Originally a one-sitting writing exercise before work on V5 began in earnest. My writing process is “90% perspiration and 10% inspiration” as my dad Kjell said to me with unusual intensity, frowning at the tiny mac SE screen. Now I know he was in the throes of it, wrestling the text until it submits. In games speak I think we both kinda seem to write like you play Dark Souls rather than Diablo 3. This is why this text was weird. I hardly remember writing it. I’ve never used back-space as few times when writing a text as here. It was born without hesitation because it was never meant for the light of day. But it did. We needed a new story for a digital edition in a hurry and Karim liked it so in it went. I was kinda embarrassed about the same cold coarseness I initially liked so much. And then it was at some point maybe going into the Cam or Core book and Freja Gyldenström wrestled the text a final round. I think it reads cleaner and approaches something resembling a story. Anyways here it is.
Be warned, there are high concentrations of blood, sex, gore and messy self realization. Its probably tasteless to someone and it burns through themes of immigration, sexual violence and such.
Trivia: The title is a dry double reference to Swedish home-decorating-show “Äntligen Hemma” and the then fresh fall from grace of its secretly asshole creeper host, revered for decades as the prototypical nice guy.
But enough preamble, here’s the thing. Best read aloud in a somewhat relentless monotone.
Home at Last
Her chinless freak got me good. It was dressed up as a Syrian construction worker coming into the driveway just after sunset in a beaten-up ’83 Nissan. The car was a dirty metallic green, cardboard plates with hand-drawn letters. No one in their right mind would have trusted someone stepping out of it. My childe, my daughter and lover rolled into one, had set up the connect, so what could possibly go wrong? The dead thing wore a dry face with watery eyes and affected a constant, pained chewing as it carried the first camouflaged bag of concrete into the cellar. I followed along. It made a rhythmic clicking sound as it turned rapidly and drove a half-inch thick rebar straight through my ribcage. I just stared at those moist eyes in disbelief. Betrayal. Heartbreak. Final Death.
The details of the struggle are uninteresting. This was an old thing, a strong thing, veins pumping full of raging heart’s blood, freshly drawn. It looked disgusted with existence as it methodically proceeded to destroy me. I was still stumbling, blood screaming out of me to form a momentary carmine flight down the cellar stairs. The dead body was following me slowly, taking its time to haunch over and suck my blood off the concrete as it came.
Supposedly this was one of the builders Emelie had talked to during that long concerned call last Friday. The Akalias. We were having teen dinner. Rare treat these days. On the sofa the nineteen-year-old depressive was talking less and less, getting dizzy and empty as I drank from his armpit. Stubble against lips. Tender tension of thin skin. The release of canine penetration. Sip slow. Pleasant downer blood. I saved him for my childe. The one I killed and gave birth to.
But Emilie just harped on and on in French over her Sony burner for an hour. “Not hungry,” she mimed. A lie. She was sounding stressed. I stepped out and put dinner in a cab, strawberry jasmine in the air. He smelled of sweat and rising anxiety as he waved goodbye weakly. Emelie stepped on the phone like it was a cockroach when I got in. Her heel broke. She was hunger-flaky and paranoid. For my sake of course. This was important.
“You have to be safe, Jegor.” She turned and stalked me across the white-box living room with its single cubist leather sofa. Disapproving glances at the three specks of blood leading from me to the furniture.
“You gotta structure this long term. We’re here until the sun burns out, right? Be smart about it and add up the odds.”
I had. A million times. Every night in the nineties, back when I was all about getting the death in life just right. “Maximum masquerade” we had called it. Like it was a fucking life hack. “Do the math,” we had snarled at that thin-blooded cruiser couple in Tanto who fed off teens full of self-loathing and cheap amphetamines. Not sustainable.
So I did the math again while Emelie unwrapped a new phone and called back to tell the Akalias how to sneak the concrete bags into the cellar over the next week.
There had been 112 daytime villa burglaries in our area in 2014 (according to the most recent statistics). 7086 villas on Lidingö. The comparatively remote location of our postmodern mansion combined with the appearance that we were never at home during daytime would make it a tempting target. I didn’t need a calculator to figure she was right.
I had a decade left, tops, at my current level of security. And that was excluding fuckups and hunters. And friends. That’s the statistic we’re the most familiar with. It’s always someone you know that ends you. Odds were so bad that even my carefully cultivated zero-fucks-given persona couldn’t accept them. It was high time to nail this haven down and go for an industrial-grade reinforced concrete coffin-pipe sunk 3.9 meters deep, hidden hatch and all.
The Akalias were a thoroughly fishy construction company consisting of five paperless workers recently out of Abu Dhabi. They had arrived in Stockholm by way of Marseilles and a thousand degradations over the course of a long transit year they never spoke about. Emelie said they had met and bonded in a shipping container filled with their own shit and the charred remains of one of their brothers. Now they were doing safe rooms for the undead in Lidingö. Not that they knew that. So their public non-existence was useful. They were nursed and protected and kept meticulously confused. Someone was probably making sure they stayed on the immigration department’s watch list, so they’d stay scared and never talk to the cops. It might even have been Emelie puppeteering them. No paper trail. They were illegal enough to even get to see one of my faces. We were all hiding from something bigger than ourselves and that made me feel safe when it came to the small things. So the Akalias were called in to do crossbeam armoring for my “coffin.” No use in arguing.
She was so worried about the state of it. She had thoroughly tested its constructional integrity with me. The third time she broke the hidden walk-in closet was a month ago. It was Swedish midsummer and the endless days made us nauseous and lazy. We stayed awake. The sun beating on the black-slate roof so hard we there imagining the painful buzzing in our heads was the rain of photons. God’s daily storm of light. The light of a sun we would outlive if we were exceptional, if we were perfect.
Summer in the north. The pressure to perform in those hours of hot gloom is a killer. You need to hit the clubs like a hunter, find a victim, and close in under an hour. And the fucking circumstances: huge herd, anxious, self-conscious, outdoors, everyone watching each other. Cool, judgmental fashion ravers in Whyred and Fifth Avenue.
This country hates our kind purely by virtue of its longitude. The only time the Swedes grow reckless is when the sun sets no more than three-four hours before it rises again. No time to plan or stalk. So hard, so fast, so good when it works.
So we whiled away the long gloom of anticipation before the hunt pretending to fuck like a suburban couple, red satin sheets and plastic tarps under the mattress hiding the blood-cum stains. We made a point of being seen sometimes. Not when we went all the way of course. Not when we drank from each other. That we did in the walk-in. She screamed as I sucked and threw me straight through the solid pine wall as she came. That’s why she worried so much. We had each other’s blood inside. We were one and I wasn’t safe.
The Akalia coughed out a harsh Semitic sentence for each blow. Unfamiliar, old words. The soft look in its blood-whet eyes as it finally got me pinned was unmistakable. Satisfied relief. Its peaceful expression was a mirror of my victory face. This was what I looked like all those times I closed with a blood doll and put him in the cab. When my whole being knew I’d made it through one more night. Peace. Expectation. Lust. I had always imagined this was a shared feeling. That my partner was just as excited as me, that they shed their blood in my mouth willingly. Eagerly. Only human shame and guilt made them protest and struggle. Deep inside, they really wanted it. Horny little animals. It was a lie, of course, but a necessary one. A self-deception I believed right up until that moment. The warped reflection of myself in the thing’s bearing made the fantasy impossible. Insight hit me full force as I felt the first stirrings of lust in my dead groin.
My will was no longer my own. I tried to break away from those wet brown eyes, but it was useless. I already loved the disgusting thing that was killing me. I loved the way its tongue slopped my juice off the polished concrete, the way it crawled patiently towards my almost bloodless form, legs twisted in impossibly arachnid angles. I was ready to surrender this long night to my surprise lover. The Blood was not. It willed my most sensual feedings back into my mind, the ones that made me push precious blood straight to my cock. The memories that came flooding back were not my own. They belonged to my victims, still half alive in my undying bloodstream. They belonged to my victims, still half alive in my undying bloodstream. Sara Johansson’s shameful memory of the one time she drunkenly consented to fuck her best friend Magnus. Six years of complete trust broken as he clumsily came in her aching ass. Johan Edenborg in sixth grade, hiding his erection from his hairless showering soccer-team. I forced myself to take a deep breath. Hemoglobin pushing out with the oxygenated blood, heart spasming with the force of an engine piston. Hot blood squirted into my groin, all the tattered dead memories of my horniest victims bursting into necrotic erectile tissue. The Akalia sniffed it out in a second and launched itself at me. The metal bars through my chest held me. The loss of blood made me slow. I could only watch as the dead inhuman chewed through my Zegna suit trousers to get to the good stuff. The breath I took to push the blood came out in a gurgling high-pitched scream as crooked sharp brown teeth chewed into the base of my hard cock. It looked at me with pleading wet eyes, suddenly just as horny as I was. A sick reminder of the abuse porn me and Emelie made a decent living off in the late 90’s. Screaming in lust from the concentrated spunk in my groin-blood, the Akalia started to wriggle out of its dirty jeans, still gagging on my bleeding junk. It let go only to suck in air, preparing to turn its centuries-dormant sexual organs into full stiffness.
I wouldn’t be two decades into the night if I hadn’t learned to spot a split-second opportunity. This was it. The echoes of all that lust-juice, focused by my Blood’s inherent seductive vice, coupled with the creature’s perverse but oh-so-human appetite overtook its cold animalistic mind for a few heartbeats. Its eyes went blank as blood no longer fueled its dominance over me. One heartbeat was all I needed. All of the Blood I had left in me screamed back into my muscles as I grabbed for one of the bars through my chest and pushed it into the curly head of black oily hair working between my legs. Lucky shot hit the thing just right and crashed through bone. Its skull had turned almost impossibly dense and hard over an eternity of cold nights under cloudless Anatolian skies. But it was down. It wasn’t gonna stay that way for more than a minute. The next moments are a blur. Pushing the metal stakes out. Crawling for the door. The thing already violently thrashing to life. Running. Falling. A neighbor calling out to me. Fuck. There goes four years of masquerade. I came to my senses behind the wheel of the Akalia’s Nissan.
”I’m my own monster”, I thought. ”I was yours, but now I’m all mine.”
Emelie. Deep down I was sad she had failed. All the things I would have to do to her now. It was sickening. Correction: how I felt about what I would do made me frightened. The Blood stirred in all the wrong places as I put pedal to metal, gunning down the E20 towards Slussen, towards an old city falling rapidly into the late summer night.