'Jesus Jeff...where the hell are you? Look it doesn't matter. We have the fucker Jeff. Ha! I've found him. That girl at the club really came through for me. Look, I'm after him right now..the bastard just gave me the slip at the club but I know where he's going. I'll phone the cops just before I get there..I want to be there when they drag that sick fuck out of his hotel room...he's holed up at the St. Martins Lane in Covent Garden, room 69 no less..Pah!...if it hadn't been for what this bastard has been up to, that would be funny..Im on my way now Jeff. If you get this, meet me there....'
Jeff's heart skipped a beat as he listened to the voicemail message for the third time. He could just about hear his former protégée's excited voice above the beating rain in the background. The message ended with what sounded like a muffled far away thump of a door. Jeff got up, went across the room, checked the office to see if anyone was still about then closed his office door. It had been three days since the funeral. That meant that the red light on his answering machine had been flashing merrily away for the past five days...Jesus...Jeff inwardly grimaced as he remembered standing by the open grave in the pouring rain looking down at the coffin as hundreds of supposed well-wishers filed morosely past offering sad smiles, awkward words of sympathy and occasionally pressing dripping flesh. The young lad had no family left. He had never talked about anyone from his past. This had been fine with Jeff. He didnt like to talk much about his past either. He did like the kid thoughthought that he had real potential and had wanted to teach him everything that he knew. The boy had reminded Jeff a bit of his son who had died tragically a number of years ago. The least he thought that he could do was to give the kid a proper burial and send off. Now that this was over Jeff had finally returned to his office to find the flashing red light awaiting him. Jeff sat down heavily in his chair, steepled his fingers below his nose, closed his eyes and listened to the message again..
. I smile surveying the glistening contents of the six containers on the table before me. With twelve days to spare before the end of the year I have managed to collect the six necessary ingredients for my special feast. The last two donors, as it were, proved to be no problem at all. One, a specialist bookshop owner's cute little daughter, had almost welcomed her end. A girl whose previously dull and meaningless life I had entered, like a shining black knight with promises of riches, adventures and a new life of fast cars, expensive holidays and untold riches. Secretly sweeping her off her feet after a visit to the bookstore I had, at first, listened to her sorry tale of a lonely sheltered life in her little bed-sit in Chelsea, drinking cheap foul-smelling beer and smoking her badly rolled crumbling hashish. I smile again as I remember her wide eyes and open mouth as I sat there on a lumpy sofa regaling her with wild stories about my previous hedonistic life. The girl had almost thrown herself at me. We rutted like rabid wolves on the floor, on the couch, against the wall. I can still her delicious scream as I bit into her shoulder, reached behind into my bag for a straight razor, and then drew its cool length slowly across her throat. My! How her blood splattered the dingy walls of that pokey flat..almost like a Rorshcash test...yes...I could have sworn that I saw the winding river of my homestead within its arterial swash...
Jeff poured himself a generous shot of Wisers Special Blend (hidden in his bottom drawer for special occasions), grimaced as the fiery amber liquid burned its quick path from his throat to his belly, and then reached into his top drawer for his revolver. He stood up, put the gun in his coat pocket then crossed the room to leave. Passing the mirror he stopped for a minute to look at his reflection. The face looking back at him did not betray his years. The message that the kid had left on his machine had seemed to awaken a dormant spark within Jeff. The glint from previous years had returned to his eyes. Adrenaline seemed to course through his body as he thought about who he was about to confront and what he was about to do. With a final wink at himself in the mirror, Jeff turned, left the office and went outside to hail a cab.
..The second girl, my last piece of the puzzle, had been an aspiring ballerina. I'd watched this fine specimen entrechat, glissade and Pas de poissson from my special box at the Royal Albert Hall for a few weeks. I had showered the impressionable young thing with flowers and expensive perfumes requesting an audience. She accepted and I made my secret visit to her dressing room after the final performance of the night and after everyone had gone back to their homes for the night. My skin almost tingles as I recall her futile protestations at first when I boldly and unexpectedly kissed her. She had seemed to think on the matter for a few seconds then opened up to the idea like a blossoming orchid. Her fine taut body seemed to tremble then ache for mine as I slowly entered her from behind. The image of our joined naked bodies reflected in the full length mirror in her dressing room is one that will stay with me for a very, very long time. Sweaty thrusting, sinews strained, teeth bared in silent keening..her eyes bulging as I roughly strangled her with a close at hand leotard..that helpless pleading in her eyes..the pitiful beating of her fists against my naked chest...oooh..beautiful my dear...so very....beautiful
. 'St. Martin's Lane Hotel, Covent Garden'...Right you are guv'nor'Jeff settled back in the cab and took a deep controlling breath. He tuned out as the bearded foul smelling cab driver leaned back every minute or so trying to strike up meaningless conversations about the weather, the government, global warming, the latest football transfers. After receiving no answer about the state of his bad back and chronic piles, the driver appeared to take the hint, let out a huge sigh, then turned his attention to the road and the teeming traffic around them in London. Surprisingly the journey took no time at all. After pulling up outside the Hotel, Jeff handed the previously offended driver a fifty and told him to keep the change, stepped out of the cab, climbed the steps smiling at the aged concierge opening the door, and then entered the lair of the Doctor.
... And now my six hearts are here before me. The time of worship and feasting is now close at hand. Anticipation..oh sweet anticipation. The pot is on the hotplate bubbling nicely away. The candles have been lit. Just a few short incantations and then I can begin..
Jeff rode up on the lift to the sixth floor. Mercifully, he had the small enclosed box to himself - no strangers to attempt further small talk with. He was starting to feel nervous now about what was about to happen. With an ominous BING, the lift arrived at the sixth floor and the doors silently slid open. Jeff exited the lift, made his way down the hall then stood before the door of room 69
.ah .the smell of boiling hearts.there really is no other smell quite like it...now who in the blue fuck is that knocking at my door?....insolence damn you....insolence!........
.Jeff stood ready at the door after lightly rapping it three times. He listened to a muffled curse from within and the measured tread of someone coming closer to the door. The door suddenly swung inwards and he now faced the evil murder, the man the kid had given the name 'Doctor Valentine', the fiend who had butchered six innocent women in this Winter of 2008....time seemed to slow to a stop as both men locked eyes with each other. Jeff was momentarily lost for words giving the man facing him the opportunity to speak first...
Grandfather!.....Do come in.I was just about to sit down to dinner..have you eaten yet?