07 September 2011

Night Terrors 15 The Devil’s Bounty

Night Terrors – 15 The Devil’s Bounty
M.J. Banks

A house on the hill, not just as any other a single level at the peak of the mountain overlooking the city, in the day a mighty suburbia, in the night a dark labyrinth of alleys and counterculture. The air has a constant smoke low in the valley and clears the warm air of summer at the summit. The television lies restless with the tales repeating as Judas Wolf showers, as he does his friend Julio, better known as Julius Caesar pulls his car into the drive and enters into the house on the hill. He raises the volume on the TV and plunders the fridge for cheese and an apple and watches the new anchor of Broadcast Report retell the tale of a prior news anchor turned suicidal immortal refugee as Judas adorns himself for daily affairs. Afterward he stands
at the glass wall and with a finger he taps the glass and it turns translucent.

Judas: “Out there, theatre of the damned.”
Caesar: “Could you ever leave the stage?”
Judas: “What have you dude, new work and fresh meat I hope?”

Judas shouted his comment into the kitchen of the open area loft as he began his morning yoga stance, one foot on the ground, the other against the knee, the arms in prayer, and the eyes closed, despite the beautiful view.

Caesar: “It’s the jumper from the news.”
Judas: “No shit!”

He broke his prose and silent mantra and darted to the counter where Caesar removed his tablet from his windbreaker and put it on the table. Judas took a look at it momentarily and ran to his bedroom, only to return with his own. He put it on the table and placed his palm on the screen, after it read his handprint he slides it over toward the other, pausing to see her face on the TV screen then shifting his focus again to the tablets, each with different material on the same topic. His partner and casual friend sits quiet and slicing the apple and the cheese.

Caesar: “Well…what do you think?”
Judas: “I think that’s expensive what you’re eating.”

Judas didn’t really look away from the tablets or focus too intently, just drifting his eyes over a fountain of information.

Judas: “Am I going to love this…”
Caesar: “What?”
Judas: “Come with me.”

He moves quickly through the house with his friend behind him into a gaming lounge with low oriental furniture and stands at the wall.

Judas: “Ready? Pull.”

They pull levers on opposite sides of a TV, with a bit of burden they draw up the TV into the ceiling pulled by heavy sounding chains to reveal a wall bathed in soft blue light and covered with weapons. Judas grabs the half slice apple from his partner’s hand with contempt and takes a large bite and takes his handguns for the day.

Caesar: “How do you open it alone?”
Judas: “You got to put your back into it.”

Judas looks behind him to the futon in the room and finishes his apple, with guns and holsters and the pride he bolsters he drops the TV down again like an old garage door and leaves the room. Outside they leave in a black car, dark as demon’s blood, without glare or gleam. Through the peaks to the smoke of the streets and into the heart of the valley, they discuss their assignment.

Judas: “Did you read the file?”
Caesar: “Yea it’s on Broadway.”
Judas: “This is going to make my week.”
Caesar: “What? Why?”
Judas: “A pawn dealer named doubting Thomas.”
Caesar: “Yea do you know him? It says Thomas here.”
Judas: “I do, stay in the car; I’ll radio if I need help.”
Caesar: “Ok, but it’s your ass if I get pinned at the car.”

Judas arrives at the location but stops short by the length of an alley and slips into the steam. Inside Pawnee Shop, Thomas patiently waits for his eggs to cook as the doorbell rings. After checking the camera he sees that it’s Judas.

Thomas: “What the hell is he doing here?”

Thomas lets him enter the gates.

Thomas: “I’m surprised to see you here, it is still daylight.”
Judas: “Just checking in on your better habits, wouldn’t want to find a need to report your mistakes to P.A., but before you get scared finish your breakfast you’re going to burn your eggs.”

With some apprehension Thomas continues cooking, after a moment of sticking his head into the fridge to hide the glowing off world booze behind a carton of oranges.

Judas: “No need to hide your Moonshine Thomas, it’s not that kind of visit, I just need you to tell me if you’ve seen someone.”

Thomas makes his plate and sits at the table with the barred, chained, and fenced window at his side.

Thomas: “Yeah I can help you with that; I see all kinds of you guys every day.”
Judas: “No foreigner jokes, just tell me have you seen this lady.”

Judas shows him a picture of the fugitive and watches Thomas freeze in his boots and begin to sweat, a fear strikes him with great swath and you can see his eyes trace a memory in order. Judas pulls his gun and points it at Thomas’ forehead.

Judas: “Tell me now…I don’t have many options for this one Thomas.”
Thomas: “She was here with little Sam, on my advice they’re going to go see Bram.”
Judas: “Where?”
Thomas: “In the subway.”
Judas: “Traitor.”

Judas shoots him in the forehead and watches him eventually fall forward again into his plate. Next he puts a phone on the counter top and goes into the fridge, takes the box of oranges and the bottle of glowing booze, then leaves without the phone. Outside he gets into his car and awkwardly closes the passenger door.

Judas: “Subway lets go to the downtown station first and park the car.”

Caesar begins to make a U-turn in the street as he asks Judas the question.

Caesar: “Everything go ok in there?”

Judas smiles and does his best to not smile with joy in retort that begins to consume him.

Judas: “I think I left my phone in there.”
Caesar: “Oh shit you fuck –“

As Caesar was halfway through his turn-around he slams his foot on the gas pedal and tries to leave as fast as he can, the pawn shop explodes just then, the blast so big the force pushes the car sideways in the street until it speeds to escape. The subway is dark, clouded, smoky, and elusively dark. The pipes that run overhead are clean from the patron vampires that overwhelm the subway, an infestation by any discernment, too many disreputable criminals turned half-blood by true vampires or the capture of one, spent drinking each other for too many cycles of the night. Or even worse, feeding on the blood of immortals until their minds have gone mad like the ancient vampires of the dark ages, immortals are not healthy, perhaps they do not eat or they fill their blood full of narcotics, or even worse with habits of poison to tempt the fates of immortality, nonetheless the blood of an immortal has no true life to mention.

Caesar: “I hate this place.”
Julius: “As do I …you can always retreat…but I don’t see why, the world is yours I though.”
Caesar: “Here they come.”

Across the night the vampires emerged in darkness, crawling and confidently stalking like predators of the Eden, they drag pipes or their dirty hands along the walls, not timid, not afraid. Nevertheless, they should be, in formidable battle Judas and Caesar slay the lot. At a steel door a buzzer, at the end of a hall a curtain, beyond it a large room with other doorways covered in their own curtains around a room with a comfortable atmosphere of a family den with warm light and children playing.

Sam: “You’re late.”
Judas: “Thomas is dead.”
Sam: “Why?”

Caesar sits-down with the children and plays videogames in 3-D where they wave their hands at the screen.

Judas: “He knew where you were going.”
Sam: “So?”
Judas: “I wasn’t just in the neighborhood trading my car for crack money, somebody saw you there, she has a file and somebody big is looking for her.”

Samantha: “Good thing you were there to fix this.”
Sam: “Did you find a double?”
Judas: “We're working on it.”

Sam shows the address to Judas so he can see it...a clue unturned...the innocent strangers are as quiet as the guests.

Child: “Why don’t you relay it in digital?”

Sam picks-up the child.

Sam: “It’s not that easy anymore; show me you’re game boy. Twelve o’clock Judas, make sure you two are there.”

Caesar: “We will.”

Out the door they went, with guns drawn and the shadows of hell watch and scowl while making noises of the lurking absence of light. In town Judas and Caesar wait in their car drinking coffee outside a small coffee shop, as a woman who looks exactly like Angelica with died hair exits the building, a small camera at the trunk of the black car opens, as they watch through the screen she settles and they exit to trap her, a net shoots over her and draws her to the ground.

Angelica: “Where are you taking me?”
Judas: “To the mines of course…”

He and his partner toss her into the boot. The trunk closes with her in it as they drive away through innocent bystanders and coffee tables, hitting a cop car and sparking a pursuit. Down the street Judas lowers his window and holds a badge through the window, the cops take notice apprehensively and move to the window aversively with pistols drawn out only to quickly dismiss the instance and return to their patrol unit, letting the bounty hunters free with her heart pounding inside the trunk.