"Do YOU renounce ALL your sins, Blake?"
The woman sat in front of me is quite the interrogator.
Making people talk is in her family's blood after all.
Like all true sadists, she uses her client's shame & grows more powerful from it.
She has a definite calling.
Her mission is a Holy One.
It started all the way back with the Thought Inquisition & the burning of heretics.
She is my sweet three-dimensional Torquemada.
15 years ago, Juno 3rd. 13:34 P.M.
It happened in the kitchen.
The man is standing over Daddy who is lying undignified on the tiled floor. The man has a gun pointing at Daddy's temple.
School had finished early as exams were over & it was the last day of term. So, the girl had come home early. She was on holiday now. She was supposed to be enjoying herself.
The man has grabbed Daddy's lapels & is talking loudly at her.
He is calling her a strange word, "Little Flutterby". It sounded so absurd to ears even then.
Daddy looks at his daughter sadly. She can see his love for her in his eyes. Then Daddy whispers something to the man, something she cannot hear.
She hears the gunshot & Daddy's brains decorate the wipe-clean furniture.
She runs into a fully-fledged new life.
17 years ago, Mars 17th, 16:42 P.M.
"Baby Jesus loves his little snowflake."
Urusula was already fourteen years old when she was truly conceived.
She had been idly walking through the park, looking at the first vestiges of the springtime sunlight, making her way back to the spacious but haunted flat in Shellsea which her beloved father, then still breathing, had managed to wrangle off the Lurkish Council in return for precious leaks & moles.
She had been winding her way to her new home from the Neon Convent girl’s school that her father had enrolled her in. No mere common Lurk-State school for his little Princess. She would have the best education that stolen loot & secret-selling could buy. They were in the Oneiroispheric West after all. The winter was over.
That gentle evening she had stopped her aimless wandering & decided to sit on a wrought iron bench to watch the evening go by. Her homework that evening was minimal & she pretty much knew the answers already. She was, after all, a naturally gifted & bright student. She had so wanted to make her father proud of her. To feel his praise & fleeting acceptance.
She was dressed in the uniform of the school. Skirt below the knee. Blazer with pulsing embossed shocking green emblem. Cute little electric blue hat.
She was thinking of the Flashing Virgin Mother.
Of her state of purity that allowed her to conduct God's Holy Energy.
She was thinking of becoming a Sister.
To be a bride of The Electric Christ.
To feel him buzzing inside her.
Deep down inside her belly.
Tantor's Tusk is in full swing tonite!
A group of dandy Cy-Borgias share a fine bottle of diesel with one of the skankiest & rustiest Junkoids that I have ever had the displeasure of clapping my one good peeper on. If my other eye had not been bloodily wrenched from its socket, that would be a sight that could scorch the vitreous humour right out it. Ethereal Celestes mingle with leather-backed War-Hogs. As Above, so Below.
Weismutter, the Queen of this here classy establishment is swinging on the trapeze above my head, hollering like the drunken killer that she always was. Bless 'er.
I get down on one knee & bow my head as she screeches my name.
She is the law down here.
Whattaya think, it is a free city?
Well, aren't you the hick?
I am not here to find comfort in the bed of that Amazon tonite.
I am here on a promise made.
& Blake always does what Blake promises.
I squint into the darkest of corners & there she is.
Diminutive of stature but with the comportment of aristocracy. A certain straightness of posture. An elegance & economy of movement. All that wrapped up in a PVC catsuit & height-enhancing platform stilettos. Bernard, her obese gimpoid, breathes heavily through his tight fitting eyeless gas mask. Through his ill-fitting squeaky jerkin, the stench of perspiration & boiled ham scuffing was quite overpowering. He kneels on the hard wooden floor & his knee joints bruise up lovely. All the better for him to get through another dull day at the Ministry. A flutter of joy while stamping papers.
It was fitting & ironic that the daughter of a torturer & political traitor should have become a Mistress. A Lady of Pain by night. A dominatrix. I can see her with my little eye, all kitted up for a night's pain, long strawberry blonde hair tied back in a ponytail, armed with whips & ropes & riding crops. All the clichés.
Welts on your back & arse.
She calls herself Madame Ursula after her favourite Sov-Orthodox saint. She has told me in the past, in our private sessions, that she is still a believer. Devout too, by all accounts. The walls in her private office are adorned with Electro-Gothick depictions of the crucifixion. Chiaroscuro & neon. Gushing blood & wailing women with glowing eyes. Enlightenment through suffering. The same old old old story.
I can see her there. In my mind’s eye. Fantasising about being tied to the cross. As the dayglo nails go in. To be suffering like her Death God.
17 years ago, Mar 17th, 16:54 P.M.
A branch cracked behind her & she spun around.
There were three girls dressed in the same uniform as herself. She had seen them lurking around the school. Always together. Always glaring. Always bothering the other students for money or sweetmeats or something.
Pitt had no friends at school. Being a foreigner did not help. Especially one from a former enemy.
Barbed wire, humiliation & broken nails, that's what little girls are made of.
Especially in such a select school.
Their mummies & daddies cooing over their every twisted whim.
The three of them fanned out & stood around her. That continual glare. Two of the girls were bigger than her. Well fed, like cattle for the slaughter. They both had a dull bovine expression on their faces. One was chewing on some gum. The smallest one was smoking a cigarette. She was conventionally pretty with streak of intelligence in her eyes. Definitely the leader, the brains of the outfit, while the other two were the brawn.
Pitt knew that something was amiss. She saw the way they moved as a mob. Power in numbers.
She had seen worse happen before in her native SovNik when gangs of peasants desperate & half-mad had invaded the cities searching for food. When they had sliced Party-members up just for wearing a fur coat. Or good shoes. Or just to eat them. The rich.
Kommonism had turned into the jealousy of the poor. Dialektik Materialism had become just that. The poverty-stricken & starving struggling for a piece of the pie.
When she saw those girls Pitt did not feel fear. Nor anger. Nor hate.
She felt something else.
Now, I see you all itching to know how I, Vincent Blake, know this spicy lady. Well, come closer & let me whisper it in your ear ...
She's my shrink.
Yesterday, 18:12 P.M.
"Tell me r-r-r-raunchy tales of your mother ..." - Doktor Pitt
It is funny how these things tend to spiral & snowball out of control, as if something else is guiding its way. We are caught in the current of a moment of history & there is nothing that can stop it & betrayals are almost guaranteed along side the glory of it all.
As I make my way to Doktor Pitt’s, the dying wind on this iguana night soothes the stifling heat of my thoughts. I am wondering when to tell her. She will be just so full of intrigue, if I do not do it quickly. I know her intuition. It could sniff out the lies from the gods themselves. Have been on the hard side of it before when I held something back.
It will be a delicious game of cat & mouse.
Which may or may not infringe on our agreement of complete openness.
Maybe just a little, then.
Just to see her squirm in her seat.
Such tasteful squirming.
The rubbing of those shapely but cold legs together as they change position in annoyance & tension.
All this rubbing creating deep warmth between her thighs.
17 years ago, Mar 17th, 16:54 P.M.
"You’re foreign, aintcha?", said the small smoking creature in front of her.
"Pardon?", replied Pitt, feigning surprise.
"What’sa matta? Don’t you speak Lurk-er-lish", mocked the shrew.
"No, I speak Lurk-er-lish pretty good, considering the monkeys I have to talk to", smiled sweet Pitt back in retaliation. She had had private lessons of both Lurkish & Maodarin throughout her childhood. Her father had liked to hedge his bets.
One of the big lasses behind her smirked & chortled. The shrew saw this as a potential insurrection of her authority. The petite tyrant blew her cigarette smoke right in Pitt’s face & flicked her dying fag at her. She raised her hand. The others closed in. Pitt felt herself move. Guided by purpose. Always destroy the leader. She leapt up at the shrew & pushed her over. Then before the others had time to even try to stop her, she mounted her & began lashing out.
She felt calm.
Her body rocking back & forth with every blow.
She felt Jesus in her belly.
She felt him go lower.
Down between her legs.
Blood rushed about her body.
Turn the other cheek, He had said.
That is exactly what the small shrew beneath her was doing.
Turning her bloody & cut cheeks.
Then without warning, she felt the something burst out from inside herself.
It was The Holy Current gushing forth through her & she moaned & screamed as she grasped at the hair of the miserable wretch which lay between her legs, feeling it rip out in a clump.
Pitt stopped, still twitching.
She looked around her, to see fear in the large girls’ eyes. One was biting her knuckles, the other stood open mouthed, her chewing gum resting on her top lip. They felt Holy power all around as the glow-trees in the park became brighter & more defined. It was then that she knew she had won. They would not tell on her now. For fear of what fate would dish out to them. Of what she, dear, sweet, cute, little Pitt would do to them. It was power, pure & simple. The female creature beneath her groaned & sniffled & shivered. Pitt raised herself off the pathetic lump. She was pretty no more.
That was the day that Madame Ursula was born.
A beautiful birth scream.
The beginning of danger.
Yesterday, 18:37 P.M.
I see her already acting suspicious with me after the first two minutes of lying here on her chaisse longue. I am staring up at the mirrored ceiling in her study, a ceiling that I have always thought would be better suited to a Nipponese Love Hotel than to a shrink’s office & I am recanting more lurid dream fantasies from my imagination. The dear Doktor is, to put it mildly, obsessed with my past relationships. Not only the sexual relationships (which she does seem to linger on) but friendships, enemies ... the whole web of my life.
If I am not mistaken there does seem to be a touch of the jealous lover about her whenever an old enemy is brought up in conversation. Pitt’s attention to detail is just astounding. Today's subject has been poor old Alfie Lime & my feeling of loss. HADES pays for it & though my initial reaction was that of scoffing at a folk religion, I have come to enjoy our little piquant chats. The questions tend to come thick & fast & build up speed over time. Yet, today my answers do not meet with her satisfaction. Something else is there blocking the full view. I am not giving her all the access she desires to the film of my life, only the low-fi copy with the distracting heads of people in audience coughing, farting & going to the toilet. She wants it all in Hyper-Definition. She is good. I have to give her that. A lesser, kinder, physician of the mind would not have been able to notice.
Suddenly she stops.
She just sits there glaring at me.
"What?", I ask, trying to be as innocent as I can manage without grinning like a Cheshire Cat.
She continues to glare, her eyes narrowing.
I turn my head back facing the mirrors & watch her cross & uncross her legs from above.
She wants the XXX-uncut version.
The scratch & sniff, peering through your fingers at the gore version.
& she knows that she is not getting it.
"What indeed?", she purrs.
She is beginning to flirt like a sex kitten now.
Gentle biting of lips.
Using the sex card.
Well, it is the most one potent, is it not?
& the cheapest.
After all, I am a man.
Let’s just say that blood is flowing to some extremities. I concentrate on the crown of my head, willing my mind to be taken away from my large brain. Gawd. I am so easy.
"There ... is something ... new, is there not?", she speaks slowly, annunciating every word, baptising them with her exquisite tongue.
"New?", I tease. "How so?"
She inhales & I now know that she knows that I am toying with her. This means that the threats will come next. So I sit up & look at her straight in the eye. There are arrangements to be made. Drop off points. Timing. Location.
"Yes. Something has happened", I tell her.
I smile & she sucks on her top lip.
"I've found him", I whisper & opposite me, air screams its silence.
"Oh Jesus! Hear my plea!"
She is gripping & twisting the steering wheel of her sleek & mean Rose Panther with all the aggression of a drunken baboon. That raw old Screamabilly song, "Jesus, I'm Lurkin' With Intent Again", by Eddy Rapist & The Convicts is helping us cut our way through the Friday night Old Lurk traffic like a pirate's cutlass at a beer wench's girdle. I have seen two accidents in five minutes. One was at the very least a month's hospitalisation. I would try to calm her down, if I cared that much about the fine citizenry of this fair & beautiful city. But I do not. Hundreds die everyday on these Auto-Ways. They knew what they risked when they turned on their ignitions.
The night is as balmy as alligator porn & the streets glisten into the morning's sweaty climax. The top on her convertible Panther is down & Ursula's laughter (for it is SHE now & not the Dok) is an awesome sound for one's ears to behold. I believe this is the first time that I have ever seen her so much as smile, never mind unleash the joyful roaring tempest sat next to me. Every now & then she tugs roughly at the chain looped over the rear-view mirror that flows down behind her & ends at Bernie's scuffed & swollen nether-regions.
"Oh Lawd, quench ma grief! I'm-a itchin' to do mischief!", goes the raucous 3 chord tune in between spasms of howling laughter to my side & little squeaks of pleasure behind me. On the pavement, a group of Kat-Fight Queens, dressed in nothing more but transparent plastic macks & razor sharp Rock N Rollablades, flip the bird at some construction whistle-wolves shouting lewd come-ons & badly thought through gynaecological suggestions.
The typical ensuing chaos of wonky police sirens & the screams of the happily damned drowns out the thump, thump, thumping coming from the inside of the Panther's spacious boot.
I mean, you could easily fit a man in there.
If you so wished.
She almost wrenches the handbrake lever clean off of the leopard skin carpeted floor & we (carefully) step out into the private underground parking space in the basement of Sodom Nights Housing Complex. The thumping has stopped at the rear-end of the car & Ursula orders Bernie to open the compartment. I guide his hands & he reaches down & firmly presses the lock.
As the boot yawns open the first thing that hits us is that iodine smell of urine. Then, a face. All wide-eyed & wild. The man has been stripped down to his whites, his hands are cuffed & his mouth is taped shut. He just needs to be basted with an apple shoved into his mouth.
Hey! Who knows! It is the weekend after all!
I curl my nose at the stench.
"Do not worry, Vincent. I shall have Bernard lick it clean later!", she cackles.
Bernie & I drag the squirming piss stain to the elevator & I ask Ursula if wants me to KO the sad sack but she just shakes her head.
"He must be fully conscious. Only this will truly satisfy!"
I do not ask that question a second time.
In the elevator Ursula presses the "D" button.
It is the deepest floor in the building.
"D" is for "Dungeon".
It had not been easy to find this one. It had taken around three years, all told & even dear old Brother Barcode had come to dead ends in the digital paper trail. The Hyena AKA Ossie H Lee, killer for hire with a list of political names as long as your arm & all of them crossed off. Lee had crossed over, y'see.
Over to your world.
First in Rue De La Mort, then he scooted over to the Middle East, where he knew his services would be useful. I found him in an apartment in Tel Aviv. In his arrogance, he never thought that someone would come after him. What with the service that he had done for the Oneiroisphere. A monster to kill a monster.
Of course, I know what Ursula/Doktor Pitt's father did. I am really not that naive. He was high up in the SovNik Secret Police. A torturer, for Elvis's sake!
This is what true loyalty means. True love, if you will. To do whatever is necessary for the trust & well-being of that person. There. I said it. For years she has heard my tales of woeful treachery & I, at times, have heard her confession. Our fingers touched once. In one of the sessions. Just for a fleeting moment, they stroked each other as I leant down to pick up a fountain pen that had fallen out of my pocket. That is all. But the fierce loyalty that has been born inside me. I would like to see the Devil himself try to break that.
Considering Bernie (in Gimpoid-mode) is like a blind baby out there in the real world, as soon as the lift door's open & he enters the dungeon, his movements are sharp, focussed & aware. He is where he belongs. At home.
Like a true henchman, Bernie makes sure that Lee is trussed up on the crucifix-rack within seconds.
Lee splutters pathetically as Bernie removes the tape from his mouth, & yelps as facial hair is plucked out mercilessly. His chest rises & falls sharply as the old man gasps for the cavern's stale air. Bernie slaps him hard in ear & Lee curses, then spits out a bit of blood & tongue.
It takes a masochist to really know how to hurt people.
At this the man starts screaming for help but that will do him no good whatsoever. The catacombs down here are full of all manner of dungeon & torture chamber where the slap of consenting violence is as birdsong in a forest.
"Stop!", orders Ursula. "Let the craven dog speak!"
Lee closes & opens his eyes. Seeing as his head is strapped down tight, he can only turn his eyes towards Ursula.
"Wondered if I'd ever see you again", he spoke softly. Almost kind.
"You know who I am?"
"Oh, I know, little flutterby."
Ursula turns & glares accusingly at me. I just shrug. I may have found him but I certainly did not say anything to spoil that Lady's moment of vengeance. No, Ma'am. He figured that one out all by himself. You do not survive in this business long if you have the IQ of a potato.
His accent is pure South-Lurk Drawl, like the kind that doesn't exist anymore. Gentlemanly & kind. An accent that would tend a loved one's grave.
"Would you like to know your Daddy's last words, Madame Flutterby? Those words he gasped just before his holy whisper was so tragically & unfairly snuffed out?"
I see a change in poise come over Ursula. She slumps sadly as memories of her father flash inside her head.
"Before you torture me to death that is ...", he purrs maliciously.
Something is very wrong with this picture. Urusula has become gangly, awkward Pitt the young girl with a Daddy-fixation once more. All her grace has vanished as she stumbles towards the silky voice.
"C'mere, flutterby. C'mere ..."
She is almost face-to-face with him.
Then I see a short plastic straw gripped between his teeth.
A strangled cry gargles forth from the under Bernie's gas mask.
He feels his Mistress is in danger, Elvis-only-knows how, but the squeaky perv feels it.
Quick as a cat, Bernie knocks Pitt to the side as Lee blows out a dart that catches the willing slave square where his eyes should be. The poison works almost instantaneously as his throat muscles tighten & he begins to asphyxiate.
Lee begins sobbing gently above us.
& there, curled up in the foetal position on the floor of the dungeon that has become his true home, Bernie slowly dies.
As he passes over, his devoted Mistress Ursula returns & cradles his head. She sings him sweet SovNik nursery rhymes to send him to his sleep, knowing that her touch will bless his final moments with happiness.
When he has gone I tell her that I will take care of the necessary arrangements for the disposal of Bernie's body. I also tell her that I will inform the Ministry of the need for a new member of staff. I will do this through HADES. They will not ask questions. She nods as she reaches for the cat-o-nine-tails.
I will leave Lee up to her.
As I turn to close the door a soft sound graces the air around me.