I have this recurring dream where I’m sat at the edge of a river with her, a bottle in my own hand and nothing but a blue sky overhead. We don’t say anything to each other as if we agree that most couples fight because they try too hard, we just look at each other with a smile then back up at the endless sea of blue and the odd cloud as it lazily drifts past to silently observe our peace. I don’t remember much more than that at the moment, just that there are no words, no tears and no troubles to dim the light of the sun in the sky.
“Target’s in sight,” I said aloud to myself, a phone to my ear as I hid behind a bush “Appears to be alone but he’s checking his six like one paranoid mother fucker…”
I wasn’t stalking this guy because that’s just how I spend my Friday nights, I much prefer spending them at home to be honest, with some sort of book and a large mug of tea but work is work. The man in question was a guy called Vito and he was a nasty piece of work that was essentially a pile of bricks that had feet and a hat with fists that looked like demolition balls on the end of two totem poles. However, I couldn’t let his burly build put me off my mission – track his movements and catch him when he began his deal. I mumbled something into my phone and hung up, relocating from the shrubbery to a bench on the opposite side of the road to him, whereupon I sat down and acted as if I was texting someone to avoid his suspicion. Vito walked past me completely unaware I was following him so I sighed with relief and watched where he was headed. A pub. I shrugged and tapped my phone screen, putting it to my ear once again
“Ok, he’s just gone for a round in the pub from the looks of it, so I’ll follow him in and try to blend in with the scenery.”
The voice at the other end made a sarcastic reply about ‘blending in’ being a tricky business for a man in a leather trench coat, a waistcoat and tie topped up with finger-less spiked gloves and tall boots. I replied with something along the lines of a suggestion that the voice at the other end of the phone insert things in himself.
I strolled into the room as casually as I could, which from the faces in the room, was obviously an unsightly display of awkwardness. For a Friday night, the pub seemed close to empty except for one crowded table at which Vito was sat and a couple of quiet older looking gentlemen nursing glasses with faces void of any clear life signs. I sat myself down at the bar counter and looked over to the bartender as he approached me
“What’ll it be?” he mumbled
“Tea. Strong, splash of milk and three sugars… I feel dangerous”
Silence. Three sugars is dangerous, that shit rots your teeth. The bartender just glared at me for a moment
“Tea?” he said, as if I had just ordered a pint of dog piss
“Yes, tea. A drink made from…”
A hand was raised to cut me off and then he spat into a glass, rubbing it in afterwards with a cloth and a scowl
“Don’t serve tea” the bartender said coldly. I almost felt the urge to punch him for it but resisted and then just sighed, ordering a gin and tonic whilst resisting the urge to state that I felt supersonic. As the highball glass slid along the counter and into my hand, I couldn’t shake the feeling of watching eyes on my neck.
Well, my hunch was on the ball and for that, I was pretty pissed for as I got through my first gin and tonic and was about to start on the second, there was a loud shout and a table flipped over behind me. Vito, accompanied by three goons with large guns, stood up and raised a six-shot revolver to the roof and began to bark orders.
“Alright people!” he shouted, a vague use of the term considering that aside from less than a handful of drunkards in a corner, there was only myself and the bartender not holding guns “I’m not going to say this twice so everybody just put their hands up in the air or this will get messy!”
To prove his point, Vito fired a shot into the ceiling and then I spun around on my stool to look at him. Vito aimed at me and snarled.
“Put them up pal!” Vito barked.
I looked around for a fuck to give but falling short, I just stood up and sipped at my drink. Vito looked displeased about this and when I went to put the glass back down on the counter, he shot it and it shattered in my hand. I cursed instinctively then returned his hateful scowl with one of my own.
“The fuck man?” I said flippantly
“Fuck you asshole, I’ve got a gun to your head and you’re sipping on a gin and tonic?”
“Well it would have been tea…” I replied, looking over at the bartender who had his hands raised. Vito laughed and looked over his shoulder at his friends, who all aimed towards me.
You’re probably thinking I’m fucked but I’ve got my ace
card. As he stepped in closer, I raised my hands and
then, waiting for the perfect moment, thrust my left
hand forward to release a small puff of smoke courtesy
of a little panic system fitted to my glove. Vito
stumbled backwards and fired two blind shots, his goons
shooting into the grey cloud before them whilst I moved
around and reached into my pocket to pull out a short
black rod. I pressed a button on the end and out shoot a
long blade, about sixty centimetres in length but the
rod was just about big enough to hold with two hands as
I moved through the smoke. I dashed around and cut
across one thug’s gut whilst delivering an elbow to the
chest to his friend. I felt the third gunman breathe
down my neck and so with a swift spin I stabbed him in
his thigh and he fell to the floor with a thud. The air cleared and there I stood amongst a small stack of downed grunts, with only Vito remaining to look on at his fallen comrades.
“You cunt!” Vito shouted, firing one round which I deflected and then one into my hand again, forcing me to drop my sword.
“Play fair won’t you?” I said
“Shut your mouth. You idiot, you ruined everything. Now, say your prayers!”
“You’re the idiot,” I remarked “You fired six rounds dickhead, you haven’t got a leg left to stand on”
Vito laughed like a twat.
“You think I’ll fall for that one?”
Click click. Nothing. Idiot. I smirked and kicked Vito square in the stomach, knocking him down and picking up my sword to finish him off
“Hey asshole!” came a shout from behind me “Count the rounds in this!”
You remember the guy I only elbowed? Yeah, he got back up and was pointing an Uzi at my back, the little bugger. I shrugged and looked over at him and he opened fire, a hail of bullets hitting me down.
Ok, so I owe you an explanation by now I think as you’re
going to be asking the question of how I can be telling
you that I was shot down in a hail of bullets because as
far as you know, no human being can survive that kind of
thing. Well, you have your answer right there – I’m not
human. My name is Lee Patience, a demon born and raised
on the surface of the Earth who figured something was up
when puberty involved filing down golden horns on my
head. I put the pieces together little by little –
growing horns, great strength and then a quick healing
factor. I don’t die easy folks, unless you can kill me
in one blow or dismember me and put me in a lot of
different boxes, I’ll hang around like a cold. So with
that in mind, you’ll hopefully be less surprised when I
tell you that after being shot down, I coughed up a
little blood and got up to my feet slowly.
The singular gunman looked confused and horrified all at
once with his features twisted up like something foul,
gun still at the ready. I dashed forward and put my
sword to his throat, the tip poking at his Adam’s apple
as I clenched my teeth
“I wouldn’t, if I were you. Aside from it being useless
as a means of attack, you are seriously pissing me off!”
He nodded and then Vito got up as well, dusting himself
“You know,” he said “You’re picking fights with the
wrong people here Patience.”
I turned to face him.
“You know my name?”
“Who do you think hired you?”
“I was hired to track a man with connections to a demon
posing as a human being”
“Just because I have connections doesn’t mean I am one.
You forget who else is in the bar…”
I looked at him blankly then quickly spun on my heels to
look straight at the bartender, who squeaked in recoil
then paused silently. Everyone held their breath as he
put a glass down to the table
“Isn’t that right?” Vito continued
The bartender laughed and stretched out as he smiled at
the three of us all stood there gazing at him. With a
loud growl, the human guise tore into shreds of fleshy
confetti and out burst a large dark-skinned monstrosity
with four arms, three eyes and more teeth than I cared
to count. At the end of each arm was a scythe like
appendage and down his back, his spine was protruding
from his body and covered with spiked barbs. Vito and I
both took a step back but his friend fired away madly,
screaming as he aimed for the bastard’s eyes. The demon
lashed out at him and one of those unsightly arms passed
through the guy’s neck in a heartbeat with a spray of
blood hitting my jacket. Vito scrambled for a gun as the
demon lurched forward, jumping over the bar and onto me.
A jaw of teeth shot out towards my face but I raised my sword, his
fangs sinking into the steel and trying to bite through
it but with little success. I wrestled with the demon
and he struggled, shooting one of his arms into my
collar to pin me down. Vito, having grabbed another gun,
shot a round into the demon’s third eye and it hissed in
pain, flailing around like mad and with a lash of one
wild arm it knocked Vito flying across the room. I kept light on my toes now that I was up again and danced around the partially blinded demon
“Hold still!” it bellowed
“You’re a lousy dancer!”
I side-stepped and slashed at one arm, but he parried my strike and I lost my balance. The demon came in again, swinging with two left hooks at once and I ducked, then two rights, which I dodged just barely. I ducked and rolled across to the other side of the room
“Come on, you’re not trying hard enough!” I laughed and as he struck out at me again, I jumped and dived over a table to land with a roll back up to my feet. Scythes shot out at me at random, blind and inaccurate strikes that scratched my arm at best but his aim was poor and his focus lacking from a serious temper issue. Vito watched on in awe from his slumped state in the corner as I kept pace with the beast. I parried a blow but so would he, and I found it unfair he had four swords to play with to my one. Knocking each other back a distance, we stood there breathless and snarled at one another
“I like your spirit, your flesh will make a fine meal!”
“What kind of compliment is that?” I smirked “I’ve got gorgeous amber eyes and lush hair and you call me a meal?”
“Enough with your jokes!” came an angry reply and a decisive downward strike soon followed. I waited for that final split second between victory and defeat and then moved very slightly to the right, following up by thrusting my sword straight upwards through the bottom of his jaw and then twisting. A second fountain of red painted the walls and I pushed the sword up further before I turned my body and dragged the long blade through his open jaw until it cut clean through the front of his face and fell down to my side. I panted in exhaustion, the demon stifled a howl and then fell to the floor in a pool of his own blood. I turned back around and drove my sword into the top of his skull, just to be safe. Vito said nothing. I retrieved my sword a moment later, flicked off the blood and clicked the button to retract the blade, then left.
“I’ll expect my check by Monday, you know my address…”
I had a base of operation, it wasn’t much but yeah, an office unit that was basically two offices with one converted into a living space and the other being an actual office, a window to the small reception area in the lobby that was barely big enough to fit three people and had a computer sat on the desk that was older than me. I walked into the main office looking exhausted and shrugged off my jacket, hanging it up
“Have fun out there?” a voice said.
Code name Katakura, my tech support and agent who was on the phone earlier. Katakura doesn’t say much and always looks like he’s getting some tough love from a cactus but he has his uses and gets me the work I need to stay in business. Katakura smirked to himself as he glanced at me from over the edge of his newspaper. I sat myself down at my desk and put my feet up.
“I’ll be having fun once the check comes through. I’m thinking Chinese tonight. I’m buying, sound good?”
Katakura was quiet for a moment, coughed and then said
“Uh yeah about that…”
“Well, your pay had to be reduced because of damages to the bar, compensation for the two goons you injured as well as something for the family of the third guy, then there was Vito who was our client’s agent that you almost stabbed in the face and he talked his boss into making another cut and then aside from that, you owe me money so naturally I deducted it from your pay”
I looked at him with a blank face, too overwhelmed by rage to even express it properly so my face gave up altogether.
“So what am I getting paid?” I asked
“Just about enough for you to pick up that phone and order me one large serving of egg fried rice with some Kungpo chicken and a couple of spring rolls to go on the side” Unbelievable. I sighed, called him an asshole to which he replied by laughing and looking back down at the papers, then picked up the phone to order in our food. As ever, no good deed goes rewarded in this life.