Darkest Days and Longest Nights

For whom the bell tolls

Aaron Brandt

Well now… That was something different, if not quite new. I suppose it should come as a shock to my compatriots that I’m comfortable with any killing, especially given my chosen profession. I don’t know why. All creatures die… well, most creatures anyway. I see humans move forward to the next life all the time when I’m working. Few people seem ready when their time comes. In any case, it was a necessary evil.

We had a job. Hell, we conceived it ourselves. Get into the meat market, figure it out, rescue if we could, punish if we could. The way in was the cattle buyer. He funnels young girls to a sadistic murderer who physically and psychologically tortures them until their time, too, comes to pass. Then he kills them. Horribly.

The elevator caper was exciting, creative, and fun. A bit of the laughing gas (and a couple of gunshots unfortunately) and boom, we’ve got ‘em. No fuss, no muss. No harm, no foul. We swipe IDs (Jim swipes everything else, gods love him). We’re doing just fine. What, I wonder, will happen when they wake up? Will a gleeful and mischievous creator play havoc with chance and our knot tying skills? I dislike leaving things to chance. How could I slow them down? How could I make us some time to go and do what we went and did?

Perhaps on impulse, I choose a bit of the old misdirection, a bit of the old confusion… a bit of the old ultra-violence. It follows quite easily that one of the bad guys might be, <gasp> a bad guy. I take out a gun, place it in the hand of it’s unconscious owner, aim it at the cattle buyer’s head and BOOM! I’m almost surprised by the sound. Sam and Jim certainly were.

Misdirection.

Confusion.

Ultraviolence.

Questions to be asked and answered.

So now, all the ends are tied up… at least in red tape, soon in handcuffs. Try explaining your side of a story to the police when there are guns and money every where and a rapidly cooling body on the ground. I bet that “phone call” gets delayed. I can almost hear it, “So mister Ivan, let me get this straight… Your entire party got put to sleep… in an elevator… and you just, ‘woke up’ next to your dead boss with your own gun in your hand?” Classic…

Onward we go, a grand entourage. Sam the man, Jim and I the strong, silent drones. On to the meat market we go.. if we’ll come out, nobody knows.

We get inside. Pistols only. It chafes a bit. The place is on lock down and there are more guys with machine guns standing around than in most fire bases. We were all surprised to see Eric. Well, most of us… He is on the inside with the Bosnians. Deep. Nicely done there. We mingle, we find the chief bad guy. Sam just begins to make nice with him when the lights go out. Then Sam screams. Then Sam shoots. Chaos.

The security troopers open up on the crowd. The shade arrives and she is fucking people up left and right. Lotta folks on the floor taking rounds. They all deserve it in one way or another. We head for the catwalk where the girls are being kept. Sam takes a couple rounds from a sniper. We cap a couple of security guys and make for the rear. We snatch up a few girls, those that we can make understand. We walk through the walls to find the door. Not entirely easy. We get out, find a boat, and boogie. We were able to get a dozen or so girls out with us. One was the chief bad guys girl, Natalia. She is supposed to be some sort of information source. We’ll see.

Oh yeah… and there’s vampires. Curiouser and curiouser.

I find myself thinking about life. The saving of it. The taking of it. My life experiences these last few months have … altered my attitudes somewhat. The EMT gig was cathartic for me, even redeeming, after my time in the military. I will have to be more mindful of my impulses. They seem to be becoming more extreme. Lets hope we get some down time soon so I can work off some off this stress. Hate to have a relapse.

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