Sunday, December 28, 2014

Jonathon Asks Sarah About her Mortal Days... 12/28/14

It was a warm December, sometimes damp, but rarely icy. Jonathon and Sarah continued sitting out in the little back garden. It was their private space, hidden from view by brick walls. But squirrels can scramble over bricks. They came down to gather the walnuts Edith left out for them. She thought it her duty.. more than that... She had to do it. 

Sarah snuggled beneath an old shearling robe. I don't know where it came from. Vampire households have many treasures. Things just turn up. Jonathon lay next to her. The antique, patio chaise lounge held two. He had a knit cap pulled down over his ears. Mortals, even temporary ones, are quite sensitive to nighttime chills. 'Warm December' is a relative term, you know.

He watched a squirrel, surprisingly nocturnal,  tuck one of the walnuts under its arm, much as a man might carry a large melon, before disappearing over the wall. Sarah counted stars.

Then he said - What did you keep in that basement?.... What do you mean? - she said...The one under Philadelphia After Dark, the bookshop; I was there last night.

And you went downstairs?

Yes.

Sydney let you down?

Sydney wasn't there - he said. 

She exhaled and said - That happens sometimes. You do understand I knew about magic, or whatever you want to call it before I met you?

Uh huh.

So, what happened?

There was a blind man and a deaf woman. I think they were a couple. I think they were husband and wife. Ghosts, I think.

Were you scared?

Yes I was scared. Not terrified. I don't think I was terrified. But I was scared. I knew they couldn't touch me. I knew they couldn't hurt me. It usually goes that way, I mean, but he gave me something.

She looked at him.

He gave me a book, my book, an old book, a copybook from my school days.

Which school days?

My mortal school days. My real school days. My human school days. Old leather... Old parchment. Nine hundred and forty years old it is. I was shocked. Did anything like that ever happen to you?

No. 

And you never went down the cellar? 

No. There was a key. I had a key. I guess Sydney has it now. The landlord showed me the cellar, for like about a minute. Told me not to store books there. Too much trouble getting cartons up and down the steps. So I kept everything in the little storeroom by the back door. What'd I get, maybe three boxes a week, if I was lucky? It was a big empty space. That's all I remember. The key was for emergencies. Like if the fire department had to go down. I put a big chair in front of the door. I didn't like it.... What, there're bones down there?

Just a hand. An anatomy specimen. Think the tag said 'University of Pennsylvania.'

What did you do with it?

It's still there.

And the book?

It's upstairs. (he thinks and continues) I know what Scottosh Beedosh means.

Did the ghosts tell you?

No... An angel did.

Oh God! no more of this religious stuff. Do you know the trouble it starts?

What do you mean 'do you know?' Of course I know. But this isn't like that. No big movements. No big demonstrations. I think it's just for me... a reminder to be the right kind of vampire... to be the kind of vampire I always was. I want to be night-folk again and I want you to do it.

Sarah's startled.

You have the power. You have my blood. You have Papa's blood too. You're just as strong as me... or as strong as I was. I want this thing. Please.

All right.... Now?

Jonathon begins to cry... She kisses him

And in night-folk lore, already prone to spiritual hyperbole... the daughter shall be mother to the father...

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