Hi, I'm Halder and this is the first story I've posted here. I've written a few things but never really posted anything online. With this story I was trying out a different style than I normally use. I'm still not sure how I feel about it but if anyone has any comments or criticism it would be highly appreciated. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks!
You know, spies arenít really superheroes. They donít really have the ability to fight an entire army and win without a scratch, or to be completely invisible and sneak into high end military bases without a problem. They donít always know everything, and they arenít always prepared. Theyíre just men and women who are well trained at a specific set of tasks, and are willing to do anything Ė and I mean anything Ė in order to complete an objective.
Another thing you should be aware of is that vampires really are monsters. They have fangs, super strength, super speed, and can see in the dark. They really can survive falls from incredible heights, enslave peopleís minds, and they donít do well in sunlight. And they love to drink blood. Oh how they love blood! Some vamps can drink up to 32 gallons a week! Luckily vampires are sensitive to silver, as well as other similar elements such as copper, gold, Roentgenium, and even palladium. They are not allergic to garlic, and they are actually perfectly fine with crosses. They canít shapeshift, and you had better believe they donít sparkle. Truth is vampires are just a bunch of mutated subspecies of human that have been trying to consume and enslave mankind since time immemorial. Thatís where my people and I come in.
See, vampires really should have enslaved us a long time ago. Theyíre faster, stronger, more durable, and generally have the element of surprise on their side. They can infiltrate or even control us, and we really canít do either of those things to them. What we have are numbers and a stake in this war bigger than the one I just through this vampireís heart. His name was Voss Drake, a particularly nasty fellow straight out of Transylvania, but you probably would have known him as a mild mannered banker named John Albertson (No relation to the grocery store chain, we killed all the vampires in their management back in the 90ís).
Now that heís dead, I can start fabricating his tragic death. Killing vampires is tough even for the best of us, but with a proper intelligence network itís not impossible. That intelligence network comes in the form of an organization known as The Order. The real name is much longer but the founder died before he could finish writing it, so weíve always just stuck with The Order. We were founded back in 1007 B.C., to combat the growing threat of vampirism. For most of history itís been an uphill battle, but weíve refined our tactics. Take Mr. Albertson here, for instance. Weíve trailed him for years. Got his social security number, bank transactions, ďfamilyĒ, everything we could possible get. We surveyed his movements, learned his pattern. Learning a pattern is the only way to ever beat them. Theyíre predators and that makes them predictable. A predator will always come to prey, and usually they can be counted on to go for the easiest prey with the biggest payoff. Once you learn what they like, you just dangle it in front of them and wait.
For Mr. Albertson, it was diabetics. The bloodsucker had a bit of a sweet tooth Ė lots of vamps do. Personally, I think thatís why they invented high fructose corn syrup, but that also might have been a way to get more money. Vamps love to feel rich and powerful. See themselves as apex predators and whatnot. Anyway, I digress. Good Ďol Mr. Albertson loved snacking on diabetics. So two days before his next hunting night, we had a diabetic agent buy a room in a nearby hotel room for a full week in plain view of one of Albertsonís creeps. Creeps are humans that have been bitten but not entirely killed by the vampire. This implants a virus that allows the vamp to control the creep like a puppet while the person appears to go about daily life Ė all the while acting as scout and slave to their thirsty overlord. Anyway, Vossí creep sent out the alert, and voila Ė he came right to the bait. He made short work of our agent Ė bummer, Ronnie always made the best sugar-free cookies Ė and was soon very happy. Unfortunately for him, Ronnieís blood had been laced with a compound we like to call T42X, which is a potent undead nerve agent. Once the vamp was down, I waltzed in and drove a stake that was 2 parts silver and 1 part palladium through his cold little heart. He had summoned his creeps of course, but they were a bit late to the party, and once the overlord goes down they die instantly.
So, now Iíve just got to clean up. Send a text to our local medical examiner; tell him what his prognosis will be. Rearrange the scene, erase fingerprints and get the room dressed up so that it looks like Ronnie and Mr. Albertson died in a drug deal gone bad. Itís a little flashier than our regular setup but the world never can get enough scandal, right?
Iím in the middle of erasing fingerprints when I hear the sound of footsteps in the hallway. A shiver runs down my spine and I get a sort of sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach Ė like the teacher just caught you passing notes in class or something. Except itís nothing like the teacher catching you passing notes because the teacher never kills you. The steps stop outside the door to the room Iím standing in, and I know one of two things have happened: one, the surveillance and misdirection team positioned outside the building and in the hallways has gotten sloppy, or two, the surveillance and misdirection team is dead and there is now a very angry and/or hungry vampire about to enter the room and kill me. Seen as how the team I work with has never been sloppy in the fifteen years Iíve worked with them, I assume the latter.
The key to working in any sort of espionage Ė whether it be government work, private sector, or vampire hunting Ė is knowing your enemy. Know how they work, when they work, and why they work. Though with vampires those last two questions can be pretty neatly summed up with ďnightĒ and ďbecause they have an insatiable taste for human blood and overpowering desire for dominanceĒ, the first question can be a bit more complicated. For example, I know that anyone trying to enter this specific door at this time of night at this time is all but guaranteed to be a vampire. I know that since these are Vossí hunting grounds, the only reason any vampire would be here would be to mate or because they think he may be in danger. Since we have been following Voss for months, and know he hasnít gotten any reproduction rights or materials from the vamp higher-ups (they canít have sex like humans since they lack any real blood, so the whole reproduction thing gets complicated), I know that belated backup has come to save him. When vamps send backup, they do it in pairs, seen as how three vampires are pretty much always enough to kill a group of humans. So since I know vampires well, I am able to deduce that my situation looks like this: Iím alone, with at least two vampires knocking on my door, with no obvious way out. Another key to working in espionage is knowing when youíre screwed, and how to act during these times.
For now, I know that fighting will do me no good. I have a gun, but vamps donít go down easy when you have numbers and they are alone. With two, I know Iím getting deader and deader the longer I stick around. The hotel room only has one entrance, but it does have a small balcony in the back. I make a beeline for this balcony, barely aware of the crisp night air as I look for an escape. The adjacent apartment has a balcony as well, so I stand on the railing of my balcony and jump just as I hear the door open. Since there is a total of nine or ten meters between the front door and the balcony, that give me about half a second, plus one whole second for them to take in the scene. That means I have about a second and a half to live. I realize this right about the time I land on the neighboring balcony with a loud bang.
Speaking of bangs, flashbangs are one of the most effective weapons in a vampire hunterís arsenal. Vampires are amazing hunters with superhuman senses of sight and hearing. Generally, this is a very bad thing. However, it does mean that a good flashbang grenade will leave them feeling woozy for hours. Since thatís more than what can be said for most bullets, I instantly grab a flashbang from my belt and throw it on to the balcony I just came from. Iím dimly aware of two figures stepping out the door as I cover my eyes. Thereís an ear-shattering pop and a searing light that hurts my eyes even when theyíre screwed shut and covered by my arm. However, when I open them I can just make out the two huddled forms moaning on the ground through the tears. At least I imagine theyíre moaning - all I can hear is a ringing sound.
Unfortunately or fortunately (depending on how this is going to end for me) the fat lady has yet to sing. The grenade has bought me a few precious seconds, but if I donít move now and still get extremely lucky, Iíll probably be dead. Or worse. Ignoring everything my mother ever told me about breaking and entering, I charge shoulder first into the sliding glass door of the apartment that is attached to the balcony Iím on. I can feel the glass bite into my skin on my face and neck like tiny daggers, but there really isnít time to find someone to kiss it and make it better. The flashbang grenade followed by breaking glass combo must have been really loud, because before Iím halfway across the room some dude in his boxers is yelling at me. All I hear is a ringing though, and I donít hesitate to barrel through him in my mad rush to the door. On T.V. a vampire-hunting spy would do something to make sure the people who were staying in the hotel room would be safe. Truth is; Iíd rather live than die. If these people get eaten instead of me, then that
means I can live to regret it later.
They wonít stop and eat the people, of course. I know this as I exit the apartment door and stumble into the hallway. Theyíll clean up the witnesses later, sure, but right now Iím their target. Time seems to slow down as I try to get away. It feels like hours has gone by, but my mental clock tells me itís been about three seconds. That means that the vamps should be up and running by now. Do I take the stairs? Theyíre at least ten meters away Ė too far to make it. Elevator? Itís even further and too slow for a getaway anyway. My only hope is to hide in the broom closet right next to me and pray that theyíre too deafened by the flashbang to hear my breathing.
I scramble into the closet, and watch the light from the hallway through the crack at the bottom of the door. A cockroach scurries over my foot but I really couldnít care less right now. Two shadows race by the door. My heart leaps in my chest Ė they didnít hear me! That means I get to live for at least a few more seconds.
Another thing about espionage agents is that we love to live. On any given day, I would use my last breaths to try to eke out a few more last breaths rather than trying to maximize the quality of my remaining time on earth. So naturally, I use my last seconds of life to run like a pack of hellhounds are on my tale. Thatís an understatement, of course. Iíve seen hellhounds and vampires are much worse.
I run down to the end of the hall as fast as my legs can carry me. There, they have a laundry chute that the cleaning people use to send sheets and whatnot down to the basement. Thanks to what I like to consider an active lifestyle, I hop in and slide down the chute like a kid on the playground. Weeeeeeeee. Then I land face-first in the dayís dirty sheets and try not to grimace. Sitting in a pile of dirty hotel linens that have had who-knows-what done on them by who-knows-who isnít pleasant but itís better than being eaten by a vampire.
ďSir, what are you doing you canít Ė ugh!Ē Says some guy named George. I know his name is George because his nametag says so. I also suspect he hadnít planned on ending his sentence with ďughĒ, but when I knocked him out cold thatís sort of what came out.
Since the laundry room here is connected to the boiler room, the man working the boiler room also tries to have words with me. I shoot him with my silenced pistol and he stops talking. I feel a twinge of guilt in the pit of my stomach as I walk by and grab some winter coats from a nearby clothes rack, but itís only because I wasted a silver bullet. You need to be soulless to fight the soulless. Besides, the moment he saw me he was a witness, and vamps donít leave witnesses. At least now he wonít be turned into a creep.
I stuff my gun into the big jacket I just stole and run up the stairs to the first floor. As I emerge into a small hallway I slow to a brisk walk and stride out into the main foyer. As I enter, I can see the dark jacket of one of the vamps disappear into the stairwell. Theyíre going back to see where they missed me. That buys me just enough time to walk out of the hotel. Nobody stops me because itís four in the morning and the receptionist is already dead. Iím really not surprised when I see her bloody remains smeared all over the welcome desk. Iíve been doing this too long to be surprised or disturbed.
Despite my experience my pulse is starting to go crazy with excitement. It almost looks like Iím going to live this time. I walk as fast as I can to the group of taxis parked outside the bar next to the hotel. Only one person can be seen stumbling between me and those taxis.
ďHey, Damien, I think they know about the operation. Theyíve killed everyone!Ē The feminine figure says to me as I get closer, in a state of panic.
Itís a woman named Rosanne. I know who she is because she was part of my team. Her job was surveillance. I donít need to see the two fang marks in her neck to know sheís a creep.
ďI know, listen!Ē I whisper urgently. She leans in as I pull out my gun and blow her brains out. Creeps are a lot easier to deal with than their masters.
I hide my gun but keep my hand on the trigger. Iím running through the snow-covered streets now, ignoring the way the cold burns my lungs as I rush towards the taxis.
ďWhere you wanna go?Ē Asks the cab driver as I half sit, half fall into the cab. Heís tired, and probably just wants a short drop off. Too bad for him.
I pull out my gun. ďKeep driving and donít stop until I say. Make for the freeway.Ē
He takes off, and after some urging goes faster. I will kill him if he doesnít do what I say, and I think he knows that. My life depends on it. Still, as long as they donít catch the cab I will live. Just need to keep moving until daybreak, and then Iíll be free until it gets dark.
Now itís three in the afternoon the next day. Iíve already dumped the taxi cab and its driverís body in some ditch somewhere and made my way back to a nearby city. Since I donít legally exist no cops will ever find me. My goal now is to get back to a safehouse and see what my orders are now that my team is compromised.
Unfortunately even the best agents are expendable if the danger is high enough. When I get to the house, all I see is a piece of paper and a coupon for pizza. The paper reads:
Your team has been compromised. Landers and Daniels are confirmed creeps. Enemy knows too much. Have to let you go. Enjoy the pizza.
I close my eyes and sigh. The cuts from the glass still sting and my left ear is still ringing. I suddenly feel very tired. I sit down on the floor to think as a wave of exhaustion rolls over my body. They had to let me go. It makes sense Ė when somebody becomes a creep they retain all their memories and knowledge and pass it on to their masters. My team knew too much about me, so I lost all value to The Order. For all they know, Iím even a double agent. That means theyíre going to leave me to the wolves.
Wolves. I think about the word and feel a little better. Iím a dead man if I stay here, but I know a pack of Lycocanthropes south of the border that owe me big for something I did before I met Landers or Daniels. I know I can get them to take me in for a couple of days. Then I can get a plan together. As a spy, you sometimes have to just improvise and work one step at a time. Itís not always fun, but it keeps you alive.
I leave the coupon on the safehouse floor. Using it would be suicide. After a couple of minutes, Iíve exited through the window of the apartment next door and commandeered a parked Toyota and Iím on my way south. I know I have about three hours to get as far away as possible before nightfall. If Iím not scarce Iím a dead man. If Iím not in Mexico under werewolf protection by tomorrow Iím a dead stupid man.
Spies donít have superpowers. Vampires do. It makes my job kind of hard sometimes.