I heard him in the study all alone and chanting prayers. The lights were off and no one else was home. Annie ran the streets and Edith went to see a movie. She always stops for pancakes after that. And Conrad went to do the things that only Conrad does. I know he's felt the burden from the start. For sometimes being night-folk ain't much like what's on TV. And night-folk take most everything to heart.
We had a scuffed, old stereo from nineteen sixty three. Baylah brought it over from her bar. He set it up upon the desk and put the record on, an ancient copy of Jan Pierce, I think he was a big opera star, singing KOL NIDRE, the Hebrew prayer for Divine forgiveness of human frailty. Tomas did that from time to time. We know not to bother him. Once in a while I'll sit with him. He holds me. I rest my head on his shoulder. I don't say anything, but I hear him whisper - And, please, LORD, forgive and protect my Sarah too. Then he kisses the top of my head. He cries a little bit and it's over.
But this night is different. This night is Selichot (service of first forgiveness), leading up to the Biblical New Year and THE DAY OF ATONEMENT. Look, I've picked up a lot living with him for over two years. He can't attend services on The Day of Atonement because that's not his time. He's a vampire... and a good one.... and you know how he believes. So he does things in his own way. But SELICHOT Service is different. Selichot Service comes at midnight, 'for The Gates of Heaven open widest upon the darkest hour.' That's what they say.
If you've been with us for a while, you remember what happened last year. You remember the JERUSALEM that wasn't Jerusalem. Not our Jerusalem anyway. Some say we slipped into a parallel universe. Doctor Franklin believes that. And me, I grew up in a family of teachers. We watched Carl Sagan's Cosmos every time they showed it. Nova too. But I don't know. It's funny being a vampire, because we live with the reality of the paranormal. Magic is like cornflakes and baked beans. It's 'there.' It just is. This isn't a disease. Believe me. We've looked. There ain't no microbe. Dr. Julia Hoffman was barkin' up the wrong tree. No antibiotic gonna cure her Barnabas. So I don't know what happened last year. Maybe the French Knight is still there? Maybe the little Armenian Orthodox cleric is still there?...... You know, that makes me think..... We haven't heard from Zebulon in a while. He's my favorite. Of all the disembodied spirits who flit through our lives, I like him best. Over two thousand years dead. He was thirteen when it happened.... and he still hasn't lost his sense of humor.
But you know what I'm gonna do? I'm gonna get dressed, fix my hair and go with him. I'm gonna go to that service.
Vampires deserve a little spiritual comfort too.. I mean, look at our group. We're good...mostly. 'Cull the wicked. Preserve the worthy'--- that's what we say.
You know how the service begins? You know how the prayer goes? Tomas told me. It's like a little child, could be a boy.... could be a girl.... sitting down, giving a hairbrush to a parent and asking them to please undo the tangles. The tangles are sins. The tangles are bad things, thoughtless things we've done to others. The tangles get in The Way...... And if we ask with a pure, childlike innocence, GOD will remove each and every one.
I gotta do something with Annie. Every once in a while she acts a little better, but this isn't right. And Edith shouldn't eat those pancakes all alone each time.
I gotta do something. I just have to.
Let me tell you.... being a vampire is a very complicated thing.....
Now let me go get dressed.
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