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Aesthetics

copyright 2002, by Avid Fan

Disclaimer:    These characters were created by Thomas Harris.  They are used herein without permission, but in the spirit of admiration and respect.  No infringement of copyright is intended, and no profit, of any kind, is made by the creator, maintainer or contributors to this site.

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“Have you ever seen blood in the moonlight, Will? It appears quite black?”



The monster hadn’t started his infamous career using a Harpy of course. A mariner’s knife isn’t a likely choice for a cannibalistic serial killer. No, the preference came after many a trial and error; and even after that, it was pure chance that he encountered the blade. While coincidence introduced him to his weapon of choice, it wasn’t the lethal efficiency of the serrated talon blade that he appreciated; it was the sleek, feral appearance of the blade. Aesthetics. That’s what it came down to. After all, what else is there left to him?

On the Chinese New Year, he happened to encounter a float maker using a Harpy to cut loose some ropes on a rather large ceremonial dragon decoration. What a waste it was, using an object of such beauty on such a conventional, menial chore.

The desire was in his mind before he was even aware of it taking seed. And the longer he watched, the more the seed of desire germinated. What he carried in his own pocket was in no way equal to the sight of the stainless steel blade that was whispering through the ropes.

Six fingers dipped deep into Gabardine wool pants and tapped metal that was nestled in the bottom of the pocket. A newfound distaste took root in his stomach and he quickly pulled the hand back out. Such inferiority would not be tolerated.

At the nearest waste bin, the folded steel from his pocket found it’s way to eternal peace next to a maggot covered slice of pizza. He felt no remorse at the loss, no remorse at abandoning his only companion to such a fate; remorse is possibly beyond him.

Briefly, he let his eyes flick to the pale moonlight that was leisurely crawling up the eastern skyline. It made a serene picture that soothed his mind, slowed darkness that crawled through his memory palace. A calmness descended over him and he turned back to the man holding the knife. The task appeared almost finished; the monster shrank back into the shadows of a nearby alley. Waiting was always the difficult part just for the sheer monotony of it. The planning and execution of deeds was much more enjoyable.

He was pleased when his wait proved shorter than he’d anticipated. The man hopped down from the float and carefully folded the blade before setting off quickly. Maroon tracked every movement until, at least, the man passed in front of the alley.

He stepped out and fell into step next to the man.

“Pardon me.” He was careful to keep the natural European accent out of his voice.

“Yeah?” Impatience colored the responding voice.

“That knife you were using…”

“My Harpy? What about it?”

Rudeness could be forgiven, he thought before presenting the tale he’d concocted in the shadows.

“A friend of mine is having some difficulties with some banners he’s hanging for the festivities. He doesn’t have anything sharp enough for the fiber twine. Might I borrow your… Harpy? It looked like it cut the ropes rather well.”

“It cuts anything well,” the man said gruffly. “And I don’t think I want to loan it to you. Baltimore’s full of crooks.”

He didn’t appreciate the insinuation yet carefully schooled his features to keep the man at ease. It wouldn’t do to make the man nervous. In the past, he’d found that when people were nervous they tended to gravitate towards large groups. “I’ll give you a twenty dollar deposit on it. If I don’t have it back here in ten minutes, you can keep the money.”

“Twenty bucks? Get bent. This thing costs close to two hundred.”

The monster sighed. “That was a lie. You’re going to make me do this the hard way aren’t you?”

“What?”

Before the man could even detect any movement, he had been dragged into the alley with a hand clamped tightly around his mouth.

“I asked nicely. Don’t make me ask again.”

The man’s right fist relaxed enough so that his Harpy could be easily removed from the palm.

“Thank you.”

It’s questionable whether or not the man even felt the silken slash that carved deep into his carotid artery; the man slid slowly to the ground. There was no pomp and no ceremony about it; the entire act was complete within mere seconds and done with more efficiency than any machine.

Six fingers played over steel; six fingers were pleased with the contact made. The Harpy found a new home deep in the pocket; warmth clung to the knife and in turn passed through wool to the leg encased in the trousers.

Looking down, he could see blood snaking along the cracks in the pavement. The moonlight beating a persistent path downwards alighted on some of the curling tendrils. He was almost disappointed that the typical glistening red that he was accustomed to seeing failed to appear and was instead visible as a glossy black. A longer study of the liquid at last provoked the a sense of satisfaction in him. The color was unlike any he’d ever seen and, as such, was visually pleasing. Aesthetics.

The monster smiled.


FIN

copyright 2002, by Avid Fan

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