I keep my head down as I scurry from one building to the other, glancing around furtively in case someone grows suspicious of me.
I glance at the list in my hand, the one that bears the names of some people that I was in charge of hunting down.
A member of a group of hunting the undead ghosts, the group passed a resolution: the person with the most number of kills that year, would become the leader of the group. I was intent on being victorious overall.
It was the last day of the contest and Allig Foredo is the man who was next, hopefully, the last, perhaps one of the most notorious zombie ghosts that ever walked the earth. When he was alive, he was a part of the Mafia, later becoming one of the most bloodthirsty men ever. Even in death, he didn’t stop hunting. Famous people and peasants were murdered in backstreets, gruesomely and covered in blood. After each kill, he always left one single flower, an aconitum, one of the most dangerous flowers in the world.
My sources told me that Allig Foredo was currently hiding out in a small rundown old bunker that was tucked away deep in the backstreets in Tokyo with about ten of his most devoted followers-ahem, slaves. I pull a small black device from my pocket, a box that absorbed sound and transmitted it back to me.
I concentrate and send the listening device hurtling towards the building. I pop in my earbuds and tune into the device’s channel. As soon as the box connects itself to the house, there is some static, and then I hear muffled voices, the sound gradually growing louder and clearer.
The first thing that I recognize is Foredo’s deep and rough voice saying, “The president is going to be here this Friday night. We are going to be waiting for him here.” There is a sound like a finger hitting a map. His voice then becomes like a sting of a whip. “Now, if ANY of you cause this mission to fail, they will find themselves SEVERELY PUNISHED. DO YOU UNDERSTAND?”
There is a stammer of consent that rumbles through the assembled men and women. “DO YOU UNDERSTAND?” he barks again, making sure everyone understands.
This time, the whole congregation says in listless voices, “Yes, Allig.”
“Good. We need to make sure that none on those blasted Death Hunters catch wind of our plans. It would be most……….distasteful,” Allig continued.
I take this as my cue to creep towards the house, so as to catch them off guard. I sneak around the back, take my time and disable all the alarms and traps Allig Foredo set up so as to keep people out of the house. But what he didn’t know was that an expert hacker was on the move.
I slowly inch open the door, holding my breath as the door creaks a little. I close the door, wincing slightly as the door clicks softly. The shoes I am wearing absorb sound so that no footfalls could be heard. It was a trick I learned from Black Panther.
Soon I come upon the door of the room Allig and his followers are in. I slowly lean my weight against the door, trying to hear what else they are saying.
“Be at your positions at 6 o’clock sharp.” Allig Foredo is saying. “I want your weapons locked and loaded……..” His voice trails off. I am sure that he is cocking his head, listening intently.
I stand completely still. But the door has other ideas. There is a small creak and then the door falls right off his hinges and breaks on the ground. Caught unsurprised, I fall with it, landing on the floor with a tiny thud.
“Well, well, well,” Allig says, coming over to me. Through the broken door, I can see his bloodred eyes glaring at me, his twisted mouth in a cruel sneer. “If it isn’t Riley Higgins, one of the most notorious Death Hunters in the world.
I refuse to be humiliated. “Well, well, well,” I say, picking myself off the floor. “If it isn’t Allig Foredo, one of the most notorious Death Ghosts in the world. Or at least I think it is. Is that a…..mask?”
Allig growls. He signals to two of his followers who come over to me and restrain me. I struggle and kick, but they have stronger grips. I give up.
Allig puts his face in front of mine. I try not to flinch as his foul breath hits my nostrils. But of course, I do. He sees this action and smirks at me. “You see. We, here, have zero-tolerance for your kind. Maybe we’ll keep you and torture you for information. Or maybe I think I could just kill you right now.”
“You won’t be able to kill me,” I spit, smiling at him maniacally.
“And why is that?”
“I’m too smart for you. And I, unlike you, am alive, so I believe I have an advantage.”
“Of what?” Allig sneers. “The only person here who has an advantage is me. You see, it seems that you are alone, and I am with an entourage. Do you really think that you can beat me by yourself?” He laughs scornfully.
I bare my teeth at him.
Allig flicks his head to one side. “Take him to the dungeon.”
The dungeon, as it turns out, is the cold, dark, and damp basement of the lair. It only has frightening chains on the wall and various boxes. The two cronies throw me in the dungeon and leave, locking the door behind them with a loud boom that echoes throughout the “dungeon.” I am thankful that they did not lock me up in those chains. Moreover, I am surprised by the lack of carefulness that the cronies have. They only took the obvious and slightly hidden weapons. My tongue works in my mouth, and I spit out the bobby pin that I cleverly hid in my mouth. I creep over to the door and bend the pin into a somewhat straight line. I insert the bobby pin into the lock and concentrate, trying to open the door. I try to envision the workings of the lock. Finally, after some quiet frustration, I hear a click and the door pops open. I grin quietly to myself.
I creep upstairs. Coming down the steps, I knew exactly which steps creak, and which don’t. I assume that no one expected me to escape because of the pile of my weapons they piled up behind the door. I slid the belt around my waist and sheathed all my knives and slid the daggers up my sleeves and down my boot.
I feel a hand grope for the doorknob followed by a voice: “I will go check on the boy,” a voice says. It sounds familiar somehow.
I grip a knife as the door flies open. I just barely manage to keep myself from plunging my knife into the girl’s heart as I recognize her. It’s Ally Singtel, one of the deadliest girls in the group, but perhaps not as great as me. It’s close though. She grins at me, leaning slightly to one side to reveal an onslaught of dead followers, and one Allig Foredo tied up in a chair. His eyes bulge over the handkerchief covering his mouth and nose. “I’ll let you kill him,” she says, flashing me a smile.
I smile tentatively back at her. “Did you take away the kills I could have used to become top dog?” I demand.
Her smile falters a little. “Jeez, Riles. You’re welcome?”
I grimace. “Sorry.”
“Besides,” she continues, tossing her hair, “I have nowhere near as many kills as you have.” She lowers her voice. “You’re the best we have. You deserve to be leader.”
She motions to the figure on the chair. “Wanna do the honors?”
I narrow my eyes at her. “How many kills do you have?” I ask out of curiosity.
“Three hundred seventy-nine,” she answers, looking proud. “You?
“Uh...actually the same,” I reply, slightly disappointed.
She considers this. “Well, I am willing to let you have this win. You deserve it.” I could tell that it took her a while to say these words.
“Oh..um I guess so,” I reply. I take my knife and stride over to Allig, grinning savagely. “Your time is up, Foredo,” I tell him. As I hold the knife over his heart to deliver the killing strike, I am suddenly struck with an idea. I nod at Ally. “Do you want to do it together?”
Ally looks surprised. “Are you sure?” She hesitates. I nod. “But what about your dream to become the leader? I don’t want to separate you from that.”
I grin at her. “Just trust me.”
“Fine.” She comes over to me and wraps her hands around mine.
Together, we tighten our grips on the knife, and together, we plunge it into Allig’s heart. His eyes bulge even more, and then he lies there, motionless. I try not to look at his eyes which are still open, glassy-eyed.
I turn to Ally. “Hello, fellow leader.”
She looks startled. “What?”
“We both have the same number of kills now. We can lead together. If you want.” I hold out my hand to her.
She smiles and takes it. “I would like that.”
Just then, a timer beeps and an image appears in front of us. The current leader, Leo Sigina, smiles at us. “Hello, again students. It seems that our contest has ended. The winner of the contest, or should I say, winners, are Riley Higgins and Ally Singtel, who both have agreed to share the position of leadership. Have a good day.” The image blinks out.
I high five Ally, then motion to the door. “Come on, then. Let’s go home.”
Together we walk out of the place and back to our secret base, ready for whatever adventures lay ahead of us.