We arrived at the Cambodian border in the early hours of the morning, desperately in need of a shower after our tedious eight hour truck ride. The driver motioned for us to get off and pointed in the direction of some trucks across the border. Fortunately Hugo speaks fluent French so we were able to negotiate a lift. Before we knew it our luggage was already on the back of a rusty Cambodian truck that was shortly bound for Stung Treng.
Before setting out, me and Hugo went to the immigration officer and had our passports details noted in his large leather-bound book. He gave us both a piece of paper to take to the immigration office in Stung Treng, we would get our passports stamped there. When we got back to the truck with our luggage on, the driver demanded we pay four dollars each for our fare. He insisted in being paid only in dollars – like many others he was distrustful of the native currency.
Hugo told him we didn’t have any dollars and the driver immediately reacted by scooping up our luggage and throwing it off onto the dusty road. The red mist descended on Hugo and he jumped up on to the truck and punched the driver. This didn’t help matters and the driver then put up his price to ten dollars each for a ride. I decided that we were not going to get anywhere now that Hugo had clobbered him, so putting our packs on our backs we set off to walk into Cambodia.
We had been walking for a short while when that same truck came along. We tried to be cheeky and put our thumbs out to hitch. The irate driver just sounded his horn and waved his fist at us as he drove past.
After walking for two hours we had covered just five kilometers. It was tiring carrying our bags in the humidity and we took short rests at every opportunity.
Our rest periods got longer and longer, until we were walking in darkness. A large red car passed us and then slowed down. The driver was friendly and spoke excellent English, he gave us a lift and took us eight kilometers to a road junction where he dropped us off. He said he was coming back at six in the morning and would pick us up again if we were still there.
There was a derelict house at the junction, so having nowhere else to go we decided to squat there for the night. We crawled through an empty window into the house and lit a fire in silence. We were exhausted, grumpy and hungry.
“Way to go Hugo,” I put a empty chocolate wrapper on the fire, “if you hadn’t have hit that guy we would probably be in Stung Treng by now, in a nice bed in some nice hostel.”
“Don’t whine to me you shit,” yawned Hugo as stood up to stretch. “That driver was a fucking weasel. I didn’t trust him at all. If you could understand French then you’d know what sort of guy he was. Hell, he fucking threw our bags out his truck didn’t he?”
“Yes,” I said, “and hitting him was the perfect response.” “Go piss on a landmine,” shouted Hugo whilst rummaging through his bags looking for food.
We had thought this derelict was deserted, but our raised voices had disturbed a homeless man hidden in a dark corner under some dirty sheets. Both me and Hugo’s adrenaline levels surged as he started to scream at us in native Cambodian. The old man got to his feet – flames from the fire flickered over his angry face. He raised a stick and continued to scream at us.
“Speak some French Hugo,” I was backing up against the wall, “tell him we’re cool! We don’t mean him any harm.”
Hugo spoke at once, his French dialect still sounded beautiful in spite of his strained voice.
The old man must have known French and he visibly relaxed, it was as if sanity had returned to him. He said something to Hugo, and then he started to laugh and shake his head. He walked back over to his dark corner and sat down again.
“What’d he say?” I asked Hugo. “Is this his house?”
“No,” Hugo was frowning, “He was going to attack us because he thought we were sent by ‘le requin blanc.’ He didn’t notice at first that we were Europeans.”
“What’s does “le requin blanc” mean?”
“It means The White Shark,” Hugo shrugged. “Maybe it’s a gang or something?”
“Why don’t you ask him?” snapped Hugo.
But the old man started to talk on his own accord, I bribed Hugo for a running translation with the last two cans of pear slices I had.
“He says he hasn’t got long to live… The White Shark will get his revenge… he’s the last.”
“The… Sons of the Secret Brother?” Hugo was straining to follow the old man’s deep voice. “He worked under a Khmer Rouge scientist called Mam Mok – otherwise known as The White Shark – the secret brother. They called him White Shark that because his skin and hair was deathly pale… he also had red eyes.”
“Sounds like an albino doesn’t it?”
“The Khmer Rouge kept The White Shark and his work top secret… he was trying to cultivate the secret of immortality…”
“Cultivate?” I asked.
“Stop interrupting,” snapped Hugo, he was concentrating hard.
“This old man worked for The White Shark for four years until the collapse of the Khmer rouge in 1979.”
“That’s over twenty years ago.”
“The field of life… it was top secret, The White Shark was attempting to grow a fruit that rejuvenates the body… None of the Brothers of Khmer Rouge would have aged if he succeeded… they wouldn’t be able to die, they would live forever. Immortal.”
“What kind of fruit?” I asked. The fire was beginning to die and the old man’s voice tightened.
‘don’t know. He says they grew fruit, but instead of using water they used…”
“Blood… virgin blood… only girls, The White Shark insisted on it.” Hugo shook his head and looked at me. “This is bullshit, this old tramp’s crazy.”
“No it’s not,” I said. “Ever heard of that crazy old president of North Korea? He used to have blood transfusions with virgin girls.”
“Maybe,” said Hugo. “I guess some crazy shit must have happened here under the Khmer Rouge.”
“Ask him some more about it.”
Hugo and the old man exchanged waterfalls of elegant tones and sounds before the old man started another monologue. Thus Hugo continued his running commentary to me.
“He says they used to get the most beautiful girls in all of Cambodia sent to them, they were usually in their teens… but some were as young as seven… When the girls arrived they were sent one at a time for a private audience with The White Shark… Naked, they came out naked and had a… knife or razor. The girls would walk out into the fields like zombies… they seemed hypnotized, in a trance… they cut – no slit – their wrists and walked along the rows holding out their bleeding arms over budding plants… “watering” them with their virgin blood.”
“When they fainted it was the job of the Sons of the Secret Brother to take them and… collect the rest of the blood and dispose of the bodies. But the fruit did not grow… it blossomed, but the actual fruit never grew. Brother Number One got impatient… so the Sons of the Secret Brother got worried… time was running out… They betrayed The White Shark when the Vietcong invaded. They… buried him alive in the blood drenched earth of the fields they worked in.”
“How many Sons of the Secret Brother were there?” I asked.
Hugo asked my question and then translated the old man’s reply.
“Twenty… um, over the years they started to die horrible deaths… one by one they were mutilated… It’s The White Shark’s revenge. Now this old man hides and waits to die… he’s not scared of death, but he’s scared of the pain.”
“But The White Shark is dead,” I said. “They buried him alive.”
“He says he’s not alive or dead,” translated Hugo. “He suspects The White Shark found the secret of immortality and kept it to himself. Now he will kill all who betrayed him.”
The old man stopped talking and stared at us both. He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply through his nose. Faint wisps of smoke still emanated from the dead fire, the dull heat was evaporating allowing the night to close in. When the dark and cold closed in we felt like we under siege.
The old man’s eye jumped open and he screamed a name that even I could recognize: “Le Requin Blanc!” Turning around in the semi-darkness I thought I caught a glimpse of a man dressed all in white standing in the doorway.
“Hugo, it’s the White Shark, he’s here!”
I ran and dived out of an empty window – with Hugo following close behind me. We ran and ran until we found ourselves on a dirt road out in wilderness.
“Shit!” Hugo kicked up some dirt. “We left our bags!”
“I left everything in mine, passport, money, shades…”
“That fucking old tramp’ll be laughing his ass off now,” Hugo spat. “It’s your fault for making me talk to him. He only needed to tell us a ghost story to make us shit our pants and run off.”
“I saw something.”
“A man dressed in white,” I was drenched in sweat from the suffocating humidity.
“Okay, whatever,” Hugo shook his head and sat down by the side of the road under a tree. “Let’s try to grab some sleep and go back in the morning. Though I doubt anything of ours’ll be there.”
“Sleep out here?” I asked. “It might be dangerous, what about muggers?”
“Don’t worry,” Hugo rested against the trunk of the tree, “we haven’t got anything left worth stealing.”
We went back in the morning and found a surprising amount of commotion around the abandoned house. Walking closer we noticed the dirty green uniforms of the Cambodian police. Hugo plucked up the courage to go over and talk to one of them. I hung back and just watched them talk. Hugo returned after only five minutes with a strange look on his face.
“We gotta split,” said Hugo. “People heard screaming coming from that house last night and called the police. Turns out a vagrant had been butchered.”
“That old man?”
“Bingo,” said Hugo, “he was sliced and diced.”
“Did they find our bags?”
“Let’s hope not, we don’t want to be suspects,” Hugo patted me on the back, “let’s move on. I don’t fancy spending the night in a Cambodian cell.”
Reluctantly I agreed with Hugo and we made a fast exit, I had little faith in Cambodian justice. Anyway we hardly had a reliable alibi for last night, and who would believe that it was probably The White Shark who had enacted his revenge.
We walked away leaving our possessions behind.
Luckily the same man who gave us a lift yesterday spotted us walking along the road and pulled over. We finally got to Stung Treng a few days later without further incident. But it still makes me shudder till this day to think of what that old man told us about The White Shark. Even though Hugo just dismisses it as crazed ramblings I can’t help feeling that it was based on some truths. There was something in that old man’s eyes that got to me, and every time I hear of Cambodia I think back to that night me and Hugo spent in that abandoned house, and the fate of that last Son of the Secret Brother.
(c) Samuel Low, All Rights Reserved
Tags: Bloodlust-UK, Dracula, Samuel Low, Short Story, The Last Son of the Secret Brother, Vampire, Vampire Fiction, Writers
- 'Needs' by J. E. Deegan
- 'Demons Braids' by Hareendran Kallinkeel
- 'One Sick Vampire' by T. P. Keating
- 'Like Suicide' by Jack Swift
- 'Grab' by Sheri Morton Stanley