D’s attention was roused by a “beep, beep, beep” coming from the street. He walked slowly across the darkened room to the large bay window and pulled gently back on the curtain. Through the gap, he saw that just down the street, a truck’s stuttering metallic claw was hoisting a large plastic container into the air. Such an odd practice, he thought, this weekly exchange of refuse for money. At least it marked the time.
Had other societies done this? Oddly enough, he could not clearly remember. This human necessity was simply one of the many indistinct noises that he’d filtered out of the background while he’d waited to do his work. He recalled Jerusalem’s ever-burning trash heaps, and had a vague memory of a cart-man, of sorts, who wandered the streets of Adrianople. He suspected the latter recollection owed more to his hunger than anything; thinking of the man, he closed his eyes and sipped the bitter, black fluid in his cup.
He was told to wait, and he had, for hundreds of such days. Here in this dwelling in the so-called “suburbs” of some southern American city that he no longer remembered the name of, he waited. And he had done this long enough to know that, although he was not to begin his work until he received The Sign, the time was most definitely drawing near. Because it was always the same. Inhabit a society on the verge of collapse, a society which was tearing itself apart from the inside, and wait until it finally did.
Then his work was easy — and fulfilling — a cleanup of sorts.
Yes, he thought as he released the curtain, receding back into the darkness, the waiting was almost over.
Thanks for reading! (BTW, a little “behind the curtain”: while not my “usual” genre of fiction, I was the struck by the idea of mythical predators simply waiting until we destroy ourselves so that they can come in and “clean up” – seems like that might be where we’re living now; well, the destroying ourselves, not the lurking undead. Anyway, might be the one and only vampire pieces to ever be found on this site, but who knows!)