The dingy backstreet café was dimly lit, and the small of charcoaled fried onions permeated the heavy air. A rickety neon sign swayed in the wind outside, and as splatters of rain began to hit the glass windows like bullets, forgotten people came inside seeking shelter from the cold.
He liked this place; it was the place where people sat when they had nothing left to lose. Running his fingers through his chestnut curls to displace the remnants of rain water, he promptly ordered from the bumbling waitress.
‘Coffee. Strong. Black. No sugar’ It was his usual drink and his line of work had given him a very thorough knowledge of the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of café etiquette. He did not have time for inane questions tonight.
‘Sweet enough already, are you?’ The toothy waitress blushed as she attempted to flirt with the enigmatic man in front of her. Pitiful, he thought to himself, pitiful and pathetic.
‘Oh, you have no idea!’ His answering predatory smile silenced her and she hurriedly turned her back to make his drink. It was such a paradox, he mused, as he regarded his reflection in the sodden window. His appearance was intended to attract, to entice, to seduce. But there was always that edge, that undertone, which made people hyper-aware, which spelled dangerous. He loved the taste of their fear; it had a homely, familiar tang to it.
Taking his steaming liquid, he retreated to a table in the corner and surveyed his surroundings. It looked no different from any of the other ‘Greasy Spoons’ he had frequented. Black and white tiled floor, stained of course, with crass red leather booths and silver unsteady tables lined the window. It was supposed to look like an authentic ‘American Diner’. It didn’t. The stench of poverty and despair reeked, even above the scented smile of the grease laden food. His personal distaste for his environment was not allowed to matter much though. He had been sent here to retrieve a new recruit. They were due to arrive any time now, and his instructions were never wrong. He had never failed in his duty yet, making him his Master’s right hand man. She must be important, he considered, if he had been sent for the task. His prominent role meant that he was only sent on high profile cases. That said, he loved his job, no matter who the victim. He relished in the power of the game and the sickening end result. It made his almost translucent skin feel warm for the first time in years. The thrill of a successful catch.
The momentary clink of a bell alerted him to the presence of someone new. A girl. The first thing he noticed was that she was soaked to the point of saturation. Her jeans clung to her like a second skin in a most unflattering way and her pumps were so threadbare, they barely clung onto her feet. Leisurely, he scanned up her body, drinking in her hopelessness and despair. Wearing a band hoodie emblazoned ‘Bleeding on the Ballroom Floor’, it became apparent that she was ‘emo’, and was therefore, prone to a little melodrama. A white lead dangled down the front of her hoodie leading to her ears where her headphones were buried into her ears. Her hair appeared black in the rain, although he sensed that if it had been dry, she probably had some wacky dye in its place. A cry to be different it would seem, which ironically made her exactly the same as every 16 year old girl he had ever seen. She had wide spaced, sea green eyes but they seem panicked and too alert, like she was expecting someone to pounce on her and drag her out at any second. Her cheeks were quite rounded, but were drawn at the same time, lacking the rosy complexion he was certain they deserved. Her lips were clearly her best feature, lusciously pink and soft. He knew instantly that she was the one he had been sent for.
Shifting in his seat, he stretched out his long legs and folded his arms. The games were about to begin, and he couldn’t wait to play…