They are relentless. Absolutely relentless. No sooner do I finish one job, they want another to already be half-way done across the damn country. The Highers are lucky I enjoy the work. Otherwise I wouldn't run myself ragged trying to keep ahead of the flow. There are so few of us now, compared to not that long ago. So few. So sad. We've lost many of our family - defects or dead - but will that stop us? Heh. Of course not. We are His Children. Of course times will be tough for us, but what is glory without pain?
That's what I told Tommy. Other Runners have risen to such glory among the Haunted... so it's just bad luck that it is he that must pay for the success of others. One must keep balance, yes? Every victory must bring also a loss... for Father is not the one who loses. Father NEVER loses. His Children may die. The Runners may manage to pull some... bizarre miracle from their asses. But that is never a loss to Him. For He will always win. Always. If one or two Runners keep themselves intact, then another loses their life.
As for Tom-Tom... yesterday, I proved to him how nice I am. You see, the imbecile had been on the Run for several weeks. Didn't prepare worth a damn - just bolted. No money. No supplies. Truly, this was another case of Natural Selection and he was destined to be "fucked by a train", so to speak. Aka: Yours Truly. But you see... Tommy had irritated me. I had flown in across three States, only to find out he was just sitting there. Waiting for me. Tucked away in a little cage. A police station, to be exact. The little moron had gotten arrested for trying to rob a corner store.
Once the officers on duty were unconscious on the floor, I took a gander at his brand spanking new "criminal" record.
Weapon of choice? A stick. It wasn't even a big stick. He had stuck it in his pocket and had PRETENDED to have a gun. Because that is, without a doubt, a brilliant MASTER plan right there.
And the jackpot, ladies and gentlemen? A jaw-dropping twenty-six dollars... and thirteen cents. ...Can't forget those thirteen cents....
So what was I to do? There was no hunt. No fun. The brat was waiting in a cage around back. Probably under some false delusion he was actually safe. And there I was, trying to figure out a way that actually made the trip worth my goddamn time. A bum in need of twenty bucks could knock off this idiot at this point. I had no excuse to stretch out the assignment. No excuse to enjoy myself. My last order was to put a bullet in him, clean up any messes, and leave by the turn of the month.
They... always ask me to do such... horrible things... horrible, stomaching-wrenching things...
How could I possibly take someone's life... without torturing them first? That's just plain cruel. It hurts my heart to merely contemplate it.
So I flipped the switch and went to his cell. He shied away from me. Backing up against the far wall, like an animal would. He was a twig. No muscle mass. Pleading, desperate eyes like those of a lost puppy. I just offered my hand. Said I was a friend. That I could help him, but we had to move quickly. I told him things. I told him I knew who he was Running from. I explained how the police were getting ready to execute him and dispose of his corpse. I told him they were Proxies, His servants. I was not. I told him my name. Or, at least, one of them. I told him I had taken care of the guards. It was now or never. I asked him to trust me.
In mere moments, his hand was in mine and I lead him from that despicable place. I brought him to my home-away-from-home. Got to know him better. Specifically how twisted his screams could become... while riding the Spanish Donkey.
I so rarely get to enjoy medieval torture routines. I savored every second of it. I admit, it would have been nice to use something... a little more inspiring and majestic... but I had so precious little time. The Spanish Donkey is beautifully simplistic in design. Didn't take long to build at all. Tommy lasted for hours. Each time I added a weight, his screams twisted in a wild howl. The Donkey was wearing a blanket of blood that dripped to the floor, puddling, as his wound just got deeper. He'd thrash. He'd plead. He'd cry. All for nothing, of course. Well, not nothing: my amusement is something. I have to admit, if he was good for nothing else... the moron could certainly scream. Some might say it was overkill. Those people don't have a sense of humor. Or any common sense. If someone is WORTH doing this to, generally you'd want them dead faster. True, yes?
Now I'm just about to land in Arkansas, of all places. I've already begun reading up on my next (hopefully-more-interesting) victim. Let us pray that this time I actually get my hunt.