She had white hair.
That’s about all I can remember of her. Ethereal,
otherworldly, only half glimpsed; yet I can’t get her out of
If I could just clear my
mind, maybe I could remember something more tangible -
instead of having thoughts whorl in and out of focus,
dancing to the tune coming from the tinny overhead speakers.
Where did I meet her? Had I met her before?
This is too much for a
Sunday morning in MacDonald’s; sitting here in damp PVC
trousers and drinking a really bitter coke. My face caked in
cracked, pasty white makeup and a twelve-hour dance sweat. I
can’t go home to shower, until Carl decides to go. It’s his
place I’m crashing at.
Carl sits across the
table from me and tries to put a move on a young Goth girl,
who at fifteen is already becoming used goods.
Why do I do it? Every
Saturday night he talks me into it, just as he talks
everyone into anything he wants. “Come clubbing. I’ll pay,”
he’d say, knowing full well that I will just be there to
watch his back while he deals speed. I’m the one who has to
protect him and reinforce his ego. You wouldn’t think he
could do it. You wouldn’t think he could get any
self-respecting girl or guy, but in this world the blokes
wear the dresses and the androgynous-fashion-toyboys get the
trim. Petite, effeminate, boy-girl-club-toy with the soul of
a snake; at twenty years old he’s already guilty of almost
every crime of love.
He preens his pony tail,
in a narcissistic yet disapproving examination. She fawns
all over him but he merely bats her hand away from his
crotch in affected irritation.
God, this drink tastes
“That’s my fucking coke
Carl” she whines, “tell him it’s mine”.
Carl tilts his shades
down dramatically and fixes me in his supposed icy stare. I
laugh, knowing I’ve made a serious error. He'll make me pay,
“Tell him Carl” she
I might have felt sorry
for her if she hadn’t been such a vacuous bitch.
“You’ve just consumed
the last of the speed dude” he sneers, knowing full well
that I can’t handle the stuff. Dammit! Being an insomniac, I
never sleep as it is. A shrunken penis is nothing compared
to paranoia, and I have enough baggage to deal with without
throwing that into the mix.
I always think too much.
Before I can think of a witty retort or a top class sound
bite, the moment has passed. I’m his bitch and he knows it.
The Goths on the table
next to me laugh and even though it could be over something
else completely, my blood boils. Before he can stop me I’m
standing over their table with fists of boiling granite,
wired eyes, a half-snarl slightly revealing a glimpse of
razor tipped fang and feeling the eerie sigh of the blade in
“Cut them,” it sighs.
“Like you were cut - go on! Do it!” in its soothing siren
“Down boy” Carl whispers
in my ear. All eyes were on me and unaware of the gravity of
Too close, I almost let
the rage wash over me.
“Can we help you?” a
honey-dipped voice asks over my other shoulder.
“It’s nothing love,”
Carl breathes, his voice burning with heat. I haven’t heard
him like this for anyone in a long time. It cuts through the
haze and I realise what I’m doing. My fists are set in
stone, alabaster, just like her hair.
Red lips! I remember the
reddest lips I’ve ever seen outside of a geisha in a
Japanese film. Pillow-soft and alluringly moist.
“Earth to Mongo” laughs
Carl, patting me on the back. “He doesn’t get out much, not
without restraints anyway.”
That voice again,
cultured, cool and precise.
I turn uneasily, punch
drunk with Adrenalin.
She has the whitest hair
I’ve ever seen and those eyes! Twin black slits hiding a
presence far more powerful than any woman her age, set in a
rounded, yet angular and utterly perfect face. Her skin is
unblemished and seemingly without a trace of makeup. The
laughter lines teasing the edge of that alluring mouth are
the only whisper of reality to detract from the doll-like. I
take all this in like a last dying breath, before I go
“We’ve met I think,” she
whispers breathily. Her words seem to buzz around me and in
my brain I fell. In my brain the world shook and I went with
it. But I’m still here, standing mute and disconnected. I
have to bolt before I completely lose it again.
People are staring, they
Speechlessly, I shoulder
Carl out of the way, knocking him back into the booth and
dash towards the street. The stairs clear as I make my
desperate escape into the rain and the wind, towards the
void. The last thing I hear above the clatter of my boots is
Carl’s fawning laughter.
“He’s umm, a bit shy” -
laughing at me. His laughter is echoed by a shrill girlish
cachinnation but I know it’s not hers.
Islington on a shitty
winter post clubbing morning is like waking after a
soul-destroying nightmare; you can’t make anyone else
understand it or share the feeling and you certainly don’t
want to be part of it. But there is no shelter. Every single
drop of stinging rain is followed by a gust of biting wind
that seem to hurl them at me with all the might of God. The
power that always lets me know my place here.
I catch a glimpse of
myself in a broken, crap encrusted windowpane. I rarely like
what I see, unless in a certain angle or a certain light, or
with the right mood-enhancing drug, I am someone else; then
I might become a confident, proud, sociable and talkative
twenty-year-old collection of hormones and needs, a healthy
and almost attractive - if not unusually featured - man.
Then one wrong look from
an attractive woman, a disparaging word, the flipside of my
fucked up self rears up and kicks me in the groin, wrenches
my head back by the hair and screams ‘You are a worthless
piece of shit!’
It can happen in the
blink of an eye and last as long. Or it can last for days or
weeks without a single lull or gasp of clean unpolluted air.
Right now, the glimpse
of my reflection burns my skin ice cold and renders it
scratchy and festering, crawling with swirling phantasmic
doubts. Slow creeping hives move rhythmically under my
clothes. This is not one of those ‘certain angle’ kind of
Her eyes, framed by that
Arctic hair, burn themselves into my brain as I ease the
demons from under my skin with the blade in my hand. Its
edge glints dully with overcast daylight. I slump back
against the wall, in the doorway of a derelict warehouse, as
contaminated blood oozes free. Fire would be better, perhaps
a cigarette burn or two, but right now it will have to do. I
work the blade between patches of old, hardened scars near
my wrist bone. There is less unmarked flesh to choose from
with each passing day.
I sit on the step and
feel tears breaking free as they mix with the rain and wash
the ooze away. Washing it all down into the sewers where it
“Look at the turd they
couldn’t flush away,” cheers Carl.
I try to think of a
witty retort but my spirit is too diluted. I sweep through
the mildew-infested hallway into the inner gloom of Carl’s
love den. The house is an end of terrace, two-bedroom,
unwanted property, adrift in a recent flood of car parks and
warehouses. A weird remnant of a past age, already
threatened with demolition. Carl plays his tunes excessively
loud at all hours, but we rarely have any bother with a
drunken landlord and abusive, crack-dealing, couple next
comforting to come back to this shithole, despite Carl’s
knowing superiority. I feel his gaze as I slink across the
room, ducking beneath the bin liner and wall hanging-covered
ceiling and flop onto my bed - a duvet and sleeping bag
covered floor, with a rolled up jacket for a pillow.
I have been living here
for a month now, ever since my criminally minded landlord
evicted me and I had bumped into Carl at an illegal rave. My
landlord had taken my dole checks and rent money and then
thrown me out. He was big, but not so big that I didn’t
think twice about giving him a good kicking. However, his
baseball bat packing friends convinced me otherwise.
Carl never stopped
reminding me of the favour he was doing for me or my end of
the bargain. I was his ‘minder’ when he went out and in
return I had a place to hide out and some ‘beer money’ until
I got back on my feet.
I’m not particularly
tall or well built, but I know how to hurt you and make you
stay hurt given the opportunity. With Carl I get a lot of
Carl always gets
hassled. His androgynous looks and effeminate ways are a
beacon to thugs, and it doesn’t help when he’ll do anything
and step on anyone to get what he wants. But I have a look
that makes thugs cross the street, when the knife sighs and
my blood freezes. For Carl and me it’s a marriage of
“You’re sleeping in the
kitchen tonight” he brags, “I’m having a guest over”. He
pauses for effect, waiting for my reaction and scowls when
he gets none, as I settle on my bed. “You’ve met her”.
I watch him primping,
kneeling in front of the mirror, touching up his makeup by
the light of a single bare bulb and fogging up the glass
with plumes of icy breath. The only heating was from an old
convection heater, which could never compete with the draft
blowing in from a broken windowpane. The hole was boarded up
with cardboard and is a reminder of the last time Carl
drunkenly tried to sleep with me. He always gets feisty and
less fussy, when he is drunk and can’t pull in the pub. It’s
bastard cold now - even with the heater on. I’m not looking
forward to sleeping in the kitchen later, which has no
heating to speak of and is very popular with the nightly
squeaking visitors that scamper amongst the dirty dishes.
“Go get ready. We’ve got
a lot of stuff to shift tonight.” His words resonate deeply.
I am to go out amongst ‘them’ again, the very people I was
warned against from the very pulpit of my father’s fucked up
love – the heathens, the drug takers and hedonists. I can
handle it in small doses, but twice in as many nights? This
is the last thing I need. I started because it was a small
price to pay and I thought I could deal with the second-hand
guilt. I was wrong.
If Karma was a real
force and we do get reincarnated, then I must have done some
great wrongs in a past life. How long must I keep paying for
them? How many lifetimes must I live to tip the balance?
Carl’s reflection is framed by the words on the mirror,
written in swirling red nail varnish, dripping like blood.
It reads: "Bad luck isn't brought by broken mirrors but by
The bathroom is placed
at the end of a tiny extension, overlooking an overgrown
rubble-strewn garden that is just visible through the crusty
window. I step gingerly from my shorts, trying to cross the
room by avoiding ice-cold tiles, into the cloying steam of
the scalding hot shower in one bound.
The window is
permanently ajar and with the alternating steam and ice-cold
draught, the scabrous paint is always victim to intensely
resilient Mildew patches. Without heating, the permanent sub
zero temperature revitalises you; telling you you're very
much alive whether you like it or not. Never mind the
feeling of a coarse brush scraping away the writhing
itch-worming skin and leaving the stinging clean layers
The vision hits me as
I'm distracted by the blistering sensation of scrubbing away
at my skin. Normally it feels like a buzzing between my ears
and I have enough of a warning, but not this time. Before I
can fight it or get into a safer position I am lurching down
through the Perspex panel and onto the mildew covered wall.
My eyes are wide open. White’s rolled up. The other world
pours in and dances through my brain. I am conscious of
everything, but powerless to act on the ‘real’, paralysed
into submission by the ‘could be’. Water patters my
goose-fleshed skin and I fall inwardly, ceasing to feel even
Standing over a
bloodstained floor, face hidden in shadow. The bare light
bulb swings in a maddeningly slow arc with blood dripping
from its glass. Arterial spray decorates a wall. The blade
of a knife, writing, carving furrows that the blood pools
into, hiding the writing from view. Darkness washes over...
I lace up my boots with
trembling hands. Drops of water cascade from the tops of my
shoulders. My chest is tight and my breathing laboured, but
I know the sensation will pass. I try not to make eye
contact with Carl. I don’t need any teasing about my mental
problems now. This time it felt different, stronger as it
was stealthy, and much more profound; conversely more
abstract and fragmented than the usual sensory fugue.
"How do I look?" asks
Carl, adjusting his bulge along the upper thigh of his
silver PVC trousers.
"Like shit" I offer,
knowing it will just play on his insecurity.
"Of course not" I say
"I'm not having you spend another hour getting ready just
because you can't take a joke".
"Are you sure?" He
whines" I want to look my best tonight".
Distracted, Carl drifts
through the town like a queer ghost, aloof and beyond
insults from the football shirt-wearing, fashion-clueless
drinkers and low-rent clubbing girls. His face comes alive
as we near the Flamingo, an original Victorian redbrick pub
with a Pink Flamingo weathervane placed up high. The calm
exterior belies the fact that once you open its double doors
you will be subjected to a crammed pub, full of Metallers,
Goths, Skinheads, Bikers, Punks, Hippies and the odd
underage girl; all dancing, drinking and making eyes at each
other to the music-pollution coming from twin decks at the
far end. You'd think this kind of eclectic mix usually
results in violence and you'd be right. It's not as bad as
it used to be. But when it kicks off, it really gets hairy
As we move through the
doors, heads turn, smile and nod in greeting. Bodies are
hugged, hands are pressed and cheeks are kissed, but none of
it touches me. People either know me enough to stay away or
are too shy to approach me. I wasn’t born with the small
talk gene. It's my silence that freaks them out.
Carl anxiously scans the
crowd, ignoring eager young things, leaping around to some
LA thrash core tune. He moves through the sea of bodies
effortlessly and heads out into the car park at the back.
This is where the deals
are done and money changes hands. A high wooden fence keeps
the wildlife inside and the police outside. The cars act as
great shielding devices for amorous lovers and toking teens.
Wooden benches and tables aid the rolling and the dealing.
That is the only reason I am here. To help Carl make me
enough money so that I can leave this place far behind.
We take our place at the
furthest table from the Pub doors. It’s well occupied by
underage teens, but they see me move towards them feigning a
Bloodrage and they split. Now I’m just another drinker
relaxing after a hard days work; sitting by himself; minding
his own damn business, while Carl preens, sorts out his
wares and waits. It doesn’t take long before they start
arriving in drips and drabs. Eager clubbers after another
pill, or wrap, and one step closer to brains like Swiss
cheese, in exchange for another high. The rest of the night
is a bore, a few pints, the odd Punk trying it on, but no
No drama until she
arrives - the girl with the white hair. She’s so gorgeous
it’s already a cliché.
I still can’t remember
why or how I know her, but she scares me. Something about
that girl isn’t right. It sets my heart pounding beyond a
cheap physical attraction.
Carl isn’t bothered or
aware of anything awry though. He shuts up shop straight
away, stashing the last of it within his jacket and moves to
intercept her as she makes her way over. She glides, oozing
athletic grace and sensual hips, turning every crotch into
Barnum’s big top on a packed night at the circus. Even mine.
It’s hard to imagine that she is wearing anything under that
white silk dress. I bet her skin is cool and soft and
perfectly unblemished; her veins, delicate and blue.
Carl rushes in for a
kiss and misses as she easily dodges away, sitting at the
table, before he can recover his cool. He sits between us,
trying to block me from view and dismisses me with a nod.
I’m only too glad to get away, relieved even. But my
heartbeat tells a different story. I’m aroused. It doesn’t
matter that she could never feel that way about a skunk
pussy like me, but for once I am too distracted by the hard
weight in the front of my trousers to feel the
“Do I smell?” she asks,
knowing full well that her smell is intoxicating and
delicious - even to someone so out of reach.
“He has to go see
someone about something, don’t you Mike?”
I try to think of an
‘out’ but I’m too confused.
“Just as long as it’s
not me” she smiles, warming my crotch again with her sugar
sweet tone “I’d hate to drive such a quiet soul away”.
I hide in the cubicle
listening to the bass bounce off the tiled walls and
reluctantly breathe in the pine scented piss fumes. Ever
cautious, I fondle the wrap uneasily as I weigh up the pros
and cons of mass murder; wiping the unclean off the face of
the Earth, starting with this crowd.
But instead I go for the
coward’s option and peel the wrap wide open. Desire must be
suppressed and oblivion is sought above all else. The powder
crystals twinkle under the rheumy light. Besides, it seems
to work for others, so why not for me?
Standing in front of a
door bathed in shadow. Blood drips from fingertips. A bloody
door handle turning.
I stagger into the
kitchen, tripping over the old settee that sits back against
the wall. I fall to the floor and end up eating dusty
carpet, crumbs and God knows what else, in the process.
Blood pulses through my veins, making my head throb.
“You stupid fuck!”
“What’s up with him?”
“I told you not to take
it” It was Carl! ”You haven’t got the balls for this kind of
“What did he take?” a
girl’s voice - hers!
I feel myself being
turned over. I know I can move but for some reason my brain
refuses to issue the orders. I decide that I like looking at
the world from this point of view. I am childlike, an
infant, seeing the world anew. I giggle at the thought that
these could be my parents until a slap rocks my head
Carl is fuming; his
scrawny frame is swathed in a beach towel for modesty. I
feel the overwhelming urge to rip it from him and expose the
lie he feels necessary to perpetuate night in night out by
stuffing his PVC trousers with a rolled up sock, but as I
reach upwards he easily bats my hand away and tries to sit
me upright. I begin to giggle again. A girlish titter bursts
forth and my whole body is wracked with a juddering
collision of mirth. I try again to pull the towel away.
“He is so cute like
this” she gushes, but her eyes give the lie away. She sits
on the arm of the couch, stroking my hair whilst the blanket
she is wrapped in almost breaks free of her gently rising
bosom. There isn’t an ounce of empathy behind those eyes.
Carl moves into frame.
“You dumb fuck!” he
spits, knowing it is futile to try and reason with me “You
can’t even handle Aspirin, let alone Acid.” Her hand
continues to caress, lulling me into the half state. I can’t
reach a hand up to stop her.
A boy kneels. A gun
falls. Light plays off the swing set as a belt whistles
down. A gun fires. A man falls.
“Lost you for a second
there didn’t we” smirks Carl, happy I lost control in front
of company; happy that I revealed my main weakness in front
of his woman, reassuring him that I am no competition. Who’d
want a weirdo like me? If I were like the rest I would show
him. I would take her until she begs for mercy, begs for
more. I know if I wanted to I could probably do it better
than him. Maybe he knows it too. “Let him sleep it off”.
The light dies and I am
left alone with my spinning brain as kaleidoscopes of
strychnine whirl across my eyes and through my body. A bass
beat somewhere thumps away. Occasional laughter and then
strange silences, distracting me from sleep. What are they
Even without the drug I
would normally lie awake, plagued by creaks and sighs,
counting long after all my sheep have jumped the fences and
seeing sunrays after all the stars have died. No one is more
alone than an insomniac making the night safe as every other
A door opens and soft
footsteps pad closer. A shadow closes in. I can’t really
hear anything else because my blood is still rushing around,
pooling in my eardrums and deafening me. A soft hand
whispers over my thigh and tangles in the zip of my combats,
gently tugging with increased determination. Before I can
protest, another hand is placed over my mouth. I can’t smell
anything, but the hand is warm and slick with perspiration.
A soft mouth touches my ear and whispers, unaware that my
blood pounds and drowns every other sound out. The blade at
my calf starts to sing. I slowly try to will my hand to
reach towards my boot.
The hand at my zip
finally wins and I feel cold air filling the void,
goosepimpling my crotch, making my sack tighten. The head
dips and warm breath chases the gooseflesh away, filling my
sack with fire. The belt is navigated and the touch of
leather is soon replaced by a single delicate caress of
The kiss draws down,
strangely familiar, calculating in its bold approach.
A sharp nail traces
intricate lines down the terrified underside of my cock. All
at once the blood ceases to rush, the sound dies and a
Technicolor reality gives in to the sensation of moist
blade-the blood-the fear-the crawling madness-the
The tiniest pinprick.
-She! She…she fucking
I start to protest but
instead of the expected pain I feel a deep sucking heat. It
overwhelms me with its pulsing throb. I bathe in its warm
glow, as if sleeping before a roaring fire. I do not need
the blade; nor shame or guilt. There is only the sucking.
A light flicks on in the
hallway upstairs and she is gone, wiping away at a dark
trickle running down from her smeared lipstick. She is out
the door, into the freezing fog, before Iain reaches the top
stair. Thank God for Iain the midnight munch-fiend, stoner
landlord, living upstairs. What the fuck was I thinking of?
Lucky for me he came before I was any weaker.
Oblivion washes over me.
I am aware of normal
sound returning before I feel the light. It’s a struggle to
convince my eyelids to peel open. My eyes scream against the
brightness, before yielding the blurry 3D streaked vision of
a rat skittering around in the kitchen sink, skiing on an
My legs feel leaden and
my head is strangely silent. For once I have a brief respite
from my inner voice. There is only the drug addled numbness
and a strange itching in my pants. But I’m sure both will be
gone after a shower. Breath plumes in front of my face in
the deathly cold, even though it looks warm and sunny
through the grimy window.
As I lean over the sink,
blade in hand, I look down upon the writhing panicked
rodent. His cold black eyes look into mine for a second but
I feel nothing, not even revulsion. He probably regrets ever
clapping eyes on such a pitiable excuse for a kitchen.
Carl would freak if he
saw it. I know that. But for once I don’t give a rat’s ass -
pardon the pun - and I sheath my blade, which is also
strangely silent and head for the bathroom.
I watch the steam climb
towards the mildew spotted roof bejeweled with a myriad of
intricate shapes and colours, living drops of moisture that
could be insects or jewels and wonder at the marvel of drug
induced perception. I may have to try this again sometime.
The water batters my
skin and runs stinging hot rivers down my spine. I can see
every vein and contour in my hand, bones show white beneath
its taught covering. How easy it would be to stretch my hand
so wide that it would break free and I could clean every
inch. Would I ever be able to erase every trace of it? If I
scrubbed every pound of flesh and every nerve that felt and
screamed, would I ever be clean?
The gun falls, the body
drops, the blood pools, the screaming starts.
This time I know it is
me that is screaming, as I thrash my way back to the
surface, breaking free of the memory that always binds me.
For once I don’t care if someone heard me. Maybe there is a
time when you face your demons and move on. But do you ever
truly learn to forget? Should you? Do you ever stop running
even though you know it’s futile?
I scratch open the
healing cut from the day before and distract myself from
negative memory bullshit by watching the blood drip into the
drain between my feet. I am panting like an asthmatic
racehorse and feeling the world flip-flop in my head.
“C’mon Carl, rise and
I knock on the door and
gently push it open. Curtains undulate in the path of a
draught. Murky light reveals the remnants of a night of
passion - that’s a bottle of finest bargain bin white wine,
a packet of cigarettes, some lube for those hard to access
places and an empty packet of condoms, to the uncultured out
there - and a foot poking out from under the duvet.
Something is wrong. I don’t hear any snoring.
I kick his foot and
expect to see it twitch or retreat into the warmth. Nothing.
Not even a groan or a rustle of material in answer. I turn
on the light and I see that the wall behind his bed is
covered in dried blood, as if having received a fresh coat
of paint. Before I can fight the cramps of revulsion my
stomach is heaving and jerking. The vomit comes up so hard
it flies through the fingers of a cupped hand, as a full
stomach of bubbling acid sprays over the wall and duvet
It’s funny how I love to
watch my own blood flow yet I can’t stand the sight of the
blood of others. I can beat someone senseless if they
deserve it yet I still need to puke when I can get away to a
more private place. Now the smells are doubly foul as fresh
stomach juices mix with day old blood and intestinal gases.
I’m not sure if I want
to see what awaits me beneath the duvet. I’m not sure if my
stomach can handle it. I find myself pulling it back
Oh God! Oh Fuck!
God knows what he had
done to her or what demons she had driving her, but I’m sure
he didn’t deserve this. He didn’t deserve to have his skin
peeled back from his groin and pulled over his face like a
shroud; his wrists and inner thighs gouged clear open. Such
efficient and brutal cuts.
I am forced to dry heave
one more time. My throat is painfully dry and my stomach
clenches. I throw the duvet back down over the horror. Then
I remember the night before. It all comes flooding back in
one screaming wave of stupidity. Did Iain save me from
suffering the same fate by needing one more Elvis style
burger? After she had made me come would she have finished
me off exactly like this? Why would she do this? How could
she have managed to subdue Carl and completely flay him like
this without any commotion?
I had to find her. I had
‘Wraith’ is the height
of Carl’s clubbing world. It’s never advertised in
mainstream ‘zines and only available to members and their
guests, but you always seem to meet someone who has been
there or spot one of the regulars wherever you go. If she
was there once she will be bound to come back again. It’s
dodgy and sleazy but there is no other alternative on a
Saturday night for London’s damned and those who prey on
them; not if you want to dance in a warehouse with minimal
lighting, disgusting toilets, no bar and a smoke machine
producing enough of a haze to make even the most pitiable
fashion victim look enchanting and sexy on the dance floor.
Like moths to a flame, Goths can't resist it and those who
prey on them are equally drawn.
There are only a few
places she can be, but with the unusually large crowds,
deafening music and the smoke it will be a fluke if I find
her tonight. There are three floors she could be on; the
lower Techno floor usually doesn’t fill up till everyone’s
speed kicks in and round about now the music being played on
the middle floor is too intense or too crap to bear this
There is definitely
something wrong tonight. Everyone keeps looking at me,
backing out of my way to let me through or averting their
gaze when mine falls their way. I’ll have to be more careful
from now on. If I wear my Bloodrage so blatantly tonight
I’ll never get close enough to her to find out what
The top floor is where
it’s at and the bowed and worn stairs before it are one of
the best places to meet, chat and catch-up. People often
take speed in the loos and end up chatting for hours, before
realising they never even made it back for that last dance
when the night is over. This is where the real action
happens, the casual sex, the drug deals and the lovers
tiffs. At the moment though it is only half full with a
handful of dancers being observed by a crowd of milling and
cheek-kissing fashion victims and has-beens. She’s not here.
There are few rules to
observe in this scene that Carl was so fond of. You must
wear black, you must never smile or look happy and most
importantly of all, you must never sing along to songs
whilst you are dancing. Dourness is no problem at all for
What am I you may ask?
Goth? Punk? Metaller? I don’t know, or care. I missed out on
all this. I’m jealous I guess. I’m jealous of their affected
style and their girlfriends, even their lives, but I hate
them all equally. I never had a normal childhood or a normal
growth. I am misshapen inside and permanently void of all
the experiences that made their teenage years fun and full
Instead of learning how
to put on makeup, piercing my own ears and stealing my first
kiss, I was running from institution to institution, from
foster home to borstal. Instead of shocking my parents with
transvestitism and black leather, I spent my years paying
for my sins – as the resident priest insisted, even though I
remembered nothing of my past; fantasising about reversing
time and rejecting my birth, staring at white peeling walls
and dreaming of a better place, fighting at every waking
minute and spending as much time as possible in solitary.
Carl helped me with my
look, enough so I wouldn’t draw attention to myself when he
was dealing. He dressed me in his hand-me-downs, played me
the right music and introduced me to the right people, but
we both knew it wasn’t real. I would never be like him but I
might grow in my own right eventually. The only problem was
when I stumbled across a look that was unaffected and
original, a look that was all my own, people started to
notice and he couldn’t handle the competition.
I don’t know what
messages I was trying to send out with my boots, combats and
leather trenchcoat, but I felt comforted by it all the same.
I liked the growth of the new me and I wasn’t going to go
back to the institution for something I didn’t do, when I
could finally fantasize where my new life might take me. If
I can find that bitch and clear my name before they find
Carl’s festering body - maybe I can one day bear to be
touched by someone and put away the Blade once and for all.
I can never seem to find
the ability to relax and enjoy the music, in this dark smoky
den of vice and pettiness, even if I lurk by the speakers
and try to hide in the smokey shadows. I always feel the
looks from the people sitting around the edges and the
roving female eyes on the dance floor. I can’t stand
scrutiny at the best of times but add speed or any other
stimulant and you’ve got trouble. But now my head is
clearing and I must ignore them, find a seat and wait, as it
may take all night for her to show.
This is the floor where
I’m sure I met her the first time and I am sure she will
Eventually she arrives.
She looks skittish, but enchanting in a red velvet cape and
hood, darting her eyes back and forth around the door. She
looks so feline I almost expect her to sniff the air before
I don’t make a sound,
even slowing my breathing and sitting absolutely still,
knowing full well that the music is deafening as Siouxsie
Sioux shatters ear drums to a warrior drum beat and
She takes one step
within the door and zeroes in on me as if I wasn’t actually
bathed in darkness and hiding behind a large group of Goths.
Startled, with her lips pulled back in a snarl, in an
instant she is gone. The red cape flashes as it slips
through the door and down the stairs.
We are on the street and
racing between the buildings as if time and distance had no
meaning. Streetlights flash by and headlamp beams barely
touch us as we stray from the nightlife into the heart of
the dark underbelly of abandoned warehouses and burnt out
cars; the parts where the police don’t even patrol at night.
A place that is virtually untouched since the blitz.
Just as we near the edge
of the river and the rotting wooden jetties of the old
docklands, she turns and stops me with a beaming smile.
“Do you know where we
are?” She asks, smiling ever deeper.
“Do you think I care?” I
spit back and close the distance with a steady direct walk.
“We are at a crossroads
you and I”
“What the fuck are you
talking about?” I demand, incensed by her lack of remorse.
“Why did you do it?”
This seems to confuse
her and wipe that smile off her beautiful features, at least
for a second, and then it is back; accompanied by her
“Stop fucking around!” I
scream, “Tell me why you had to butcher him like that? Like
an animal for fucks sake!”
“Oh it wasn’t me I think
you’ll find,” she grins. “I think you’ll remember that it
was you, eventually.”
Just like a woman to
fuck with my head. I feel a sensory fugue invasion coming
on, but I can’t give in to it yet. I need to make her pay
first. I have to hold on for a little while longer.
“Did you know that the
true image of the Vampire is nothing at all what Hollywood
perpetuates and Stoker in his homosexual repression could
ever dream up?” She has her back to me now. Her head tilted
down to observe her reflection in the oil tinted, jet-black,
slime filled water.
“What’s your fucking
point?” I spit out, already reaching for my Blade.
“The point is that they
want to believe in something of unnatural beauty and make
our condition one of romantic ever lasting life when in
reality we’re just as fucked up as the rest of them and what
we do is nothing worth romanticising.” She turns her head,
sees the Blade and her smile flickers for a second before
she ignores it. Her eyes look directly into mine. “The point
is that you are not made, you are born and it’s not a
disease or a pact with Satan but a hunger. A plain old
“What are you talking
about? I’m no fucking Vampire and neither are you!”
“What am I then if I
drink blood to survive and sunlight terrifies me?” She
barks, starting to tire of this meeting, “What are you if
you kill your own flatmate and drink his life’s blood?”
And that is when it hits
me like a bitch-slap, the memory of what happened after her
I kneel unsteadily
before his snoring form and remove the duvet. I take the
knife and press it to his neck, as he almost wakes, before
plunging my head down to his inner thigh and ripping the
flesh with my teeth. I drink until the pulsing torrent and
coppery tang becomes too much and the heaving makes me spray
the wall. Other visions of flaying skin and disembowelment
start to flood in, but I repress them...
I come to, kneeling,
vomiting, and spraying the grass with acrid bile until the
heaving becomes dry and painful. I can’t help noticing the
smell of blood and I know it’s not my own.
Why would I do it, it
makes no sense? Why?
Her laughter brings me
back with an adrenalin kick and I’m together again and
beginning to suspect the real reason I am here.
I didn’t drive her here.
I was lured. I know what I have to do.
“You thought if you
changed your name and took a thousand drugs you could erase
your past, but you can’t. You’re one of us again. You’re
sick but we can help you. You were lost to us, but now
you’re back. It’s not too late!”
In the darkness, I can
feel the judging punishing eyes of my kin. Just like her
eyes, full of pity and the memory of what I have done. They
lurk in the shadows. Their uncertainty polluting the air.
“Your parents should
have told you what you were before letting you see your
I can feel the memory
resurface like the last big chunk of bile that’s impossible
to shift - a massive rising lump in my throat.
Feral forms hunched over
a struggling baby, separated from its mother like her head
from her neck. Its eyes panicking, but too young and
confused to cry as my Father drains the life from its
throat, whilst my Mother feeds from a tiny thigh. They see
the gun in my hand.
“They should have
explained what they were - what you were before you
witnessed a culling.”
She speaks to me as a
herder or farmer talking of livestock; so rationally and
calmly – so fucking matter-of-factly about the taking of
human life that it sickens me.
I know now that I have
been living a lie. The thought brings me to my knees. I felt
that I was unclean and something that should hide in the
dark, when it is they who should fear my kind and pray for
daylight and it is my kind who fear me now. The killing was
driven by a forbidden hunger. My lack of control and hatred
of their kind threatens any hope of a secretive existence.
“We are not immortal and
we don’t fear crucifixes. But we do feed on human blood. It
enables us to live longer and through centuries of evolution
we have developed other gifts. Gifts you may already
I feel someone dancing
around the edge of my mind with clumsy urgency, searching
for an answer. I feel a hand on my shoulder and look up into
the face of a dead man, the face of my Father. But I know
it’s not him, as he had been punished by me for what he did
to that young family. That was the first day the blade
started to sing. That’s why I was taken away.
I know now that I am not
the only animal. The real question is - am I predator or
prey? Either way I cannot let these abominations continue.
The vision is gone.
There is no hand on my shoulder except hers. The girl’s ploy
has failed. Somehow she had pulled my past from the deep
recesses of my mind and made it real. I’ve not got time to
deal with it. I’ll use it as kindling for the fire of my
hatred and act now.
The others grow restless
so she tries anew.
She kneels before me,
placing her lips enticingly close to mine. She whispers and
I know what she speaks is the truth; that I am home. I
So why is it that the
knife doesn't agree?
Her beautiful eyes close
in agony and surprise with the tiniest telltale thrust of
the blade. Blood pours from her open mouth. I kiss her,
tasting her blood and force my tongue deeper within, feeling
velvety soft wetness and wickedly sharp teeth. I feel her
pulse grow weaker as her life spills onto my hand. She
groans and falls limp in my arms, her heat quickly fading. I
flick the blood from the blade with a practised ease.
I rise and turn to face
them, to kill a few more before they can escape. But they
were too quick, perhaps expecting this from the start and I
am alone again.
A wall glistens with
wetness in the moonlight. A bloody symbol painted on a bare
brick wall. I have seen this before. I used the very same
symbol to warn my parents before I took their stinking
lives. It is the inverted sign of the cross of the ‘order’.
Mistaken for a satanic act of defiance, it is in fact a
rendition of justice; an expression of rage and the promise
of vengeance. It is the promise of death by impalement. Now
I am the hunted. Marked for death.
My eyes are open now.
Next time I will be ready. Next time I will do the luring.
Fear my blade.