Monday, September 8, 2014


In Old Cathay they made mah jong tiles out of the bones of prisoners. I never saw that happen, for I was not there much. But I saw the sets, mostly in the collections of Muscovite aristocrats, or wealthy, merchant, Persian families. Beautiful, lacquered chests, they were... like small bureaus. Most are black, but not all. I knew the 'ivory' was human. Vampires can taste such things. I could even tell the sex and age of the victim.

According to what I heard, limbs were removed prior to death. Rather like a surgical procedure it was. Arms severed at the shoulder. Legs at the hip. After a period of recovery, the donor was made to watch, as all vestiges of flesh, by that point mostly dry and rigid, were meticulously sliced away. Then, expert lapidaries, often in service to the imperial household, carefully ground femurs and ulnas into small, rectangular veneers.... maybe thicker than veneers. so that they might be polished and decorated before being affixed to ebony beds. Such beautiful things they were.

Some maintain the Chinese never did that. They say the bones were gathered by local suppliers who then hired, or coerced artisans from among their own peoples to create such things. Mah jong, basically a variation of consecutive rummy, was all the rage in the late medieval and renaissance world. Queen Elizabeth the First had a set, so did the poet, Dante. I met an armless man once. Claimed his appendages were now cunning little bijou owned by the heirs to the Aztec throne, who were, at that time, Dukes at the court of Charles the Fifth. 

People did those things... mortal people. Of course vampires committed crimes of their own. I know I did, but no worse than what the 'others' were doing. You might say ours were crimes of passion, whereas theirs were exquisite perversions performed by bored, powerful humans.... Ahhh! Help me! The bored, powerful humans are after me!.... Can you imagine such a thing?...  They say Jack The Ripper was a bored, powerful human. I know a few things about that too. Sure I was in Philadelphia when it happened, but via occasional forays back to London (my friends at the Hermetic Order of The Golden Dawn) I learned things.  Ruling class Britons move in terribly small circles, you know.

But now I sit in The Pines, a refugee from a crumbling civilization ... not just here, in Philadelphia... a splotchy growth the world over.... Art works have been defaced... buildings destroyed... whole populations ground to dust. Mah jong tiles would have been a better fate. 

I want to be what I was. I want to sublimate. I want to swim through the night. I want the blood. 

They say what keeps a vampire alive isn't the drinking of the blood but the siphoning of the life. Could be that's true, especially if we really are members of 'the demi-angelic host.' But, oh, the 'gravy' tastes so good.

I miss that...

Perhaps tomorrow, I'll be a 'bored, powerful, human' and play a little.... If I do, eventually, return to the fold and become a vampire again there'll be more than enough time to repent.

(He sits on the porch staring out into the black, forest night, as we pull back. A small candle, illuminates his face.... and then he's gone.)


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