This story serves as an introduction to a new series I am starting. I don’t want to say too much about it so I don’t ruin anything. Enjoy and as always I love any comments you may have about the story.
July 15, 2018
Peter shoved his apartment door open with a rough shoulder. It had been hanging on its hinges for months but the super did nothing about, the lazy bastard. With a grunt of annoyance, he slammed it back into place. He tossed his keys into a basket on his kitchen counter, which flanked the door of the tiny room.
He was short, fat and ugly by his estimation. His nose was too large, his hairline too far back. The unkempt beard and ratty clothes made him look homeless. He had a small pension from his last job, enough to keep him in home and food, anyway.
Peter flopped on the couch, which creaked menacingly. The studio apartment was shabby, with appliances from the 60s. His only entertainment was an ancient television with a VCR. Since TV went digital a decade ago he couldn’t even watch local channels anymore.
Sighing, he slapped a cigarette out of the pack and lit it. He was trying to kick the habit, but it kept him calm when the memories came back. He popped an old copy of Die Hard and settled back to watch the mindless violence. Mindless was good, and he spoke the lines in sync with Bruce Willis, all to stop the memories.
Once he had fought the good fight, winning and losing until it all ended. He was glad it was over, he wanted nothing to do with those things. After the horror of his last mission, he was broken, and could no longer fight. He was glad he lost the sight and hoped it never came back.
Before long Peter began to doze. The movie over, the TV showed static. The old movie player whirred as it rewound the video to be watched again tomorrow. As his mind began to fade, a faint voice echoed in his mind time to wake up.
Sleep gone, Peter shot up and looked around the small room. It couldn’t be, he thought. He relaxed as he saw nothing unusual. He was sure it was his imagination. Grunting, he brushed the cigarette ashes from his stomach and rose. He wandered into the tiny kitchen and looked through the cupboards. He grabbed a can and dumped the spaghetti into a battered pot. He placed the pot on the only working burner and turned it on.
As he turned to pull out a plastic bowl and a plasticwear spoon a loud thud made him jump. Looking into his living room he saw the paisley couch was tipped over completely. He scurried into the far corner of his small kitchen. “No.. it can’t be..” he muttered before raising his voice. “I’m retired! The sight is gone! Leave me to my retirement!” he glanced around the apartment, staring down any darkness he found.
Peter…… it is time again… we need you a familiar female voice echoed in his mind.
“No! You’re dead! I saw it!” his voice thin and hysterical. “I lost the sight, it can’t be you!”
The couch creaked, attracting his attention. As he gasped for air a faint form appeared leaning on the couch. She was very young and thin, with strawlike hair and piercing nut-brown eyes. She nondescript, neither pretty or homely. The only striking feature was her long aristocratic nose. Somehow gave it gave her an imperious look. The thin smile she wore did nothing to help that.
You healed. She spoke, her voice bringing tears to his eyes. I can finish the process now.
“Please, can’t I just die in peace. I can’t do this again.” he stared at her “I got you killed. I failed and that thing-”
She cut him off You can’t blame yourself for that. You sacrificed everything to try and save me.
“I can and I will” he growled “If I pushed a little more.. ”
You would have died as well and the target would have been lost, her voice a mix of sympathy and frustration. You don’t have the luxury of pity. It’s coming for you.
“I thought you pulled it to hell,” his voice quavered.
If I had I wouldn’t be here. The others are already dead. Only the one we rescued and some children remain at the chapel.
Peter swallowed. If she was telling the truth he couldn’t ignore it. “Is this true?”
As true as my love
“Fine, let me get ready first,” he scampered to the shower and began to wash away weeks of grime. He took a rusted razor and shaved, only suffering a few cuts. He stepped the two steps from his shower to open his closet.
Within was a garment bag covered in dust. He pulled it out and opened it. He dragged out a black trenchcoat covered in faint embroidered runes. Putting it on he felt a rush and despaired. His eyes were opening again. He grabbed a silver pendant that had a complex rune carved in it. It represented what he had been. It burned as he put it on, it was no longer him. The banded collar dress shirt and black slacks would never fit him. Sighing, he zipped them back in the bag and slung it over his shoulder.
He walked to where the faint woman watched and squared his shoulders, even as his hands trembled. “All right, do it.”
She nodded and pressed a palm to his forehead. His mind exploded, dizziness and an electrical tingle flowed over his body. He screamed and his knees caved, but the palm held him up, dangling like a rag doll. Peter couldn’t tell how long he hung like that. He awoke to find himself on the floor. Looking up he saw her, as solid as life, and wept. “I failed you. Are you sure they need me of all people?”
“I’m afraid they do,” she said, and he could hear her voice as clear as the day she died.
“I’ll miss Die Hard,” he muttered and recovered the bag he had dropped. He walked to the door and it opened before him. Stepping through, it slammed behind him with a certain finality.
Where are they? he thought to her.
Looking amused she spoke. “Since when do you care about looking crazy? The chapel has moved, as I’m sure you know. Follow me and I will lead you to the new team.”
She floated down the stairs and Peter followed her as he always had.