The Cypher

by Joseph Grant

Youth is the ultimate currency, the man with the unfortunate name of Heinrich Goebbels said and smiled as he sat safely in police custody. The detectives had no idea why the man’s driver’s license listed his age as 104, even though he looked no older than 45, if that. But what they did know was that they had apprehended one of the world’s worst serial killers, if the bodies found on his large estate and the pungent stench of others unfound were any indication. He admitted everything most freely and told them how he gave the gift of death to each of his victims by means of draining the life out of them, means by which even he was not certain; but he confessed to possessing this malady from an early age, a timeframe that preceded their fathers and grandfathers and argued that he only freed his so-called victims from this mortal coil. Labeled insane by the detectives and a vampire by the newspapers, he scoffed vociferously at both indictments as he was clearly not mad and had no more power to instill eternal life than they had to keep him behind bars. He would be crueler to these policemen than he had been to his usual captors of Victorian London and pre-Revolutionary Paris, promising to leave these oh-so-nasty detectives, DA and judge to the cruel point of senility but not quite yet dead, while he would morph to the appearance of a much younger man, evading capture once again but this time, for more than 75 years.


Joseph Grant dedicates this six to the "Master of the Macabre," Adam J. Whitlatch.