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"How can it HINT of necrophilia?" Adam snapped, tucking into his breakfast as though he was wrecking punishment on it "I've never heard anything so absurd".
"Necrophilia, hinting or otherwise, vampirism ..."
"Cannibalism", Joby muttered, finishing Kieran's unsavoury list for him.
"C-cannibalism, call it what you like", Kieran continued "But that disgusting little shit is doing it! He's not a smackhead Adam, he's a pervert. He goes around munching into people's flesh and blood. He's a monster. He's not normal".
"Oh and we all are I suppose!" Adam sniggered, derisively.
"You will listen to me!" Kieran cried in exasperation "None of us is perfect, I'll be the first to admit it, but that ... that person out there", he gestured in the general direction of the bar area "that is all wrong! When he can't find people to oblige him in his little desires, he finds other ways of doing it. Those scars and bruises on his arms aren't the results of dope-taking. That is what he does when he can't get it from others. He cuts himself and drinks his own blood. Only, you see, it's not very satisfying is that. And just now was his big chance. There was a fat, juicy corpse lying on the bar-room floor, and he went for it. Only this corpse doesn't have normal blood. For some reason its green and putrid ..."
"And that's weird for a start", said Joby.
"I still refuse to believe that he's evil", Adam said "Misguided, yes, confused ... it all boils down to the same thing. He doesn't know any better. I've seen his prison records Patsy. He was jailed for theft. Theft! Not necrophilia or vampirism, or cannibalism".
"You don't get sent to prison for life for theft", Kieran said.
"Not in our time perhaps, but they might here", Adam replied "After all, the law and order system seems pretty severe all round. And that's why we have to help Angel. He is a victim of the system, he needs our care and understanding as much as if he really was a drug addict. We must treat him in the same way. Because after all it is the same thing. His craving for blood is an addiction".
"Adam Jensen, for fock's sake, he is insane!" Kieran nearly exploded with frustration "Not by anyone's standards is he normal. How do we know he hasn't killed people to get what he wants? And don't spout the gospel according to the prison records at me, because I believe the Governor must have doctored them so that Angel could be a trustee".
"Whatever you believe", said Adam, rising suddenly to his feet "We are stuck with him. We can't abandon him here so he continues to journey with us, so I suggest you accept it. I don't wish to hear any more of your Jesuit rantings".
"Jesuit rantings?" said Kieran, after Adam had left the room "What was he talking about?"
"I dunno", Joby said, in a bored voice "You being Catholic I suppose".
"Don't you care about any of this, shit-for-brains?"
"Look", Joby slammed the food bowls together on the table "I always suspected there was summat not right about that kid. This only confirms it, so don't expect me to act surprised".
"B-but it's cannibalism Jobe", Kieran stammered "Remember Beane?"
"Yes, but Angel isn't gonna lock us up in a cage is he? We'll make sure the little sod doesn't get a chance! At least we know what we've got with us now. We didn't before", he placed his hands on Kieran's arms and steadied him, as though he was calming a frisky horse "What I'm more interested in is old bigfoot's green blood, and is there a connection?"
"Connection to what?"
"The visitor's wing".
"You're not making sense".
Joby began to stuff packets of rice into his rucksack, explaining patiently as he did so.
"Angel told us about those two government men who died after sleeping in the visitor's wing at the prison. They were both found with a green substance sticking to them".
"It came out of the fireplace", Kieran recalled.
"And burnt off their balls", said Joby "Now our host here had a body stuffed full of it, it was pumping through his veins where his red blood should have been. Was he attacked in the same way, but somehow he survived?"
"We'll only know that if we look at his nuts, and I don't think I could".
"WE don't have to. We'll get Angel to do it".
Adam had retreated upstairs, so Joby took advantage of his absence to shovel Angel into the bar, with dire threats on his life if he failed to concentrate on strip-searching the body of the deceased publican. He himself lingered down the corridor to the back bar, within earshot of Angel's activities.
Kieran meanwhile sat outside Adam's door, ready to way-lay him if he appeared before he was wanted.
Angel was understandably brief in his investigation, and when he went to find Joby his ashen face spoke volumes.
"Not a thing", he whispered, in shock "All of it's gone".
"Any traces of green stuff in the area?" asked Joby.
Angel swallowed hard at the memory of the "green stuff".
"No", he replied "But his skin had a green tinge to it, as though there might have been. His skin was all wrinkled where his prick should have been. I've seen that before".
"In the City, before I went to prison. Sometimes the eunuchs used to hold a parade through the streets".
"Eunuchs? What are you talking about?"
"Didn't you have them in your time?"
"I really couldn't say. We had trans-sexuals but they weren't just eunuchs", Joby stammered "I never came across a eunuch personally, but I'm beginning to think I led a sheltered life".
"Well there were these eunuchs having a parade once. It can be quite funny you know. They dress up in long, flowery skirts and sing and dance and things".
"How nice", said Joby, in a muted fashion.
"Yea they're not bad actually", said Angel "Well I was watching them one afternoon, and one came up to me in the crowd. Took a fancy to me I think".
"Can't think why".
"And he lifted his skirts to me. Well of course there was nothing there. Just this bit of wrinkled skin where his prick once was".
"What a terrible disappointment for you".
"You're not like the others are you?"
"Never mind me", Joby snapped, impatiently "Did you notice anything else - about the mad axeman I mean - that needs mentioning?"
"Wasn't that enough? No, nothing else. I think it's obvious the green slime got him as well".
"These eunuchs", Joby said, quietly "Why do they do it? Have their bollocks cut off I mean".
"Picked! You mean they're forced to?"
"Oh no, it's their choice really. When you get to thirteen you have a choice, whether you want to be a man or a mock-woman. Some choose to be mock-women, eunuchs, and have the chop".
"They're happy with it. They want to be women".
"So it is a sex-change really", Joby said "In our time you could do the same, but not at thirteen though! I don't think it'd be allowed. How do you know your own mind at that age!"
"Well they have to do it then, it's the law. Someone has to be a mock-woman you see".
"Why HAS to be?"
"I know you had 'em in your time, women, because there are some female innards on display at the City museum, but we haven't got any".
"No women ... at all?" Joby said, faintly.
"No. They were wiped out a 100 years ago. There was a purge".
"Why, for God's sake?"
"There was a superstition at the time that women had the Evil Eye, and that they sucked out men's vital energies. All to do with a Bible, is that what it's called?"
"Yea", Joby groaned.
"So the Ministry killed everyone who was female, but saved the ovaries first and banked them. At first the eunuchs got implanted with 'em, so that's how we've all kept going for so long. Except it's all going wrong. The foetuses that they produced recently were diseased, and they had to be destroyed".
"Didn't these eunuch's foetuses ever turn out to be girls?"
"Only male foetuses were developed. They didn't think it would be right to bring in female ones after the purges. The world had moved on", said Angel, casually.
"So a previous government wiped out half the population because of superstition?"
"That's why religion's illegal. They abolished it not long after. All the holy books were destroyed".
"Bit late then wasn't it!"
"Yea, but I think they meant well".
Kieran looked up from where he was sitting on the floor, and encountered a pair of long, bare legs standing in the doorway.
"Why did I fall asleep?" Adam asked, groggily.
"How the blazes should I know!"
"Such a stupid time to fall asleep", Adam vaguely ran his fingers through his hair "I was all psyched up for the journey as well. How irritating".
"It happens", Kieran rose to his feet.
"What were you doing there anyway?"
"Felt like a sit-down. No harm in that is there?"
Adam glanced at him curiously and went back into his room. Kieran followed him.
"I had a bad dream", the older man said "Quite disturbing. I was fighting something, only I don't know what it was".
He began to push his belongings into his bag, all the while looking distracted.
"Perhaps it was Baby Dracula downstairs", said Kieran "You do pick 'em I'll say".
"Now listen Patsy", Adam grabbed Kieran's shirt roughly "I feel sorry for the boy. He's obviously got bats in the belfry. And you should feel sorry for him too. It's an addiction that he's got, and I know what that's like. At this moment I haven't got time for any monkey-business".
"You had time last night".
"You'll keep", Adam laughed, but warmly "I've just realised something. The lunar eclipse that the Governor mentioned is tomorrow night. Something will happen then".
"And only we would be mad enough to get close to the Skirra Fludd lighthouse whilst it was happening", said Kieran.
"Yes, but it may be our only chance".
"Haven't you finished sorting that buggy out yet?"
Joby groaned on hearing the Irishman's dulcet tones, and continued to supervise Angel, who was doing something extremely complicated to a large chip located under the bonnet.
"Is the old man about yet?" asked Joby "Only I think Angel's nearly fixed it".
"It's not easy re-charging without a key-card or the prison's generator system, but I think I've nearly managed it", said the boy, proudly.
Joby motioned Kieran to follow him, and they went round the side of the building.
"He's been telling me some weird bloody stuff", said Joby, once they were out of earshot "This is some fucking crazy world you know".
Kieran listened numbly whilst Joby filled him in on Angel's remarks. After hearing of eunuchs, mass purges and a female-less society he felt extremely depressed.
"Does that mean Angel's mother is a eunuch?" he asked in disbelief.
"He never knew her, him, it. All the children are brought up in a commune, sounds a bit like the prison, until they're thirteen, and then they're judged to be men, or eunuchs if that's what they prefer".
"It's sick! All of it. Doesn't Nature have a say in this place anymore?"
"Don't look like it", Joby shrugged.
"Hang on", said Kieran "There's something missing here. What happens to women time-crossers? Do they kill them, lock them up like they did us, or send them straight back?"
"Angel says he's heard that there's a special place somewhere that they get taken to. He doesn't know where it is, as it's all done in top-secret. The women get taken there, and well no one knows what happens to them then".
"But somebody must see these women when they first slip through?"
"No one takes any notice I suppose. It's been a 100 years since anyone saw a woman in the flesh, they would probably just think she was a eunuch. Sad gits".
The buggy was loaded with supplies, once Angel had finished his burrowing under the bonnet. The rucksacks bulged with rice packets and sharp knives. Joby and Adam were hunched on the back seat.
Kieran picked up his bag from the kitchen and went through to the bar. He stopped on seeing the corpse of the landlord, lying where Angel had left it, in the middle of the floor. Kieran looked around for something to throw over it, but there was nothing.
"You had a lousy life didn't you old mate?" he said, quietly "You wandered around here, blind and knackerless, and now the flies'll get you. Poor old sod".
He looked up and gave a gasp of shock. Sitting at one of the tables was a middle-aged man with dark hair and a plump figure. A walking-stick hung on the back of his chair. He was sitting in a dejected fashion with his head in his hands. He was sobbing. Slowly he glanced up at Kieran. His eyes were brown and full of sad compassion. He gave no start of surprise on seeing the young man. He seemed to accept his presence there, as one sufferer gloomily accepts another. He shook his head in resignation and sorrow at the boy, and faded from view.
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