Book: The First - Part: One - Chapter: 16 - Installment: i

The lonely ones were the easy prey. They were susceptible to just a little attention. But just as often they were also a little paranoid. They were lonely because their defenses were up. You could find them alone at the bar, waiting for someone’s attention, but they took extra work. Their feelings of unworthiness usually meant that they would talk themselves out of joining a total stranger out the door ‘home.’ He had never made the mistake of arranging to meet potential prey on a second occasion. The risks were too great. Who knows who they might tell about you in the interim? The last thing he needed was someone discovering what he was. It was far too simple for a lonely middle-management barfly with self-esteem issues to go to work the next day, meet her only friend in the world for lunch, tell her about the guy she traded numbers with the night before… When the victim goes missing, the first place the police would look would be the ‘mystery man’ from the much anticipated second date. He’d never been so foolish, but he’d spent a long time pondering the possibilities, imagining ways he could slip up and show his hand to the world.
The young one from the SkyTrain had been a cinch. But she was special. He always found that he enjoyed the experience better when he felt he knew them – and over the years he’d become very good at reading the person inside, but it was rare that he could see into someone’s being as well as he had with her. No, normally he had to sit down and hear them speak. Listen to them reveal the dark parts inside that had learned life’s dirtiest lessons and usually the hard way. But sometimes life’s wisdom was preternatural. If he could he would have relished the chance to sit with her and drink in the accumulated wisdom of her old soul, but there was only one chance – he had to take her then or not at all. Even a lit street has deep shadows at night. Years of experience, some precise timing and discrete patience was all it took. There was no luck to it. He never took a chance. If the opportunity never properly presented itself he would never have risked it. If she’d stuck to well traveled routes – if she had clung to The Drive – he would have never had the chance. She would still be alive. But one unseen moment in a shadow was all it took, and she was gone.
Easier prey than the lonely, was the vain. But such a shallow cup to drink from. Like the lonely, they were filled with self-doubt and self-hatred but they presented in entirely a different manner. A little attention spun in the right fashion was the only web necessary. The ego of the vain needed stroking and nothing stroked it better than the promise of the properly pitched proposition. It was too easy. Men ‘get lucky.’ Women decide who gets lucky. His secret was that he was strictly bad luck.
He didn’t exactly like what he was, but the joy he got out of it was the most beautiful thing in his life. He wasn’t one of those simpering tortured ones. They had trouble lasting long. It was a simple universal truth – they wanted to be caught. Eventually they always were. Brought down by deliberate sloppiness serving the self-hating part of their mind. Psychological Darwinism. But he also wasn’t the megalomaniac. They too had a hard time lasting long. They taunted. They knew in every inch of their being that they were superior they could not be caught, so what was a little gloating? But they were never right. No, he was the most dangerous kind of monster. He knew very well how careful he had to be. He had no illusions about how fragile his place was. And when it came right down to it, he wanted to carry on. He would kill again tonight if he could. The desire hadn’t become overwhelming, but that was part of being careful. Better to do it now and satisfy his desire rather than wait until he was desperate… and sloppy. He wasn’t one of that variety of failures either.
As much as he wished he could have made more of the young one, she had been a special treat so tonight he could afford to go the easy route. 
He arrived late enough that the options had largely presented themselves. The bar was likely as full as it would get. The drinking was well underway – which never hurt.
He watched her brush off two men. They each misplayed their hands. She was begging for attention, it just had to be delivered with the proper finesse. The clods.
She was by any measure stunning. No one would argue that. But it would be more than vanity to think that her best years were not behind her. It would be delusional to the point of detriment. She worked hard on that form – too hard. She was muscled and sinewy and wore black – the classic trick of one trying to hide extra pounds, though in this case it was unnecessary to a fault. She was proud to a fault and reeked of it. And she tried too hard to play the ‘woman of mystery’ card. She thought she was being playful, toying with him, but in fact she was merely confirming all he already knew. The falsehood was so brash and obvious, no one could take it seriously – no doubt that was part of what she thought was her game.
She had told him that she was a secret agent and they had gone through the ritual banter about telling him more would mean she would have to kill him. He allowed himself a smidgeon of ironic fun, suggesting that if he were a counter-agent he might beat her to it, but she assured him that she was far too good for that. He told her that he would not be at all surprised if she was right about that, but at least he would be brought down by the best. She raised her martini to her lips – a sip would hide the smile she couldn’t contain, he’d seen variations on the theme many times before. The trap was all but finished.
“Do I at least get to know your code name before you eliminate me?”
She set the drink down – the smile remained in a sly iteration as she took a moment before settling on her choice who was getting lucky.
Her eyes swept from her drink to his eyes in mock confidence as she purred her answer to him.
And the web was complete.

Chapter 17

No comments:

Creative Commons License
Necropolis by Kennedy Goodkey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada License.
Based on a work at necropolisnovels.blogspot.com.