The rhythmic click and clack of Christoph’s artificial footsteps were only accompanied by the distant humming of an overhead transformer. It was peaceful tonight. No one out here to challenge him, no one to save, no one to find him. Just a nice walk. However, the thought was still sticking in his head - what if this was a bad idea? He was meant to be meeting somebody in a nearby pub soon. They claimed to have information on the people Christoph had called his superiors. Information that could make them realize what they had created.
There it was, illuminated by hazy green neon. Puerto Pub. Killer margaritas, and a microbrew to die for. But, he had to remember, he wasn’t here for that. He stopped near the entrance and prepared himself with a deep breath, the slits on the sides of his neck opening a little to let the damp air in. The door swung open, but he didn’t open it. Someone was trying to leave, and upon seeing the seven-foot-tall monster, they screamed, and pushed past him, running drunkenly down the street. The pub went silent and Christoph took this opportunity to enter. The patrons stared intently at him as he made his way to the back, near the bathrooms, where he was supposed to meet this contact. When he had made it past the burning gazes, and into the bathroom, though, there was no one. Right as he was about to turn around to storm out, he heard the bathroom door swing open.
“Put ‘em up, demon.” A firm voice said from the doorway.
Christoph turned around to face the owner of the words and put his hands above his head. The man in the doorway was wearing a trenchcoat, he was mostly concealed, and his wide-brimmed hat made it difficult for Christ to discern his face.
“What is it you want from me?” He growled back.
“Using your own vocal chords now, huh? Guess we didn’t try hard enough.” The man said, pulling a gun on Chris’ head. “You’re coming back with me, old friend.”
“We aren’t friends,” Chris responded.
“You’re right…who could possibly be friends with…” He gestured towards Chris’ “face.” “…That…”
He started towards Christoph, gun still drawn, but Christoph was quick to react and grabbed the man by the wrist. He dropped the gun as the creature twisted the man sideways, forcing him to the ground. The man let out a cry of pain and he observed his arm, now bent backward at the elbow. Christoph loomed over the incapacitated man and grunted,
“Seems like you’re still not trying hard enough.”
He then kicked the man in the torso, the prosthetic foot’s point driving through his ribs. The man seemed to choke on his own spit after gasping desperately for air. Christoph cleared the bathroom before he could watch his attacker die only to realize that the rest of the pub seemed to also be in on it. Of course, he should have known. It was a Tuesday night, why else would this place be so busy. Some had their guns drawn, others stood by doors and windows to prevent his escape.
“The gang’s all here, then?” He chided, adjusting his mechanical arm. “I suppose you aren’t here to throw me a surprise party.”
One of them spoke up, they were in a corner a good distance from Christoph. “You’re lucky you’re still alive, freak.”
Christoph sauntered to the closest person to him, who, even while holding a pistol, was trembling more and more with each step that the creature took. “As are you.”
He said while plucking the gun from the trembling patron’s hand.
“When are Y'all gonna learn.” He said, shaking his head. “I’m not your property, and these are useless.”
He dropped the gun and stomped it, flinging twisted metal out from under his tread.
“There’s no way out of this. You know that. You’re trapped.” The same man from across the room assured him.
“I’m not the one who’s trapped here.” Christoph replied, throwing his hands up, “But it doesn’t have to be this way.”
“You couldn’t do it. Face it.” The man said, bringing another hand to his weapon. “Oh, I forgot. You can’t.”
Christoph quickly stretched his neck before diving under a table, he heard ten or so gunshots all of off around the same time and decided that it was time to go home.
“Awww, he’s playing hide and seek again.” He heard a voice say, “Come out little guy, we’re not going to hurt you.”
“That doesn’t work anymore, Dan, he’s much too old for that.”
“Do you have a better idea?”
Christoph took advantage of the distracted people to sneak up behind Dan and grab him by the neck with his good hand, lifting him up and presenting him to the crowd.
“You care about Dan?” Christoph demanded.
There was a silence, and then another person, probably the person arguing with Dan before, spoke up, “No.”
“So you wouldn’t mind if I…” Christoph tightened his grip on Dan, who was grasping hopelessly at the monster’s claws, trying to pry them off.
“Stop!” The man in the corner of the room shouted.
“Give me a reason,” Chris replied, his grip still slowly tightening.
The man shot at Chris, but the bullet didn’t end up in the creature, no, it went straight into Dan. Chris dropped the man, who had now been shot right in the chest and stepped over him.
Christoph bent over and adjusted the position of Dan’s cold hands, only to shoot back up once he heard, “Don’t move another inch, or I’ll blow your brains out,” from the man in the corner.
Christoph put his arms behind his head and stood up straight. “Do it.”
The man’s hands were now visibly shaking, his thumb placed firmly on the safety.
“I will.” He said.
Christoph slowly kicked out his foot, planted his weight on it, and took a step forward.
“Well?” He started to tap his foot. “I’m waiting.”
“I’ll do it.”
“I could kill you right here.”
“So why haven’t you.” Christoph pocketed his robotic left hand into his pants.
“Because we want you alive.” The man confessed.
Christoph snapped his twisted fingers, “There it is!” He twirled around on one foot and stopped to face the man and made finger guns. “This whole thing is a ploy. You’re trying to scare me into coming with you.”
He took another step towards the man, who backed up further into his corner.
“But it looks as if you are more afraid of me than I am of you,” Christoph said.
“I’m not afraid…of you.” The man said. “You’re just a stupid beast.”
“Maybe I am. And maybe I did something unpleasant to your friend’s corpse.”
The man looked down at Dan’s dead body behind Christoph and noticed that one of his hands were making an “ok” symbol.
“How dare y-” He started to say. But he was halted when he felt hot breath on the side of his face. Christoph could hear him swallow, and watched him turn pale and refuse to turn his head to face him.
“Hello,” Christoph snarled, “are you afraid now?”
“You’re going to tear me apart, aren’t you.” The man said, this being more of a statement than a question.
“Perhaps,” Christoph said. “Or maybe I’ll just stand here and wait until one of your goons decide to disobey their orders and save your life.”
Christoph said, louder so the whole room could hear, “I don’t have a family to go home to. If you killed me right now, nobody would care.” He pointed at the people in the room. “But you, you have a lot on your shoulders, don’t you. Friends, family, goals. I can’t end that.”
He placed his left hand on the man’s gun, “but I might have to.”
The man started to lower his gun, and slowly turned his head to face the creature.
“You did this to me, remember?” Christoph put his right hand on the man’s shoulder.
The man nodded and wheezed, “yes…”
“Walter. I want to thank you for doing this to me. I really do.” Christoph said, rubbing the man’s shoulder. “But you can’t prank me just so you can see me again.”
Walter nodded. “You’re…remarkably terrifying up close,” he muttered, his eyes darting around Chris’ body. “My creation, the perfect vampire killing machine.” He pried Chris’ claws off of his shoulder, lacerating himself in the process.
“I don’t belong to you, I never did,” Christoph said.
Walter looked up at Christoph’s now drooling maw. “Do it. Kill me.”
“No.” Christoph refused.
Walter continued to inspect his creation, pulling the gun closer and closer to his own head with every second. Christoph saw this and waited until he saw Walter’s shaky trigger finger move, just slightly. He swiftly knocked the gun out of Walter’s hand and felt chunks of the now powdered ceiling fall onto his head, getting stuck in his burning red fur.
“I’m going to go home, Walter. Don’t invite me back.” Christoph mumbled. With those words still seeming to echo around the room, the creature pushed the door open to the exit and left the pub. When he left, it had started misting outside. The ground was damp, and the air was crisp. The Demon of Puerto Tierra took a deep breath through his gills and started on his way home.
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