"Mr. Locke...I- uh, I assure you, our primary aim is customer satisfaction." The sleazy man in the monotone suit parroted to me, "But I'm afraid we won't be able to sanction your loan. Well because.."
And here it comes.
"....because you truly have no tangible assets that qualifies with the requirements set by our establishment." The banker continued with an apologetic face. "We are truly sorry. But we'd love to provide other services ! We have this very lucrative and new invest-"
"No- It's fine. Thank you for your time though" I said, quickly standing up and gathering my documents and sliding them into my folder. "But I'll let you know if I ever change my mind."
I snaked my way through the sea of people coming in through the revolving doors of the bank.
It felt more like swimming against the unstoppable waves of an ocean.
As soon as I managed to step out of the building, I took a deep inhale, loosening my tie.
Not that it helped though, the city's air was thick enough with smog to be cut by a blade.
I flung my briefcase into a dumpster and fished my phone out of my pocket before it could ring.
"Yeah, it's a negative on this front too. Apparently I don't have enough solid- tangible- whatever. I don't have enough 'assets' apparently" I answered, as I looked around, scanning to crowd to see if she was watching.
"Oh that I know. I just called because you asked me to call at 4, and well it is 4." Her voice flew in through the speaker, soft but staticky.
"Have i mentioned using your omniscient sense on me is a gross invasion of privacy ?"
She chuckled in response, "Have I mentioned that you carry your emotions of your lips ? I could almost visualize your annoyed little face."
I heard the prominent noise of sipping, "Wine ? At this time of the day ?"
"How do you know I'm not drinking Tea ?" She asked indignantly.
"Liz, in all of our 6-month acquaintance I have never once seen you drink tea. Or coffee for that matter."
I slipped past the chorus of people and rumblings of automobile engines and into a dark alleyways.
"By the way, Someone's been following me for the past...what eight minutes now ?"
I heard the soft clink of glass against something hard.
Silence followed, which lasted about a few seconds.
"Are you going to kill them ?" She asked, her voice painfully serious.
"Well...Honor forbids it. My honor forbids it." I rolled up my sleeves, holding my phone, awkwardly, with my chin.
"Honor is such a lousy excuse. Don't get any blood on yourself, The bedsheets are new, and blood is incredibly hard to clean."
"Bleach, or well, Hydrogen Peroxide works." I came to a halt in a secluded area. Decrepit buildings and slums. Low possibility of casualties.
"Bleach ? Ugh, you savage, they're linen and custom-made."
"Uh.." I made a confused noise, "Sure, okay, No blood, got it." I made sure to make the sarcasm in my voice very visible.
I fiddled with the surprisingly intact guitar pick I picked up from the alleyway.
"I'm serious, don't get into bed if you've got blood on Y-" Her voice cut off midway.
I stared at my phone to realize it had died.
"Funny how that happens." I muttered quietly, placing my phone on a tall windowsill.
"You know, she was right. Honor is a lousy excuse." I said, louder, making my assailants stop in their tracks.
"Shadows don't hide your scent, nor do they hide your sloppy and loud footsteps."
I turned towards their general direction and flipped the pick around in my fingers.
"So, which one of you would like to try their hand at the lotto machine first ?"
I said, with a smile on my face, and a burning crosshair in front of my eye.
This time the shadows answered, first in a low growl, then in a dead language i didn't recognize at first.
"The Regime will fall. So will the House of the Unholy, and You, Angra Mainyu." One of them stepped out of the shadows, their voice indiscernible, their face, shifting continually.
"Well you didn't have to change to English for me, Prakrit was just fine." I nonchalantly flung the guitar pick past them. "Or was it Akkadian perhaps ? I could never tell ya know-"
"Stalling will not bring you salvation. You are alone, and you will die the same." The one still in the shadow spoke up, I assumed they too were wearing a suit, just like the other one.
Then again, if you're faceless and indistinguishable, why wear a suit at all ? To look presentable ?
"Eh, wasn't stalling." My crosshair focused onto the still flying guitar pick, "More like....coercing fate." A faint whispering floated through the air, then the clinking of plastic against metal.
Before the wraiths could comprehend my cheesy remark or answer, the guitar pick shot through one's chest, bouncing off the wall, and then through the other's head.
The shadows seemed to recede as two suited skeletons fell forward, and the invasive groaning of the traffic returned.
I smiled as I gazed at my handiwork, as the floating crosshair disappeared with a audible noise.
Which is probably why I didn't notice the third assailant.
Hell, maybe the two wraiths were being noisy on purpose.
I felt the cold metal hit the back of my head, my vision clouded, and I felt my consciousness slip into the void.
When I woke, I found myself to be freezing, and atop a pile of bodies.
In a room that seemed to have no end.
And an audience that was very clearly a chanting cult.
I couldn't tell if it was a dream or not because the next time i slipped back into consciousness, my ears weren't ringing, the burning candles and the chanting cultists were gone.
As were the bloody and dismembered bodies, replaced by charred corpses. And a masked silhouette, seated atop a throne in the only direction I could manage to see.
Then I realized that I couldn't move a single muscle in my body.
And then, the fear set in, when I saw the masked person slowly walking towards me, a glass of wine in their hand.