So I drank his blood. It doesn’t mean I wanted him dead, does it? I panicked as the blood soaked into the carpet. I couldn’t just stand there while everyone was frozen with shock, so I did what I should have done as soon as it happened – I hiked up my skirt, crawled across the table, and licked up the blood that was dripping off the edge. Sir Rice was lying on the floor, just below me, blood oozing out his head. Melville knelt down and felt for a pulse. “He’s dead,” she said. There was an intake of breath, a few sobs and an “Oh Jeeeesus!” as I slithered off the table, onto his corpse, and sucked on his temple.
You’ve got to take opportunities as they come.
I’ve had laser resurfacing, microdermabrasion, dermal fillers, carboxytherapy, Recell therapy, breast implants, liposuction, and platelet-rich plasma therapy. I’ve been plucked, waxed, threaded, and had my eyebrows tattooed. I’ve attended spa treatments, positive thinking boot camps, ran a three-minute mile. I start the day twinkling the little star. I’m on the Buchan-Smith Untoxification diet. And this morning I found another wrinkle. This morning I found a stretch mark. This morning my eyes were puffed, and I had a pimple on my ass. This morning I changed my PRP and dermal filler appointments to every three months. This morning I went for microdermabrasion and changed my appointments to every week. This morning I had that pimple lasered, and I knocked back my spinach latte laxative therapy cocktail.
Dr Buchan-Smith said to me: “You need to relax. You need to think yourself young.”
“How can I relax?” I said. “How can I think myself young when The Kariakoo Contract is falling apart? How can I think myself young when I have the burden of the slave labour uprising on my shoulders, when I need to have their families kidnapped, tortured, and disappeared? No one can relax with that schedule. Up my Recell therapy to every two months. Up laser resurfacing to twice a week.”
“Do you know what people used to do?” he said. “They used to drink the blood from the pulsing necks of executed criminals.”
“That’s a pretty twisted way to relax.”
“Eternal youth,” he said. “Life-force,” he said.
The nurse topped up my spinach latte laxative therapy cocktail, and I said, “What?”
“The Dark Ages,” he said. “They used to think that blood contained a life-force, and if you ingested it, that life-force would transfer to you. Eternal youth,” he said.
I stared at my spinach drink, and thought blood wouldn’t really taste all that bad.
So, sure, I took a syringe from The Clinic. So, yeah, I went in to that board meeting with the express purpose of taking some of Bevan’s blood. It’s not stealing. She doesn’t need it all. She looks twelve, for god’s sake. All pert and bubbly and like she’s made of plastic. The bitch smokes 40 a day, drinks like a prole, and as far as I can see, doesn’t even attend The Clinic. She’s a walking airbrushed model with a first-class degree and business awards coming out of her perfect little ass. She’s The Company’s top executive, and Sir Reilly’s darling businesswoman of the year. She could spare some blood.
It wasn’t my fault the coffee got mixed up. You can hardly call it murder. You can hardly call it manslaughter. But if you were, just say if you were, then the name you’d be looking for is Bryce.
It was just a light sedative, something to make Bevan’s morning a little easier, something to guarantee she wouldn’t notice the needle piercing her perfect skin. I slipped in the powder and looked up to find Bryce staring at me, eyes narrowed, her thin lips pursed. I sidestepped her, put on my best Julia Roberts smile and held out the coffee to Bevan.
“Morning, Sian. A little pick-me-up?”
“Looks like you could do with a pick-me-up, Dundas. Looking a little tired round the eyes.”
The hand in my pocket twitched, grasping at the needle. I might have considered stabbing her in the eye; a fleeting thought before Bryce swept between us, took the coffee and nudged me into the table. A paperweight rolled onto the floor as she glided through the boardroom. Maybe I wanted to pick it up and smash her skull in, maybe that crossed my mind. I watched her offer the coffee to MD Sir Reilly Rice and turn to me with a smile and a wink. I stared at the door next to the table. I thought of my exit, I thought of a flight to Zanzibar. I thought of joining the slaves in their uprising.
“Dundas asked me to give you this, Sir.” She raised her voice. “Dundas made it just the way you like it.”
That bitch must have thought it was poison. That bitch must have thought I had it in for Bevan. That bitch ruined my morning and thought she was framing me for murder. Maybe I wanted to reach for that paperweight and smash her skull in. Maybe that crossed my mind. Maybe this was worse than having a pimple on my ass.
Sir Reilly’s eyelids started to droop, his head lolling on his neck. He squeezed his thumb and forefinger into his eyes. Blinking, he stood. Everyone heard the crack of his head as it hit the corner of the table.
So if you’re going to call it murder, if you’re going to call it manslaughter, the name you’d be looking for is Bryce. All I did was drink some blood. You can’t fault me.
“Life-force,” Dr Buchan-Smith said. “Eternal youth.”
And don’t I look ravishing? Don’t I look 18 again?
Thanks to Mark Nicholls. This piece was originally part of a collaboration project instigated by Mark.