Service Provider, страница 1
Copyright 15/9/13 by Raymond Daley
So he snuck up on me.
Some of them do, some of them like to think that they actually can catch someone like me unawares. He genuinely did, which is why that weapon was so close. The spike he was holding in his right hand was shiny, maybe titanium, if he's a real geek it's silver plated. If he's a really RICH geek it might even be solid solid silver.
“Don't move, you foul monster. Twitch one muscle and you'll be a pile of dust.” His voice has a nasal twang, I can't quite place the accent yet. Given time, I'll get it. However it seems time isn't something I seem to have a whole lot of any more.
“I'm not moving. Be cool man.” I try to give off as many calm vibes as I can.
I quickly look him up and down.
Crap. This guy isn't a customer.
He's the real deal.
“So you know you're about to die, right?” Is this guy for real? He's gone to all the trouble of tracking me down and this idiot is monologuing? I may as well try and take advantage of the situation if I can.
“Have you got your receipt mister?” I ask him. He looks confused, as he should be.
Because he isn't one of my customers.
I offer a very unique service.
For a not unreasonable amount of cold hard cash you can hunt down and stake a real live vampire.
Yes, I said vampire. Nosferatu. Nightwalker. Blood sucker. Neck Biter.
Whatever mythology you subscribe to has a description for my kind. Except we're not a myth.
We're very real.
It's a simple service but you won't find it listed online.
I get all my business the best way, by word of mouth. From previous customers recommending it to their friends.
It all started in a bar over a thousand years ago. I overheard a conversation, two soldiers out for a drink had clearly been enjoying both their free time and the local ale just a little too much.
“I just wanna do it one time, just stake one of them bastards right in the heart. Just once.” he said to his friend.
“And then what? What would you do next if you could stake a Nightwalker?” the other soldier asked him.
And that stumped him into silence.
When his friend excused himself to use the facilities I wandered over to him.
“Hey there. I couldn't help but overhear what you and your friend were saying just then, about wanting to stake a Nightwalker? Would that be something you'd be willing to shell out for?” I asked.
He looked up at me from his drunken haze. “Yeah, I'd pay a good price to anyone who could hook me up.”
“And then what? What would you do next?” I asked him.
He looked right into my eyes. “I'd take off my sword and helmet and the rest of my uniform and just walk away from this war. I just wanna be me, free from all the hell.”
I knew if his buddy ever came back then he'd talk him down, talk him out of his plan.
I couldn't allow that to happen.
I had to do something about that.
I patted him on the shoulder. “I'll be right back, you wait here, okay?”
He waited patiently in the bar while I ended his friends life just behind the outhouse. He had no idea, blissfully enjoying his drink and several more of the same that he'd bought to keep him company while I'd been gone. He was sitting almost exactly as I'd left him (only with slightly more empty glasses on the table) when I went back inside. I made my pitch right there at the table. It was that kind of tavern, no-one really cared what anyone else was doing there.
Sometimes you've gotta go where nobody cares about your name.
The deal was simple:- I would hook him up with a vampire that he could stake, for a price. He'd get what he wanted, then be free to check out of the rut he'd found his life at the bottom of. I gave him the time, place and price. He was fresh from a campaign, pockets full of newly looted wealth. He could afford what I was asking and still have plenty to go off and start to live that new life he was looking for afterwards.
A few days later I stood on the edge of the forest, waiting for the soldier to arrive. I didn't know if he'd remember his wish, if the arrangement would stick in his memory or not. I had been standing there for a few hours past the time we'd agreed when he finally showed up.
“You remembered then?” I said to him as I walked out into the clearing.
“Yeah man, I thought it was a dream at first. Then I found the note. So this is real then? This is going to happen? I finally get my wish?” he asked me.
“Oh yes, it's real. It's going to happen. Can I see the money?” I had to make sure I wasn't about to get stiffed either.
He pulled the small money bag from his haversack and shook it. “It's in gold, I figured you could spend that anywhere. So where's my Nightwalker?”
I took the bag. It felt very heavy. He'd paid my asking price and then some by the feel of it.
The stars shone overhead as I explained exactly what I was and handed him the vial of blood. I didn't mention it was his friends, from back at the bar.
He understood the arrangement. “So I stake you in the heart and you turn to dust. And then I pour this over the dust. And you come back as you are now. And then we part company, right?”
I had to trust him on the revival part, I'd soon find out it I'd been wrong or not. I nodded and passed him the stake.
He did a pretty clean job, one strike to the heart. His army had trained him how to kill very well, that much was certain.
When you are dead you feel nothing.
You are aware of nothing.
No passage of time.
No sensation at all.
“Hey man, you okay?” It was the soldier, standing over me.
“Yeah, I guess I am. How long?” I asked.
“Were you gone? A few seconds. I staked you, there was a cloud of dust, I threw the blood into it then there you were again on the ground just like nothing had even happened. Man, that was crazy.” He grinned at me and offered his hand.
I got to my feet then leant down to pick up the money bag. “Are we good then? You satisfied?” I asked him.
“Damn right. Look man, I wanna be getting away from here. They're gonna be missing me soon. If I wanna try this again is there some way I can get in touch with you?” he asked me.
“Don't worry friend, I'll find you. We're good at finding people.” I said.
I didn't see him for another fifteen years. I started getting that tingling feeling at the back of my neck our kind get when we know someone is hunting us. He had got the urge again and I eventually found him in a nice small village with a fat wife and four children. He was running the local bar. That made me grin.
“Yes sir, what can I get you to drink on this fine evening?” He didn't recognise me at first.
“A bag of gold, in a nice leafy clearing?” I said. It took a few seconds for the memory to hit him then he nodded towards the door.
“I'll be right out.” he said.
The second time was pretty much the same as the first, he provided the contents for the vial this time. A small nick of the thumb to fill the container. The payment was made, not as much as the first time but he was a repeat customer so I let it slide. I'd lived a fairly good life on his first payment, I still had a little left squirrelled away nearby when I went for the second meeting.
His aim was a little off on the first try but he hit me perfectly on the next lunge.
“Thanks man, nice doing business with you. If you enjoyed this transaction, why not tell a friend?” I said. And thus was the business born.
That night we had one final exchange before he went back to the bar.
“Dude, I gotta ask you something. It's not important any more but I'd like to know if you can tell me? Did you kill the Sarge that night in the bar?” He clearly needed closure.
“The guy you were drinking with, was that him?”I didn't really need to ask, it was more as a courtesy to him.
“Yeah, big guy. Bushy beard, he'd gone to the outhouse.” he said.
“Yes sir. I killed him back there. It was his blood that revived me. I hope you weren't too close?” I said.
He looked at me for a few seconds, taking me in as a last memory. “No man, you did me a major favour. A few more missions together and he'd have gotten me killed. You saved my life.” He shook my hand and walked off back to the bar. I never saw him again.
But I got plenty of business from him.
They all turned up, they knew the drill. To pay in cash, all carrying a vial full of blood for the revival. Some tried it once and I never saw them again after that. A few tried a second go. Even fewer tried three or more times.
But everyone provided a referral. And that money had kept me in a nice life up until the moment this joker had pulled his stake on me.
And I believe this is where you folks came in?
“My receipt? I don't know what you mean?” My real vampire hunter had all the information except that one pertinent piece. And he paid dearly for that mistake.
We move really fast, the movies have got that much right. I'd broken his neck before he had the chance to stake me. It turned out that it was made of silver, I got a pretty penny selling it for scrap.
I didn't really want to kill him, it was nothing personal. I can't have every wanna-be vampire hunter turning up and killing me for free, can I? I'm all about the business. Just a few more clients left to see though, then I'll cash out.
Just like the soldier.
Find myself a nice quiet place where they've never heard the word vampire.
Authors Notes:- This idea just came to me one day, no clue where from but it was very clear and I had almost all of it in my head before getting it down as an electronic copy. I wanted to take a well known genre like vampires and do something totally different that hadn't been tried.
Hopefully you like what I came up with. I was pleased with how it reads and how long it turned out to be as well. This is the second of two releases for October 2013, have a Happy Halloween!