Shadowplayer

Chapter One

All of Duncan's life he had felt as if all roads led him back to one thought:

I do not want to be doing this right now.

No matter what situation his father threw him into, Duncan couldn't escape thinking that sentence. It was a mantra bedded so deeply into his brain that not thinking it made him feel queasy.

At this particular moment, Duncan found himself running down George Street in broad daylight with a flashing light in his hand. If it wasn't for the badge pinned distractedly to his chest he would have been stopped by the cops by now. Passers-by, however, still stared at him as he went, making him feel even more the oddball freak than usual. Usually these occurrences happened at night, when most people were locked away in their houses, but all it took was one daring person and Duncan's inability to say no to his father, and here he was, looking like an idiot in the middle of his hometown.

The chemically damaged pavement beneath his feet almost sent him diving into the undergrowth- which would not have been a pleasant trip- and the crowds of people around for the May festival were not easy to push through at high speeds.

Duncan could hear the crackle of sound coming from his belt, his walkie carrying the broken voice of his partner. Nothing distinguishable so Duncan kept running in hopes of catching up. His breath had not run short yet, but he wondered how much longer he could keep going.

The warehouse from which the sighting had come was not much further, or so he thought he remembered, but Duncan didn't know what he was looking for once he arrived. The thoughts of landing back on another empty case was not what he wanted. He didn't want cases at all, if he could help it. That thought was the prominent one in his head as he ran.

The burnt down building was as he remembered from when he was young. Ten years later it still smelled to him like his old science classroom. When Duncan stood in the doorway, staring down the corridor to the left, he could see his fathers memory floating there as if it had never moved.

"For once in your life, Duncan, do something right!" The old man bellowed, throwing his young son forward into the building.

All Duncan clutched in his hand was an empty test tube. He hadn't been trained for this kind of mission yet, all his home-studies focused on the physical side of this job. He didn't know what hid father expected of him. He was shaking all over. Not from fear of the building, of fear from doing this all wrong. Before he could even reach the first door, he heard his father calling to him again,

"If your brother was here he'd have the job done already!"

It took Geoff to wake him from that horror, shouting his name from outside.

Duncan left the warehouse where it stood, not unsettling any more ghosts.

He found his partner standing outside with the team. The van pulled up from behind the abandoned building, the company logo glowing in the sun. Duncan felt like vomiting.

"Whatever was here is long gone," Geoff told him, his eyes on the smashed windows behind.

"Wouldn't be the first time," Duncan snorted in return. The pair weren't new to failed cases. "I shouldn't even be here."

"He called you in specifically."

"I'm going back on patrol."

Duncan didn't make it back to patrol. He had been stationed at the square, keeping an eye out for suspicious activity, but before he made it back to the corner of George Street and Maybush, he saw the shadows moving.

The darkness often played tricks on the minds of The Hunters, Duncan had been taught all about it, but he knew what he saw, and against his training, he pursued.

From behind, Duncan whispered into his own mind.

Male. Tall, around 6 feet. Hoodie too big to tell body build. Not conspicuous, blended in with hood covering head. No distinguishable features to be seen.

If he lost him in a crowd, there was no finding him again, so Duncan did his best to keep an eye out. But with just a blink he was almost gone. Duncan followed him with his eyes into the doorway, then quickly moved to do the same. There were immediate stairs taking him down and a thudding sound from below that could only be mistaken for an overblown bass.

Duncan couldn't see the man in sight, so he moved as quietly as he could downwards in the only direction he could have gone. As he moved, the music got louder and Duncan was starting to wish this man had moved into a bomb factory rather than what lied ahead.

The beaded curtain was changing colors too fast for Duncan to keep up. He tried to brace himself for entering, but nothing could prepare you for a Witch bar. As he pushed himself past the framed doorway, the music intensified. It was bleeding from his ears and spreading to his toes, shaking his body from side to side as he walked. Duncan kept one hand on the side railing, walking across the gangplank. He could see below clearly, the patrons and the bartenders. The concoctions being served were not likely legal, and Duncan could have them written up on any offences as he searched the one room. But he couldn't find what he was looking for. The man was not in sight.

He continued looking regardless, and as he moved forward a wave of people moved towards the exit. Not a lot were sticking around for him. A smirk traced Duncan's lips as he watched the bar empty; clearing a room was one of his many talents. Once he was on the ground floor among those remaining, most too stoned to sense his presence, Duncan could see the waitress' staring at him, watching his moves. No one came closer, they all kept their distance.

The smell of flavored smoke hung in the air, and Duncan knew that was what they were afraid of. It wasn't his first time entering this kind of establishment, he was well aware of the consequences these people were under threat from.

He took a seat at the bar, wondering if they knew that velvet stools had gone out of fashion in the seventies. The smirk on his face did him no favors, he noticed, when the young female bartender scowled at him. He watched her for a moment, her movements were fluid, casual, but tense. His presence was unwanted and he could tell by the way she was on the only barmaid left that she was the one-a different one- he was supposed to be looking for.

"I haven't done anything wrong," were the first words out of her mouth, her voice so fierce it burnt in her eyes like a wildfire. "You have no reason to be in here."

"There's no reason why I shouldn't," he countered, wanting her to explode. He could see in her eyes she was going to. He leaned in closer, reading her name-badge, "Courtney."

"Leave. Now."

"Tut, tut," Duncan coughed, straightening up on the stool. "Don't you have any manners at all?"

"Not for the likes of you," she snarled, her teeth bared as if ready to rip out his throat like the wild animal he suspected she was. Duncan wondered for a moment if he should let her, but he was having too much fun in his teasing. He knew the effect he had on the Witches. When you were someone of his status, you never went down too well with the guilty ones.

"No respect for authority at all. I could have you arrested, have you killed."

"If it means it gets you out of my bar then go ahead."

Duncan could see she wasn't going to back down. He liked a challenge to play with, even one as dark and mysterious as her. Witches weren't his type, but with a lick of his lips, he thought he could make an exception.

"I'm Duncan, by the way," he introduced, holding out his hand in fair greeting.

"Get out of my bar, Duncan," she replied, staring him down, unblinking. Courtney kept her hands firm on the wooden bar, no fear showing. He figured this wasn't her first time dealing with unwanted Hunters ruining her business. "You can come back when you have a written consent letter from the Council to be in here."

"Oh, honey, I iami the council."

She didn't say anything after that, so with one last cocky grin, Duncan made himself scarce.

A/N: And thus the actual story commences...

Thoughts? I am honestly quite proud of this.

I forgot to mention in the last chapter that this is somewhat based on The Last Witch Hunter! It was a good movie...not as good as I thought it was gonna be, if I'm honest, but definitely quenched my ever growing hunger for Witches and magic.

I was gonna wait until the weekend to post this, but I am excited slash still sick slash celebrating, so enjoy it while you can :D

Thanks for reading, please review (:

Love, ChloeRhiannonX