Bernhard’s Hobby (Part 1)
D. Paul Angel
Bernhard sat on the edge of the metal table, deliberately picking his finger nails with the tip of a large, sharp hunting knife. White tufts of chest hair poked out from the unzipped top of the crisp crimson jump suit he was wearing. He lifted his head to look at the man laying on the floor. He had ruddy cheeks, a day’s worth of stubble, and piercing blue eyes that seemed to be coldly laughing at a cruel joke no one else had heard.
The man on the floor was naked and in excellent physical condition. He was built with an athletic form that looked graceful even when awkwardly slumped on the floor.
Bernhard cleared his throat. When the man didn’t respond he did so again with stage emphasis. He spoke when the man still remained comatose, “I know you’re awake. Your kind always are, eh?
“You really need for me to come over there and kick you?”
“No,” the man said with a deeply sonorous voice as he rose with adroit quickness, “that should not be necessary.”
The man looked at Bernhard with easy, mocking comfort. He showed no unease or modesty at being naked, nor did he flaunt it. It was simply his state of dress, or lack there of.
“What do you mean,” the man asked as Bernhard rose and stood facing him, “my kind?”
“Are you are really going to pretend you’re not a vampire? I did, after all, go to considerable effort to bring you here.”
“Quite,” the man said. His mouth turned up in a quirk and then faster than Bernhard could react the man lunged. There was an immediate, bright blue light and a loud BANG! before the man was on the floor again. He wasn’t quite unconcious, but he certainly appeared stunned.
“Force field,” Bernhard said simply. “Surely you watched Star Trek at some point, if not even, perhaps, when they were first run?”
“What can I say,” the man said with instantly regained composure, “I was never a fan of Science Fiction.”
“Well, I’m sure you get the basics, and I doubt you care for the details. Suffice to say, the force field stops you, but it won’t. Stop. Me.” Bernhard’s eyes twinkled with unconcealed lust.
“So this is it then? Do you think I infected someone you cared for? Bit a family member perhaps?”
“Oh no, my friend, you are, shall we say, practice.”
“Practice for what?”
Bernhard held the knife up with a flourish as the man’s arms and legs suddenly went rigid as the force filed suspended him in the air with his arms and legs splayed out.
“The force fields provide for more than just walls. It is also a 25th century pillory of sorts.”
“I noticed,” the man said, “but it still doesn’t explain what all this is for?”
“For? For? Why it’s to hone my new craft. My first couple subjects chose death over pain. But you, you have no choice but to choose pain now then do you?”
“How many more subjects have there been?” the Man asked.
“Not many, unfortunately,” Bernhard answered. He ran the knife gently across the man’s body in a grotesque parody of tenderness. “I fought the urges for years. Wasn’t proper. Plus, with the near constant surveillance on Star Ships its nigh on impossible to get away with sneaking a smoke, let alone playing with someone.”
“Isn’t this still the starship? It looks it.”
“Oh we’re in Space, alright, just not on a starship. This is a Way Station. No surveillance and just me to man it. There are always stowaways, and the visiting Captain’s only concern is that the stowaway’s voyages don’t continue with them.
“For a long while I sent them back. Then one came at me. I stabbed him.”
Bernhard’s eyes danced with a squalid fanaticism as he made the Man lock eyes before continuing, “He freed me.”
“Yes! Freed me from the binds I’d put on myself to keep my urges under control. Freed me to live as I was supposed to. I’ve lost so much time. So much time, you understand?”
“No, but I was. Oh yes. I was sick from denying my true self. But now… Now I better than I have ever been,” Bernhard said as he began cutting the Man, starting at his neck and then slowly pulling the knife down.
The conclusion is now up at “Bernhard’s Hobby (Part 2)“