It's always comforting to hear from old friends, isn't it?
HUNTER AND HUNTED: THE DARK RAMBLER
The Dominion of NightSo. I understand that you have wished never to hear from me again. Worse luck for you. You will tell my story.
I am a consort of the night. She is a glorious, captivating inamorata whose soft zephyrs gently caress me as I slip through the folds of her gown, ever in pursuit of the one who requires my service. The night is my mistress and protector, embracing and cloaking me from the probing eyes of those who would circumvent my mission of mercy. Nothing must frustrate me in the completion of my goal, the cessation of some unfortunate’s misery.
It is needful that I spend a modicum of time in discreet reconnaissance, following my unknowing client and learning the routes and routines I must know if I am to successfully complete my task. There can be no avoiding this necessity - without this knowledge there is a chance that I might be taken unaware by some unsuspected circumstance and diverted or prevented from performing my act of compassion. To this end, I must clothe my person in garments of deepest ebony, that no hue or glimmer might betray me to the unsuspecting denizens of the deep hours of the night or shallow hours of the impending morning.
Prior to this portion of my purpose I must, of course, first select the person who will most benefit from my compassion. This is a crucial and delicate objective - there are so many souls in this world that suffer the throes of spiritual torture. I must choose one who is so overburdened that the spirit cries out for relief, one who desperately wishes release but is prevented from personally carrying out an act of suicide by the iron bonds of religious belief.
To discover who might most require my kindness, I often frequent the innermost precincts of whatever city I have fetched up in, for to those locales have the most wretched gravitated, whether through need or greed. The mean streets and low dives of the inmost urban landscape are fertile territories, blossoming with the bitter fruits that it is my calling to harvest.
I invariably begin my quest by roaming the darkling streets, directing my senses to those whom I pass, feeling for their inner pain. Many there are who suffer, but only in subdued fashion - their perturbations register only as would a quick caress, barely skimming the surface of my empathy. Others, however - ah, those others, whose silent, visceral cries of agony exert a sweet, constant, desirable pressure upon the naked pelt of my talent - it is them by whom I am beguiled, they who will receive the blissful release of their torment through the agency of my finely whetted blade.
I have been graced with a photographic memory, a faculty that greatly facilitates my efforts at determining the person to whom I will devote myself. I spend perhaps a week in seeking out my ultimate choice, and when the winnowing procedure is finished, it is then that I begin the acquaintance phase of the process. My first course of action is to don my raven garments and shadow my prospect, paying careful attention to any patterns of behavior that may emerge. If, for example, my client is prone to patronize a drinking establishment (and, naturally, many are) that is where I will begin to promote my policy of seduction and solace.
I have found that another excellent source of clients is the plethora of temporary employment agencies that have sprung up like noxious weeds in the last couple of decades, testament to the fact that employers have discovered the delightful datum that they no longer need care for their employees, that any nobody from the street can perform an entry-level job, and the savings in benefits and vacation time are enormous. If the nobodies are cunning and hard-working, they may be offered full employment at a ridiculously low salary, and glad they are to receive this beneficence. Some of my most productive prospects have come from this pool of part-timers, for they exude equal amounts of hope and despair. The contemplation of their release is as sweet music to my soul.
Do you think me cruel and heartless? I assure you that I am not. Only by bestowing such a benison may I justify my actions, only by this method may I attempt to balance my unholy craving with an act of imperfect contrition. It is enough.
Expect to hear from me again.
This is the last communication that I have so far received from my interlocutor. It is possible that he may be ... busy. However, I did find this news item from the Plainfield Press interesting -
POLICE INVESTIGATE MULTIPLE DISAPPEARANCES
Police are investigating the recent disappearances of four residents of the city of Plainfield. They have been reported as missing by co-workers, friends and families, and attempts to locate them have so far proven fruitless. Their names, ages and last known places of employment are:
James Earl Bottoms - 36 Sargent’s Super Mart
William Kwan - 31 Sargent’s Super Mart
Amelia Sirkin - 27 Blowmold Plastics Co., Inc.
Reynaldo Valdez - 24 Allied Depositories
Authorities request that any citizens who possess knowledge of the present whereabouts of these individuals come forward and contact Detective Joseph Grosvenor of the Plainfield PD to divulge what information they have. The authorities wish to assure citizens that no tangential questions shall be asked of them, and that any information that they may supply will be kept in the strictest of confidence.
This one's for you, Kathy. Thanx.
Copyright Malcolm Mott 2006