These are some of the questions most commonly asked by my readers, regarding my history and life among humans. If your personal question has not been answered, please feel free to put it in a comment below, and I will answer it as soon as possible.
Where have you lived and when? / I want a timeline!
I hesitate to indulge you. While it is true that this is the subject of some discussion in my published canon…it is also a potentially dangerous thing into which we may delve.
I don’t want some eager researcher tracking down a photograph I do not know exists and waving it about like an idiot. And while I have done an exquisite job of confiscating all such materials, it is at least plausible that there remains some historical tidbit a silly person might use as a means to locate me.
But the promise, you insist. I know gentle reader. Fear not.
I awoke near the Black Sea, some time in the mid 1300’s, along the border between Georgia and the Golden Horde. I traveled west along the coast to the Byzantine, then on to Hungary, across the neck of Italy, and then onto the South of France. I arrived with the plague in Marseilles, and was driven even further west through Aragon and Navarre to Castile. This took a fair span of time as the Inquisition and Crusades were on-again-off-again the whole time. For the next two or three hundred years, I bounced around what is now Spain and France, eventually occupying a lovely patch of shite in Normandy. In the mid 1600’s, I became an Englishman. Just after the dawn of the new century, I made the perilous trek to the New World, where I stretched a bit. What I mean to say is: the land was vast and rich in the extreme. Beyond a terrible need for soap and other goods— and by this I am implying human flesh — I had no need for colonial culture. I pressed the westward bound, always, and as trade went inland, so too, did I. By the Victorian, I was already in the Rockies, and came to the west coast of the Americas with the Railroad.
Unlike most of my species, who seem to claim one territory and occupy it fiercely, I am a peripatetic soul.
Have you really lived as a woman in the past?
This is a more complicated issue than I usually let on when I post on my website, so I am glad that you asked.
As i’ve indicated in the biology section, my species seem quite genderless. If we have one, I have no idea how to discern it. Thus, I have never experienced any particular aversion or fealty to a gender identity. The truth is, humanity is not only patriarchal and misogynist, it is downright savage.
In previous centuries it did me almost no good whatsoever to move around as a woman, since the activities of women were always overseen by men. However, they were also overlooked by men. It was sometimes advantageous to hunt in that guise. When a ruffian vanishes from the path on his way home from the pub, no one suspects the poor, unfortunate scullery maid. That being said, the suspicion of witches, foreigners, odd looking sorts, was high, and there was no makeup in those days. So playing both sides was a balancing act.
There did come a time when the fairer sex was allowed to travel widely, own property, be single without the suspicion of being a witch, and yet still be seen as virtuous. When that happened, I bought myself my first real dress, and gave it a try. That was when I discovered that it was probably always better to travel as a female. Not merely because men will protect and shelter you, but because it attracts exactly the sort I like to eat. A woman at a coaching inn, alone, on her way to Canterbury or Edinburgh is a perfect lure for highwaymen. Unfortunately the limitations of my species often prevented me from undertaking actual pilgrimages, as trespassing on another monster’s territory is somewhat frowned upon. Growled upon, more like. But when I did eventually see fit to vacate my land, I did so in a skirt, and the perilous voyage across the Atlantic went very well.
There was an epidemic, but no one ever suspected me, the middle-aged widow, ill and tottering, protective of her crate of goods — her only possessions in the world. So it began, and as humanity’s love for artistry and costume advanced, so too did my characters. They became younger, prettier, more apt to step out in public.
So yes, I do live as a woman from time to time. The benefits of genderlessness.
As an aside, you can imagine my stance on the transgendered bathroom issue. I find it amusing that while a man is standing at a urinal, he is scanning those around him to make sure they are all indeed male, completely overlooking me, who is not even human. There is peril in prejudice, not simply because it teaches your children to lack compassion or discourages them from embracing their own complexity, but also because it allows me to sneak in, completely overlooked.
Shame on you, but thank you for the invitation.
What languages do you speak?
This is also a terribly interesting, but complicated question. You see, there really is no definite answer, because of when I learned to understand language, I did not speak, and I learned them so very long ago that many of the tongues I understand no longer exist. Things are also complicated by the fact that I did not learn my letters until the reign of Elizabeth, and so only learned to write English, but even that was the Early Modern English, and not the modern tongue. So please allow me a moment to specify.
I can understand (and possibly speak, though I’ve never practiced fully) Old Georgian, some dialects of old German, Archaic Hungarian, Italian, and Castilian, French, and Catalonian. I learned Latin, but it was already dead when that happened. As said before, I took up English and really never left its reaches, but did manage to converse with a few Native peoples of North America.
And now you are terribly confused, and I sympathize. Let us simplify this. Of the modern languages spoken on Earth, I am fluent (both speaking and reading) in English, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese. This is by virtue of the fact that I comprehend their ancestors, and they all use the same alphabet. I also know Latin, but again,it doesn’t exactly get used often.
I prefer English. Why? Well, that is simple: it is the thieving continuity of all of these, sitting atop the others as it cannibalizes them and grows fat on their toil. A monster could not ask for a more monstrous tongue.
Simon were you ever seriously injured by one man alone, and if so how did he do it?
How clever of you to be so enterprising. You think I would simply hand you the means by which I can be destroyed? I am impressed, but excuse me for disappointing you. That has never happened, nor do I believe it can.
One man is not enough, even should he be decked out with a blunderbuss and kevlar. I do believe that when I take leave of my senses… I am unstoppable, but please do see the following question if you are so enthusiastic to have my head on a spike.
Have you ever been arrested, captured, or otherwise confined?
Yes. Upon too many occasions to count. Now, please do not misunderstand, gentle reader. As said before, this is not to imply that I am terribly easy to apprehend. That is not the case. I was taken prisoner because I allowed it. There isn’t much else to do when a crowd begins hurling rocks at you. You can either unmask yourself in full view and be crushed to death by the press of humanity, or you can let them take you to some hole in the ground, then escape later when the food runs out — and by this I mean fellow prisoners.
There are no chains that can hold me (Remember our foray into my biology). I can pull solid bars from stone. Straight jackets are a humorous diversion. I can leap about thirty feet in the air when I push myself.
So really, short of drastically injuring me, trussing me up like a fish, and burying me in a lava-filled sinkhole, there is no way to confine me.
Have you ever fought in a war?
With distinction. If you read my work, you know I have a certain lassitude that makes me less interested in morality. If you are intent to kill each other, why should I not reap the benefits? However, if I like you, if I deem your existence necessary, I will protect you. Heavens forbid, if I come to detest you…
I call those the “Fat and Sassy” times, and they ended as soon as you began photographing your soldiers. The Civil War flirted with me, but I saw those flashing boxes for what they were, and instead of being captured for posterity, invested in it. I was shot with a musket during the Revolution, ate rather well after the Whiskey Rebellion. I even made friends with a tribe of particularly blood thirsty natives who shared…well, I say shared, but I mean sacrificed their captives to me during the French-Indian War.
Jolly good fun, those bygone days. Now its all drones and ethics and backhanded economic policy. It makes me hungry just pondering.
Have you ever eaten anyone famous?
Yes. No, I will not tell you whom, but if you’re intelligent, you’ll know one when you see it. I’ve given you an approximate timeline. Cross-reference that with all mysterious disappearances of unsavory sorts. And I mean that word in the philosophical sense, not the culinary one. They are almost always quite savory.
What is the single greatest difference between the modern era and the century in which you were born?
Sewers. Clean water. These two things go hand in hand, I think. But these are the things that are meaningful to me. If I were to try and determine what would be most meaningful to a human… I should think it would be trade and the way governments operate. The modern age is a global bread basket with a penchant for democratic principles. When I was “but a lad” it was not unheard of to pass several corpses dangling from trees, tied to charred stakes. Every archway had a head on it. Every town was garrisoned. You believe I am joking, but when I moved to England, parliament had only had considerable power for a short time, and because they had a queen who refused to marry, they struggled to gain even more.
What I mean to say is, it was probably the most enlightened time that had ever been, where law and order were becoming concerns, and the rights of the people were considered. And yet… there was an incredible number of capital crimes, some as silly as eating deer. Yes. Deer were off limits. Why? Because all the land was divided by nobles. There were no “Free Parks” or “Nature Preserves”. There was only one man’s land. If you caught and ate his deer, he could come and put you down.
Nowadays, First Worlders become obnoxiously hostile when their deer hunting is limited to a certain time of year, and are free to petition their governments if they have legitimate complaints. They receive trials, they are given representation. And most importantly, they force everyone else to do the same by simple intimidation. It’s a fine kind of irony, that.
Simon with all your acquired knowledge of our kind why no real attempt to know more about your “neighbors”?
Ah. I rather thought this question would arise. I wonder if I can explain it — a difficult task, because it requires me to imagine how I think you might feel in order to compare it to my own sentiments. Imagine, if you can, that person who drives like he has no idea there are rules that govern the activity, or the people who stand at the top of the escalator even though they know quite well that disembarking pedestrians have no where else to go, or the parents who simply stand there while their children wail in the middle of a market because they have the strange notion that parenting has little to do with behaving like a parent, or the bureaucrat who insists upon asking for a form that you cannot possibly possess without having the thing which you are attempting to obtain.
Combine in a pressure cooker and bring to temp.
I feel un unyielding, unending, perpetual short-tempered fury, and when one small infraction occurs, well…it becomes rage.
That is not to say I have not crossed paths with them. I have, while traveling across another creature’s territory on my way to new patches of land. The resulting kerfuffles are…uncomfortable. I am met with hostility. I have no mercy.
You can imagine the results.
So, no. I do not often force myself to reach out to them. If anything I ignore them, and only ever think on them when I can sense that one is near. Otherwise, I treat them as you might your mother-in-law, or your boss.
What is the average area of your species’ territory? Also is it based on our population or a physical amount of land?
This is an excellent question that gives me a great deal of pause. Indeed, I am not sure I can accurately answer it. My own territory spans an approximate area of 100,000 acres, though not all of it is accessible to man. The borders are established somewhat haphazardly, by lakes and rivers, sometimes human contraptions like infrastructure. They are maintained by scent and my own senses.
When I think about the secondary question, it stirs my mind. You see, you are asking me to put into words things to which I have never given previous thought. I do not think the population matters much, as some of my kind have territories quite devoid of human life. I do believe that to some degree, all our “habitats” are largely rounded, and that we place ourselves at the center, rather like a spider in a web. I say this, because I know that when I travel to the southern reaches of my territory — which is incidentally where my home sits — my ability to discern the proximity of my northern neighbor is depleted. He is capable of sneaking up on me, and frequently does. When I purchased the warehouse, this was a point of concern, but I gave in to the notion of dwelling in such a splendid, derelict, repurposed space. I had to have it, and so I compromised location.
Now my neighbor drops in whenever he feels like it, and annoys me to no end.
Real estate is a tricky thing.
What is the weirdest thing you’ve found inside a human body?
I think, this is perhaps my most adored question. The list is quite varied, and I have made an effort to curate the collection. Yes, I kept them, because…well…how could I not?
I have found cutlery, magnets, surgical implants or pins that came loose and migrated in the blood stream, bullets, screws, nails, coins, and drugs in little carrying punches made from balloons. I have, on two occasions, found plants growing in the lungs, and once, a long long time ago, an eel in a bladder.
The strangest? I was very chipper, cutting along, hair off, skin in the bucket, “la-dee-da” as the saying goes. Then suddenly there was an organ that should not exist. It was not an organ. It was a giant, sixteen pound tumor. And suddenly, I am very put out. I do not like eating diseased flesh. Upon close examination, I determined the thing to be benign, and so carried on with eating the gentleman, but the tumor gave me pause, I must admit. I am no stranger to horror and science fiction — for reasons that probably seem obvious — and so I had visions of it being some sort of twin, curled up in a sack, feeding off his life force in an eternal calcified coma. But alas, it was just a tumor.
I ate it. Why not?
I think I’ve figured out where you live.
Good for you. May I point out the obvious: that this is not a question. It is also not terribly illustrative of your brilliance. I have scrubbed as much detail as I can from my work, but if a person is familiar with the area, they will know where to look. Do be careful though. You may actually find me.
Is Simon Alkenmayer really your name?
Simon is really my current first name. Alkenmayer is a name I have used previously.