Chapter 2

Freed from the orgiastic feeding frenzy, it was able to think again.  The process of switching hosts was exhausting and draining; therefore, the only solution was to gorge itself until it had replenished the energy of the body and soul. 

“My, what a mess we have made.  The saddest part of any meal is the end when the plate is empty.” it said to itself.

It surveyed its ‘plate.’  What had not been consumed lay in disfigured heaps on the ground, blood pooling in the depressions in the floor.  Standing up from the crouch over Mustafa’s disemboweled body, it kicked aside a hand, momentarily feeling the diluted alcohol that had been in Mustafa’s bloodstream.

“They are always different; everything has a story to tell.  And I get to read them all,” it smiled happily to itself gnawing on a hand as it looked out the window. 

Blood tells the story of the individual to those able to read it.  The old man’s had been thin and watery tasting, while the chess player’s had been rich, thick, and filling.  Mustafa’s had reeked of self poison and doubt.   

“How many people had it been?” it ruminated, “Many more are sure to come now that we have left that pharaoh’s soul to rest…for now.  They had always wanted to survive to the afterlife; it’s too bad for them that afterlife meant seeing us.”

As the monster digested its victims, it aggregated their existence unto itself adding more to the thousands upon thousands of beings, human and otherwise, which made up its collective being. 

Then an unbidden though came into its head.  It had come from the back of its brain.

“Had it always been there?” it asked itself, “NO, it was not ours.  We don’t understand; where is it coming from?”

The previous thoughts had told him that he was to serve a purpose.  These told him to kill and terrorize someone specific; someone it had seen only once and forever regretted it. 

“But how and where-” it asked because it knew not where the creature was and considered it too powerful to try and punish it.  The thoughts came again, and it was told circumstances had changed.  It was time for revenge.

Its short introspection was cut off by the screaming outside, which it had listened to as background music as one would to violins at a fancy restaurant.  Now, however, there were men shouting and lining up—police officers from the nearby street corners.  They were waiting for ammunition for their guns which was held solely by the sergeants.  The monster knew that in its present form, as a human being, it could not stand up to their attack if or when they got over the intimidation and sheer brutality of its nature.

“We must go.”

The creature in occupying a being, as it was forced to do since being banished from this reality, had to be content to live through others.  In doing so it experienced limitations but also brought some of its power to the pitiful beings it inhabited and amplified many of their existing characteristics. 

The wind blew their scent into the café.  It smelled their fear and for a second watched their disgusted faces.  As they didn’t move, the monster showed its gruesome smile, teeth with bits of flesh and gristle hanging from it, and stared down the men.  They faltered and took a step back. 

Leaving a trail of bloody footprints, it walked by the windows where a wide semicircle had formed by the officers well away from the building and left through the back.  Reaching the street, it removed its shoes wiped its face with Nour’s galabaya to remove the blood and then disappeared into the crowded streets.  News of the massacre had traveled fast and people, with their morbid curiosity piqued, were flooding the streets to get a look.  This added to the crush of the already crowded Thursday evening streets.

With one quick furtive glance it headed off to a darker place to rest, weaving through small streets, crowded avenues, and tiny alleys losing itself in the maze of Cairo.  Its stained galabeya, in the dwindling light, would not draw attention, as it would only look to be another poor soul in Cairo who had no other clothes.

The creature found a box in an alley in the heart of Shubra and sat down for a few minutes to enjoy the suffering of the starving but sleeping children behind him.

As the wisps of the beings of the victims mixed and mingled with the cacophony of torment, misery, and darkness that was its soul, it thought to earlier today when it had reentered reality.  Every time the monster entered the human world it needed to take a body, and through it, occupy the soul.  As the soul was consumed in this world from the still living body, the space it created, no matter how infinitesimal, created a vacuum allowing some ether to enter the world from where it existed in the unworld.  Tied to the creature’s entrance, it assumed a basic essence of evil.

This universe, powered by its laws, invariably corrected this invasion by an outside substance through acts committed by creatures on Earth.  It reflected on this and wondered what had taken place today. 

Thinking back across the ages, it reminisced about the evil it had caused. 

“Children” the monster said waking them from their slumber, “I wish to tell you what we have done today.”

He grabbed them by the arms, two young boys aged six and eight, before they could run away and began to speak.

“Are you hungry?”

“Yes, my brother and I did not eat today,” replied the older one.

“Ahh.  Good, good.”

“Why is that good?” asked the younger one, “We are hungry and now grumpy.  I had just fallen asleep.  Why don’t you leave us alone, or better yet, give us some money.” 

The petulance of the child sparked the creature’s temper.

“Child,” it hissed, “Do you know who we are?  We are the stuff of nightmares, dark tunnels, and foggy nights.  Your biggest most secret fear is small talk at our afternoon tea. Do you know Jack the Ripper, September 11th, the Black Death, or the Armenian genocide?”

A slight pause.

“No?  Well those are daises I have planted; show us some respect.”

Still holding the boys firmly by their arms, it chuckled to itself, a slow, evil, and mirthless laugh, recalling what the humans called the Black Death. That had been an unforeseen result of the ether.  It didn’t really have any control over where the ether went, as that was beyond its ability, but it knew that the ether would either directly cause an event or be the tipping point in a gradual decline towards a horrible act someday.

“We don’t respect you.  We respect no one,” the younger more brazen one of the two replied, his fear causing him to say things he didn’t mean.

In reality both children were terrified, seconds away from wetting their pants, as they stared into the evil slightly inhuman countenance of the man before them.

“That is too bad,” it said grinning, “because that will be last thing you do having met….having met…”

It could not remember its name; there was a blank—a wall it could not get past.

“How could we forget?  Did we become too focused on petty cruelty and pure suffering that we forgot who we are?” it asked itself.

With a rage it had not felt in centuries, it broke through that wall, its grip tightening on the arms of the children until they cried out in pain.

“We are Algharoob,” it stated fiercely. 

Saying its name, though not in its true form, but in the tongue of Nour’s language, lifted a veil.  The meaning of its name gave it the mandate to exist and with it the monster finally remembered the reason for its banishment.  All of its memories from before this event had been missing, and now they were back.  Its lips curled into a sneer recalling who had banished it, and now it hated them even more as it finally remembered why.

Throughout history it had been called many things, none of them its true name.  Tales were told about this monster from the beginning of time, each one never getting the full picture.  Though there were different depictions, versions, and faces of this creature, all roads led back to this one being. 

Knowing its name had restored its direction and purpose.  It was the original vampire, and it was ready to set out to claim what should rightfully be under its heel. 

So focused, however, on its rediscovery, Algharoob did not notice that it had not remembered its name on its own.  The creature missed that the rage had not been entirely fueled by its own being and that it had been helped by another to find which should have been lost forever.  It was not solely its name anymore, and unwittingly, had become a pawn for something else in a much larger game.

The older child, out of desperation to escape the crushing pain, bent over and bit Algharoob on the forearm and the other kicked it in the left foreleg.  More out of surprise than pain, the monster grunted.  Quickly, it transferred its grip to both their throats and lifted them off the ground.  It waited patiently as the gagging, kicking, and futile fist pounding on Algharoob’s borrowed body slowly ceased.  It drank in the light of from their fading eyes, and when there was no more, it dropped the bodies and walked away.

The monster left the alley and hailed a passing cab. One pulled over and the driver stopped to pick up his fare.

Not looking directly at the cab driver it said, “Airport.”

After and affirmative nod, Algharoob said indicating to a dumpster three meters away, “Good, my bags are just past the dumpster.  Can you help me with them?”

“Yes,” said the cab driver, who was mostly looking forward to getting out of his run down cab and going home to his wife. 

Algharoob jogged up to the dumpster and stopped.  As the cab driver pulled up and when he didn’t see any bags looked confusedly at the creature.  Seeing that he was about to leave the monster reached in through the window with both hands and grabbed the driver’s head.  Muffled cries came from the cabbie, his foot unable to find purchase on the gas pedal as the monster pulled him inexorably out of his seat by his skull.

When he had removed the skinny and haggard looking man from the vehicle, it looked into its eyes and covered his mouth with one hand.  Algharoob had no power to mesmerize through his stare, but the cab driver was frightened into silence nonetheless.

It leaned down to his neck but did not strike right away.  The monster’s lips brushed the neck of the man, his acrid sweat sweet perfume to the creature.  Whispering words only the man could hear, whose pupils dilated in fear as he did, he struggled like a cow trapped in the slaughter house.  Only this time there would be no club to knock the meal mercifully unconscious before death. 

It slowly licked the jaw line of the cab driver, tantalizingly lifting the sweat from his skin and inhaling the smell the body releases in response to fear.  Then Algharoob sunk its teeth into the bulging artery on the neck.  Blood spurted, coating both their faces.  It relished in the hot liquid until the explosive fountain became a sputtering trickle, and then it dropped the dying man.  The monster’s appetite slack, it had no interest in feeding again. It had merely wanted to enjoy the crescendo of destruction. 

Algharoob dropped into the still running cab and headed towards the airport.  Reaching the sprawling complex far from the official entrance, it ditched the cab far enough from the outermost fence and made its way on foot.  It watched planes take off for a minute from the shadows of another building, soaking in the raw power of the jet engine, feeling the whine and thrust in its being.

There was a building inside the complex close by the perimeter which shrouded the fence in darknesss.  Running from cover, Algharoob scaled the fence nimbly avoiding the barbed wire.  Then it forced a window in the building open and climbed in as silently as a cat.  As a puppet, Nour’s body padded through the building and repeated this, structure to structure, until it reached the shadow of one of the terminals.  The monster then moved from silky shadow to silky shadow nothing more than a rustle of coarse fabric and a current of swirling air.

It passed by several throwers, fuel technicians, and even security guards, but the noise of the airport coupled with the monotony of their tasks dulled their senses; they took no notice of anything not related to their jobs.

As it passed by them, the monster wanted to reach out and grab them—to terrorize and befoul their living spirits.  It wanted to take what they had, their life and spark of light, because it could; now that it had fed, it just wanted to play with its food.

Algharoob restrained itself though, as it had another objective.  Picking a plane, the man who was not a man, scampered up into the cargo hold when no one was looking and found a dark corner next to a crate holding a cat, which immediately urinated in fear. 

It had not made a sound since whispering to the cab driver.  The creature did not know where this plane was going, nor did it care; it would get where it needed to go.  Its breathing light, Algharoob settled in for a long ride.

This was the epitome of patience, stealth, and practice of a hunter after its prey.

7 Comments

  1. Please continue.

    This ether business intrigues….
    And who’s helping Algharoob?

  2. this is getting better (and scarier). I can see how your market animal experience has influenced your writing. that’ show the best writers get their material

  3. it’s very violent

  4. thanks for the comments courtney.
    i hope you enjoy it, if you can get past the violence. it is pretty much a running theme. i am almost through writing and i know the next story i do won’t be as violent or graphically detailed. it kind of scared me that i could write something this violent, which made me think about myself and who is inside me.

  5. picking up pace…very Good…Interesting….

  6. thanks maria, i love comments

  7. thanks for your input. i know it can be a little rough reading, i hope to fix that one day


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