I do enjoy a good fetish film.
Someone recently sent me a link to a Japanese website, along with instructions on how to Google-translate it (these were unnecessary, I speak Japanese very well). He said he thought I might like it. And like it I do. I love it. It's absolutely fucking brilliant, full of videos of slender females stepping on submissive men's faces and chests. I've been masturbating to it constantly over the last couple of weeks. I pour myself a drink, light a cigarette, and begin. When finished, I wait twenty minutes and start again, with a new drink and a new cigarette. All the time I'm at home, almost. I even thought about doing it at work a couple of times, and would have done if I didn't have respect for the corpses.
So when the phone rang just before eleven on a rainy Thursday night and it was Inspector Masterson, that officious, pompous cunt who thinks he's in any position to boss me around, guess what I was doing.
"Woman in her late thirties and her daughter, around eleven years of age. Bolton Gardens."
"Can't help you. I'm masturbating right now and will be busy doing so for the rest of the night."
"Too much fucking information. You could have just said you're a heartless cunt who doesn't even bother when a child has died."
"Where the fuck is Bolton Gardens, anyway?"
"It's two streets down from your house. Cunt."
It's hard for me to get motivated these days. Actually, it's been hard for a long time. You see, I'm a vampire.
That's right. A vampire. Almost like the vampires that you see in the movies and read about in books. I drink blood, I will live forever unless someone chops my head off or sets fire on me, and I look mighty young for nine hundred and seventeen. I can, however, go out in the sun without any problems. I don't sleep in a coffin, and I hate bats. It is true that I don't eat the shit that humans do " blood is all that I need; but I do enjoy a good whisky, and I've been chain-smoking cigarettes since the day they were invented. I don't get sick. I can consume alcohol, cigarettes, soft drugs, hard drugs, harder drugs, fucking bleach if I want, without consequence. I don't really have any superpowers, except perhaps incredible sexual prowess. I can fuck a woman till she literally loses consciousness from dozens of successive orgasms. I can fuck her till she dies of it, if I want. I can cum inside her, too, without any concern whatsoever, as my sperm is fake. So is my blood, my spit, my piss and my shit. I only use them to show others I'm human. I even gave myself diarrhea one time. It was for a good cause.
The only other vampires I know are from human literature and cinematography. I've never met one in the flesh. If there are vampire sects, organizations, families and genealogy trees, casts, private clubs in subterranean dungeons or any of that shit, I haven't found them. And I've been keeping a look-out for them for nine centuries, know what I mean? Don't you think I would have found them by now?
It is the only logical conclusion: I am the only real living vampire in the world. And I'm fucking brilliant. Do you know why? "Cause I've attended every institution of brilliance that has ever existed on this planet. Massachusetts Institute of Technology to study civil engineering. Oxford, twice, once for my BA in English and once more for an MA in Latin. Economics at LSE, of course. Biochemistry at Harvard, Political Science at the University of Melbourne. I was taught psychology by Freud at Vienna, cardiothoracic surgery by Barnhard in Cape Town. I have 29 native languages. History is my favourite subject, however. Sometimes I even enjoy making it. Doing something or not doing something that causes a chain of events which lead to something that must be written down. And then, years later study it. The night Constantinople fell to the Turks I was fucking that plumb Armenian down by the river. Had I kept my vigil properly, the city would have had advance warning of the swiftly progressing cavalry from the north-east. It might have had time to prepare for a counter-attack. As it stands, I chose to fuck and let them burn.
I fucked in the glow of the fire.
I live well among humans as a vampire. I am different, unique in fact; and yet they've allowed me to fit in so well with them. I'm grateful to them, most of the time.
For the last few years I've been working as a coroner after attaining a Master's degree in Forensic Medicine during my stint in Durham back in the eighties. I've done a lot of things in my time, but right now I couldn't wish for a better occupation. It's something I've never tried before, and therefore still holds some novelty. Novelty is a requirement for me, you understand? Without a little bit of novelty every now and then, I would have chopped my own head off. I get to solve riddles by looking at corpses. The dead body tells its own tale; shares its own version of the events, the way it felt them. Where it was struck first and what it was struck with. "Blunt instrument," whisper the small fragments of shattered skull. "Kitchen knife," whistles the rhomboid shape of the tear in the abdomen. Did the bullet enter from the back, or the front, and at what angle and velocity? "The front. The murderer was standing opposite me, and the bullet flew (extremely briefly) parallel to the earth before entering. It pierced me so quick that you cannot fail to see it was point-blank range. Clearly, an angry crime, a crime of revenge, wrath, hatred, or all three. " So lectures me the gap in the dead woman's chest. And the old man's jaw is broken in eleven places, yet it can say "never mind the hundred quid they stole from him, forget about that; somebody had a problem with my face, and especially my mouth. Somebody was afraid I might have spoken about something, don't you think?"
Of course, they do not whisper, whistle, speak or in any way communicate with me in any "supernatural" sense. This is just stuff I cook up in my head. I choose to hear them the way I do, but the truth is it's all my own thoughts. Look, if you expect me to start telling stories about how I can hear dead people talking and how they explain to me that the afterlife is something wonderful " sorry, I'm going to disappoint you. They're just corpses. Stiffs. Lumps of rotting meat. Trying to communicate with one of them is similar to talking to filet mignon. Trust me, you'd be best off eating it. I like mine rare.
The house is one of those rather posh semis with a nicely kept rose garden and plenty of security cameras. I count three: one right above the front door, one higher up, attached to the top storey west window, and one by the garage door. Not that I care. I'm here to look at the stiffs. Masterson's bozos can look at the place and write everything down. I place a silent bet with myself that most of them will misspell "storey".
A uniformed youngster with droopy eyes (in my experience, a certain sign of diminished intelligence) greets me and shows me in. Nice place. Great big fuck-off home cinema system in the living room, and a well-stocked bar. Bottles of Glenmorangie. Cigar box. I see all that as I'm passing through. Have I told you? I have a very keen eye.
Masterson looks tired, but then he always looks tired. Hell, even I would look tired if I had as many ex-wives as he's had.
"Dr. Fairweather. So kind of you to grace us with your presence."
"So how do you know the girl is eleven, Masterson?"
"You said on the phone, woman in her late thirties and her daughter, around eleven. I'm not asking how you know she's her daughter; just how you know she's eleven. Did you examine her?"
"None of your fuckin business. You're needed to go in there and offer a first appraisal with regards to the cause of death. Do it ASAP."
"You're my employee, Fairweather. And I'm getting tired of""
"You do look tired."
"Shut the fuck up. I'm sick of your give-no-shit attitude and your cock-shit arrogant wisecracks. I'm not your buddy. We're not equals. The Metropolitan Police are paying you to do this job. Get in there and do your job. Cunt."
"Who are they?"
He goes completely still. The less he moves, the taller he looks. The more imposing. Arrogant, mindless, temporary creature. "None of your fuckin business. Read it in the papers. Now go do your fuckin job."
I really don't mind Masterson. He's a good man, or at least he tries to be. He takes his job seriously. Like all humans, he doesn't realize how unimportant it all is. Time passes. Humanity moves on, slowly but steadily, to its death. The death of all. Solving homicides? It's work for idle thumbs. Homicides are just death, that's all they are. And death is the finish line for everyone. What does it matter if you make someone cross it sooner than most people cross it?
I once had a beer with Edgar Alan Poe in a decrepit ale house. He shared his opium pipe with me and, in exchange, I spoke to him about the vanity of existence. Drunk and stoned to fuckness, he went home to his old servant and his canaries, and wrote this:
Out"out are the lights"out all!
And over each quivering form
The curtain, a funeral pall,
Comes down with the rush of a storm,
While the angels, all pallid and wan,
Uprising, unveiling, affirm
That the play is the tragedy, "Man,"
And its hero, the Conqueror Worm.
Actually, it's maggots that eat up a corpse, not worms, but "worm" rhymes with "affirm". Flies are capable of smelling corpses and they go and lay their eggs on them so that the little ones have plenty of food when they come out. This is Nature's way of taking care of children. She makes human tits produce milk. She makes dead human tits especially nutritious to maggot babies. It's all part of a great plan, which is bollocks, because all the great plan leads to is death anyway. Humans, I have news for you. If you're thinking that when you die you're going to walk through a bright tunnel and find Jesus or some other such super-hero waiting for you at the end, you have been terribly misled. And a message to those of you who are clinically depressed and believe that everything is in vain: you are not sick. You just see the truth.
But Nature needs time. All actions take time, even those executed by Nature herself. Bodies need time to start to stink, flies need time to find where the stink comes from, their eggs need time to hatch. In a city like London, where the wind can blow cold like refrigerated razors even in the middle of the summer, it takes at least three days. But the pools of blood on the floor, from the cuts in the two females' necks have only just stopped spreading. They are well-defined, without dried-up bits around the edges of the dark red marks on the bedroom's thick, beige wall-to-wall carpet.
I feel an appetite coming on, but I realize I'm being greedy. I drank a stray dog not four hours ago, any more blood tonight would just be piling up the calories for no good reason. And I do watch my figure.
In effect, the females have only been dead for a couple of hours or so. I'm amazed by how fast Masterson and his boys got here. Do they really have the mental acuity to act so rapidly? Perhaps I am unjust to them when I think of them as nothing but a bunch of stupid morons.
Regardless, I have never seen maggots appear so quickly on human bodies.
Actually, I lie.
I have seen them appear within seconds. Eat away, eat away, furiously, maniacally. Go from larvae to full-grown flies within twenty minutes. Then come ants, cockroaches, rats " all within the hour. I have seen them attack the corpse like tomorrow's sunrise depends on them eating everything up. And I have seen them succeed, again and again. But I have only witnessed this anomaly with one particular subject: myself.
Later, when the creatures that ate me all come together in a sewer or in an abandoned factory or inside the wreckage of a crashed airliner at the bottom of the ocean, the pain is but a memory. Their bodies swirl around in a whirlwind of resurrection. Their insides become their outsides. A bloody red and black cloud forms, and out of it I re-emerge, like a horrific Phoenix.
Masterson is standing behind me as I kneel over the dead females. He's got decent taste in tobacco for an emotional coward who never managed to hold on to a woman " he smokes Camels. "Well?"
"Well, Inspector," I reply, "the cause of death is very clear. Their carotid arteries were cut open. These two here died because their carotid arteries were sliced. Cause of death: butchering of carotid arteries. Their carotid arteries were, by means of a knife, sword, switchblade, katana, or other such sharp instrument, rendered incapable of transporting blood to the brain. Were you not able to deduce that yourself?"
I stand up and face him. Another tall man taking his job too seriously. Masterson is 45, and he should be ranking higher than he does. Of course, in order to achieve that, one should refrain from crashing a patrol car into a kebab shop while driving under the influence of cocaine. I'm told he's given up on those illicit pleasures. I have my reservations. Time seems to be passing kind of swiftly through his body, too. I'm sure his hair wasn't as grey last month, and that sixth wrinkle on his forehead is so new it's simply trying to fit in, awkwardly.
"Send them to the lab. I'll put together a full report for you. Alright? Will you stop fucking me off then?"
I drive downtown through the early morning fog, imagining that I'm running over ghosts. For revenge, they trample my face with their bare, skeleton feet.
Alone, at last, with my prematurely maggot-eaten girls. Already knowing everything I need to know from their torsos, I focus on their faces. They sure look like mother and daughter " they share characteristics like jaw shape, skin colour, even a small black birthmark by the edge of their lips. I open the mother's eyes first, then the little girl's. Bright green. Beautifully shaped.
I stare at them persistently, trying to remember when I last saw them. I don't have much time. The maggots have already made several holes in the woman's abdomen, and the little girl's armpits and chest are being eaten up pretty quick, too. I can hear movement in the room, several pairs of tiny claws scratching the marble. The rats are here, but still in hiding.
"Alright there, Doc?" Barry, the night watchman, shouts from behind the door and startles me. "I'm just clocking in. Thought I'd give you a heads-up."
"Thanks, Barry. Listen" make sure nobody interrupts me, okay? I'll be a couple of hours or three."
"You got it, Doc. I'll get a pie for you as soon as Liam's opens."
I don't know why some men like me. I avoid friendship in every possible way. I don't go out for pints with the lads, I don't tell stories about my time in the Navy, I don't play cards, I don't shoot pool or bowl. I don't feel insecure about time, I'm not worried about lack of money, illness, war, global warming. I couldn't give a shit about politics or football. But Barry is one of those men who see something likeable in me. I suppose Barry, and all these men through the centuries (Edgar Alan Poe included) could be the "I see the good in everyone" breed. Moronic, really, but even moronic beliefs are beliefs. Even stupid faith is faith. You have to admire their devotion to it.
Red ants the size of adult thumbs are crawling over the corpses now. As the skin over the clavicles and the ribcage and the knees is eaten away and the first bones become visible, dozens of rats shuffle past my feet and latch onto the bodies, tearing away large pieces of flesh and gnawing at the increasingly exposed skeletons. The red-feathered vulture with a long, pointed beak takes care of their eyes and tongues (and I wonder, why is it always this bird that does those parts?). Soon I can't see the bodies at all. They are covered with small creatures biting them, dismembering them, chewing them.
And then, for a few minutes, nothing. I'm standing in front of two vacant examination beds, so clean that all the forensic experts of the Met wouldn't be able to trace the smallest drop of blood.
I stand and await the quake. And sure enough, after a few seconds the floor starts trembling slightly and a couple of lights flicker. My ears feel as though I'm under water, because the air has thinned to the point where any human would suffocate. But everything moves: it swirls around in a way that cannot be described with words, everything is still, no objects are moving at all. But only relative to the other objects in this room; for, relative to the earth, they spin like a crazed carousel, outside it, around it, or perhaps inside the very depths of it.
They stand in front of me, naked, half-smiling.
"See, baby?" Says the mother. "I told you it would be fine." Then, to me: "Can we have our clothes back now?"
"What happened to you two?"
"We were killed by my father. He is unwell," says the girl.
"Do you realize what you have become?"
They look at each other and smile, then the daughter puts her arms around her mother's waist and rests her ear on her heart, closing her eyes. "I'm sure you will tell us why all the emptiness," she giggles. "We feel empty, don't we, Mum?" The mother gives out a little laugh which slowly becomes bigger, lasts longer and longer. I wish it would cease as soon as possible. They open their mouths and toss their heads back, screaming at the pain of sharp, shiny fangs emerging from their jaws.
"Do you know what made you vampires?"
"Your loneliness did," they reply in unison. "We are here to eliminate your loneliness, if you wish us to."
Now, I did not anticipate this.
After a few moments they are frozen in position, leaning back, screaming with laughter. Soon the noise stops and they become statues of flesh. These are my potential eternal companions. I could wait for another few minutes for their insides to self-embalm, like mine have done so many times. Then, I could take them and run away. Answer the one million questions they will ask when they regain consciousness, train them to avoid eating anyone the police would bother looking for. Then, after a few years, teach them how to be at peace with their deathlessness, and how to forget about memories, how to forget about future plans, how to live in the present. And they can be with me, forever.
The wife and child I have occasionally wished for.
I cut into their necks with the electric saw, but I go further than their previous attacker. I cut all the way, until their heads become separated from their bodies. The awful rewinding begins, and things now spin in the opposite direction, going backwards. The rats, the red vulture, the maggots, they all come back, vomiting the corpses back into the world of the living, where they will remain dead.
Quoth the raven, "Nevermore.'
Because, if I am to be totally honest, I would rather be alone.
"All done, Doc? Here, got you your favourite. Lamb and mint."
"Thanks, Barry. Let's get a pint this week, eh?"
I deviate from the route home and park by the river, near the London Eye. I stare at its tallness and I silently mock humanity's admiration of tall things. All living beings think that the way to salvation is upwards; I know better. I know it's neither up there nor down below, but rather, nowhere.
My flat is clean and tidy and feels like home. I've always been a good home maker. I pour a malt and roll a joint. The Japanese girls trampling the man's face are paused in a position that makes them look like they're dancing.
I will call Masterson a bit later.