Don’t Hunt the Hunter

The streets were home only to the cold, – By, Tyler Golec

Empty streets – once bustling markets are deserted except for a few bold stalls. Those courageous enough to be outside wandering with mask-covered faces. Rain clouds hung over the city in early March. Cold, that’s what those who lived here called it. 

There was a pedestrian walkway on the bridge crossing the river. I spared the moving water below a scowl as cars, taxis, and buses passed. Cars were safer now, that was the thought. It was easier to be outside. Fewer eyes and I too wore a mask.

Yonghe – the name of the place on the other side of the bridge. Ugly buildings, too many ugly buildings here. I inhale deeply after pulling down my mask. Dog shit, rust, and car fumes, there wasn’t a pleasant smell to be had.

“Huānyíng!” The clerk of the Family Mart spoke. I had just walked out of the alleyway nearby.

I went to the back, the big Taiwan Beers were just 55 TWD. I bought two. I met eyes with the clerk. She went paler and handed me my change.

I crossed the street and passed an oddly decorated 7-11. I turned left down a back alley and passed a closed-up bar. It was only noon. I then turned right. From their, random alleys as I drank the beers. Cold, that was why I had them. They felt cold.

A gentleman walked by me.

“Tài zǎo hē píjiǔ… Wàiguó rén…”

It took about a second. The smashing of a glass bottle, then the splitting of the carotid artery of the gentleman’s neck. I caught the man by his scalp and caught his blood in my half-finished beer bottle, well, as much as I could.

I left his corpse and looked up at the camera watching. It had never seen me, just the death of a gentleman. “Guǐ,” they have called me.

I drank from the bottle of beer and blood.

More alleyways, no more gentlemen. The streets were now only home to the cold.

A bridge over to Zhonghe – it was much smaller, but the water it crossed was still moving. I left my blood-soaked bottle on a cement railing. Someone would take care of it. I walked along the walkway above the water. I did not wish to cross it. 

The blood left me full of vigor, I found my way back to the Tamsui River. The riverside park was pleasant. Exercising with masks isn’t pleasant, so the park was quiet except for a few cyclists and a gathering of foreigners practicing football.

“Hey, I know you!” I assumed the person wasn’t talking to me. “Hey!”

I stopped and turned around.

She was younger than I preferred to kill.

“We’ve met before.”

She was Taiwanese. I had never seen her before. We met eyes.

She paused for a moment but then spoke. “It was New Year’s Eve, right? You were at 101 with some other foreigners.”

Photo by jk retiza on Unsplash

I had been in western Taipei. I licked my lips beneath the mask.

There was a fisherman around, who wasn’t fishing. There was a fit white runner who was suddenly out of breath.

I smiled at the girl, and the world seeming spun around me splitting as dozens of bats took flight into the cloud-covered sky from where I had once stood. I came together atop one of the ugly nearby structures and looked down at the three. They looked back up at me. I scowled and turned away from the edge of the structure. What a pathetic waste of energy that had been. 

I once again became many and we dispersed across the city in all directions. People had discovered me before. They had lived short lives. These three would do the same.

I found the would-be fisherman at a Japanese bar on Chang’an East Road several nights later. Still, in his suit from his salary job, he drank and had “a time” with his colleagues. They left and ventured north and east a bit down some alleyways to where provocatively dressed women stood by thresholds. 

The men, hanging off each other in their drunkenness, found an establishment of their liking. When his women took him into the shower to pleasure him, I took form from vapor and waited, sitting on their bed.

They came out sopping wet, warm, and professionally close. I smiled when they saw me, and I was wearing no mask now. Their bloodless corpses would be found in the morning.

Fresh and strong from the meal of the man and an unfortunate whore, I occupied every dark corner of the city searching for the last two. I found the runner first. He went to the gym three days a week. He would lift, he would shower, then he would swim, and shower again. 

One day, when he was showering in the pool locker room, alone, the doors quietly clicked as they locked. My steps were silent on the moist humid floor. The lights flickered, as my anticipation grew. As my thoughts grew morbid, the shower must have grown cold.

“The fuck!”

I heard him turn off the water. The lights flickered again. 

The mat I stepped on sloshed the water from his shower.

He heard it.

I became impatient.

I ripped the stall to shreds as I devoured every drop of his protein-packed blood.

The girl was the hardest to find. That was because she was trying to leave. Sometimes fear is the right response. If it wasn’t for the age covid, she would probably have been gone before I could find her. But, as it was, I caught up to her at Taoyuan Airport. 

I followed her as she arrived. I was in every dark corner she passed. I was every wisp of smoke in the air and sat across from her in the desolate airport lobby by her boarding gate.

She looked at all the empty chairs, then at me. I had downed my best suit, perhaps several decades out of style, but it had its charm. It was all-black and fit my tall lean form tightly, I wore a black silk hat as well, and a pure white medical mask.

She stood up to move further away from me. My head had been tilted down, so she couldn’t see my eyes under the brim of my hat. I looked up.

“My apologies,” I said. “But, I believe I know you.”

She froze and sat back down. She looked at her gate, they wouldn’t start boarding for 15 more minutes.

Photo by Jack Brind on Unsplash

“Are you going to kill me here? Aren’t there too many people?”

I looked at the attendant managing the counter. I looked at the half dozen people sitting near the gate. Half of them were in some sort of hazmat gear.

“Perhaps, I’m hungry.”

“That would be a lot of attention.”

“Well, I’m at the perfect destination for starting over. Where is your flight to, Vancouver?”


“I think I would do just fine there.”

“What are you talking about?”

The Eva Airs Flight landed at Vancouver International Airport as planned. The girl passed through security as she had planned. Even eyes and scanners didn’t quite notice her lack of warmth. That wasn’t what they were there for.

She left the airport and she walked. She walked until the bones of her feet had begun to splinter until she was deep in some temperate rainforest. Then the sloshing slurping of her flesh splitting and dangling to the ground as I rose out of whatever was left of her. 

She had died at the airport in Taoyuan. She had made for a nice fitting suit. I tried to wipe some of her blood off the fine black suit I still wore. No use, A dark vapor washed over me, cleaning me of her remains. 

I did up my undone buttons and put on my hat. I wondered where next I would find prey.



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