We didn’t know each other. It wasn’t as if we had to start from scratch, to build up trust: she knew me already and I knew her already, just at several decades remove each. She wasn’t coping well with being pregnant, but fortunately I had had some experience in that regard. All of a sudden, I was the only grown up on this quest, and I was going to have to arrange a birth in a few short months. Uh oh.
We were never the kinds of people to actually trust anyone – except for each other – and so we were hardly about to join forces with any of the other groups making their way on the same course as we were. Quite why we trusted Matthew is beyond me, I must say. I think we were desperate.
We had no money, and he did. We had nowhere to sleep and he did. We had no idea what to do about the coming of our second child, and he was a doctor. He wanted to help us, and we wanted to let him. That was a good thing. We were both so tired that we just needed somewhere to rest our heads and start thinking our way out of all of this. Matthew was our saviour apparent, and his benevolence would be our undoing. It all started over a few glasses of wine, at his kitchen table.
I could tell he was trying to get me drunk, but I’ve always liked a drink, so that was fine. He still had not quite grasped the fact that I am a man in my late thirties, rather than a fourteen year old child. I have seen more things in my life than he would ever attribute to me, and that was the source of my grit. I had thought that it was her who he had wanted: I thought he was trying to sedate me so that he could rape her. I was well off in that regard. He thought I was lost, buried deep in blood red wine.
I was concentrating more on where he was physically, and how I appeared to keep full track of the words coming out of his mouth. He was rambling about his divine right, and the need for his body to transcend from this plane to the next. I was fine with him committing suicide, if that was his thing.
He spoke of the quickening and the power of the flesh. Again, I thought he was talking about rape. I knew that I could best him physically, and the door was behind me, so that was off the menu. He spoke at length about the blood of the virgin, and the ability of blood to elevate the soul to the next level. All he needed was enough of it: a sustainable and replenishable source. He had built a table.
His smile unnerved me far more than his twitchy behaviour. His calm bothered me far more than his bouts of passionate oratory. The thin knife he held in his hand – twirling the blade between his long fingers – frightened me more than anything I have ever witnessed. It took me too long to realise.
He came at me quickly, pouncing all of a sudden. He wanted to drink my virgin blood. He wanted to strap me to his infernal table, keep me drunk on his family’s rich ruby wine, and tap my blood. He had estimated that it would take him about three weeks to consume enough of my vitality, keeping me just before the point of exsanguination, keeping me tenuously alive, while he drank his fill. On the plus side, she would be unharmed, and the child would be safe. Safe without a child for father.
So naturally I had some thinking to do. Albeit with a lunatic feeding at the cruck of my arm: it was the only thing I could do to separate my future from a certainty of being farmed to a possibility of being farmed. If I could trust the Herr Doktor at his word about her safety, I could face being drunk and drank for a few weeks, while he realised that there was as much power in my blood as in piss.
I stroked his hair as he fed, and he seemed to enjoy it. I think he took it as some form of sexual act, because he started to purr like a cat. In actual fact I just needed an excuse for my hand to be near his head. I needed some kind of purchase upon him, which I could turn to my advantage. I needed him to be oblivious to my catastrophic change of heart. Catastrophic for him, rather than for me.
And all the while I wondered what she would think if she walked in to face all of this. What would she think of me, and would she run out in to the street, lost forever, out of time and space? That only made me want to act quicker. I reached my hand through and put my thumb on to his Adam’s apple. He was too lost in his perverted reverie to notice that the balance of power had shifted.
I didn’t want simply to squeeze, I wanted to crush. Crush his larynx in to a parody of itself. I wanted him to stop breathing in my arms, and I was perfectly happy to watch him in my blood. In the end my grip was not strong enough, and all I managed to do was to enlighten him to my intentions with regard to his future consumption of my life force. He really looked quite sad about the whole thing.
What I hadn’t banked upon was the sheer quantity of knives he possessed. He stood up from his repast, my blood covering his bald chin, and opened the shuttered doors behind me. I had thought that it was some kind of built in storage, used for special plates and fancy glassware. I was wrong: it contained myriad blades of all kinds, above trays of surgical equipment. The way the trays had been laid out made it apparent that he intended to open several of my veins, and keep them open. No.
He explained very calmly the opportunity I was passing up on, and how disappointed he had become with my recalcitrant behaviour. The project he wanted to initiate would elevate the whole of human life to another level, and my name would have gone down in history. I weighed the wine bottle in my hand; I was happy that it still had enough wine left in it to carry sufficient momentum. I moved in.
I knew that he would succeed in stabbing me somewhere during my attack. I just had to gamble that I could steer him clear of any organs which I might actually need. Nicking a muscle was acceptable. As the thick glass crashed a hole in his skull I felt a line trace across my cheek. I might need a beard.