Short Story

Midnight Haze

The clocks said midnight but for the people inside the bar, it made no difference. They were stuck in a trance, oblivious to the outside world and more than glad to keep it that way.

One man stood outside the bar in the still, winter air. He looked at his watch, waiting for the world to enter a new day. Satisfied midnight had arrived, he walked into the bar.

Everything he had expected. Loud talking over louder music that tried to drown out the slurring, the yelling and the talk. The barman polishing a glass. Quiet and lonely souls sitting at the bar, more than ready to drown their sorrows and lose themselves in the haze.

What’s your name, sir?” The barman asked him as he took a seat.

Ryan Franz.” Ryan showed a charming, practiced smile. Unlike the people around him, he wasn’t here for soul-searching, or even to forget oneself. No, he knew if he lost himself here, he’d never find his way out.

What will you be having tonight, sir?” The barman’s tone was disinterested, but polite enough. Ryan could tell him that he would die tonight, and the barman would just smile.

Bloody Mary. This cover it?” Ryan slid a five dollars bill across the counter. The barman nodded, taking the money and retiring to prepare his drink.

Ryan looked around the room, mentally blocking out whatever newest song was playing. It shouldn’t be much longer now.

Here’s your drink, sir.”

He glanced at the barman, taking the drink to his lips and muttering gratitude.

The buzz that rushed to his head felt pleasant. He closed his eyes, taking in the music, the noises, and the meaningless chatter. The world began to blur into a mix of alcohol and music.

Wake up, he told himself, his surroundings sharpening to focus. You’re on duty.

Slapping his cheeks a few times, he darted his eyes from side to side. He felt a presence, what had changed?

Ryan stopped on the alluring figure of a woman who had just entered the bar. She wielded an enigmatic smile and green, emerald eyes directed at him. The woman walked over to him, the noise of heels stabbing the floor drowned out by the music, and took the seat beside Ryan.

I’ll have what he’s having.” She said. Her voice was like smooth silk. Again Ryan felt the desire to simply give in, but he knew better.

You sure about that?” Ryan kept his expression impassive, like someone playing poker.

Don’t worry about me. I can handle it.” She once again smiled her mysterious smile.

Ryan Franz.” He said, the mask that was his face smiling.

Monique Shalot.”

Nice to meet you, Monique.” Up close, Ryan could appreciate some of Monique’s features better. Complementing green dress that outlined her figure, necklace that made her eyes glow. His words were hollow as his distrust began to grow.

The rest of the night Ryan could never remember afterwards. There was talking, laughing and a lot of drinking. The only detail he could recall was that Monique asked Ryan to walk her home.

And the next thing he could remember was that the two were in an alleyway. Monique had pushed him against the wall, but Ryan’s mind was a thousand miles away, remembering details from a newspaper.

Ten victims, pale as a sheet of paper.

Ryan looked down at Monique’s face, watching her mouth closely. Monique parted it slightly.

Time of death, around one A.M.

Ryan saw moonlight glinting off fangs too long for a person. He reached into the pocket of his coat. Monique froze.

Drained of blood.

The report of a gun as Monique’s body was pushed back slightly, a gaping wound where her heart used to be. Monique fell to the ground, lifeless, never alive to begin with.

Ryan took a deep breath, hiding the gun back into the depths of his coat. He stepped away from the scene, his job done. Ryan Franz retreated back into the night, much like the creatures he hunted.

The body would be gone by dawn.

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