Chapter L: The Yearly Eye HarvestTo my luck, it seemed that the Red Dragon did not close until daybreak. It was two a.m. and still people were walking in and out. By now, the long walk back from the warehouse had healed most of the more serious injuries, now I just needed to recuperate and feed. For some reason I wasn't in the mood for a person...perhaps it was what the hunter had said, but how could I deny my nature when my nature was to survive? Also confusing me was this new ability I had somehow tapped into to kill the sharkman. Maybe Strauss would be able to help. Sitting in the back of the Red Dragon, I sipped surreptitiously from a blood-pack until I felt ready to move on.
Across from the noodle store where the hunter had been staying was a little shop of horrors. The man behind the counter smiled a dead smile as I entered, and despite myself, a shiver ran down my spine. Somehow, I had the feeling that I was more human than he was.
'Little wooden nicknacks and general tourist stuff?'
'Are you in the right business? I don't really want to buy anything now.'
Oh wow, a long moral tale from a sinister lunatic. Please, continue.
'Seeing as you're telling me this story, he didn't use the money to start a successful networking business and he now lives in a palace in Eastern Europe, so I'm assuming he's dead. Right?'
'Yeah, I promise, I will never steal, shoplifters will be pr-', I paused, looking at the man. 'Did you say eye harvest?'
Eyes? Steal eyes? Gross...I'm in.
'Well, I could do with the cash, and I've never stolen eyes before.'
What harm would it do? The guy was dead after all.
'Ill-fated? Who are you exactly?'
I walked away slowly, listening to the wheezing, sinister laugh coming from the man. I felt that he was not to be trifled with, that he had a power I did not understand. Were humans capable of such?
Walking around the noodle shop, I found the back door used for deliveries. It would be the quickest route to the fridge, and so pulling out my lockpick for the first time in a while, I slid the thin piece of metal into the mechanism, feeling the simple barrels fall into place.
Inside, I was glad I hadn't tried the front door. One Tong member was leaning against the door, smoking a cigarette, the other playing a card game in the corner. Neither were paying attention to the back door, obviously bored out of their minds. Idly, I wondered whether they knew that there wasn't a Tong to go back to. I smiled, imagining their confusion turning to panic, wondering whether they were next on some rival lord's hitlist. Sneaking past, I opened the fridge door.
Here was the ill-fated Lin. He lay face down, bullet-wounds marking the back of his jacket. Hesitating, I wondered how exactly to proceed. I rolled the body over, pulling the eyelids open with mild distaste.
What does the guy want? Just the eyeballs themselves? The optic nerves as well?
I'll spare you the details of the messy work. By the time I finished, although the eyes were intact, not much else of Lin's face was. Shuddering, I cleaned the magic sword quickly.
'I've never stolen eyeballs before', I muttered mockingly, closing the fridge door and sneaking back out of the building. 'And I never will again. Even vampires have limits!'
Walking back into Mr Ox's store, I placed the slightly sticky balls onto the table.
'I am never doing that again.'
'What do you want now? Some lips? Maybe a brain, or a still beating heart?'
'A really bad translation? I have no idea.'
'That's it?', I said, surprised. No organ removal involved?
'OK, sure.' I don't believe in that superstitious bullshit anyway.
I had a feeling that I'd still be wanted down at the Lotus Blossom, so unless I wanted to create a commotion, I should use the back entrance.
The back door to the parlour was unlocked, taking me into a small storage room. Opening the door, I found that it led directly into the locker-room.
Finding the marked locker, I quickly opened it, throwing the charm in, and closed it again, ready to leave.
'Your locker? I'm so sorry, I could have sworn this was my locker.'
'I said sorry, alright? It was an accident. I'll just be on my way now...'
'You're really taking this too seriously', I said, the last word being slightly muffled by the fist in my face. I stepped back.
'I really don't want to hurt you, but I will if I have to, alright?'
'Shut up and die, sucka!', the man yelled.
Well, that was fair warning.
I hit the man back, hoping to knock him unconscious. He reeled back, his feet slipping on the wet tiles. In horror, I watched as he toppled backwards, hitting his head hard against the wall, and again against the floor.
'Uh...are you alright?' I looked at the man, his eyes wide open, his chest unmoving. Blood slowly rolled down from his nostril.
'Shit!' I slammed my hand against the locker, and then made my way out via the back stairs. At least it would look like an accident. I returned to the shop.
'Sort of...see, there was a slight accident. Uh...he's dead.'
The man laughed, his head thrown back, his body shaking.
'Thanks. Now if you excuse me, I must be going.' Before you ask me to do another job for you.
I shuddered as I noticed the eyes in a jar on the counter. Recommend it? I'd recommend everyone stay far, far away.