Monday, March 4, 2013

HOW THE GHOUL SURPASSES THE ZOMBIE ..... 3/5/13

It is written that they love to confound travelers. They hunger for the flesh of frightened people, caught far from a safe warm place. I speak of the ghoul, a creature with a blood lust far in excess of the addle-brained zombie and a monstrous clarity equal to, if not beyond most night-folk (known to you as vampires).

One inhabits our own dark places, sliding 'mongst the blackest shadows and coldest dreams. Conrad saw him last night. He saw the eyes. He saw the skin. He smelled the flesh. And even a vampire knew fear.

They call him Johnny Jump Up and have since the seventeenth century. Some say he's come and gone more than once. A missionary julienned by the natives, in 'the death of a thousand cuts,' or a hapless  victim of consumption, buried alive in a chill, damp grave.  There are those who will take you to a crypt lost among the dim mossy lanes of Laurel Hill Cemetery and swear that it's his. But true ghouls need no permanent address. They squeeze in anywhere.... a dumpster down an alley..... a niche behind a wall.... under the bed of a blind, young man.... in caskets with the dead.

Each has a talent, a special ability for which they are known. Some speak every language, low and soft and  warm. Others serve powerful jinn and profit from it. Our own razor-toothed gentleman is a leaper. He can get you on the third floor and the forth floor as well. Some nights he scurries over roof tops, making off with children still wrapped in their bedclothes.`

A painfully thin man, he is, with a tall top hat, such as the gentry wore oh so many years ago. His suit a fine, wool serge.... trim and tight and black. His linen, ghostly white. The ensemble occasionally drips  blood. Ghouls do love their food, after all. And in case you don't know it, human flesh tastes like ham.

He hides in doorways, waiting for victims to race passed. Tonight it's a boy on a bicycle, silently zipping down wee hour streets. You know that high pitched hum the spokes make? And the fiend steps out behind him, straightens his neck cloth, stows his hat and leaps forth. No 'X' Games, snow boarder vaults as far. And in twelve heartbeats he has him. A sharp, hard push. The bike skids. The boy falls. Perhaps he grunts. But even before the bike stops sliding, he's hoisted over a bony shoulder and streaking into the sky.

And there, on the rooftops, he takes him. A fast bite to the face... Crunch, the nose is gone.... Forearms thrown up in defense... Rip! Bones stripped bare.... Pants come off (futile kicks mean nothing) and so do the genitals. The heights are slick with blood.  And the steam comes up on cue. Whimpering... Sometimes they cry. He digs his claws into the fat, quivering tongue and tears it from it's moorings, scarfing it down like a plump, warm slug.  Poor boy. So strong. So shocked. So desperate.  And his lidless eyes (well, one anyway) still see, as the cadaverous monster bites into his belly, rips open the muscle and savors the entrails, taking the heart... and the life, last of all.

Then he stands up, licks his lips, shudders and sighs. There is no blue flame to clean things up. He is no vampire. Such magic eludes him. But he has other tricks... A tiny whisper in an unknown tongue... A subtle sign and the rats appear, pouring out from the  nooks and crannies to feast on his leavings. Even the bones disappear.

Johnny Jump Up is out there. The vampires know it. And now you do to. A solitary killer melding with the night and hiding like a spider....

Are you curious? Get a friend. Drive around. Go see. After midnight is good, but third hour's best.  Pick empty streets and quiet lanes. 

Just don't unlock the door.

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