In the Shadows of Paris

The shapely young woman was a would-be social climber, no doubt, and she had set her sights on a pair of well-dressed young men sat together at a seedy bar: with no wedding bands and slick attire they seemed the perfect mark.

The smaller, brunette man took to her immediately, returning all her advances in all the right ways. He was fine to look at, she thought, but he talked too much and too fast, making him seem altogether too excited over every little thing. The redhead was mute from a war injury, his chattering friend explained, and his looming demeanour and palid appearance only served to make his talkative companion all the more attractive. To make matters worse, the mute one stank of lilies and something foul. There was no question of which one was the better catch.

After more than a few free drinks, the woman was only too eager to take up the offer of a quieter location, and the three stepped out onto the cobblestone streets of Paris. It was midnight, dark and quiet as they walked. They turned down street after street, coming to a narrow alley that was a shortcut, her new beau assured her. She giggled, letting him lead the way as his friend began to trail politely behind. Good riddance.

Moving into a dark corner, he pressed her up against a wall with warm, wandering hands and hot, welcome lips upon her neck. She felt him reach up, but she didn’t see him grasp a knife cleverly hidden between some bricks. The last thing she saw was the wild grin that he couldn’t keep from his lips.

His work was brutally efficient, butchering the woman’s body even before her last breaths shuddered from her bleeding form. He was breathing heavily by the time he was satisfied with his work, and gave a single whistle to call his looming friend.

At the sound, the red-haired man joined him once more, his polite manner now replaced with something feral. His eyes glazed over as he sized up the gaping corpse before leaping upon it, his lips parting to reveal jagged fangs. He made short work of the offering, tearing through flesh and bone with ravenous delight, his inhumanly long tongue darting out to coil around the choicest morsels and drag them ever faster into his ghastly mouth. The butcher gleefully watched the ghoulish creature gorge himself, ignoring the blood already beginning to dry on his own hands.

The monster devoured his way clear through the victim’s torso, and soon there was little left but fragments of bone and bits of skin and cloth strewn about the stained cobblestones. Dripping blood and saliva, the ghoul pushed himself up on his hands and knees, locking eyes with the butcher before lunging towards him. The man made no sound of surprise or fear, instead opening his arms to accept the macabre embrace of the one he truly loved.