Blood Canticle, page 30part #10 of The Vampire Chronicles Series
IT WAS AN HOUR before dawn when I returned to Blackwood Farm, a weary soul for my bloodless wanderings, and bound for bed. The Kitchen Committee, as Quinn calls it, was already having coffee and setting the dough to rise.
I had missed Tommy's departure. He had left me a note-very kind and somewhat unique-thanking me for helping Patsy's spirit go into the Light. Ah, yes.
I at once sat down at the haunted desk, and, finding the central drawer to contain Blackwood Farm notepaper as I knew it would now that the key was lost, I wrote a note to Tommy saying that I thought he would become an extraordinary man and do great things that would make everyone proud of him.
"Beware of ordinary life," I wrote. "Reach for something finer, greater. I believe that is the message of Blackwood Farm. "
Jasmine, who was already fully dressed at that hour, with a white apron over her blue suit and silk blouse, went into ecstasies over my handwriting. Where did I get all these curlicues, these flourishes and this swift perfect use of the pen?
Why was I too tired to answer? Tired as the night that Patsy had crossed over? Was Julien really gone for good?
She took the note, slid it into an envelope and said it would go out with the first package of fudge which they were already cooking for Tommy.
"You know Quinn and Mona won't be back for a week," she said. "You and Nash are the only two in this great big house, and you won't touch a morsel of food we cook, you're so particular, and if you leave, there's just going be Nash and I'll cry my eyes out. "
"What?" I asked. "Where did Mona and Quinn go?"
"Who am I that I should know?" she asked with exaggerated gestures. "They didn't even tell us good-bye. It was another gentleman came here to tell us they'd be gone for a while. And he was the strangest man I've ever seen in my life, skin so white it looked like a mask. Hair jet black and long to his shoulders, and such a smile. It almost gave me a fright. Check in Aunt Queen's room when you go to bed. He left a note in there on the table for you. "
"That man's name is Khayman. He's kindly. I know where they went. " I sighed. "You going to let me stay in Aunt Queen's room while they're gone?"
"Oh, bite your tongue," she said. "It's where you belong. You think I'm bubbling over with joy that Miss Mona is raiding Aunt Queen's closets like the Queen of Sheba, just leaving fox furs and rhinestone shoes all over the floor? I am not. Never mind, I straightened it all up. You go on to bed. "
We went back the hallway together. I went into the room, found it softly lighted with only the dressing- table lamps, and stood there for a moment, just breathing in the perfume and wondering how long I could play out this spectacular hand.
The bed was already turned down for me. And a fresh flannel nightshirt was laid out, and sure enough, as they say on Blackwood Farm, there was a letter on the little table.
I sat down, tore open the parchment envelope and discovered the letter printed in a graceful cursive font.
My dearest rebel,
Your darlings want badly to be received by me and so I have granted their request. It is highly unusual, as you know, for me to bring ones so young to my compound. But there are excellent reasons for both Quinn and Mona spending some time here with me, acquainting themselves with the archives, meeting some of the others who go and come, and perhaps gaining some perspective on the gifts which they have been given and the existence which lies before them.
It is my strong feeling that their entrenchment in mortal life is not altogether wise, and this visit with me, this retreat among the immortals, will serve to insulate them against the shocks which may come. You are right in fearing that Mona does not grasp the full sacramental power of the Blood. But Quinn does not either, having been made against his will. Another reason for my bringing them here is simply that I have become quite real to Mona and Quinn, as the result of our communication regarding the Taltos, and I
want to dispel any harmful mythmaking which might surround my person in their young minds.
Here they will come to know me as I am. They will perhaps appreciate that at the root of our lineage there exists not a great goddess but a fairly simple personality, honed by time, and linked to her own mortal visions and desires.
Both children seem to be exceptionally gifted, and I am in awe of your accomplishments with them, as well as your patience.
I know what you are suffering at present. Only too well, I understand. But I have every confidence that you will behave according to the highest standards which you have set for yourself. Your moral evolution simply doesn't allow for anything else.
Let me assure you that you are welcome here. And I could easily have arranged for you to be brought to me with Quinn and Mona. But I know that you don't want to come.
You are now free to spend weeks in mortal peace, lying in Aunt Queen's bed, reading the novels of Dickens over again. You are entitled to that rest.
There it was, the evidence of my failure with Quinn and Mona, and the revelation of Maharet's marvelous generosity in bringing them to herself. What finer teacher could they have in all the wide world than Maharet?
I'd given Mona and Quinn all I could in my own fashion. And that wasn't enough. No, it simply wasn't enough. The problem was probably what Maharet had called my "moral evolution. " But I wasn't so sure.
I'd wanted to make "the perfect vampire" in Mona. But my plan had been quickly swallowed by forces which had taught me more than I could ever teach anybody else.
And Maharet was so right that I did not want to be taken to her famous jungle compound. No, not for me that fabled place of stone rooms and screened enclosures, where she the ancient lady who looked more like a statue in alabaster than a living thing held quiet court with her mute twin sister. And as for the legendary archives with their ancient tablets, scrolls and codices of unimaginable revelations, I could wait forever for those treasures as well. What can't be revealed to the world of men and women can't be revealed to me. I had no taste or patience for it.
I was going in quite the other direction-caught in the thrall of Blackwood Farm-this lost corner of the South where things more mundane were far more precious to me.
I was at peace with it. I was also weak in my soul, without doubt. And it was from my battle with Julien,
and sure enough, he was nowhere about.
I folded the letter.
I got undressed.
I put all my clothes properly on hangers like a decent mortal individual, put on the flannel nightshirt, pulled out the copy of "Little Nell" from under the pillow and read until the sun came creeping over the horizon and over my consciousness, locking me down into emptiness and peace.
ANNE RICE SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Interview with the VampireThe Queen Of The DamnedThe Vampire LestatThe Tale of the Body ThiefMemnoch the DevilThe Master of Rampling GateThe Claiming of Sleeping BeautyBeauty's Release
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