Saturday, February 16, 2013

Son of a Preacher Man: Hunter, Finale

Shylock sighed as he slowly pried the final diamond from the intricate wedding band he’d liberated from his latest kill, a jewelers monocle clenched by his eyebrow over his left eye. He’d spent the better part of two hours slowly dismantling the fantastic piece, careful not to scratch the gold as he peeled it of its precious stones.
Why he cared about the state of the old yellow gold, he couldn’t say. After years of endless nights and tedious boredom, he found that he liked to challenge himself with puzzles or games, or as he had done in the last twenty years, metallurgy. Lifting his tweezers up in front of the bare bulb that lit his small workshop, he examined the fine diamond carefully, before opening his four tiered pillbox and depositing it with the rest of the point three carat princess cut colorless diamonds.

Carelessly, Shylock tossed the golden filigree ring into his smelting pot, a large metal oven that he kept primed during the night to melt down the precious metals he harvested before pouring them into simple bar molds, allowing him to carefully store gold, silver and platinum by the troy ounce in small stacks on his workshops shelves. In the back of his mind, he could remember his grandfather always telling him that the value of gold would never do anything but go up, and that he should save what he could, when he could.
It was an amusing thought now that he was dead.
While he had little value in the metals themselves, he found the lower caste of New York to be quite happy to take bars of gold or silver when offered, in exchange for petty tasks and favors. The boy who had dressed up as a werewolf had only cost him seven troy ounces of silver to do so, the strict orders to lurk in one of his old hideouts followed without question once he saw the gleaming metal with his own eyes.
A low groan of pain echoed throughout the apartment, reminding Shylock to double check that the rooms were sound proof the next time he had the chance. His young granddaughter was working over the hunter with a scalpel and a lighter, quietly carving away bits and pieces of him as he slowly spilled all of his secrets to the little girl, hoping against hope that she would stop.
Shylock had lied of course when he said he had charmed the child into doing the act, just as he had lied when he claimed to have charmed the boy into dressing in wolf’s clothing. Whereas such a feat was not impossible for him, the fact that he only fed on diseased blood made him far too weak to do such things. This past week of attacking victims nightly, and draining them of their blood to the point they were mere husks, had revived most of Shylock’s senses and strengths to the point they were back when he was first turned. Even though he hated the wanton killing, he did enjoy the benefits of his new diet, as well as the luck of having drawn out a hunter.
Not the hunter he was looking for, but a hunter nonetheless.
Ash drifted into the workshop, her footfalls as silent as an owl’s flight. Her transition from life into death had left her pale as unmarked paper, with dull red eyes and soft grey lips. She’d embraced the gift of death, unlike Shylock, and regularly fed on the homeless and the degenerates of the city, taking in homeless children and transforming them into hairless ghouls that could serve her while she slept.
“Has he said anything about the Asian hunters yet?” Shylock asked as he watched the golden stem bubble and broil, the ring he’d tossed into it slowly breaking down into it’s base form.
“He has. He came to the city after them, intent on proving his groups worth by capturing this rogue vampire.” Ash replied in her hollow voice, her fingers dancing over the glittering jewelry lay out on the shelves. “He’s apparently very old, and very strong. Your killings have only added fuel to the fire by summoning more hunters into the region.”
“Good,” Shylock said, turning on his stool, “perhaps they’ll find him and kill him without me having to get involved.”
“I still don’t see how bringing in more people trained to kill us is a good idea.” Ashe said coldly, lifting a delicate necklace off the shelf, admiring its beauty.
“Too many of us in one location is a bad idea as it draws too much attention. If these hunters are worth their weight, they’ll drive this fool out of here, or kill him. Either way, they’ll leave once their done, thinking the job is done.”
“And what of me and my children? What if they find us?” Ash asked, turning to look Shylock in the eyes. Another pain filled groan filled the air, along with a gleeful chuckle.
“They won’t. Now that I’ve taken one of their own, they’ll concentrate all of their efforts on Chinatown, where all of my kills have been.” Shylock replied, taking the necklace from her hands and moving to drape it around her neck. “I may not know where he is, but I can smell our kin in that district as well as I can smell you when I visit Long Island.”
“And what of me? You said that there can never be too many of our kind in one location. Would you toss me to the wolves when I become a nuisance?”
“My dear girl, you are my family. I would never do anything to harm you, nor my grandchildren.” Shylock assured her, smoothing down her ebony locks as he clicked the clasp closed. “That is why I’ve purchased a large tract of land in Texas for you. Plenty of room for your children to roam, and enough wildlife to keep you fed for decades, should you be wise and ration.”
“So you would have me become like you? A weak, hollow shell?” She asked bitterly, her hand toying with the dangling pendant that hung just above her breasts.
“You wished for eternal life and children, and this I have given you. To feed nightly, or even weekly, on a human is too bring attention to you. Look at what is going on around us even now!”
“You speak as if we couldn’t handle these hunters…” She said, turning back to the shelf to examine his collection of crafted rings.
“And what would that accomplish? All it would do is invite more of them to come. Be reasonable Ash, humanity is a force that we cannot fight. We can only outlast it, weather the rages of time as it whittles away those that would do us harm.” Shylock argued, standing to move to the shelf she was examining. “I have plane tickets for you, four crates weighing two hundred pounds apiece, to be delivered to the estate           I purchased. The plane leaves in ten days. I want you on that plane.”
“And if I refuse?”
“Then we will regretfully go our separate ways.” Shylock threatened.
Ash merely nodded as another pain-wracked sob tore through the air, the sound of a man finally giving into his injuries and fading into the cold night, followed by the sound of a beast noisily feasting on a fresh kill.

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