The problem (Without random piece)
May 22, 2011 § Leave a comment
He threw his bloody clothes in an orange leaf litter bag and tossed the jacket into the shower. He’d have to use something from Henry’s notebooks to fix it anyway, so getting it wet wasn’t a tremendous problem, and he couldn’t stand the smell. How blood could smell that bad, he had no idea. Perhaps it was just part and parcel of the disease that made them in the first place, not man, not beast. His skin was seamed with scars, faded and livid, along his back and down his arms and legs. A long coiling scar across much of his upper back and even up his neck looked almost like a design in the yellow light from the old bulb recessed above the stained and flaking mirror. The sink was the same almost yellow color.
The water was nearly scalding. He stepped into it and bent his head, black hair matted with sweat, his nose running from the steam. A few coughs and some scraping, hacking noises and he spit up blood mixed with phlegm from where his ribs had nearly broken. Under the water his side was turning purple, bruising like bloom on a bright morning. All debts came to call eventually. Pain crawled up and down his body, a rather sparse and skinny frame for someone his height and build. There was muscle along the chest and shoulders, but he clearly hadn’t been eating.
Some jobs you take for the money. It hadn’t really sit all the well with him to kill the rat-men. Of the numerous and manifold redundant legions of nightmare things that one could run into at night in Rhode Island, were-rats were by far the least threatening he could think of unless you counted the old gill man who lived in Blackamore Pond. Sure, get enough of them together and they might snatch a dog or a really stupid child, but usually the worst they got up to was living in someone’s dumpster.His gut churned. He’d barely held onto the apartment through sheer bullshit and a certain knowledge that his landlord was terrified of him. A similar job years earlier for the man ensured that. If he had to squash a few rats to eat, then he’d squash a few rats. It wasn’t like they wouldn’t make more.
Once the hot water started to run out, he stepped out of the shower. The thick air, like a hot towel thrown over the face, felt cool in comparison and he let himself drip onto the mustard yellow carpet in the living room. He dropped to the floor and began doing push-ups while considering where in the area he could go for something to eat that wouldn’t mind breaking $100. Without a bank account, he had to make do. It was getting harder and harder to do so.
He got twenty two push ups in while letting himself indulge in self pity before he felt the first tell-tale tremor in the web he’d carefully laid in and around the apartment building. He recognized what it was almost immediately. They were fairly common in the area, mostly confined to East Greenwich thanks to an infestation in the 1800’s. These ones weren’t even trying to get into the building, they were just moving past it, close enough that he felt them interfere with the normal ebb and flow. It was like having nothing where something was supposed to be.
He had no reason to do anything about them, of course. No one was paying him. He was hungry, tired, sore and hadn’t really had time to prepare. He knew damn well he should just leave well enough alone. But leaving well enough alone meant they’d find someone, especially in Bristol. There were people heading into and out of bars until the middle of the night.
He got to his feet slowly, groaning as he did. It was turning out to be a very long night.