Protect All Monsters

Free Protect All Monsters by Alan Spencer

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Authors: Alan Spencer
are over a thousand workers in this place. This isn’t the only residence quarters on the premises. Jobs range from hard labor to sit-down work. Regardless, you will get your hands bloody. Now’s the time to get over it.”
    They passed a lounge stocked with ten soda machines, six vending machines, a large-screen television, seating accommodations for a hundred people and a sizable video arcade. On the opposite side, there was a library.
    “This lounge has all the accommodations you’d ever want. There are no computers—or at least no Internet. Sorry, folks. There are also no outgoing phone lines. If you haven’t caught on,” he joked, “this is secret government stuff.”
      “Emily Hawkins,” he called out, “you’re in room 113. You can walk about this floor freely, but be advised, you won’t get through security to anywhere else, and you can’t access the elevator. They’re hooked up to a computer system, and only a select few can get special access to other floors, and people, you are not that select few. This is for your safety. I’m sure you don’t want to walk on the floor where the vampires stay.”
    Nobody disagreed.
    The others in the line were assigned rooms, and that left Addey and Herman. He smiled at them, though it was a put-on. “Last but not least, you two are neighbors. Herman, your room is 119, Addey, 120.” He handed them each a key card. “Don’t lose this. They’re hard to replace. That is all. Have a good night.”
    She called out to him, “Hey, wait. What are we going to do in the meantime?”
    “Chill out. Play video games, enjoy a soda, get used to your room, whatever. At six o’clock sharp in the morning, you’ll be woken up. That’s it.”
    Richard moved on, leaving her standing there, a confused stump. His form grew smaller down the narrow corridor until he vanished. Herman stepped in front of her when that happened. He’d been watching the man leave too. “Hey, this ain’t so bad. You see all those vending machines. And my grandkid got me into those video games. I saw a row of gaming consoles—and holy crap, we get our own rooms.”
    “Shut up.” She felt herself growing weak. “I’ve got a killer headache. I just want to be alone.”
    He nodded at her. “No, I get ya. Hey, sorry I called you ‘pretty’ earlier. It’s a habit I have. If I like somebody, I call them that—if they’re female, I mean. I’m not trying to romance you or anything. I’m much too old. And I don’t know about you, but this is stressful as hell. Jabbering on and on is therapeutic.”
    She offered him the best smile she could muster. “Yeah, I understand. No problem. Herman, good night.” She extended her hand. “Friends, is that fair?”
    He shook her hand. “I appreciate that. Good night, Addey.”
    Herman entered his room with a swipe of the key card. The light on the lock mechanism changed from red to green. “Sleep if you can, Addey. I have a feeling tomorrow’s going to be crazy.”
    The door closed. She was the last of the group in the hall. The uncomfortable sensation quickly ushered her into the room.
    Here goes the rest of my life.
    She hadn’t turned the lights on yet before she began to weep.

Chapter Ten
    Addey cried and cried. The release of tears was as potent as ten shots of alcohol. She wiped the tears with the backs of her hands, ending the moment. She couldn’t fight the split-second images of Deke’s death. His blood. Junior’s concave wound to the skull. And she was dead on paper, but more importantly, to her family too.
    “I’m so sorry, Deke.”
    Odd talking to herself in the dark, so she finally flipped the switch on the wall. The room was compact. Twin-size bed. Oak bureau and matching desk. A Zenith flat screen hanging on the wall like an oversize picture frame. The bathroom and shower left barely enough room to stand in place without bumping into one of the fixtures. The floor was tiles, the walls an ugly mother-of-pearl color.

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