Matthew rubbed his chin as he pondered the current situation.
He sat upright in his chair and laced his long fingers together and stretched his arms out
over the blotter on his desk before leaning back with his hands cupped at the back of his head.
As he recalled, he had never been anything much in the way of an athlete.
Being that he was an only child, his doting parents had lavished their attentions upon him,
and so when it was found that their son was somehow deficient in his playground activities,
they had brought him to the attention of a pediatrician.
The Doctor had examined him thoroughly and, finding nothing organically amiss,
had broken the news to his parents that while there was nothing physically wrong with him,
Matthew simply wasn't as well coordinated as he otherwise might have been.
With the question of a career in sports or at least an athletic scholarship safely set aside,
Matthew had discovered that he was attracted to more literary pursuits.
He considered himself to be neither exceptionally perceptive nor precocious,
but reading came naturally to him.
He didn't recall having to be taught to read, rather it was simply a skill he had acquired very much on his own accord.
Now as he leaned back in his chair and considered it, he was rather glad that he had possessed this natural inclination,
for it had served him in good stead throughout a fair portion of his scholastic career.
As a young lad, nothing had fascinated Matthew more than to be granted permission to peruse the leather-bound volumes on the shelves
in his Grandfather's Library. In point of fact, Matthew was at this very moment seated at the desk that had belonged to his Grandfather;
situated as a feature central to this self-same room of research and learning he had enjoyed as a youngster.
The book that had captured both his attention and stirred his imagination at a stage early in his career was a great dark volume
that stood in its place on a shelf located at the very top of the bookcase.
The Occult was embossed in raised gold letters that ran along the spine of the ponderous tome.
No author, no publisher, and in fact, no other information was imparted other than simply the title.
Matthew smiled at the memory, for at the time he had not been tall enough to reach the volume in question and his
Grandfather's Library was neither so high nor vast a collection as to require a ladder.
Matthew could have climbed on a piece of furniture to gain his prize, but being the thoughful boy that he was,
he decided against what well may have been a precarious course of action, and so went in search of his Grandfather instead.
"That book, Matthew?" his Grandfather replied dubiously as he gazed at the self in the area of Matthew's pointing finger.
"I think it may be a trifle difficult for you to understand at your age, Matthew.
It would perhaps be best if a study in the occult were deffered until you've grown up.
What do you say to reading this instead? It's a rousing adventure story that is more apt to interest you at this stage!"
A copy of Treasure Island was placed in his hand, and Matthew had dutifully thanked his Grandfather.
His Grandfather had been quite correct for Matthew had enjoyed the story of Jim Hawkins, Long John Silver and the adventures
that attended a mysterious island and a pirate's treasure.
But at the same time, his curiosity about the Forbidden Book on The Occult was intensified all the more
because this had been the first time that his Grandfather had ever refused his request for a particular book no matter what the
content or subject matter!
Matthew arose from his chair and as he did so his kneecap popped painfully and he limped about the room in an effort to work the kinks
from his joints. Matthew smiled to himself wryly. At least he knew now what his Grandfather had meant when he said "Grown-Up."
He was of course making reference to the time of life when you groan each time you get up!
Whether he had permission to gain access to the book on the occult or not, one thing that Matthew needn't wait to do was to
learn a definition of the term. His Grandfather had a monstrous unabridged dictionary mounted a stand constructed expressly for the purpose
of holding this one book. The print was so fine that even as a boy Matthew found that he required the use of his Grandfather's magnifying glass
in order to read it.
matters regarded as involving the action or influence of supernatural or supernormal powers or some secret knowledge of them.
Well, that much provided him with a start at least! Let's see now ...
1) of or relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially of or relating to God or a god,
demigod, spirit, or devil
2) departing from what is usual or normal especially so as to appear to transcend the laws of nature
3) attributed to an invisible agent (as a ghost or spirit)
being beyond normal human powers - paranormal
not scientifically explainable - supernatural
Well, it seemed that for the moment at least, Matthew's research with the dictionary had brought him full-circle.
But, my! Wasn't this a fascinating subject!
It was to be a number of years before Matthew was to gain access to the volume in his Grandfather's Library,
but this did not deter him in the least in learning what he could from other sources such as the Public Library
where Matthew was to earn a sterling reputation as being such a bright and studious youngster.
It seemed to be nearly inevitable that one area of study should lead to another and yet another term presented itself to the youthful,
1) an act of offering to a deity something precious; especially the killing of a victim on an altar.
2) the destruction or surrender of something for the sake of something else.
But of course! Wasn't the Key to Power somehow locked in the ability to offer a proper propitiation to the appropriate diety?
Was not one of the Major Religions of this earth based upon the Sacrifice of a particular individual?
And had not the Lord Satan given His Pledge recorded in the first pages of the Old Testament:
"Thou shall not surely die!" in direct contradiction to the admonition of the Creator?
It was for a certainty that he had!
Why it was written there in black and white for all the world to see!
The promise was made available to all who would pay heed!
Therein lie the power to everlasting life on this earth!
Now ... What was the key?
By reason of pure logic, it must come down to either making the proper sacrifice or in offering the correct number of them!
What else could it possibly be?
And if the God of Heaven above demanded and received the sacrifice of a man then it only stood to reason that
the God of this Earth would demand the sacrifice of man's mortal counterpart: a woman!
Ah! But the Gods in their infinite wisdom made all matters so simple!
It was only men in their lack of understanding that made spiritual matters difficult to comprehend!
And so Matthew had embarked upon his long and thus far rewarding career of making a sacrifice of one female of the species after the other.
It was his calling; his mission in life! It became his motivating force: it was of paramount importance and nothing
was to stand in his way!
Still, Matthew was at all times a thoughtful individual. At no time did he embark upon a rampage of wanton slaughter.
His propitiations were all offered in decency and in order. In no way did he crave the adulation of a devoted group of followers
and so he was neither a Witch nor Warlock and neither did he belong to any particular religious sect or denomination.
Matthew was ever grateful to his forebears that he was a Gentleman and so did not have to labor to earn his daily bread.
Over the years he found that two of the Family Retainers were individuals in whom he could place his trust and there were times that
their assistance had proved to be invaluable.
Matthew found that when the time arrived for a ritual to be performed that he never seemed to be wanting for a lack of female flesh
to offer. Yes, he'd read in the book of the occult how the Druids favored a young virgin to slaughter.
This was an obvious misconception as far as Matthew could see.
How many Druids had anyone met in the present day and age?
None that he knew of, so it became obvious that a woman need not necessarily be virginal.
The Aztecs and other religions of that nature seemed to rely on sheer quantity more than anything else.
Well, yes, they too had a calendar that they relied upon and that may have given rise to error, for like the Druids before them,
the Aztec culture was destined to wither and fade away.
To Matthew's mind, an individual like Jack the Ripper may have been somewhat closer to the mark!
He seemed to simply vanish following his crime wave in Whitechapel yet his memory lingered on in song and saga.
But was it only Jack's memory that lingered? Ah, but what an enticing question!
And so, Matthew in due course embarked upon his Quest by emulating the Ripper of that bygone era and slaughtering prostitutes or women
that emulated them in one way or another.
A woman of easy virtue may have been an unfortunate choice of words perhaps yet sadly in many instances it did not stray
overly far from the truth.
Matthew had been younger in those days of course, and in the heat and passion of youth his early endeavors more closely resembled the work
of a less than adequate butcher rather than a proper sacrifice.
But he was working entirely unassisted in those days, so perhaps his inadequacies would be forgiven?
Matthew remembered that he had thought of prostitutes in making his initial sacrifices not out of any malice toward them
but simply because there appeared to be a fair supply that was readily available.
Men, after all were stock in trade for these women and as such they were emminently approachable
by any male who had her price in his pocket.
He was a student at the University, and, as luck would have it, the woman he had on that first occasion was not a paid professional at all,
but rather a fellow student.
The University was not a coeducational institution.
Hardly! But an all-girl's finishing school was no great distance away.
Though they were educated in separate classes and in divergent subjects,
the ladies were ever on hand and readily accessible for the various social occasions that took place at regular intervals at either
Matthew had met Linly in one of these social settings earlier during the scholastic year and while neither had the least intention
to establish anything resembling an alliance, they did chat freely and amicably with one another.
During the course of conversation, Linly let it be known that she was unable to afford the trip home to her parents and so would be staying
very nearly alone in her dormitory at the school.
And so, armed as he was with this item of information, the questions of who, where, and when were all by answered and Matthew had opted
for a brief trip to Linly's dormitory as a simple matter of expediency.
Matthew located her room by simply reading the room number affixed as it was over the pigeonhole that served as her mail-slot to the rear
of the desk in the reception area.
He had arrived completely unannounced having decided earlier that he would simply take his chances on her being alone in her room.
As it happened, it was even somewhat easier than he had anticipated.
The Ladies Finishing School was a venerable old institution which had been constructed in a day and age well before the advent
of anything resembling indoor plumbing.
As such, bathing facilities were a later added feature and so were not located in each and every room.
Rather there was but a single water closet constructed by blocking off one end of the corridor.
A single toilet, sink, tub and shower were considered more than adequate to the needs of the twenty young women who resided on a single floor.
And there taking her shower in the room at the end of the hall was Linly, the only woman on the floor at the time,
and in all likelihood, the only other living soul in the entire Women's Dormitory.
It did not appear that Linly had taken notice of him as Matthew made his approach ...
Very well! She would take notice of him soon enough!
It was omly then that Linly had her first inkling that something was amiss
for it was then that she had turned and saw Matthew coming at her brandishing his knife!
It had been clumsy and gauche of him Matthew realized even at the time ...
But then as his first sacrificial victim dropped the shower head and backed up against the wall of the shower stall,
he had simply not been able to resist the temptation to wave the blade at the terrified young woman.
As he thought back on it now, Matthew realized that he had been less overcome in his desire to torment his victim
as he was unsure where best to stab her!
Matthew had no use whatever for any one of her several internal organs.
No! According to his research and its interpretation, that had been the misconception of many of the early Satanists,
caught up in Church Ritual as they were!
No, his only desire was to aquire a copious amount of her blood!
Blood which he would capture and take away to be stored in apothecary jars he kept hidden in the basement!
This wasn't to be a simple case of murder after all!
His was intended to be a proper sacrificial ritual!
Once his decision was made, Matthew acted without further delay
and promptly drove his knife to the hilt into Linly's slender torso ...
Right in the center ... In an area equi-distant between her heart and her navel,
if his memory served him correctly, and Matthew had no doubt whatever that it did.
Linly screamed quite predictably, but like the proper sacrificial victim that she was,
she offered nothing in the way of meaningful resistance otherwise.
He had anticipated a geyser of blood,
and he grew somewhat concerned when no great amount was immediately forthcoming.
So as Linly doubled instinctively at the waist,
Matthew stood his ground and proceeded to rock the blade he had buried in her gut.
What to do now?
There appeared to be little else that he could do at the moment,
so Matthew withdrew the blade from the woman's belly and stood back as Linly remained doubled over in agony.
And still there was to blood?!
It must be in her somewhere!
But of course!
What else was Linly made up of after all!?
Matthew realized that he was perspiring heavily.
Where on earth was the thermos bottle he had carried with him to capture the blood?
If thre ever was to be any amount of it to speak of!
Next time he would choose a plumper woman to stab!
Perhaps a fatter girl would bleed more easily?
Matthew located his thermos and loosened the cap to have all in readiness.
He admired Linly as she clasped her breast and belly in what was now silent desperation
as she began her slow descent to the base of the shower stall that was to serve as her altar.
As Linly's knees buckled and she continued sliding slowly down the shower wall,
Matthew recalled heaving a sigh of relief.
It wasn't that he had any fear that she would evade either him or his knife.
Matthew had never so much as entertained the notion that she would do that!
No, it was that Linly, at long last, was beginning to bleed!
At last she was to fulfill her destiny as being his first proper propitiation to the Lord Satan!
Now this was more like it!
Matthew knelt to her to catch as much of the free flowing blood as he could from the dying girl.
She must have been having some sort of venal shock earlier and so it had taken a bit more time
for the blood to flow than he had anticipated!
Taken all in all, things were going rather well!
She had not yet finished with her dying,
and so Linly looked up at him in apparent wonder
as Matthew poured another cupful of her blood into his thermos bottle.
Even now, all these years later,
Matthew knew that he had been shaking as he transfered her precious fluid from the cup to the bottle.
So much so that his cup runneth over and so some of her own blood had drooled down and splattered Linly on the chest!
He could but hope that in time he would be forgiven!
Strange how he had been quite able to think so methodically before,
but now that his moment had arrived, he was all atwitter!
Matthew put the stopper back into his now brimming thermos.
He rinsed the cup in the sink and washed the basin throughly.
He screwed the cup back on top of the thermos and nearly succeeded in dropping the bottle in the process!
Now that would have been a dister of the first magnitude!
Matthew set the thermos down on the toilet seat where it would be safe
and turned to look back at Linley, who, at this point had apparently no further interest in the proceedings.
Matthew bent closer in his inspection and noted the darker hollow in her belly where he had stabbed her
and then dipped his cup to avail himself of her blood which was every bit as essential to him as it had been to her!
Matthew straightened up.
Was her hand going to remain locked in that upright position indefinitely?
It seemed to him that he was forgetting something?
Oh, my gracious, yes!
He had purchased a single long stemmed rose from a vendor on the street corner.
If all had not gone quite according to plan,
his intention would be to use it as an excuse to be seen as a visitor to the Ladies Dormitory.
What had he done with it?
There it was!
Right where he had placed it on the sink as he had made his first advance toward the woman in her shower.
He'd leave it with her as a sort of going-away present!
He owed her that much at least!
Matthew placed the rose so that the blossom rested lightly on the dead woman's chest.
Now wasn't that a nice touch?
And so thoughtful of him besides!
And even now after all these many long years,
Matthew had never forgotten Linly's death stare when he had gazed down at her for that last time.
There simply was no refuting the fact that the first of anything is ever the one that stands out in our memory!
Matthew closed the album and stowed in carefully away in it's place in his desk.