Blood fellow - Book One - Separation -Chapter 4

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Commercial Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 4 (v.1) - THE HERMIT (REVERSED)

Submitted: October 28, 2018

Reads: 27

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Submitted: October 28, 2018

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THE HERMIT (REVERSED)

4

The secret'st man of blood

What is the night?

-Macbeth Act III, Scene IV 

-William Shakespeare

 

Under the smooth domes of some mushrooms there is a poisoned folding, like a knife concealed in the street fighter's dangling sleeve, or that which hides within the nether hollow of women.  Veiled jeopardy, potent pleasures, their significance folded away from common view.  By a sort of protective, defensive origami, if you will.  One can fold a square of gold origami foil and through a bit of tactile geometry, behold!  A swan, a monkey, the rat, the dragon.

Now, unfold the paper, smooth it out upon your knee.  Can you discern its former three -dimensional shape from what is now merely creases in a two-dimensional piece of foil?  Was anything ever really there?  Is it merely a length and breadth of paper?

Or is it a dragon?

 

 

I am the hidden visitor and the cell is my dominion.  Dormant now in the river of life. Escape...escape.  No, want to drown...drowning is a subtle yielding.  Water sweeps me under.  Under our Blood River.  Shocks of attacking light.  Water?

Black mists...silence...the flood of faces, profiles like bowsprits..deluge, again?

A verdant grove, a recitation, welcome me home, my prehistoric blood society. Abaddon, release my flesh.  Unhook the bones.

Swamp seeping over me, I shall pass away gracefully now, I cannot breathe water.  I will become consort to seaweed and fish.  But you say, rise legend.  Shoulder up the tombstone...shake loose the sod of centuries, you command, arise and hunt.

You haunt me, Abaddon.

I love you, my brother, parting was such sweet...sweet conflict and even sweeter release.  I am free from your lightening flesh . . . its purifying burn.

Despite our years apart I can feel the electric shreds of your web still clinging to my body.  Give me freedom.  I need a sweet feeding.  My last throat -- now she was delightful, Nox.  Nineteen and nubile as you always preferred.  She called me the devil, in the harsh gargle of American English.  I told her she should have chanced to meet you, my reciprocal sibling.

It is a mystery.  The humans are all so aimless in this country.  She seemed to desire death at my hand, if only for a change, the last and sole adventure.  

My cleaved shadow, you are what I lack in the light, you give me form.  I miss your passion, your devotion, your bold cruelty.  I am wet, I am divided.  Starving, oh, how the belly cuts.  When I was with you, I was never left hungry and my mind quieted like a battleground after a war.  Cold here.  Deep cold pit of suspension.  I dream.

Tell me, Abaddon, why am I dreaming like a pitiful human, daring his heart only in vision, who upon waking cleaves to the banal and familiar?

I am the familiar of the damned.

 

Wake -- I must wake.  Who comes for me in a black boat upon black waters?  Charon, myth brother, wait, wait for me.  This crypt floods, the shore is bone cold, cursed and lonely . . . Wet black oily birds strain against the murk . . . Thousands of voices urge reconciliation, a reckoning.

Summon me, Sumeria.  I have not seen home in several hundred . . . 

Wet, keep me wet.  The sea has cold breasts.  Athena, make love to me.  Woman, woman, let me in.  Let me float in you, so deep. So deep and dreaming dreaming dreaming . . .

 

His eyelids, delicate and crinkly as honeysuckle, seemed to float open, then weighted by dream rivers, lowered again.  His colorless lashes twitched over the ridge of his eye sockets, red eyes moving frantically beneath, reading his nightmare like a cheap who-done-it.

One arm rose like a diviner's water rod, then fell heavily.

Something viscous and chilly dripped with steady intensity onto his high white, high brow.  Cold bore through the center of his forehead like a steel-driven spike.

He lay on his back in straw.  The sunburn red eyes finally managed to stay open as Wolf gazed blindly into the grainy dark.

Gingerly he pressed two pale fingers into a pool of damp widening over his eyebrows.  He brought his hand to his face and attempted to focus.  He fingers appeared to be inked in black blood.

"Che cosa?" He spoke on the exhale, the word "cosa" nearly inaudible.  Sniffing his fingertips he suddenly bellowed and scuttled, crab-like to his left.

"Damn! Motor oil!" Wolf screeched, bolting upright. A linen handkerchief, courtesy of his first night's victim in the U.S., was whipped from his rear pocket and daubed over his forehead.  Oil snaked over the bridge of his Roman nose and sluiced along the runnels of his laugh lines.  He could taste oil, slick and bitter, in his mouth.  He spat and snorted like an indignant rhino, kicking up clots of straw with his red high-top sneakers, his arctic white hair falling forward over his face in greasy strands.  In a furor of righteous pique he gashed his lower lip with his fang teeth and roared anew.

"God, Moses, Zeus, Zarathustra damn me!" he challenged, sinking into a mouldy bale of wire-wrapped straw.  He sighed mournfully.

"God and everyone else has already damned me.  Hades, I damn myself.  Motor oil, ah mercy."  He patted his cheeks and chin with the purloined handkerchief, grinning wryly.  Forks of his own blood trickled from the corners of his punctured lower lip to his urbane chin like a crimson Fu-Manchu.  Oil shimmered on his forehead, shirtfront and fingers.

"I imagine I look just molto bello," he drawled to the empty room.  He sighed.  "Of what, oh merciful Fortuna, was I dreaming?"

He remembered something about his brother and for a moment Wolf thought he could smell the fresh sea air near Trani, Italy.

The impression passed and new odors replaced it.  The ambient temperature in his room was 42 degrees, the air stagnant, redolent of straw and toxic chemicals.  He let loose a vicious sneeze and then succumbed to a fit of coughing.

The chemical odor smelled extraordinarily malignant to his sensitive nose. As a rule Wolf tried to distance himself from the industrialized world's caustic effluvium.  In all the years of his living he had never found the air so generally foul as he had in this century.  He doubted he would ever develop a tolerance for it.

 

A stray field mouse, hunting the freedom of the outdoors darted between his red sneakers, turned and eyed him, pink nose vibrating as she sniffed for his identifying odor. 

Wolf laughed hoarsely,  "Forget it, micro-rat, I have not a scent you will recognize in that mousy brain of yours."

Idly he picked straw slivers from the legs of his satin trousers, inspected one particularly sharp sprig and actively employed it in cleaning under his glossy nails.  He dug to the tender quick, blood welled.

He sucked dejectedly on his fingertip and felt depression, his infernal sidekick, his eternal bane, rising within him like a familiar family ghoul.  Determined to maintain an outlook of optimism (after all, he had managed to escape Abaddon) he shoved his melancholy aside, pursed his lips and tried to whistle a peppy Italian tune.  Unfortunately Banesville's newest inhabitant could not position his lips properly over the thickened carnassial teeth, hence only a flat rush of air was emitted.  The mouse regarded him disdainfully and accelerated her nubby little mouse feet into high gear, disappearing into a wall of shadow.

For a moment Wolf felt like weeping.  To sob, like a fragile, feeling human for the losses he had endured and perhaps mostly for the loss of whistling, a young man's heady, sexy fusion of sound and energy.  But he had never been human.

And he had never been able to whistle.

Instead he chewed his nails and ruminated about his inhuman condition.  These United States had not impressed him as a country in which to find one's misplaced sense of value or clues to one's essential meaning, especially if one is of a race not of the norm.

He recalled his urge to retch every time he sees a new Premier paperback best-seller like the one that last night's victim had tucked underneath his arm.  It had been some second rate horror story like BLOODSUCKER 2 or NIGHTBLEEDERS or GRAVEDATE ON TALBOT AVENUE.  Evidently these books represented the nation's view of the Bloodfellow-at-large and it was not a flattering portrayal, in Wolf's opinion.

He had gone out that evening with the intention of seeking a male victim with whom he shared physical measurements, because, as usual, he possessed no wardrobe.  Those hasty and unplanned departures necessitated by Abaddon's pursuit left him bereft of all but his translucent skin.  And while he reveled in his divine nudity and thought himself the very image of masculine perfection, he still had need of the cloth camouflage if for no other reason than a desire to remain as inconspicuous as possible.

The vampire snickered as he recalled the man's look of surprise as he surrendered his life to the very ghoul about which he had just been reading in his cheap, unimaginative little book.  The paperback had fallen to the floor of the subway train when Wolf leaned into him, romancing the jugular.

Wolf had gotten off at the next stop, taking the novel with him.  Slumped into the end seat reserved for the elderly or handicapped, the dead man sat through three more stops before discovery, his chin lolling on his chest as the train rocked.  He looked for all the world as if he had fallen asleep on his long trip home after a taxing day grading high-school students futile attempts at essays.

Look at that absurd book: Wolf kicked at it with his sneaker, frowning.

Who writes such erroneous wafts of fantasia?  He reigns as one of the oldest organisms Nature has permitted to flourish on Earth.  His mind is a treasury, a museum, a historical archive!  Where is the respect due him, a creature of force, antiquity and rarity?

 

Behold the mighty Wolf O'bellod, ladies and gentleman, reduced to a bed of straw, red tennis shoes and an ill-fitting suit. Desperately he wished for a RELIEF FUND FOR DISPOSSESSED VAMPIRES or WELFARE FOR WEREWOLVES or some such other social aid.  It seemed to Wolf that there existed help aplenty for the impoverished, the underprivileged and the down-trodden but never for the prodigal chimera, the weird and the wonderful, the queer and quaint.  One may have sympathy if one is a beggar, never if one is an anomaly.

Unlike so many of the ancient lamia he and Abaddon had spawned who proceeded to steal and hoard veritable fortresses of wealth and possessions over the spread of their immortal lives, Wolf had acquired neither the acumen nor the desire to do the same.  Material quantity did not satisfy or define him.  He limited his collections to rare volumes of scholarly works and individual matchless antiques, some the only examples of their kind.  He found everyone's ardent pursuit of fiscal stature unbearably bourgeois.

Wolf O'bellod remained the vampire of academia, a voracious soldier of learning.  Still he suffered with the knowledge that his joy de vivre had abandoned him even as he had abandoned Abaddon and all the others.  Yet he could not ascertain the cause.  He chronically fed his head until knowledge became a bombastic vampire, feeding on him.  Alas, there was no known nostrum for that malady, the leech of his learning had sucked away his desire to live.

Great Subjects were captured and made his concubines, yet when their meanings were born to him he wanted to kill the children.  What mankind discovered, he learned beside them and sometimes long before them, in which case he coaxed their understanding like a greedy pundit needing collaborative affirmation.

But he had never been a stable soul, his emotional state seemed inexorably locked with the rise and fall of man's overall condition--and now man seemed poised on the edge of utter dissolution.  All that remained for Wolf to experience was finality and he was ready for it, oh, ready indeed.  To relinquish his colorless form to a peaceful tomb and suffer his intellect no more.  To nestle, like an illuminated letter on the parchment of time and fade in grace.

How humiliating it was for him, this act of feeding upon mankind, locked in an unseemly parasitical/symbiotic marriage.  He only desired to be free of it all now.  Perhaps here, in the United States of America, land of the liberated, he might kill himself freely. 

While the vampire had sat ruminating on these disturbing thoughts, the gnawing hunger had started afresh.

He glanced around for the mouse, his cell-mate, and briefly considered pursuit, but the arrogant little rodent had nary a spoons worth of blood and Wolf had not much strength left at the moment.

So instead he stood, tucked his handkerchief into a rear pocket and wiped his oily fingers on his velvet lapels.  A thick, gypsy lethargy still camped within his bones.  Performing a neat demi-plie to a chorus of cracks in his sluggish knee joints, Wolf then stretched his arms over his head and, in doing so, glanced upward staring at the strands of light filtering through the steel grid set in the ceiling.

Over each long grid was parked a school bus, Wolf knew, for this was his new diurnal hideout, his proud and empty sanctum, the unused storage cellar of The School Bus Repair and Restoration Shop of Banesville.  The city fathers in their paternal wisdom had deemed it wise and fiscally responsible to refurbish aging school buses instead of purchasing new ones.  This was where they drove or towed the buses, like D.O.A. accident victims waiting to be relieved of their donatable parts.

 

Not the high whine of drills, not the swooshh whooshh whooshh of the spray gun nor the vrrriipp of the lifts ever bothered Wolf O'bellod.  He slumbered by day, as unwilling a victim of his unholy circadian rhythms as humans are to theirs.

Except for awakening on a few occasions spattered with yellow paint or on this particular evening, crankcase oil leaking through the grids, Wolf's hideaway appeared to be reasonably safe. To his knowledge no one had used the cellar for years.  All exits had been boarded up long ago and filled with concrete after an auxiliary addition to the building had been erected on the south side for storage purposes.

Wolf was not fond of the buses hulked above him, mechanical viscera in full view.  Something about the buses, their lack of soul or significance, strummed existential resonance in the vampire.  He felt the vehicles had no validity, no dignity; he felt he had none. 

The hunger spasmed again, he hugged his belly and bent over at the waist, gasping.  Deep within his alien circuitry, neurons flamed and sparked in earnest.

Now Now NOW! growled the hunger, the beast that lived in his brain.  Wolf's tongue paced the cage of his clenched teeth like a salivating zoo tiger.  His prick stiffened painfully, a red arrow pointing to his empty gut.  Seven hundred years was a long wasteland without sex and  when he fed he still contended with his carnal urge.  He imagined spearing the woman as if he were an albino shark, bucking her in the foamy waves and then consuming the flood of her red blood as it hurtled down his throat until he, the shark, swallowed the entire sea that was his food source and his only home.  And if he could destroy the world's stockpile of women, from desk-clerk to the last mermaid, would he then be safe from his unremitting lust?  No, he was sure he would not.  How he despised the predator hunger and the hard nail of his penis, those relentless twin desires.  Abaddon had begged him to choose a vampire mate to assuage the insistent flame.

Abaddon.

Well, and what of Abaddon?  The strange dream from which he'd just awakened flicked vague images at Wolf but he still could not recall it in detail.  Abaddon had been admonishing him to do something . . . Wolf could not remember what.

He missed his brother suddenly.  Despite their temperamental differences, they had been the Yin and Yang of the supernatural world.  What comprised Wolf O'bellod without the prime influence of his life?

But he had made his choice; returning was out of the question for him now.

This was the twentieth century!  Man had developed new and increasingly creative methods of destruction.  He would discover a way to exterminate himself and halt the descending hail of vampire shadows.

Snarling, he reared his head backward, fangs bared at the buses underside.  Having given no thought to his dinner itinerary when relatively sane, he was now compelled to formulate a plan in this frenzied state and still consider his own safety.

A quick glide to Somerside Lake, that should suffice, he plotted.  Some nubile, pretentious ingenue, perhaps the daughter of an architect, padding the lake's perimeter in the moonlight, satin pumps in her powdered hands . . .

She will tread slowly, humming to herself.  She will be weak after too much drinking and flesh-patting at the Fan Club, the trendy bar for upwardly mobile debutantes of the Peerless Fanshire section of Banesville.

There she is, ah, yes.  The images flickered across his tortured mind like a surrealist slide show.

 

She shall pause and reflect on the woods . . . there . . . where the frame of pines fades to a woven skein of tree line, indistinguishable from the darkness.  The woods are familiar, soundless, shapeless, nothing malign could form in there.  Nothing folded away, occult and dangerous.   What could it matter?

Come morning Homicide's Search Team will find her drained white as the dawn light, stiff as the words "don't matter."  No evidence but sharp tine pricks in her white swan neck and a look of strange acceptance upon her face.  And questions; black questions circling the scene like vultures . . . 

Who would do such a thing?  What could do such a thing,?  My God . . . she's been emptied . . . 

Wolf howled again and materialized head first into an outlot bordered in unruly Juniper hedges behind the School Bus Repair and Restoration Shop.  Hastily he folded . . . refolded . . . his anatomy losing ground in one dimension, reforming in another.  Wings grafted to his empty arm sockets by a gruesome equation, black hair burgeoning from his chest in torrents, ears spreading wide around a squat skull.  A nose forms, flat and slitted as a viper.

He wings through and under the flooding beams of street lamps, absorbing light, a glissade in the night.  Wolf is now the vampire legends' favorite familiar, the bat, headed five miles east to Somerside Lake and the night air is his sled.

At one-thirty that morning Theresa Nottsworth of 8757 Portsmouth Way, a virgin and indeed, the daughter of an architect, trades away her mortal coil for a few, brief somatic thrills like kissing Wolf O'bellod, deposed King of the Bloodfellows, marvelling at how divine his lips feel, how like cinnamon he smells and failing, falling, determined as a diver into the silver nets cast in the boiling red sea of Wolf's eyes.  The wetlands soil is damp beneath her back, her legs . . . and something else is wet, slick.  Her neck stings and sings, a silken harp oozing notes of harmonious pain.  The final words her aural nerves transmitted to her dying brain: "I am a shark in the sea . . . shark in the sea, I am a shark---"

But he is not.

Wolf is a vampire.

He crouches over Theresa's inert body by the lake side, his pale hands snarled in her mermaid red hair, her mouth a red door of shock, blue eyes wide and blind.  He is panting, panting like an animal in the marsh.  His back is broad, no dorsal fin, chest hard and lean, a lute-shape of muscle spreading a taut belly.  Satiated and ashamed, Wolf thinks, as he almost always does, that this has to be the nadir of abasement.  Such a young, ingenuous, trusting girl.

He stands and shivers in the sudden wind.  Gooseflesh, dead flesh, he chants a litany of rage against his condition.  Draping her violet sweater blouse over the already stiffening body (ah, the violet clashes with her red hair, he observes inanely) he folds . . . folds . . . folds

flaps

forgets

 


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