They sat in the kitchen. Odd, even in a largely vampire household, so much happens in the kitchen. Annie was bathed and dressed in an outfit Sarah got for her... skinny jeans and a long sleeved t-shirt and a hoodie. Sarah knows. Edith gave her fish sticks, but the good kind, made from real fish. And they all just sat there watching her eat. She'd dip into the cocktail sauce... take a bite... savor the flavor... Jonathon would say - Do you want to tell us anything?..... Annie'd say - Uh huh... Then she'd eat some more. Even Baylah was there. Annie looked at her and said - She's pretty.... Baylah mouthed - Thank you.... A few heartbeats later, she downed eight ounces of SNAPPLE, took a breath and said - OK, I'm ready. Edith, could you like lower the lights? I talk better in less light.... Edith says - Sure baby... and adjusts the dimmer switch.
Then they sit there 'round the large, granite breakfast bar like a paranormal version of that Night Hawks painting. Hey, they are night-folks after all. Nobody says a word. The tall clock in the entrance hall chimes. The polite, little, good-hearted ghost boy watches from the shadows.
Annie sighed, looked down at the glossy counter top and began ---- When I got zapped off them shootie-chutes, I didn't appear on the street outside here right away. It felt like it was right away, but it wasn't. You know a second has fifty million scillion little pieces in it. And each of those pieces can be chopped up a whole lot more. I know, 'cause I saw this thing on TV and Albert Einstein's head... like a cartoon version of his head, bounced all around explaining it. You know... black holes... time and all.. and he sang little songs. Well, that's what happened to me. I did things. I was with people... or they looked like people. Vampires look like people, but they're not. Other things look like people too. They told me that the big thing is not that we are people, but that we're something else......
Where were they... the ones who spoke to you? - asked Sarah. What did they look like?
I don't know - moaned the strange little girl. They changed. Like smoke, but there was no smoke. Maybe like mist. Is that the right word? You know, I don't go to school and my 'mother's' like a teacher too. Do you think God made a mistake? Do you think I was always supposed to be here?
Jonathon kissed the top of her head and said - I don't know.
The arc of a life and the arc of a death go together to form a circle. I remember that. They said that - whispered Annie. I don't know what it means. I thought maybe it was words from a song, but I couldn't remember which one. Is it from a song?
It's from something, but not a song - said Jonathon.
Edith knew. She knew because he sometimes hid the books with her. You know... like when he's on the run, or hiding, or when 'stuff' is happening. A lot of people hide things in The Jersey Pine Barrens. She has a cabin there. That'a where Mister Edith is. That's where them Red Paint People are and Pin Head Mel and Horsey Skeezix. Mafia hides bodies there too. Some say you can hear them mumbling under the mud.
Every once in a while, Edith would look through the books. La Ciencia Vampirismo and the journal. She wasn't fluent in archaic Spanish and other old Iberian dialects, but witchy-women have their ways. The letters would dance around on the page and snake from place to place til she could read the ancient, vellum pages. And once, in an old, buried casket, she found a moldering copy of The Zohar (The Radiance), first book of The Kabbalah. Two Red Paint guys told her she should put it back. They said the belief is religious treatises have souls and when no longer serviceable are interred like the dead. But she heard it calling to her. Maybe it wasn't so 'dead?'
The arc of a life and the arc of a death... Edith knew what that meant too.
And what with Annie being back and all, something was gonna happen.... Will it be scary?..... Who knows?
But look, you hang around here. So you sure as hell know it'll be weird.
Do you have any idea how much real magic you've been exposed to, just reading this, over the years?
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