Friday, August 17, 2018

Light Work

83.

"Well they're dead, or I should say redead, its always one of those things with undead things, are they really dead or were they ever really alive?" Gilbert's original target was a singular thing, but by the time he was done there were well over forty of the things dead near him. He had been on the phone with Clarissa, she was providing tactical assistance looking up the schematics of the old school he'd found his targets in. It reminded him of being in the army and it was comforting to an extent even if it only happened because Clarissa was badly hurt.

"So that's two more off the list this week, keep going like this and the devil will own your soul by the end of the month." Gilbert chuckled, he and Clarissa both figured the Devil was setting up to screw him over, but a job was a job even if it was with the lord of lies.

"That's something else I need you to look up now that you're getting better at working the keyboard with one hand."

"Like a thirteen year old boy with his first computer in his room."

"Gross, accurate, but gross."

"What do you need?"

"Deals with the devil and how to get out of them."

"Oh important stuff, I can always ask our resident former Demon."

"Was planning on it, just don't tell Doris she'll throw a fit, does she know you broke your arm?"

"She knows I got hurt and I'm taking time off." Gilbert chuckled again.

"Well you might want to tell her the broken arm thing before the 'how do you get out of a deal with the devil?' thing, just like speaking from personal experience."

"I'll keep that in mind." Clarissa hung up and Gilbert chuckled again to himself. He was thankful with the kind of goo and guts he was standing in he had put vaseline under his nose, he was sure it smelled terrible. Gilbert was outside eyes adjusting from the difference in light when he was hit with the spot light.

"Mr. Dunkley." It was a confident voice, one that spoke of getting what it wanted. Gilbert couldn't see, but he could figure what was waiting for him, he calmly reloaded one of the .45's.

"Be with you guys in a minute."

"Do you really think bullets can stop us Mr. Dunkley?" Gilbert racked the slide and took aim at the light.

"Sure, I mean it's all in the proper application of said bullets." He fired at the light and the night once again took over the front of the run down school.

Friday, August 10, 2018

In The Dark Everything Hears You Scream

82.

She could hear the breathing first, a wounded rasp like a ten pack a day smoker towards the end. She knew the wolf wasn't hurt though, she'd tried, but had failed and now it was hunting her in the dark. Gilbert was somewhere down there with her as well, but the storm drain system they were in amplifie sound in a way that he sounded like he was everywhere. Same with the wolf, she couldn't tell if it was next to her, or a good distance away.

Clarissa's left arm was broken, the creature had lashed out at her in the dark before she could draw a shot on it and the blow had been devastating. The arm hurt when she breathed, it hurt when she moved, it just hurt. She found herself wishing she'd just gone homeless instead of being an exterminator, at least in homelessness she wouldn't find herself hurt and hunted in some drainage tubes near the Columbia.

"I can smell you." The wolf's voice was slimy like a used car salesman. "You think if you don't talk I can't find you, but I can. Your partner is lost and I know exactly where you are, I'm playing with you, the taste of your fear is delicious. What you idiots thought coming after me is beyond me, I'll enjoy ripping it from your flesh.

"And I'll enjoy mounting your corpse above the fire place you piece of shit." Clarissa didn't have much left, her arm hurt and the wolf probably wasn't lying in that it knew where she was, but she hoped Gilbert too knew where it was and was just laying a trap for it. It's all she had in the limited light she could see in the drainage tubes.

"There there let it all out girl, soon you'll be screaming in pain as I eat your intestines." She heard a splash behind her and spun with her good arm an almost stabbed Gilbert in the chest, thankfully he caught her hand before she could stab him. He put a finger to his lips and indicated she keep talking, by twirling it in a circle.

"So do you want to be mounted like you're leaping forward or would you prefer the head up your ass option? I'm good either way."

"Such false confidence, I don't even know what you expected to do with your little bow and arrow, neither you nor your boss can kill me, it's rather insulting."

"And yet your hiding in the dark like a little scared puppy. I think you are afraid of us, instead of just killing us, you ran into here, terrified we were going to kill you, what did you do to piss the devil off anyway? Piss on his rug like a disobedient dog?" The sound of splashing and the raspy breathing came from all around Clarissa until she saw the skin wolf, its horrifying human not human wolf form bearing down on her. She crouched like it would do anything and then Gilbert fired, the devil's .45 was loud, way louder than any gun she'd ever heard fired, especially in the confined space of the drainage tube. The wolf looked confused as the bullets hit it and took large chunks out of its flesh. It landed not too far from her feet.

"What is that?"

"It's called a pistol, it fires bullets." Gilbert fired two more shots into the skin wolf's head.

"One off our list." Clarissa felt cold, from her remembering first aid, it meant she was going into shock.

"Right, good lord you look terrible, we need to get you a doctor and fast."

"No I'm good you know one armed exterminator in a devil hitlist contest."

"Yep probably a concussion along with that arm, come on."

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Devils You Know

81.

"I don't see how that was any of your business." Gilbert had been in the office for less than ten minutes when Doris and Clarissa arrived yelling at each other. He sighed, he had been looking at the list of things the Devil wanted and even with the pistols it wouldn't be easy. Nothing ever was in the business, but this felt even more daunting than usual.

"Its nice to see you two as well."

"Gilbert she went on a date with a demon!" Doris was red in the face, Clarissa looked equally angry.

"You did Clarissa? Demurra I assume?"

"It wasn't a date even! We just had a beer after we were on a jo... joking good time..." Gilbert gave her a stern look.

"A job you took a job while I was gone after I specifically said not to."

"She was on a date with a demon Gilbert I don't think the stupid job is all that important." Doris held herself a bit higher Gilbert could see the old Elf upbringing coming through.

"Demurra's an ex demon, and I doubt anything serious happens, she's all talk, I mean I dated a lizard girl for a while, it was weird but not un welcome, and you're being a bit of a racist here Doris."

"How dare you Gilbert how dare the both of you, I'm going home for the day!" Doris gathered her things up and left, Gilbert looked at Clarissa and shrugged.

"So how was Japan?"

"Sufficiently Japanese, how was your date?"

"It wasn't a date."

"Did you two have dinner and small talk?"

"Yes..."

"It was a date." Clarissa got red in the face and Gilbert smiled.

"Man now I feel like a jerk for yelling at Doris."

"Kind of glad you got her out of here so I could discuss our new client."

"Oh you met one in Japan?"

"Yeah, the Devil." Clarissa stammered a bit.

"Like the Devil the Devil or just like a Devil."

"Lucifer himself, seems our problem is his problem and he's willing to pay to get rid of it."

"You know last year this would have seemed weird, but now I'm kind of weirdly excited?"

"We'll make an exterminator out of you yet."

"So what's our first job for our lord Satan?"

"You ever hear of a Skin Wolf?" Clarissa had not, and two days later she'd wished Gilbert hadn't ever taken the Devil's work.

Friday, July 27, 2018

The Devil's Super Store of Savings

80.

"Where are we?" The lethargy was gone, but Gilbert knew he couldn't leave until the devil wanted him to. They were in what appeared to be an empty retail store, just stacks of empty shelves.

"When? Where? questions of a lesser mine's concern, this is my place that's all you need to know." The salesman exterior was gone, now the fallen angel was on display, blackened wings, a half human half something else body, long prominent horns.

"I'm not making a deal with you."

"Humans are always so wound up on your soul or your torment or whatever, I tell you I want to help and this is how you treat me? Should I deposit you back in the bazaar looking for something that won't help you, or do you want to at least listen to me?" Gilbert did want to go back, but the Devil was right, and that was what worried him, he agreed with Satan.

"Ok I'm in a bad place, things aren't looking up, what can you offer?" The Devil smiled, his lips were damaged in that even without showing his teeth Gilbert could still see them.

"That I hire you to deal with my problem." Gilbert was put off even more than when he had arrived.

"Are you joking? I'm dealing with god knows what, and you the fucking Devil want me to do work for you as if my schedule isn't already full?"

"Your problems are my problems Mr. Dunkley, what you face are upstarts, creatures not born of god like you and I who want something they should not have, and so I will pay you, and arm you to take care of it, you're an exterminator right? Well then time for some exterminations."

"And what will I be paid for my work?"

"You'll get to keep my weapon if you want, otherwise I do have regular currency I am Satan lord of lies, half the world works for me."

"Only half?"

"Did you miss the part where I said I am the lord of lies?" Gilbert laughed, he couldn't help it, this whole scenario was insane, but here he was talking with literally Satan.

"So what kind of weapons am I look at here, all I see is nothing."

"Well that depends on what you want exterminator, allow me to illuminate." With a snap of his fingers the empty shelves were filled with various weapons old and new. Gilbert wondered why he had them hidden to begin with, but figured because the devil is a showman, most liars are in Gilbert's experience. Gilbert looked over the weapons until he came across an old Sharp's rifle, he'd only seen one in movies.

"What's the story on this one?" The devil smiled again.

"Got a taste for long distances do we? That was owned by a bounty hunter, pursued people after the civil war brought them back mostly dead. That weapon alone has taken over two hundred and fifty lives."

"So it can kill, but can it kill what I'm after?"

"Of course, the bounty hunter didn't sell his soul for a gun that can kill anything for nothing."

"Single shot though, bad sights, still a pretty rifle."

"So utilitarian exterminator, here try these." The devil handed over a couple colt 1911's pistols.

"Nice weight, clean sights, story?"

"People always want to know where things came from, not where they are going to, but if you must know Army captain, WW2 lost his unit to the nazi's sold his soul to get revenge."

"Did he get it?"

"Bullet by bloody bullet, they'll take .45 no need for special ammunition the enchantment is in the barrel, though I do have something with a bit of flare if you're looking for that." The pistols looked normal enough, and were easier to conceal then his Naginata, but he would miss the feel of something that had cut a god.

"Ok I'll take these, how I'll get them out of jap..." Before Gilbert could finish talking he was back in his office, Clarissa and Doris were thankfully no there, he could see his luggage stacked up nicely near the door.

"I'm the devil and even I don't drink hotel liquor Gilbert you fiend." The devil was back to his salesman persona.

"It was a rough flight, so you checked me out and everything I take it."

"All expenses paid trip back home, you got work to do, but at least you have my guns to do it, I'll email you what I got on who needs to no longer be on the mortal plain."

"You don't have a list of names on a scroll or something?"

"Hell went paperless years ago, scrolls are so 1890s Gilbert try and keep up."

Friday, July 20, 2018

The Black Market of the Black Market

79.

"I could get in trouble just for showing you this shit." Gilbert had not left Japan like he'd been told to, he came here with a purpose and no old dragon in a fake prison would stop him.

"Come on Tyler don't start with me." Tyler Bogan used to be military, then he used to be a special envoy to the japanese, now he was just someone you came to when you needed something special.

"I'm just saying I'm putting my neck out for you, this isn't the usual demon horn scrapings, or blood of a virgin, this is the hardcore stuff we aren't supposed to sell."

"Game warden's aren't giving a shit about magical weaponry." Tyler sighed and unlocked a padlock, down below Gilbert could hear voices, and shouting.

"Ain't the damn warden's I'm worried about Gilbert, you haven't been paying attention to how things are."

"Yeah yeah dark war something bad coming, got it all from my apprentice and some dark guy who broke my ace in the hole, why do you think I need something with some oomph?" Tyler sighed again and opened the door, down below Gilbert could see the market place was already bustling full of all sorts of strange people.

"Just don't get this shit back on me."

"I don't even know who you are." Gilbert descended into the throng of people below. The smell always caught him off guard in these kind of bazaars. He forgot certain kind of creatures are a delicacy to people and the scent of cooking goblin always turned his stomach. There was a lot of junk and the vendors hawking it, ancient cures, supposedly ancient weapons of a bygone race of whatevers, just a bunch of bullshit, most of it no more ancient than the cd player in your car. Gilbert remembered his first time in a bazaar like this and how filled with wonder he was, now as an old man he just felt jaded to the whole endeavor, he was there looking for a diamond in the garbage and even then was worried he might not find it.

It had been two hours he'd been walking around before he came across the salesman. The salesman was a booth out of place. Looked more like a job fair in a run down bingo hall, than some kind of black market items. The salesman himself dressed in a powder blue suit with a top hat seemed just as out of place. Gilbert was ready to pass him by when he turned with a smile and sidled up.

"Good day to you sir, may I turn your ear with my pitch?" The words, the motions, all wrong, Gilbert knew this was something masquerading as something else.

"Don't have time for you." Gilbert went to move, but he could feel the arm on his shoulder.

"You spent two hours walking around, and yet you can't spend five minutes with me? Gilbert, please humor me."

"You are not what you appear to be."

"No one is what they appear to be exterminator, no one, this whole place full of liars, cheats, and worse, and I fucking love it, coming here is like going on a vacation," Gilbert didn't even notice he'd been place in a chair, and how the bazaar around him had seemingly been put on mute, "But I know you're a busy man, people to see, things to destroy, you need something, something that isn't off the shelf, something that isn't just hell fire, something reliable, and my friend I got what you need." The longer Gilbert sat in the chair every minute felt like an hour.

"Deals with the devil are bad."

"Who told you that? God? God the man who always wants people begging for his help, but who never fucking helps a soul? God who allows such evils to exist to harden your belief in him, I'll tell you sir that God is no friend to the working man, God sat idly by as people are whipped, beaten, raped, worse, where as I? I only want to help, I only want what's best for man, at least until you come home to my temple, you get a choice with me, you get a chain with him." Gilbert tried to stand but could not.

"Let me go demon."

"You need my help exterminator, and you came here to shop so lets," The Devil waved a hand and the bazaar disappeared and they were in a bright shiny retail store stocked with all sorts of things Gilbert couldn't even begin to guess at "Shop."

Friday, July 13, 2018

Chilly the Duck of Doom

78.

"Listen here Duck, I didn't scrape my way out of one of the twelve hells to end up stuck in your stupid world, let me out of here before I turn you into burnt the fucking duck." Demurra's hands were slightly a blaze, Clarissa felt warm standing next to her.

"You're not nice, I don't like you, go away, go away." Chilly waved its hand and Demurra disappeared. Clarissa felt even colder without her near by.

"Do you want to play with me?" The voice put a chill into Clarissa, even more than just the general cold. She could see poor Micheal by the cartoonish couch of the creature. Clarissa thought of her bag of things and wondered what she could possibly use against the creature if anything.

"Yes chilly it's why I came, I want to play with you and Micheal." Chilly's face changed for a brief second, Clarissa swore she saw a man there.

"Micheal isn't fun anymore, but you, you want to play with chilly?"

"Yes I do chilly, I even have some stuff in my bag we can play with, do you want to play with my toys?"

"As long as there aren't any tricks in there, I like to play tricks, I don't like when people play tricks on me."

"No tricks Chilly, no tricks, let me just open the bag up and you can see." Clarissa didn't know what she was going to do would work, but she hoped she read the situation properly, hoped Chilly was what she thought he was.

"I don't see anything fun in there, just vials of things."

"I have magic dust for you to play with, and a joke you can read if you're good chilly, only if you're good."

"I'm good! I play tricks and we'll have so much fun, you'll stay with me forever!" Clarissa grabbed the hoodo powder and threw it on Chilly, then she slapped one of the incantations on him.

"YOU TRI...." Chilly became an old man for a moment before he was dragged to hell, Clarissa saw a moment of sadness in his eyes as something reached up from below to grab him. Instantly the cartoon fun house of Micheal's room was gone. Demurra remerged too.

"YOU FUCKING... Oh I see he's gone." Her clothes looked rumpled and she had burned away the sleeves of her shirt. Micheal too was with them, though he was huddled in the corner rocking back and forth. Demurra approached him and said something, the boy nodded and then looked to fall asleep immediately.

"What did you to do him?"

"Soothed his fear, I'm not a monster Clarissa, he'll sleep for a good eight hours wake up and be mostly ok, what did you to Chilly?"

"Sent him on his way, he was a ghost."

"A fucking ghost? Really? I must be losing my touch, come lets put the boy to bed and call his mother if she's still sober enough to come watch the child."

"And then?"

"And then I go home, god damn you exterminators need things spelled out for you." Demurra smiled and Clarissa felt warm for the first time in hours.

Friday, July 6, 2018

A Japanese Hello

77.

Gilbert saw the armed guards waiting for him. A small contingent of japanese military personnel rifles and all just beyond the customs desk. He wondered if for a moment that they were there for someone else, the hand placed on his arm when he cleared customs dispelled that notion immediately.

"Gilbert Dunkley?" Looked like an officer of a type, but Gilbert couldn't remember if Japan used the same ranks as the american military

"If I told you no, would you believe me?"

"Welcome to Japan, come with me."

"This is less of a request than I'd like isn't it?" They shoved Gilbert into the back of a military vehicle and away he went. No one talked, the men with rifles were stoic the whole time and the customs agent who had stopped him said nothing as well. Gilbert half expected this reception, but he couldn't remember what he had exactly done to deserve it. They drove from the airport into the japanese countryside eventually arriving at what looked to be a prison, but Gilbert's Japanese was rusty and they drove by the sign too fast.

Inside the complex Gilbert was marched down stairs; past several security check points into an area labeled "high threat" as best he could interpret. The soldiers who had come with him remained behind at the last check point, it was just him and the officer past a bunch of empty cells. Finally they arrived at Del, her cell decorated in gold waiting for him, glaring at him.

"You can go now."

"Yes empress." The officer about faced and left Gilbert alone with the dragon, his deference to her showing the cell clearly just a display.

"Gilbert Dunkley the great betrayer."

"Don't you start with that bullshit with me Del, I'm too old and past the point of caring, I've been threatened, I'm jet lagged, and I only came here to ask a question."

"The answer is no."

"You didn't even hear the question."

"But I know you want to know if I can fix my weapon, and I cannot, I felt when it was broken, like having a fingernail removed, and I also felt the creature who broke it, you were warned and you'd do well to heed that warning."

"So that's that?"

"What else is there Gilbert? You are not a magical creature, you never trucked in it as I recall, you are a tool user, and I'm telling you that tool is broken and nothing can reform it, now leave me to my gilded cage."

"Whatever happened to you?"

"Do not presume to know anything about me or my business Exterminator, I'll be here long after your pests put you in the ground." Gilbert turned around to leave, "I see I hurt your feelings, but let me give you another warning, what you are digging into makes the worlds current problems seem like a minor event, you and your assistant are not at all the people for this job, these things will work things out, or they won't and the world will burn, you know either or."

"Helpful as always."

"I'd also recommend leaving Japan, but I know you're going to stick around, just don't put your nose in a place it's not welcome, you have no friends here." Gilbert didn't respond, he wanted to leave, but since Del wanted him to leave he knew he had to stay, he just hoped that Clarissa wouldn't do anything stupid in his absence, he was already afraid she had.

****

"So we're stuck in some kind of spiritual hell that looks like a child's show, this is fine I'm fine with this, yes."