My alarm clock blared at 6am as it usually did. I normally went on a run before eating breakfast but as I went to snooze the alarm off, a notification popped up. Twelve missed calls from an unfamiliar number. Who could this be? I thought. Curious to know, I left my wife snoring away in the bed and made my way into the conservatory where no one could hear.
I called the number back, the line rung for a few seconds until someone hastily picked up. ‘Hello?’ A man spoke in a posh British accent.
‘Hey, I received a few missed calls from this number last night.’
‘Oh… right, you must be Mr McCarthy.’
‘Yes, speaking. Can I please ask why you called me so many times during the night?’
‘I was given your number by a former colleague of yours, Colonel Hanson. We have a situation that requires your expertise.’
‘Hanson…’ I sighed; the man was my commanding officer when I worked for the SDF, a private military company that fought supernatural creatures. ‘Yes, I know him quite well but the nature of our work was highly classified and thus I don’t think I could be of any help to you.’
‘He said you were our best shot at dealing with this situation.’
‘Hmm… you keep going on about this situation. Care to explain what exactly it is?’
‘A few hours ago, the bodies of five teenagers were found in the woods deep bite marks in their necks, sucked bone dry of blood. We called the SDF as is protocol to deal with a situation like this. We were notified that their units are currently spread out rather thinly and couldn’t deal with the situation presently. Colonel Hanson gave me your contact number and said you have extensive experience dealing with the creature that was responsible for the attack.’
‘Damn it, I retired from that field years ago. Not really looking to get back into it as I have a family and two children to look after.’
‘You will be handsomely rewarded, considerably more than what they paid you at the SDF. Besides we will only contact you when your skills are needed. You’ll be a sub-contractor with the full freedom to work as you wish. If you do a good job on this mission there will be more work for you.’
‘So, what’s the pay like?’ I asked without sounding greedy. I really needed the cash to pay my mortgage as I was a few payments behind. Having been unemployed for the last six months times had been hard. This opportunity could potentially help me get out of my debt crisis.
‘For this mission, five grand.’
You have to be kidding. I’m going to put my life on the line for a lousy five grand. ‘Make it ten and you have a deal.’ I negotiated without sounding too snarky.
‘Please Mr McCarthy you have to understand that we are not made out of money-’
‘Listen,’ I cut him off, ‘if you want a proper job done then it’s going to cost you money. I need to pay for weapons, ammunition and put my own life on the line.’ The SDF had procedures and back-up in place in case the mission went south. This was going to be me working on my own. If anything went wrong it was my life on the line.
‘You drive a hard a bargain…’ The man sighed, ‘Alright, ten it is. I will send you an e-mail with the contract and non-disclosure agreement. Please read it, sign it and send it back before my men pick you up at 10am.’
‘Alright, but please make sure no one fucks around with the bodies. Makes my job harder than it already is without them CSI assholes trampling over everything.’
‘Understood. I’ll let you prepare for the mission.’ The man finished before hanging up the phone.
I quickly went down into the basement and began unpacking my equipment that had been in storage for the last few years. A thick layer of dust covered the chest which contained my Armour. It took an hour to get everything all cleaned up. I changed into it and walked towards my gun cabinet. I tapped in the code before it unlocked with a click. I picked out my fully automatic FN-SCAR-H and attached it to my bulletproof vest before doing the same with my Colt M1911. I filled my ammo pouches with multiple magazines of Silver-Titanium bullets for both weapons and made my way upstairs.
My wife caught me in the uniform and stared at me with her mouth wide open. I knew what she was thinking. I had promised her I wouldn’t fight monsters no more but people’s lives were at stake and I was the only one with the skills to deal with it. ‘I received a call in the morning. They want me to work a contract.’ I said knowing quite well she what she was going to say next.
‘I thought you were done with that life.’ She frowned as her blood began to boil and her skin turned a rosy red. She fucking hated seeing me in the uniform. The thought of me leaving to never return probably lingered in her mind.
‘I am. This is different, it’s a contract. When it’s done, I get paid ten grand and come straight home. People’s lives are in danger. Without me more people will die. C’mon, we need the money to pay the bills other wise we’ll be without a home.’ I pleaded.
She sighed before nodding, giving me the ok. But I knew she wasn’t happy deep inside. She quietly made me breakfast before we all ate. I logged in to my e-mails and signed both the contract and the NDA. I spent the rest of my time with my wife and children until the clock struck 10am. The sound of a large diesel engine hummed outside. That was my cue to go outside but before I did, I hugged and kissed them all goodbye.
Two men dressed in black suits greeted me at the door and motioned me into the large blacked out SUV before setting off towards the scene.
Once I arrived a police officer greeted me at the cordoned off area.
‘Mr McCarthy, I’ve been awaiting your arrival.’ He said before lifting the yellow strip and allowing me to pass. ‘They weren’t messing around when they said they were sending in a professional.’ He said staring at my gun.
I just nodded and walked towards the scene where I noticed the lifeless deformed bodies of the teenagers. I sure could’ve used that fancy SDF equipment to examine the murder scene but I was on my own, so I conducted it the good old-fashioned way.
First body. Young male in his teens. Sucked completely dry of blood, skin shriveled up like a raisin. Bite marks in the neck where the blood was extracted. Deep claw marks on the body pierced all the way through to the bone. No organs were extracted. Large footprints near the body.
I checked the other bodies and made sure there was nothing else that was missed. All evidence led me to believe that it was only their blood the creature was after. Could be anything, vampire, ghoul, bloodphages, baobhan, rokurokubi, the list goes on. The large footprints in the dirt didn’t give me much to work with as they had been trampled over a few times by the boots of the police officers. The attack was conducted in a fast and efficient manner as there was no sign of struggle.
Upon further inspection of the surrounding fauna and trees I discovered a trail that led further into the forest. I approached the police officer to explain the situation.
‘Hey mate, so…find anything?’ he asked.
‘Yeah. I’ve done my investigation on the bodies; you can do you CSI thing. There’s a trail that leads further into the forest. I’m going to check it out.’
‘Alright, I’ll get my men to take care of the bodies. Also, before you go, I was asked to give you this PDA and this headset so you can keep in contact with the boss.’ The PDA came with a wrist mount and a wiring harness that lead all the way to my ear. ‘It should already have his frequency saved in the radio.’
Once it was set up, I followed the path for what seemed like hours until I reached a small clearing in the forest where I heard a deep growl and hid behind a small bush to observe the clearing. The broad silhouette of the creature gnawed on a dismembered limb. Chomping away through squishy flesh and crunchy bones.
I cocked my battle rifle and switched the safety off. The creature stopped in it’s tracks and looked around. Damn it! It must have heard that. Getting old and rusty, could cost me my life. It ran towards me before I could let a round off it leaped on top of me and began pounding my chest. Each blow felt like a cannonball smashing into my chest, the only thing that had kept me alive was my Armour. Kevlar reinforced with hardened titanium plates. Whilst the creature pummeled my rib cage I reached for my sidearm and aimed it upwards and let off a few shots. Blood spewed from it’s chest raining down upon me and a stream down it’s face where a bullet had kissed it’s cheek.
The creature leaped off me and violently growled in a fit of rage as the silver reacted with it’s blood, the best way I can describe it’s effects is that it burned through it’s skin like highly concentrated acid. Taking my one and only opportunity, I raised my rifle and aimed for it’s head before blowing it’s brains out all over the dirty grass.
My rib cage felt as though it was about to collapse in on itself as crimson steams began to spill from where the Armour was compromised. I checked my PDA and called the only radio frequency that was saved.
‘McCarthy?’ The posh British man called out.
I coughed up a mouthful of blood, ‘It’s dealt with. Although, it got me pretty bad. I’m bleeding out and won’t be able to make it.’
‘Hold on, I’ve got your GPS co-ordinates. I’m sending an air ambulance to your location now.’ He finished as I hit the ground like a rock. My vision began to blur before slowly I nearly lost consciousness, I noticed that evening loomed and darkness began to blanket the forest. A growl emanated in the distance. Fuck! There’s more of them.
My hand trembled as I reached for my med kit. After a few failed attempts I finally got it out and placed it on my chest as I laid on my back. I pricked the syringe deep into my leg and let it loose in to my system, numbing the pain enough so I could move. I had twenty minutes to hold out before it came into full effect. With every little ounce of strength that remained within me I managed to drag my almost lifeless body to the foot of a nearby tree and rested my back upon its course skin.