A Simple Request
Everyone has a story to tell. At least that’s what I’ve been told. Of course, everyone’s heard that at some point or another in their life. Well allow me to be the first one to tell you it’s a load of bull! Well… maybe not a total load of bull; I’m sure everyone does have some kind of a story, but how many people have a story that’s worth telling? I think that’s a better question. Up until now, I had never really considered myself as having a story to tell, or anything that anyone would ever want to bother hearing. Now I feel this may be my last chance to tell it and maybe someone out there will read it or hear it and not make the mistakes I have. God knows I’ve made more than my fair share of them.
So with that being said, I guess now all that’s left to do is decide where to begin. I suppose the logical choice would be in a small villa in South America. I was looking up at the sky, a habit I had formed some years earlier and could never seem to break. I don’t think it’ll ever matter how many years I spend living in darkness, the night never fails to amaze. I remember back when I was little; my earliest memory was of my father, who would take me outside almost every night and watch the sky. By the time I was six I could name almost every constellation in the sky. By the time I was seven my father was dead, leaving only me and my mother behind.
My mother was, for all intents and purposes, a good mother; she just never had much use or patients for kids. She had said so herself on more than a few occasions. She was more about nurturing a career than she was a family. Therefore, from the time my father died until the time I was 13, I was raised by either one babysitter or another. By 14, I was more responsible with my own well-being than most of the people I knew in their twenties, and by the time I was 16… I was dead.
Not dead in the sense most people see it, there was no coffin, there was no burial, there was no body, and no evidence. I had just become another unexplained missing child, who, like so many before me, had been lured into a life of darkness by a pair of beautiful eyes, soft lips, silky hair, and promises of eternal everlasting love, all of which I lost a mere two years afterwards. Turns out you should never trust someone who has a track record of sleeping with every pretty face they see. I gave up my life for someone whom I thought I would be with forever and in the end, I was replaced with a new model. So there I was, perpetually stuck at the age of sixteen, not that I am complaining; by most standards I wasn’t a particularly bad looking sixteen year old. I had medium length sandy blonde hair and grayish blue eyes that someone had once said reminded them of the ocean when it’s storming. Of course, that same person had just left me for their next hookup…
The problem I had was I now had no idea what to do or where to go from there. It’s ironic how easily we’re willing to throw life away at the promise of love and years later realizing what a terrible mistake it was; we find ourselves wishing with every fiber we could go back. One thing I have learned since my crossover into darkness is that when you don’t age, and you have more time to kill on this earth than almost everyone you’ll ever know, it’s best to find a hobby. For some it’s a never-ending search for love. For others it’s money. For most it’s one endless party, but for me it was collecting. Even when I was alive, I would collect everything I could, rocks, cards, books, video games, anything.
Now, thanks to my unique gift, I had begun a new collection, to complete a record of all the greatest stories and tales of the entire Vampire society. Shortly after my crossover, I had discovered that I had what many considered a unique Extra: the ability to collect, view and relive other vampire’s memories as if they were my own. I had even developed the ability to change, and even erase, memories. However, along with the ability of memory control, came another unexpected side effect, one that has been the biggest double-edged sword of my life. In certain cases, if the memory I acquired was pivotal enough in the subject’s life I would gain a true understanding in what made them unique, and in truth, gain an understanding of their extra, which would result with me picking up on it use instantly.
Therefore, along with my compiled stories, I had learned to use what is considered an unnatural number of abilities throughout the years. Because of that, I had been hunted for years, many believing me to be some kind of false mimic. That was, until recently… Which brings me back to this story’s beginning.
I remember that night as being unusually humid; even for this remote part of South America it was considered overly humid. The dirt road leading through the villa was soft and had formed several puddles, which told me it had rained not that long ago and explained the thickness in the air. I had been star gazing for a while now, trying to recognize the three aligned stars that made up Orion’s belt. I had come to this remote village in Colombia a week earlier after leaving Ecuador on a tip that one of the villagers here had claimed to find the secret to immortality… and that he had supposedly not aged in thirty years. He claimed that his secret was avoiding contact with sunlight for all these years. Which to me sounded like this miracle of nature might have been harboring a much darker secret.
I thought it strange, though, to hear of a vampire in such a small community like this. In a big city like Chicago or New York, if someone goes missing, nobody pays too much attention, but in a small village such as this, everyone knows everyone. You can’t take a piss without your neighbor and the rest of the town knowing about it, which brought me to wonder how he had managed to conceal his eating habits for so many years.
It wasn’t until I had spent the past four nights there that I had come to understand that he wasn’t hiding it. In fact, he didn’t even exist. Ever villager I had question or asked about it had no idea what I was talking about, and instead, I had gained a reputation of some crazy tourist who was skulking about the streets at night looking for an immortal man. Now I couldn’t walk two feet into the village without having numerous eyes and whispers directed at me, and who could blame them? I could only guess at how loony-toons I must have sounded to them.
I was planning to leave the village the night before; after it became obvious I was on a pointless wild goose chase. But before I managed to begin my trek, I saw my first sure sign that something was wrong in this town. There was a black SUV a few miles down the road outside of the village. Standing outside were two people, a man and a woman, each in black suits. They were questioning a man who was passing by in his old rusted pickup truck. I got off the road the moment I saw them. I probably wouldn’t have given any notice if it weren’t for the fact that the guy in the group was another vampire.
I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach that they were here for me. It had been years since I had any contact from anyone. Everyone I knew was thousands of miles away, and up until now, I had thought I was long forgotten and completely off anyone’s grid. It had taken me too long to stop being chased and I had no intentions of picking up the old game of ‘cat and mouse’ with anyone; it made getting any work done that much harder.
I debated over just turning and leaving. If I started running, I could make to Bogotá before the morning light and from there I could manage to secure a flight to where I wanted to go next… probably Brazil. I had spent two years in Rio de Janeiro, where I had learned jujitsu. I had sworn that I would go back some day, but between the time spent moving across Europe and most of Asia, I never had. I closed my eyes and I could almost hear the music from the city streets playing now, but sadly, reality faded back in as I heard the engine of the large black SUV roar to life. A second later, it disappeared from sight and continued on its way towards the village.
There was a loud obnoxious voice in my head called Logic and it was telling me to start running now. I could probably get them off my trail if I moved quickly enough. However, despite all of my logic, I had an even louder voice called Curiosity telling me that I needed to find out who he was and why I was being pursued. In the end, my curiosity won and I made my way back to the village.
When I got back into the village, I found their vehicle parked outside a tiny bar that provided about the only lively place for miles around. I had questioned many of the people there about the non-existent immortal man, much to the disapproval of the owner. I guess he musta felt weirdoes were bad for business. I made my way down the road, hid behind their car, and watched as they talked with the bartender, who just nodded his head while wiping out a shot glass.
I began focusing my attention on the woman in hopes of catching a piece of the conversation, when instead of thoughts, I was met with a loud ear-wrenching sound like static blasting in my head and I was immediately forced away from any thoughts that woman might have been having. Instantly the man’s ears perked up and he began looking over his shoulder, as if he were doing a sweep of the place. ‘Shit! He must know I’m here, dammit!’ He then leaned over and whispered into the woman’s ear, who dropped her conversation with the bartender and the two of them made their way back to their car.
I jumped out of their line of sight and hid along the side of the building. They quickly turned around and headed back down the road. For now, they were gone, but I knew they would be back looking for me… and I intended to find out why.
I made my way into the bar, sat down, and watched. The old man had his back to me and was putting some glasses away. It was almost 4:00 am and it would be closing time soon. I attempted to do a quick scan of his thoughts, but was met with the same interference that I met earlier. In fact, I couldn’t read any of the people in the bar; every one of them was blocked.
“So, Jesus, what’s the special of the night, or am I too late?”
“You lucky I don’t throw you out! Every night you come, you harass the locals with you voodoo talkin’ and every night you get my name wrong. I’ve told you already, it pronounced ‘Hey zoos’! But no matter how many time I tell you, you get it wrong!” The old man continued rambling to himself as he slammed a shot glass down and poured me a drink.
“So what were the two suits in here for?” His back tensed up as soon as the question left my lips. He paused for a second before shrugging his shoulders.
“Just tourist looking for directions is all”
“They seemed pretty well dressed to be on vacation, don’t ya think?” Again he just shrugged his shoulders. He was lying, that much was obvious, but no matter how hard I pushed, all I got was the interference. If I was going to get any answers, I was going to have to go straight to the source. That would mean giving my location away, the very thing I had avoiding doing for years.
By the time I left the bar, the sky was just starting to get a lighter hue to it and I could feel my joints getting stiffer and stiffer with each step. By the time I made it to the inn, I was taking every ounce of strength I had in me to keep moving. Finally, after what felt like a seventeen-mile uphill hike, I made it to the room I was staying in. I locked the door crawled under the bed and passed out.
The next night I made my way directly to the bar as soon as its doors opened. I figured if I was going to run into my pursuers, that would be the most likely place to do so. I went and took the same seat as the night before. I made sure I was right by the entrance so I could be easily spotted from the street.
A few hours passed by with people coming and going. I watched around the bar as more and more people slowly slipped into an intoxicated state and a few of them had begun to caterwaul out some old drunken bar tune that made no sense to anyone but themselves. I too found myself beginning to get a slight buzz and figured I had better stop ordering shots or I would be too drunk to get any answers from anyone. Another hour had passed and I had been reduced to drinking tap water. Most of the lively drunks from earlier had ended their songs and were now in a catatonic state. I was slowly starting to lose faith that this mouse’s cat would be a no-show.
Another two hours had passed and I had switched from water now back to shots. I had finally given up hope and had turned to get down from the barstool, when sure enough, the same large black SUV pulled up and parked out outside. I turned my attention back to my shot glass and pulled my hood up over my head to try to look as inconspicuous as possible. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched as the pair made their way into the bar and stopped dead in their tracks. Something tells me that they were not expecting me to be waiting there for them. ‘Good, I’ve caught them off guard.’ Hoping that it would provide a long enough distraction, I began focusing every ounce of my attention onto the woman and managed to catch a few words before I was shut out by the static the other vampire was causing. None of what I got made any real sense something about a note and Chicago. Other than that, it was too distorted to make out.
The woman then walked over and leaned on the bar next to me. She was very petite in stature, almost pixie-like in the way she moved. She had flawless skin with bright green eyes and shoulder length blond hair. Not the type of person you expect to be tracking down a monster such as myself.
“Excuse me, but I was wondering if we might have a word with you.” I didn’t say anything instead only nodded slightly to acknowledge the fact that she was speaking. “We represent a private organization that deals with clients of a very… unique nature, such as yourself.”
“And exactly what does this have to do with me?”
“You see, we were asked to deliver something, something of great importance to a man who goes by the name Nomad. The only problem is that the person we’re looking for has the same unique qualities as the people who requested our help.”
“You have five seconds to get to the point or I’m leaving.” I think that finally got her attention; I had no plan on dancing around the reasons for them being here.
“Well you see, you’re the only individual here who meets our description. It’s just… we just … well we weren’t…”
“We weren’t expecting you to be a damn Half-life!” the man said slamming his hand down on the counter, the force of which caused my glass to rattle slightly. He was a much larger man who looked as though he could be a professional body builder. He had a large, overly square shaped face that was made even worse by a perfectly kempt goatee and long black hair that he kept in a ponytail. “Well, are you him or not!? I mean the description didn’t say anything about some kid in a ratty old raincoat.”
“I haven’t gone by that name in years, the last person who called me that is dead. I know this because I killed him.”
“You killed the last person who called you Nomad?”
“No, half-life, so maybe you should think twice before you open that gaping shithole you call a mouth!” I watched as absolute rage filled the man’s eyes and his nostrils flared.
“Are you trying to threaten me, kid?”
“Ok look why don’t we just calm down a bit,” the woman said as she shoved her way between us. “Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Alexis and my partner here is Ian. And as I said we work for an organization that specializes in locating people… like you.”
“I don’t give a shit who you are, I want answers. Who sent you to find me?”
“Sorry kid, that’s confidential,” Ian said as he leaned up against the bar and ordered a drink.
“Maria; her name is Maria. She’s a famous night club singer in Chicago. Maybe you’ve heard of her.” I watched, as over her shoulder Ian threw up his hands out of frustration, which pleased me a little inside.
“Nope, can’t say that I have. So exactly why is she trying to contact me?”
“She’s not, in fact, she has no real interest in you. She hired us as a favor to a friend. You see, she was given this to give to us so we could deliver it to you.” She reached into her jacket pocket and pulled out a small folded piece of paper. “What I’m about to show you is for you and you alone. I assure you, it’s very real.”
I watched as she slid the piece of paper down the counter in front of me. The way she handled it, you would have thought it to be explosive. I turned the paper in my hand a couple times before finally unfolding it to see a shiny green ornate ‘C’ printed on it. I knew instantly whose moniker this was, but I had no idea why he would be contacting me or how he even knew who I was.
“I’m sure now you understand the gravity of the situation; you’ve been summoned and you don’t… ignore… wha… what are you doing?”
It was too late; I had already grabbed a lighter that had been left on the bar and lit the tip of the paper. The bottom edge was quickly engulfed when I dropped it into my empty shot glass.
“I’m sorry, what were you saying?” The look on her face was a mixture of total disbelief and being slapped in the face.
“You’re kidding me, right? You do realize what you’re doing, don’t you?” she asked as she slowly picked her jaw up off the counter. “Look, why don’t you let us buy you a drink and we can discuss this like rational adults.” I heard a loud sneer come from Ian the moment she said ’adults’. Before I could answer, she waved down Jesus and had another round of drinks sent our way.
“Our clients only wish to speak with you. It’s really just a simple request.”
“Clients? I thought you said there was only one?”
“Actually there were two requests for us to find you. One from Maria, and one from a man known as Zero.” Just the mention of his name sent my stomach into a whirl; the last time I saw him I almost got myself institutionalized, not to mention he had sworn to kill me if I ever came near him again, and I honestly couldn’t blame him. Therefore, it made no sense to me. Why on earth would he have me tracked down? I downed the drink in one swallow and tried to think of any reason on earth for Zero to speak to me… unless it was to spit in my face.
“I’m sorry, but I’m not going. And nothing you say is going to change that. Cause in all reality, you couldn’t get me within a thousand miles of that damn city. I left there 17 years ago, and for damn good reasons. So you people can go ahead and get on you plane back home and when you get there you tell this Maria person that I don’t answer to pop princesses or their spooky friends. Are we clear?”
“No we’re damn well not clear!” Ian said, as he stood up knocking his bar stool over. “You see, we have a problem. Like we said, we’re a delivery service. Well, I hate to break it to you, kid, but we didn’t fly three thousand miles to give you a goddamn note!”
I sensed him before I saw him. As one of his huge bear-like palms reached out from me, I spun in my bar stool, causing him to miss my collar by less than an inch. As I spun, I grabbed a whiskey bottle that Jesus had been pouring from. And by the time, I completed the rotation, his head was in perfect view as I slammed it into his fat, square face and it shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces. He staggered backwards, trying to wipe the alcohol and glass from his face. Within in and instant, I was right on him, the jagged glass pressed firmly up to his chest right over his heart.
“IF YOU SO MUCH AS FUCKING TWICH I’LL HAVE YOU BLEED OUT RIGHT HERE!” He didn’t move and instead froze there in complete silence.
That’s when it hit me. At first I thought I was still just buzzed from earlier and the quick movement had caused it, but it only seemed to grow and grow, until it started to become a chore just to stand. I dropped the bottle as the room began spinning. I grabbed a nearby table for support. I could feel myself rapidly losing my consciousness when I realized what had happened. ‘Why don’t you let us by you a drink?” The words from earlier began echoing in my head, but it was too late now. I had been drugged. The last image I had was of Jesus, who must have slipped it in my glass, standing behind his counter laughing.
“Yourrr a fuckin’ Judas, Jesus!” With that, the last of my consciousness slipped away.