“Who am I? Who am I, indeed. I am a being that walked these lands before your great-great-great-grandfather’s great-great-great-grandfather did. I am a ghost of a bygone age. I am a shadow cast by humanity. I am a spectre, a jester, a monument to all of your sins. I am a creature that should never have existed. I stalk the night, I haunt dreams. I kill to live forever, washing my hands in the blood of countless. I am a monster. I am eternal.
Yes. It’s all rather melodramatic isn’t it. But after so many centuries, I think I can be spared a little melodrama, don’t you? Oh, come now, stop screaming. My face is hardly as hideous as all that. Why I have seen things in the nights that make me look positively adonine. Come, sit back down. No? Well please yourself. I trust you won’t mind if I do. I may not get tired, but one does weary, especially after the merry dance I have had to lead you these last weeks.
You see my dear Inspector, may I call you James? You see James, the murder that started you down this little rabbit hole of mine, was far from what it appeared. You knew that I am sure, or guessed it, else you would not have pursued it with such tenacity. You needn’t look so terrified. I respect tenacity. In fact I demand it. That murder, as I have said, was no mere murder, it was a test, an opening, a chink in the armour of the night. Something to see just how hard you would pull at that loose thread, that unanswered question, that unclear point. And may I say you have done splendidly. You should be glad – we would not be having this discussion had you done otherwise.
My dear fellow, here have a drink, you look like you need it. No? Well I shall leave it here in case you change your mind. Now where was I? Oh yes. You acquitted yourself wonderfully. You hunted down leads, you pressed your advantage. You even stepped outside your authority in order to find the resolution. You are like a blood hound, Inspector. Yes, I am afraid I must confess I planted those witnesses, and the men you contacted in Govanhill. I feel I should apologise for the business in Pollock, but you came to no real harm, which is more than I can say for my associates. Still, that only demonstrates more clearly to me your aptitude for the position I plan to offer you.
Can’t you guess? Oh, Inspector, you disappoint me. Still I believe I can chalk that up to shock on your part and not a dulling of your admirable wits. Perhaps I can help you to see. You understand that what you have discovered is no unique aberration, yes? You realise that there must be thousands of us ‘creatures’ quietly stalking the night? Good. And it follows that we must keep a very tight rein on this knowledge? Quite. We cannot have the masses aware of us, our very existence would be at risk. No, no. We have survived down these long aeons by staying hidden. Therefore, does it not perhaps follow that there can be only two ways of dealing with any… We call them ‘Mortals’ who do by chance or design come to know the truth? And since I manifestly could have killed you many times since you walked into this office, what is the only other course of action that I may be planning?Ah, I see you have decided to have that drink after all. A wise decision. It may be your last for quite some time.”