I've been working on this story for a while and I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. I hope you'll all enjoy it. Please let me know what you think of it. I'm hoping to submit to a market soon, so if there are any weak points something that you have a problem with, please let me know.
My family was dead. They had been brutally murdered before my very eyes only weeks before. Yet here I sat at the corner booth in a gaudily decorated coffee shop, lazily stirring the dark liquid contained in the cup in front of me; I felt no grief, only a burning desire for revenge. Those who would help me get that revenge were on their way and would hopefully arrive soon. I turned to stare out the window, foolishly hoping that they would be hurriedly crossing the street toward the shop, apologetic looks on their faces. I barely held back a barrage of snorted laughter at the scene which greeted my eyes.
Outside, six men of varying height and weight, each and every one dressed in almost identical grey trench coats, marched down the street with an air of entitlement and perceived self importance. I shook my head, inwardly disgusted. These so called “vampire hunters” were popping up like flies. They put on a ridiculous, overly dramatic get-up, stuck a stake in one pocket of their jeans and a pistol in the other and believed they were invincible. Luckily, these embarrassments to the human race usually didn’t live too long, and those who did eventually wised up.
The ones coming to meet me were such hunters. They had lived, had learned, had adapted. They were the best at what they did. They were masters in the art of killing vampires. I didn’t have to wait long before they arrived. They didn’t travel in a group as I expected; instead, they arrived one by one, each ordering a mocha java before taking a seat at different tables and booths in the room. Perhaps in a place which received more business, this would have been effective. As it was, I noticed them immediately. The last to arrive was a tall blonde fellow. His medium length hair was combed back at the sides, and the top was slicked expertly to one side. Unlike the others, he didn’t take a seat. He just stood confidently for a moment, hands in his pockets, looking for the entire world like a model in a men’s living magazine. Then he waved his hand in front of him, turned, and approached the booth at which I sat.
As he did so, the other hunters stood and followed. It was quite impressive really, and I was sure that the reason they were so late was that they had been rehearsing this little presentation. All in all, there were four of them. Three men, one woman. They stood around my little booth, staring intently at me. I don’t think I remember the last time I felt so nervous. The sunlight shone through the window onto my back, and while moments before it had been a soothing warmth, it now felt intensely hot. I fidgeted self-consciously, waiting for them to speak. After what seemed an eternity, Blondie smiled. “So, we’re here. What is it you want us to do?”
I took a deep breath, relaxing. “I’m thinking about putting together a baseball team. Would any of you be willing to join?” I asked, making a sorry attempt at a joke.
The girl, a brunette who was about 4’ 7”, glared daggers at me. “Look,” she began, “If you’re just going to waste our time…”
“I’m not going to be wasting anyone’s time.” These people really needed to grow a sense of humor. “A couple of weeks ago, I came back home from work to find my family dead, their throats ripped open.” My voice tightened as I felt a ball slowly growing in my throat. “It was obvious what had happened. Vampires. I went to the police and they said they wouldn’t be able to do anything to help.” I stopped, staring at the tabletop in front of me. I looked up, gazing into each of their eyes in turn, hoping to convey my helplessness. They glanced at each other uncomfortably. “I heard you guys were the best in the business. Help me kill these bastards. I’m begging you, please.”
Clearing his throat Blondie spoke, rubbing the back of his neck with one hand. “Well, umm, I’m really sorry about your loss Mr.…Pratt was it,” he began sympathetically, “but, you see, it sounds like you didn’t get too good a look at these vampires, if vampires where even to blame. How in the world are we supposed to find them?”
I smiled softly, which took him by surprise. I leaned forward conspiratorially. “You won’t need too.” I whispered, pausing for dramatic effect. “I’ve already tracked them down for you.”
“And how in the world did you manage to do that?” This time it was one of the other men who spoke. His voice was dripping with scorn and skepticism. I looked at him, sizing him up. Like Blondie, he was tall, but he had a decidedly darker complexion as well as an ink-colored crew cut. I noticed he was also slightly overweight. A bit flabby, really.
I rested my chin on my hand and did my best to look thoughtful. After a moment I said, “Well, same way I found you guys I suppose.” The man just rolled his eyes, but at least he wasn’t asking stupid questions. “Look, all that matters is that I found them, okay. Now I need you to help me kill them. That’s what you guys do, right?”
Blondie looked at each one of the hunters in turn questioningly and one by one they all nodded. He turned back to face me. “All right, we’ll help you. However, our services are not free. We’ll expect to be paid somehow.”
I shrugged. “Not a problem. Once we get rid of those vermin, I’ll pay you all in cash. Now let’s go. We’ll want to get this over with before dark, right? Then we’ll have to hurry.”
We stared into the darkness of the warehouse, the cloying smell of dead fish and salt water clogging our nostrils. The evening sun shone a bloody red to the west. We were all shaking, some of us in fear and some of us in anticipation. “It’s pretty dark in there,” said the brunette. “Are you sure we should just go barging in?”
It was Blondie, of course who answered. “It should be safe enough. If they’re in there, most of them are probably sleeping.” The others nodded in agreement and we walked into the cool of the building. Stacked crates meant the inside of the warehouse was more like a labyrinth than a storage area. Long shadows swayed back and forth in the dimness, and our hesitant breaths mixed with our footsteps to create a cacophony of sounds out of silence. The minutes passed by slowly as we walked further into the warehouse. And then the labyrinth led into a large, open space and we knew we had found our destination.
There was a loud sigh of relief as we found it empty. A few open coffins lay here and there, but there was no sign of any vampires. Blondie, in a fantastic show of courage, strode forward into the middle of the room. After looking around for a moment, he turned to face us. “There’s nothing and nobody here. I’m sorry Pratt, it looks like they’ve moved on.”
There were a few moments of silence, and then the man with the ink-colored hair spoke. “You know something? This place feels familiar. Is it just me or does it look exactly like that den of vampires we cleared out across town a few weeks ago?”
A cold, hard laugh rang out across the room. My laugh. “So you remember then.” I was standing just behind the man, and as I thrust my palm fiercely into the center of his back, I felt a sadistic pleasure flood through me as his spine snapped. As he fell to the floor, I quickly turned toward the brunette, grabbed her head and twisted. I heard her scream, and then there was the sound of a gunshot and a sharp pain ripped through my leg. Falling to the ground, I heard a tearing sound, followed by the clatter of metal on concrete.
I rolled over and watched with a smile as the third man, a short fellow with red hair and green eyes, pulled his fist out of the stomach of our friend Blondie. The dead hunter slumped to the ground beside his gun. “Come and help me up, won’t you brother?” I called. “The son of a bitch shot my in the side.”
Jeremy Pratt walked over and wrenched me to my feet with a smile. As we surveyed the three bodies lying across the floor, I turned toward him with a grin. “So these were the best of the best, huh? It’s a wonder these pathetic fools managed to kill our entire coven. They never suspected you?”
“Not once, Calvin. They still believe vampires can’t go out in the day.” Jeremy laughed, viciously kicking at the body of Blondie. “You’d think these guys, who have such a reputation for being great hunters, would know better.” The sound of our laughter echoed through the old warehouse.