Sunday, April 22, 2012


Please excuse any errors. I am channeling this too fast. It is I, Marianne. The old gentleman is all right. I gave him a few more drops. He's resting quietly. I think he just ate a piece of babka. The housekeeper has him out in the kitchen, or the 'morning room', or whatever they call it. I am 'of' this place and have been for the last few hundred years, but it is remarkable how little I know of the day to day life here.

The humans occupying the plush seats of this salon relish dramatic interludes like that. A sick old man just about to die? What could be better? Makes the price of admission so much more tolerable. They did pay ten thousand dollars 'a head' (I love that term) for the experience. So let's give them a show. Perhaps Roland will levitate over their heads again? We were going to release a 'cherub' or two, but it's not fair to them. Old as they are, they think and feel like babies.

Now, let me return to the narrow lanes of Old Antwerp. We left the cooperage and fled through the first weak light of dawn finding refuge in a root cellar. Odd, how many vampires pass daylight in  root cellars. If the haus fraus only knew. 'Cabbage heads,' that's what more fortunate life-eaters call them. They who have more secure, permanent abodes, I mean. And that was our routine for a few weeks. The dominee did allow me to witness a kill. I saw how he did it. Each of us goes through his own particular dance, rather like a courtship, with the 'final kiss' the marriage.  He downed the blood in rapid gulps. Some close their eyes. He did not, staring up at me through it all. And I could not turn away. The woman, Isabella, I believe she was called, swooned in his arms. And her little 'moorish' (the preferred term) slave boy kept fanning her through the whole ordeal. He giggled. It was all just a big puppet show to him.

I said - What are you laughing at, you little imp? Ain't you ever seen a lady die?.......... He said - Look! Look how one a her boobies fall out!..... And he fanned faster and laughed even more....... I said - Stop laughing. What are they gonna do with you after she gone?......... He thought for a moment and sat down, almost crushing the equally curious persian cat. Then he began to cry. I moved in to 'comfort' him, discreetly helping myself  to a few trickles of rich, warm blood. He never knew. I told you I rarely kill, so he was quite safe.

Then, when it was over and the deceitful courtesan was dead, we tarried a moment, watching the cold, blue fire turn the empty corpse to ash. That's how it is after a vampire kill. There are no bodies to hide. We are not ghouls, after all. Do I understand the artifice of it? No, I don't. But I'm happy just the same. And when they find the greasy sludge that's left, another legend of spontaneous human combustion will spin out upon the world.

I took some of her pearls. I did do that. The dominee pocketed a handful of jewels. He knew their berth. He'd been there before. Even the slave boy benefited from her hasty departure, festooning his person with rings and baubles.

After, we three slipped out into the night, searching for an open coffee house. There to sit and savor the aroma. Low Country coffee was so good back then. I'm not sure Starbucks even knows the like.  The slave boy, or former slave boy, had three cups, as we huddled in the high backed, dark, wood booth considering our next move.

The first thing we did was ditch that ridiculous, opera-house, turban. He (the little boy, I mean) didn't need it anymore. And the scullery maid was so grateful. She wore it to swab the cups. A clean rag would have served her (and the oblivious patrons) so much better. 

A strong, quiet sea captain (perhaps he was, in fact, a pirate, but let's not be too picky), himself one quarter African, enthroned in a nearby booth, promised to take the boy and raise him as his own. So we said adieu to the little soon-to-be brigand and disappeared down an unnamed, garbage strewn cart-way.

I couldn't feel it. But the dominee could. Agents of  The Inquisition were hard on our heels. And the scent of fire pursued us.......


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