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Sunday, 2 April 2017

The Chronicles Of A Middle-Aged Vampire- Part 18

I gaped at the man in silent astonishment. "A GHOUL?" I finally managed to gasp. "GHOUL?"

He grinned at my astonishment. "Is that anymore outlandish than being a Vampire?"

"No, no...I just though..."Well Vampires and the virus...I didn't think...Doctor said the condition was as infection by a symbiont, I really didn't think...Things that go bump in the night?"

He let out a spontaneous guffaw. "The only things that go "bump" in the night is the Succubus and Incubus Swingers Club...And it's another kind of bump altogether."

"Succubus, incubus too!"

"Oh yes. And lycanthropes, poor things. They spend a fortune on hair removal, But no zombies, thank God, and the faeries are the ones trolling the park in spiked heels feeding on pheromones from all the hookers and the johns..."

I was dizzied by revelation. "Wait, all these are caused by microbes, viruses?"

"Oh yes. We think of humans as the top of the food-chain. We've managed to eradicate every predator we've ever had, but we are subject to predation by extremely able and well adapted micro-predators. Look at HIV, Ebola, Marburg, Rabies. Deadly and thank God, not very efficient or successful."

I stared at him. "Those are deadly! I'd say they were VERY efficient!"

"Those viruses kill the host, and so have to find another. OUR viruses cleverly evolved into a "I scratch your back you scratch mine" symbiont, They keep the hosts alive indefinitely, so the colony not only survives, it thrives, and in the fullness  of time, creates a daughter colony of micro-predators."

"You keep calling them micro-predators."

"Yes. These virus require human cells, human hormones, human blood - depending on the virus - to reproduce. But they have turned the host into a "seeker" of what they need. Brilliant evolutionary leap."

"Brilliant..." I murmured faintly.

"So the host craves what the symbiont requires, and reaps equal benefit from that harvest."

"So vampires need blood, you said faeries need hormones? What else?"

He smiled. "Lycanthropes - poor things!- need a cocktail of blood, fear and adrenaline, which is why they frighten their prey before they feed. They are luckily quite rare. Succubus and Incubus harvest human DNA from sperm..,"

"They all get infected by the bite of a "Host"."

"Yes, as I was. I unfortunately surprised a Ghoul at his feeding and the poor bugger bit me." He extended a well shaped-hand and showed me a silvery crescent scar at the base of his thumb. "He infected me, and fled. I was left alone with no idea of what was happening to me, or why I started having those cravings. I actually checked myself into a psychiatric centre where I was lucky enough to meet a Nurse who was a Succubus. She enlightened me, and put me in touch with the Ghoul Support Group." He smiled nostalgically. "She was very sweet and nurturing..."

"What do Ghouls crave?"

"Human flesh. Fresh. Which is where I am lucky. I get daily deliveries of the finest quality. I don't have to break into morgues or funeral parlours. Besides the modern penchant for wholesale embalming has made untainted human flesh a precious commodity. Digging in cemeteries - the traditional Ghoul feeding-ground - is no longer an option." he smiled modestly. "I must admit I do very well indeed by dabbling in the delicatessen supply biz."

I was horrified. "You not only eat, you SELL human flesh?"

He looked defensively. "Only toes! Nothing the bereaved will notice, or the deceased will miss. I keep to the highest standards!" He drew himself to his considerable height. "And I have NEVER killed to feed. All my donors are decently dead!"

MC

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