“Hey Takeshi, you alright man?” Henry asked over a steaming cup of coffee, his bristly mustache somehow avoiding the hot drink as the graying detective took a delicate sip of the drink.
Takeshi leaned back in his chair, rubbing his eyes as he let out a huge yawn. Looking over at Henry with a tired expression, he cracked a small smile. “We have coffee?”
“The cleaning lady restocked us last night,” Henry said, holding his cup up with a smile and a nod, “Good shit too. French Vanilla or something fancy like that.”
“Then yeah, I’m alright.” Takeshi said as he rose from his seat, closing the manila folder on his desk with the coroner’s report the on the Organ Snatcher’s latest victims. As he moved to the door, he tossed the folder onto Henry’s desk. “Take a look over that, tell me if something seems funny to you.”
“Funny ha ha? Or the other kind?” He asks with a sarcastic chuckle.
Takeshi moves into the main space of the precinct, heading towards the small kitchen that all the police shared. It was another nineteen days until the next New Moon and he was growing more anxious every minute. He’d finally shared his theories, all of them, in a closed conference with the Chief Brown, an aged officer that’d been on the force for over forty years. Takeshi had said that the killer was striking during the New Moon, probably because of spiritual reasons, and that with the way he was removing the organs it was almost certain he wasn’t a cannibal.
“So what’s he doing with ‘em?” Brown had asked, drumming his fingers on his paper strewn desk. “Not that I don’t mind that we don’t have some sick body eating fuck in our city, but he has to be doing something with them!”
“No clue at this point, but I’ve sent the case file to the Feds, see if they have any similar cases that are unsolved.” Takeshi had told him hesitantly. Everyone knew of the Police Chief’s feelings regarding the Feds.
Glowering, he’d surprisingly taken the news well, complimenting Takeshi on thinking a few steps ahead of the game. “That’s what makes the difference between a good detective and a great one kid, the willingness to step on other people’s toes to get the answers you need.”
“As for your request for broader sweeps of the city, I had internal affairs cook up a few of their moles, see if they’d heard anything on the streets about the killer that we hadn’t.” He’d said, changing the subject. “In one of the interrogation rooms right now I have a streetwalker that has a pretty tall tale to tell, if you have the time.”
Starr Mendoza was a quiet girl with an athletic figure, dusky olive skin, and a number of tastefully placed tattoos over her scantily clad body. When Takashi entered the room with her statements, flipping through the pages, he frowned at the initial reason they’d brought her in.
Cocaine and solicitation.
“Good morning Miss Mendoza, I’m Detective Sato with the New York Police Department.” He introduced himself, taking a seat in the unadorned room across from her. Her dusky brown eyes were heavily made up, layers of concealer over her left eye and her neck.
She was concealing bruises.
“I’m to understand that you have something that may be of interest to a case I’m working on at the moment and would like to trade this information in exchange for having the charges dropped. Is that correct?”
“Yes sir,” She said with a resigned voice, as if she’d been asked this question too many times for her liking.
“You do know that we don’t normally just let criminals walk free, even if they have information pertinent to an active case of ours, do you not?” Takeshi asked, wondering what she could possibly know that would lead her to believe we’d just let her walk with the charges she was facing, especially as this wasn’t her first offense.
“Well you putas seem to be having such a great go at catching this Organ Snatcher fuck, I figure you might let me off with a warning if I can give you a heads up about him.” She replied, tossing her shoulder length hair idly.
“So you know about the Organ Snatcher?” Takeshi asked a little hastily, quickly calming himself down in hopes I don’t sound to desperate.
“Nothing like a name or anything, but I know what he looks like.”
“How?” He asked. In the seven months he’d been hunting this lunatic, he’d yet to have an eyewitness or a survivor that could tell me anything about him.
“I was walking the streets a few weeks ago when I saw him, some paunchy little dude with white hair. He approached three black guys and said something to them before retreating into an alley and getting them to chase him.” She said, examining her fingernails as she spoke. “I didn’t get too close, but the fight in the alley sounded one-sided enough to let me know that little white man had some back-up or some serious skill. Either way, I hustled my pretty little ass away from there as fast as possible.”
“And you’ve never thought to come to the police with this because?” Takeshi asked, a little annoyed at how long it took to get someone who’d actually seen my elusive white whale.
“Psh, man I don’t trust no cops. All ya’ll do is lock me up for trying to make a living, you know what I’m saying?” She said, looking away from Takeshi in scorn. “I just thought he was getting’ mugged by three younger dudes, but then he walked out of the alley with a bag. I… I really didn’t want to know what happened after that, so I just left.”
“Left?” Takeshi repeated, raising an eyebrow.
“Y’know, left the area… I was working.” She said with a wry smile. “I already talked to that sketch artist for you, but…”
“But… I don’t know man, something seemed off about him.” She said, eyes unfocused as she looked past me. “He didn’t have any blood on him or nothing; he didn’t even look like he’d been in a scuffle or nothing. He just looked like an old businessman on his way home.”
“Do you think he was on anything?” Takeshi asks, scribbling down a few notes on his yellow legal pad as she spoke.
She laughed at that. “Come on man, I’ve seen it all and done half of it. I’d recognize a junkie if I saw one, and he wasn’t no junkie. He was dressed real nice, fancy coat and slacks, rings on his fingers, an iPod clipped to his belt.”
“So after the story broke, you finally saw fit to come to us… after a week?” Takeshi asked, a little confused by the time difference.
“Again, cops don’t usually give me the time of day unless I have cuffs on me. Plus, the dude had a bad vibe ‘bout him and I didn’t want to be a snitch or nothing.” She said, leaning onto the table between us. “All I gotta say before I go is… be careful with this one.”
“What do you mean?” Takeshi asks, looking up from his legal pad into her brown eyes.
“He somehow got three big ol’ black men to go into a dark alley with him, looking to mess him up good,” She said, leaning back in her chair and wrapping her arms around herself. “Not only did he kill them, he did it in like five minutes and walked away without a speck of blood on him, whistling. Whistling man. Like nothing had happened.”
“He just killed three dudes and tore out their organs and acted like nothing was wrong! The dude’s obviously a sicko!” She all but yelled, standing up so fast her chair got knocked back, falling to the floor.
“Serial killers tend not to relate to their victims, or see anything wrong from it…” Takeshi began before jumping in his seat as the hooker growled, hitting the table.
“You don’t get what I’m saying man? I’ve known killers before pig, hell I’ve met more than a few in my time. They get excited when they kill man, or act resigned about it, like there was nothing else they could’ve done.” She said in a low tone. “The way he acted… the way he acted, it was like he wasn’t human.”
“The cool night air is growing even more frigid by the night I do believe,” I say cheerfully as I pass few coins to the newspaper vendor, who’s bundled up in a long sleeved coat and scarf. “I find it rather invigorating, don’t you?”
He merely hands me my change silently, looking to the next customer instead of answering my question. I shrug and tuck the two editions of the NewYorker beneath my arm as I turn to hail a taxi, tonight’s destination one of pleasure instead of business. Dressed in my usual finery, I’ve filled my side bag with four blood bags full of B Positive, my son’s favorite, as I intend to visit him for the first time in a few months.
The taxi pulls up, a layer of frost covering the windows as I pull open the back door and crawl inside the chilly interior. “5th Avenue and 94th if you would, dear sir.” I tell the cabbie, a sour looking older man with a thick coat pulled up high in the collar, who merely nods and cranks the meter on as he pulls away from the curb.
I set my stack of magazines and newspapers to my right, unzipping my satchel to make room for a few of the magazines so that it’ll be easier to get into Leonard’s home. While not a gated community, the Upper East side is usually bustling during the early hours of the night, and I’d rather not get caught by one of his neighbors like I was last time. Forced into conversation with some older woman curious about the mysterious tenant in the two story flat next to hers, she’d been particularly annoyed when I merely brushed her off after ten minutes of conversation and merely unlocked the door and headed inside.
Manners are for the living, what can I say?
“You a fan of the news bub?” The cabbie asks, looking through his rear view mirror at the twenty-odd newspapers and magazines I have sitting by my side.
I merely nod as I continue carefully stuffing them into my satchel. “I’m visiting a friend of mine who can’t leave his home due to an illness, and I like to bring him news from the outside world when I can.”
“Well ain’t that nice?” The cabbie says, sounding a little surprised. “Not many folks left in this world that care for others like that.”
“What can I say, I’m just good people.” I smile as I tuck the last of the news articles away next to the blood bags. Normally I’d have packed them down with ice, but dear Leonard prefers them warm.
The rest of the drive is fairly quiet as I watch the city pass us by, fishing out two crisp twenties for the cabbie when we pull to a halt, leaving him a rather generous tip.
I like quiet rides.
Dropped off at the very corner of 5th avenue and East 94th, I begin my brisk walk down the street, the sounds of the city ringing through my ears as a light drizzle begins to fall. Pulling out my pocket watch to check the time, I see I have a good half hour before he expects me, so I decide to give squeeze in a bit of work before my delightful night and slip in between two of the high rises, dropping my bag just over the lip of a dumpster as I pull the shadows around me.
Between the Carmichaels, the O’Donahues and Samson (the musician) I have almost every body part I’ll need for the upcoming order, save for one liver. While I could always just take from Howard Carmichael as well as a kidney, I try not to harvest too many organs from one body. Too much risk, and too much time. So sadly, I’m still a liver short.
I stand in the darkness of the alley, sniffing every stranger that walks past in search of either an O Positive or a B negative, the two blood types that will match this particular recipient. Of the three people to pass, amazingly all of them have been A positive or negative.
What are the odds?
But just as I’m about to give up hope, the succulent sweet scent of B negative flitters beneath my nose, a sigh escaping my lips as I savor the delicious aroma. Looking out from the alley, I see a young woman jogging past in a windbreaker suit, a pair of ear buds leading from a bicep bound mp3 player muting the world around her.
Damn… I curse mentally as I watch her jog past, how am I going to find out where she lives?
My question answers itself as she turns into a a set of descending stairs, holding two fingers to her neck to feel her pulse as she pulls a key from beneath her armband to unlock her door. I pull a pen from my jacket and quickly jot down her address in well-worn moleskin I keep in my back pocket, making a mental note to add her to my list upon returning home.
“A jogger probably doesn’t smoke… she didn’t look out of breath to me,” I muse aloud as I fish my satchel from the dumpster, slinging it over my shoulder with an undignified oomph just as I hear a familiar noise echo from behind me.
Someone’s drawn a switchblade…
Turning slowly, I see a pale youth in a black hoodie bearing the name of some band I’ve never heard of, holding the knife as if he were going to stab my while I was in the shower in some terrible movie. His feet positioned awkwardly beneath him and his stomach rumbling loud enough for me to hear, I merely smile as he advances one me.
“I don’t know what you’re smiling about old man,” He says in what I can only guess is a threatening tone, “but hand over your money now, and nobody has to get hurt!”
“Is this your first robbery young man?” I ask him calmly, tilting my head to the side to study him. “Because I have to admit, you’re doing it all wrong.”
“The fuck you say…?” He stuttered, looking at me in confusion.
“Unless you actually intend to kill me tonight, you have to scare me into giving you my money. And I must say, you’re about as frightening as the weather.”
“Fuck you! What do you know, just gimme your damn wallet or I’ll fucking cut you!” He growls, waving the knife in my direction feebly.
“I take it you’re doing this because you’re hungry, am I right?” I ask him as I calmly reach into my coat, pulling out a money clip thick with folded bills. “Hungry enough to threaten an old man with a knife you don’t even know how to hold?”
“Just gimme the money and I won’t have to hurt you!” He orders me, looking all the more nervous as the situation drags on.
“I have a counter offer. How about you put up the knife and you come to my brother’s house for dinner?” I say, forcing a bit of suggestion into my voice as I speak. “You don’t like blood very much, do you?”
“N-no, I guess not.” He says, slowly lowering the knife. “But why would you invite me over to your brother’s house when I threatened you?”
I smile and turn slowly. “I’m just a good people I suppose.”
“So Chris, what brought you to trying to rob the elderly?” I ask him as we walk down 94th towards my son’s home. David has since put up his switchblade and shoved his hands in the pockets of his hoodie, looking dejectedly down at the street as we stroll through the light rain. Luckily I brought along an umbrella, which is keeping the both of us semi-dry.
“Hard times friend, hard times. I was a medical student at New York University, decent grades with a decent life.” He says with a casual shrug of his shoulders. “But then my mom died and I… I just kind of lost it. My grades started slipping, I stopped going to classes… my own brother called and offered to help me out but I just hung up on him. I’ve been homeless for almost two years now, eating out of dumpsters and snatching purses just to get by.”
“How terrible,” I say with an understanding tone, “I imagine the drugs didn’t help either.”
“How did… oh, what’s the point? Yeah, about a year ago I started doing dope just to, y’know, escape it all.” He said, a little startled at my supposed guess. The track lines on his neck were a fairly decent clue, even for someone who can’t read your thoughts. “It’s just… it’s just that nobody seems to care anymore now that I do want to turn my life around. You’re the first person to even show me a shred of kindness and not want anything in return.”
I chuckle as I put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him at the stairs leading up to the off-white oak doors that lead to my son’s home. Reaching in my jacket for my keys I look over my shoulder at Chris. “Everyone in this world is a monster sometimes Chris, be it you and your drug addiction or those that have abandoned you. But to give up hope that there’s a better day coming is just… is just as bad as giving up on life. You have to always keep on looking for the positive, even when your darkest hour is upon you.”
Chris snorts, shaking his head. “Yeah, the darkest stuff is all behind me now man. This has shown me I can make something of myself. After this, I’m gonna check into a rehab clinic, make something of myself.”
“Sounds like a plan,” I say with a smile, unlocking the door and walking into the house, closing my umbrella and shaking it free of water as Chris rushes in beside me. The entryway is dark, with a small sitting room just off to the left, the kitchen directly in front of us behind a pair of folding screen doors. The only light in the entryway comes from beneath the doors, just enough for Chris to see the sudden movement as I move up behind him in a blur, bringing my elbow down hard into the back of his neck.
He crumples to the floor in a boneless heap, coughing up bloody shards of yellowed teeth as copper-scented drool begins to flood from his mouth.
“Sounds like a plan indeed.” I say with a smile, feeling for a pulse on him, which is strong and steady. I heave him over my shoulder and rap my knuckles on one of the rosewood doorframes. “Leonard? Where are you hiding this evening?”
“In the computer room Father,” a raspy voice akin to the crinkling of dry paper calls back from deeper in the house, “Come on back, I’m in between quests.”
“Lovely,” I mutter to myself as I push open the doors to the kitchen, turning to head down into the basement, down the creaky wooden steps. Unlike me, Leonard took to immortality rather poorly, the cancer within his body bonding with the curse and rendering him weak and feebled. As I reach the landing of the wide basement, walls covered with colorful posters of video game characters and Japanese cartoons, I flop Chris down onto the lime green sofa I’d hauled down here for a place to sit when I visit.
You see, thanks to Leonard’s condition he never needs a chair.
Sitting in the darkness between three glowing screens, I see my son leaning forward, his wisp like limbs and bony fingers dancing across the keyboard as a myriad of numbers and flashes seared across the screens. Animated characters howled and screamed as my son played his game, a game that I imagine he is very good at by now.
One of the most often understated traits of the vampire in the mainstream media is our obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Some of us, like me, are compulsively clean or have a few dozen hobbies that require vast amounts of time to perform. Collecting is quite common among our kind. I make jewelry and harvest organs for needy hospitals and the sick, while taking in the philosophical descendants of what made me into the monster I am today, who killed my family and prevented me from having any more, and torturing them.
My son Leonard took to technology. His body is always in a state of constant decay, as if he hadn’t eaten in weeks even if his freshest kill was still cooling on his chapped lips. His frame was a lithe skeleton covered in a thin tan layer of potato skin drawn taut over yellowed bone and vine-like cords of muscle. His hair, long and wispy, was still the same auburn it had been in life, though far lighter now in death.
His eyes were truly the only things that had never changed, and for that I thank Jehovah. His piercing green eyes, a gift from his mother, may her soul rest peacefully, twinkled with mirth and excitement as he turned his motorized wheelchair to face me, his little animated character now flying in the air atop some horrible looking bird.
He holds his arms out to me, welcoming me into a gentle hug that I graciously return. “It’s been too long Leo, it’s been too long.”
“You’re the one who doesn’t’ like leaving the house.” He jokes, one hand grasping a joystick built into the armrest of his chair and turning him slightly to look beyond me at the unconscious would-be mugger. “You brought take-out I see.”
“Not intentionally,” I say, holding my hands up in defense. “If you can believe it, this little cretin tried to mug me with a switchblade just down the street from here.”
“You’re kidding!” He accuses, astonished. He lets loose a dry, rasping cough, patting his sunken chest gently with his long fingered hands. “To imagine the look on his face when you turned on him and went all Batman on him.”
“I did no such thing, actually.” I say, ignoring the quip concerning his fascination with comic books, always comparing something to one of the fantastical villains or heroes from his paperback drawings that I would bring him every month. “I talked him into coming to dinner with me, to meet my son.”
This brings another round of wet, sucking laughter as Leo whirs closer to the couch, reaching out with one of his fragile arms over the slumbering criminals form, closing his eyes as he tapped into one of his own dark gifts.
As I’d said before, a vampire with cancer is a rare thing to encounter, mostly due to the fact that vampirism enhances everything about us; including our illnesses. Most simple illnesses are cured upon being turned, what with our transformation actually requiring that we die. But tumors can persist long after death, and upon his rebirth the cancer went back to plaguing him as it had in life, sapping his strength and resolve.
Fortunately, his dark gift found a way for my son to enjoy his extended lease on existence. Before my eyes I watched as my son’s flesh began to thicken and inflate, as his skin began to lighten and grow pink once more, how his features became less sunken and morbid and more human. For now, at least, I could look at my son and see him as he was when he was alive once again, a sight that I never grow tired of.
Chris, on the other hand, looked like a fate worse than death. Whereas my son had absorbed his vitality and spirit, he’d also transferred his illness into the lad for the time being, and it would appear that he was in a terrible amount of pain as he hissed and curled on the couch, clutching at his midsection as his liver was being consumed by the ravenous beast that is Cancer. Going from relatively healthy to stage two liver Cancer in under a minute is a rather harsh feat to endure.
“Ahhh… this feels so much better.” Leo says with renewed vigor, flexing his legs and arms as he wriggles about in his wheelchair. Due to the numerous wires and connections hooked from the chair into his body he still can’t get up from the damned thing, but the fact that he could move and that the constant pain of living with cancer was gone, if only for a few days, was more than enough to make my son happy.
I pull a bag of blood from my satchel and pass it to him, which earns a cooing noise of appreciation as he slices the top of the bag open with one of his yellowed claws. While he guzzles down the crimson fluid noisily, I slowly begin to unpack the varied magazines, comics and newspapers that I always get for him, placing them along the high table dominating the center of the room.
Leonard’s disgusting slurping and suckling sounds seem to have the same effect as smelling salt as Chris begins to stir, groaning in agony. “Ohhh… what’s going on man, why… why do I hurt?”
Sitting on the armrest of the sofa near his head I lean over and run my leather-clad hand over his head, wiping away his dirty mop of sweaty hair from his eyes. “That would be the Cancer Chris. I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but you have stage two liver Cancer that is spreading too fast to remove.”
“W-w-what the fuck are you talking about, get away from me you freak!” He moans, feebly pushing at my hand as I continue to stroke his head, as if petting a family pet. Leonard, chuckles at the situation, blood dribbling down his chin as he continues to milk the blood bag dry. “What the hell is he doing? Who the hell are you people?”
“Well, since you asked so kindly, my name these days is Shylock, and this is my son Leonard. We’re both what you would call vampires, requiring fresh blood to continue living in our state of suspended decay.” I explain calmly, still petting his hair back. “We all have certain gifts that allow us to survive; one of Leonard’s being the ability to transfer his illness or injuries to a living being.”
“So he gave me Cancer?” Chris chokes out, his voice cracking as he spirals into a series of deep hacking coughs, doubling over on the sofa and clutching at his side. “God, why me? Why did you do this to me?”
“I actually didn’t plan on doing this tonight, just a friendly visit where I dropped off some supplies to my Leonard, who due to his condition cannot leave the house to hunt on his own, let alone do simple things like pay a bill or kidnap a criminal.”
“Look man, I’m sorry I tried to rob you, I done told you that! Is that what this is about?”
“No,” I say softly, standing up and moving away from him towards Leonard’s desk, pulling open a drawer where I keep the tools necessary to keep someone alive, if only temporarily. Syringes in cases, bottles of morphine and antibiotics, gauze… all taken from nearby clinics in the wee hours of the morning so as to make it appear as if a junkie had just gotten lucky.
In a way, one did. I pull the casing off of a fresh syringe and stick it into the bottle of morphine, pulling the plunger back until I had perhaps ten CCs of the blissful substance. Resealing the bottle, I carefully put the morphine back in its place, taking a moment to adjust the organization of the items I had stored here. Something seemed off…
“Leonard, have you been rifling about in this drawer?” I ask him, turning o give him an accusatory glare.
“No, why would I?” He replies, licking the inside of the bag with an elongated tongue, obscenely scooping the droplets from the plastic like a hungry dog licks a bowl.
“The morphine wasn’t where I left it last time.” I reply, ignoring Chris as he moans in pain. “I’ll be to you in a minute, just be patient.”
“Wait, I think I did go in there. I was looking for a flash drive that had some programs I was working on and couldn’t seem to find it.” Leonard says, bringing my attention back to his bloody grin. “I rummaged through that drawer thinking it may have fallen in there by mistake.”
“Ah, I suppose that makes sense.” I shrug, walking over to Chris as his moans are slowly turning into wracking sobs. “In answer to your question Chris, this is all because you made the wrong choices in life, including your location this eve. Sadly, you’ll probably enjoy this.”
I grab his head and wrench it to the side, his greasy hair and tears slickening his face and forcing me to apply a bit more pressure than would normally be necessary. Looking at his neck, I can see the blue network carrying his vital essence throughout his body. A long sniff tells me of the pollution built up within his system, of the years of chemical abuse he’s done to himself.
Of how he chose death over life, over love.
I plunge the syringe into his carotid artery, pushing down the plunger slowly so as not to cause any rupturing within his surely weakened veins. His struggles cease almost immediately upon my injection, his body going slack purely on reaction from the repeated times performing this very action on himself. I watch as his eyelids flutter, and listen as his sniveling sobs once again become moans, not of pain but of delight.
Yanking the syringe from his neck and putting my thumb over the wound, I grab his hand and place it over the spot before walking over to the drawer and retrieving a roll of gauze and a razor. I slice a good two feet away before returning to Chris’s still form, and begin wrapping the wound over the injury tight enough to keep him from bleeding out, but not so tight as to restrict his breathing.
“I wonder when the last time he ate was?” Leonard asks, looking at the scrawny body beneath the voluminous rags he wore. He turns his chair to return to his game, his character still happily sitting atop the back of some flaming bird as it flaps in place. “The other one lasted about a week I think.”
“I’ll go tuck him in right now, and then we can have some family time.” I say with a tight smile, saddened at the sight of the quivering boy on the couch. I scoop him up gently, resting his head in the crook of my elbow and begin making my way upstairs and through the kitchen to the second floor.
Of the three rooms up here, Leonard uses none. I keep a good deal of spare supplies here in one of the rooms, mostly cash and clothing, while another served as a workshop for my art. The last room at the end of the rosewood hall, however…
It was where the dead were sent to die.
Pushing open the door to the last bedroom, the rancid smell of decay overwhelmed me like a dense fog rolling past, the sound of countless flies buzzing filled the air. There, tied to the bed with extendable work out bands, was the flesh stripped corpse of Lindsay, her skin now long gone due to decay and rot, her muscles full of watery pus and maggots that happily gorged, the swarming overhead landing to help break her down even further.
“Ah,” I sigh, taking a deep whiff of the saccharine scent of death and life, “Poor girl… how you must have suffered.”
Walking over to a loveseat set before a canvas on an easel, I set Chris down gently before moving to Lindsay’s bedside, stroking back her unbound hair from her skeletal face, thin strips of muscle long since black with rot still clinging to her grey bone.
“But don’t worry,” I say to her, moving to untie the knots in the elastic bands that had held her spread eagle to the bed, “from what I remember you telling me, Jesus died for all of our sins, and so long as you ask for forgiveness your suffering will be eased in the next life.”
I pull the IV tube from her desiccated flesh, the fluids having long ago run dry. The last time I’d been here was quite some time ago, so I imagine if she died last week it must have been due to her excellent physical condition. I remember her now, her black hair tied back in a ponytail, jogging through the park on that hot night as I’d sat reading my paper. She’d stopped and asked if she could have the time, which of course amused me to no end, so I struck up a conversation with her.
It would appear dear Lindsay was a born-again Christian, and loved to spread the “Good Word” as it were, especially when she found out I was Jewish. Her first strike had been forgiving me and my people for killing Jesus. Her second strike had been telling me how all the bad things that had happened to us since were because of that horrid act we did, but it was all better now because we had our homeland back thanks to America.
Then she broke the camels back when she tried to “Save Me!” She’d said I was almost a Christian, I just needed to do the last step and I’d be saved and born again, just like her, washed free of my sins.
That’d been enough.
I’d taken here then and there, knocking her out and stashing her high in a tree so I could move her easier once it got darker. Reading her mind then, I could tell how proud of her body she was, of her strength! To her there was nothing but physical and spiritual fitness.
But once she had Leonard’s Cancer, all that strength was sapped from her. All she got to do was lie here and watch her body waste away into nothingness as she died. If she’s right, it doesn’t matter how much she suffered; she’s in Heaven now.
I snort, “Hell of a wager, that’s for certain.”
I busy myself by undoing her elastic restraints, slipping them free from the bedposts and tossing them carelessly to the floor. Her bed sheets, more of a tarp per say, I merely bundle up unceremoniously and sling over my back like Santa’s bag of toys, and walk into the bathroom, before dumping out the rancid mixture of human sewage into the tub, trying not to let the splattering sloughs of skin and bursting organs full of rot spill over onto my good coat.
Pulling a trash bag from the cupboard beneath the sink for the tarp, I quickly stuff the sticky mess away before turning to wash my hands.
Moving back to the bedroom with another tarp (also kept beneath the sink in the cupboard) I quickly made the bed and moved Chris into it, stripping him of his clothes (which went into the trash bag with the rot-covered tarp). I take the elastic bands and fasten them to the bed posts once more, before wiping them down with a fresh cloth and binding them to Chris’s arms and legs.
Moving back to look at what I’ve done, I try and think of a message I can leave for Chris to contemplate on while he slowly dies. Humming to myself Dusty’s tune, I rummage in my coat and pull out a syringe, and lay it carefully on his chest.
“There we go,” I smile, patting him on the side of the head. “What’s death without a lesson?”