“I approached Paul’s studio and knocked on the door with a sign that read replica weapons by appointment only. He opened it as if he he’d been waiting for me on the other side.
“Hi Paul” I greeted him walking inside
“Hello” he said immediately closing the door behind me. He never shook my hand or looked me in the eye.
His studio was more a workshop. It was a small room no wider that a train carriage but it must hve held thousands of projects. At twenty two but he had been making replica weapons for ten years. I’d met him in an obscure forum for vampire conspiracy theorists I rarely participated in blogs but I always kept my eyes open for anyone with genuine insight or skill. He had posted a thread about the similarities of London’s vampires to George Orwell’s 1984. Very intelligent boy but with the social skills of a pencil. His user name had a link to his website and two years on he was still my weapons man.
I handed Paul my broken bow and he took it tutting and focusing on the bow never on my face. Paul hadn’t filled out yet he still looked like a sixteen year old. He was taller than me but that wasn’t hard. His hair looked brushed and he wore Harry Potter style glasses. He always wore a logo t-shirt today it said Mass Effect what ever that was. He handed me a new bow which was an exact copy of my broken one. He never added new specs unless I asked for them and even then he had to copy a design. I think my bow was originally a replica of Paris’s bow fromTroy. He was brilliant at replicas but as far as I knew had never created anything original.
“You made this fast” I commented
“It was time” he said whilst examining the broken bow under a magnifying glass the size of diner plate.
“Time?” I questioned
“Usually a bow only lasts four months with you, its been three months and twenty-five days” I laughed
“So you already had it made?”
“I know your patterns Liv” he flicked his eyes to me
“Thank you Paul” I genuinely meant that, I sat down on his sofa which seemed unused. My arm was beginning to throb and my neck ached.
“Your bleeding” he said and I looked at my hand where I’d touched my neck there was a dot of blood on it.
“Shit. Paul do you have a first aid kit?” he moved quickly under his desk and returned with a green box that was untouched, shop brought ready made. “Did your Mum make you buy this?”
“Yes” he smiled. I found a square of gauze with sticky on the sides and removed it from the box. I reached up and removed the bandage from my neck, the air hit the wound and I took a sharp intake of breath. Paul was suddenly sitting on the couch next to me. He was staring at the wound intently.
“You ok Paul?” I asked
“Yes” he responded eyes not leaving my neck.
“Why are you staring?” I asked being more direct with him
“Am I being rude?” he asked “I’ve never seen a real wound before, not in real life”
I understood, he played games of war for hours and watched filmic blood and guts everyday but he’d never come close to the reality of it. “How did it happen?” he asked.
“Animal bite” my automatic response, it was really starting to sting so I covered it with the gauze and stood up. Paul stood with me “Thanks for this” I motioned to the bow
“No problem” he went back to his desk as I let myself out there was something off about Paul and I hoped it wasn’t as malevolent as that last encounter had felt.”