Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hot Pitch Makes Burning So Much More Humane

Roland went outside for a walk. He hates to hear this part of the story. It's like what he went through and after hundreds of years he still has dreams.............  The mortals grew silent. Everything slowed down. We can sense heartbeats. If you're a regular visitor, you probably know that. We tell time by them. Thirty thousand heartbeats is a deep winter's sleep. Twelve hundred heartbeats the average tryst. Look, just grow up. I may have the body of a fourteen year old, but I've absorbed a lot. And some of it quite painful. 

I never did see the master again. Perhaps I felt him passing in through the ether once or twice. Not 'him.' Not his physical presence, but his soul, his thoughts, his dreams. That's how he touched me. Don't ask me how long I was in that tiny cell. It could have been a week. It could have been a year. I do know they had a way to make us fall asleep. And I don't know how they did it. Edith, the Piney 'pow-wow' woman claims to know a type of mesmerism. She says that might have been it. But I did not 'see' them. In fact, there was little contact at all. I'd pass out and wake up to find an hysterical naked mortal locked in with me. They's scratch. They'd claw. The stench from their human waste sickened me. But I did it. I took them. I drank. Now I know that I told you elferinos and elferinas rarely kill mortals. We take small neat tastes and go on our way. But this was different. Maybe it was that place. Maybe it was the magic. Who knows? But I killed people...... What?...... Does that excite you? I can tell that it does. I can feel your heartbeats. So don't be bashful. 

And then, when it was over, I'd feel the cold, blue flames as the bodies disappeared. Did I burn? No, I did not. Yet the sensation was not pleasant, nor in any way benign. A cold beyond cold, dead as the dark side of the moon...... Of course I know that phrase is inaccurate. But please allow me my illusions. After a time, the floor was thick with grease.

Oh, let me go back to another thing. The emissaries of the shah lost interest, hearing of an even more exotic prize. They said it was a 'serpentina,' a creature half snake and half woman, arranged like a mermaid, only much more sinister. Although I could tell you stories about mermaids and their equally aquatic husbands that would shock you too.

Did they try to sell me to some other wealthy magnate?... No..... A higher level of Inquisitional Officiants entered the picture, charged with strict scriptural interpretation. Thou shalt  not suffer a witch to live..... And to those benighted souls we were the same. 

I was told they burned the master. It seems he welcomed it. Sometimes ancient ones are like that. The physical world bores them. Their very bodies bore them. And they hunger for release. They hunger for something else. He prayed near the end, repeating one couplet over and over and over. He said - Look for me in the knowing eyes of a child. I have been among the dead too long............... They promised him I would not burn. Maybe that convinced him too? So he put his faith in some sort of second chance reincarnation and walked to the stake dressed in a long, coarse tunic, with long sleeves and a form fitting hood. It had holes for the mouth and eyes. He ascended the ladder and climbed over the high cone of twigs, known as 'Mount Moriah,' for Abraham climbed that mountain to sacrifice Isaac, and he cooperated when they bound him to the rough, dry wood. A functionary came forth, bearing a small cauldron filled with viscous oil. He passed it off to others, who struggled up an even loftier ladder and dowsed  it over my master's head. I think they did that four or five times. And he never stopped chanting that 'knowing eyes of a child' thing. 

The courtyard was packed. Every religious in attendance compelled to bear witness. They stood there in ranks, like chess men upon a black, metallic plain. No prayers were said. They were merely exterminating a monster. And so they lit him up....... There was no cry. At first he trembled, more rapid than any mortal could ever do. And then the flames engulfed him, searing every part of his being. Five heartbeats later they heard the laughter...the vampire laughter. Huge black mastiffs sniffing up and down the ranks began to howl. They told me it went on for a very long time. And the next day half of those who'd been there were still completely deaf.

But they kept their promise and me they did not burn.........


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