Jonathon takes the book, puts it on a small desk and gently runs his hands over the ancient, hand tooled surface. Then he quietly closes and locks the door, turns off the little overhead fixture and sits down to read by the focused light of a boudoir sized table lamp. He loves the warm, confines of the space. The library is his favorite room. And La Ciencia Vampirismo is his most treasured volume, a medieval text compiled in Spain during the last days of La Convivencia , that special time when Muslims, Christians and Jews lived together in something approaching harmony.
He whispered a prayer and opened it. Some say he made this copy, or contributed toward its creation. The calligraphy, in Old Castilian, Hebrew and Arabic is quite beautiful and the illuminated border of flowers and vines (with tiny, little black and gold bees) is, after all these centuries, incredibly vivid and alive.
Jonathon likes bees. Nocturnal creatures rarely see them, but he remembers. They had an apiary when he was little.... three hives to be exact, stocked with plump, furry honey-makers from up in Galicia. Gentle creatures they were... an old strain dating back to the Romans. Stings were few and far between. Jonathon brought them flowers. Not that they couldn't find their own, but his blooms, in small clay pots, had a sweet, fresh perfume and lots of thick, amber nectar. Rina, the kitchen girl, said the bees used it to bake tiny cakes for their young ones.... Can they do that? - he asked. For the idea of industrious, insect bakers seemed like magic to him. Rina said that they could and forever after Jonathon believed in the fantastic..... more than believed. He lived it.
Odd, the recollections a vampire has. But La Ciencia Vampirismo is an unusual text and readers often see words that are not there.
Jonathon turned the page (fine, creamy vellum). Where the former sheet had the title surrounded by that famous border, this one featured a large, stylized number one, drawn in a more or less Arabic manner, though at the same time favoring a stylized flamingo. Whether those birds were known in the Iberia of that day is a mystery, but they were in 'La Ciencia...' Beneath the bird-one was a phrase --- Never be defined by thine enemies..... A line, considering the times and the first inkling of organized, inquisitional sentiment and thought, obviously penned by a vampire. Some of you may know that up until The Inquisition, vampires were often seen as tragic, positive creatures. A base, judgmental age changed that, fashioning a more evil and gothic 'Doctor Polidori' take on those beings.
Soon the enchantment would start. Soon the book would work its famous magic. Insights would float up from the page. Jonathon would see things and gain knowledge. His feelings of impending prophesy from a few episodes ago, would be fleshed out and he'd know what was coming.
Sunday nights... late nights, I mean, are very peaceful and special in the townhouse. Edith softly knocked. Jonathon, cognizant of her rhythms said - Come in.... she brought him tea. He rose from the desk and sat down on one of the settees to drink it, lest it spill and ruin the book.
But he looked at the opened tome resting there on the desk in that small pool of light and saw tiny, diaphanous figures rise up from the page and dance about. Some favored Berber mountain girls, others eastern odalisques... a few suggested birds that quickly flew off and disappeared.
That's when he fell asleep and began to dream....
In the beginning, he was a toddler eating honey cakes made with honey from their very own bees and making a sticky mess.....
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