Blackwood Farm, page 4part #9 of The Vampire Chronicles Series
IT WAS LIKE TRAVELING with my Maker -- the speed, the altitude and the strong arms holding me. I gave it all of my trust.
And then came the sudden plunge.
I was shaken as he let me go, and I had to stop myself from stumbling until the dizziness passed.
We stood on a terrace. A partially open glass door separated us from a lighted room. It was tastefully furnished in rather routine modern furniture-beige velvet chairs and couches, with the inevitable large television, muted lamps and scattered tables of iron and glass.
Two very pretty young brunette women were inside, one busy with a suitcase on the coffee table, and the other in front of a nearby mirror, brushing her long hair. They wore skimpy silk dresses, both pretty fashionable, revealing a great deal of their dark olive skin.
Lestat put his arm around me again and gave my shoulder a gentle squeeze.
"What does your mind tell you?" he whispered.
I let the Mind Gift loose, casting for the one at the mirror, and caught the whisper of murder at once. The other was even more accustomed to it, and it seemed that both of the women were party to a crime that was actually happening now somewhere at a distance from this place.
It was an elegant hotel, this building. Through a door I saw the bedroom. I caught the scent from a gin drink on one of the tables, I caught the scent of fresh flowers, and of course I caught the overwhelming scent of Fair Game.
The thirst rose in me. The thirst clouded my eyes. I tasted blood as though I were already drinking it, and I felt the abysmal and desperate emptiness that I always feel before I feast. Nothing will ever fill you. Nothing will ever make this abominable hunger go away.
"Fair Game exactly," said Lestat in a low voice. "But we don't let them suffer, no matter how rough we want to get. "
"No, Sir," I answered deferentially. "May I have the one in front of the mirror?"
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I can see her face in the mirror, and she's cruel. "
He slipped the door open and we came into the cool refreshing air of the room. The thirst was too hot for it. The thirst was hopeless.
At once, the women cried out in protest. Where had we come from? Who were we? Vulgar words, threats.
With a remnant of my rational mind, I saw that the suitcase was filled with money, but what did it matter? How much more interesting was a huge vase of flowers near the far window, bursting with color. How much more interesting the blood.
Lestat drifted past me and caught the woman who ran to the right with both his arms. The rush of furious words from her came to an abrupt stop.
The other woman darted to the sofa, and I saw the gun there that she wanted so desperately to reach. I had her before she could lay her hand on it, and I crushed her against me, looking into her black eyes.
She gave me a string of curses in Spanish, and the thirst in me rose even more violently, as if her curses had drawn it out. I brushed her thick black hair back from her neck and ran my thumb over the artery. She was maddened, full of hatred.
Slowly, I bit into the fount of blood.
My Maker's lessons came back to me. Love her sins, follow the path with her, make her evil your evil and you will do no evil. I struggled to obey as her mind was broken open. I probed for the murders and I found them, rampant, savage and always over the white powder; and the wealth that had drawn her out of the deep filthy slums of her birth to finery and fortune, to those who toasted her beauty and her cunning; and murder after murder of those as covered in blood as herself. Yes, love you, I whispered, love the sheer will and the ever present anger; yes, give it to me, the rage in the warm sweet blood flowing, and suddenly there came, towards me, her unbounded love.
Without language, she said, Surrender. Without language, she said, I see it!, and it was all of her life, without pagination, and her ripened soul expanded, and there was a terrifying recognition of circumstance and inevitability, her crimes pulled up by the roots from her heart as though by the hand of Heaven.
But the hunger in me was sated, I was filled by her, I had had her, and I drew back, kissing the puncture wounds, lapping the tiny trickles of blood that I'd spilled, healing the evidence, even as the drowsiness overcame me and then gently, gently I set her down on one of the indifferent chairs. I kissed her lips.
I knelt down before her. I forced my tongue between her lips and, opening her mouth, I sucked on her tongue and sank my teeth into it delicately, and there came again a small rush of blood.
Finally there was no more.
I closed her large empty eyes with my left fingers. I felt her eyes through their lids as her blood washed through me. I bent and kissed her breasts. The blood sent shock after shock through me. I let her go.
In the usual daze, I turned and saw Lestat waiting, the royal figure, studying me, musing it seemed, his yellow hair looking almost white in the lamplight, his violet eyes wide.
"You did it right that time, Little Brother," he said. "You spilled not a single drop. "
There was so much I wanted to say. I wanted to talk of her life, the great overreaching scope of it that I had so deeply tasted, the score she kept with fate; and how hard I'd tried to do what my Maker had told me to do, not merely to devour the blood but devour the evil, dip my tongue deep down into the evil, but she was beside the point.
She was a victim. She who had never been a Subject was now Past Tense.
The blood had me. The warmth had me. The room was a phantasm. Lestat's woman lay dead on the floor. And there was the suitcase of money, and it meant nothing, could buy nothing, could change nothing, could save no one. The flowers were bold and brilliant, pink lilies dripping with pollen, and dark red roses. The room was complete and final and still.
"No one will mourn them," said Lestat softly. His voice seemed distant, beyond my reach. "No need to find a hasty grave. "
I thought of my Maker. I thought of the dark waters of Sugar Devil Swamp, the thick duckweed, the voice of the owls.
Something changed in the room, but Lestat didn't know it.
"Come back to me," said Lestat. "It's important, Little Brother, not to let the blood weaken you afterwards, no matter how sweet it is. "
I nodded. But something was happening. We weren't alone.
I could see the dim figure of my double forming behind Lestat. I could see Goblin, designed as I was designed. I could see the crazed smile on his face.
Lestat pivoted. "Where is he?" he whispered.
"No, Goblin, I forbid it," I said. But there was no stopping him. The figure moved towards me with lightning speed, yet held itself together in human form. Right before my eyes he was seemingly as solid as I was; and then I felt the tingling all through my limbs as he merged with me, and the tiny stabs on my hands and my neck and my face. I struggled as if I were caught in a perfect net.
From deep inside me there came that orgasmic palpitation, that walloping sensation that I was one with him and nothing could part us, that I wanted it suddenly, yes, wanted him and me to be together always, yet I was saying something different.
"Get away from me, Goblin. Goblin, you must listen. I was the one, the one who brought you into being. Listen to me. "
But it was useless. The electric shivers wouldn't stop, and I saw only images of the two of us as children, as boys, as men, all of it moving too fast for me to focus, to repudiate or confirm. Sunlight poured through an open doorway; I saw the flowered pattern of linoleum. I heard the laughter of toddlers, and I tasted milk.
I knew I was falling or about to fall, that Lestat's firm hands were holding me, because I wasn't in the room with the sunlight, but it was all that I could see, and there was Goblin, little Goblin frolicking and laughing, and I too was laughing. Love you, all right, need you, of course, yours, us together. I looked down and saw my chubby childish left hand, and I held a spoon in it and was banging with the spoon. And there was G
Then, as violently as Goblin had come, he withdrew. I glimpsed the humanoid shape for no more than a second, the eyes huge, the mouth open; then his image expanded, lost its conformity and vanished.
The draperies of the room swayed, and the vase of flowers suddenly toppled, and I heard dimly the dripping of the water, and then the vase itself hit the soft rug.
In a fog, I stared at the wounded bouquet of flowers. Pink-throated lilies. I wanted to pick them up. The tiny wounds all over me stung me and hurt me. I hated him that he had made the vase fall over, that the lilies were spilt now on the floor.
I looked at the women, first one and then the other. They appeared to be sleeping. There was no death.
My Goblin, my very own Goblin. That verbless thought stayed with me. My familiar spirit, my partner in all of life; you belong to me and I belong to you.
Lestat was holding me by the shoulders. I could barely stand. In fact, if he had let me go I would have fallen. I couldn't take my eyes off the pink-throated lilies.
"He didn't have to make the flowers fall," I said. "I taught him not to hurt things that were pretty. I taught him that when we were small. "
"Quinn," said Lestat, "come back to me! I'm talking to you. Quinn!"
"You didn't see him," I said. I was shaking all over. I stared at the tiny wounds on my hands, but they were already healing. It was the same way with the pinpricks on my face. I wiped at my face. Faint traces of blood on my fingers.
"I saw the blood," said Lestat.
"How did you see it?" I asked. I was growing stronger. I struggled to clear my mind.
"In the shape of a man," Lestat said, "a man faintly sketched in blood, sketched in the air, just for an instant, and then there was a swirling cloud of tiny drops, and I saw it pass through the open door as rapidly as if it were being sucked out. "
"Then you know why I came looking for you," I said. But I realized he couldn't really see the spirit that Goblin was. He'd seen the blood, yes, because the blood was visible, but the spirit who had always appeared to me was invisible to him.
"It can't really hurt you," he said, his voice tender and kind. "It can't take any real volume of blood from you. It took just a tiny taste of what you took from the woman. "
"But he'll come again whenever he wants, and I can't fight him, and each time, I could swear, it's a little more. "
I steadied myself, and he released me, stroking my hair with his right hand. That casual gesture of affection coupled with his dazzling appearance -- the vibrant eyes, the exquisitely proportioned features -- entranced me even as the trance induced by Goblin slowly wore away.
"He found me here," I said, "and I don't even know where I am. He found me here, and he can find me anywhere, and each time, as I told you, he takes a little more blood. "
"Surely you can fight him," Lestat said, encouragingly.
His expression was concerned and protective, and I felt such an overwhelming need of him and love for him that I was about to cry. I held it back.
"Maybe I can learn to fight him," I said, "but is that enough?"
"Come, let's leave this graveyard," he answered. "You have to tell me about him. You have to tell me how this came about. "
"I don't know that I have all the answers," I said. "But I have a story to tell. "
I followed him out onto the terrace into the fresh air.
"Let's go to Blackwood Manor," I said. "I don't know of another place where we can talk in such peace. Only my aunt is there tonight and her lovable entourage, and maybe my mother, and they'll all leave us completely alone. They're utterly used to me. "
"And Goblin?" he asked. "Will he be stronger there if he does come back?"
"He was as strong as ever only moments ago," I responded. "I think that I'll be stronger. "
"Then Blackwood Manor it is," he said.
Again there came his firm arm around me and we were traveling upwards. The sky spread out, full of clouds, and then we broke through to the very stars.
ANNE RICE SERIES:
Other author's books:
- Interview with the VampireThe Queen Of The DamnedThe Vampire LestatThe Master of Rampling GateThe Claiming of Sleeping BeautyBeauty's ReleaseCry to HeavenPandora
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