Laurent De Castelnau’s severed head sat in the centre of a cheap kitchen table, staring at the five captains gathered in front of him in accusation. In death his true face was now permanently on display. A yellow hue to his once smooth brown skin, sunken cheeks, two rows of pointed teeth and a ridged, protruding brow; the vampire face he had always been so careful to hide.
In the warmth of the crematorium, Myles could feel the sweat pooling under his armpits. He knew that there would be visible stains there and so kept his arms tight at his sides. In the moments of silence that the service offered, he became conscious of his breathing. He held his breath to avoid breathing too loudly, only to then realise how odd a long exhale would appear and having to release it in shallow breaths. The priest’s words reached his ears, but he never took them in. He put his hands together when needed, stood and sat on cue, but his thoughts kept wandering. Would as many people turn out for his funeral? What would they say about him? It was a pity that he wouldn’t be able to write his own eulogy. He wouldn’t want this kind of service anyway, with everyone just looking at his coffin and being sad. The prayers went on too long as well, as though they were dragging it out just to throw a bit of faith at the non-believers.
When Hazel Loman reached her front gate, she stopped and pulled the bobble out of her hair. She still felt tired and couldn’t get the smells of meat and dairy out of her nose, but just being able to shake her wavy, strawberry blonde hair loose made her feel that bit better. When she put the key in her front door and turned, the door was pulled open from inside. She yelped, before clamping a hand over her mouth. “Hazel.” Her father stood at the door, chuckling. “Sorry if I startled you.” She felt her cheeks burning as she stepped inside. “Hi dad. Yeah, no worries.” “How was work?” “It was work.” She said with a shrug.
It is the early hours of the morning, still dark. A strong fire fills the air of the roundhouse with thick smoke, as inside the mud walls and thatched straw roof a child is born. Caoimhé finishes pushing and almost immediately the child starts bawling, grasping at the air.
Myles Dáithín was early, because of course he was. It was an uncanny knack that he had when he was trying to turn up late, or at least not first, that everything would take far less time to do than normal. Even the buses, normally reliably late, would arrive not just on time but actually early or late enough to coincide with him reaching the bus stop.