Blinking on and off was an only slightly dysfunctional digital clock sitting on the bedside table. As the display flickers on and off, a click could be heard noting it was probably just a loose circuit as the clock still read the right time. It was turning to the eighteenth minute after the first full hour of the day and all was dark in the dreary, sea viewing hotel suite aside from that one inconsistent display. Slipping slowly into a sound slumber in the bed next to the pulsating timekeeper was a tall and slender young man with curly brown hair, tired from his drive to the coast. It was within this state between sleep and wake that the room itself became a haze. A soft, lilac-colored fog showered gently out of the air vents, thickening the atmosphere of the chamber yet somehow relieving any thoughts of panic. Gradually a bulk of the gaseous substance drew together over the nodding man and taking form. Within seconds the cloud began to appear more and more like a sensual young woman lacking attire and hovering in place before him. When the trance-like state had lowered his guard as low as it would reach, fangs popped down like spring-loaded blades and the woman’s face became frighteningly grotesque with her pupils vanishing and her jaw spreading wide open. The drastic change shook him from the trance but it was of no avail, for though his mind had awoken his body was still asleep, paralyzed so he would not injure himself during that circadian rest. The creature went to strike down like a viper aiming for the lad’s heart to spill the bulk of his blood.
“Booyah!” came echoing from the other side of the door as it came crashing in from a mighty kick. Standing in the frame of the door was another young man, much smaller than the would-be victim with blonde hair and an all-black karate gi, who tweaked his brow a smirked with ill intent at the malevolent vixen, as if the party had just begun. The loud bang of the door coming down prevented the siren from landing her execution. Startled and panicking from the aggressive heat the smaller man gave off, the monster spread wings from her hips to her fingertips and burst a hole through the exterior wall. Not giving it a moment’s thought, the blonde crowned man leaped out through the gaping maw left on the side of the structure grasping at the banshee’s feet.
Earlier that week in a cab on the freeway rode the curly-haired man, desperately wishing to get home after a tiring flight. He fiddles through the recesses of his carry on impatiently for the key to his front door, whose use had been long overdue when he remembers that he could just enter through the garage. The young man lazily dragged his luggage for the month through the house, not exactly caring about how much noise he made being that no one else should be there at this time of day. He opens the door to his old room, flips the switch to the light, and finds that it isn’t quite the way he left it, for sitting on a revolving chair before him was a youthful-looking, blonde-haired man in black sweats, a black jacket, and a white shirt with the Chinese symbol “金”, or Jin, on the front.
“I’m not going to ask how you got in here since I know how pointless that would be, but why are you here Metal?”
“Oh, just paying my best friend a visit since it is the first day I get to see him in forever.”
“Don’t give me that crap.”
“Fine, it’s a job.”
“It figures. I’m not even back from the other side of the globe a whole day and you are already trying to drag me into work. Why couldn’t you rope someone else, like Buck or The Kidd.”
“Actually, The Kidd is coming too. Besides, you know you were always the only one with the proper allure.”
“Every time. Every damn time, I’m bait for whatever half-baked, life-threatening plan you’ve cooked up.”
“Hey, you’re still alive, aren’t you? Now grab a vehicle. I already told your folks we’d be gone for a couple of days.”
“I never really had a choice did I?”
“Not since the third grade my friend.”
Later on, the two friends were found heading down the interstate in a white, four-door pickup along with another young man who clearly resembled the one referred to as “Metal”. This was obviously The Kidd, The Metal’s younger brother. Over an hour of driving has led into a ruckus with the cabin of the vehicle.
“I’m telling you, it has to be a succubus. All the signs are there: everyone who went missing was male, blood was splattered everywhere yet no body was found, and there were no signs of forced entry.”
“And I’m telling you that is bull shit, yo. What the fuck is a succubus, a Greek whore? We are in Texas.”
“Actually, succubi appear in numerous mythos including Christian lore…”
“Don’t bring up your fact shit. It could very likely be a Chupacabra.”
“How would a Chupacabra even get all the way to Texas from Latin America? At least Succubi are lust demons, they could be anywhere.”
“Will both of you listen to yourselves? Have you ever thought that maybe, I don’t know, it could be a commonplace serial killer?”
The two brothers turned to the driver with a stare of the utmost shock and disappointment as if silently saying “what the heck did you just say?”
“Sentri, what exactly is the purpose of our little business here again?”
Letting out a big sigh he answered the question. “We are professional freelancers, or private contractors of sorts, taking all the jobs that get left behind. The requests that puzzle the rest and the ones no one takes seriously. We especially consider opportunities including the supernatural, paranormal, government conspiracies, or free food.”
“Yo, you actually memorized his stupid mission statement?”
“You mean he hasn’t made you?”
“Like I even listen to half the shit Metal tells me to do.”
“Anyway, could you run us through everything one last time?”
“Of course. So the hotel manager has complained that guests in room 615 are mysteriously disappearing in the middle of the night with only blood spatters left behind. No sign of forced entry, no sign of a struggle, and no sign of the body being moved or dragged away, as well as only male victims since every woman starts to feel uncomfortable and requests a room change. The cops have investigated and put out missing person listings on all that vanished, but without evidence, the cases each go cold.”
“So that is where we come in?”
“Yep. The plan is that Sentri stays the night in the room in the room to lure the succubus…”
“…whatever it is out and before it gets the chance to kill you we bust in and beat the sense out of the thing until it stops being.”
“Okay, as questionable as this plan is on every front, what if it is a succubus?”
“I’m not afraid to hit a girl, much less one that is a demon.”
Sentri just let out a heavier sigh than before while slamming his head on the steering wheel. From experience, he knew that whether The Metal was right or not, there often isn’t any use in arguing a decision he has already made. The companions drove until they reached their destination in the renowned city of Corpus Christi. As per the pre-agreed arrangements, the hotel room adjacent to suite 615 was reserved and fully stocked with tea and steaks because The Metal wouldn’t work for less. As the hour grew close, Sentri prepared to spend the night in the next room down when The Metal’s disappearance worried him.
“Shit! Kidd, where did your brother go?”
“Oh, he said he had to pick something up from the front desk, but he’d still have plenty of time to get back up here before you need him.”
“Typical. He always pulls this kind of shit every time.”
“Well, with the track record you might as well get ready anyway.”
So with deep regrets filling his head from each of their past marks and the torment he had to endure, Sentri headed to room 615 and readied to sleep. Just as the door shuts, The Metal returns to their base of operations now wearing a black martial arts gi without sleeves and the symbol for jin small on the front above the left pectoral as well as covering almost the entire backside.
“Bro, what’s with the karate uniform?”
“I just needed a change of style. I figure if I’m developing my own art I better dress like it.”
“So that’s what you are wearing on missions now?”
“Oh no, I bought like fifteen of these. I’m wearing this all the time.”
“You’re retarded. Anyway, where is Sentri.”
“In the room sleeping as planned.”
“Oh shoot, what time is it!?”
The Metal sprinted out the door just as the minute changed. Without any hesitation, the promptly dressed man spun around and delivered a kick the knocked the door straight off its hinges. His eyes glistened as he saw the succubus above his periled friend knowing that he was right. Just as The Metal was ready to attack the monster, she panicked and flew through the side of the building leaving a gaping hole behind. It wasn’t in him to let an opportunity like this get away, so The Metal did the only thing he could and jumped out of the fifth story grabbing the demon by the ankle, dangling along as she swirled through the cool coastal sky trying to shake him loose.
Back in the room, Sentri still laid petrified when The Kidd finally showed up. He slapped Sentri across the face so hard it looked like his brow hopped off for a second. It was enough of a shock to wake his body up and reunite it with his state of mind.
“Where the hell did the succubus go?”
Sentri just pointed out the unmistakable gap in the wall that spanned the width of the room.
“Okay, and where did my brother go?”
He let out yet another sigh as he left his hand pointing in the same direction. Only having enough time to slap his palm on his own face, The Kidd followed Sentri out the door, down several flights of stairs, and into the truck. Whipping down the side streets much faster than the clearly noted limit, The Kidd pulled out his phone and began dialing.
“Who are you calling?”
“Who do you think”
*ring* *ring* *ring*
“Ahoy, you’ve reached The Metal. How can I be of service?”
“Where the hell are you!?”
“About a hundred feet above the city.”
“Wait, is he talking to you with one hand and dangling with the other?”
“Just activate your tracker and we’ll come find you!”
“Oh yeah, I forgot we bought these.”
The succubus must have dragged him over five miles away from where they started, twisting and turning through the buildings nearby while periodically gaining and losing altitude. She made a tight turn and managed to drop the stubborn hunter when he slammed into a water unit atop an apartment structure. Tenacity is one to The Metal’s most defining traits, though, so he quickly got to his feet after piling through the tower.
The others finally caught up to the tracking signal, but The Metal was nowhere to be found. All they could see above them was the creature. They kept on its trail to the best of their ability, but they lacked any equipment for taking it down.
“Do we have anything to at least throw at it?”
“Yeah, I’m gonna be able to launch this tire iron a few stories up with just my arm.”
“Damn it, where is The Metal when you need him?”
And as if mentioning his name summoned the devil inexplicably, The Metal leaped off a rooftop onto the back of the beast. After placing his tracker on the succubus before falling off, he used the truck to keep aware of where she was heading. Now hanging from the neck of the demented feminine figure, The Metal began laying punch after punch into her kidneys if she even had any. Screaming in agony, the succubus suddenly plummeted sixty feet into an alleyway with the young man still on her. Drifting around the corner, the truck came to a complete stop with its headlight illuminating the otherwise atramentous dead end. The rubble from the crash moved and Sentri revved the engine in case the survivor wasn’t who they had hoped it would be. The Kidd let out a terrified scream when the succubus’ head arose, only to make him pissed to see it detached from the body held up by his brother’s hand as he snickered uncontrollably. They would have punished him for that, but sirens were blaring around the bend and they needed to leave. After loading the succubus into the back of the truck, the group hopped back on the highway until the sun eventually peeked over the horizon as it always did.
“What is Sentri?”
“We never stopped back at the hotel to get paid!”
“What are you talking about, I was paid a week ago upfront. We could have literally just shown up and did nothing and we’d still benefit.”
“Then why did we go through all this!?”
“Like I would pass on the opportunity to kill a demon with my own hands. This trip was fun.”
And after that they rode in silence for the rest of the ride, forcing The Metal to ride in the bed with the decaying body of a postmortem demon.