Before our births, void of choice, we became part of the story,
During our lives, with a choice, we can't escape the story,
After death, abandoned choice, the story continues to seep.
- Andrew Mansell

Category: Long Stories

The Pathology

Feast Time

Once the result of a blood test is known, people don’t care where their tubes of blood end up. In fact, blood is the last thing to cross their minds. If questioned, I suppose, people screened as healthy would hope for their drawn blood to end up at the Red Cross, used to save lives in transfusions, but that’s far from the truth. You see, after testing and being stored for a week or so, all the blood is supposed to be disposed of as bio waste and incinerated.  Well, disposing of the blood is what I do officially but unofficially, it’s a feeding frenzy.

People see me as a lab rat working at The Pathology which on appearances is correct but there is a little more to it – I’m a Vampire on the graveyard shift, pardon the pun. Start at 10pm and finish at 6am – times that many a generation before me have killed for.  Mostly, I go about my duties unnoticed as the people on the late shift are always half asleep, well what human wouldn’t be? That’s fine with me, especially in summer as I start late and finish early, avoiding the annoying lingering twilight and early sunrise that really can burn.  You know, I barely have to hide my fangs from the zombie people down here. Long gone are the days when I had to grind my own fangs down not to be noticed.

Back to the blood – I prefer the rare types, A or B negative or if I’m lucky AB negative as the plasma from these leave gorgeous hints of red and white blood cells on my palate, quenching my thirst, my hunger. The more common varieties of blood, O and A positive don’t do it for me, just like cheap wine – I dread the day of ever returning there. Of course, drinking from the lab blood tubes may make me out as settling for second rate, in some ways I agree, but when your daily bread is before you, it’s far more satisfying to eat right away than to take home and put in the freezer for thawing on another day.

Only one human down here in the basement seems to be wary of me, the new woman. She’s alert but that may just be beginner’s enthusiasm. Once she’s been here a while the blush from her cheeks and the sparkle in her eye will pale as the tiredness sets in. I must say though, if I were a human, I would dare to call her attractive. Sometimes, I sense her watching as I remove labels, which contain names and blood types, off the blood tubes. Although the pathology may be a recession proof business, these personal details are some kind of insurance if I ever end up in the street. Just look at Uncle Sava, he thought cannibalism would last forever.  Besides, if I feel like a feast, I have a readymade donor list. If only donors would give their lives as enthusiastically as they give their blood.

The new woman wanders off, leaving me uninhibited with the tubes. I discard the positive blood samples and seal them in bio waste bags, leaving the negative blood for my disposal. I take the lid off a tube, Sandra Carey, 9 The Boulevard, Ivanhoe, AB negative – clear, and let the beautiful blood trickle down my throat. I’m overwhelmed and feel lured. I imagine a moonless weekend, paying Sandra a visit, hoping to be invited in, and then, feast time. By the way, tomorrow is Saturday, only one nap away.

I always keep the emptied blood tubes with me as they remind me of the entree, the taster I sampled of the main meal awaiting. I flick the electricity off to Sandra’s house and wait for her to come out. I’m so glad she’s alone. I’m feeling an intimacy fast develop.  She walks out slowly, holding a candle that casts no shadow. She takes forever just to open the fuse box. I can’t take my fix off her as she fumbles about and I barely notice myself creep to within striking distance.

‘Excuse me,’ I say. ‘Do you need a hand?’

Surprisingly, she doesn’t flinch. ‘Why, yes,’ she says calmly. ‘I’ve lost power.’

If only she knew the power she was about to lose. Such provocative words I think as I flick the electricity back on. ‘There.’

‘Thank you.’ She smiles. ‘I’m useless with these sorts of things.’

‘My pleasure,’ I say and stare at her, waiting for, wanting an invite in. You know, I’ve never been pushy or rude. It would be against my morals to invite myself in. Her look somehow triggers a sense of familiarity with me.

‘Would you like to come in for a coffee?’ she offers. ‘It’s the least I can do.’

‘Sure,’ I say but imagine drinking a brew far more intoxicating.

I follow her inside and up the hall to the kitchen that is lit only by her candle – suits me. This human almost seems inhuman. I stand close and watch her attempt to grind some coffee beans. She grapples about as if coffee’s just arrived from another planet. Anyway, I raise my focus to her neck, her jugular to be precise.  I lean towards her and my breath begins to warm her neck.  She turns in a heartbeat and confronts me with her fangs. I sway back.

‘Don’t be so surprised,’ she says in a wickedly gorgeous way. ‘You really had no idea. Did you?’

‘You seem familiar now.’

‘The Pathology, perhaps.’ She teases.

It starts to come to me. ‘The new woman!’

‘Her name’s Silvana and she’s a Vampire woman, to be exact. ‘She drops the coffee beans and they disperse over the kitchen floor. ’

‘I knew it.’

‘But you didn’t.’

‘Yes,’ I sighed. ‘But I wanted you not to be human.’

We move close to each other and our fangs almost touch.

‘That blood you officially dispose of.’ Silvana pauses and gently puts her knee between mine.

‘Yes.’ I say as my knees squirm, wanting to tap each other but can’t.

‘Can you spare a little for me?’ Silvana asks although I’m positive she knows my answer.

‘And what do I get in return?’ I say, stalling the hopeful inevitable.

‘How about we check the depth of my coffin?’ Silvana whispers.

My knees answer by pressing her knee tight. ‘Now, you’re talking.’ I eventually whisper back.


Andrew Mansell, a short while ago.


Shell Shock


So long as mum roughly knew my whereabouts and I was back for dinner, she didn’t seem to care for details. Way to go, mum. Perfect for a sixteen year old boy who begun to be drawn to and appreciate the curvature of the opposite sex. The girl more alluring than any other was Anne. Not just because her breast brushed against my chest once, well that did help, but it was her smile and friendly persona that just made me feel the same, sort of like contagious laughter. Out of the blue, I found myself daydreaming of Anne, or was it fantasying? I can’t clear up that blurry line. Even while engrossed in reading, my favourite pastime, images of Anne overwhelmed the words I read. And then there was dad’s nagging rhetorical question, have you got a girlfriend yet? Girls were beginning to make some sort of sense, their being grow in significance.

On New Year’s Day, Dad’s snoring penetrated all rooms of the house; any louder and his sound waves could of forced open the flyscreen door. I was glad to escape before he woke, wanting to go fishing again – boring. As I said bye to mum, I remembered the night before and how Anne and I managed to dodge our parents and kiss twice behind the boat shed. I’m sure Anne’s mum never trusted me and was glad we only saw each other over the summer holidays. That was going to change big time when I got my driver’s licence. I planned to drive the four hours to Bright and take Anne out. Anne said her mum would have to let me stay the night. Can you believe, Anne even heard her mum, tell my mum, that Anne and I were too young? I’m glad mum just laughed and took nobody’s side.

An eerie calm accompanied my walk down Cove Avenue towards the entrance of Point Nepean. I could still smell fireworks in the sprinkling mist but the noise and spectacle of the night before were long gone. I wanted to run but held back and walked as fast as I could. I had to appear calm, not in a hurry, and definitely not like one of those goofy walkers that call themselves athletes. I knew Anne would be waiting for me near the visitor centre. She always got there first. I saw her behind the bike rack, leaning against the straggly trunk of a tea tree. Of course she’d already seen me – she smiled. All of a sudden an excited nervousness overwhelmed me and I too couldn’t help but smile. I wanted to kiss but we didn’t touch, just in case somebody watched. We already knew our plan

‘Hi,’ I said and fixed my eyes on hers.

‘About time,’ she said and stared back.

Her tease had no effect on me. My eyes were not about to shift their gaze. She could even have called me a dropkick and I wouldn’t have cared. I felt like we were trapped in a timeless spell, gawking at each other.

‘Come on,’ Anne finally said, ‘let’s go.’

We began our walk towards the old fort.

‘I’m going to miss you,’ she said.

‘Chill out.’ I laughed. ‘We’ve still got today – and tonight.’

‘I know but I want these holidays to last forever.’

‘Will your mum let us kiss goodbye?’ I couldn’t help but joke.

‘Shut your face.’ Anne frowned in a nice way and grabbed my hand.

Dreams of Reality

Andrew Quested

Once the late evening rain ceased, a gentle sea breeze wandered into the void. A fresh fragrance from the conifer hedge drifted through a wide open window of the master bedroom. Anthony and Connie moved into a deeper sleep, unconscious of their bodies’ joy in the rejuvenating cool air. Earlier they had tossed and turned before dozing off in the energy-sapping sultry atmosphere that recently had a hold of the Mornington Peninsula. The sea breeze did not blow alone as it ventured further into the bedroom. It carried someone uninvited from an ancient time – a time when stories were chiselled in stone and editing of them a crime.

In the moment before wakening, Anthony felt a thrusting pelvis press upon him. The cotton sheet he had slept under lay strewn on the floor. Finger nails gently scratched his shoulder blades. From her warm breath floated Kapet incense. A talcum like powder with a subtle vanilla scent covered her being. He saw hazel eyes through her woven feathered mask.

‘You are perfect,’ she said in an Aramaic tongue. She then faded as did the breeze.