A/N The story really is complete now, I realized that I needed to show the meeting and it's aftermath from Deckard's point of view. So here it is.


Demons, the kid said we'd be really hunting demons because replicants weren't that big a threat. What the hell was going on, the guy was supposed to be some sort of big-wig in the Blade Runners and here he was talking about demons. I looked over at Holden; you could tell he thought the kid was out of his mind, I thought the same thing. The kid had noticed our looks, he'd have to be blind and stupid not to, but he didn't look angry or defensive; no, he looked bored, like he'd seen this thousands of times before; hell, maybe he had. Then he quietly got up and motioned for us to follow, I just looked at Holden and he just looked back at me. I sat there for a second and then thought 'Oh what the hell' and followed him into the alley with Holden along for the ride; I wish to hell I hadn't. When our eyes finally adjusted to the change in light there was a girl chained up in the alley, and the chains were pretty damn heavy. I stood there thinking that the kid must have set this up before hand and I wondered for the umpteenth time what I'd gotten myself into. Then the specifics started to bug me, why had he chained up a young girl, how had he done that without anyone noticing or the girl screaming her head off; something didn't add up. Holden went to let her go when the kid said, "don't". There was more command in that one word than I've ever heard before, you couldn't have disobeyed that tone if your life depended on it. Holden froze and the kid just walked up to the girl, a smirk on his face. You could see she was scared, her muscles were straining against the chains but they were way too heavy for a little thing like her, I was wondering why the kid had used such massive chains on such a little thing. He stopped about a foot and a half to her left, you could see that she hated him, that she just wanted enough give in the chains to grab him, but there was no give and she was trussed up tight; whatever else he was, the kid was a pro.

"If you accept the job, this is most of what you'll be dealing with" he said, facing the two of us; turning to her he muttered, "show em the real you."

The girl just shook her head and snarled at the kid, nearly frothing at the mouth in her anger, I didn't much blame her. Then the kid moved, faster than I'd ever seen anyone move before; he whipped out a simple wooden cross and laid it on her cheek. When he did this she threw her head back and screamed; it was a raw, primal sound that cut right through me and sapped all the emotions out of me and replaced them with pure fear. The kid pulled the cross away and both Holden and me could see that it had left a mark on her face, like a burn. But that bit of data was overshadowed when her face changed; her eyes turned yellow and bumps and ridges sprang up on her head and finally her teeth grew into fangs. The scream ended and she hung there in her chains, glaring at us inhumanly, a sheen of sweat on her face. Idly I noticed that the bolts she was chained to had bent a little; I was gonna say something but the kid saw it too, for having only one eye the bastard didn't miss a damned thing.

"This is a vampire; they're fairly common thanks to the perpetual dark that our cities now exist in. The ways to detect a vampire are pretty obvious, not pulse, no blood pressure, no reflection," he pointed to the girl's cheek. "They react poorly to holy symbols and they're pretty stupid so tripping them up isn't hard. Now killing them on the other hand is a bit more involved since they're 4 times faster and stronger than you are. You don't want to go toe to toe with the damned things cause you'll just end up dead or worse; I don't care if you're facing off against something that looks like a ninety year old lady with blue hair and a walker, you treat em like a grizzly bear with a toothache. That means you stand back and kill em from a distance, none of the hand to hand shit they teach now a days, that's just a quick way to die. Now the traditional methods do work, stake to the heart, decapitation, holy water and holy symbols burn em but all that depends on being close and that's what we're trying to avoid. That's why we developed these," he said as he pulled a cross sectioned bullet out of his pocket. It looked like a normal jacketed slug, but you could see that the layer under the jacket was different; it sure wasn't some kind of metal. "You've got the outer layer of lead, followed by ironwood and finally a core of cold iron, good for darned near everything that goes bump in the night. This is the standard Blade Runner issue but if you want to go with incendiaries, well those work too." He looked from Holden to me, checking to see how all of this was sinking in. I didn't know how Holden was taking everything but I felt like someone had doped me up without my knowing it, everything had a surreal edge to it but I just couldn't seem to find the path back to what was real. Apparently that was kind of what the kid was expecting to see because he went on.

"Now vampires are both the easiest and the toughest things you'll deal with; ya see, they look like humans so detecting em from a distance isn't easy, but they are relatively easy to kill and you don't have to worry about a body."

Again the kid moved; his right arm a blur as he sank a wooden stake into the girl's chest. Her eyes got wide for a second, then she burst into dust. I just stood there, staring as what used to be a human being drifted to the ground. On top of everything else that I'd just seen it was too much, my mind was refusing to process any more. What made the whole thing worse was that the kid could see this too, he knew that Holden and me were at the end of our ropes right then; I'm willing to bet the bastard set it up that way.

"Now you've got the basics of the job, so if you want in, just give me a call," and he gave us both a card with only his name and a phone number on it. "If I don't hear from you in two days then I'll start looking for someone else and the offer is off the table."

With that he just turned and walked down the alley, whistling, as though he didn't have a care in the world. I looked at Holden and he looked at me and we just stood there for a minute or two as what used to be a young girl washed away in the rain, I wanted to say something and it was clear that Holden did too, but the words just weren't there. I guess it was the same for Holden cause he didn't say a word either; my world had been tilted out of whack and I wasn't sure what to do. Well, when in doubt, return to what is familiar; so I went back in the bar, sat down and ordered a whiskey. Holden waited for another minute or two and then joined me at the bar. We'd glance at each other occasionally but we didn't talk; hell, we didn't have to. Everything that could be said had been said in the alley. I could see him trying to form a question once in a while, but he'd just shake his head and go back to his drink. After about forty five minutes I got up and left; as much as I wished otherwise, the whiskey wasn't helping. Holden barely acknowledged me as I got up and left, maybe the whiskey was helping him, I hoped it was.

As I walked through the streets my mind kept going back to the alley and the way the girl's face changed; and new questions kept popping into my head: what was really out here in the dark, was it after me, what else was there that I didn't know about. In one meeting that bastard had changed the way I looked at the world, and now that I'd had a glimpse of the truth, I couldn't go back. And I'd be willing to bet the son of a bitch knew that when he set up the meeting. He'd trapped us, he'd trapped us with knowledge and now we lived in his world not ours. I finally made it home, my wife was still awake, watching a movie or something; she could see that something had happened.

"What is it Rick, did it go bad?"

I just stood there looking at her and remembering everything that had happened to me that night; what could I tell her that wouldn't hurt her. Slowly I closed my eyes, then walked into the bathroom; her question still hanging in the air.