Is Evil born, or is it nurtured to fruition? Sam Haine believes that it is written into life. It’s unbelievable what some people will publish these days…
When the plague comes to a population, it doesn’t immediately decimate its victims, doesn’t casually carry off swathes of casualties by the carotid. Instead it unveils itself, slowly, dancing its venerable venereal pestilential striptease. First the dead rats line the streets. Then the elderly seem to vanish. Before you know it the air goes rotten. And only then does the plague have you.
So it was that spring, back in the early nineteen-nineties, or maybe the late nineteen-eighties, when Vincent Horn’s eighteen year-old life suddenly started to turn… turn not turn like the globe, but rather turn like milk.
The cool kid in school took Vincent to one side. A Levels were looming, and all sorts of futures were beckoning. Vincent had just about enough time to revise, and no time at all for anything that might have even accidentally given him any pleasure. But there was Gareth Niall, who had probably been born in that leather jacket, with all the right albums posing in his battered and ash-stained satchel and turning in his angular and ash-brained skull. It was difficult not to admire the boy, and Vincent had been famous for not attempting anything difficult.
“So, the book, right?”
Vincent smiled, not wanting to appear even more ignorant than Gareth would have imagined. “The book…”
“I can’t believe it. It’s not true, is it?”
Gareth held out his right hand, and pushed his fingers through Vincent’s hair. Vincent might have even sworn that his fingers were trembling as they touched his scalp, as if he were checking his balls for tumours.
“What is it?” Vincent asked.
“You didn’t really kill anyone, did you? You just made it up, didn’t you?”
That was the first day that anyone ever looked at humble little butterball and wannabe-bookworm, wannabe-romantic Vincent Horn with fear.
The streets were lining up with dead rats.
(c) Ian Bird 2009