Historical fiction novel, by Dimitris Apergis. Exclusively at the blog of OKYPUS in 36 weekly episodes, in English and Greek languages.
Synopsis: London, 1824. The boss of London's Crime Syndicate, Wilbur Barnaby, assigns two men to travel to the -rebelling against the Ottomans- country of Greece and locate the poet Lord Byron in order to obtain a gambling debt of his to the underworld. One of the two men is Welsh Bugs Hamhaduke, the so-called "neckwringer." The other is the enigmatic Lord Greywood. The two men will embark on an adventurous journey to the Greek city of Missolonghi via Paris. None of those involved, however, is aware of Lord Greywood's terrible secret: That he actually belongs to the Order of Strigoi Morti, the oldest and most dangerous generation of vampires.
ISBN : 978-618-00-1549-2
PRELUDE : Guilá Naquitz (1 chapter)
PART ONE : London (4 chapters)
PART TWO : Paris (10 chapters)
PART THREE : Vampires (10 chapters)
PART FOUR : Missolonghi (10 chapters)
EPILOGUE : Los Angeles (1 chapter)
[ep. 19 of 36]
Although Lord Greywood had woken up and his eyes were wide open, the dream was still buzzing in his ears with those loud laughs. This was, of course, natural. He was sleeping very deep and his dream was too tense to release him so easily from its web. And who ever said that vampires don't dream in their sleep? This must be claimed - no doubt – by airy-fairy writers seeking inspiration in folklores of nations or by the elderly storytellers who impart the legends of the past to future generations. How is it ever possible for anyone to claim that vampires do not dream in their sleep when they have no knowledge of the subject? Yes, even the vampires dream.
Hanging upside down in the form of a bat inside that small depot of the Montmartre Abbey, the Lord traced the space around him with his gaze. Hamhaduke was still sleeping in his coffin. The two men's nightly visit to the Louvre Museum was nothing but a dream. But it was a dream so intense in the senses that the Lord was given the impression it was a prophetic dream. Or not? Did this dream foretell the future as it was about to happen? Or was this too one of the vampires' usual dreams frolicking elusive associations with situations of the future without any rational basis? The Lord had only to prove it in practice.
The sun was eventually set and Hamhaduke woke up and came out of his coffin. And then the two vampires spent some time silent in the Montmartre Abbey. The Lord was constantly watching Hamhaduke as he meditated with his eyes wide open. He finally made the suggestion as per the dictations of the dream.
"Bugs, what would you say we visit the Louvre Museum tonight? You will see many remarkable things over there, things that might help you in these endless meditations of yours. You shall also cultivate a more sophisticated view of the arts, a fact that'll definitely help you in your flirting with the French ladies."
"Hmm, yes. Why not. Why not, indeed."
While the two vampires were walking down the Rue de l ' Echelle, the Lord did not detach his gaze from Hamhaduke, who was stubbornly cogitative, so stubbornly that he occasionally inspired awe and fear. So far, the situations developed according to the narrative flow of the dream. Any time now, Hamhaduke would express his concern. The Lord waited patiently to ascertain if the dream was to come true.
"Lord, I want to have a talk about some issues. I want to ask you some things about these issues because your explanations have not completely satisfied me and I am constantly being plagued by queries."
"Of course, Bugs. Speak freely. What is it that concerns you?"
"I don't understand, Lord. I tried hard but I don't understand. I want us to discuss again, Lord, the importance of moral aesthetics. And I also want you to explain for me using concrete examples what is the link that connects morality and aesthetics. These are the issues that continue to stand unintelligible in my head."
The Lord broke into loud laughter. How could he do otherwise? The dream - so far - proved prophetic. And accurate.
"Hey Lord! What's so funny then? Do I look so ridiculous with my questions?"
"Oh, no ... No, Bugs ... I'm not laughing with you. Don't worry. I'm laughing at myself. I made a funny thought in my mind. I laugh every now and then with myself, Bugs. This is a quirk you shall need to get used to."
"Could you share then that funny thought with me so we can laugh together?"
"There is absolutely no point in confessing my funny thought to you, Bugs. It's a thought that concerns me exclusively. You wouldn't find it funny at all."
"All right then. Since you've had your laugh with your funny thought, would you now have the courtesy to enlighten me as to my queries?"
The Lord, therefore, decided to go along with the flow as dictated by the dream. And accordingly he explained to Hamhaduke the importance of morality and how it relates to aesthetics. And Hamhaduke juxtaposed his objections as decreed by the dream. Then the two vampires arrived at the Louvre Museum and entered. And after spending some time together observing the museum's exhibits, there came the time when they were separated and each one took his own course.
For the truth of the matter, what the Lord longed for - more than anything else - was to receive the assertion with incontrovertible evidence that the dream wasn't after all but an unremarkable play with future events, that it was merely a subconscious expression of his concerns in regards to Hamhaduke. The Lord had now become accustomed to Hamhaduke's companionship - despite its whatever flaws - and hoped rather passionately that his dream would not come true in its predictions. He was so passionate in his refusal to accept the dream's validity that he did not hesitate to let Hamhaduke go free in the museum.
Unfortunately for the Lord, however, the dream did come true. And the time came when the Lord discovered Hamhaduke bloodsucking signora Di Cantone in the small square joint of the wall. And he gave him that slap in the face, and then Hamhaduke responded with a strong punch. And the Lord remained seated on the floor with his back resting on the wall breaking into hysterical laughs.
"Tell me what you're laughing for, you cretin!"
"I knew it, Bugs ... I knew you'd betray me someday. It was written all before me, in bold letters, by the hand of fate itself. And yet I turned my gaze away from the writing. I did not deign to believing it ... I made a mistake with you, Bugs ... You were a tragic mistake of mine after all. And I've made a lot of tragic mistakes along my path ... I just had to eliminate you and finish with you once and for all. I stupidly thought that I could change your nature ... I had to accept the fact that there are people who do not change but instead remain as they are or they only get worse if you act foolishly and give them the power ... I've been a fool, Bugs. Unforgivably fool, once again."
Hamhaduke approached the Lord and stood over him with a haughtiness that rendered him like an overstuffed francolin. Lord Greywood was no longer for him but a miserable being who spent his centuries in a vain misery haunted by blind speculations. The idea that he would from now on be free to do whatever his heart desired - far from the Lord's moral limitations - made his eyes glow with bloodthirsty lust.
"You've always had a special fondness for Marcus Aurelius, Lord. You always seem enchanted by the teachings of his Stoic philosophy. How did that quote go ... ah, yes ... Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking ... That's an extremely wise dictum, I do admit. It escapes you however, Lord, that this joker was an emperor and possessed plenty of luxury to denounce materialism or glory. Or is it you forget that this great master handed over his throne to his son Commodus who was an idiot and megalomaniac? These are details too minor for you ... You're truly pathetic, Lord. I see more holes in your world view than I'd see on a Swiss cheese."
The Lord was left ruminative looking at the ecru mosaic floor of the museum. A tear formed at the edge of his eye and then rolled down to the cheek scribing its moist track.
"Yes ... You're right, Bugs ... Regrettably for me, you're right. None of this gloom I'm wandering in has any rational basis. There is absolutely no point in exploring sadness and spending your life miserable and melancholic. The point in life is to be happy, and if you don't like this happiness you have then find some other happiness that'll make you happier. There is no reason to look in the dark to detect the hidden functions of the universe. You won't find secrets in the dark. You will find absolutely nothing, you will be confronted with the utter emptiness. And then you'll realise that all your time was wasted for no purpose ... All of them are liars, Bugs. The philosophers, the writers, the artists, all those who are trying to convince you of the salvation of the soul. All of them are lying. And all of them are aware that they are lying. Like cheap conjurers, they resort to wretched tricks in order to mislead everyone - even themselves! - by concealing the truth about the woeful indifference of the Universe. Art is nothing more than a beguiled jellyfish swaying its fancy beauty before violently crushing upon the reefs of relentless reality by the impetus of seastorm ... We are all preys to unjustifiable chance, interminably alone within a cosmic machine that grinds us in amorphous mass and then spits us like garbage into forsaken landfills with no concern for justice. The human existence is horribly trapped in its imperfect structure and the Universe persists in playing the irrational game of the absurd by corroding it ... You're right, Bugs. Things in the world are obvious, and morality isn't but the pretext of cowards, those who do not dare to be happy, those who prefer to reflect on their pain instead of acting in order to soothe it. In this world, some are the slaughterers and some are the sacrificed lambs. What is there to do with moral aesthetics when you drift the earth deeply wounded? How does common sense benefit you when you are isolated from human societies? What's the reason in struggling to deceive yourself about that piece of yours which you lost and is irreplaceable? ... Oh, Bugs, how right you were to be a murderer in this incoherent Babylon! Under this deafening noise, who would really care if you spent your life as a scum? And who will assume the responsibility of punishing you? Burn this world, Bugs. Send it to hell. Destroy it. Either way, it was already ashes before you made your presence."
Bugs sighed. His lips smirked. He considered he owed some last word to the Lord. A farewell, an ultimate denouement before sallying forth into the world as a free vampire.
"Tragic irony, Lord ... The student is finally teaching the teacher. I hope you learned with me the basic principles of the world, Lord. You could very well claim that I've taught you the meaning of life. You owe me gratitude for that. As I owe you gratitude for making me a vampire. Because the anointing of the vampire is a great gift, Lord. Being a vampire, I finally understood my role in this world. I am a god. I may even be the one and only god. I have always been the god. I now realise that I became a murderer whilst alive in order to dig deeper into my divine existence, to embrace it in my consciousness. I was trying to find myself, my real self, very simply. Until I Happened upon you and you made me a vampire. And then the truth that stood hidden from sight was revealed before me. I deeply thank you for that. But now it's time to leave you. I do not intend to content myself with the blood of rats. Unlike you, I insist on hearing my instincts. Unfortunately, I insist on preferring human blood. Because human blood, Lord, is the enlightenment for a vampire, the essence that brings me closer to the Creator cause of all ... I have to leave. The world is waiting for me. I need to show the world what I'm capable of doing. And after doing this, I shall become its master."
Hamhaduke was about to leave. He took a few steps and paused. An acrid whisper escaped his mouth.
"I'd wish you good luck, Lord. But you wouldn't know what to do with it even if you had it in sackfuls."
Thus spoke Hamhaduke. And then he looked at the well-dressed crowd of visitors who'd gathered to the spot upset by their quarrel.
"Boo!" did Hamhaduke abruptly, and the crowd drew away from him terrified, sounding screams of hysteria.
He came out of the Louvre Museum, and the first thing his eyes were looking forward to was the meagre moon of the night. It was in its waxing crescent phase, and its sickle shape emitted enough light to overwhelm the star shines around it.
There was so much he wanted to do. So much that he couldn't decide their order. He had to think about his next move. An idea would come to his mind sooner or later. Whatever he was to do, he'd been completely honest with the Lord. He'd told him the truth. He wanted to show the world what he was capable of doing and then become its master. But what he truly desired - first and foremost - was human blood. Fresh human blood.
He was free! That unexpected freedom he had suddenly acquired without planning it in advance caused him an extreme sense of euphoria, one that led him to take a deep breath from the cool night in his lungs.
He arrived flying to the city blocks and climbed like a cat to the tiled roofs of the buildings. And after he did so, he began to drift from tile-roof to tile-roof with long jumps, surrendering himself to the baptism of the pale moonlight. Was there a more appropriate time to sing his beloved song from his native Wales?
Ar lan y môr mae rhosys cochion
Ar lan y môr mae lilis gwynion
Ar lan y môr mae 'nghariad inne
Yn cysgu'r nos a chodi'r bore.
Second brutal crime within a week in the city of Paris! The Langlois family of four was found dead yesterday morning at their home on Rue des Barres. The victims are Mr and Mrs Langlois as well as their two minor children, six and eight years respectively. The Police and the coroner Dr Voclain refused to provide the press with details of the heinous crime. Eyewitnesses of the scene, however, state that the four members were found bearing two holes on their necks. If this is true, the crime has an ominous commonality with the murder of esteemed notary Travert and his wife the night of past Monday in his house on Rue de l'Abreuvoir and for which the Authorities similarly refused to leak any information. If the victims died from bleeding through the aforementioned holes, the mystery of these heinous crimes remains unanswered: What was it that murdered our fellow citizens by bloodletting? Man or beast? The La Quotidienne -France's most respected newspaper- will always be close to the developments in order to inform first the readers in regards to these heinous crimes.
Ar lan y môr mae carreg wastad
Lle bûm yn siarad gair â'm cariad
O amgylch hon fe dyf y lili
Ac ambell gangen o rosmari.
The beast of the two fangs struck again! Dead were found yesterday on the nightly hour of Saturday the two dancegirls of the night club Croix de Lorraine on Rue de Bourtibourg, named Dorothee S . and Pascaline J . The crime was committed just minutes before the bodies of the two unfortunate women were discovered by the owner of the club, the well-known businessman Mr Le Vigneron. Asked under pressure from press representatives, the police coroner Dr Voclain pointed out that the perpetrator is a human being (not a beast as rumoured to be from a portion of public opinion) and that the holes on their necks were made by the killer's canines and not by a sharp object. The Authorities have announced that they are on the hunt for the perpetrator and called the public's attention to the incidents. The journalists of the Le Courrier français, in their investigation into the psychoanalysis of the unscrupulous criminal, submitted a questionnaire to the Director of the Psychiatric Clinic of Hôpital universitaire Pitié-Salpêtrière, Dr Philippe Pinel, who stated categorically that the perpetrator is overwhelmed by an acute vengeful mindset accompanied by a disgust for civilised human societies and he is in desperate need of immediate psychiatric treatment. The newspaper Le Courrier français, strongly dedicated to the prompt recording of current events, will always inform you first as to the latest news on the bloodthirsty killer's activity.
Ar lan y môr mae cerrig gleision
Ar lan y môr mae blodau'r meibion
Ar lan y môr mae pob rinweddau
Ar lan y môr mae nghariad innau.
Exclusive! The sole eyewitness to the heinous murder of the five daughters of the Des Coqueles family that took place on Tuesday morning at the Paris' Jardin des Plantes breaks his silence and speaks exclusively to the news writers of Le Globe newspaper. The witness, Mr Poinçot, 68, a retired retailer, states - as in his testimony to the Authorities - that the offender who has become widely known as "the beast of two fangs" initially introduced himself to the young women as "Spring-heeled Jack" and then offered to accompany them to the Garden. When the five young women refused, the killer rushed upon them managing holes on their necks with his elongated canines and then sucked their blood. Mr Poinçot had escaped the situation in a state of severe nervous breakdown. The witness also mentions that the killer is of foreign origin, corpulent in figure, with reddish skin, bronzed hair on his head, and speaks fluent French. Asked under tremendous pressure from representatives of the press, police coroner Dr Voclain was forced to corroborate Mr Poinçot's claims that the perpetrator drinks indeed the blood of his victims and also emphasised that he has never happened upon a similar case in his career of thirty years. Le Globe 's dynamic journalists are always at the forefront of informing the newspaper's readers of anything emergency about the case that has plagued the French capital lately.
Llawn yw'r môr o swnd a chegryn
Llawn yw'r wy o wyn a melyn
Llawn yw'r coed o ddail a blode
Llawn o gariad merch wyf inne.
Never forget it, dear readers: You first learned it from La Minerve française, the pioneering newspaper that stems from the facts, in the facts, for the facts. The Beast has killed again! Three other hapless fellow citizens lost their lives from the mania of the bloodthirsty criminal. The victims is Mr. Quignon, owner of brothel, and two prostitutes who worked in the establishment, Salome R. and Yolande C. Last night, this accursed killer visited the said brothel on Rue des Rosiers for his unspeakable entertainment. "Who are you, sir, and what do you want?" Mr. Quignon is said to have asked the notorious killer, suspicious of his haunting appearance. "I'm the Devil and I've come to do my destructive work." responded allegedly the perpetrator and proceeded to the brutal bloodshed of the three persons present. The journalists of La Minerve française, struggling soldiers in the fight for unprejudiced update, submitted a questionnaire to the distinguished demonology researcher, Alexis-Vincent-Charles Berbiguier, author of the book "The Imps; or, All the demons are not from the other world». Mr Berbiguier emphasised, amongst others, that the mystics of Satanism (that is, the worship of the Devil) are trained in Black Magic and that few of them have the charisma to use it with supernatural effects such as the killer of the two canines. Mr Berbiguier also stressed that the police coroner Dr Voclain owes to quit from this investigation of the authorities since he does not have the necessary scientific knowledge of mysticism. Never forget it, dear readers: You first learned it from La Minerve française, the pioneering newspaper that stems from the facts, in the facts, for the facts.
Mor hardd yw'r haul yn codi'r bore
Mor hardd yw'r enfys aml ei liwie
Mor hardd yw natur ym Mehefin
Ond harddach fyth yw wyneb Elin
And thus Hamhaduke continued his spree in the city of Paris, plunging the capital in mournful laments. And his undead nature revelled to its furthest outskirts with booze and flesh and blood and death.
[to be continued next Friday, 22 May 2020, exclusively at the blog of OKYPUS]
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A few words about the author
Dimitris Apergis was born in Larisa, Greece, in 1978. He graduated in BA (Hons) Film Studies in the UK. He lives in Greece.
His books are published in both English and Greek languages, by the OKYPUS PUBLISHING. https://en.okypus.com/okypus-publisher
Dimitris has received several awards for his literary work.
In 2018 he received the First Literature Award from the Panhellenic Association of Writers for his novel Gerard & the father. Additionally, in 2018 his novel Gerard & the father also received the First Literature Award at the 8th International Literature Contest held by E.P.O.C. (Hellenic Culture Association of Cyprus) under the aegis of UNESCO.
In 2017 his novel ‘At the Whiskey County’ received the First Literature Award at the 7th International Literature Contest held by the Hellenic Culture Association of Cyprus under the aegis of UNESCO.
In 2015 his novella ‘Jazz Room’ received the Second Literature Award from the Panhellenic Association of Writers.
In 2013 he received a Praise from the Panhellenic Association of Writers for his short story Labyrinth.
In 2012 he received the First Literature Award from the MONITOR Press for his short story Acid Rain.