Agent of S.T.A.L.K. in PraguebyFive_Eight©
Jakub returned to the office. "My men noted no evidence of bloodstains or splatters."
"And all three of the women are still accounted for?"
Jakub nodded and reached for his cigarette pack, Kryštof did the same. Mercer waved off the offer for a smoke and chewed absently at the inside of his cheek, thinking while the two men lit up. Kryštof asked him if he wanted a drink and, when he said okay, picked up the phone on the desk.
"What would you like, Mercer?"
"Dam si jedno pivo prosim?" Can I have a beer, please?
The two men smiled when he spoke in their native tongue. Kryštof grinned, "Well, well, you speak Czechoslovakian."
"I know enough phrases to get by."
"It is important to be able to ask for something to drink. Any particular brand?"
"Pilsner Urquel will suffice, thanks."
Kryštof ordered drinks over the phone and finished with: "And have Jitka bring them upstairs, thank you."
Mercer asked Jakub, "How much money did the victim have in his wallet?"
Jakub exchanged a look with Kryštof before answering him. "None. I think the girl must have stolen it. If she's not above mutilation and murder, what difference does a little harmless thievery make?"
Mercer let the question drop; the cops would pocket all or most of it anyway if the denizens of the 'Fun Palace' hadn't appropriated it first. "Have the three suspects worked here longer than six months or a year?" Kryštof shook his head. "Two of them only a month. The third I would estimate two months, three maximum."
"Of the girls you're watching, who would you say is the most likely candidate responsible for killing the American?"
Jakub answered, "If I knew that we would not have called S.T.A.L.K. We would clean our own house."
"Have either of you ever encountered a vampire personally?" Mercer asked, glancing from one man to the other.
They both shrugged and admitted they had not, at least not knowingly.
"Vampires are supernatural creatures, as you know, and they have superhuman strength. One could tip a motor car on its side or throw your overzealous doorman Alexandr across a city street without even breathing heavy."
"I talked to Alexandr now that you mention him," said Jakub. "I understand you two had a slight altercation."
"Slight," agreed Mercer.
"I apologize for not letting him know we had called on your services, things are abnormal here tonight. I simply forgot."
Kryštof said, "If vampires are so powerful, how do you intend to handle the girl once you pinpoint if she is guilty?"
"Let me show you just one of the tools of the trade," Mercer said.
He shrugged out of the trenchcoat and reached into the right side slash pocket. When he withdrew his hand he held a large chrome-plated pistol with black rubber handgrips and two fat barrels, one on top of the other like an over-and-under shotgun. The thing had two hammers, but when he laid it flat in his palm the two Czechs saw the gun had a single trigger.
"What the fuck is that?" exclaimed Jakub. "I've never seen such a handgun."
"It looks like a flare gun," stated Kryštof.
"This is a prototype that Pfeifer Zeliska in Austria milled especially for S.T.A.L.K. for almost two hundred thousand Korunas. It's along the lines of a Smith & Wesson 500, one of the largest pistols manufactured in the world. One pull on the trigger will discharge the top barrel. A second pull discharges the lower one. The muzzle velocity is something fierce. You can't shoot a hole through an engine block and there's only two shots, but it does the trick on vampires."
"What does it shoot? Silver bullets?" asked an astonished Kryštof.
"Close. The ammunition is silver, but not bullets," Mercer explained. "Silver darts. The era of the wooden stake is behind us, gentlemen."
Someone knocked on the door and Kryštof called out, "Just a minute, please." To Mercer: "Jitka is one of the girls Jakub's team has been watching and she entertained the dead American tonight. Are you ready to interview her?"
"Sure. You want me to use your office?"
Kryštof leered, "Unless you'd rather interview the girls in one of the bedrooms."
"I'd prefer here. Give me a few seconds to prepare."
Mercer carefully replaced the gun in his trenchcoat pocket, then folded the coat and positioned it on the right armrest of the couch in such a way he could draw the unorthodox pistol quickly while seated. Sitting down, he put on a pair of Ray-Ban style sunglasses: another tool of his trade, the special lenses treated to avoid being ensorcelled by gazing into the eyes of a vampire.
"I can dim the lights if it's too bright for you, Mercer," joked Kryštof.
Jakub had a smirk on his face too. Mercer was accustomed to sarcasm while wearing the bloody things indoors. He hadn't discussed the fact if the two of them worked alongside a vampire they might already be under a hypnotic spell and be unaware of it. Settling for flashing them a lopsided "aren't-I-cool" grin, he indicated to Jakub to bring the girl into the office. From the corner of his eye he saw the dishwater blonde he'd seen dancing on the main stage downstairs earlier. She paused inside the doorway, a big bouncer in a tux stood behind her.
Jakub bid the girl to come inside and told the man in the hall: "Wait out here, Teodor, I'll be out in a few minutes."
Teodor grunted and closed the door. Jitka greeted Kryštof and Jakub by name and, after favoring Mercer with a friendly fuck-me smile, giggled like a schoolgirl. Lord, thought Mercer, wondering if she was even old enough to be employed at a sex bar like 'Fun Palace.'
The petite young lady carried a tray with a glass of beer and two shot glasses of whiskey. To go along with her schoolgirl image she had a candy sucker in her mouth, maybe from one of the dishes scattered around the club downstairs, the white paper stick protruding between generous full lips that an entertainment columnist in a newspaper might describe as beestung. Her hair was combed to one side of her head and held in place over the ear with a gaudy red plastic barrette, the long hair in back sweeping over her slender shoulders. Mercer could see the nipples of her small breasts poking through a white buttoned top that left her midriff bare. He noticed the obligatory belly button piercing, but not a single tattoo. She wore a pair of white stiletto-heeled shoes with a strap buckled around each dainty ankle, but didn't clomp around like Izabela. When she bent to set the tray on the desktop her skintight blue cotton shorts rode up on the cheeks of her rather plump bottom, her best feature. The material stretched taut between her legs to display a perfect outline of the shape of her prominent pussy lips. The flimsiest of thongs would have made an impression under those shorts, Mercer knew for certain she had no knickers on underneath or he would've detected them. Nothing was under her pants but tender juicy flesh.
Slender young Jitka gave off an aura, pure sex on wheels; easily the most beautiful and alluring girl he'd yet glimpsed in the 'Fun Palace.' Despite the very real potential of her posing a death threat to him, an unwelcome stiffening began to take place behind Mercer's zipper, most distracting. He tried his best to concentrate on business; the girl could've killed a man less than two hours ago, but he couldn't tear his eyes away from the bulge made by her splendid cunt. When Jitka turned around to bring him his Pilsner the front view of her shorts took his breath away as much as the rear. Her pudenda protruded above the top of her thighs forming quite a pronounced vee. Shorts like hers normally bunched at the crotch, but the material stretched tight across her feminine genitalia to accentuate and draw attention to it. The effect was startling. Jitka must've bought those shorts two sizes too small on purpose.
He shifted his legs to accommodate the aching full blown erection the sight of her inspired, thankful he'd remembered to don his vampire-proof sunglasses prior to making eye contact with the scrumptious vixen. He prayed she wasn't a vampire; it would be a sin to kill a sweetheart like her. To make matters worse she sat in his lap as she handed him the beer.
Jitka giggled again when she discovered what transpired below his belt, squirming against him in a deliberate lascivious fashion, he felt the heat of her loins burning against his. She held the edge of the glass to his mouth with a lewd and knowing smile pasted on her face.
"I wish you a pleasant Dušičky. I think you need to take a drink, mister," she invited, the sucker still planted in her mouth. She bounced up and down playfully in his lap. "You seem so uncomfortable, handsome. And stiff."
Mercer drank, anything to take his mind off her.
Kryštof came to his rescue by saying, "Jitka, put the glass in his hand and get up off of his lap. We didn't summon you up here to relax him."
Jitka pouted when she stood, but not until she ground herself one final time against Mercer's tumescence. As she'd struggled awkwardly to her feet she ran a casual fingertip down the length of his knob and winked at him without Kryštof and Jakub being able to see. She jiggled her bottom in rebellion as close to his face as she could before taking a step toward Kryštof's desk, crossing her wrists innocently behind her back and thrusting out her chest. Mercer picked up his glass and regarded its golden contents for a long moment before taking a sip and setting the beer on the floor beside the end of the couch, he wanted both hands free. "Quit behaving like a slut for just a minute, Jitka," said Jakub sternly.
She removed the sucker from her mouth with a slurp and licked it suggestively. "I am only doing my job," she complained.
"And you do it very well however we have some questions to ask you. This is Mr. Mercer, he has questions too."
"He can ask me anything he wants," the sultry little thing replied in a husky voice.
Kryštof said to Mercer, "Where do you want to begin?"
"Let me see the wallet again." Kryštof took it out of the desk once more and handed it to Jakub, who handed it to Mercer. Mercer slipped the driver's license out of its plastic sleeve and held it up for the girl to see.
"Do you recognize this gentleman, Jitka?"
She swung around to face him. He felt a twitch in his pants when she cupped her pubic mound to lean closer to inspect the license. "I saw him, he was downstairs earlier."
"Did you and he come up to the third floor?" asked Kryštof.
"Have you fucked anyone tonight or sucked any dicks?"
"Not yet," she replied coyly.
"You're not lying to me, are you, Jitka?"
"Oh no, never, Kryštof."
Jakub said, "Some people say they saw you with this man."
"He bought me a drink. He told me he was from the United States."
"Did you do anything with him? Come to the second floor?"
"I performed two lap dances for him. First floor."
"Are you sure you didn't do anything else?" asked Jakub.
"I didn't want to do anything with him, he had bad breath. And . . ."
"And he tried to stick his finger in my ass. I did not like that. Only special friends of mine may enter there."
Kryštof and Jakub chuckled. Mercer noted both shot glasses on the tray were now empty. While they bantered with the girl, he slipped the American's wallet into his coat pocket, unnoticed.
He asked, "After the lap dances what happened?"
"I got called up to strip on the big stage."
"And did you see this man again?"
"I saw him from the stage. By that time he was sitting with another girl already."
"Which one?" Kryštof asked. "Tell us who."
Jitka thought for a moment. "Štěpánka. I think."
"Is Štěpánka one of the three?" Mercer inquired.
Jitka asked, "What three? What are you talking about?"
Jakub said to her, "Never mind what we are talking about, just answer questions when you're asked. Did you see Štěpánka take the American upstairs?"
"No. It was dark and other men were giving me money, I did not pay any attention to him after that. When I finished dancing I did not see the American or Štěpánka again. Maybe they went upstairs, maybe not."
"You're absolutely sure?" Mercer said.
"Very very sure."
Mercer said, "Why don't you step into the hall for a moment, I wish to speak with Kryštof in private."
Jitka made a production of sucking her lollipop slowly in and out of her mouth for Mercer's benefit and asked, "And after that do you wish to speak to me in private?"
"Ouch!" she howled when Jakub smacked one of her buttocks smartly.
He grabbed her by the arm and hustled her across the room. "Outside," he growled.
"You are mean," Mercer heard her say just before the door slammed.
When they were alone Kryštof asked him, "Do you think she's our culprit?"
"I didn't see any specks of blood on that white shirt of hers, but I still want to try a few tests to make certain."
"You and her, alone?"
"If you have no objections. If these tests expose her as a vampire I don't want you or Jakub behind her in the line of fire. One of those darts will go right through her and embed itself in the wall."
"You'll execute her right here?"
"I have a license granting me the privilege to do so in Europe and in the States, and it's legal. That's what you want, isn't it? Even the authorities in Prague don't want a vampire roaming the streets unchecked. Especially if she's murdering citizens."
Lost in thought for a moment, Kryštof rubbed a hand across the stubble on his chin. It looked meticulously groomed. "How much time do you need?"
Mercer replied, "If I don't show my face in fifteen minutes, check on us. Is this room soundproof?"
"Can you lock the door from the outside so no one inside can exit?"
"As a matter of fact I can. The lock is keyed so it locks from the inside or out." The Czech paused to think some more. "May I ask why though?"
"If that girl is innocent, I mean human, are you worried about her and me alone together?"
"Of course not!"
"Well, if you stick your head in and I'm dead on the floor lock her in here and call the cops as fast as you can dial the phone."
Kryštof grimaced. "Fine. I'll send her back in."
"Just a minute," said Mercer. He hitched up a trouser cuff, drew a silver dagger from the sheath belted above his sock and hid it under the couch cushion on his left within easy reach. Next he unbuttoned the top button of his shirt and reached in to fish out a large silver crucifix that dangled from a chain around his neck and slipped the cross out of sight in his breast pocket.
As he readied himself in the event of a battle Kryštof asked, "Mercer, how many vampires have you executed?"
He picked the beer glass off of the floor and watched the bubbles rising to the top a few seconds before sipping. "If luck is with me tonight will make forty nine."
Kryštof whistled. "I know in my lifetime I have done many things, some of them dangerous, some not exactly legal, but I could not put my life on the line day in and day out. What . . ." he sought the correct word, ". . . drives a man like you to such risky work?"
As a private individual, Mercer disliked sharing information about himself. Jet lag had him out of sorts and he didn't want to spend a minute longer in a den of iniquity like the 'Fun Palace' than he had to. In spite of Kryštof's questionable affiliations, Mercer respected the man's manners and the way he ran his business, so he answered the question. "I had a daughter once. I say once because a notorious vampire in Exeter, an incubus, the male equivalent of a succubus, attacked her when she was only seventeen. I tracked down the monster responsible and killed him, my first vampire execution, though nothing can bring my daughter back. She's dead now, or rather, undead."
"She is a succubus?"
"I hope not, Kryštof, that's one of the details I couldn't wring out of the incubus before I staked him. But he marked her and made her a creature of the night. Her current whereabouts is unknown. For the last eight years I spent most of my free time searching Europe and the States in hopes of finding her."
"Surely you would not, I mean, if you found her . . .?"
"Would I kill her? I've often asked myself the same thing and honestly I have no idea what I would do if our paths ever cross."
Mercer changed the subject: "Jitka looks very young." Like his daughter, he thought, but he knew from experience the undead didn't age. Two hundred year old vampires could appear to be fifteen if that's how old they were when they became one. "Do you know how old this girl Jitka is?"
"In this business I have to know how old the girls are. If the cops catch underage girls working here they could shut down this club and my superiors would not think highly of that, my friend. She started here the day after her eighteenth birthday. I hope Jitka is not a succubus; I'd hate to see such a good-looking woman wasted. As immature as she is, she's a good kid, and will grow up one of these days."
"I hope not too, Kryštof." Mercer said, compartmentalizing and putting away any lingering thoughts of his own lost daughter. "Go ahead and send the girl back in here. Don't forget to lock the door."
Kryštof went to let Jitka into the office. She got a huge smile on her face when he left her alone with Mercer and bounded over to the Englishman. When she acted like she intended to sit in his lap again he asked her to place the desk chair in front of him and have a seat. Jitka complied readily, promptly lifting her top over her head as soon as she sat down.
"No!" Mercer said.
"What do you mean no?" she laughed, throwing her shirt in his face. She wiggled her sunburned apple-sized breasts and moved to put her hand on his cock that had, much to his chagrin, sprung erect for the second time at the mere sight of her. Young Jitka possessed an exquisite set of tits; one of the nipples pierced to permit a gold ring through it. Mercer felt great relief at being capable of preventing her hand from reaching its destination; a succubus would have the strength to resist him if she so desired, or break his arm off at the shoulder. Or something else.
"You do not just want more talk I hope. I want to please you, I am very good."
"I've no doubt you can furnish me many references," Mercer sighed. As a rule, he didn't have such an immediate physical reaction to lovely women, she might be a succubus to have the power to induce such uncommon lust in him. "Settle down, Jitka, and just sit there and put your top back on so I can ask you a few more questions."
He tossed her shirt back to her and she flung it on the floor with a maddening grin on her beestung lips. "Why don't you ask while you fuck me? I can never lie to a man when he fucks me."
"Don't be difficult. Now close your eyes until I tell you to open them, there's something I want to show you." He regretted his choice of words the instant they left his mouth.
She clamped her eyes shut, giggling. "That turns me on, Mr. Mercer."
He willed himself not to let his gaze seek the sweet vulva delineated in her shorts and withdrew the cross from his pocket to hold at eye level. "Go ahead and open them now."
She did. When she spotted the cross disappointment colored her face.
"What do you think of this?" he asked.
"It is not what I hoped you would show me."
"Keep watching it. Do you think it's pretty? Why don't you hold it in your hand and look at it up close."
"There is something else I want to hold in my hand and get a closer look at," she confided.
"Now do what I say, Jitka," he ordered.
She exhaled loudly and took the cross in her hand, examined it briefly. "Is this a present for me?"
"No," Mercer said, feeling reassured, a true vampire would've averted her eyes and the crucifix burned the holy hell out of the skin of her palm.