New to The Diary of the Hapless Hero? Start here.
When I went to meet with Lucy, it wasn’t what I’d expected. The daydream I had about confronting her and getting answers quickly dissipated when I was met by two strange men in nicely tailored black suits next to a black SUV with fully tinted windows. They sat parked in front of the cafe and I laughed at the inconspicuous nature of it all.
I couldn’t avoid them as my direct pathing lead me straight into them. They seemed to know who I was and exactly what they wanted from me when I attempted to walk by. I tried to gauge who or what they were on approach. My first instinct was government suits but I couldn’t be sure as the SUV didn’t have a plate.
As soon as I noticed them gunning for me I tried to escape but they were faster. The larger one grabbed me and held my arms behind my back. The other one, who was quite thin, held a gun to my stomach as he pushed me towards the open door of the vehicle. I thought about fighting but there was no way I was about to lose my internal organs; at least not without some coffee first. I complied.
“Do you know a woman named Lucy Williamson?” The burly one that grabbed me asked as he sat down next to me and locked the doors. His breath smelled like he’d drank the cup of coffee I wanted.
“I might know a Lucy. Hard to say. Maybe.” I didn’t like it where it was going and I questioned the motive of my new friends.
The skinny one in the front who was aiming his gun at me turned to face me, “Show him the picture.”
A tablet PC was shoved in my face and I saw a black and white photo of Lucy in a leather jacket getting into a car.
“Never seen her before.” I really didn’t know why I was trying to protect her after what she did to me but I did it anyway.
“We know that she was your co-worker so don’t even try lying.”
He flipped through two more images. One of them was a photo of me talking to her as she got into her car. I remembered that day vividly. I had spilt water all over my pants by mistake, it kind of looked like I peed myself. Then another photo of me holding a door open for her at the entrance to the offices. As far as I could tell, they were mostly interested in my love life.
“Okay, so you’ve been taking pictures of me flirting with some chick. You the dating police? Hey, can I have a copy of those? You can send them to my phone.” I went to reach for my mobile phone in my pocket, hoping to distract them as I looked around the SUV. It was bare and there was nothing unique about it.
The burly one stared at me, I couldn’t read his expression behind his shades, “You don’t know what you’ve gotten yourself into, do you?”
“Of course he doesn’t.”
“Tell us everything you know about Lucy Williamson.”
“Well, she looks like she might be a size twelve, maybe lower. A nice C-cup-”
“-Shut up already.”The skinny one expressed his impatience and reached into the back towards me. He grabbed me by the collar and pulled it down in a swift motion, revealing my neck to him and coffee breath. They looked at one another with a quiet concern when they spotted the growth on my neck.
“Shit. We’re too late.” He let go of my collar and turned his attention towards the ignition and the SUV came to life.
“Too late? What the fuck are you talking about? You know about this thing?” I asked frantically.
The burly one opened the door, stepped outside and grabbed me by my arm,“Get the fuck out.”
I fought back and pulled my arm free from his strong grip.
“If you know something about this thing on my neck, tell me! What do you know about Lucy? Who is she? She did this to me!”
I heard a click and felt the familiar cold of a pistol barrel on my cheek.
“He said get out. You heard him. I really don’t want to get this SUV all covered in your brains and blood. It’s a rental. The fee would be horrible.”
I slowly moved towards the door and was thrown to the ground by the burly man, The two suits drove off as quickly as they arrived,
I decided to wait and see if Lucy showed up, though I didn’t know why. Part of me was hoping she might have more answers or at least a cure for this weird thing on my neck. I think I’m going to name him Henry II.
I ordered a cup of coffee and drank it down. The flavor wasn’t as strong as usual. It tasted bland for some reason so I ordered another. Same taste. I figured it was a nasty batch and finished in silence. As I sat there waiting, I felt a strange sensation creep down my spine and tingle through my skin, as though someone were watching me. Goosebumps formed like it was mid-december and it was definitely spring.
What I saw next is only something I can attempt to describe in this crappy journal to the best of my ability in case I die soon.
Standing across the street from the cafe was a hulking and brooding man in a long black trench coat and somewhat dirty suit. The alleyway covered most of what I could make out as I tried to see his face. There was a split in traffic and I squinted to try and see what had attracted my gaze so readily.
The man had no face except for two small piercing eyes buried under a layer of black smoke that rose up as ash towards the sky. The smoke surrounded his upper body and trailed up his arms, connecting with the obfuscating illusion on his face. Strange squirming tentacles made of the ash that surrounded him seemed to move with a life of their own. An eerie feeling in the pit of my stomach clenched at me as a bitter taste filled my mouth. If night had erased the moon and stars from existence and portrayed itself in a man, this would be the personification of such an apocalyptic evening.
My head hurt the longer I gazed at this darkened stranger. Dread and fear were becoming my new best friend but I couldn’t look away so I continued to investigate. An annoying large white delivery truck appeared and drove in front of my view. It blocked my curiosity from being sated and I sighed with relief as soon as the truck moved out of view. I scanned the alleyway but the ash man had disappeared as though he were never a part of the scenery. No trace as my vision darted around. I was frantic in my search but was startled when the waitress that served me coffee appeared with a look of concern on her face,
“You okay there, hon?”
“What? Oh, yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?”
“Your nose is bleeding.”