Interlude: The Cleaner

His ancient rotary phone was ringing, so he laid one wrinkled hand upon it. He sighed, amassing the strength to lift the receiver, and then cradled the handle to his head.

“Ja,” his frail voice crackled.

“Code in,” the spry reply came.

“Ze Cleaner,” he said, remembering the protocol. “Password is Westenra.”


“Doctor, if you please,” he interrupted.

“Of course, Doctor. You’ve been activated. A plane will be there shortly to convey you to target location.”

“Mein Gott,” the old man said with a smile. “Who vould activate me?”

“Codename Operator, Doctor.”

“Ah, Herr Blake,” the old man absent-mindedly said, replacing the receiver on the phone. He opened a nearby drawer, pulling forth a small leather case. Upon unzipping the case, he removed the glass syringe filled with blood and injected it into his arm.

He gasped, the feeling not unknown to him but always a shock to his aged system. His tongue wiggled in his mouth, feeling the nubs of fangs the serum manifested. He was now prepared for anything.

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