29 August 2008

Unholy Crusade, part twelve


Gretl sat on the roof of the Victoria, a pseudo-Victorian building in the centre of town. It had been a theatre in the 1960s, a cinema in the 1980s and was now a trendy wine bar on the ground floor with a cheap and nasty nightclub occupying the two floors above it. If there was anywhere to pick up scum in this town, the nightclub in the Victoria was the place.

The night was still young and she had barely woken but already the craving was threatening to overwhelm her. She had been hooked on cigarettes when she died and the need for nicotine had been tremendous. Her body ached, her mind pulsed with every heartbeat and she felt herself become so tense whenever she could not get one more draw on those little white sticks. She experienced the effects of withdrawal whenever it was a choice between cigarettes or little Claus having a new pair of shoes, or the right books for school, or any one of a hundred other things a growing child needs. Money had been tight, but she could always fight the cravings when things got too bad.

She would give anything to feel those cravings now. Compared to the hell she faced each night, they were paradise.

She scanned the crowds that were starting to form outside the more popular pubs and clubs. Somewhere in each crowd there was a target. She just needed to find one. Which unlucky sod would it be tonight?

Outside the Victoria, a man in a white tracksuit sauntered over to a blue Fiat, looked both ways, then leaned into the passenger-side front window. Gretl watched him talking to the driver; saw him pass something over to him and receive something in return. Then he stood up, patted the roof and walked away.

'Dealer,' she thought, keeping her eyes on the car. 'Perfect.'


'Allo there, darlin',' the dealer grinned. His smile was crooked, like he's taken one too many punches to his already less than perfect face while growing up. 'What can I do for you?'
His eyes flicked up from her chest for a brief second, meeting hers. It was all she needed. As his jaw sagged in the vacant way that told her he would do anything she asked.

She smiled. 'Let's go for a ride.'

He started the car and headed out of town. Gretl looked around the car as they drove, taking in the black jacket slung on the back seat and bulge in the dealer's trouser pocket. Either money or drugs. She hoped it was money, drugs were useless to her.

'Stop here,' she said.

The dealer pulled over to the side of the road and stopped the car.

She leaned over toward him, put her hands on his shoulders and whispered in his ear. 'Sleep.'
He closed his eyes and went limp, his head falling forward. She pushed it to one side and bit down hard on his neck. The blood flowed slowly, but it was warm and the pleasure centre of her brain stepped into overdrive as its sharp, iron taste flowed over her tongue. Her heart raced, her pupils dilated. She sucked at the wound, gulping the warm, red liquid as fast as she could. She had to get as much out as possible before the wound clotted. It was a personal rule; one bite per victim. Any more and she risked killing the poor sap.

Killing was Allemand's territory. Despite everything he had taken from her, she still had her conscience.

The blood stopped. She licked sorrowfully at the young man's neck, savouring the last of his precious, life-giving fluid, then slumped back in her seat and let it work its magic on her. The wounds that had not healed since the night before closed, leaving no trace. She looked whole again. Human. The spectre of death lifted.

Her business concluded, she searched the man's pockets, finding a roll of twenties, a half-empty packet of cigarettes and a bic lighter. She took them all, pulled him out of the car and drove back into town.


Michael Reid said...

Brilliant! I do a bit of writing in my free time but don't know if I could put it up on my blog - I think what I write at the moment is enough to put people off!

Jennyemily said...

Are there going to be any more updates?

Zoë Robinson said...

Thanks, Michael. Sometimes you just have to say "I've done what I can, I'm releasing it now", and do it. Give it a try and see where it takes you.

Zoë Robinson said...

Hi, Jenny. Yes, there will be updates but unfortunately I've got very little time at the moment. I'll do the rest of this story when I get the time. I hope you think it's worth waiting for.