As promised, I’ve started one of my usual two next projects, and this one is a vampire story! Yay! I’ve been tinkering with a scene for close to an hour now, and I’m finally happy with it. Which is why you’re being spoilered!
Some of you might even recognize the name “Envy” from my short piece, “The Warlock from South Side”, and yes, it’s one and the same person.
But let’s start this:
Our protagonist, Envy, has just had a run-in with unsavory characters while on assignment for his vampiric master, Siccu.
The police coming to collect me off the streets were twitchy and spooked, but nice. Ambulances rarely traveled into the ghetto, too afraid of street gangs ambushing them and stealing their supplies. It had happened before, and after a while, resupplying a whole fleet of frustrated ambulances with essential drugs had gotten too costly. Now the medics only took calls to specific addresses and left the ‘road kill’ to the police. Which was how I came to be bleeding on the backseat of a police cruiser, waiting for my emergency contact to come through and pick me up.
I hadn’t dared give them Siccu’s number, but like every good vampire with a human following, Siccu had a reliable—if slightly icky—doctor on retainer. About fifteen minutes after the fact, three people—humans—in cheap suits came and picked me up, carefully placed me in the back of a modified limousine, and chauffeured me to ‘Doc Horror’s cabinet of pain’, vampire society’s most coveted illegal surgeon.
Doctor Cayne Gordon himself was neither vampire nor ghoul, but some kind of warlock with a tendency for extreme moodswings and a grotesque fascination for hard-to-kill people. He loved treating ghouls because they offered him insight into the healing abilities of vampire blood, but he also loved money, his primary motivator for keeping the vampire servants alive instead of in jars. On good days, he was a brilliant emergency surgeon. On bad days, people left his operating theater alive and healed, but with minor bodyparts missing. And since he was the only specialist for otherworldly creatures and their following of nutjob-humans, I ended up lying on a stretcher in his foyer. Oh joy.
The butchery had seen better times, and peeling paint crowded creaking vinyl floor beneath the pale yellow shine of old light bulbs. I had seen three doors in the hallway outside, and since the room I was lying in had a style akin of a veterinary surgery, I assumed the other two doors led to similar chambers. Lots of metal implements on metal trays next to metal waste bins, and a lot of cotton balls, bandages, and drugs in tiny, tiny flasks. Even through the throbbing pain, I had a hard time suppressing the urge to scrub the floor until it gleamed again. And then myself, because irch.
“I haven’t seen you before, have I?”
I blinked up at the pleasant, mid-thirties face hovering above me. Dr. Gordon had the serene mien of a Buddhist monk, earnest and caring and everything but psychotic. That’s what got most people; neither his face nor his actions betrayed the outbreaks of utter sadism he was prone to. He himself did seem to notice it when he cared for his patients, but that calmness, that empathy was a lie. An ugly, deceptive lie.
The faster I got treated, the less chance I had of losing a finger. Or a spleen. “ ’m Siccu’s assist’nt,” I mumbled through bloody lips and a heavy tongue.
The doc nodded and a few strands of light brown hair slid into his face. “I have heard of you, but it is nice to have a face to go with the rumors.“ Even his voice was pleasant and inviting. Creepy fucker.
His gaze wandered over my dirty, stained, bloody body and my heart jerked against my lungs. How bad did I smell? How horrible did I look? How sorry did he feel for me? I tried to wriggle myself into a better pose, but my broken bones stopped me in my tracks. My breath sped up, trapped between physical pain and mental agony at the thought of what a sorry sight I was.
My drawn face made him smile. “Oh, don’t worry, I am short on time today. You’ll be in and out of here in no time,” he said as if to reassure me. “Straight to business then. Did they give you morphine in the ambulance?”
I shook my head and grit my teeth against the throbbing in my skull.
Humming, Gordon pushed down on my stomach and nodded when I screamed. “How bad is the pain on a scale of one to ten?”
“Nine, oh god please stop pushing!”
“Very good. Let’s set your bones and fix you up quick then.”
I gulped in air as he turned around and clinked through the little row of drugs, humming to himself. If he’d at least made a serious face, I wouldn’t have felt this threatened, but no. Humming and smiling, while I lay there and bled. If he planned skimping on the morphine, I’d crawl my way out of there if I had to—
He turned back to me and prepared a syringe. “Just to make sure there’s no confusion, you’re not a ghoul, right?”
Holy hell. I shook my head a little too frantically.
“Shame,” he sighed and poked the needle into my neck, humming louder when I screamed again. A little blood squirted over his hand and arm, but he didn’t seem to care. And I couldn’t care, because I was already out.