There Will Be Blood – Extracts: Raven’s Dilemma

In the third Toten Herzen story Raven has lost her mate, Rob Wallet, and suffered a second setback when Susan Bekker does the dirty on her promise to turn Raven into a vampire. After a brief meeting with an Interpol investigator Raven lets off steam in a phone call to a friend back in Britain.


Raven is questioned by Interpol investigator Pierre Dremba…

“Why are you called Raven if you have blue hair?”

“Because the only bird I know with blue hair or blue feathers is a peacock, and I’d sound a bit stupid calling meself Peacock, wouldn’t I.”

“I suppose so. . . .”

“Rob told me about blue tits, but that’s even worse.”

—-

In a fit of anger Raven is forced to ring a friend…

“Hiya. Is Beff in?”

“Pardon?”

“Is Beff in?”

“Effin what? Who is this?”

“Raven. Is your daughter in? Beff?”

“You mean Elisabeth? Yes, she is. Who are you again?”

“Raven.”

“All right. No need to shout.” Raven heard Beth’s dad bawl into the house, “Lizzy, one of your idiot mates on the phone.”

A response came from a distant room. “Who?”

“Blackbird or something. . . .”

“Raven?”

“Just come to the bloody phone will you. Me arm’s going dead.”

“All right, all right.”

Like a cheap sound effect, footsteps clicked down an unseen tiled corridor, followed by a grappling of the handset. “Watcha.”

“You have no idea how pissed off I am. You know what she’s gone and done?”

“No, what?”

“She’s turned someone’s wife. For years she’s given me the runaround and all that flannel about responsibility and oh, it’s a big decision and you have to be sure you’re ready, and she goes behind me back and turns someone else.”

“What a total bitch.”

Raven pulled a long blue thread of hair across her mouth. “I’m mortified.”

“Who we talking about?”

“Susan.”

“Susan who? Oh, Bekker, sorry.” The penny dropped. “I thought you were going on about your mum.”

“My mum’s not a vampire.”

raven-rants“When did you find out?”

“Ten minutes ago. I’m livid. I’m shaking with anger, I am. Had to talk to someone about it. I mean, of all the backstabbing bullshit things to do. . . .”

“Yeah.”

“And Rob’s no use. He’s off his rocker these days. The other three are no good. I can’t ask Dee. . . .”

“No.”

“Get me bleeding leg bitten off if I asked her. Bloody goblin queen, she is. Gobby shitstirrer. . . .”

“Yeah.”

“I’m so angry. I’m speechless.”

“Yeah.”

“It’s not on.”

“Can you not ask this other person?” said Beth. “This someone’s wife?”

“What? You must be joking. She sounds like a right headbanger. You remember Terence Pearl when he blew up in Rotterdam?”

“Yeah.”

“It was her who turned him. They all thought it was Rob, but she travelled with Tom Scavinio and escaped or something. He can’t control her. She’s like a ravenous tiger. Never satisfied.”

“So what you gonna do? You gonna jack it in? There’s a new Lidl opening round here soon. They’re always wanting staff.”

“Don’t think I could work in Lidl after doing all this. We just got back from Zurich. They’re quite popular in Switzerland for some weird reason.”

“Don’t Toblerones come from Switzerland?”

“Oh I don’t know. Do they?”

“Yeah, I think so. That’s why they’re triangle shaped, so they look like cheese. You know those cheese triangle things.”

“I didn’t know that. Swiss cheese has holes in it, doesn’t it?”

“Yeah.”

“Dutch cheese has holes in it aswell.”

“Must be made by the same company.”

“Yeah.” Raven scratched her head and tried to figure out how the conversation had shifted from vampiric betrayal to Dutch cheese. It was the sort of conversational evolution she expected from Rob Wallet, but Beth also had a deft ability to meander from subject to subject.

“So you working at Lidl then?” said Raven.

“No, I got a job at Aldi.”

“Oh yeah. That’s all right.”

“Yeah.”

“You get any perks?”

“I get shampoo with twenty per cent off,” Beth said.

Raven pulled a fistful of blue hair forward and inspected the ends. “That sounds all right. Is it still green?”

“Is what still green?”

“Your hair.”

“Yeah.”

“I’ll have to confront her.”

“Yeah.”

“Have it out with her. She did promise me, and I do everything she asks. It’s like working for Marie Antoinette sometimes. Do this, do that. You remember The Devil Wears Prada with Meryl Streep saying do this, do that?”

“Yeah.”

“Susan’s just like that, but with sharper teeth. I don’t know if I’m coming or going.”

“No. Wasn’t she married to Russell Crowe or am I thinking of someone else?” Beth’s finger tapped against the phone.

“Susan Bekker never married Russell Crowe.”

“No, Meryl Streep.”

“Oh I don’t know.”

“Susan Bekker not married?”

“No.” Raven pictured Marco Jongbloed, the post-modern partner with the slinky facial hair and what she called his ‘pending hip-replacement limp.’ “She going out with that ancient Dutch geezer. She won’t turn him either. Can you keep a secret?”

“Yeah.”

“The minute he croaks it, Rob Wallet’s gonna be in there.”

“Is he? In where?”

“Susan Bekker’s drawers, where do you think?”

“Oh, right.”

“He’s got a crush on her like Mount Timbuktu. He’s more obsessed about her than he is about, I don’t know, Jeux Sans Frontieres. Makes you wonder where it’ll end. In tears probably. She’s bit him once, I reckon the next time will be the big one. Bite his head off or something like that.”

“Yeah.”

“Anyway, gotta go. Nice talking to you, Beff.”

“Yeah. Watch yourself, babe.”

“If she does turn me, I’ll let you know.”

“Yeah. Send us a text or something.”

“Will do. See ya.”

“See ya.”

Raven ended the call and scrolled through a shrinking list of contacts: Sineads and Ambers, Morganas and Morticias, Gwendolyns and Gwyneths. Names that grew ever more distant as Raven’s life departed ever further from civilisation. She tried one more.

“Hiya. Is Bronwyn there?”

“Who?”

“Bronwyn.”

“Don’t know anyone called Bronwyn. You got the wrong number.”

 

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