They prepared themselves carefully. The caretaker and his wife let them bathe in their cottage. Night-folk don't get dirty like you and I. Their skin is different, their humors less pungent and volatile, but bathing is an act of purification and the four elferinos and elferinas (pubescent vampires) respect that. Each dressed in fresh attire, clean interior clothing and never before worn exterior garments. The look of the outfit doesn't change much. They usually wear black jeans and white, or black shirts. This night the shirts will be black, since they're flying and need to blend in with the sky, plus it hides the blood. Please know that real night-folk are not fiends. There's no lurid, blood orgy, but a neat, fast inhalation of fluid... at least on most nights. It's also been determined that vampires occasionally take in a bit of glandular secretions too. Small groups of highly secretive scientists, like Doctor Franklin and his Anti-Enchantment Bureau associates seek scientific explanations and the ingestion of bodily fluids other than blood lends credence to their biological viewpoint. The body takes what it needs. And one more thing... it is true, vampires can endure long periods of dormancy, but so do other life forms, such as 'water bears' and toads. To them, the scientific/biological group, vampirism will ultimately prove to be a disease, or adaptation. Others of a spiritual bent feel the blood and anything else drawn out from the victim is immaterial. It is the taking of the life that matters. Vampires are created to do that and they are preserved to do that. It's basically the old God is, or God isn't argument.
Our 'out of town' vampire leader ( a true vampire, not an elferino), Jonathon is very spiritual (as regulars know). He believes night-folk were Divinely created... an earthly adjunct to the angels.... not 'The Shepherd,' but 'the sheepdog' brought into being so that wicked people might perish and worthy people might live.
I'd say the elferinos and elferinas agree. Tonight they cull the wicked. I flew with them and even though I am just 'Billy,' the recorder of these events, they can share their magic with me via ruby red, almost microscopic crystals of their blood. A light dusting does it. That's all it takes.
Right now, we're in a large, loft apartment in Old City, where all the new and somewhat more affordable galleries are. It's an expansive space, broken by a scattering of nineteenth century, cast iron columns. The wide, almost floor to ceiling windows are unadorned. The place is empty, quiet and dark, save for whatever light comes in from the predawn street below. A man whimpers. He's tied to one of the columns. There's a gag in his mouth. His clothes are gone. He looks so hopelessly sad. The elferinos and elferinas sit on the old, wooden floor jabbering away in Flemish and Walloon (a northern French dialect). I don't know what he's done, as I speak only English and Spanish with maybe a smattering of German and this particular band of night-folk is very secretive. Perhaps because they're eternally twelve, thirteen and fourteen years old? You know how young teens can be.
Soon they get up, straighten their clothes and begin to dance, a low countries 'la ronde.' They hop and skip and step about the condemned to the rhythm of an old song shared only in their heads.
I watch from the shadows. They ignore me. I know they're never unaware of my presence. The fact that I am mortal and they are not precludes that. It's just how it is.
A heartbeat later one runs up and instantaneously sinks his fangs (I think it was Albion) into the man's belly before rejoining the dance. Then another goes for a shoulder... a butt cheek... the groin... The man writhes and groans. After a bit it all speeds up. The column positively vibrates. Blood pours from his scalp, the tops of his feet, his spine, his nipples and almost everywhere else. Then, just before he gives up the ghost, his tormentors (by now, nothing so much as a spinning tornado) lap it all up, leaving a glistening, shriveled husk, just like the statues of skinned saints you see in museums, gazing up toward Heaven through dead and ruined eyes.
Soon after the body ignites into a 'cold' blue flame and disappears, save for a sticky, fatty residue on the floor 'round the column.
The elferinos and elferinas lapse back to their usual mild selves and we fly home to our Spartan digs in the never used mausoleum.
One less malefactor in the world.
Funny how a vast, leafy cemetery, like Laurel Hill, can come to be home.
But 'home' it is, just the same.....
We curl up on assorted quilts, cushions and blankets thrown about the place after sealing the heavy, bronze door and locking out the light. The sky brightens, but we never see...
Then, the elferina known as Marianne hums an old song...
<more next time>
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