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Requiem for Prey

October 29th, 2007

–Sarah Monette

Prey use the word “love” like it means something.

He said he loved me. He asked if I loved him, too. I said I did,
because I didn’t want to argue. I just wanted to fuck.

I pay for a mass for the dead because I don’t know what else to do.

I stand in the back of the church, cold, nervous, smelling fear and
incense and mold. The priests are trying not to look at me. It’s just
me and them and two old, old ladies up in front.

I told them to say the mass in Latin.

They looked at me, the old priest and the young priest. Do you know Latin?

It doesn’t matter. I’m not Catholic. And they leaned away from my
smile, like prey always do.

But they took my money.

It’s not like he knew Latin, either, but a mass for the dead should be
in a dead language. It’s not the words that matter.

I’m sorry that he’s dead. I can still smell him on me, and I want to
get rid of the scent of prey, but I’m going to wait until the mass is done.

Ritual matters.

Death matters.

Love matters, but not like he thought.

I don’t know who got him. It might have been me.

They’ll find the body in a month or a week. He’ll be called John Doe
in the morgue. His face will be gone, and his fingers. Maybe somebody
will pay to bury him. Maybe they won’t. Maybe somebody out there
wonders where he is.

He said he didn’t have a family. I said I didn’t have a family,
either. I lied. My family sings with me in the night, blood on our
tongues and teeth, blood staining our fur. That’s love. Not words.

Prey don’t understand that. Dead languages, dead senses, dead bodies,
dead masses. It’s no wonder they die so feebly.

The mass ends and I slip out.

The sun’s going down.

The air smells of rain and cars. And prey.

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  1. Robert Jones
    October 29th, 2007 at 13:45 | #1

    Your title hinted broadly that a chilling tale was to follow, and one certainly did. The melding of dead things – masses, bodies, senses, and language – increased the chill. Even the odors – fear, incense, mold, rain and cars – were chilling.

    Great bundle of chills, Sarah.

    RCJ

  2. October 29th, 2007 at 14:47 | #2

    I like the feel of it. Took me by surprise a bit that it was a lycanthrope (or I assume so?) because it read so much like it might have been a vampire. I love the interaction with the priests…and most of them do not know the mass in Latin any longer…

    Happy Halloween, indeed.

    DNW

  3. October 29th, 2007 at 15:24 | #3

    A preysworthy voice. –Janet

  4. October 29th, 2007 at 22:45 | #4

    Janet…OUCH (lol)

  5. October 30th, 2007 at 09:10 | #5

    Sarah, nicely done. You pack so much into so few words.

    And Janet, Nice touch.

    Frank

  6. Richard West
    October 31st, 2007 at 04:45 | #6

    The understated play in the piece on ‘prey’ and ‘pray’ was good also.

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