Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Book of Sarah

Our little alcove. Our little refuge. We retreated into the inky solitude all the time. The complete absence of light was comforting. And the vermin never troubled us. They tend to stay away from vampires. I don't know why. Perhaps it is because they like to take the blood from the living and the flesh from the dead. We are neither, so they leave us alone. Sarah too. I suppose my essence must have rubbed off on her. But the alcove was a place where we could be together. We could talk. We could touch. We could explore..... We made vows to each other. She was mine. She was my beloved. And I was hers. We recited the old, Hebrew marriage service. I knew it. I remembered it from all the weddings I'd attended as a boy. The sacred words rose up through the centuries and we were united. Before The Great Throne of Heaven, we were united. What? Do you doubt this? How can you?. If supernatural beings such as I can exist, who can deny the reality of angels, the reality of the prophets and the abiding presence of an everlasting God? We were married and we were one. The Pow Wow Woman knew. She smiled when she saw us. Baylah laughed. She laughed like a child. Not to mock us, but because she was glad. Even Bob was happy (real emotion seems a rarity for him). He almost remembered his true name.... Almost. The Old Woman's thoughts trod a different path. She was not happy. And she stopped eating. What did the mortals eat underground? Well, mushrooms. as I have told you. Snails. Doves. Snails are obvious. They crave shadows too. The doves would flutter down into the subway tunnels during cold weather. Over time, some of them were snatched up and carried deeper by cunning, little mole children. They were put into crude pens fashioned from old, dried, bench slats scavenged from never used platforms in never used tunnels. The birds were fattened on dried mushrooms, plus other occasional exotic tidbits. Their wing feathers were snapped in such a manner as to make flight impossible. Thus was a race of subterranean squab born. Life giving water trickled out of cracks and the loosened joints of old, rusted pipes. But the Old Woman would have none of it. She even refused the periodic gift of a drop or two of my blood. And she would wander into the lowest, maze-like warrens, into places never felt by human fingers, or by one-time human fingers. And then there came a night (at least we thought it was night) when we all felt it. We sensed the change. But only the Pow Wow Woman spoke. She said - The little one has stopped her killing. She is not killing anymore. Actually, I  knew it too. But I did not trust my God given talents. It wsas time to leave our grave-like state and go up into the open air once more. Would the evil girl kill again? We did not know. If she did, we would hopefully react in the proper manner. We would face it. This time, I would face it with Sarah. Look, I must be truthful with you. There was not any one act. There was not any one night when I made her as I am. But little by little, I took tiny draughts of her blood and replaced it with my own. And so, over time, she was changed. I cannot tell you when that happened. In truth, nor can she. But there was one night. I believe it was the First Night... the First Night of our Feast of the Rededication (Hanukah), when she took her last human meal and passed over into a more spiritual state. She never shed her skin. She was spared that horror, for she retained it, but in a radiant and perfect form. Why did this occur? I do not know. Perhaps she is different. Perhaps it was preordained. Only the Lord of the Universe knows for sure. We were residing in a tiny, clean, dry cell beneath an old Spanish Rite (Sephardic) meeting house (synagogue) on a fine, pre-Revolutionary red brick street in the Society Hill district.. The congregants up above never knew we were there. The chamber was forgotten long ago. But we could hear their hymns and prayers and it was a great comfort to us. It was a sign. As long as we culled only those seen in visions we would be all right. As long as we fed on the truly wicked and no one else, we would one day, ages hence, be welcomed into the Shining Presence of God. And we believed that with a 'most perfect faith' as the blessed biblical commentators were known to say. Now Bob managed to get his old job back at the Mutter Museum. And Baylah opened a jewel-box-like little piano bar. We all got together at the museum or the bar from time to time. The Pow Wow Woman made a comfortable living giving 'readings' at stylish ladies' luncheons and gatherings of that sort. The Old Woman? She simply disappeared. Odd, occasional deaths still occured. But the girl, Annie, was not seen and so she was not blamed. We spread our blood among the needy, along with timely sums of cash. We made the world a better place. And so life went on. Perhaps it was the beginning of The Age To Set Things Right? And then again, perhaps not.

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