve noticed you eyeballing my scars. Those have nothing to do with condemned souls. Although I can’t imagine the bastard didn’t end up there eventually. Living on the streets I found myself in the employ of a sex trafficker using his diner as a weigh station for underage sex toys.
I put his arm in the deep fryer. Unfortunately I was holding it when it went in.
After that, that first bounty was hard to resist. $5k and the promise of another when the job was done. And more where that came from? When you’re seventeen and hungry, that’s a lot of money.
Nowadays I’m doing pretty well for it. Got a sick condo in a converted warehouse, money to buy concert tickets, and a steady job. Not too many quarterlifers can say that these days. Even if it does mean I’m by myself 90% of the time, chasing condemned souls because some demon got his panties in a twist and turned them all loose.