Jonas and the Hospitable Vampyre
by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson
Jonas sat in his office gathering dust. He hadn’t had a job for two months, and the money was running out. He couldn’t even afford to buy more rounds for the handguns; he had shot them all at the rat, much to his dismay.
Ah, the rat. If he had any friends to tell them this story, they would never believe him if he told them about the rat. He could get a car for little while though. He couldn’t use public transport, and a taxi would just mean another witness. He was looking through the want ads again when the phone rang.
“Killing service,” Jonas answered.
“Murderer? Good. I have to hire one,” said the voice on the phone. “I’m offering you 200,000 kronor if you off this guy for me.”
Jonas decided not to mention his 150,000 kr. rate or the quantity discount. He arranged a meeting with the client, and they met on a street corner in a suburb later that day. The client was a middle-aged man who called himself Jack.
“I feel that you should hear the whole story,” said Jack, “because the target is unusual in many ways.”
Jonas nodded his head and perked his ears.
“It is this guy, whose name is Olaf. He worked with me for a time in the blood bank. He... How should I put this... He was very well thought of in his work, but then he started doing experiments on himself. He wanted to know if a man could become a vampyre... i.e. a bloodsucker. You know, like on TV!”
Yes, Jonas had seen vampyres on TV.
“And he dwelt in the basement of the blood bank and drank the blood. He subsisted on nothing else for many weeks. He did not come up but at night. He said he was afraid he might melt in the sunshine.
“I took this all lightly at first, but then... then he drained all the blood from one of the donors; drank it directly. When I was going to call the police, he jumped out into the darkness, and I have not seen him since!”
Jack handed Jonas all the money, in cash. He also got a picture of the target. But now he got no information on where the target was located. He could be anywhere.
Jonas began cruising around town in search of the victim. He had all the tools of his trade in the trunk of his car. Admittedly, he had enough bullets for only one of his handguns, but all the other stuff was still in order.
For three nights he drove around, and for three nights he found nothing. It was not until late on the fourth night that Jonas finally saw something: a guy at a bus stop. He seemed to be sucking the blood out of the person seated next to him, a young, sheepish-looking girl. Jonas stopped the car immediately, grabbed the rifle and aimed it at the pair. BANG!
The shot went off with a loud report, and the pair jerked. The guy stared at Jonas, but then stood up and hurried away. And the man could really run! Jonas lost him briefly but still thought he saw him disappear into a nearby apartment building.
The next day Jonas put himself in the vicinity of the apartment building, where he thought Olaf resided. He was happy and content, as he had just signed on for welfare. He was of course unemployed according to the official documents. Jonas was always a bit hesitant to be officially registered as a hitman. Fortunately, the state did not read the newspapers.
Jonas stared at the apartment building for two hours. The guy didn’t show himself. Jonas finally did not bother waiting any longer. He strolled off, armed with a few knives, a piano wire and his good pistol.
He walked into the apartment building and started listening. From the ground floor apartment little could be heard. In another one was a dog. That was audible. Jonas broke into another only to see that there was nothing there.
On the second floor people could be heard talking. “Have you heard? A girl was shot and bitten to death at a bus stop close by!”
Jonas figured that was not the apartment. In the opposing apartment the TV and two radios were on; each on their own station, and ruckus in a mob of children. Jonas believed that to be the abode of Satan himself and didn’t dare to enter.
On the third floor there was silence. From under one door came light, but behind the other was pitch darkness. Jonas thought he was on the right track, and he drew forth the gun. He tried to open the door. It was locked. He shot the lock and kicked the door in. He entered.
The air inside was so heavy he gasped. But in the living room he saw lying on the sofa a man which he quickly recognized from the picture: it was Olaf. Jonas drew forth his piece. Olaf sat up, and Jonas shot him four times in the chest.
Olaf seemed not to care, but stood up and spoke to Jonas. “Good day, I am Olaf, and you are?”
Jonas cocked his head and lowered the gun. He then introduced himself. “I am Jonas the hitman. I have heard many things about you.”
“Yes, yes,” said Olaf the vampyre, “you have heard a lot, but you have not heard everything. Sit and I shall tell you the whole story.”
Jonas did as Olaf asked. And Olaf started his story:
“I was working at the blood bank a while ago, and it was a rather tedious job. I had always wanted to be a theologist, or a missionary, and I read at home to prepare myself, both the Bible and the Passion Psalm.
“I also read Vidalin’s postilla, but it sucked so much of my power that I felt I could never finish it; at least not in the conventional way. Well, I already knew the bible and the psalms by heart, and could recite them backwards and forwards, and quote them and whatnot, when it suddenly occurred to me that it could be good, for the fun of it, to read Vidalin’s-postilla backwards.
“And what do you know! I felt as if the might of many men streamed about me! And when I had finished an angel came to me, and he told me, that the postilla sucked the life-force from those men who read it front to back but pumped it into those who read it backwards, and I felt that I had become as powerful as ten men.
“But the angel also said, that each who reads the postilla backwards would become dependent on human blood to live, and would dislike looking into daylight. And I felt it was right also, and now I am here... Look at me!”
Jonas watched the man with amazement and then shot him in the head. It splintered a bit but bothered him as little as being hit in the chest.
Olaf stood up and asked, “I have milk, do you want milk? I also have blood. May I offer you some?”
Olaf walked into the kitchen. Jonas was stumped. He holstered his weapon. Jonas fetched the piano wire from his pocket, snuck behind Olaf the vampyre, and looped the string around his neck. Then Jonas yanked it with all his strength, to be sure to suffocate the target. The string cut through all flesh and sinews and slipped between joints taking off the head.
Jonas did not like the look of it and threw it into the living room. He then drew up a long knife and ran it repeatedly into the body where it stood. In the end it came to pass that all the blood leaked from the body, and it lay breathless.
Jonas went back to his home after this adventure and described the kill thence over the phone. For further confirmation he sent Jack the head with the message: “If you don’t want the head to go stale, you must salt it.”
Copyright © 2014 by Ásgrímur Hartmannsson