The Count

Water gushed down the clogged gutters in torrential waterfall, battering the concrete beneath it. The splash of the water hitting the concrete made it redundant that Miga was standing beneath a ledge to keep away from the rain and stay somewhat dry. No point now, he thought as he receded closer to the waterfall to hide himself. The water ran down his trench coat, slithering icy cold against his torso, and he ignored it as she came out. Five foot four, dark hair flowing down to her lower back in waves. Her tanned skinned glistened golden against the rich pub light, and as she smiled and kissed goodnight her handsome company, Miga swore he could her her warm laughter. Something didn’t feel right. He clutched the small scalpel leaning prepped and ready against his index finger. All he had to do was shadow her till she was alone, preferably out alone on the streets. Then it was a matter of pulling her quickly into the shadows with him, and one slice against the carotid would do the job. She wouldn’t even know what was happening till it was done and he’d help her sit down against a wall till the inevitable, and walk away. Back into the shadows. Gone.

His target stepped off the sidewalk, ready to cross the street till the third female company he hadn’t noticed called her again. Words were exchanged and smiles. The tall women on the pavement blew his package a kiss, and the petite thing started crossing the road, headed straight for the temporary waterfall he was hiding behind.

‘See you tomorrow!’ The woman yelled out and Miga couldn’t help but cynically laugh inside. There would be no tomorrow. Miga knew this. After all, he was hired to make sure tomorrow never came for her again.

As the woman walked past him, running quickly to avoid the splash, the long quiet voice suddenly came back to him from the void. ‘You’re making a mistake, Miga!’

‘Shut up!’ Miga shouted back, and the woman, now few meters away turned around to see who had spoken. She stared at the dark curiously. No, not curiously. She was scared. Nervous. She clutched for her bag and felt around in it, looking for her phone. She couldn’t find it. Panic set in. Miga could see her clearly, a gift he had, along with the curse. He could see as clearly in the night as he could in daylight. He could see the hairs on her hand stand up, bumpy.

‘Who’s there?’ She trembled. ‘I’m calling the police if you keep following me!’ She pretended she had her phone to her ear. ‘It’s dialing…’ She informed.

Miga wanted to laugh. He was not the best and the most efficient silencer for no reason. He was one of the cursed ones. The ones death has touched but deemed unworthy as yet to reap. He was bound to Earth in a way no souls were. His freedom would come from assuring death in the reaping of those with little value. He was getting rid of some of the scum he had a hand in creating. Miga was a Terra Reaper, bestowed with all mighty powers of fabulous hearing, piercing sight, strength of ten people combined, and a shield of immortality that stamped his skin like a branding on a cattle. Miga could not die. Pain he’d feel, but death, well, death wasn’t really his bosom buddy.

‘Look at her, Miga, she look dark to you?’

Miga stayed quiet and stepped through the wall of water towards the woman. Sometimes he liked knowing he put the fear of God in people. He could see it on her face, the terror, the confusion, and then the fear as she clearly saw something walk through the curtain, and yet, no one stood in front of her. She staggered backwards. Her heels catching on the wet asphalt, and she fell, smack on her bottom.

‘Esme Shah?’ He asked, his disembodied voice always added to the terror. He saw her shrink back, astonished and scared. She nodded slightly, scanning the space above her. That was another thing Miga enjoyed. Mortal humans couldn’t see him at night. He was a shadow himself, and shadows don’t have a presence without light.

‘Esme Shah, of Summer Hill. Tonight is your last night here on Earth, any last words?’ Miga leaned over the woman, eyeing her, taking in the glory of her terror. Only three more after this, and his debt would be paid. He’d be free. His soul could pass on to the land on the other side he’d been kept from for the past 50 years. ‘Are you ready?’

Esme, shook uncomfortably, sobbing and crying, backing away little by little. ‘I’m sorry, I’m so sorry!’ She kept muttering. ‘Please leave me alone!’

And on cue, the prayers began. She was calling out to her God to protect her. These parts of the nights were always hard on Miga. He too had begged, but no one had come to his rescue, and none would come for hers. She’d sinned, and sinners didn’t get mercy when their time was up. Yes, true that he was a hired killer with some supernatural powers, but if he were the medium by which terrible people met their timely ends, then so be it. He wasn’t Fate sitting up there in her cloudy comfort writing tales of how mortals died. Prayers didn’t work the last 4996 times, and they weren’t going to work now.

Miga scuffled over her as she continued, and he felt it, a wall forming around her, some kind of power kept him from within arms length of her. Miga swiped the scalpel towards her throat, but the blade hit something hard and sparks flew at the collision. The woman screamed, her eyes widened at the sight of Miga. He could tell she could see him. Miga withdrew his weapon, and the woman still praying eyed the air with disbelief, darting around.

‘She saw me?!’ Miga whispered. ‘She saw me, when my blade struck her, her…’

‘Her shield!’ The voice informed. ‘She is protected.’

The woman in her shock continued praying, swaying back and forth till a passerby spotted her in the middle of the road. ‘Hey, lady, you okay? You need some help?’

She couldn’t nod fast enough and leaped at the young man. ‘Please, help me, help me.’

‘What happened?’ He helped her with her pursed and walked her out to the busier street.

‘Someone just tried to kill me… I think.’ He could hear her say to her savior. Miga stood watching till the mortals were out of sight.

‘That has never happened before.’

‘I told you this was wrong.’

‘But, it was a contract, just like all others. A contract.’

‘It’s not her time, perhaps.’

Miga placed his tool back in its leather pouch and placed it in his pocket, lost in thoughts.

‘Are you sure she is the one? Maybe you got the wrong Esme Shah.’

‘Why are you back?’ Miga suddenly stopped and turned towards the source of the ‘Voice’. ‘You’ve been gone for a very long time…’

‘Three hundred years and 78 days!’

Miga glared. He was sure he looked ridiculous, because essentially he had just glared at the door of some seedy backpacker hotel’s emergency exit door. ‘I mean now. Why now?’

‘I’m your conscience. I’m supposed to tell you when you’re about to do make a mistake. It affects the both of us.’

Miga narrowed his eyes. He knew very well what a ‘mistake’ cost. Another century on the Terra. He’d made those mistakes frequently when he was a newbie. Cost him a good four to five centuries on top.

‘You’re saying she’s an innocent?’

‘Exactly. You could tell too, you know. You saw it in her smile, and the glow. Tell me you saw that?’

Miga begun walking again.

The voice gasped. ‘Miga, you saw and you were still going to go ahead with the reaping?’

Miga stopped, frustrated. ‘Four more, four more, and you and I are free. FOUR more!’

There was no rebuttal or berating. Maybe he went back again, thought Miga. Maybe. But a moment later, all he heard was ‘At what cost?’

For the rest of the night, Miga was alone. And he did not like being alone, so he went to the one place that would help him put his mind at ease.

His employer. The human one.

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