Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Book of Sarah

We settled in. Sarah kept vampire's hours. She had a room, a very nice room with a view of the Rittenhouse Square Park and everything. But she chose to stay with me. The Old Woman made her own schedule. She was there when we awoke, but was sawing wood (and could she ever saw wood) by the time we retreated to our cabinets just before dawn. When it came to the Pow Wow Woman, I don't think she ever slept. She would sink into these trances. They lasted for approximately twenty minutes and seemed to replenish her. And she knew things. She said she could wander through someone's mind like a wide-eyed child exploring a dusty, cluttered attic. It made no difference to her if the mind in question was mortal, vampiric or something else altogether. She did not care. I would ask her questions and she would answer me, uncovering locked, cold memories wedged in dark and undisturbed corners. I rediscovered a beloved Saluki, a noble hunting breed somewhat like an Afgan Hound. We had him when I was a youth, just before the time of my metamorphosis, just before I shed my skin. His name was Malik (mah-LEEK). It means prince. He was supposed to sleep in the kennels out behind the stables with the rest of the pack. But Malik was different. He was a pet. And he slept with me. The Pow Wow Woman visualized him perfectly. And I could feel his warm, soft breath and the solid weight of his trusting body next to me. She also found my time in Thrace at the court of Suleiman The Great, Sultan of The Ottoman Empire and one of the greatest kings in Europe. Oh, but how we lived back then. I'm told the rich and nuainced cuisine was quite exquisite.But other things had flavor for me too. The weighty, silk brocades. The polished, marble floors. I had a chest filled with peerless, Kashmiri gemstones. But one night, on a whim, I gave it to a beggar out by the hippodrome. He went on to found an international banking dynasty. It is still with us in the world today. And then there was Kadeesha, my alabaster Circassian princess. How I did love her. But she backed an attempt (by the hated vizier) to take over The Topkapi Palace. Now she is a mollusk encrusted rock at the bottom of The Bosphorus. They threw her into a seam of molten lava. Here's a bit of advice... Don't mess with the king. It's odd. How could I have forgotten that time? It was over forty years of my life. True, I too was almost destroyed. They wanted to grind me into a paste between  two, monstrously huge mill stones attributed to some long dead local cyclops. Wouldn't that have been a show? You see, they suspected me of sorcery. My Dorian Grey-like eternal youth troubled them. But what can I tell you. The rest  of it was good. The rest of it was all good..................... Oooh! About that floor covering person! He came by. But a completely new surface would have required up to two weeks time. And he was not a 'familiar'. He was not in the least used to vampires. He did not know a thing. So how could we have managed that? No, we made due with a light buffing and resealing of the original oak flooring. The results were quite pleasing. It reminded me of the upper-crust country manors I used to frequent during my British years........... Now to the meat of the matter. When we first moved in, we stayed in the penthouse for a few weeks, until it was time for our monthly feedings. Even Sarah did not go out. The Old Woman did not go out as well. The Pow Wow Woman claimed she did not go out either. But I am sure she was able to project her soul out of her body, so who knows what to think? The Enemy did know we were back in the city. They could conjour visions of us. But they did not know exactly where we were. And none of us wanted to provide them with any clues. We were momentarily safe. We were left alone, as they busied themselves with weaker prey. I believe prostitutes were a particular favorite of theirs. Still, there was one day when the floor sanders were there. The immortals among us were snug in our beds behind stout, locked doors. But Bob had a dream. He called out in his sleep. He screamed. He produced a sound not like a human sound. Not just louder, for it was not simply louder, but more piercing. And one of the sanders noticed it. The Old Woman was watching him. He did not say a word. But he bent down and scooped up a small sample of sawdust, which he carefully sprinkled into his handkerchief  before stuffing it into his pocket. A fortnight later, when we went out to take our predetermined meals, they were there and they were waiting. The sky was strange that night. The stars were colder. The clouds more torn and vivid. How were they so white? From whence came the light? And there were noises, such strange, sad noises. Sounds like whispers. They seemed to eminate from the very stones and cobbles. I could make out my name, my true name. Each of us heard his own true name. But since Bob could not remember his own true name, he did not think they were talking to him. I have no rational explanation for that. It is just how his mind worked. Perhaps he was better off?

No comments: