“Dude, I told you already. I need to get there early today. Shit to do, tests to study for. Besides, don’t you have some skirts to lift or something?” He waved his hand in a frustrated gesture as he pulled up to a stop sign.
“Hey. Felix does not lift skirts. I’m not opposed to putting a mirror on my shoe, though,” said Felix with a grin as he pulled out two cigarettes and a lighter, lighting them both.
“Jesus, man! Come on,” said the driver, smacking the steering wheel. “The school is right there! You do this shit on purpose, I swear.” He drummed on the steering wheel as he turned down a side road.
“Matt, calm down. Here, have a smoke.” Felix handed him a cigarette before leaning against the window and taking another long drag. “So, do we have any more work? These haunted houses have been pretty good money so far. Well…they were until you started taking on things better left to the goddamn clergy.”
“We end up in the ER once, once! We weren’t even there for that long, we just got stitches. Besides, we bagged the fucker didn’t we?” Matt took a drag off his cigarette and grinned as he blew the smoke out between his teeth. “No calls yet. Probably going to have to send mom with money and just have her get us some alcohol this weekend.”
“I’m okay with a weekend off, even more okay with some fucking hooch,” said Felix, taking another hit.
“Y’know, you could crack your window. The truck isn’t an ashtray and all of your smoke is coming my way,” said Matt as he ran a hand through his light brown curls.
“Alright guy, what’s your major goddamn malfunction?” Felix cracked the window and flicked his cigarette, ashes flying out the window.
“I don’t know, man. It’s senior year, I’ve got no date for prom, I’m trying to make sure I’ve got enough money to pay for my insurance and gas and entertainment, I’m trying to make sure my GPA doesn’t make a run for the dumpster–” He took a drag off of his cigarette and tilted his head against the window, slouching down in the driver’s seat. He shook his head and flicked his ashes out the window. “I guess it’s all just starting to pile up. This is the last time I’m making the block by the way, so finish up,” he said, taking another drag off of the cigarette before flicking it out the window.
“You just need to find some time to relax and get your head on straight. This weekend sounds like a perfect time to do that.” Felix took several quick drags from his cigarette and threw it out the window before reaching over and placing a hand on Matt’s shoulder, squeezing and shaking him a little. “For we, good sir, shall partake of the nectar of the gods and our troubles shall be drowned in alcohol!”
“Yeah, too bad it doesn’t work for killing stress as well as it does worms.”
Matt sat in class, his head drooping before jerking up. It was English. He hated English, and the teacher hated him. He looked down at the book that was open on his desk and discovered that it couldn’t have been the class material.
“Motherfucker.” “I think–what section were we supposed to read?” he asked, trying to think of a way to hide the book on paranormal problems before–
“Well, if you had the right book…” The gray haired woman snatched the book from his desk and looked at it. “Paranormal problems…?” She shook her head. “If you would read something that actually made sense then you might do a little better in this class. Perhaps what the rest of the class is reading maybe?”
“I don’t really see how talking animals makes much sense…,” he muttered as he reached into his backpack to pull out the small hard back copy of Animal Farm.
“And just for that, I think I’ll be keeping this book.” Her eyes opened wide as he reached up and snatched the book back.
“No, I think it can stay in my backpack, kind of special to me,” Matt said, shoving the book into his bag.
“You have one of two choices. Either you give me the book, or you go to the office,” she said, crossing her arms.
“Awesome. Maybe they’ll keep me there until lunch,” he said, grabbing his backpack and standing up. He looked down at her and paused before walking past her and out of the door to the classroom. He stepped out into the hallway and started to go to the office, had every intention of it, but his pocket started vibrating. Now, instead of a left turn he went to the right, fishing the phone out of his pocket as he walked toward the bathroom. It was the phone he used to get in touch with clients, and for prospective clients to contact him.
“Hello?” The voice came through on the line; it was muffled a little, almost like someone putting their hand over the receiver. “Hello? I think we might need some help.”
“What kind of problem are you having?” Matt asked quietly as he looked around the bathroom. Good thing he was alone. His fellow students often came to the bathroom to use their phones, but it wasn’t often that anyone came to the bathroom to talk about supernatural ‘problems’.
“I think there is a vampire here. Children have turned up dead and they’ve had these odd wounds on their neck and…hello?” Matthew was trying not to laugh. He really was, and since he was trying not to laugh he was making some rather funny noises.
“I’m sorry, but if you’re trying to make some kind of joke here, then bravo. You’ve got me. You aren’t the first person who has called this line giving us a ration of shit.”
“No sir, I’m afraid I’m very serious. To prove this point, we have wired half of what we consider to be an appropriate amount to your company account. The other half will be delivered in cash when you complete the job. An e-mail has also been sent to the address listed on your site including more information and pictures.”
“Alright, I’ll be sure and check on that in a few hours. If I find out you are serious, then we’ll talk more. If I have an e-mail and money, be expecting a call from me around four.” He hung up the phone and walked out of the bathroom just as the lunch bell rang. He joined the herd of adolescents moving quickly through the hall walking past the office and looking through the glass walls, waving at the student aide who was sitting behind the desk.
“Holy fucking shit,” said Matthew as he stepped away from the ATM. He held a small slip of paper in his hand. He looked up to Felix who was still trying to dig cigarette ash from his black hair.
“Well, what’s the verdict?” Felix asked as Matthew handed him the paper. “How much did we have in there before?” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a pack of cigarettes.
“We had three grand before yesterday…”
“So we had an eight grand deposit then?” said Felix as he lit a cigarette, his hand shaking a little.
“Yeah, and that’s half. I’m guessing they’re very serious about us going and killing a vampire for them.” Matthew reached over and grabbed the pack away from Felix. He pulled a cigarette out and tossed it back. “That worries me. My current guess is it’s some psycho who thinks he is a vampire, in which case they’re still going to want proof that we did something. But that’s really more of an issue for the cops, not us.” He pulled a lighter from his pocket, lighting the cigarette and taking a deep drag off of it. He inhaled as he pulled it away from his mouth. “If we are dealing with the real deal, I’m not sure we’re really the right people to deal with it. I mean sure, there’s a whole bunch of information out there on vampires, but I’m sure that most of it is bullshit.”
“For sixteen grand I’ll pull a vampire out of my ass and stake it with my cock!”
“Does that even count as a stake?” said Matt, taking a drag off of his cigarette and walking back toward his truck. “It’s time to brush up on our vampire lore and start using some of this money to buy some supplies. Crazy psycho killer or vampire, either way I’ll feel a lot safer if I have something that goes bang when I pull the trigger.”
Felix opened the passenger side door and pulled himself into the vehicle as Matthew opened the driver’s door. “Since when do we use guns?”
“Since we started dealing with flesh and blood.”
Matthew sat in his room. It was dark save for the glow of the computer screen on his face. He was looking through a series of photos that had been emailed to him. There had been three victims, all female. All had died of massive blood loss. There were no neat little puncture wounds; rather, a large chunk was missing from each of their necks. Matthew ran a hand through his hair and picked up a pack of Camels, shaking them. The sound of a cigarette bouncing in the box greeted his ears. He opened the box and found two left in the box. He heard footsteps coming down the hallway and groaned as he placed the filter between his lips. He took the other cigarette from the box and tossed it over his shoulder as the door flew open.
“Don’t you ever knock? I could be naked in here or something,” said Matthew as he lit the cigarette. Felix fumbled with the cigarette that had been thrown at him before lighting it.
“Wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen your bare ass.” Felix took a seat on the bed. “Anything useful?”
“Not really…I’m definitely leaning more toward psycho killer, though. I’m really wondering how the hell this shit hasn’t hit the news yet.” He motioned toward the screen and scrolled through some of the pictures.
“Definitely no Hollywood vampire, that’s for sure,” said Felix as he leaned over.
“Yeah, and all of the victims were raped too. That seems an awful lot like psycho killer to me. I’m beginning to wonder if we shouldn’t just send them their money back instead of taking a chance on this one man.”
“Wait. What’s that?” said Felix, grabbing the mouse and scrolling down the screen some more. There was a fuzzy picture of what can only be described as a “creature.” A big, hulking mass of what looked like muscle over fur.
“That’s a very good question.” Matthew squinted at the fuzzy image. “I’d have to say it’s a fake image. All of these could be fake images, dude.” He spun his chair away from the computer screen and took a drag from his cigarette. “This is ridiculous. I’m the last one who is going to say that vampires aren’t real, but I’m pretty sure at this point they do a pretty damn good job of staying in hiding. Not only that, but humans wouldn’t notice them. They certainly wouldn’t assume vampire. They would assume some genetically mutated thing, or that it was some freak out there killing girls.”
“So…because you’re assuming that it’s some whack job out there and the fuzzy image is a fake then everyone else should too?” Felix raised an eyebrow. “I say it’s at least worth checking out. Even if it is a hoax, we have quite a chunk of money.”
“Oh we are going to check it out, for a potential sixteen thousand we are definitely going and we are going well prepared and we are going to look intimidating when we show up just in case it is bullshit we might be able to scare them out of the rest of the money for wasting our time.”
“Right on, sir! Now, about the English homework…done any of it yet?”
“Seriously? This much money’s on the table and you’re worried about some bullshit English homework about talking animals? You’re killing me, dude.” Matthew’s face dropped into his right hand and he flicked ashes at Felix with his left.
“Hey, if we don’t pass English we don’t graduate. Then what will we be? A couple of paranormal hunters that don’t have a high school diploma? Who is really going to take us seriously then?” said Felix as he brushed the ashes off into the floor.
Felix had departed Matthew’s house and he had begrudgingly started his reading assignment. It was getting late and he needed to be in bed. He looked over at the prepaid phone laying on his computer desk and smirked. It was midnight, he hoped that whoever had called him earlier was going to be asleep by now. He picked up the phone and brought up the number from the call list. The phone started to ring.
The first ring wasn’t even over before the man’s voice answered the phone. “I expected you to call earlier.”
“Yeah sorry…got caught up with some stuff. Look, the earliest we can be up there is Friday afternoon, so you’ll have to sit tight for a couple of days,” said Matthew as he dug around his desk shaking empty packs of cigarettes.
“Did you get the pictures?”
“I did. Along with the reports saying that the girls had been raped. I suggest imposing a curfew and making sure people keep their doors locked until we can get up there to sort this out. Also, have there been any survivors? I realize the chances of that are slim considering the other victims, but it might help shed some light on what’s going on.”
“There has been one survive so far. The attack was interrupted.”
“We’re going to need to be able to talk to her. If that’s possible, of course.”
“I’ll see what I can do.”
“You were supposed to have your shit packed already. You knew we were making this trip. I’d like to get there before, oh, I don’t know…dark? That’s when whoever this is likes to kill people,” said Matthew as Felix was putting his clothes into bags. “And what the hell, man? Why aren’t you in uniform?”
“Seriously? Are we really going to show up there already fucking dressed in our gear? I thought you were joking about scaring them out of their money,” said Felix as he stuffed some deodorant into a side pocket.
Matthew was dressed in a black duster that was left open in the front, exposing a pair of black cargo pants with full pockets and a black t-shirt. He tapped his black boots impatiently as Felix continued to gather up his things. “No, I’m just dressed like this because I’m trying to make a fashion statement. By shit, I want that money, even if I have to beat it out of someone. So c’mon, get dressed.”
“Oh alright, for fucks sake,” said Felix as he started stripping off his current clothes. Matthew made his way out to the truck and pulled off the duster throwing it in the middle of the bench seat. He turned the ignition until the truck roared to life and he turned up the radio, the hard rock station blaring and relieving some of his tension. He let his head lean back against the seat and he closed his eyes. The passenger side door opened after a few minutes and he opened his eyes to see an annoyed Felix getting in. He pulled his duster off and put it on top of Matthew’s.
“Aw, c’mon. Cheer up, man. Got something for you.” Matthew flipped down the console that also served as the back to the middle of the bench seat. He opened it up and pulled out a rather large revolver handing it to Felix.
“What the fuck is this?” he asked, taking it in hand.
“Revolver on steroids. Called the Thunder 5, I think. You can put shotgun shells through it. Thought you might want that, considering you aren’t that great of a shot,” said Matthew as he pulled another revolver out.
“And what the fuck is that?” said Felix, looking at the gun in Matthew’s hand. “
“This is a .454 Casull.”
“Really? Isn’t that the gun that-”
“Shut up, I know, ripped it off of an anime blah fucking blah. He uses it to kill vampires, though, so I think it’s perfectly appropriate. See, that one makes lots of tiny holes, but I need something that makes a nice big hole,” said Matthew, placing the gun back in the console.
“And here I thought I was the one that needed to compensate. So…can’t we get in trouble for having these in the truck?” Felix asked, placing his gun back in the console. Matthew reached behind the seat and pulled out a carton of Camel wides.
“Yeah, well…that’s why we aren’t going to get pulled over,” said Matthew, pulling the handle on the column into drive.
“Where the hell did you even get these things?” Felix dug out a pack of cigarettes from the carton and put two in his mouth. He pulled out a silver Zippo with a cross engraved in it and lit the cigarettes.
“We live in the South, dude. I’m really surprised they don’t sell guns at the tobacco store.” Matthew reached across the truck and took a cigarette from Felix as he pulled out of the driveway.
They pulled up in front of a two story brick house. Matthew put the truck into park and turned off the ignition. “Remember look dark and brooding and… Hey, wake up!” Matthew leaned over and punched Felix in the shoulder.
“What the fuck, man?” Felix rubbed his arm and opened his eyes. “Oh, we’re finally here…”
“Yeah, and it’s almost dark too. Now like I was saying, look dark and brooding and shit. We have to fit the part or else they aren’t going to take us serious, you know,” said Matthew as he stepped out of the truck and pushed the seat forward. He grabbed a large stick with carvings running along the length of it and what appeared to be a rather large ball bearing set into the top of it. The staff stood nearly as tall as he did, standing just an inch or two shy of being even with the top of his head. He leaned in again and pulled out a wide brimmed black hat, shaking dust off of it.
“You and your stick…Pretty sure Freud would have a lot to say about most of your gear, actually.” Felix lit up another cigarette and grinned as he pulled his coat from the middle seat and threw it on.
“Freud was a hack, and everyone knows it,” Matthew muttered as he grabbed his coat and put the console down again. He grabbed his gun from it and placed it inside his coat. The door slammed and he walked to the tool box mounted in the bed of the truck. He pulled out two boxes of shells, slipping one into his coat and throwing the other at Felix.
“How did you know where to go exactly?” Felix caught the shells and slipped them into his coat. He pulled a pack of cigarettes from his coat and put one in the corner of his mouth, digging into his pocket for his Zippo.
“I’ve been flexing my psychic muscles again,” Matthew said sarcastically as he pulled a cigarette from his coat and pulled his own black lighter from his pocket. “How do you think? The address was in the e-mail, moron.” He lit his cigarette and began walking toward the door. Felix followed after him lighting his cigarette. Matthew raised his staff and hit the door with the iron orb three times, but there was no response.
“You know, there are certain drawbacks to being a big scary looking bastard.” Felix flicked his ashes and cut his eyes toward Matthew. The door opened and a man wearing a gray suit answered it. He yawned and blinked a few times before extending his hand.
“Mr. Gray and Mr. Power. I was actually expecting you earlier, it’s nearly dark…I thought you would be here a few hours ago,” he said as he turned around and began walking into the house, motioning to them as he went. “Come in. You’ll have to forgive me, I was taking a nap and my housekeeper doesn’t answer the door.”
“You have a maid? Don’t get me wrong, this is a nice place and it’s decent sized, but it doesn’t really seem to warrant a maid,” Matthew said, stepping through the door. He looked around as he walked down the hallway. Something was making him uncomfortable. The hair on the back of his neck was raised, his heart was speeding up.
“I’m just a fairly busy man and rarely have time to tend to the house. I’m also rather embarrassed to say that I never learned how to cook, really, so she takes care of that for me as well.” He turned to face them, clapping his hands together. “Now, is there anything I can help you with? You did make mention of wanting to see the surviving victim, but I’m afraid that due to your late arrival that is not likely to be arranged. People have been…unwilling to come out after dark, really,” the man said as he ruffled his dark brown hair. He walked into a large room with padded chairs and took a seat.
“Can you give us an idea of where the attacker may be?” Matthew flicked the ashes from his cigarette into his hand as he took a seat. “It would make it much easier for us if we had an idea of where to look.”
“I don’t think you will have much of a problem finding him really. He has been prowling the streets at night still and he hasn’t fed in probably three days.” The man yawned wide again and leaned back in the chair.
“What keeps him from breaking into houses and taking victims then?” Felix asked as he took a seat. He looked around for an ash tray before extending his tongue and stamping out the cigarette on it. Matthew cringed as he watched.
“I’m sorry. I assumed the two of you would have been educated on your vampire lore. They are not allowed to enter a home without being invited in. It might have been easy in the past when hospitality was much more prevalent, but even in small towns such as this, most aren’t willing to invite a stranger into their home or, for that matter, most anyone when people start turning up dead.”
“You’ll have to forgive us for being a bit skeptical, Mr.–I don’t think we ever got your name.” Matthew frowned as he sat forward in the chair.”
“I didn’t give it. I’m sorry, how rude of me. Old habits, you know. You can call me Mr. Smith,” the man said with a smile.
“Right. Well, as I was saying, you’ll forgive us for being skeptical but from the information we have, it really seems more like what we are dealing with here is just a psychopath who enjoys raping women and then just throws in some cannibalism to keep them quiet. To my knowledge a vampire hasn’t been heard of in over a century, possibly more.”
“Well if it turns out that your suspicions are correct, then there isn’t much to worry about. I’m sure a human should prove much easier to put down than a vampire. Assuming you’re actually willing to do the job.” Mr. Smith sat forward in his chair.
“For the money you’re paying us, we’ll be more than happy to go vigilante all over someone’s ass, no problem. Especially a monster like this,” Felix chimed in, shifting in the chair to lean on the arm.
A woman stopped just outside of the room. She was fair skinned and tall, wearing gray slacks and a white blouse. The short sleeves let scars show in the bends of her arm and just below it on her forearm. Matthew looked up at her. Her eyes weren’t shifting; she didn’t seem fidgety. He turned his head back to look at Mr. Smith.
“Sir, is everything okay?”
“Yes, Sarah, everything is alright.”
The housekeeper played with the edge of her blouse and looked down. “O-okay. You’ve normally requested dinner by now. I was just worried.”
“I was going to wait until our guests had departed, is all.” Mr. Smith smiled and seemed to rub the top of his ear before shaking his head. “Forgive me, would you gentleman care for anything?”
“No, we’ll pass. We need to go and get set up,” said Matthew, standing and looking to Felix who had already opened his mouth to speak before Matt had cut him off. “Business to attend to.”
“Right then, can’t blame you for wanting to get the job done. Good hunting.” Matthew nodded and stepped out of the room into the hallway, Felix catching up and walking beside him.
Felix dug into his coat and pulled out another cigarette as he muttered lowly. “What was up with that? I’m kinda hungry ya know.”
Matthew widened his stride as they neared the door, reaching into his coat for a pack of cigarettes as well. “Guy gives me the creeps, plus I think his housekeeper might be on drugs. There was scarring on her arms.”
Felix lit his cigarette as they walked through the door. “She didn’t really seem like a meth head. Pretty clean complexion and she certainly didn’t look like she was spun, maybe a little nervous that she was about to get hit or something.”
“I don’t know. Something is wrong here.” Matthew lit his own cigarette and looked up at the sky with a grin. “Clear night. The moon is supposed to be full too, I think.”
“Good night for hunting. Let’s hope this guy just doesn’t realize he’s being hunted. Just get our money and get out. Remember: we’re being paid to produce a body, not ask questions. So, how are we going to do this?”
“The victims were attacked in the park. I say we start there. It’s not a long walk from here.” He put his cigarette in the corner of his mouth before taking a drag off of it. He righted his staff, every other step now followed by a thunk as he set it against the ground.
Felix pulled out his gun and flipped open the cylinder. “Fuck five shots really, that’s all?” He started digging into his pockets for shells. “So, what? We just stand in the park like a couple of creepy bastards and wait for Mr. Creeper to show up?”
“No, you are going to stand in the park looking like a creepy bastard waiting for Mr. Creeper to show up. You run faster than I do. I’ll find a good hiding spot when we get there. You’re going to run him toward me and we’ll take care of business from there,” said Matthew as he dug into a pocket on the front of his coat, pulling out a small headset that he then placed it over his ear.
“Fucker,” said Felix, digging a similar headset out of his coat and putting it on.
“Just remember, sixteen grand,” said Matthew, slowing his pace as they approached the park. It was situated at the edge of the town, forest conveniently placed across an open field; perfect for some monster to come lurking out. “Alright, have fun. I’m gonna go and find some place I can watch from a distance.”
“I hope he sneaks up on your goofy ass,” said Felix, flicking his cigarette at Matthew’s boots. Felix looked around and walked toward the swing set. “Sure why not, haven’t been on one of these in years.” He sat down in the swing and started swaying back and forth, his feet dragging in the gravel. He reached up and put a finger to the headset. “Hey, where the fuck did you go?!” There was no sound. No beep to let him know he had let off the button, no static, no response. “Shit! You have got to be kidding me.” He dug into his coat and pulled out a small handset radio and smashed the power button. It didn’t turn on. “Fuck!” He threw the radio back into his pocket and got off of the swing. “The batteries, seriously? I forgot to change the batteries?!” He started digging through his pockets and then two shots rang out and a horrid screeching sound tore through the air. He stood up from the swing and started running.
Matthew had stepped around the corner of a building out into the street. It wasn’t a good hiding spot, but it was better than being out in plain sight…maybe. Hell, maybe he should have just stayed in the park with Felix. He bent over and began chalking out a circle on the road. Maybe if a vampire actually showed up, then the magic would start working better. If that was the case, since a vampire is a supernatural being, maybe he could trap it in the circle. He hoped so, anyway. It wasn’t a very sound theory, but it was worth a shot. He stood up straight after he was done and leaned up against the building, pressing a finger to the headset. “Hey, Felix. I’m over here by this metal building. Looks to be a mechanic shop or something.” He waited for a response. “Felix?” Silence. “Son of a bitch…” He stepped away from the building and then he heard something wet hitting the concrete behind him. He turned to look. It looked like someone had spit a giant snot glob. He looked up and saw–something? Someone? — doing its best impression of a spider walk down the building. It was pale, its face elongated, its ears almost pointy and its hair was bristly like a boar’s. He took a few steps back and held his staff in front of him. It opened its mouth in a crazy, slack-jawed grin that couldn’t quite hide the desperation and hunger on its face. It dug its claws into the building and sprung off of it, its long arms reaching for him. He smashed the iron ball of his staff into the thing’s face, sending it tumbling to the ground with a growl. He drew back the staff and went for a downward strike only to be speared to the ground. He had his arms up as it tried to claw him. His coat was getting shredded, but no major gashes in him yet, he hoped. The clawing stopped. Matthew dropped his arms and went for his gun. It thrust its jagged maw toward him and he threw his arm in the way. He felt its jaws snap shut on him. Gritting his teeth he managed to pull the revolver from his coat, firing two shots through the beast’s torso. That did it. Its jaws let go and it screeched, not that he could hear much after the gunshots. It stood up and stumbled into the circle, falling and shaking. The chalk line started glowing white.
Matthew made his way to his feet, his arm forgotten about for the moment. It worked! Well, the circle lit up anyway. How, though? I hadn’t been there to dump any power into it. He looked at the vampire. There was blood dripping from its mouth as well as the gaping holes in its torso. Maybe part of his blood activated it. Felix rounded the corner and stopped. He stared at the convulsing creature. “I change my mind about it being some sort of psycho crazy killer,” said Matthew, pulling back the tattered sleeve of his coat to reveal a rather deep bite wound in his arm.
“Jesus fuck, dude, it bit you?” Felix skirted the circle and moved toward Matthew.
“I think it was going for my throat, but I’m rather attached to that.” He kept his eyes on the injured vampire. The holes through its torso were gone and it was standing up. It made its way to the edge of the circle, smiled, and calmly stepped over it. “Well, that didn’t work.” Felix turned around to see the vampire stepping out of the circle.
“Oh, for fuck’s sake.” Felix unloaded three shots into it, the third one knocking it to the ground again.
“You know, I happen to remember a very good piece of advice I got from a teacher once concerning so called fictional creatures.” Matthew stepped forward and put another hole through its chest. The convulsions stopped and it went still. “No head means it’s dead. That’s the only way to be sure.” He bent down and pulled a knife from his boot.
“C’mon man, you can’t be serious. The thing isn’t moving anymore. Let’s just go,” said Felix as he pulled out a cigarette and lit it.
“We need proof anyway. It’s better to be safe.” He began sawing through its throat. Blood rushed out; however, it didn’t spray like he had anticipated. He sawed down to the bone, at which point he grabbed the creature’s head and began twisting. He nearly had it facing the opposite direction before there were a few sickening pops. He held it up by the coarse hair on its head and neck and cut through the remaining tissue. “Let’s go. I want my money,” said Matthew as he put the knife away. He picked up his staff from the ground, holding it with his injured arm, and carried the head in his other hand.
“You know, we are damn lucky that there were no cops around here, or in the three surrounding counties. That gun is loud,” said Felix as he took a drag from his cigarette.
“Yeah, and walking through town carrying a severed head would be an awesome thing to get caught doing. I could see that conversation going well. ‘What are you boys out doing?’ ‘Oh, us? Just hunting vampires, officer. We bagged one tonight, too. Here’s its head.’” Matthew held the head up displaying it for an imaginary officer to see. “Yeah, that would be amazing.”
They made their way back to the brick house where they had parked. Matthew went to smack the door extra hard this time but stopped as the door opened. He held the head out in front of him at eye level for Mr. Smith to see. “Oh…you cut off its head? Good. That should take care of it, then. Where is the rest of him?”
“Not the reaction I would have expected out of someone who lived in a town being terrorized by this thing,” said Matthew as he lowered the severed head. “Rest of him is laying out in the street somewhere, plus a few new holes.”
“Assuming they stayed there this time. First two holes you blew in him vanished. Mind if we come in? Matt is kind of hurt you know,” said Felix, grabbing his shoulder. “Sick bastard,” he mumbled as he looked at the head again.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize… Yes, let’s get you inside. Here, give me the uh…head.” Mr. Smith took the head from Matthew’s hand and led them into the house. He walked down the hallway and entered the same room they had been in earlier. “Sarah, get the first aid kit please and some clean hand towels. Oh and a good sharp knife too, please,” the man called out. Matthew entered the room and took a seat in the same chair he occupied earlier. The housekeeper came into the room wearing a bandage on her left arm. She was carrying a tray with a first aid kit, some wet steaming towels and a knife.
Matthew stood up as she sat the tray down on a table and made her way out of the room. “I appreciate this, but I think I’m going to end up having to go to the ER over this. I’ll probably need stitches.” Matthew took off his coat and let it drop to the floor. Blood flowed down his arm. He looked back now and realized he had left a blood trail into the room and probably all the way into the house. He washed the blood from his arm with one of the towels before opening the first aid kit and pulling out the antiseptic spray, coating the wound in it. It stung, but not nearly as bad as the initial injury.
“Nonsense…You didn’t do much studying on your prey, did you?” Mr. Smith was in the process of removing the tongue from the head, stretching it out and using the knife to saw through it. “Vampire’s tongues can heal wounds. Most vampires didn’t rip out their victim’s throat, supposedly. They just clamped down hard enough to get the blood really flowing and when they had their fill they would lick the wound to close it. It would usually leave behind a unique scarring pattern.”
“Neat. I don’t think we’ll be trying that though. It seems kind of unsanitary,” said Matthew as he turned to walk away. The man grabbed his wrist. Matthew tried to keep walking, but realized that he couldn’t pull away. He turned back, glaring.
“Nonsense. It’s perfectly safe.” Mr. Smith produced the vampire’s tongue and rubbed it across the bite wounds, releasing Matthew with a smile. His arm started itching. It felt worse than being fogged by mosquitoes during the summer. He watched the wounds on his arm closing, with little white scars being all that remained of the previously deep punctures.
“How the hell do you know all of this stuff? And if you know so much about vampires, then why didn’t you just take the fucker out yourself?” Felix stood up and moved toward the man.
Mr. Smith put his hands up. “I’m just a man who travels and reads too many books, is all. I’m not a fighter.”
“I’m sure, just like I’m sure your name is Mr. Smith.” Matthew picked up his coat. “How about you just pay us so we can get out of here before relations here deteriorate further?”
“That seems…like a good choice.” The man’s face went from a smile to flat and business like. He opened a drawer beneath the table and pulled out a manila folder. “Eight thousand in cash. Feel free to count it, if you like.”
“We’ll count it in the truck.” Matthew turned around and walked out of the room, trudging down the hall. Felix caught up to him quickly and they went through the door. Matthew didn’t stop until he got to the truck and then paused long enough to take the gun from his coat and unload it before placing it into the console and throwing his coat behind the seat along with his hat.
“So…Mr. Smith was really getting creepy. That whole trick with the vampire tongue was cool and all, but still,” said Felix as he climbed into the truck, lighting a cigarette before putting the pack on top of the console.
“Pretty sure that Mr. Smith could have been even creepier and just licked me himself for the same effect,” said Matthew as he turned the key and the truck roared to life. He put it into gear and quickly turned around and sped down the road.
“You think that guy was a vampire? C’mon, he looked nothing like that thing we killed.” Felix lit another cigarette and handed it to Matthew. “You’re just being paranoid Matt. Besides, why would a vampire hire us to off another vampire?”
“Maybe they can change the way they look or something. That would certainly explain how they stay hidden. As to why hired us to do it? Maybe the one we killed had gone crazy or something. “Let’s just get home and worry about how drunk we’re going to get tomorrow, ok?”
Matthew sat down at his computer, rubbing his head with a towel to get it dry. He unlocked the computer and went to the company site. He started checking his messages, hoping that no one had contacted them about another job. There was indeed a new message waiting to be read. “I shouldn’t even check this. I’m done working for the weekend,” he sighed as he opened the message.
Mr. Grey, and Mr. Power,
I apologize for my actions this night. It is very much appreciated that you took care of this problem for us. However, our hands were a bit tied, you see, but it was something that had to be dealt with. It seems that this creature was indeed living up to his image in this age, preying on young girls and being a menace. If such services are required again in the future, I will be in contact. For the timely execution of your services, a small bonus will be paid to your account at the beginning of the week.