It has been many days since my 195th birthday celebrations; we have finally sobered up, and I suppose I should tell you all about it.
It was going to be a pretty typical (or violently atypical, depending on your perspective) Vlad-organised affair, involving elaborate mass murders and startlingly creative deaths – we’ve had blood waterslides, men’s throats slit above pyramids of wine glasses as though we were serving fine champagne; plastic sheeting is laid down all over the house, everybody knows not to wear white (or anything you treasure, frankly), and any human entering the Orgy of Chaos is fair game. As are their remains, which will generally be used for some species of gruesome sporting event later in the evening. However, this year – as I mentioned – we had come upon a mindboggling smorgasbord of recreational substances, the potency of which we hadn’t experienced in…well, far too long. I wanted to be happy! More than happy, I wanted to be peeling-off-the-ceiling euphoric – I wanted to trip balls, lose myself in the whirling neon lights of this incomprehensible electronic future, and forget my ludicrous ongoing antiquity! I have already experienced deeply unfortunate hallucinogenic trips involving the entirety of 19th century London turning into a reeking citadel of the walking dead, and I will never forget that shit – as a result, the idea of tripping balls whilst a mansionful of deranged vampires smacked decapitated heads around my dining hall, using torn-off stiffening limbs as bats…to be honest, it didn’t really appeal.
So, not this year, we told Vlad. Wait until September…or October; Kate and Rob can revel in your dubious feast of delights. He seemed placated by this – plenty of time to plot, prepare, acquire… Of course we still invited him, amongst others, and given that Rob and Clara, plus our many guests, would be bitterly disappointed and decapitate half of Birmingham if there was no blood and mayhem, we allowed Vlad a limited amount of fun. Humans, we stated, were most certainly welcome, in a food capacity, and if they died, well, that was alright. But everyone was to clean up their own corpses, and ideally no carcass was to be torn to pieces and hurled about the place. Low key – clean floors; elegance and restraint, or for god’s sake use the garden! We informed our guests that we were all going clubbing first, preferably without the entire rabble of vampires, and therefore the afterparty would begin at around 3am. Every velvet drape in the house was closed, ensuring that the manor would be in complete blackness, and night may merge seamlessly into night, with no irksome sunlight burning anybody alive, or marking the tedium of time passing, because who among us would give a shit if it had been four days or forty years? The dining hall was turned into our own private rave, loud enough for dancing, quiet enough for conversation, with blacklights everywhere, whirling disco-lights and lasers, a smoke machine, a projector, one thoroughly mindfucked DJ who had been locked in the cellar all night, wearing a white t-shirt emblazoned with ‘DON’T EAT ME, I AM THE MUSIC MAKER!’, and all manner of bizarre rave toys from our memories of the sweaty, gurning good old days.
But all that, was to be part two. I wanted to venture out first! I desired to trip balls while driving down lurid neon highways through the sinister 21st century! I wanted to go out and OWN THAT NIGHT, pulverise my braincells amongst the young, edible fleshlings of this DASTARDLY FUTURE!
We spent several hours segueing into our best selves in Rob and Clara’s enormous, glittering bathroom, as is our custom, hurling eyeliner at each other through a fog of weed smoke and spilled whiskey. Rob suffocated us all with hairspray, his green mohican towering into the air, ridged in smaller purple spikes for my birthday. Purple is my colour, not his, but I told him it was shit anyway; there should have been 195 spikes or NONE AT ALL!
“Fuck you,” Rob replied, ruffling his hair and then aiming the hairspray directly at me, “Do you really want me shaving this off now, and chasing you round looking like a Nazi cunt all night?”
I summoned the mental image of a bald Rob, and shuddered. I conceded,
“No, I suppose not. You’re embarrassing enough without a goosestep and a Sieg Heil…”
He laughed. “We’ll see who’s embarrassing by about 4am. I trip with good grace – you trip like a paranoid screeching lunatic fresh out of the Bog of Dribbly Thoughts. Oooohhh noooo, Rob, there are DEMONS scratching round my BRAIN, trying to get IN! And you legitimately, like fucking legitimately thought carving ‘FUCK OFF’ into your forehead with a razorblade would defeat an army of invisible mind-infesting zombies! It was like in your twisted little world, ‘FUCK OFF’ was the most powerful rune you could possibly invoke! Dear god, Eden, you need to start a religion better than Poo Voodoo someday, I can’t die before I’ve watched you presiding over whole crowds of frothing, shit-smeared mentalists casting out demons with nothing more than excessively vulgar language!”
I pulled a face at him, turning back to the mirror before he could see me shiver. Much as I love getting hyped up with everybody else, I always end up wishing I could just eat the damn drugs right now and be on my way; the dread tingles of nervous anticipation were curling up in my stomach, whispering in fear, What if all this is a horrible idea? What if this time it destroys you forever…or at least for several decades? What if you murder everyone in that club, and their bodies crawl back up off the floor, bones crackling, heads dangling off, then they hold you down, peel off your skin and inject themselves through gaping, bloody portals in your veins, scratching…SCRATCHING all the way up to your brain! Crawling around in there forever and ever because YOU CANNOT DIE! Screaming inside your mind, dragging their claws down the inner walls of your skull until—
“Shut up!” I hissed under my breath, snatching up the end of the latest joint and relighting it. Nobody paid me any attention – the music was loud, some aggressive thrashing bollocks of Rob’s. My reflection blew a cloud of smoke at me, and it seemed reassuringly together, smeared with eyeliner, its hair a gleaming black spiky chaos. I admired myself, wondering whether a few new piercings might distract me until we left, but the hairspray emissions choked me yet again, and I turned to see Kate resembling a black and pink Sonic the Hedgehog. She didn’t have 195 spikes on her head either, nobody cared about my birthday, but nonetheless she looked fantastic, and I couldn’t help smiling – if I had to spend a night losing my shit with zombies scrabbling through my veins, I would at least have an ally in this chaos…as in everything. She glanced my way out of a painted eye, grinning, and plucked the joint from between my fingers.
After an eternity of hairspray, we were ready to leave, to embark upon this crusade. Rob and Samuel were equipped with rucksacks full of blood, me carrying what really mattered – the chemicals. We paused to cloak ourselves in heavier layers than usual; the Cadillac was tonight’s vehicle, and the heating is shitty, but more than that, tripping…it makes us cold, or more truthfully, it makes us notice that we are cold. I suppose humans feel that sort of thing too – they feel everything more intensely when they trip. But for us, that fucking cold phase we go through is bloody ungodly – we have a tendency to become the absolute worst of cuddle-puddle gropers, because humans just feel so fucking warm and soft, squishy little irresistible radiators, and we never want to let them go… If you’ve ever met a strange, cold, gropey weirdo at a nightclub, with pale skin and eyes like glittering saucers, it was probably one of us. It might even have been me…
Swathed in ludicrous furry drag queen pimp-coats, we strode out into the night, and I beamed at my obscene chariot – she stood proudly in front of the house, as vast and regal, as insane as any trip-vision, our sparkling purple ’59 Coupe de Ville, chrome grin glinting in the moonlight. Her insides had room for everyone and several more, as we slid across the worn black leather of her wide bench seats, the steering wheel on the wrong side, and me driving because it was my fucking birthday, and I love this car. I whisked my stupid little raver-twat rucksack off, and fumbled amidst baggies filled with experiences, just waiting to be swallowed whole. Most people would do all this nonsense in the house, but if we’re going in the Cadillac, then we are going in the Cadillac. Sitting out here, in this car full of memories, surrounded by darkness, it could have been any time in the past half a century, but for our ridiculous hair… Ash to ash, bones to trees; everything changes but me…
I passed out pills, one each, just like it used to be, like it should be – no need for double-dropping here. Rob opened a bag of Type A, and we washed them down with blood, grinning in anticipation, Rob and Clara pausing with pills on their tongues to take a fucking selfie – apparently the crusade to document my birthday, and thus my downfall, was well underway. Next came a bump of speed each, then I passed the drugs to Kate, and turned on the engine. That line of speed was already fizzling, tricking into me, and the gravelly explosive vrrrrrooooooom of my ancient car made me laugh out loud. I stuffed a much-agonised-over cassette tape into the machine, and off we went…
The bleak valleys and soggy wintery trees spun by in the stark blur of the headlights, and as we turned onto the highway towards the vast concrete arteries that would take us north, the speed took full effect, the flick and crackle of lighters almost simultaneous around me as clove smoke began to fill the car, poisons sucked down into hungry vampiric lungs. A black Polo stuffed with horrible little kevs caught us up, three of them dangling out of the window to gawp at our car, level with us, before Kate cranked down the blacked-out window and gave them the finger, then they laughed and roared forwards, apparently expecting a race. They were sadly misinformed, for once – any other car, but not this. Never the Cadillac. We’ve looked after her for decades…she could shift, once, by the standards of those times, but now, and laden down with the five of us? Fuck off, mate – the chrome on this beast is worth more than you make in a year…
With that pleasing thought, I swung my boat of a car onto the motorway, and let the needle climb. IAMX were playing, that song about surviving in…a nightclub? A dark alley? A broom closet with a dodgy lightswitch? Whatever they were teaching me to survive in, all was lost, for I had already forgotten. All I knew was that the song came from a vampire film and you know we hoover those up like little rocks of cocaine dropped in the carpet. Thoughts were zipping pointlessly through my brain like neon speech bubbles declaring ZOOP! ARGH! WAIT, SHIT, IS THE HANDBRAKE ON? Kate was saying,
“…but what if, I mean what if that was how it really went! No more hairspray for vampires – not ever again! The whole marketing of hairspray might change, and—”
“You suspect there are industry insiders?” said Samuel. “Who know of us? The hairspray industry, dictated to by the undead?!”
“Absolutely!” Rob declared, “Look at my hair – who doesn’t want to be me?”
“You would be surprised…” Samuel murmured. “Have they ever asked you for your opinions on hairspray? EVER? In nearly two centuries? Have they ever—”
“Plenty of fucking humans ask me about my hair! You NEVER KNOW – I might be owed a thousand billion in hairspray revenue by now, and I was just too drunk to notice!”
“What the fuck,” I demanded, in a panic of absolute insanity, “Are you all BABBLING ABOUT? Somebody EXPLAIN TO ME why vampires are responsible for modern hair or I will HIT YOU ALL!”
“It’s just logic!” said Clara.
“We ARE The Night!” said Kate.
“DEFYING GRAVITY!” roared Rob, all of them at once.
I shook my head, reaching over to pluck the bag of speed out of Kate’s lap, and steering with my knees while I stuck in a finger, and rubbed the resultant grit onto my gums. I dropped the bag back into her hand, whining,
“Give me a fucking cigarette and repeat that bollocks?”
Kate laughed, and stuck a half-smoked black clove between my lips. Rob was already away, explaining,
“When they hang off the ceiling, their hair isn’t right, it just sticks to them, sticks to them like—”
“WHO?!” I screamed in exasperation. “WHO THE FUCK DO YOU MEAN??”
“The vampires,” said Kate, snapping away at an uncooperative lighter, “The vampires in the film! Their very hair defies gravity!”
“As though they could not afford the appropriate production values,” Samuel added sniffily, “Of true to life vampiric dynamics! I taught you when you were barely days old the importance of scuttling up walls, like a truly learned demon! The amateur may—”
“Float,” I groaned, “But only the…I don’t know – the truly dastardly shall scuttle, and the grubby little fool shall float without artistry! No doubt followed by a lecture about the dashing properties of your medieval red velvet tights, or the—”
“AND WHO WEARETH THE VELVET NOW?” Samuel howled in triumph. “TELL ME I WAS NOT A SEER OF CENTURIES PAST!” He roared with insane laughter, opening the window and hanging his head out, his voice whipped back by the wind – “I SEE ALL! I AM STILL HERE, FOR AS EVER, IIIII WAS RIIIIGHT!”
Christ, said Rob’s voice, inside my head, You’ve let Samuel’s speed-demon loose again…
I met Rob’s gaze in the rear-view mirror, and shot back,
Think yourself lucky Frederick didn’t want to come…
All I received was a telepathic groan, and a sense of impending doom – Frederick hadn’t wanted to come clubbing tonight, but he was sure as shit not missing the party. All those goddamn vampire films with their elegant, detached elders, those people really needed to bear witness to Samuel and Frederick on a bender…
“But the HAIR!” said Kate, derailing my thoughts. Samuel withdrew his head from the window, and wound it back up. “If they can stop their hair floating, they must be able to make it float! That means I could make ALL MY HAIR STAND ON END just with a thought! I’d be like Tonks from Harry Potter! I could—”
“Threaten people like a pissed off cat,” I said, grinning. “What are you going to do, grow your armpit hair too and terrify people with a bristling display of vampiric armpits? You’re right – I’d shit myself…”
Kate dissolved into sniggering, Rob started pondering aloud whether furry bristling pubes might create a passable mockery of a ‘crap phallus’. On through the night we soared. Rammstein had begun teaching us to count in Deutsch, a necessary part of every modern-day goth night out – at least it wasn’t fucking X-RX with their ghastly industrial yoga class – I’ll one-two-move my feet directly up your fucking ARSE and you shall all BEWARE the RECTUM SHREDDING spikes upon my boots!! I was saying all this out loud without even noticing, but nobody seemed to give a shit, most of them were talking to their own reflections in the windows, or staring blankly up at the moon.
When the pills kicked in, they were far from subtle. The roads were empty, the Cadillac was feeling good, and we were just arriving into the maelstrom of Sheffield, its ghastly bloody one way streets splattered everywhere like rushing neon spaghetti, noisy staggering rabbles of drunken students pointing at my car and doing a bizarre dance of elation – did I really see that? Dude, DUDE, did you fucking SEE THAT?? I was beginning to wonder the same thing. Am I really here, on this planet? Was I ever? Is this all a computer game? If I run over that group of people, will they have huge machine guns I can pick up with a satisfying PING and start murdering everyone? As if on cue, a gorgeously ridiculous old school trance-house track thundered into life, Kate whooping and beginning to car-dance – behind me the back seat erupted into a fit of fist-pumping and wide, glittering grins. The lights were blurring past, streetlamps pulsing and shivering in time to the music, the whole world violently vibrating before my eyes. I felt as though I was flying, or freefalling, or exploding into one full body nuclear orgasm – goddamn these were some ludicrously fucking good pills. My jaw shuddered, my teeth crunched horribly together, and the entire world rattled like a broke junkie – I yanked the wheel to the side, stomped on the brake, dragged up the handbrake and collapsed sideways into Kate’s lap.
“Fuuuuck…” said Rob’s voice vaguely from behind me.
“Mmhmm…” Clara agreed, equally vaguely.
“Ahh…” said Samuel. “This is a strange place indeed… Strange…”
Kate’s fingers were shakily tracing patterns through my hair, and I felt my eyes roll back in my head until I was blind, my teeth grinding together but fuck it felt good. I wanted to do something, do something DO SOMETHING, I didn’t know what but somethingSOMETHING, like being on my old point-to-pointer as a mortal teenager – the unstoppable pulse of the music became a horse’s thundering stride, powering over the rough, muddy turf, wet branches whisking past my face, enormous fences looming out of the mist then vanishing as we launched into space, fingers caught in a tangled web of coarse mane, then a brisk slap of the whip and the cold air froze my face into a manic grin, the idiots left far behind me – unstoppable, all powerful, a FUCKING GOD!
I snapped out of my trance, sat up, observed the neon madness, and pulled the car away.
“Glad you’re not…dead…” Kate mumbled. I glanced over and she was staring out of the windscreen like a fascinated cat. I reached out and took her hand.
We left the car in the usual sinister indoor parking garage, stark fluorescent lights flickering over our still white faces. All around me, they looked like pale, gleaming waxworks, but for the glittering dilated madness of their eyes. Stepping out of the car was jolting; strange, surreal – the music stopped. Without the music encasing my thoughts, turning life into a slick, pulse-by-pulse music video, my cells broke apart and drifted into the night, scattered atoms returned to the barren wastelands of space… I felt naked and sparse yet truly present, here, here, in this startling century… So many memories, enough to drown in, but here we are. Alive…and so surreal…
Our footsteps echoed on the concrete, concrete concrete, all about us, a lurid fluorescent tomb made of death and magic – we’d started running with no verbal consensus, feet slamming into the pavement in a pounding thunder of sheer aliveness, cold night air rushing past our faces, numbing my lips, then we’d lifted off, hand in hand, speeding silently through the night. I broke away, spun cartwheels, the stars whirling tracers past my staring eyes until I slammed into a great big ghastly something with a fuck and a shit and an alarm went off, tearing through the silent darkness – it was a car, I’d hit a fucking car, and broken the bastard’s windscreen, and now it was yelling at me as I scrambled up from the floor, finding that Rob and Kate were raving away to the rhythmic din of the car alarm. I dragged them onwards, onwards to the club.
Would they even let us in, in this state? Was it a good idea, in this state?
Probably not…but as we drew closer, the muffled bass thumping became a magnet, drawing us in like the scent of blood on a clear, cold night. The old church rose above us, our feet treading a worn path through trampled grass, sparkling shards of broken glass, dandelion weeds and shadow…black and purple balloons bobbed hypnotically at the door. Inside it was chaos, sheer deafening beautiful chaos. Samuel was in the lead, smoothly mindfucking the bouncer, then the till girl – we paid nothing, not usually our style, we like to support our favourite places, and this, Underworld, it was our favourite of favourites, as far as the UK goes. But tonight…tonight we didn’t have the fucking faculties to fumble with our mundane coins, to speak to sober human faces, to pass for the mortals that we were not, and would never be again…
We drifted inside, shedding our ridiculous furry coats and thrusting them into the corner of the DJ booth, without even asking. The guy looked annoyed, then he saw Clara, and gave us a wide grin and a thumbs up; she ignored him, we all did – we had already been hypnotised by the music, the thumping bass that shook the ancient stone floor, thrumming through the bones of my chest; is this how it feels to be human? Do they feel the same, all around me, these fragile temporary beings? I suppose I’ll never know… There were notes bouncing through the night, sugar-crusted candy synth rainbows falling from the sky, scattering the floor in a pastel-shimmering rainbow like broken Mardi Gras beads. All about us pale hands jolted and twirled through beats of shocking white light, darkness, light; it became a swirling madness, fog wreathing us all, blinded, lost, until Kate’s face emerged through the smoke and kissed me. The music screeched to a halt, restarted…it was clearly a mindfucking, though whose, I didn’t know – the song that started up was so familiar it felt like sinking into a warm bath. We’d never chosen that song, it chose us, years ago, just as it must have chosen the humans who recorded it, those whispering female vocals overlaying a tripped-out sunset beat, hissing cymbals that ebbed and flowed like waves, and didn’t we all know? We all knew, here together, now, on the same chemical cocktail…as the rush comes…
We probably looked like a morons…we probably looked insane. It didn’t matter. All these people, these flesh-wagons made from temporary atoms of dying meat, they would be dead and gone within a sparse few decades. Everywhere we go, we’re always on holiday, on vacation – our behaviour doesn’t matter. We have no reputation to keep, not before the near-dead eyes of fading mortals in their tawdry, worn-out flesh. We danced and laughed and didn’t care, because they all would die, and we would not… Only we existed here, now and forever.
Embrace me…surround me…as the rush comes…
I melted into the softness of Kate’s lips, her sharp nails electrifying my skin, tracing ultraviolet tingles that mapped out the surface area of my physical atoms, and yet I moved beyond, moved within, reached out and felt the colours of her familiar soul – we became so purple, purple and pink like a sparkling nuclear supernova, just for a second, before she broke away, grinned, spun into the smoke, snatching green glowsticks from a gawping cybergoth, beginning to wreathe spooky shapes in the darkness.
We stayed at the club for…time.
What did it matter? What did time matter to any of us? Song crashed into song, faces blurred, shifted, morphed. The only moment the flow broke was when we edged into the stark lighting of the bathroom, the music growing soft, muffled in the swing of the broken door, no longer a power that overtook us all. We stood, blinking, staring blankly into each other’s bemused white faces. Then I would grab my bag, dump heaps of powder onto the grimy shelf, each of us sucking them up. Rob demanded more pills, ground them to dust between his fingers, and we hoovered those up too, soft pink piles of true fairydust, and yet so grimy here, here beside puddles of piss and sticky clumps of toilet paper, an insult to the soaring pearlescent heaven we inhabited. Angels with piss on their boots… Angels with shit-smeared wings – but angels nonetheless. Angels don’t lose their wings, do they, if they walk through a palace of sin? Can a halo tarnish – can it stain? Can an angel feel a demon’s pain? Do angels weep, do they dream of creatures like us in their sleep?
I was jerked from my reverie, pulled towards the door, but I refused, I stopped, saying, No, no NO, wait!! And then I just had to tell them, had to tell them all that they mattered, that they were here with me, and it had been centuries, I am 195 years old now for fuck’s sake, and it’s INSANE, isn’t it INSANE, but you’re all here, HERE with me, and I love you, I love you, and Kate was biting my neck, enfolding me in the scent of our bedroom, the scent of serenity, of safety, and then Rob was ruffling my hair, Samuel was saying something profound and archaic and I didn’t understand but it was perfect anyway, and soon we were on the floor, maybe even in the piss, just hugging each other, and Jesus fucking Christ these pills kick in even faster when you snort them – I stumbled to my feet, shaking off my beloved, staggering into the strobing darkness, and going mad.
I’m not entirely sure how or when we got from the club to the car. All I know is that I snapped back into life, sitting in the driver’s seat, and staring at my hands on the wheel. They looked like pale spiders, knobbly and weird, my fingers too long, the glittering black polish on my nails all chipped and chewed. And I didn’t know how to operate this thing, this wheel, this car. The quiet rang in my ears…the car park was sinister, as white and sterile as a Russian experiment, the chill of a morgue; the depths of a shark tank. I couldn’t drive. The Cadillac would not come alive, and meld as one with my bones. It was Samuel who finally said,
“Perhaps I should drive…”
“Mmm,” I conceded. “’k…”
I got out of the car, and opened the other door. I didn’t need to – we could probably all sit side by side in the front…but I wanted to be in the back, safe there in the womb. Clara moved into the front with Samuel. I slid into the comforting leathery gloom, next to Rob, his hair brushing lightly on the ceiling of the car. Kate slid up to sandwich me in, and this was everything, everything I’d ever wanted, to be in this archaic beautiful box with everyone in the world I’d ever loved, all at once, all of us alive, still here, here, and what were the odds?! I told them so. Samuel could drive – he knew how to do it, we were exiting the car park, sliding easily out into the night, slithering through the neon and madness, this sparkling aquarium somewhere between the streetlights and the stars, and I told him, I told him how amazing it was, that he could pilot this thing, without hitting the stars…
Briefly, Kate’s hands moved down, down, somewhere a bit rude, and there was an immediate lightning strike electrifying my entire body, my entire soul, and I was on top of her, but someone, Rob, Rob that fucking bastard, yanked me backwards by my hair, muttering,
“Don’t scar me for life, Garden Boy…”
And I zapped back. Wrong. Don’t do sex in the car. Embarrassing tomorrow, if you do sex in the car…
A strong white hand lay on the wheel, piloting our starship, just as it had piloted my chaotic atoms into infinity… His blood pulsed through my cells – I couldn’t have rejected it if I’d wanted to. I started telling him, telling him how much it mattered, every second, every heartbeat, every fucking moment of the past two centuries, and now I was here, HERE, 195 fucking years old, where we soared down a glittering river of lights, dodging the stars, jumping the moon, the year 2018 and all of us still here…
And Samuel just said,
“I know… I know…”
He glanced back at me with a smile, and nothing needed to be said; he was here, in me, in my soul, inside every one of my atoms…
Right here, right now, he knew what I meant. They all did.
We were almost home, sliding peacefully through the night, surfing the solar system, when Rob said,
“We haven’t even taken the acid yet…”
“Haven’t we?” I said, and I realised we hadn’t. It wasn’t even a terrifying concept anymore – it had been hours, but the chemical battery that fuelled me now would last forever; it thrummed through the marrows of my bones, demanding more, further, faster harder fucking Scooter!
“Aciiiiid!” Clara sang, twisting in her seat and grinning at us, red hair a wild chaos around her pale face as she reached a perfectly manicured hand towards the bag of drugs, nails like blood-red claws, claws that tore off dicks, wreaked gory vengeance…
I gulped, and began digging in my little bag of chaos.
The acid was on large sugar cubes, no elegant blotter art for us tonight, but sugar cubes were better; they absorbed so much, they wasted nothing…nothing but us. I handed them out, and Kate gave me a grin and a wink, placed it on her tongue, started sucking. I did the same. It tasted of nothing but sugar, and I felt like a horse. I thought of Noodle, wondered what he was doing, whether he surveyed the same stars… What did he think of them? Would he mind if I flew down to him, in three hours’ time, and asked him about the stars?
The sugar dissolved on my tongue, turned to sweet mush; I held it there, let it become liquid, and slip away. I was on the train now, the train to anywhere…and that was ok. The night flowed like a river; you couldn’t stop it.
Like whispers in the dark…
When we turned into the gloom of the countryside, I was thinking Bedroom, warm there, nice bed, soft things…Kate…Kate’s eyes…music, hugs, smoke weed, god I REALLY want to smoke some weed, maybe go flying, maybe not…warm bed…so warm, and FUCK I’M COLD… My teeth were chattering, grinding together. But then we turned into our drive, and CHAOS! There were vans with blacked out windows, small caravans, cars from all eras scattered over the gravel, spilling onto the grass, and I remembered…
Ohhhfuck… My party…
On some level I knew that I didn’t really like a lot of these people, but then, in an instant, the balloon of euphoria swelled once more inside my chest, floating me out of the car and into the house, and the hallway exploded into whoops and hugs and a madness of vampires, sparkling eyes and white faces and cold hands all over me, and I was swept along, through the library, the living room, and into the dark swirling neon of our little rave. It was already mayhem, dancing figures everywhere, the glowing human DJ as yet uneaten, presiding over his empire of death, as the projector flickered up a whirling gumbo of vampire movies, snuff films, sinister science clips from the 1950s, nuclear holocaust warnings, videos of puppies – who the fuck was operating this thing?!
The music was too much, too thumping, and as though by psychic connection Samuel glided off to intervene – it segued into peaceful bubbling Amsterdam-coffeeshop too-stoned-to-move trance, and then he was back, waving a big fat joint hopefully in my face. I grinned, and we collapsed as one onto a stack of beanbags. Kate had a joint too, we lit them both, dragged on them gratefully, let ourselves sink down, down, through the psychedelic spinning galaxy, and into the warmth below. I was already wrapped tightly in my coat, still shivering, until I realised there were blankets next to us, great big fluffy fucking blankets, and when I touched them, they were warmer than a human, warmer than a dog!
“Electric,” said Rob, grinning, his teeth and eyes glowing eerily under the blacklight. “We thought it’d be a good idea…”
I grabbed handful after handful of fluff, wrapped myself and Kate in a bath of fluff so soft and hot it caused a simultaneous outbreak of orgasmic moans. I melted like chocolate, dissolved into the floor, the cold ebbing from the depths of my long-dead bones, staring up at the stars that whirled on the ceiling. They became a corridor; I was sucked into it, flowing down a river of lights, a tunnel to the centre of the earth, to the centre of my soul and out the other side….
And then…the stars disappeared. The ceiling turned white, bright white, as white as a fucking burning poker, and there at the centre, it stood. The room shattered into screams, chaos, overturned chairs, nails scratching at the doors, scrabbling to escape – a SPIDER, there was a FUCKING SPIDER, a spider as big as the house, as big as GOD! It towered above us, flexing its furry legs, reaching out to grasp my skull, growing and growing until all was blackness and OH GOD OH GOD I’M ABOUT TO DIE!! THIS IS HOW IT ALL ENDS! but Samuel was laughing and laughing at my side, shouting out,
“Barty, old chap! How simply divine it is to see you!”
“WHAT?!” I demanded. “What the FUCKING HELLFIRE?!!! It’s that bloody spider, it’s really HIM?! What’s he doing here? And how did he even get inside, he’s too big to get through the fucking door! HE’S HUGE AND HE’S GOING TO EAT ME, HE’S—”
“He’s on the projector!” Rob yelled, springing to his feet, “Fucking SQUASH HIM!”
There was a desert storm all about me, wind rushing in every direction as vampires fought or fled, but when it stilled I realised Samuel was standing at the projector, gripping Rob by the throat.
The spider was gone – vanished, poof. The ceiling was now covered with a video of a little black Pug gobbling up an ice-cream. No spider…no spider anymore. But where is he? How BIG IS THAT EIGHT-LEGGED BASTARD REALLY?!!
In a casual flick, Rob was tossed into the opposite corner, knocking down vampires like pale skittles. Samuel evaporated into shadow, then materialised next to the DJ, leaning down to the mic to inform us all,
“That spider is a specially invited VIP guest of mine. Anybody found to lay a single phalange upon Lord Bartholomew or his kin will answer to me, and be parted swiftly from their heads – is this understood?”
There was a mumble of reluctant assent, though I heard a hissed voice muttering,
“Zey are all demented…” – I looked up to see Vlad, more diminutive than ever between the tall blondes flanking him. He was in a ruffled shirt, as ever, and his fingers twitched at his side, nails long and perfectly pointed, bereft of gore. The latter clearly discomforted him. “They harbour giant spiders here as friends! Not just virgins, but spiders! I should—”
“800 years,” Clara murmured under her breath…still loud enough for him to hear. “Ready to gamble a three hundred year difference – here, tonight?”
Vlad snorted in exasperation, clicked his fingers, and smoothly exited the room with his concubines in tow. Above me, the Pug had finished its ice-cream, and it looked so happy. I beamed at it, and it beamed back, and then I wondered aloud,
“Where the fuck is Pudding? I want to talk to Pudding!”
Kate looked equally baffled. There was a rush of air, and Frederick appeared before me, raising a large glass of bloodwine and explaining,
“Arrived early, my dear boy, and your perro had made cacka on the floor, which was far from the inviting welcome I had anticipated. Darling Timmy made it all go away, of course, and then we shepherded the guilty parties into your bedroom. Do you desire them retrieved?”
“Yes,” I said, nodding firmly. “Bring me Pudding!”
Frederick evaporated into thin air, causing a few people to gasp – I suppose it isn’t every night that the average vampire meets a two-thousand-year-old who tricks even our eyes whenever he gets excited. The beanbag next to me moved, and I turned to find Timmy an inch from my face, exclaiming,
“Eden, I simply insist that you feed me drugs! All of them, any of them, before he gets underway! We received a ludicrously baffling text courtesy of Samuel two hours ago – Frederick got it into his head that you weren’t coming back for at least a week, and as such I have been simply run ragged acting as host, waiter, and scooper of defecation ever since. Whatever you have inside that ghastly purse, I call baggsie!”
I grinned, and gave him a hug. It had been far too long, and it’s always nice to see Timmy under good circumstances, when in the past they’ve been so fucking awful, for both of us. He was draped in buttery-soft Italian leather, and he smelled like the inside of a luxurious new car; I felt tingles of capitalist excitement explode inside my braincells, caressing the sleek seats, feeling it thrum into life, until he pushed me away and examined me at arm’s length, asking,
“What have you been taking tonight? I never got half this reception when I kissed you for the first time! Do you remember? I still remember – a beautiful beach, and all that coca wine you fed me, while teaching me to give oral sex to an orange, but still you wouldn’t kiss me. And that is why I killed myself.”
“No it wasn’t,” said Rob, laughing. “You ‘killed yourself’ because you were incurably demented!”
“How do you know? Perhaps I made it all up. I think I killed myself because Eden wouldn’t kiss me. Distraught; a young boy in love! Rejection can make a person go quite, quite mad, you know. Perhaps I still am mad. Perhaps I will kill myself again. I think that I should. Will you kiss me now?”
“Fuck off, Timmy,” I muttered, smiling, “Have a pill instead – I’m 195 today, and I’m not celebrating that landmark by being eviscerated all over the valley by Frederick.”
“Oh gosh – he wouldn’t mind a jot! I have told you about the things we get up to, haven’t I? You know, since you’re all terribly high and shan’t remember a word I say, I shall say everything! Tonight I was thinking that we might—”
“I’ll lend you whatever you want,” Rob intervened, “Just fucking wash it before you give it back, alright?”
“Mon cher, on my honour, it shall smell as rosy as a virgin’s rectum. If it doesn’t, then I promise to kill myself.”
With that, Timmy was crunching up a pill with a disgusted grimace, gulping down the bitterness with several swigs of bloodwine.
“Right,” he said, peering into my bag. “What else have you got?”
By the time the dogs were led in, Frederick clearly having been distracted somewhere on the voyage, Timmy had eaten an acid tab, and insisted on snorting speed off my stomach, declaring between lines,
“I am the first! The very first of your 195th year! And now, you shall think of me with every line, and weep for the time you did not kiss me!”
He dived back into my stomach, sucked up the other line, and then licked up the crumbs, until I fell off the beanbag completely, writhing with laughter.
“Ah,” said Timmy, “You regret it already. My tongue is a skilled thing, and so very wasted on Frederick. Always distracted…always thinking. Antiquity does not bring peace…”
I’d just scrambled back under my orgasmically warm blanket when I was flattened by the muscular, wriggling black body of Pudding, who had clearly not enjoyed the solitude of our bedroom one bit. Heisenberg was all over Kate, a manic ball of deranged fur and overenthusiastic tongue, as she firmly closed her lips and tried to restrain the ultimate Ruiner of Makeup.
Hello, I said to Pudding, fondling his silky ears, meeting the anxious gaze of his wide brown eyes. ???
He snorted, rolled a nervous eyeball around the blacklit room, and bombarded me with accusations and Disastrous Emotions, about Gone…all gone. Strange man. Strange smells. Too fast – he moved too fast. Don’t like man. Bedroom. No you. No Kate. Alone… ALOOOOONE, ALL ALONE ALONEALONEALONE! What this? What all this? You…strange. Eyes strange. ???
I smiled at him, tried to convey the warmth and peacefulness and happiness I felt, and a little wrinkle of frustrated confusion appeared on his black forehead, but he huffed his resignation, and curled up against my chest. He was peaceful for all of three seconds, before he raised his head, and cocked an ear at Kate and Heisenberg, with a forceful Eden’s all wrong! You’re all WRONG too ???? !!!!
Kate glanced at me and laughed, apparently now able to interpret at least a little of that. She gave Pudding a kiss, and he frowned, his questioned unanswered. Heisenberg, on the other hand, took a flying leap off Kate’s lap, and span yapping circles around the dance-floor, driven into a manic furry tizzy by the discolights. Pudding whined in despair, and lay down across both of us, burying his nose in the blankets. I massaged his ears, wondered if he would ever grow into the majestic hellhound I’d hoped for. I’ve asked him, of course, what happened to them both, to make them so strange, to land them in a cage at the RSPCA centre, but Heisenberg has forgotten, or doesn’t care, and Pudding cares too much to make any coherent sense. I think somebody died – somebody he cared about. Dead and gone…and the two of them with nothing to eat, nothing to drink…and the smell. The smell of their human; it went wrong. He never came back. And now Pudding’s nervous about everything. He trusted that man, but he went to sleep and never came back. Which probably explains why Pudding creeps along the side of the bed sometimes, to snuffle in my ear, to make me move – to prove my aliveness…or whatever ‘aliveness’ I’m capable of.
I gave him a poke in the flank, and when he looked up in annoyance, I transmitted,
I’m not going anywhere… I’ll be here forever… For all of your forever, anyway…
Pudding didn’t know what to make of that, demanding, Short forever?????
Everyone goes away, I told him, and watched his eyes widen in horror. I backtracked, adding, Except me. I don’t go anywhere. I don’t get old. I don’t smell funny. Here. Always. Everything’s ok.
He still looked suspicious, so I gave up on words, and just let it all slide into his brain: permanence. 195 years and counting; that’s what this is, tonight – it means I’ve been here forever – day to night to another tedious dawn, on and on and on. Year following year, seasons changing, music morphing, shoes becoming more ridiculous, centuries flushing away like a broken toilet. Everything changes but me…
And Pudding finally smiled. He sat up, gave me a big, fearsome, toothy grin, and licked my ear. Then he jumped lightly off the beanbags, and took off like a cannonball, bowling into Heisenberg and sending them both tumbling through a maze of legs.
I smiled, and rummaged in my coat pocket for my rolling tin.
It wasn’t long before those innocuous sugar cubes turned, and began to slither about inside my brain. The first sign was Rob abruptly jumping to his feet and darting out of the back door to vomit. This always happens, or at least, it always happens when the drugs are really strong. Even he knows what it means – Rob’ll never let a decent drug go, I’ve watched him regurgitate pills into his open hands, rinse them off under the tap, and eat them all over again…sometimes twice. I remember one night, we’d flown home from Slimelight in a state of deranged euphoria and staggered straight through to the studio, to work on an electronic track called Hardcore Bastards Never Waste a Yacker. It wasn’t the work of art we’d hoped for, largely due to Rob’s overenthusiastic determination to capture the sense of sheer loss he felt every time one of those beauties came slithering out of his mouth, drenched in purple vampiric bile. Most people dancing in a club don’t want to hear detailed lyrics about the taste and consistency of Rob’s vomit, I suppose…
When Rob returned, he was dragging a pale, blood-smeared human by its wrist, dumping himself down next to me, and giving me a thumbs up, reporting,
“It’s a violent yacker tonight. Hold onto your fucking arse, Garden Boy!”
With that, his turquoise eyes paled, glowing white under the blacklights, and he sank his fangs into the kid’s throat. I hastily grabbed a wrist, and bit into it before Rob could be a greedy bastard. Even if I Made A Corpse, I was the birthday boy…or Birthday Relic, I suppose, at this age – no one would make me fly an annoying carcass out to sea. Anyway, I was sure I’d seen Alex pass by a minute ago – he was bound to be here with his blood-stained white van, en route to the hospital incinerator that took care of all our party debris…
Kate was busily engaged with the human’s other wrist, and just as I suspected, it was rapidly dead. Rob tossed it onto the floor behind us, its eyes staring vacantly at the ceiling. I didn’t know how it had come to be here, on tonight’s menu, or what its thoughts had once been – a mindfucked human blinks out like a lightbulb…but conveniently it can still follow orders, and walk. Genius, really – humans have Roombas running around the floor, gobbling up crumbs, and while vampires may frequently be technologically backwards, we still have beautiful drinks canisters that stride around parties offering and offering themselves until they just go splat. Once we work out how to make their dead bodies dive headlong into a fire, we’ll become as lazy as the rest of the 21st century…
The DJ had clearly decided we were all sufficiently wankered: Shooting Star ejaculated itself into the luminous darkness, and it seemed that everyone I had fed pills to went a bit mad…except for us, adrift on our beanbag island. Somehow, we had entirely passed the Shooting Star Zone, and that’s a pretty fucking far-out zone. We were too fucked up to dance: the acid was here, it was queer, and it definitely definitely didn’t require beer. The song was too fast, too manic, too annoying. I looked at Rob. Rob looked at me. Nobody spoke, because nobody could speak. Kate glanced towards the DJ, and sent out a telepathic signal so badly-delivered we all heard it – I don’t even know who she was aiming for, but without words she appropriately expressed our bemusement. A dark, distant shadow accosted the luminous t-shirt of the dealer…the DJ? I don’t know…words melted… He’s the dealer…the dealer of experience…peddling musical notes to everybody, little sugary wrapped-up experiences, blopping out of a synthesiser like a pill-press… I wonder which one is my favourite… I wonder if I could hide between them, and nobody would ever find me. I could file away my soul between two pretty notes, special ones, never to be seen again. No one would know where to look – I’d be hidden between any two notes, in any song, on any album, in any genre, in any historical period… I’d be safe forever, tucked away between those notes… I just need to find the right ones…
Something dark and thrumming, gloom-laden with nostalgic psychedelia swooshed around the edges of the room, smashed into the wall, arced in a vast foaming wave over our heads, and crashed down upon us. My pores drowned…it beat in each ear, back and forth, a female voice moaning nonsense…I mean nonsense, at first I thought it was pretty, or just beyond me, because for one, I was high, and for two…I had a point here. It was a point like a fork, a fork in a nork that looked like pork, two pronged like a serpent tongue…like…confusion. No…the lyrics were just nonsense…they were bad, they irked me on such a level of intensity I had a desperate desire to express it, I felt I must begin writing in blood upon the very walls, upon the ceiling, upon people’s faces, I must express in agonising eloquence an essay of eye-bleeding brilliance, about how god-rapingly pitiful these fucking lyrics were!
But then the song ended, in a sort of depressing, pointless, grungey fart-out, replaced with bouncy synths, something spacey, clubby – tolerable… I felt somebody looking at me, and turned some segment of my consciousness to find Kate’s face…being there. But her eyes grew and grew until there was nothing in my vision but glistening black pools of this impossible, inky liquid, huge emerald-green rings devouring my soul – alive, too alive, a superior consciousness was watching me, piercing through my eyeballs, sucking out my brain! Then those devouring onyx pools blinked, turned away.
Something warm and soft pushed me onto my back, half crushed me, but it felt nice. There was a thing, a wet pink thing roughly smothering my cheek, a cold wet blob poked into my eye-socket, and I finally realised it was Pudding.
PUDDING! I said, dissolving from terror into happiness. His eyes were watching me too, right up close, but they didn’t stare, or calculate…they simply observed, and they seemed to be smiling. His cold wet nose said Hello ??? and I replied with a floating amoeba of curious interest.
S’alright, said Pudding. All this. Not bad. Strange. Not bad. I sit on you. You strange…so I sit on you.
I nodded. He smiled, started panting, pleased with his logic.
I sit on you. Until it stops.