Waiting, that is what it is all about. There is of course a technical term for it. There is a technical term for almost anything. In this case the term was ambush hunting. Martin though preferred to think of it as the waiting game. It was a game of course. A deep, deadly and at its end bloody game of seduction and betrayal, a dance of death, in which one partner did not know that they were dancing.
Tonight Martin intended his partner to be Tommy, the graceful youth with pale lips and deep blue eyes; who had draped himself across the end of the bar at the Kabouter, seemingly oblivious to what was going on. The decadent evil of the place seemed to offer no thrill for him or for that matter any interest. That was probably true, for how can anybody like Tommy appreciate the fine interplay of corruption that fills places like blot that was the Kabouter?
Martin though well appreciated that corruption. He had been brought here, when hardly eight, and seated on a bollard by the Hertengracht, outside the window whilst his father and uncle had auctioned off his services for the night. The memory of that night is long lost to Martin or to be more correct subsumed into a thousand and one nights that past-until he was old enough not to stand outside and be bid for by the ancient scented men but t0 come in and sell his body to those he choose.
The only thing he recalled from that first evening was the smell rising from the canal behind him mixing with the tobacco smoke drifting out from the brown bar. He forgot the faces that looked out from the window at him, or the events that followed that night. All he remembered was the feeling he got from the tablet his uncle had given him, the one he wanted more of in the weeks and months to come and the present his father had given him the next day for being a "good boy".
Oh, there was also the loss. He could not say what it was that he had lost but he knew he had lost something. Nowadays he had a name to put to it. It was innocence, but what that was he could not say. Maybe Tommy had it maybe that was why he seemed so untouched by this place.
Not that Martin could accept that, innocence could never come through the door of the Kabouter. It would instantly know the evil that existed within and draw back from it. That Martin knew so he was certain that Tommy must be drawn to that evil. To be so drawn, yet seeming unaffected by it, meant that the youth must be possessed of that specific evil that is so purely evil, that all others leave it unaffected. That was what made Tommy Martins prey.
The first time the youth had entered the bar, Martin had sensed it. He had an awareness of evil in its many forms, for had he not either sold or indulged in, or often both, all of the evils the Kabouter had to offer. No depravity had been too much for him, no activity too extreme. He was a connoisseur of all that was dark and hidden in man's soul, and he knew full well what was hidden in Tommy's.
So it was that Tommy had become an unknowing partner in a dangerous dance. Yes, there was danger. Martin knew full that there were risks in obtaining the feast of blood that he so desired. The very thought of that feast brought a delightful tingling to Martin's lips and a sense of anticipation to his being. He raised his eyes and looked down the length of the room to the corner of the bar, where Tommy perched on a high stool, half draped. half slumped across the end of the bar.
Stefan, that old queen, predatory like a big cat, a black cat, preying always on youth in the hope of regaining that which he had long lost, stood beside him, no doubt offering Tommy inducements to share his company. It was not, Martin noticed, so much the caste that Tommy ignored the man and his blandishments, it was more the case that he was oblivious to them. For him they did not exist, they had no importance. Martin guessed that there was no debauchery; no corruption; no sweet evil that Stefan could offer that came near to what Tommy sought.
As if to confirm his guess the youth looked up from his glass of forbidden drink, a half smoked cigarette hanging precariously from his lower lip and smiled at Martin their eyes meet and in that meeting Matin found confirmation of what he already knew Tommy sought true evil. Not the fashionable display of debauched perversion. that is just the illusion of evil. Nor did he seek the corrupt excess of the drugged addict, for their evil are an illusion for it is without understanding or intent. Tommy craved for that well-thought evil, that is, pure in intent and execution, not done because it is the current fad, or seems interesting, nor sunk into out of despair and self loathing. Tommy sought that pure evil, the evil whose act is fully understood and is committed because it can be, in the full knowledge of its consequences and its delights. This is what Martin knew he could supply. This was the moment Martin has been waiting for; soon the feast of blood would begin. He started to move down the bar, as he did his hand slipped into his pocket, seeking out the thumb blade, that sharp pointed thimble with a razors edge, which he slipped onto his thumb.
Those within the bar knew him for what he was. Why not, for they knew his history it was they who had made him what he was. Had they not paid for his body to warm them during the long nights of pure debauchery? Had they not led him into excesses beyond the imagining of all but the most corrupt? They had been with him when first he had raped and filmed him when he had, still a child, made his first kill. They knew him well, in word, deed and act, and they knew that he now exceeded them in all aspects of evil and corruption. Now he hunted and this they understood, wondering what was his prey. Hoping it was not them.
So they drew back and watched as he passed by, forming a free corridor in this crowd of inhuman mortality. They watched as Martin approached the youth, the aloof stranger who only recently had come to this bar, and gave a sigh of relief. The hunter was not hunting them. Martin stopped and looked at the youth. How old was he, eighteen, nineteen, maybe younger, maybe older? Martin was well aware that what he saw did not reflect that beings true age, it never did with their kind. Around the bar were boys at their trade, hardly into their teens, and already passing for eighteen or twenty. Soon, that which brought them their business would pass. Martin himself looked more like thirty than the just turned twenty that he was, twelve years in the Kabouter had taken their toll.
Twelve years of hunting, twelve years of waiting, for what? For this, for the youth who now raised his head and smiled at him. Somehow Martin had known, right from those early days, when it had been his body that was sold and not his soul, that Tommy would exist. This youth who evil seemed to wash around like water on a seashore rock, yet though he seemed untouched Martin knew that even he would be worn down eventually.
That is why he had waited, why he had carefully prepared. It had be five days before when the youth had first entered the bar. Just after eight on a dark late autumn night, when the first frosts of the winter yet to come, made themselves known. For the Kabouter it was early, the place was barely open, though for its regulars it never really closed. There had been some ten or so in the bar. Martin sat at his comer table, a bottle of cheap red wine and a half full glass. He had looked up expecting to see a tourist who had lost his way from the carefully prepared sights of the red light district and wondered into the shambles that was the Kabouter's world. Such would stray in every now and again, drawn like ships to a wreckers light by false promise of warmth and safety, to be quickly fleeced and turned out again, or, if the locals felt playful, drawn into activities they would long wish to forget. Such forgetfulness being impossible, for each month thereafter the bill for the night’s entertainment would arrive, with photos showing what they had done!
The youth who entered that night was no lost tourist but a seeker, seeking that which he knew only the Kabouter would be able to supply. He went to the end of the bar, taking the high stool, it had now become his place, and ordered absinthe. Piet, held back his denials that they had the stuff and poured the forbidden drink, asking for the name to be put on the tab. "Tommy". The name reverberated through the silent bar, where all wondered who the youthful stranger might be? What were his perversions? Was he selling, buying or both? Even then Martin had known him for what he was, choosing him as victim upon that first sight. It was then that the hunt began. There had been no contact that first night, no that was far too soon, it could easily scare the prey away. The next night when Tommy entered, Martin acknowledged his right to be there with a short incline of the head. Later that evening, they spoke briefly by the cigarette machine, whilst eyeing up a boy who was leaning on the canal side rail, outside the window, his price chalked on the sole of his shoe. Though both commented upon the boy, neither had any interest, for his corruption was too innocent to appeal to their tastes.
There was no contact the following evening, other than a quick acknowledgement of each other presence, but all that night Martin had been aware of the youth's eyes upon him. He knew that Tommy was interested in him, ready to take the bait, but he needed to be certain that Tommy would take the hook as well. So the next night Martin stayed away. That was a rare event. Few in Kabouter could remember a night when he had not been present, even if only for a few minutes to pick up a client.
So Martin had Tommy's interest. An interest fuelled by the fear that he might not be there. He would want Martin, desire him and would not risk losing him. Martin placed himself at the bar next to the youth. For a moment Stefan looked annoyed, then, acknowledging that Martin was master here, moved away. Tommy looked up at him, a slight smile on his face. There were no words, just an exchange of looks, they both knew this game. With a glance Martin indicated the door that led out to the side ally and its lost world beyond. Tommy nodded and removed his wallet, extracting a medium denomination note that more than covered his tab, placing it under his glass in payment to Piet.
He stood and the two the them exchanged smiles, both in anticipation of what was to come, both enjoying some secret anticipation of the fulﬁlment of their desire. Walking together they left the bar, the pale youth and the dissolute man aged beyond his years. Out in the ally they found darkness, the only light coming from a spluttering gas street light and the end, and even that was across the canal.
Both welcomed this darkness, for it was their world, a world of deception and evil. A world that embraced them, just as Martin embraced Tommy, drawing him close to his body. Their lips meet, fleetingly, a symbolic hint at desire, then moved on for each sought something else. Martin's steel tipped thumb came up to stroke the youth's bare neck he did not see the feral snarl on Tommy's face, as his lips pulled back revealing vampire fangs that sunk deep into Martin's neck.
Blood of the evil doer, life of evil, filled Tommy's mouth, a sweet spring of debauchery upon which to drink and he drank deep. As he did Martin lunged, his thumb blade cutting deep into the vampire’s throat, from it he drank his fill.
The Gift carrier, taken without consent, stolen, and with that theft came much more than vampire immortality. For it carried in its substance the memories of a thousand years and more of being, the immortals doom.
Tommy drew back from his feast, laughing with total joy. His hand clamping Martin's mouth upon his neck forcing him to drink more than his fill. Tommy, was right, he had found that evil that he had sought. One who would take that which is not given, and in doing so would give him the end to immortality that he could no longer bear.
The agony of transformation filled Martin's body as he went from mortal to immortal. He sought to withdraw from his gruesome feast, but with the last of his strength Tommy held him there. Feeding him the memories of all his years, the timeless monotony of days without end, that goes on and on until they are too much to bear. In those memories Martin found the truth, that he had been hunted, by one who wanted release.