God, I hate it when it gets this late. It's tough to stay awake this close to morning.
I looked around the room. Just a few wasted, washed-up people. I fit in just fine.
I turned back to my drink, deep red wine. It's just for show, something to do while I wait. The barkeep knows me, leaves me alone.
I use the mirror behind the bar to keep an eye on the room. Who knows? I might be able to fit one more in before I sleep.
I see him, off to the right, looking at me. I know the look. You do this long enough, you can't help knowing. I size him up. Desperate, that's what comes across. He's not getting much, I can tell. Thinks I can fix that for him.
I glance around the room. It's too quiet to make a move. It doesn't do to disturb the rest of the insomniacs.
I look over at the barkeep, my eyes flicking towards the back way out. He just nods and goes back to polishing glasses.
I make a production of emptying the wine glass and sway through the room and out the door. The alley in back is cold, deserted, perfect.
I've only moved a few steps before I hear the door open and close again.
Yeah, it's him. I turn to him and he puts his hand on my shoulder, pushing me back against the wall. Ouch. The uneven bricks press into my spine.
"Hey, not so rough, big boy," I say. "I've got what you need, don't worry."
A grin splits his face, almost making him look passable. It freezes as my right hand shoves the thin, sharp stake up under his ribcage, left side.
I spin him around, slamming him back against the wall.
"Not so comfortable, is it, big boy?"
He snarls, lips pulled back, fangs clearly visible. The stake holds him immobile as I slice through his neck. The specially sharpened blade does a good job and his head topples, rolling away down the alley.
I shudder as I wipe the blade clean. Exhaustion, I know. I'll be glad of the shorter nights, later in the year. These mid-winter nights suck.
"Home is the hunter..." I quote as I make my way uptown and home.