This is the story of how I met Lucas Varna and what happened then.
Who is Lucas Varna? He is the one who set me on this road and the first one ever to really piss me off – and I mean really, really, ‘I’m-mad-as-hell-and-I’m-not-going-to-take-this-any-more!’ pissed off.
Lucas Varna is the most greedy, grasping, shit-stirring, scum-sucking, jumped-up, coercive, arrogant twat who ever crawled out of the slime over the backs of everyone else and called himself Boss.
Everything about him is hateful: his fish-scale-feathered hair; flat, blue, dead-fish eyes; white-plaice skin; slobbering bottom-feeder’s lips and slack, slack belly – but it’s not just the pastiness of his skin that gives him the fishy look, or even the silvery hair that resembles decaying fish scales. It’s something more than that. He looks like he’d think a good wank is a waste of his vital essence, like he needs forty thousand volts up his arse just to get it up. He is a man so bloodless, so lifeless, that just to imagine him attempting sex is obscene. Even necrophilia can be understandable, but can you imagine being fucked by a corpse? The corpse of a fish, at that.
Imagine that corpse-fish is Lucas Varna.
He is so much at odds with what a living person should be, that the logical conclusion must be that he is dead – and I don’t see why a dead man should be around to mess things up for the living. But even that wouldn’t have been enough to make me do what I did. This isn’t just body-fascism. Quite apart from what he did to me, Lucas Varna showed me what I’d blinded myself to, and that made me mad.
I know that I’m bitter about it all because I should have seen it coming. I’d led a sheltered life for a long time, you see, well away from the luxurious long-stemmed blood-red roses, but well away from the shit that they grow in too. Then I met Rufus, sweet, handsome, Rufus, and he gave me bouquet after bouquet of big, red roses.
It’s funny how the things that should alert you are the ones that lull you to sleep. I mean, Rufus wasn’t even convincing – it’s not as if he turned out to be a god with feet of clay. His whole body was made of clay and some part of me knew it and knew that I knew it, but I buried it. Buried it away in the deepest, darkest, most cob-webby recesses of my brain and ignored it.
I suppose that I wanted to make something of him. I can’t bring myself to make a god of anything but I’d been prepared to think of him as a lucky charm, a little blob of happiness, so I ignored my intuition. I ignored it so well that when betrayal came, it was a complete surprise. Lucas Varna made that happen – until he turned up, I didn’t realise what Rufus was and what he would do. Break my heart. Let me down. Abuse me.
I’ve seen The Godfather – I’ve seen how the womenfolk turn a blind eye to the nastiness their men get up to and try to make it all better by praying for their souls. That wasn’t me. No, no. Not me. If Rufus wanted to save his soul, it was up to him to do it. He knew that and that’s why he kept on the side of the angels, he said. Ha. Shows how much I knew about it. He would much rather take care of his sweet, golden body than some nebulous, spiritual concern, but I told myself that he was an adult, an independent person capable of making his own decisions. And I suppose that I was right – it’s just that the decisions he made were the wrong ones. Lucas Varna showed me just how wrong the night that he turned up at the club.
It’s an old, old story and men like Rufus are always involved. They always do something foolish, something that ensures that a heavy comes along – or if the man is one like Lucas Varna and fancies himself a little more subtle than that, he comes along to see for himself. The pimp, or whatever the Rufus character may be, promptly cacks his pants. At this point, the man who looks a lot like Lucas Varna turns his dead eyes to the man’s girlfriend. He looks her up and down like she’s this week’s offer and she doesn’t like it very much. She doesn’t say anything but she tries to walk away and the sweetskinned boy who looks so much like Rufus but couldn’t be (because Rufus wouldn’t get himself into anything like this, would he?) grabs her arm and stops her. Then Lucas Varna the dead smiles to himself and orders champagne, of all things, which the girlfriend won’t drink. And the Rufus character gets very edgy and Lucas Varna says something very softly to him, so then he gets up in front of his girlfriend and talks and talks and talks. And when she still insists on trying to leave, he hits her and holds her while Lucas Varna does the things that he wants to do.
That is the kind of thing that happens when your lover gets involved with a dead man.
And that is when I knew just what kind of pimp Rufus was and that is when I decided to kill Lucas Varna.
There were a lot of variations. I killed him bloodily and bloodlessly, ingeniously and clumsily, simply and elaborately, indoors and out, upstairs and down. I let him know, I kept it secret. I did it myself, I did it through others. I did it mechanically, electrically, holographically and through genetic modification. I poisoned his food, his drink, his clothes, his mind. I deprived him of everything and I gave him more than he could bear. I dropped him from great heights, plunged him to great depths, had him exploded, imploded and smeared over unthinkable distances. He burned up inside stars, wrenched apart in black holes and broke his neck stepping awkwardly off a pavement. They were all quick, mind you. I’m no sadist.
In the end, though, they were just fantasies and they didn’t give me any satisfaction. Not the kind that I need now.
After all, I’ve been going through some changes.
The most useful thing that I learned about Lucas Varna was that he lived in an aquarium. Well, he liked to think of it as an underground fortress, but really it is just an aquarium, watertight and self-contained, with its own food, light and air supplies and its own little army of servants, guards and service personnel. Men were queuing up to work for him because he gave them everything – accomodation, clothes and food – and because he kept himself locked up so tight, I didn’t even have to hunt him down. I just had to get in there, which meant that the only things I needed were the keycodes for the compound. I could have filched them, but as it happens, someone gave them to me for a small price. She did offer them for nothing, on condition that I gave her pictures of what I would do to him. Well, a nod’s as good as a wink to a blind horse, but I said I’d rather pay her and keep the other details private. She didn’t mind.
Lucas Varna’s lardy boys never even saw me on the CCTV when I strolled into the compound, suited, booted and basqued to within an inch of my life. My figure has always been voluptuous and these days – well, let’s just say that I don’t have to try too hard to get what I want. They were easy to deal with: they virtually drooled themselves into submission anyway, so it took only the lightest suggestion to make them keel over. The dogs were a bit of a surprise, though. Not because they were there, but because they were a problem, which I was a bit put out about. I’ve always had a way with dogs which has only increased of late. Then again, I suppose that they were edgy, what with their handlers being comatose and all. I don’t blame the dogs, they were just doing their jobs. However, it’s a high risk job that will get your neck broken if you don’t back off and lie down when you’re told to.
Going up to his quarters, I didn’t even feel nervous. Well, just enough to keep me on my toes. Not the brain-numbing, gut-wrenching, foot-freezing panic that strikes some people when something happens that they haven’t anticipated (like Lucas Varna turning up at your favourite club when you’re having a night out with your girl). I wasn’t even fazed when, as soon as I got into the room, he turned to look at me and ask why.
“What do you mean – why?”
“Why the attitude?” he said. “I knew that you would come here, eventually.”
“You were supposed to know.”
“You were welcome to come here at any time; you didn’t have to go to these extremes.”
“Really? You’d have welcomed me with open-,” I looked him up and down, letting my gaze come to rest at his crotch, “- arms, I suppose.”
He chuckled; the sound of plaice burying themselves in gravel. “Of course. Don’t you know that you’re one of the lucky ones?”
“No, I don’t. You’ll have to explain it to me.”
“Most people are a use-once-only accessory, you see, just another part of the throw-away society. Usually I hand them over to my special boys to pick over the scraps and, sadly, they don’t survive. You’re different.”
Well, he was right on that score. “And why is that?”
“I knew, as soon as I saw you, what you really were.” He raised his sparse eyebrows and looked up at the ceiling. He looked like a flounder. “And look at you now. You’re quite the prodigy.”
“It’s nice that you think so.” I let him walk away from me to sit down on a leather couch at the far side of the room, before I asked, “Why didn’t you tell me what I would become?”
“You didn’t guess?”
“Of course I didn’t guess, you pervert! I thought that you were just a weirdo. I had no idea of what would happen to me – I had no idea that my first impressions of you were so accurate.” He looked at me quizzically. “I always thought that you were a dead man.”
He smiled. “Not as dead as all that.” He brushed an invisible crumb from the arm of the couch. “The atmosphere was so invigorating. Your lover was so afraid; you were so furious. I found it all most,” he paused, “stimulating.”
“Tell me about it.”
He shrugged. “I came out of it all – refreshed, I must say. And it doesn’t seem to have done you any harm.”
“That depends on your point of view.” He was still smiling. “Will I end up as repulsive as you?”
“You find me repulsive?”
“You make Klaus Kinski look appealing.”
He chortled again. “We tend to become more of what we already are.” He looked me up and down. “And it doesn’t take too many guesses to work out what you were.” I smiled, but only with my mouth. ‘The changes are relatively subtle too, I suppose that they didn’t come on immediately?’ I shook my head. ‘You must be quite strong. And of course, you only got a tiny taste of my blood – I don’t suppose that you were even aware of it, were you?’ I shook my head again, not taking my eyes off him. “It amused me, rather. It’s a long, long time since anyone has tried to bite me. So when did you begin?”
“Three nights later.”
“And you came round all alone and ravening? My, my. That must have been quite a sight.”
It was. When I saw what I’d done to my flat-mate – just because she was closest, because my lover was staying away from me – I was mad. Mad, in a cold, soul-shrivelling, calculating way that I’d never been before, but the problem was that now that it came right down to it, I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to do. I thought of all my fantasies and I looked at his dead fish face and his stupid smirk – he was so sure that I was just playing a game with him, that I would ask him to be my daddy. As if.
So I gave up on all the beautifully elaborate and sophisticated scenarios I’d played. I just leapt over the table and staked him before he even saw it coming.
He didn’t turn to dust. He just died – satisfyingly, I must admit, gurgling and clutching and splurting up blood – but he just died and I was left with a couchful of dead fish that I certainly didn’t want. So I dumped him on the roof of the building where the rising sun would get rid of him for me. Finally, just to amuse myself, I tipped off the police about the comatose bad guys and took myself off on holiday. With my lover.
I did make something of him in the end. I think the technical name for it is a corpse.
I visit his grave sometimes. It’s nice to have a reminder of how you started, to keep you on your toes and to inspire you. To make you think how your best work is still to come.
(c) Sue Stewart, All Rights Reserved.
Tags: Bloodlust-UK, Dracula, Short Story, Sue Stewart, The Trial of Lucas Varna, Vampire, Vampire Fiction, Writers
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