Vampires don't need much. Cold can't kill them. Microbes dine elsewhere. Any weapons they might use are, shall we say, built in. And darkness is easy to find. There's always a cave, or cellar, or trash heap, or something. Tomas never lived that way before, but now he don't care. Ain't no big thing. 'Papa' made sure of that.
So he walked and he killed. No, 'killed' is to clean a word. He destroyed. He ripped. He devoured.
Found a couple holed up in a little shack. Refugees from the city. Had a truck, or what was left of a truck. Had some tuna fish too. Those cans are gold in town. People trade them like bullion. But guy was a real dope... lowlife too. Combination's lethal. So Tomas crouched down, peered through a window and waited for the show to start.
Dope says - You shit, bitch, pig you, grabbed your f%$kin' makeup, but couldn't take no goddamn can opener!?... Girl goes - I didn't know! I didn't know. I thought you had one...... Dope slaps her. She cries... Dope goes - Shut the hell up, you goddamn lazy whore, you!... She cries some more and sobs - I wanna go back! Take me back! I mean it! I mean it!.... Dope looks for a rock and mumbles - Screw you.... Sees one in the dirt next to the ruins of a fireplace. Hefts it. Runs his dirty hand all over it, looking for an edge. Starts pounding that can of chunk light albacore like a baboon cracking clams. Only it don't work. Can dents. Lid bends, but won't break open. Metal too soft. But she got stuff. He knows it... in her makeup kit. He grabs it off the table. Rips it open. Girl goes - No! No! That's the only nice thing I got. The only thing. Look what you did, you goddamn, ape bastid. Look what you did. (sobs) My sister gimme that from Canada.......
But he don't care. There's a file in there, like a nail file, a metal thing. Got a point. He takes it and starts punchin' holes in the lid... POW! POW! POW! POW! POW!... Water flies out, tuna fish water. Smell makes him crazy. Tiny, little flies start conin' 'round. Girl sobs some more. She looks, but she don't do nothing. He finds her scissors. Hairdresser scissors they are. Barber scissors. Do-it-yourself times now, even haircuts. He gives her a look. She wants to say something. He knows it. But she don't. So he jams a point through one of the file slits and starts cutting. Takes time. Gets a blister. She just sits there. But he can see. Sees her eyes in the light from that Sterno can. Used to be only homeless bastids and mole people used Sterno cans. Now everybody got 'em. Like tattoos or scabies.
Gets it open. Sloppy job, like a jagged football shaped gash. Looks like can's makin' a face. Digs a finger in. Gets some fish. Eats it. Takes some more, only this time he cuts himself real bad. Yells 'SHIT!'.... Wings the can. Hits her right on the side of her head. Now she's bleeding too. Hand flies up. She feels the blood and starts crying.
Dope goes - Shut your f$#kin' mouth before I shut it for you, you goddamn bitch!... But she curls up on the dead, mildew sofa and cries some more. So he gets up from the table, goes over and smacks her... real hard... more like a punch... She don't make a sound, just folds up real tight. He hits her again. She's helpless. She takes it.
And that's when he does it. That's when he jumps in. Tomas flies through the window. Glass explodes everywhere. Sash breaks. Shade snaps up. Vampire grabs that dope and SLAMS him into the wall. Dope jumps up (he's a fighter), grabs the scissors and goes for him, like he don't know what he's up against. Look, maybe he does, but what else can he do?
Tomas gets him by the wrist and crushes it. Sounds like gravel. Little crackin' and poppin' noises. Dope moans. Girl don't say nothing. Just looks. And she sees it all when he takes the rough, jagged lid from the tuna can, pins the lowlife to the wall and saws off one whole cheek.... just where the gums meet the flesh. Makes like a little, boneless, breast of chicken, it does. After the other side, makes two breasts.... Blood pours from the wounds, as he slumps to the floor. Tomas kneels before him, cradles what's left of the ruined face and goes in for the kill... How good it tastes... How rich... How satisfying... How right.
Then he just stays there on his knees, as the dead guy falls in on himself and ignites with a cool, blue flame, like all victims do. Nothing else burns... just the copse, til that's left is an ashy, greasy mess.
The girl makes a noise, like a chirp, or a gasp. Tomas turns 'round, covered in gore..... Girl sniffs and goes - Are you gonna kill me now too?..... But he quietly says - No.
Only later, when she falls asleep, bathed in the glow from the Sterno can, as much from shock as anything else... he does.
Tomas is crazy now, you know. What did you expect?
<the tale continues>
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