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Simple Job

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Herbert Walker was a simple man.

 

True, he wasn’t really a man so much as a monster, but that hardly mattered in regards to how he lived his life. He spent most of his time sleeping, as did most of his kind, and generally enjoyed needlework when he was awake.

 

He was particularly fond of knitting sweaters, of all shapes and sizes, and leaving them in clothing donation bins scattered across the city, you know, for the less fortunate. It was shame really how humanity had so much but cared so little, he always thought.

 

He himself lived in the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, a rather imposing gothic structure in the Upper West Side of New York City, having created a rather cozy nest in the bell tower that allowed him a grand view of Central Park, as well as the city lights when night fell. He’d lived there since the building was underway, having been attracted to the height of the structure, as well its need of a guardian.

 

Like all of his kind, Herbert felt within him a burning need to lay claim to a large human structure and protect it from outside threats. While he wasn’t always capable of preventing disasters (like that damnable fire a few years ago), he was capable of handling one threat with amazing efficiency.

 

Invaders.

 

Just like the three that were trying to break in just below him now. Since the fire, the Cathedral had been sealed off from the public while the congregation gathered the requisite finds to begin the Cathedrals restoration. Sadly, this left the holy site open to the delinquency that so plagued this section of town, near the warrens of Harlem and the soldiers of the various clans that marched those streets, fighting amongst themselves for territory and pride, much as the Celts had thousands of years ago.

 

Herbert hadn’t been around during that time, but from what he heard he would have disliked the Celts, as well as the Norse. Barbarians the lot of them, driven by man’s insatiable lust for gold and land. The three beneath him were using a long tool with two handles, cutting through the locks on the gates to gain access to the ruins of the Cathedral. Why, Herbert hadn’t a clue.

 

But as he skittered up and over the archway and into the darkness of the church, he couldn’t find a reason for him to care what drove these men to invade his home and territory. He’d seen, and heard, how these very men would react to such an invasion into their homes. With their striking red clothes and ink marred bodies, they proudly stood as warriors of their own Clan, moving into the Cathedral to, probably, try and take the territory as theirs.

 

Herbert chuckled darkly at the thought, glittering eyes following their every movement as they walked into the church, once again passing directly beneath him, great beams of sunlight leaping from magic wands. He’d heard tales of Wizards, but had never though that warriors would take the path of sorcery over that of the sword. Times were truly different than what he remembered from his youth.

 

“Hey man, let’s do it on that wall there, it’s got tons a space!” One of the men, a hairless ones with flames wreathed over his forearms said, pulling a green satchel around from his back to hand near his stomach, all three men delving into the bag to pull out… metal cylinders? Herbert shook his head, almost laughing out loud at their weapon of choice for demolishing a wall. What could a cylinder do that a war hammer couldn't?

 

Using his back legs to affix a length of webbing to the flagstone, Herbert quickly and silently began spinning down towards the three men, pulling his sword and shield from their respective spots on his body. He was pleased that he’d get to test the strength of his iron once more, as he was still in desperate need of more leather for the rest of his legs. He’d only harvested enough hide to cure and cut to provide protection for his front four legs and his abdomen, as well as his stomach and chest that sprouted from them.

 

Twirling his top heavy, hooked blade experimentally in his hands, he watched as two of the men, one with a red head scarf and another with a cloth helmet, moving towards his wall with the cylinders in one hand, shaking them as if mixing a drink. No matter, their bald leader was still standing beneath him, and never saw the faint glimmer of the blade coming as Herbert swung it hard and fast, sinking the hooked end directly into the man’s sternum and through his pitiful sleeveless armor, an armor that was quickly growing red with blood as it gushed from the chest wound.

 

Using his forelegs and claws, he quickly pierced into the man’s neck and stomach, lifting him high in the air where he passed him to the next set of legs, bashing him across the face with his targe shield in order to keep him silenced. As the bleeding body reached beneath his abdomen, he began using his spinnerets and back legs to start binding him in a thin casing of webbing, in order to preserve his body for later use.

 

The Bald man’s comrades didn’t notice their friend’s sudden disappearance as they were now using the cylinders to spray colored liquids out onto the fire-blackened stone wall, working in tandem to begin creating large letters.

 

“They’re marking this as their territory…” Herbert mumbled to himself, busily wrapping up the bleeding man before affixing his dangling body to the strand connected to the ceiling. “This will not stand!”

 

Dropping to the floor, Herbert let loose a bellowing roar. “In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost I command you to stop!”

 

The men turned with yelps, quickly followed by screams in their nattering language, both plunging their hands into their trousers presumably for more effective weapons than the cylinders. Herbert didn’t let them.

 

Using all eight legs, he leapt forward, slamming the red-scarfed one into the wall with a bone cracking slam from his heavy abdomen, while swinging his heavy blade into the head of the other, testing how effective his helmet was.

 

The answer was not very.

 

With his blade now stuck in the skull of the dead man, Herbert dropped his shield and reached below him, grasping the red-scarfed man by the neck with his spindly fingers, yanking him up to eye level. The man smelled of fear and sweat, with a growing odor of urine to boot. Unfolding his fangs and opening his esophagus, Herbert stared into the man’s dull brown eyes with his own piercing blue, to see the man’s fear and realization of his impending death.

 

And then he lunged forward, sinking his three inch fangs deep into the man’s face, flexing the muscles behind them to pump his venom into the wound, pumping three large bursts of necrotic fluid directly into the man’s skull, causing his screams to rise in intensity and volume for but just a moment, before the poison ate through his vocal cords. Sadly, the venom had little effect on bone, and so this man would be dying of suffocation as his windpipe sizzled away into a bubbling fluid.

 

***

 

            Herbert hummed as he spun his grindstone happily, his lair awash with the smell of freshly cleaned animal hides and the salt he used to rub them down with. He’d already eaten the majority of his kills, leaving one skinless corpse wrapped tightly in a tomb of webbing and venom. Using his grindstone, he began placing the larger bones to the spinning rock to start polishing them; there was another of his kind not too far off that he loved to trade with, and she was rather partial to jewelry.

 

            And with the pile of pink, fly covered bones sitting next to his grindstone, he had quite a bit of work to do.

 

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