Ah, that old familiar and disquieting ache. This was my first time out past sunset in a long while. My mantle clock lost its mainspring and I had to deliver it to the clockmaker's shop. It is surprising how heavy a simple clock weighs when you consider it's only brass gears and maple wood. My arms are definitely feeling strange, reminding me about my old habits. As I leaned up against a sputtering gas streetlamp, my limbs feel almost like someone else's as I attempt once, twice, thrice to light my cigar. 

I brought all of my old friends with me. Scalpel. Bone knife. Saw. The leather belt around my middle feels like it never left my sides. I tipped my hat to the well-off gentry and those ladies who are proper and are on their way home to their husbands. I'm looking for the other kind of woman, the ones who only come out at night to ply their disgusting trade. My collection of their organs have withered over the years, and it's time to renew the display. And the terror.

Lo, I see two little birds. Slovenly whores, accosting gentlemen as they stagger down the street. One finds a willing partner and they disappear. The other one is heading right towards me, her eyes locked onto mine, brown teeth reflecting the yellow light above me.

"Aye, Love, wanna have a go?" she asks loudly, her voice like the braying of an ass.

I size her up, realizing she isn't fat at all. Her organs will be easy to extract. "Certainly, my fine lady. My apartment is through this alleyway." I pointed with my gold-tipped cane, and she smiled.

"Let's go and have a bit 'o fun, Love." She stepped into the entrance of the black grimy pathway as I began to unbutton my overcoat to get at my bone knife.

As soon as I stepped out of the light of the streetlamp she turned and smiled. A different kind of ache spread from my chest. I looked down and realized the handle of a hunting knife was protruding from above my heart.

"Stupid git. Where's your money?" she spat, breath thick with fetid tobacco and cheap booze.

I smiled back, but my smile was pale white. I kept my teeth meticulously clean, especially the elongated incisors. I wouldn't be dining on farm animals tonight. That old familiar and disquieting ache made my instincts sharp, but not as sharp as my teeth as they punctured her jugular. The blood wasn't pure, but after eighteen years of hiding my true nature it was the nectar of the Gods.

When I was done, I removed her organs like the others. Nobody would notice the lack of blood after I splayed her innards for all to see. For once, the old familiar and disquieting ache was gone.

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