Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Son of a Preacher Man: The Carver, Part Three

The rest of the meal passed pleasantly enough for me, though Takeshi kept his eyes locked on me the whole time as he ate his steak. I myself merely had ordered the Seafood platter to appease the nervous waitress, who seemed to somehow be nervous around me. Perhaps she could sense what I was.
We make idle chatter, catching up on old times like old friends often do, doing my best to break the ice with a few jokes or humorous tales I’d heard during my long life. As he finished his steak and began on his baked potato, I pulled an envelope from my wallet and placed it on the table. Looking at it, he looked back to my eyes with the same nervous tension that I’d tried so hard to quell.
“Now I know you believe me to be the perpetrator in this “Carver” case of yours, and I must admit my hand was involved.” I say, holding my hands up as if to surrender. “But the wholesale slaughter of so many, all in one night… it’s just not good business to do so.”
“What is good business to you then Salinger?” He asked, an edge to his voice.
“Please, call me Shylock. Good business to me is leaving no clues and leaving a clean crime scene. From what I recall when I left the entire place was practically drenched in blood and positively stank of gore. Like I said, not good business.”
“What does that even mean?” Takeshi asked, cutting into his potatoes slowly.
“What it means is that even as we speak, your forensic experts are determining that the victims hearts were torn out with a forceful jab to the chest, piercing through bone and muscle alike to reach the precious organ. What you thought to be my handiwork in cleanly cutting them apart was actually the brutality of my son finally showing itself for the first time.”
“Your son?” Takeshi asked, disbelief on his face.
“Shocked? Yes, before I was turned into what I am today, I had a baby boy that survived the horrors War with me. I cared for him as best I could, and helped him along his own path to greatness in becoming an engineer.” I said, looking at the salt shaker as memories flew past my mind’s eye of better days. “But then he grew ill. Liver cancer, inoperable at the time, a parasite slowly leeching the very life from the very flesh and blood that had kept me human for so many years, that had prevented me from being a mindless hunter… a beast just looking for his next meal.”
“So what happened?” Takeshi asked, leaning forward.
“I Turned him. Human illnesses were of no concern to me, and I hoped that my own sickness would override his, kill it as it transformed him into a Vampire as well.” I continue, reading the thoughts of a few people passing outside out booth, waiting for Takeshi’s signal. “Sadly, his cancer persevered and kept him locked in a state of permanent weakness and pain, the only panacea a temporary one that he could be granted very rarely due tio his own unique gifts.”
“Yes, just as I can wrap the shadows around me to fade into the darkness and read minds, he could transfer wounds and his ailments to other people, living hosts. Of course such hosts would die, and his ailments would return… we kept on like this for well over twenty years, before you entered my life.”
“Me? What do I have to do with anything?” Takeshi asked, looking at me with concern.
“You were a man bent on catching the killer that was plaguing your town, a man you thought to be a heartless, amoral beast that merely wished to kill.” I said, my voice full of emotion. “And for the first time in a long time, I felt a pang of guilt over my actions, however necessary they were for my continued survival.”
“So that’s why you stopped?” Takeshi asks around a mouthful of potato.
“No, that is merely incidental. What made me stop was the discovery that I could create a new home, and a new family far from here. Start anew, as it were.” I said with a growing smile. “When time is but a meaningless concept, you have to dig up your roots now and again, just to chase away the doldrums.”
“So you stopped because you were… bored?”
“Essentially. Your partner was… a relative of mine, however distant, and I chose to claim his niece as my next Vampire. The poor girl was a wreck, a torrent of depression and darkness that not even I could rival on my darkest of days.”
“Elizabeth…?” Takeshi asked, remembering how upset his old partner had been upon his niece’s suicide. “But she killed herself!”
“Again, that is merely incidental. I was there when she slit her throat, and I aided her during her transition.” I say with a calm reverie as I remember Elizabeth, who chose to be called Ash thereafter, charming the mortician into thinking the corpse of a drifter we’d brought in was indeed her own body. Her dark gifts were the ability to cloud others minds with illusions and the creation of Ghouls, intelligent dead that hungered for the flesh of the recently deceased.
“So she’s still alive?”
“In a way, yes. She lives with me and our extended family down in the South, far away from the big city lights and the nosy neighbors and detectives.” I answer honestly, before leaning forward in my seat. “I bet you’re wondering what’s that envelope there, aren’t you?”
He remained silent, but I could see it in his eyes.
“It’s where my no-good son, cured of his ailment through a bit of trickery, has holed himself up at here in the big city. He fed enough at that little rally to not have to hunt again for over two months, but rest assured, he will hunt again.”
“And you’d just turn it over to me?” Takeshi asks, sounding a tad doubtful.
“I’d trade it to you in exchange for two things: the first being calling off your reinforcements so I don’t have to carve my way out this fine restaurant myself, the second being that you deliver a letter to your former partner, on behalf of Elizabeth. Tell him it’s from a lawyer that was told to give it to him after a number of years had passed.”
“What’s in it?” Takeshi asks guardedly. Rightfully so, as Elizabeth’s death had led to a series of child abductions and murders, as well as a round of post-mortem letters dear Elizabeth had written speaking ill of her former family.
“A check. From what I can tell, he has begun to develop the same disease that claimed his father, and was claiming my son. The money in the check will cover all the necessary costs to keep him healthy for years to come.”
“Why?” Takeshi asked after a few moments, staring at the envelope on the table.
“Because my family, while gruesome by your standards, are not rabid dogs loose amongst sheep. We do not merely kill as wantonly as my recently revified son thinks we ought to. We take what little we need and merely live on what will keep us going.” I say with a heavy heart. “We created a Vampire for him from a nosy child that had come to our property, having him transfer his disease over to the boy before doing so. Now that child is locked in eternal torment, his cancer slowly consuming his body as his Vampirism tries regenerates the lost cells within his body as fast as it can.”
“Why not just kill him yourself?” Takeshi asked quietly.
I look at him with a slight frown. “Because we don’t kill our own. If you want the Carver to be stopped, than you’d best agree to the trade and call your bodyguards off.”

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