|Stories # - L | M - Z | Authors
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Morning in King’s Row saw large cardboard boxes birthing junkies and bums who had sought shelter in them for the night. Off they went, shuffling towards their daily routines of mugging and panhandling, paying no attention to a nondescript no-color van that slowly drove up and down random streets.
“I told you! You should have turned left back there!” said the Mortificator in the passenger seat, brandishing a scalpel in front of the driver’s skull-like face. “We’d have this job done already if you hadn’t knocked our little friend unconscious.” He jerked his thumb at the man tied up in the back of the van.
The driver slammed on the brakes in order to take the next left turn, causing the prisoner in the rear to fly face-first into the back of the passenger seat. Moaning, he attempted to roll over onto his back. “What about my money…” he mumbled.
The two Vazilok in the front of the van ignored him. Pointing to a large apartment building, the Cadaver driver grunted and quickly pulled the van to a stop. “That’s it, right there,” the Mortificator grinned as he double-checked the screen in front of him. “The signal stops here.”
Late several nights before, Bill thought things were going his way. The bouncer at Pocket D’s had let the contact in, persuaded by the large amount of cash slipped into his hand. Bill had even got the cell phone numbers of several attractive heroines, one of whom spent most of the night sitting with him at the bar whispering in his ear. Even though he was on his way home alone, he was consoled by the 3 bar napkins in his pocket, each with a different phone number on it, each number written in a different shade of lipstick.
he was almost to his
“Hey, now, fellas, I don’t want any trouble here,” Bill said, nervously backing away only to find his escape blocked by more zombies. “Is it money you want?”
The apparent leader of the group, a Vazilok named Scalpel, stepped forward and grasped Bill’s face in his slimy hand. “What we want is your head on a pike. What we will settle for is information.”
“I don’t know what kind of information I have that you could want,” Bill muttered tremulously, his eyes on the unmoving Skull on the sidewalk.
“You know damn well what we want!” Scalpel shouted. “Give us the location of the hero that you keep sending after us. Trust me, what we did to your informant will look like a massage compared to what we will do to you. Or perhaps you would be more easily lead by a reward…”
Bill’s eyes lit up with the word ‘reward’. “Maybe we can make a deal.”
The Mortificator stepped out of the van and motioned for the Cadaver to follow. “We’ll wait in the alley here.” His companion motioned back toward their vehicle. “Don’t worry about him. He’s not going anywhere.”
Almost an hour later, the pair was still waiting for their prey to show his face. “If we missed him because of your lousy driving…” the Mortificator warned the Cadaver, “I’ll carve you up myself before I turn you over to Scalpel.” Before the words were out of his mouth, an obviously pregnant woman chose that precise moment to leave the apartment building, carrying 2 small bags of laundry. The Cadaver grinned wickedly. Easy to take her rather than big man, he thought. Practically reading his thoughts, the Mortificator hissed, “We make sure it’s the right girl; I don’t want any screw-ups. Take her to the van and show her to the traitor.”
In an instant, the Cadaver had one arm around the girl’s neck, his other hand covering her mouth. Her laundry bags fell unnoticed on the sidewalk as she twisted against the iron-thewed grip that held her. The Cadaver dragged her, fighting silently all the way, to the van where the Mortificator was holding the back door open.
Bill winced at the sudden burst of light intruding into the relative darkness of the vehicle. Blinking several times, he attempted to focus on the female form in front of him. “Lo-Lola?” he stuttered.
“Good enough for me,” said the Mortificator, knocking Bill out cold with a single punch. Taking a length of rope from beside him, he brutally grasped Lola’s hands and tied them behind her back. “Gag her while I get her legs,” he told his minion. The Cadaver’s hand left Lola’s mouth, and before he could wrap a rag around her face, she let out a blood-curdling scream, earning the Cadaver a cuff on the back of his head from his superior. “Shut her up NOW!” he shouted, while he tied the girl’s legs. The Cadaver, unsure of the best way to shut up a screaming woman, reasoned quickly that one could not scream without air. He wrapped his hands around her throat and squeezed for half a minute, simultaneously quieting their victim and rendering her unconscious. “That worked, you dumb ox,” the Mortificator said wryly. “She better not die on us now. Live bait works better than dead.” He hopped in the back of the van and dragged their insensible first victim out onto the street. “Tie him to the railing in front of the apartment. Colum has to come home sometime, and when he does, the traitor can tell him where to find the woman.”