Before she disappeared, she was spotted arm in arm with a bald, burly, Russian. At least that was the rumour, picked up and passed on by the motorbike-taxi drivers who plied their trade at the entrance to Pattaya Walking Street. But some of the local bar girls recalled otherwise. Russian my ass, they said, She left with a boy, a skinny kid, eight years old, or maybe ten.
The drivers were one hundred percent certain that she was dead – murdered. They were willing to bet that her body would have been hacked to pieces, stuffed into a trash bag, weighted down, and then tossed into the ocean not too far from the shore. The bar girls, on the other hand, were convinced that she and the boy had gone overseas. Maybe even to Europe, to start a new life. Good for her, they said, Human blood is all contaminated nowadays. There’s no way of telling what filth you might be drinking. If a vampire can manage to quit the habit, she ought to get out of the game while she still can. Sure, people might say she’s betraying her own kind, or even herself, but so what? Being a vampire in Pattaya isn’t what it was. That’s the long and short of it.
And the official line taken by the police? According to them, she’d never existed in the first place. And as someone who doesn’t exist can’t flee the country any more than they can get hacked to bits, there was nothing for them to investigate. You’d have to be crazy to think we’d waste our time on a tall tale like that. If you’re talking about the bar girls, the whores, the lady boys, the chicks with dicks, the go-go dancers, the drug dealers, OK, fair enough, them you’ll find everywhere . As for the Russian mafia, let’s both do ourselves a favour and leave that one well alone. But the vampires of Pattaya? That’s nothing but a story people made up to keep their kids from straying too near the Walking Street.
You’re not going to buy that shit, are you? the elderly coconut vendor spat, his voice dripping scorn. Of course she existed. She bought two of my coconuts. One for herself, one for her victim. She had a big heart, that vampire.
No matter how widely opinions diverged as to the nature and cause of her disappearance, almost everyone maintained that she had been a creature of flesh and blood, and oh, what flesh and blood it had been! You’d have had to see her for yourself to understand. Those dark eyes might stir up a shiver of fear but they also held you rapt, and not through any kind of sorcery, but because her beauty cast a spell of its own. When the wind caught her long black hair, it streamed out behind her like a piece of the night sky had come undone.
She wasn’t a Pattaya native, and the local vampires considered her something of an upstart, a common “bloodsucker” encroaching on their territory. This was partly snobbery and partly envy; when it came to luring victims, she was far more successful than those who prided themselves on their “authenticity,” on employing only the “classical” techniques. Nevertheless, she won the respect and even the adoration of a small group of vampires from the younger generation. Already dazzled by her beauty, these impressionable youths were fully won over after she promised to always share her victims.
Her name was Rattika.
Though of course, this was all hearsay; anyone who claimed to have it ‘straight from the vampires’ mouth’ was as full of shit as the police. Pattaya vampires didn’t give interviews, and they weren’t the types to get cornered for a chat. They were the ones who made advancesto stalk others, and those they did approach were unlikely to feel grateful for the attention.
If the drivers had it right, Rattika’s murderer, the Russian, would have had to pretend to fall in love with her. He would have had to be a gang member, a contract killer. When the target was a Pattaya vampire, it wasn’t enough to wasn’t just a matter of showing up for the deed. He would need the brains to devise an ingenious plan and the patience to then bide his time, waiting for just the right moment. He would have had to earn her trust. It wouldn’t have been enough to convince her that he loved her – she had to fall in love with him.
Just as it was for humans, love was the Achilles heel of all Pattaya vampires. It had been a long time, perhaps hundreds of years, since Rattika had fallen prey to it. Her recent infatuation should have been seen as a a warning sign, a sign that she had walked right into a vampire trap. Poor Rattika, she shouldn’t have let her guard down.
But if the bar girls were right, the story would have had an entirely different outcome, one in which Rattika and her son lived happily ever after, or at least were happy right now. If Ken really existed, as the bar girls were convinced, he would be a half-blood – half vampire, half human. Such things were considered scandalous in Thai circles, so the girls didn’t dare raise their voices when they mentioned it. But they whispered, among themselves, and what they whispered was that Ken’s father was a monk. That would explain Rattika’s decision to disappear; she must have wanted to take Ken far away from the depredations of the vampire world, before he had a chance to be corrupted.
He wasn’t merely half human; he was half holy. Rattika would have wanted her son to grow up like a normal person, maybe even a good person. There was nothing good about the Pattaya vampire community. The bar girls claimed that Rattika and Ken had gone to live in a country where vampires were rare or even extinct. For some reason, they decided that Switzerland was the country that fit the bill.
Last week, a German tourist was out jet-skiing when he found a trash bag that had washed up on the shore. Inside were chunks of flesh. Autopsy results soon revealed that these were human remains, likely those of a child, who was probably male, and probably Asian. Other than that, the police had absolutely zero to go on in terms of identifying the corpse
The bar girls remarked that those chunks of flesh might well belong to Rattika’s son, shaking their heads over the tragedy of it all, while the motorcycle drivers seemed disappointed that it wasn’t the ravishing vampire herself. But see? Someone got murdered exactly like we said.
So where was Rattika now? There was no evidence that she’d been killed, and if the body in that trash bag was really Ken’s, the notion that she’d gone to raise her son in a pristine, respectable country, unsullied by the taint of vampires, had to be abandoned.
The drivers tried to come up with an answer but didn’t have much luck. Maybe she just took a vacation, one of them sighed eventually. If I see her, I’ll let you know.
‘By Prabda Yoon, translated by Mui Poopoksakul. Taken from THE SAD PART WAS, published in the UK by Tilted Axis Press.’ Prabda Yoon will be in the UK to launch the Sad Part Was, Monday, 13 Mar 2017 to book tickets click here.