Friday, August 31, 2012


Later that night, with the rising of The Blue Moon (two full moons in the same month) we discovered Papa was missing. His cubicle was empty, but his possessions were still there. Tomas ran his hand over the ram's horn, an old ram's horn and very large. It came from a long dead, prehistoric specimen. Ancient tribes from Celts to Hebrews and others quite forgotten used ram's horns as clarion calls. Indeed, modern Judaic congregations still sound the 'shofar' to herald each new Biblical year.

Papa's was from his mortal days. And it took thousands of years to recover. He found it sleeping at the bottom of chest, shoved off to the side, in a basement store room at the Penn Museum. You know how they (the vampires) hide there sometimes. And a small vial of his own healing blood passed on to the proper trustee ransomed it. The marks inscribed near the tip, glyphs actually, were his own, scratched into the keratin while still a boy. God works in mysterious ways. And who better to recognize that than vampires?

Annie said - The Chinese lady got him...... Edith knew it too. They all did. Powerful life-eaters can sublimate through many realities. And Madam Shang was a demi-goddess. ....... Annie said - Well, no more a that guy........ Tomas gave her a look. Edith wanted to smack her right across her pinched, little gutter snipe face. Even though the little bastid was a vampire, Edith didn't care. She was a true, Piney, witch in her own right. And no little vampire piss-pot was gonna scare her.

But Conrad had to feed. It was his time of the month. And he was scared to go alone. Tonight's meal is a thief, a skinny weasel who preys on the old, stealing their illusions along with the hard won cash. Did he see him in a vision? Of course. Conrad is still quite spiritual. So he readied himself and left. Tomas went with him and they silently walked through the city to a narrow street far down in South Philadelphia. You've seen the houses in SIXTH SENSE. And you've seen them in those Baltimore movies like DINER. You know what I mean. Like where Gina Davis lived in THE ACCIDENTAL TOURIST...... 'Yuppies' (do they still say that?) like them and pay big money. But then they festoon them in hardwoods and granite. Skinny, weasel thieves, inhabit rougher diggs, complete with water-stained ceilings and drooping floors. And we'll witness the 'culling' tomorrow. 

Sarah wanted to know what happened. She wanted to know where he was. Annie didn't care, so they gave her a couple twenty dollar bills and let her go run the streets. She loved that. Anybody come near her, she hiss like a cat. Show 'em the teeth and scare 'em off. They sense she's a vampire. Her magic works. They know. So she walks around buying custard, gobbling it up, then throwing it back up. Vampires can't eat real human foodstuff. But she likes the smooth, cold flavor, so she puts up with the unpleasant part. And since her innards in no way digest it, the rats and pigeons have quite a feast.

Sometimes she sees Marianne, or Celeste, or Roland, or Albion. They wave. But the elferina-vampirinas and elferino-vampirinos have little to do with her. She may be near them in age, human age that is, but the magic rests very differently on her. And no one truly knows why.

Where is she now? I do not know. Probably scaring alley cats, or chasing loud mouthed whores. A little 'girl' at play. 
Oh, she'll be drunk before dawn. I can guarantee you that. Sarah used to feel guilty when they let her run like this. But enough is enough and you can only take so much. Even vampires have their limits.
Edith feels bad about it all sometimes, but even she says 'go. let her run and get killed,' every once in a while. Sure, Annie didn't have an easy life. Yet there's more to it than that....

At first they were gonna use the Wee-Gee Board. Not that she needs it. But it's a tool, a way to focus. Then, on account a Madam Shang's ancient Han heritage, it was deemed more fortuitous to use the old Mah-Jong tiles, 'cause there's a way to tell fortunes with them too. So Sarah dragged down the old wooden box (they conjured and reconstituted all their far flung possessions when they moved into the new town house)and opened it, spilling the smooth, yellowed tiles all over the granite island. Such a clatter they made. Then Edith pushed them around to like shuffle them. She said a prayer, something learned from The Red Paint People and began.

Two tiny cherubs (exceedingly rare, innocent, adorable, pudgy toddler/baby vampires) watched through the window. Sarah knew they were there, but she loved the wide-eyed young ones, and so she let them stay. Edith loved them too. Everyone did. And ten heartbeats later the tiles began to 'speak.'

Papa was still a coherent entity. But he was very, very far away.....


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