"Fleas are bad…worth tenting, or getting rid of your pets. You wake up with a hacking cough or a stuffy nose and you head to the doctor and he tests you for allergies that you probably wouldn't have 'cept for fleas. Filthy mouthed little buggers. They bite you and your healthy, already taxed to the limit from mold in the air conditioners in your office, and car, body is sent into chaos. Dust, mold, fungus is in the world, if you live where they are you are used to it. Your body's immune system can handle it. Stick these world traveling bugs, with different filth in their mouth, and all that is natural around you starts to make you sick." Adam smiles and sips his ale. He lifted his finger to make a point and it disappeared in a bang, and puff, of smoke. The mirror behind the bar exploded in a cloud of shards. Adam yipped and gripped his bleeding hand and fell to the floor.
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Another yellow sizzling beam just missed Sam's head as he ducked. He rolled to the floor and fired without thinking. Michael pulled out his 38 and fired into a corner. A small cry of pain shrieked out. Johnny and Michael fell on Adam, pushing him toward a door. Michael threw Sam a new weapon, sleek and dangerous looking. Sam could see through the gun, and fired all around the apartment without hesitation. Sam was reacting to shadows, firing into corners and looking after ghosts. He followed the men and they all collapsed into a small stainless steel room, just as the door slid shut. Michael stood and pushed a button just over a panel. A loud whoomp could be heard in the room beyond the door. Johnny was looking after Adam who seemed to be fine in spite of his bleeding and smoking hand. He turned his hand several times; it unscrewed at the wrist and came off. He stuffed it in his Pants pocket.
"Always the same hand - the little bastards." He turned to Sam and patted him on the back. " Good job. How long you been eating Johnny's burgers?"
It was Johnny that answered. "Less than six months…'twas why we called you to him. He senses them."
"Saints be praised, we will live another day because of him." Michael chimed.
“What was I firing at? I just felt a threat and fired.” Sam barked and he was ignored.
"Let's test our luck and see if it's safe now. We need go have a look."
He pushed another button and the door slid open. The room was as they had left it. Except for a rich cooked meat smell and small pillars of smoke and steam rising up behind chairs and tables. Johnny went behind the sofa and lifted up what looked like a rat, dressed in army gear. He placed the smoking carcass on the table. Sam sat down at the table. It took a while for Sam to wrap his mind around what lay charred on the tabletop. It was wrong. It was the general size of a rat - furred - tailed - but its head was covered with a helmet and it was wearing trousers. It had hind legs, booted feet, and four arms and hands. Hands are what they were, down to three fingers and opposing thumbs on both sides of each hand. One hand held what seemed to be a pistol.
"What am I looking at here? Did that thing fire on us?" Sam asked.
Michael snapped open a laptop and typed in a code.
"Purge Squad…must have felt Sam was 'clear' on them."
"They were after killing you. Sammy boy." Adam grinned. "Second time I've had my hand shot out. I have a snuffer in it that lets me know when they are about…must have found a way to block the signal. I should have been warned. I'll get the tech department on it. Look like rats don't they? They ain't rats…rats, these lot breed for food and cover… for food and diversions. The rodents are their cattle, good protein. We don't pay attention – there has always been rats and they use their genetically altered fleas to wear down our immune systems. Long term plan …smart really!"
Michael's cell phone rang.
"Yes, good. We will stay put. Call me with the clear code." He turned to his comrades. " Warehouse across the street. Ten dead…Speneitti's crew. I know it was too quiet."
Blasts and pops were heard across the street then a queer silence. The phone rang again. Michael answered.
"Thirty…no thirty one. Possible two escaped. We'll look."
Sam was already looking around the room, tilting his head this way and that as if he were a bird. He threw the dead 'things' over toward the table as he discovered them. "Microwave?" He said rhetorically. He picked up what seemed a small rifle. He pointed it at a vase. It exploded in a cloud. He looked down at an air-conditioning vent in the floor. Another beam seared his cheek causing him to yell in pain. He fired at the vent and heard a satisfying yelp. A small section had been cut out; "They came up through here."
He worried the small wound on his cheek. Johnny came over and sprayed something that cooled the wound.
"That’s not a working vent - they must have reattached from the other building. Stupid of me." Michael walked over and looked up at the vent."Any more in there, Sammy? By the by, that was my sainted mothers vase."
"Sorry!' Sam said.
“Think nothing of it. I hated it."
Sam just looked at Michael then closed his eyes. "Yeah, one – old - real old. He's smart and really hates me. Why?"
Adam laughed." You ate a lot of his great-grandchildren! You are tuned into his DNA. Wouldn't that piss you off? It fuses with ours; it's why they can't win out right. The invasion was always going to be slow and determined. We found them out after the First World War. The soldiers in the trenches ate a few them thinking they were deformed rats. When that happened everything changed. We knew about them and went to war. Their nerve neurons tie right into ours like it was made to. We get ESP, they get killed."
"The burgers?" he looked down at the charred burgers smoking on the table.
Johnny piled the dead bodies in a plastic bag and tossed them into Michael's freezer. We eat them, and then some of us just sense when they are around. Others like you can hear their thoughts. Not in words …they don't think like we do. It's like you get them and their intentions. That's you my boy, best we have seen in years.
"What are they?" Sam yelled.
"Aliens…the real aliens. Demons…the real Demons. Jinn… the real Jinn. They have been here for thousands of years. They whisper in our sleeping ears. Mayhem and nastiness is their modus operandi, getting us to do horrible things. Man, the little geniuses use everything, religion, politics, family problems, you name it. The little shits are a real pain in the ass." Adam nodded to Michael for beers around.
"Let's sit down and have a drink." Johnny sat at the table.
"Sam, have you thought about India and the love of rats. It was the first place. They landed there, whispering about how the rats were dead reincarnated relatives. They helped foster certain Religious dogma. When Christianity understood the idea of demonic sleep suggestion, they introduced the European plague, through fleas - their favorite. Paris, Prague, Moscow, Venice, Rome. Flu in New York, San Francisco, and The Nazis found them out and moved the Jews into a closed Warsaw. Africa - Aids…Yugoslavia - whispers and lies. Thus… The Ancient League of International Exterminators, the most secret of secret societies."
“Funding!" Sam smiled.
The cell phone rang again. Johnny answered it from the tabletop. "Yeah, Right." He took a deep swallow of beer and asked Mike for another. " …New landings, last night, outside Kankakee. They figure about ten Battalions. They went Internet last year, Sam.
We got a heads up from you on that phony rail improvement contract you sniffed out. I guess it was a big nasty battle, hard to hide from the public, the cover story was a gangland war. The only thing good was they went subterranean; It's in their furry heathen nature. We were ready, but it was a blood bath, and we don't know how many more are coming."
"Sammy, do you know where the Good Lord cast out the Demon - into the pigs? Pigs love these things better than truffles. He ordered the little Demons to talk, their Commander said they were Legion and he made the lot of them run mad into a herd of pigs. The pigs ate them up and the poor victim had nothing but good nights after that. " Adam smiled. " That happened in Ireland, you know? 'Tis why the monks saved the faith, on that emerald isle. The little bastards got even and took to ruining the potato crops and sending the faithful to New York, and worse misery, for the evil whispers about them a-coming."
"Now you're pulling my leg." Sam grinned.
A 'copter throbbed overhead and the men looked carefully out the window. The black suited and helmeted people exited the building and the 'copter hovered over the building, taking fire. A dish revealed itself under the ship and another whoomp was heard that pushed a lot of air.
"When you hear of some nasty business going on somewhere in the world you can bet these are behind it." Johnny barked like a curse.
"Well, here's the thing, your size don't matter, your brain, and reflexes, are needed. We need you to take over as the Leagues top IT guy. We think you can hack them because you feel them - pays 150,000 a year and expenses. You get to be right with exterminators, you will get a new identity, and all the burgers you can eat." Adam looked at Sam closely with a perfectly straight face.
"They don't taste like chicken!" Sam said.
"…But good huh? "
"Boss, can we try them with a little bit of BBQ sauce on a wheat bun?"
Johnny laughed and patted Sam's back. "You can have them any way you want my boy. Welcome to the League."
ken lehnig (c) 2010
Why is doing what you love the hardest thing to do? Is it because failing what you thought defined you would be too devastating a thing from which to recover? If so, we stay where mere accident has left us.