Peter


Chapter 9

Undoubtedly no-one realised just how many resting places are available, certainly Peter hadn’t.  Of course, he hadn’t given it much thought until he had embarked on his work, why would he?  There were many broken altar tombs, they were all old and the majority neglected and crumbling. There were vast mausoleums, built to resemble temples and fortresses which were now nothing more than decaying edifices.  He had used those on two occasions already, the rusting hinges and rotten wood of the doors were no problem. 

He remembered the cold, cold as a grave, a quiet snort of laughter escaped as he sat in the dark car, recovering from the emotion of the job in the way that he had found worked best.  Cataloguing them in his memory, listing the souls that he had saved and remembering each one. 

He may be able to use one of those locations again really soon now.  After all they had been amongst his favourites.  The eeriness suited the moment, was perfectly matched to the reasons for him being there.  The first girl to have such a resting place had been small and slight, another piece of smuggled cargo the like of which had become so common in the last years.  She had been very young and had come to him willingly, trustingly.  He had tried not to frighten her, had kept the knife hidden as he had embraced her.  He was sure even now that she had never seen it.  The cutting had been swift and clean, as a result of his effort, his care. 

The training had taken hours and hours of his time, he had bought suckling pigs from the markets and direct from farms, unprepared and fresh.  He had spent much of Gran’s savings on the meat that he had needed to perfect the art.  It was complicated, it needed a surprising amount of strength but it must be smooth also and quick, it had to be quick.  He had felt no guilt depleting Gran’s account; he knew that it had been saved for him anyway.  First for his mother and then when she had gone it was for him. He was taking it early but Gran would understand, she would understand that he had no choice.  She had taught him always, if you are going to do something, you should do it in the very best way that you can and that is what he was determined to do.  He had replaced it anyway, by now many times over.  Carefully drip feeding the account from the envelopes in his bedroom. 

He knew now that he was an expert in his chosen trade, probably as skilled as a surgeon, definitely accomplished as a butcher.  He had studied anatomy, and physiology he was knowledgeable about blood spatter, pouring over the books deep into his lonely nights.  But it was more than that, more important than the technicalities was that he loved them, his blessed prey and the love made the difference. 

See how he loved them, before he had taken the girl to the mausoleum that first time, he had prepared it with care.  Night after night he had crept in, had swept the gritty floor and carefully, respectfully moved the old bones, the disintegrating coffins, had placed them with their grave partners on the stone ledges and then he had laid flowers, wild flowers from the hedgerows and roses from Gran’s tiny garden, a whole carpet of flowers waiting to receive the precious consignment.  No-one would have imagined the amount of planning he had needed to do, the timing had needed to be perfect and it had been so. 

Candles had lighted the damp space and the musk of the wilting blooms had swept around them as he had gently lowered her body to the floral bed.  The beauty of it all had moved him to tears and it had been so very wonderful that he had wanted to do it again the next time.  It was spoilt though; there had been no second time.  The decaying body although still wrapped carefully had tainted the air.  His disappointment had been intense but since then he had done research, had gone back and dealth with the problem.  Soon now he would be able to revisit that site, the quick lime would have done its job.  Yes maybe the next one could be there. 

Before he could accept another assignment though he needed to work.  This car must be sold.  That was already organised.  There was no great mystery to it, he would wash and valet it and he already had an appointment with a second hand dealer.  He would part exchange it for another one, slightly newer of course, otherwise it would seem suspicious, but the same make and model.  The boot was important, it must be big enough to take his packages and be designed with a small lip so that he could lift them in quickly and easily.  Hiding in plain sight, simply part exchange, the paper work couldn’t be traced back to him of course but otherwise there was no need to complicate the issue. 

A great gust of a sigh acknowledged that he must move, it was a long drive home, he had to be there ready to visit Gran later today and before that he would take his reward.  In the quiet of his room, in the security of his own space he would re-live this night, this performance and he would allow himself to revel in the glory of what he had done.

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