The Herd

Devin sat down in a rocking chair—a quaint gift to Ms. Generro from her mother—and held his book firmly in his hands, waiting for everyone to arrive. He always liked book clubs; they represented a higher form of intellectualism than he had previously known in life. Today they were discussing Infinite Jest, a rather fascinating creation that showed him how far humanity had come and how low they had fallen at the same time. It pleased him. Ms. Generro sat motionless across from him, waiting for the others to arrive. Soon, Mr. Fennyman and Mrs. Nimbin both arrived carrying their copy of Infinite Jest. Devin cleared his throat.

“Hello all, and thank you for joining us today. I hope every is well and, most crucially, that you are all well-fed.” Devin chuckled an earthy laugh that would have frightened most. Instead the trio laughed emotionlessly and stared at Devin patiently. “As I was saying, literature has been of great import to me since my transformation, so I am more than pleased, indeed I dare say I am rapturously ecstatic, that you three would join me in my discussion of this most interesting novel. It features with esoteric prominence the faults and blessings of addiction, a subject about which I am uncannily knowledgeable.”

“Mr. Fox, I believe you are the best to answer this question: what does it mean to be addicted? To what are you addicted?” Mr. Fennyman asked the question, his voice mirroring inflection, a shadowy quality about his tone and timbre. Devin looked at him with a rehearsed quality. It was the third time they had gone through this particular dialogue, though not with this particular book.

“Mr. Fennyman, you have only to look at yourself to find the answers to my puzzle. Are you not an incarnation of my desires? You drink excessively, you hire prostitutes, infect yourself with drugs, and commit the basest of crimes too abhorrent to discuss. Before you met me,” Devin walked closer to Mr. Fennyman and caressed his head and neck, rubbed his fingers along the thin and emaciated veins in his normally obscured arm. “Before you met me, were you not a complete catastrophe, an explosive awaiting detonation from the short fuse of your life? You are base, degenerate, amoral, and perfect. You are what I want to become.” Devin moved closer as though to drink from Mr. Fennyman’s bare throat, for which the man seemed to have no objection or opinion. Before he did, however, Devin moved away and glided to Mrs. Nimbin.

“But, you, Mrs. Nimbin, you know what you are.”

“I bring justice,” the middle-aged woman said, her voice sounding like repetition and patterned after Devin’s inflection.

“You bring justice. You don’t care about rules or ethics, only about pure, unbridled vengeance. You are the hidden blade of the law, a deadly weapon enacted by a wrathful past. How many rapists have you killed and made it look as though they attacked you, a police officer and supposed ‘arm of the law?’”

“Not enough.”

Devin stroked Mrs. Nimbin’s hair lovingly and she looked at him with cold and hateful eyes, eyes that he loved more than anything. “If only I could take your eyes and leave your soul behind. But such are windows, that they cannot be stolen without penetrating the house to which they belong.” Devin looked over at Ms. Generro and walked quietly over to her. He knelt at her legs and put his hands on her thighs.

“And you, my dear. Beautiful, pure, driven; a reverend and a virgin, married to your religion. Are you the emancipation of my soul, something that allows me the most perfect of beliefs? In you I see my wife, the culmination of all my false Gods and failed worships; a lifetime of hope destroyed only to be reborn in this angelic demon, tempting me with purity while I corrupt it with the Truth of our existence: we are alone.” Devin grabbed Ms. Generro by the neck and nibbled at her neck, his need to feed almost unbearable.

“You are the only thing I think about, my love,” Ms. Generro said, her voice almost playful. She took Devin’s hand and put it to her breast. The others watched passively. Devin pushed himself away.

“But tonight, we just discuss this novel, not my vices or my virtues. Tonight is for you, my minions. Now, discuss.” Devin sat down, looking at his flock with a lust in his inhuman eyes.

Devin walked along the streets after their book club meeting, most proud of himself for his choice in subjects. He knew he had to restrict himself from feeding on them, however, lest they lose all humanity. In a flash, his eyes glowed red as his ears perked up, aware of another presence shadowing him. He turned cautiously to see a dark figure in the shadows.

“Be aware that we are watching, Devin Xavier Fox, and we are not pleased with what we see.”

“And to whom do I have the unenviable pleasure of speaking, that you so surreptitiously speak to me in so threatening a manner?”

“Who I am and who I represent are not of your concern. Know only that to be as bold as you is to endanger us all, and we will not tolerate it.”

“I am only as bold as my station allows, and to suggest that you could prevent me from accomplishing anything is presumptuous. Dare you threaten me?” The figure receded into the shadows, a dark laughter echoing around the alleyway.

Devin felt concerned.

The Herd

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