An Excerpt from: The Dark Path

Copyright © 2009 Luke Romyn

All rights reserved, Wild Child Publishing.

Vain entered the warehouse lot, swiftly becoming one with the shadows. Finding every alcove and hiding place, floating smoothly and without haste from one to the next, he finally reached the warehouse and slid along the outside wall to the back of the building. Once there he paused and listened. Satisfied nothing felt amiss, he vanished through an open window and into the darkened building.

Light flickered from a small office towards the front of the warehouse. Vain slowly made his way along the inside wall and paused outside the doorway. Inside he could hear quiet breathing and a low hum. Noiselessly he drew a dark bladed knife and dropped to the ground, inching his way into the doorway.

From his position on the floor, Vain watched a lone man dressed in a suit sitting cross-legged before what appeared to be an altar. However, this altar contained neither crucifixes nor holy water. Splayed across a black marble bench top, Vain noticed the remnants of what might have once been a dog. Not much remained to identify the beast, except for a single bloodied paw hanging by a sinew towards the centre of the mound. Amidst the mangled flesh, a smoldering pile of coals discharged a noxious odor into the air. The man inhaled the smoke from the burning flesh and rocked back and forth, murmuring softly.

Vain sank into a crouch, and crept up behind the man. Nearing the altar, the assassin's mind swam from the fumes, and he realized the smoke must have been a narcotic. He glanced at the walls of the office, suddenly dripping with blood and gore, small mouths opening and closing in silent screams of anguish.

Looking down at his own hands, Vain envisioned them covered in boils that bled and oozed pus, ending in wickedly curved claws. Strangely, the knife and his clothes remained unchanged. Ignoring the illusions, Vain continued forward like a ghost, until he reached directly behind the seated man. Striking faster than a snake, he grabbed the man by the hair, wrenched back his head and pressed the knife blade against his exposed throat.

"One noise worm," he hissed, "and you'll be lying on that table with Fido there."

The man shouted out, not with fear or anger as Vain had expected, but joy.

"Oh Master!" he cried, and Vain momentarily resisted the urge to kill him. "You have come to me! You have heard my prayers and tasted my sacrifices and come to bless me!"

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