It is I, Doctor Franklin. Let me tell you what I know. Jonathon came to see me. We didn't meet at my complex under the Navy Yard. That didn't feel right, although the 'thing' obviously knows it's there. But to me, it felt like drawing the fox to the hen house. So we went to a diner for a midnight breakfast. I ordered waffles. I love waffles... with peaches in medium syrup and a bit of whipped cream. The vampire asked for a pot of Earl Grey tea. He likes tea. There's something about diners late at night.... Like an oasis of warmth amidst the cold, dark city.
We sat in a corner booth. Everyone looks strange under florescent light. Vampires fit right in. But do you want to know the truth?They don't really look different at all. Whatever 'force' it is that preserves them does a good job. Still, Jonathon was worried. You could see that. Billy is 'family' after all... not night-folk, though he did bring them into your world via this blog... Well, I told him what I knew.
The thing is a 'bashi-bazouk' - I said. An old spirit, unattached to any ethereal hierarchy. A 'loose cannon,' if you will. The name, an old Turkish term going back to Ottoman times, also means 'broken head' or free thinker. Bashi-bazouks do their own thing. And they lie. Maybe they don't know they're lying? Maybe thoughts become reality in their realm. But it's just the way they are. He's old. I can tell you that, but no where near as old as the galaxy. They all say that. 'As old as the stars' - It's a thing with them. I'd wager a guess he's seven hundred and fifty thousand years old. Know how I know that? They leave a signature... a residue of nothingness. Call it negative energy, or vacuum echoes. It's the stuff that powers those new engines they're testing. You know, if all goes well, relativistic space flight is only a few decades away. And that's not just my group. Nasa is in on it too.
I got the residue from the wax shard you gave me. Think it was part of Grougho Marx's chin. He, the entity, I mean, stole it from a wax museum in Niagara Falls. And I don't know how he did that. Entities, for the most part, cannot effect matter. Now it is possible he 'whispered' into the mind of a human helper. That person might have brought it here to Philadelphia for him. You say he 'inhabited' the artificial facsimile and actually staggered down the street in it?.... I'm at a loss. I can't explain it. Nor can I tell you what brought him here. Why doesn't he just try to find a way to occupy the body of his helper? They do this all the time... entities, I mean. Your Billy isn't his first fixation. There were others. Then, after a while, whatever it is that plasters the spirit to the flesh wears off and it all turns to mush. Bones break through the skin. Finger meat falls off. Eyelids wither and die. Not like normal decomposition. Everything just turns to a frothy, bloody mess.
A bashi-bazouk... that's it. That's what you have.
Can we prevent it from doing what it wants to do?... No.
But... we can change it's mind.
It's strange, Jonathon, for your first nine hundred and forty years you didn't know this. Oh, you may have tasted a bit here and there, but it never meant much. I can tell. I'm only three hundred and eight years old, but I study everything. And I'm talking about magic. But for the last year or two, you've been in the thick of it. And not just at The Vampire Revels or visits to The Hermetic Order Of The Golden Dawn. I mean every day.
But I can't tell you why..... You know, the 'sea hag,' the old mermaid died. She was in her tank. We made it as nice as possible. There was a little island. There was a little beach... holographic island scenes and everything. Spent a lot of money. You'll have to excuse me for tearing up... She sang... She sang her sea song. You know what their language sounds like. We stayed with her. We listened... Gave her some fresh herrings and she died... Floated under the surface... about a foot or two down, looked up, smiled and died. We never even knew how old she was. That's how it is.
Then the waitress brought his platter. Doctor Franklin thanked her. She smiled at a customer who was just another old, white haired guy in a heavyweight, green, Eagles sweatsuit. After that he quietly began to eat, while Jonathon sipped his tea and studied the quasi-hipsters scattered around the place.
3AM est in Center City, Philadelphia...
Have you done your magic today?...
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