Thursday, January 8, 2015



I sat there waiting for the phone to ring. Edith did her best to stay out of my way. Billy played Legos with the little polio-victim-boy-ghost in the basement. The poor little tyke can't manipulate matter, but he tells Billy what pieces to snap together and what colors go with what. That's how he makes houses. He likes little houses... cottages really. We never take them apart. There's a whole village on an old ping pong table, with a narrow gauge electric train running through it. It's like the one Beetlejuice had in that movie. No, not him. The couple, Gena Davis and Alex Baldwin. But ours is all Legos and even if he didn't snap it all together, our little ghost-boy made it just the same. 

I wear simple clothes... jeans, long sleeved t-shirts, sweat shirts. It's cold outside...icy, in fact. Can it harm me?... No... But it chills me and I don't like the way that feels. 

The phone RINGS... I answer. It's time. I hang up, slip on my scarf and peacoat and go out onto the street to wait  for the car. I see Edith come to one of the livingroom windows and peek out. She's concerned. She wants it to go well. I nod to her. She nods back and closes the drapes. How still everything is. Seven degrees Fahrenheit will do that. Cold air fills my lungs. I exhale steamy vapor. Soon I'll be cold blooded... not icy like fish or amphibians, but not like people either. We have an infer-red sauna in the townhouse. Before all this mortal stuff started a few months ago, I could stay in there a good long while. I like the sauna. When I'm night-folk again it'll be a great comfort. 

A woman goes by. I've seen her before... a nurse going into work. She carries a gun. I know she does. I spoke with her a few times when I was vampire. She sees me. Probably figures I'm a smoker, stepped outside for a late night cigarette.  That's what I told her. She nods, smiles and says 'hi.'... I do the same.. She goes - Brrr! stay warm.... I go - You know it.... She hurries by. Works just a block and a half down. She don't live far. They pay her good, but not enough to keep a car in town... not enough to rely on taxis... so she walks... Such is life... and it 'ain't' fair.

A conservative, black, Cadillac sedan rounds the corner and stops. I recognize the driver. He's a 'familiar' (a helper) so I get in. We don't say a word. He takes me through the stage set city and lets me out by the Sixteenth and Locust Street subway entrance, not too far from The Warrick Hotel. Night-folk use this entrance all the time. Ladies in the glass booths know us. Nobody makes trouble. I go down, pay, she lets me through. At the end of the platform there's a door, a heavy, green metal door leading down to the deep network of unused tunnels. You have to pass through a series of dark, narrow, passageways and stairways, but you'll get there, provided you're a friend. I have a key for the metal door. That's how I get in. Do they see me open it and go through, on the surveillance system? Of course they do. But I told you. They know us and we know them. Favors go both ways.

To mortals this would be terrifying. There's no explanation for it, but batteries don't work here. They say it had something to do with magnetism in the walls... the wrong kind of rocks... the wrong type of concrete. The wrong type of story. That's not what it is. There was a cave in along this route in the early days. Fourteen workmen died... buried alive. Took weeks to reach them. Couldn't even close their eyes. The dirt came down so fast they didn't even have the room. Back then some of the workers were fourteen years old. Are there fourteen ghosts? I don't know if there're fourteen ghosts, but there are a few. I feel them biting and scratching and breathing, as I pass. Still, that's just an illusion. They can't move anything. I hear whispers. I hear pleading and crying. True mortals couldn't take it.... It's too dark... too confining... to remote... But I am not a true mortal, so I continue descending. 

Soon I hear footsteps... soft, scrapings. Then I see eyes, orange iridescent coins against the dark. One of the mole-folk has come to meet me. They tend to shuffle, to avoid tripping, thus the scraping. She holds a candle. I can smell the mixture of rendered pigeon and rat drippings used to make the tallow. She whispers - This way. Follow me. We exit the narrow tunnels and enter a large one, originally meant for the trains. Flickering shadows move across the rough ceiling and walls. Other mole-folk, each with their own candle come forth from their hiding places... My 'honor guard.' I'd expected to be transformed in a tunnel closer to home. Maybe the pit here is better? We use this entrance all the time, but I thought we'd double back.  They took me to the platform... to what was to be a 'stop.' Dozens of candles gave the place a tomb-like feel. Mole-folk gathered in groups, waiting for the show, or as much of it as the vampires would let them see. 

Then Sarah stepped out from another room, perhaps a storage chamber or water closet... She walked toward me, but didn't say a word. Baylah was there too. She just looked at me. I saw the elferinos and elferinas (our elf-like, pubescent vampires), but they stayed back in the deepest shadows with the mole-folk. Something wasn't right. Even the air... Even the very ether felt wrong.

Moments later I saw a form sublimate down through the ceiling. That's when I knew....

'Papa' was back....


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