Povídka: Dopis 09: The Awakening

Going back in time to the first encounter in the very first story, it’s from my field surgeon’s point of view. I might get closer to an attempt to rewrite the first story into English. Though I won’t promise myself anything. My English is at rusty level forever.

A lot of eye p*rn, some care, revelation, thoughts and as always read at your own risk. I wrote it for myself in the first place, because reasons :). These are my original characters. Any resemblance with other characters is coincidental, but I found out after diving into all kinds of interesting stuff later in year 2020 that they of course exist in many forms in many books or movies. I seek specific personalities and I keep finding them everywhere now.

Yet these two started living in my head in October 2019, when world was somewhat different place and I didn’t read that much of English literature nor have been watching interesting shows. They become my comfort characters among others. I should write a post just about that one day.

Tags for your consideration: Violence, Vampire, Totally Friends (an inside joke), Supernatural (being).

Words 6,230.

Episodes

Chapters

Schemes Unknown

William had been waiting outside my magnificent and secluded little château, formerly a hunting lodge, since he was ready to leave for a hike to the excavation site. A brave man, always in the front line.

I had to lock the back doors. Not that it could stop anyone from breaking in, but it would slow them down at least. I also wanted to be certain he got everything he needed for the trip. I accompanied him at the main entrance door to check on that matter. Better to be sure than short on provisions.

To be honest, I didn’t need any since I contracted a rare condition, but he would starve. I found him being quite cheerful despite the early hour and crispy cold air.

I was crossing the threshold when my senses warned me. We weren’t alone at all. I executed only one more thing before the gunshot surged through the air, shattering our eardrums. I withdrew William’s revolver from his shoulder holster and it was already too late since his weight collapsed into my arms. I managed to slid one hand under his shoulder and turn him away from the shooter. I was shielding him with my own body, easing my wounded friend down in no time.

I pressed my right palm against his chest injury while firing exactly four bullets at two unknown attackers. I aim for the head and for the heart and I shoot to kill when inspired to do so.

Any chance for a negotiation went south in the very moment they decided to fire at a man’s back. Such heroes. The bullet went through Will’s chest, very close to his heart and ended up in my own flesh. They would have us both, but I’m not to be easily exterminated. And if I’m correct in my observations I might save Will’s life also, but I have to take prompt action since he was bleeding heavily and his hazel eyes were losing life.

„Will, stay with me.“ I tried to reach his mind but he just slipped away, fainted.

I carried him in my arms and the blood of dark shade of ruby marked my footsteps, leaving a gory trail behind us.

I should have felt something else than a horror. A blinding desire perhaps. But the time was at a premium and hurting him would be the last thing coming to my mind.

I crossed the main hall where the huge ornate fireplace was and passed my weapon collection in various display cabinets along the wooden panelled walls. I walked through the doorway leading into the formerly dining room, which now served as a research laboratory, where I carried out all the dirty work. As a field surgeon and a scientist I owned and kept a lot of interesting tools. Some may prove useful.

I laid Will on the examination table and checked on his pulse. His stressed heart was racing but weakly. His pupils were dilated. The blood loss made him ghastly white.

I readjusted his legs and supported them with my own coat, so the heart was getting more blood, same as his brain. I cut through his clothes with sharp surgical scissors from a leather pouch, which held several basic tools. I worked swiftly and precisely, applying a pressure bandage on both entry and exit wounds. I wrapped him in additional bandages to secure the affected areas. I waited for a second till he exhales and then tied an adjustable knot. I was careful not to restrain him much so he could still breathe, but as I was working on him he went a few shades paler and his skin felt cold on touch and sticky wet. The shivers come soon. I had to act fast.

„I don’t have much time.“ I was talking to myself to quiet my nerves. My surgical training and field experience prepared me for all sorts of stressful situations and my moves were automated to the moment I had to put a cannula in my own vein. There I felt a little nervous as I wasn’t sure how my own body would react to an alien material being stuck in my hand for a prolonged time.

I own an apparatus for a blood transfusion with a little India rubber heart in between two tubes with hollow silver needles at the ends and I must admit that the feeling of a cold needle under my skin felt truly unpleasant as my body tend to repel and get rid of metal pieces as it did with the bullet meant to kill us.

I had to focus on that and try to prevent my hand from quick healing. Once my blood dripped from the second cannula I inserted its sharp end in his hand’s vein as gently as possible. He didn’t stir or jerk away at all. He was completely out and off. Only his slightly moving chest signalled he was still alive.

I truly had to sit down. I held his hand so I could feel if there was some change in him. I knew that my blood wouldn’t be rejected as we already went through a similar situation, just held different cards and I was the one horizontal.

I hoped with my whole heart that he’ll receive more than that, otherwise I would have to open him and repair all the damage manually. His chest went partially blue around the exit wound and I was quite worried. There was probably internal bleeding involved too. It could cause a heart failure from a blood loss.

I already mentioned that I should feel something different from an utter horror, but my dark desires remained dormant. My friend’s life was at stake and I had to question myself if I can do more than this. Should I try to do more? Will he ever forgive me if I do that to him?

I studied his relaxed body. He was right here, within my grasp.. oh, no, I have to wait just a few more seconds before giving the ideas another thought.

I turned my face away from him, focusing on octagonal tiles on the floor and a dust on my outdoor leather boots, following dark crimson drips drying out everywhere I carried him. Poor William.

I still held his hand and I felt a slight change in his body temperature, which was slowly rising from the bottom of the coldest lake as my blood went through all his arterial vessels, colouring his cheeks with a lively rose petals shade of pink, fighting the damage under his ribs. I let my life fill his body and when I couldn’t spend any more I pulled out both cannulas and covered his puncture wound with fresh gauze.

Since he was responding well enough to my treatment I made sure that every used tool is clean for further use. And when that was done I lit more lamps so he’ll be able to see something if he wakes up.

I sit by his side, talking to myself again. „I really am a problem magnet.“ I took his hand in mine and held him so he knew he wasn’t alone. He slept peacefully. His body temperature rose again by a few degrees, but not dangerously. I observed the wounded area carefully. The nasty discolouration was fading away slowly. It turned out to be a successful experiment so far.

My blood possesses special healing abilities and since it flew directly from the source it worked miraculously well. I hoped for the best. The nearest hospital is hours and hours of horse ride away.

up ^

The Awakening

His breathing sounded normal as a breath of a healthy man, his heart slowed its pace significantly and his skin felt warmer and dry at touch. I sensed he’s waking up from a deep dream. I rested my curious gaze at his face as he opened his eyes. I felt all sorts of tired but I produced a smile. He escaped the reaper.

„Did I die?“ He pronounced carefully.

„Almost.“ I won’t lie to him.

„Why..“ He articulated another word as he wetted his lips with his tongue.

„We were mere obstacles in their robbery plan.“ I shared my thoughts.

„Why.. I live?“ He had a hard time speaking those words. I felt his pain and I needed him to sleep through it all.

„Oh. A blood transfusion. A field conditions one of course. As improbable as it may sound, your wounds are healing remarkably well. Please, do not be concerned about that.“ It was a rather cold statement, yet short and clear enough and I hoped he understood, because he was falling asleep again. His eyes shut slowly.

„Thank you..“ He whispered at the threshold of dreams and then the sleep took him away. His head rolled on side and some of his dark brown wavy locks fell loose, spreading gracefully around his face. I listened to his soft breathing, escaping through his slightly parted lips. He looked peaceful and I was glad he was not stressed in such a delicate position. I did the right thing.

But before I move him to a more pleasant and softer surface, meaning his own bed, I’ll have to remove his spoiled clothes and clean his bloodied skin. I had to cut through most of it. He won’t be happy about losing his finely tailored clothes. He can borrow some of mine if he happens to be in a shortage. It will be a little bigger since I’m a few inches taller yet we are both on the lean side of similar build so it should be fine. I worked slowly but he remained undisturbed and all sorts of oblivious to whatever I was doing. I even exchanged his wound dressings for clean ones.

I covered him with a sheet and since his weight meant nothing to me I carried him to the upper floor bedroom, where he used to sleep during his visits. It was opposite to mine. Same floor plan, but the other side of the house across the whole catwalk above the main hall.

The bed itself was a masterpiece. Beautifully carved mahogany wood with four posters and a canopy, stylized as the tree trunks with leaves. I tucked him in thoughtfully so he won’t awake sore or cold. I covered him with duvets up to his shoulders. I also lit the fire in the roundish tiled stove standing in the corner next to the door. I planned to check on all things regularly.

Before I left to take care of our unwelcome guests I made sure Will is alright and fire is going. I didn’t want to be away for a very long time for obvious reasons.

As I caressed his cheek in an unintentional farewell gesture, my fingertips strayed along his exposed throat, feeling the pulsing life under his skin. I let the walls fall a little and the familiar feeling of burning sensation from the frail touch filled my heart. Will was alive and still very much human. Unlike me. I bent over him and kissed his forehead.

„Sleep well.“ His heart changed a rhythm for a split second but he didn’t wake up.

I let him sleep and went for a pickaxe, shovel, rope and a big canvas bags from the stable. I had to clean the mess at the front porch shooting gallery.

I carried my burden as far as I could. I went a few miles in eastern direction. There were deep rocky gorges and natural caves, where the two men were laid to rest forever. I covered their deep grave with more stones and leaves. A ragged men in ragged clothes. Forgotten by society.

After two hours I stepped in my home again, dirty and exhausted. There was nothing else I could do to cover the tracks. Yet an unanswered question lingered in my mind. Two others were nowhere to be found. As far as I knew, while gathering some intel, there should be four men. I shall check on that later. A tavern landlord might have some news.

I took good care of my horse in the stables at the side of the château and then went to wash myself in my modern bathroom at the ground floor, situated under William’s room. There I installed a big tub and a huge boiler when I bought the house. I could warm the water up directly in the bathroom or let the piping from the main hearth heat up the thing. It wasn’t the most effective solution, but it was much better than back in the days.

The manor belonged to an ancient noble family whose only heir wished to live in the city and moved away, selling the burden. I fell in love with its old stony bones the moment I first came to check it out eight years ago. I repaired and upgraded many things since then but I kept the old spirit of the place intact. I still own some original furniture and a lot of stuff is stored in the attic. I admire the aesthetics and craftsmanship very much as I want to preserve the history and the memory of previous owners.

Once I was clean I checked on Will. The dark tall tiled stove was radiating the heat and the air was pleasant enough to be comfortable for an ill person. Will slept undisturbed in the position I left him in. The sweat raised on his forehead. My blood was fighting the injuries and inflammation. I didn’t see into him and I could only sense his calm mind, listen to his strong regular heartbeat and decipher the mellow sweetness in his scent. I camped at his bedside, waiting for his return.

He’ll find himself very weak unless there’s something about my blood I don’t know about yet. I had to admit that I felt tired, which gave me hope I often didn’t believe in. As a man of science I worked with solid data rather than wishing for better outcomes. We will see. He is strong and his recovery will take no time.

I was planning some experiments in advance. It would be wise to look into such a potent cure and prepare a first aid kit. A vial of blood. What a symbolism. Oh, well.

I brought a book to occupy myself. A bittersweet story of forbidden love, loss and hatred. Even ill-thought choices were present. Truly unnerving. I saw the parallels with our lives. The loss we both knew intimately. I should reread the medical partition of my huge library instead. „Mister Shakespeare, you are torturing my soul.“ I put it away on the little table under the tall window and sit back to Will’s bedside.

I knew he’d ask me. After the latest escapade there won’t be any secret left. I would tell him anyway. He should know who’s he living with under one roof. We got no chance to discuss the topic since things went different routes fast.

In the middle of the night I lit the lamps in his room. He fell into the deeper sleep and his pulse quickened. I checked on his condition again. The bad colouring in his chest disappeared. I also noticed fresh layer of sweat, covering his bonny face. The breath becomes more laboured. He wasn’t coming back easily. His body used up most of the energy from my generous donation and demanded more. And I would let him have it, but before I squeeze the last drop out of my veins, I might also try another approach and administer some fluids intravenously via his basilic vein or prepare an open bottle solution with a dripper. I would go for a subclavian vein in that matter and I make sure everything is as sterile as possible. A fancy vacuum sealed container would be better. It’s not common practise even in modern hospitals. I’ll have to work with what I have available.

I switched his bedroom to an intensive care unit and I chose the dripper solution. I mixed sanitized water with dextrose, glucose, some basic cations and anions I had in my lab storage. I went for a lower level with salts in my hypotonic medication and observed till the early morning hours how his system responded to the support treatment. In case of an emergency I was prepared to spend some of mine for a second dose but I find it unnecessary. He significantly improved after the midnight decline.

I let myself feel a slight relief and took virtual notes on the progress. As we reached the noon I could definitely remove the catheter from his vein. Poor kid.

He was four years younger hence the sentiment. I remember how young he was when I first met him in Afghanistan. We saved each other’s life back then and later on.

up ^

Do you fear me?

My remedy worked him wonders and he was waking up gradually. He was aware. Of my presence too. Instead of horror from recognition, there was an unmistakable smile as he studied my face. The colour of his irises stood out as vividly brown with shades of gold and green. If he would feel imperilled his irises would be fully green. I noticed this little thing about him in the very beginning of our friendship and marked it as an important detail.

„Charles, old chap, you look tired. What have I done to you?“ He spoke carefully. I offered him a little bit of fresh drink so he could water his sore throat.

„Would you like me to present you a full report? Then I shall say more once we get you back on your heels.“

„Fair enough.“ He noted and gently explored the chest wound dressing. „That was.. close.“ His fingers brushed over his heart and then he turned his sight to a bed canopy, thinking. I put down the glass with water.

„May I get my clothes, please?“ He watched me, waiting. „I feel quite naked.“ A smirk.

„I let you have your fig leaf in case of fire.“ I pointed out.

„Very thoughtful.“

„I prepared some of yours. You had no time to settle in so I hanged them for you, you won’t look like you have been chewed on.“ I handed him a white linen shirt, trousers with braces and socks.

„I haven’t?“ He asked with an innocence in his voice.

„No.“ I met his gaze.

„Thank you, Charles.“ His cheeks flushed a little red.

„Do you need my further assistance?“ He might. I let him decide.

„I’ll manage.“ He sat up and I stepped aside to give him some space. I didn’t want to stare at him so I went for the window scenery. The trees outside were glowing in autumnal colours, the sunlight – a today’s blessing, enriched the shades of red, orange and yellow colours of the forest as far as I could see. The weather was very much beautiful, unlike the other days. I gave it just a glance before I got back to William. He struggled with his trousers and then went wall white in an attempt to put it on. His legs were dangling from the bed when he finally dropped the clothes to the floor with a serious sigh of surprise and then the rest followed.

„No, no, no..“ I jumped to his rescue. He grabbed my shoulders with a sharp inhale. He laid his head on my chest wearily.

„I.. can’t.“ He whispered under my breath. I helped him back to the bed.

„Give it more time. I’ll bring you some real food.“

„Please.“

I covered him with a blanket and threw his clothes at the chair by the window.

„You see I mixed some intravenous solutions but I had no time to master the formula. I restored your blood volume and somewhat balanced the electrolytes, but it was short of nutrients and you were ill till morning.“ I explained quickly.

„A day? Only a day?“ He asked, narrowing his eyes in exhaustion.

„Yes. Only a day. Please, rest.“ I bet he won’t have any objections and he didn’t.

„I’ll do my best, doctor.“ But before he closed his eyes he touched my chest and said: „the bullet hit you..“ And then he slowly drifted away.

„Yes, my dear fellow. I’ll be back soon.“ And I left for the kitchen to prepare something nutritious. My diet is overly restrictive, his doesn’t have to be. So I prepared some potato pancakes, mixed in all the good stuff and seasoned it a little. It might sustain him.

The aroma of freshly cooked meal was enough to wake him up.

„I brought you this. Eat slow. I’ll be down in the hall if you’ll ever need me. I also picked one of my banyans for you, the coat will keep you warm, I noticed you don’t have any with you.“

„Thank you.“ A smile. He attacked his feast as a hungry wolf.

„And since you cannot walk on your own here’s my walking cane.“ Which I placed next to his bed. The cane comes with black lacquer finish and the head is in the shape of jumping lioness, made of silver. The handle can be unscrewed and a long sharp blade is attached to it. Multiplex tool.

His movements were really economical yet determined, so I left him to his lunch and went downstairs.

up ^

The Truth Untold

I lit the fire in the huge fireplace and poured myself a double whiskey in one of the crystal tumblers. I sat by the fire, having the second or third drink already, when he came out of his bedroom, clothes on – oh, wow, wrapped in my coat, walking across the top hall catwalk, resting here and there and then hiked across the ground floor to the other armchair in front of the hearth.

He simply fell into it, adjusting himself to sit somewhat upright.

„Please, put me out of my misery.“ He begged, gathering strengths. I watched the show closely. „Or, if you aren’t fond of spending your ammunition I would be happy for more food, but I don’t feel like reaching the kitchen successfully at the moment.“ I nodded.

„Alright. You seem better already. Your humour is restored.“ I brought him more food with some meat as he looked starved to the bone. While he was eating I told him a story about an unwelcome guest’s burial once his condition allowed me to remove myself for a few hours. I also suggested walking outside for the autumnal breeze and the sunlight. He had no objections and once he finished his supper I helped him outside via my lab’s back door.

We stood at the terrace. I kept close and let him enjoy the weather. We saw the lake behind the trees. A narrow trail leads to the rocky beach and to the crystal clear and cold water. I would like to take him there when he gets better. The wind was playing with his hair and the sun glistened in his knowing eyes. I waited.

„Charles.. will I become one of your kind?“ The question finally left his mouth. He seemed calm and his heartbeat sounded normal. He wasn’t afraid. He looked into my eyes with utter curiosity.

„I gave you my blue blood, yes. But no, you will not. And since you were dying I did the only thing I could to prevent it.“ I told him the truth. He knew I was different and he accepted it somewhat.

„So, it is true then.“ He stated, amazed.

„Yes. Some details have to be addressed yet but most of the stories ain’t correct. And I’m glad that my own theory about my blood as an ultimate cure was correct. Don’t you worry, my good friend, you are safe with me.“ I didn’t plan to have him for dinner. I think he’ll appreciate that too.

„Hah, Charles… ow.. I..“ And then his eyes went to his head and I embraced him again, before he kissed the floor. His recovery was yet in fog. I carried him back into his room. His head and limbs were lifeless. What more can I do except wait? I was way too jumpy lately and had to step back to be of use again. I stick to the role of his doctor and a nurse for the time being.

up ^

Conclusion

Few days have passed and he improved well enough. We could regain our evenings together. Drinking and talking.

„I have my own vamp.“ He was enjoying himself near the fireplace. Groomed and well dressed as a true gentleman again. He was drinking whiskey, studying the dust in hearth mantle cracks. We successfully restored his health and most of his strengths.

„Yes, you have me.“ I whispered, accompanying him in the main hall. I relaxed in the armchair.

„I cannot thank you enough for nursing me back to life, Charles.“ He turned from the crackling fire at once and went a step towards me. I bet he was stirring about my special condition hard over the past few days and I could tell he become a little uneasy about it.

„Please.“ I sipped from my glass in a very human way.

„I didn’t realise.. I didn’t see it in you.“ He noted.

„My apologies. We had no chance to discuss the matter. I was making myself ready to talk about it later that day on the way to the excavation site or rather over the drink. Well. You found out eventually and it wasn’t hard, was it? The marauders pushed me over the edge. We would be gone otherwise. I’m grateful we are not.“ That’s the one way to put it. We survived thanks to me.

„I see. How did you know the transfusion might help me and not change me?“ I must admit that I was curious too.

„I didn’t know that.“ I sounded pained when I let it out of my mouth. „I bet all my hopes at that wild card. Otherwise I would have to perform a complicated surgery and therefore use my blood anyway. I decided to start with a donation first and seek for improvement. The effect was almost instant. You responded well. Even woke up for a chat.“ As I was speaking a tension in his mind eased a great portion.

„It’s hazy.. I remember some of it. You. The pain. Cold darkness. Later a fire in my veins brought me back from that darkness. The fact I wasn’t alone and that I didn’t want to leave. I realised how different you were. The slowest dawn of mind ever.“

I stood up and poured another drink in his glass. I studied his handsome face for a second, reading his expression. The flames were dancing in his eyes and softening his silhouette.

„So, how do you feel about having me, a blood sucking specimen, for a friend?“ I asked, looking down at him.

„I wish to scatter your worries about me bolting away because of that.“ He let me know, sipping his whiskey.

„Yet you are nervous around me. I can sense it. Not now since I’m trying to get you drunk and it’s working. But the other day. I cannot do any better than I already did. You’ll have to make some conclusion yourself, Will.“ I put aside the bottle and went back to him.

„It’s not easy for any of us. You already proved yourself to me. You saved me. I just wish I had the confidence and knowledge to let go the human fear from an apex predator you became.“ He spoke up quite clear, waiting for my reaction.

„I will protect you. I won’t switch it against you. Yet I don’t have all the data. I can work with knowledge I already acquired.“ I think that sounds reasonable. „Don’t suppress your instincts, Will. They’ll guide you if nothing else.“ I added.

„Yes, but to what ends?“ He turned his head away.

„You didn’t run for the hills, for example.“ I raised the glass and he smiled at me.

„True.“ He sat down in the armchair and I followed. „And I don’t plan to.“

„I appreciate that.“ I closed my eyes for a second.

„Charles..“

„Hmm?“ Whatever was chewing at his brains, had to get out, dazzled by alcohol intake, of course.

„My apologies.. but do you have the.. the..“ He waved his right hand around his mouth, gesturing with his fingers. Now comes the fun part.

„The fangs?“ I asked him, all innocent. „Certainly.“ I felt amused. Which was a good sign. I didn’t think of my very distinctive weapons of destruction as insecurity. Well, his eyes went wider in expectation and who am I to disappoint him, right?

I took his hand and pulled him out of the chair. „Come by fire. Watch.“ He followed voluntarily, puzzled a little. I held him around the waist so he could observe the full demonstration and won’t slip away. Curious man.

My corner teeth were very sharp and descent just enough to be dangerously visible in a flickering fire light. I think his heart skipped a beat.

„Oh, God, Charles..“ Was his reaction. He didn’t even stir. I just woke up his awareness. I held him only slightly in case he changed his mind about being in my close proximity. I let the fangs retract slowly. As they were designed for feeding I felt a strange dizziness after the demonstration, I sensed the warmness under his skin, pulsing with life and I decided to let him go. The lingering desire was there somewhere, waiting.

But instead of pulling away he hugged me. I didn’t expect that either. I embraced him firmly, feeling something different from an urge to take him. I felt love for my best friend.

„This is my conclusion.“ He whispered to my collarbone. I caressed his thick soft hair, smelling of exotic coconut. I missed him so much. Living such a secluded life in Scottish wilderness was an utterly lonesome experience time to time, meanwhile he was teaching history in the greatest city of the world, London. I felt lucky enough to live to this day.

A silence, disturbed only with a soft crackling fire, enfolded us for a few more peaceful moments.

„I think I’m a little drunk.“ Will raised his head.

„Just a little?“ I let him depart to the armchair, amused.

„A little bit more perhaps.“ He confessed.

„Then why not take some rest?“ I suggested.

„It’s a splendid idea.“ He closed his eyes.

„Nonetheless I might be gone till morning.“

„Hunting?“ He asked, knowingly.

„Yes. Hunting.“ I assured him about my intentions.

„You see very well in the dark..“ He noted. Watching me.

„Better than that.“ I said.

„Very well. I leave you to it. I really feel the whiskey magic behind my eyes.“ Hmm, should I stay then?

„Have your revolver ready, when I’m away, will you?“ I reminded him just in case.

„Do you think they might risk a second siege?“ He was genuinely worried.

„I need to know you are prepared for such possibility.“ He was rather sleepy than ready as much as I could tell.

„I think I’m, Charles. Stop worrying so much. I’ll barricade myself in the castle and shoot at em from the clock tower.“ It was an excellent idea.

„Yes, you do that. You have my blessings. I’ll see you in the morning then.“ But jokes aside, I hoped there won’t be any second besiege involved.

William was able to operate his revolver and I left for a great hunt.

up ^

The Taste of Death

I tracked the men of the tramp club back to the outskirts of the civilised world, which upset me a little. Their friends disappeared and even the villains felt insecure and afraid. They settled in an old hunting hut in the woods, far from the main road. The crooked house was left to rot for at least two decades. Every trail leading to it ceased from existence, being overgrown with bushes and trees. A perfect vantage point.

I also got an idea I shouldn’t be getting. I was a man of Hippocratic oath. And I was something else. A vampire. I could definitely feel the danger of my condition, lurking underneath. Waiting. I felt awful for such desires. They were wrong in my opinion. I set the things into motion anyway and chose to strike first. William probably knew I was up to something more than a negotiation, yet said nothing to stop me. I bet he also sensed the underlying danger even over my reassuring he is safe with me.

I brought my good horse with me as he was about to carry some luggage. It was late in the night and both tramps were asleep already, snoring in the hut, filled with alcohol odour and all kinds of unpleasant scents. The most prominent to my senses was a hot red life under the dirty skin of both fellas. The aroma lured me close to their ragged forms.

I broke the neck of the bigger guy with an ugly cracking noise, disturbing the skinnier man from his sleep.

„Eh, Jon. Right, woss gahn on?“ He crawled out of his pile of torn blankets. I stopped his motions with a gentle pressure on his chest.

„Fuck! ‚oo are yer? Wotcher doin‘?“ He was wide awake now. Writhing under my hand. A fellow Londoner so far in the north.

„Shh, calm down, old chap.“ I suggested. He could barely see me as their fire almost died out.

„Calm dahn, eh? Are yer mad, mate?“ He screeched and fought my hand while I held him pinned to the floor.

„Where are your friends? Talk!“ I asked politely in a gravelly voice.

„Wot chinas?“ He acted dumb, squealing in my grasp, trying to reach my eyes with his dirty claws.

„Those two gentlemen from your club, one with a broken nose, the other with big gypsy earrings. Tall, lean, smelly..“ My voice went colder.

„Business trip.“ He was truthfully upset.

„You mean double murder and robbery? That kind of business?“ Freezing death crawled into those words.

„I’m not a snitch! Blimey!“ A bravery of a drunk man struck me.

„You’ll change your mind once I’m done with you.“ I promised.

„Aye. Yer softie. I’m done wiv yer.“ It was too late when I realised that the snake was acting. His gun’s muzzle touched my ribs and he pulled the trigger. Just once. The bullet went through me and I jerked under the sudden pain. He used that moment and escaped my grasp, aiming for another shot.

He was genuinely puzzled why I didn’t fall. Not for any longer. I bolted in his direction, locking both his hands behind his back, landing on his belly. He was arched in a very unpleasant position, exposed to my attack. He was eyeballing me, astonished and totally muted. The gunshot wound in my midsection bled onto him and I saw that his mind was shattered.

„Monster..“ His sagged jaw shivered as he expressed himself.

„Who? Me or you?“ I didn’t recognize myself anymore. His heart was thumping heavily, his face was flushed red, his neck veins very much inviting. I grabbed him by his thinning hair and turned his face away from me.

„Wotcher doin‘? No! God!“ He became very vocal. Now was the time to finish it.

I sank my corner teeth in his neck artery and let the hot red life fog my mind and fill my heart. His words died on his lips when I took him. He died within a second, weakened by fear and shock. I was very harsh and it felt marvellous. The strength surged through me, through every little blood vessel in my body. My senses were as sharp as never before. I could hear my horse growl in fear. I left him far away. Apparently not enough. Poor soul.

I closed my eyes, cleaning my lips, listening to the music of the night. The voices of predators and their prey were singing in the woods. I was a monster after all. Should I feel sorry? I probably will once the ecstasy passes and I fully realise what I have done.

I brought my horse closer to the cabin and followed my initial plan. I extracted the blood from the other guy. I had the stabilising solution ready and filled several small bottles with crimson contents, which I stored in my backpack. My horse is going to carry the dead meat and I’ll do the rest.

Once unloaded I took them for the last voyage into the forest to the very grave containing their friends. I buried them deep underground and rocks. I was the grim reaper.

My wound healed itself, leaving no trace behind once I drank the precious blood from the squirming, fighting victim. It is the cure in its purest form. Alas, such an adventure I would rather avoid.

I was glad that Will was asleep, unaware. I stored the blood cans in the cellar under my house and cleaned myself thoroughly. Once I checked on him I was sure he was back in the saddle. We might proceed in the other matter soon. We were safe for now, but I had to know what happened to my maker, eventually resolve any issue involved.

up ^