The Beast, Pt. 47 (Chapter 15m)

The girl tilts her head to the side, smiling. “So, really. What’s going on in here? Blood transfusion?”

I nod my head towards the auto-doc. “IV drip. Out with the bad toxins, in with the good.”

She wrinkles her nose at me. “Toxins, huh?”

I frown, suddenly on the defensive. “Not toxins like… Damnit, auto-doc, will you field this?”

The auto-doc makes a show of clearing its non-existent throat. “The gentleman actually does have a variety of toxins present in his bloodstream.”

“There. See? I’m not–”

“Even a cursory analysis of the gentleman’s blood reveals traces of alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, amphetamines, opiates, nicotine, racetams–”

“Hey! Doctor-patient confidentiality, huh?”

The auto-doc smiles at me. “I’m sorry. I thought you wanted me to ‘field this.’ I assumed that meant you were giving me the freedom to be forthcoming and thorough. Particularly since you two are friends and all.”

“Less forthcoming and thorough, please,” I mutter. I glance up at the girl’s face and I’m irritated to see that she looks genuinely shocked. She must not have realized that she’d stumbled into the big leagues of substance abuse. I take this opportunity to study her more closely, to try and see her since I didn’t see the last girl I was talking to (somewhat literally, in fact.) She’s young. College-aged or just out of it. Probably a friend of the two girls we invited back to the villa earlier.

That makes sense, in fact. They got here, they hung out some, Googe and Papa Chub encouraged them to invite their friends. And why not? We’re down to earth fellows, reasonably pleasant and attractive individuals. Strange, but not creepy. Fun, but not dangerous. I mean, if I were going to accept an invitation back to the preposterously extravagant hotel room of a total stranger, I’d want that stranger to be someone like me and my friends. Why not invite your friends to come and share in the wealth and the good times?

And besides, there’s safety in numbers. If we were dangerous, it’d be better for the girls to have their friends and their side. Not that we are, but one has to try and maintain a level of awareness that no two people share the same world view. I look at my friends and see the modern day equivalent of a wandering troupe of clowns, but the girls might very well see ravenous beasts.

I tilt my head to the side and grin. I hope it looks goofy and boyish. Probably it looks like a cat staring down a mouse. “You’re looking at me like I’m going to eat you.”

The uneasy look on her face doesn’t change. Her voice is sharp, acerbic. I imagine it’s supposed to mask whatever fear she might be feeling. It doesn’t. Or maybe I’m just projecting. “You’re literally full of drugs,” she says. “It kind of crossed my mind, yeah.”

“No, I’m literally full of traces of drugs.” I look over at the auto-doc. “Right?”

The machine sighs again. “Metaphorically, that’s literally correct, yes.”

I turn back to the girl and smile. “See? I’m perfectly harmless.” Smile a bit wider. Don’t say it. There’s no reason to say it. It’s stupid to say it. But the words are already leaving my lips. “And besides, I have no appetite for you.”

Stupid. A stupid thing to say. And yet, for whatever reason, it cuts through her fear and kindles annoyance in her. She pouts. She folds her arms across her chest, pushing her breasts up. Not that I notice. “’No appetite for me?’ What’s that supposed to mean?”

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