Monday, May 12, 2014


Time passed. They moved around, sheltering in caves, abandoned factories and some rarely used out buildings at the zoo. Although they had to be careful to steer clear of any vampires lurking about. The Society Hill contingent, just beginning to recover from Tomas' passing, bunks with polar bears from time to time, but hibernation is over. so they won't be around for at least six or seven months. Few vampires frequent the facility during the warm months. Vampires sink into a somewhat depressive state when nights are short. They miss the dark. They hide and they wait. Tomas used to retreat to the deep tunnels under the subway. But he's dead, so we're no going to talk about him, OK?

Opal functioned fairly well. Still craved her family. Uther made her wait. Figured news coverage would die down in a few weeks. Humans move on. New mysteries enter their lives. What looked like a three year old boy was found living in deep, locked, dusty store rooms far down beneath some such museum or other. Philadelphia is an old, old place. Museums condense out of the ether. And the three year old boy survived on old, dried animal specimens from Venezuelan jungles.  Large, aquatic rodents were his favorites. And he had a vestigial tail too, like what a Springer Spaniel keeps after the docking. Press called him 'Zippy the Ferret Boy.' Can't stand light. They have him in Doctor Franklin's compound under the Navy Yard now. You should see him swim. Loves the dim, blue undulating pool where the sea-hag lives. Sea-hags are old mermaids. They try to keep a brassiere on her , but she rips it off and eats it. Gobbles it right down. That way they can't get it back. And she chortles like a maniac. They say that's normal for merfolk. Some agency took blood from the boy for DNA testing. He's human, a little different, but closer to us than say a bonobo, or chimp.  Sea-hag swims underneath and tickles him. He giggles and paddles away. She hand feeds him sardines. People from the tabloids come around. Guys from The Bureau shoo them off. Doesn't stop them. Write their own stories and print computer generated images.

She had to feed though. Opal, I mean. Uther didn't want to hunt. Didn't want to risk being spotted. Security cameras are everywhere. But they have these suppliers... fresh victim... no questions asked. Uther saves jewelry from his victims. Most of his stash is in Europe. But he's got some here too in safe deposit boxes and all. Gave a guy a few real nice pinky rings, star sapphires, miners' cut diamonds. Bought a big, drunk, homeless guy from behind The Wanamaker Building. Gets free Texas Tommies from a little, greasy lunch place. That's how he keeps his weight up. Took him to the zoo in a taxi one night. I don't know what the cabbie thought. Maybe he got a ring too? Uther knows this little tunnel in the woods. Whole place is surrounded by woods. Fairmount Park has eight thousand acres. You could hide Noah's Arc in there. Strange dead things turn up all the time. Groundsmen go - What the hell is this?... But they take care of it. Eighteen hundreds were even worse. Like a butcher shop it was. Gangs dumped 'meat' there all the time. Death was like 'in style' back then...  Guy tried to run away a couple times, but Uther had this thing he did. Pinched his neck a certain way. Not like Spock, but ... well, it was a little bit like Spock. Drunk starts twitching. Legs give out. Cries... begs.... Goes - Jesus Christ! What are you gonna do to me!? What are you gonna do to me!? By then they had him dragged through the tunnel, to a pitch black place behind a picnic grove. The wolves saw, but they knew better than to make noise when other predators feed.  They just stand, pant and lick their chops.

Opal went into a frenzy. It's reflexive. It's instinctive. Zombies do it all the time. Uther held him from behind, one arm over his chest, one hand clamped over his mouth. She ripped his clothes off like a buzz saw. Drunk guy kicked. Uther squeezed his neck til he went slack. When they got a body staked out, when they can eat at their leisure, fleisch essers, as Uther aus Ulm calls them, start at the extremities and work in. That way the heart pumps longer. Prolongs the fresh taste. But this wasn't like that. She was hungry and Uther wanted to be done with it. The belly! The belly! - he hissed.... So she tore into the liver, all hot and steaming. Wolves got a little agitated when she did that. Whined and all. They're always hungry. They wanted some. That was natural. Uther stopped her, when she went for the entrails.... Not the guts! Not the guts! - he said. You don't want the stink. Leave 'em!..... She looked up, her mouth and chin gleamed with dark red, viscous liver blood. Then she focused on the pancreas (all yellow and bitter) and tucked in. He made her eat a lot of the subcutaneous fat to prevent her own decomposition. Little by little she learned. When the torso was stripped bare (a backward meal) he looked at the twisted, stricken face, pulled her off and heaved it over the fence. The wolves made short work of the rest. Let the keepers worry about it...

Soon he'd take her home.

When some large barn spiders give birth, the mother just sits there, deep in the shadows, surrendering her body to an army of tiny fangs. She nourishes them with her own flesh. New zombies seek a similar meal. The genetic match of the tissue serves them well... like immunities drawn from mother's milk. Except this is just a one time thing.

And Opal misses her lot real bad...


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