Marty's Last Job - Part II

Written by James McCann

 Photograph by   Daniel McCullough

Photograph by Daniel McCullough



3

‘I didn’t want to do this,’ Marty said, his words spilling out so quickly they almost tumbled into one. ‘It wasn’t my idea-‘

‘Ssh,’ the voice said from the darkness. Marty couldn’t see anyone, but he had the sense that the fingers in that leather glove had been brought up the owner’s lips. ‘You speak too much.’

Marty felt goosebumps break out over his body, and now he was sure that the kitchen window behind him had been left open after all; he could feel a cold wind blowing in like icy fingers scratching the back of his neck. He also felt a warm dampness creep across his groin and hoped it was only sweat, all the while knowing better.

From the darkened door, the-

thing creature monster death

owner stepped forth into the pale blue moonbeams. He was tall, had long dark hair that had been pushed up at the front like a wall, and had an eerily pale face. Marty told himself that it looked worse than it was because of the funny lighting, but he knew that wasn’t it. Across the man’s mouth something dark-yet-glistening had been smeared. As the man walked towards Marty, he dragged his leather glove-clad hand across the tabletop. To Marty, from his angle and in his bashed-brains state, it looked as though the hand was carving a groove in the tabletop.

The man walked, glided, around Marty, and dragged his fingers across Marty’s collar-bone, before pressing the sharp tips slightly into the sides of his neck. Marty had never known any fingers to be so cold and yet at the same time have a deep warmth pulsating within them.

‘Whe…Alfie?’ Marty managed to get his words to stumble out.

‘Alfie. Alfie. Alfie’s in the other room.’

Marty felt himself sink ever-so-slightly with relief that his friend, who, you know, really wasn’t so bad, was in the other room. If they played this right, both Marty and Alfie might just get out of this in one piece.

‘Would you like to know what happened to him?’ the pale stranger asked, and then before any answer could be given, continued, ‘Of course you would. So I’ll tell you. I slapped Alfie around a little bit; he had to learn the lesson that it’s wrong to take what’s not yours. Then I broke his neck. Then I bit into his flesh and drank of his blood. If the lighting was a little better you’d see that my lips are quite ruby.’

Those icy fingers that had been scratching at the back of Marty’s neck now seemed to penetrate his skin and reach deeply into his very bones. The muscles in his legs spasmed, causing him to jerk slightly, the tight ropes that were already biting into his flesh felt like a hammer to his balls. That pain raged up into his stomach and settled there like a lead weight. Was this pale man who was holding Marty hostage a vampire? Really? Marty had led an interesting life, had experienced all manner of creepy things, but he didn’t believe vampires were real. Which left something scarier; the man with the pale face and Alfie Harris’s blood on his mouth was as crazy as they come.

‘I’m not, you know,’ the pale man said.

‘Not what?’ Marty asked, not really wanting to get an answer.

‘You know,’ the man said, his strong, cold fingers now gliding through Marty’s blood and sweat soaked hair. ‘You know very well.’

Mart felt one of those fingers - no, it was a thumb, he didn’t know how he knew but it was definitely a thumb - press into the sticky wound at the back of his head. Fresh agony shot through his head like a lightning bolt, the pain making him rock in his seat, which in turn pressed the rope into his groin even harder. The new pain crashed into Marty making him throw up all over himself. The liquid came out of his mouth like a tsunami, and landed with a warm, watery splat across his thighs, Marty no-longer concerned with whether or not he’d pissed himself.

 ‘Oh,’ the stranger said behind Marty. ‘Oh dear. Well, that’s not very nice, is it?’

‘Are you going to kill me?’ Marty asked. His voice calm and flat, he may very well have been asking if he was getting a hair cut today. His eyes were tear-filled (well, the right one was, the left was still swollen-plum shut), and there was a deep burning sensation in his nose and throat, but still his voice was calm.

‘I’m not going to kill you like Alfie,’ the man said, still standing behind Marty.

The pressure and pain increased in Marty’s head would once more, then settled. Marty felt like being sick again when he heard sucking noises coming from behind him, and he knew that the pale man was sucking the sticky blood from his thumb.

‘You know what your problem is?’ The pale man asked walking back around to stand before Marty. The way the moonlight hit his face made his cheekbones look razor sharp and his face look gaunt, like that of a very ill man.

Marty took stock of himself and the situation he was in. One eye that resembled a plum. Bound to a chair. A testicle that was probably ruptured and would require his scrotum to be drained. A concussion or three. A giant head-wound. Blood loss, and he was covered in his own piss and vomit, and he was at the mercy of a, at best, psychopath with blood-lust; at worst, a mythical paranormal creature from the great beyond. Oh, and his only friend was probably lying dead, or dying, several feet away in the next room.

‘You know what your problem is?’

‘Are you taking the piss?’ Marty asked, with just and edge of attitude in his voice.

‘I assure you, I am not.’

Tall, pale and ugly stood, looking down at Marty with an expression that was part disgust and part bewilderment. He seemed to consider the man he had tied to the chair for some time, like a baby first seeing its own reflection. The smell of urine and vomit was growing in his nostrils, and he was quite certain it must be making his uninvited guest uncomfortable, too.

‘Your problem, dear child,’ he said and noticed the smirk on the bound burglar’s face. He gathered it must have been some time since he was referred to as either dear or indeed child. ‘Is that you need to gain some perspective on your life, and you simply can’t gain perspective until you can see clearly.’

The pale man stepped towards Marty with one long and sharp nail caught in moonlight. It was gleaming – it was too dark and dirty to gleam, but it was. Marty knew that it was a tool for evil. It was going to be used to cause only damage. He tried to move, but even as little as a wriggle was unobtainable.

 ‘Hold still,’ the pale stranger said, and then dragged the nail down Marty’s left temple, leaving a deep valley there that instantly spewed out blood. ‘We wouldn’t you to have an accident now, would we?’

Marty felt the pressure in his eye ease off, and he knew that the peculiar weirdo who’d tied him to the chair had lacerated his swollen eye. The man squeezed ever-so-slightly and Mart saw a jet of thick black fluid shoot from the left side of his own face and out into the pale void of the kitchen.

‘There. Isn’t that better?’ the lunatic with the sharp-

talons claws razors

nails said, in the soothing voice a parent might use with a small child who’d been jolted from a nightmare.

‘Yuh,’ Mart mumbled. He could just about open the left eye, allowing a very blurry sense of depth-perception to come back to him.  His groin and lap were beginning to itch with the warm liquids recently spilled there, and there was a stinging in his left eye that was burrowing back into his brain like a fat, greedy maggot with the munchies. But he had to admit, it was a little better.

‘Good, good.’ That same soothing tone which was far scarier than any yelling ever could be. And then, much sterner and much snappier, ‘But the thing is, you tried to steal. I can’t have that. Are you a religious man, at all?’

Marty considered this. In all his years he’d never really cared enough to think about it, so no, not really. He wasn’t.

‘Somewhat,’ he lied anyway, hoping for the best and expecting the worst.

‘If you were, then you’d know lying is a sin, also. Either way, I’m sure you’ve heard of an eye-for-an-eye.’

As Marty’s panic rose, every inch of his face displaying the pure terror that had taken him, the pale man approached and then stood over him. Marty’s hair was grabbed, forcing his head back (and what a tidal wave of fresh pain that coursed through his skull that was) as the pale man’s right hand came to the once-swollen left eye. The index finger was crooked, almost like  a hook.

The sharp nail eased its way between the thin eyelid and the boiled-egg that was the eyeball, followed by the thickness of the finger. Peculiarly, Marty felt no pain at this, only the pressure and the panic that came with the unfamiliarity. It felt bizarre to have someone’s finger inside his skull, but it wasn’t the agony he’d been expecting. Then the hook-finger curved around the back of the eye, tickling the stalk that held it in place and causing the pupil and iris to roll towards the nose. The pressure behind the eye increased until it slipped wetly from the socket with a squelchy pop, and hung limply against the cheek. (amazing. Almost through up)

Marty’s breathing had grown to a rapid pant, he couldn’t quite believe that it was his eye, his actual fucking eyeball, dangling in front of his face like a cheap decoration. He thought, prayed, wished that any minute he’d wake up in his bed. Oh Christ, if he did he’d turn his back on the life of crappy crime and do his best to go straight and he’d really-

‘No!’

The pale stranger bent down and leant in very close to Marty. So close that Marty could smell decaying meat and copper on the thing’s breath, could smell damp-rot on its skin. It held the eyeball in its right hand, investigated it as though looking for something in particular, and then, with jagged teeth that looked like sharpened tombstones, bit into the white sphere, cleaving it half.

The pain shot through Marty, and at that moment he wished for death. No matter what it was Alfie had endured, it couldn’t have been as bad as this.

‘Don’t fret,’ the pale thing said. ‘it will be over soon.’

And with that, the pale thing yanked Marty’s head back and bit down, hard, onto and into the side of the neck. He got a secure grip with his teeth, pressed down as much as he could, and pulled away, tearing out the side of Marty’s neck. The gaping hole poured a crimson Niagara, the side of Mart quickly covered in claret, the blood puddling on the kitchen floor.

Marty’s body jerked, doing a little dance as though being electrocuted, as he died.

‘Well,’ the pale man said, ‘must be off. Who knows when the owners might be back.’

With that, the pale thing (vampire or crazy man?) left through the kitchen window and escaped off into the night.


More Short Stories Like This…

The Maureen Show

The Disappearances

Grizzly and the Killer Vampire