“It’s for the best, I suppose.” She admitted. “We wanted her with us, but I don’t know that we’d be able to care for her. Only they know how to feed her.”
“But who are they, those men?” If Carol and her vigil were the woman’s friends, no one had said how Gregory and Jack were connected. “Are they her family?”
“No. She doesn’t have family. Just us. Those men who have her are her creditors.”
I walked to the blonde’s house after 8 o’clock, not sure that I’d find it again, but the wreck of the garden and the boarded up windows were easy to spot. In the airlock of the porchway, all the unopened mail was addressed to a Mrs. Higgins – which could well be his mother, or it could be the woman who lived there before. The real ritual will not be here, the blonde explained. It will be at a secret location – which from the hints he dropped sounds like their master’s house; the blonde wanted me to know how privileged I ought to feel to be granted access.
“Why do we have to?” I asked. “If it’s just to tell Sebastian we did.”
“Because your friend will know about it.”
“He only knows what I tell him.”
“He will witness it.” Said the blonde. “He must, in order to be in your debt.”
“About that. I still don’t get what you expect me to do.” I didn’t want to dismiss what I’d done so far as pranks, but it was a very unambitious idea of amorality. I’d not spent much time alone with the blonde – he doesn’t fully go in for the social side of vampirism, arriving late and leaving early from the group’s get-togethers. In conversation he creates long silences, but is impatiently still, as though he’s holding back facts and enthusiasm for the sake of persona.
“You’ll have to wait, to see what we have in mind for you friend.” When he saw my dubious reaction, he added. “You’re worried that we’ll harm him. You need not worry. It is not in our interest to hurt anyone.”
After this reassurance, the blonde went on to explain what the ritual involved. The real ritual, that he and the others had all performed, began with the opening vows, followed by being bled into a bowl. The blood was then mixed with the master’s and both drank it back over twelve, literally blood-curdling hours. My version will be shorter, and only requires a small cut, dripped into a glass of red wine. I’ll then repeat the closing vows.
“What do the vows mean?”
“To commence, you renounce your past, your family and your species.”
“Okay. And the end bit?”
“You embrace your new path.”
It was sort of sad really, as he went over the wording of the vows with precise emphasis, believing that it meant something powerful. It feels like he just wants to use the ritual in this charade so that it still has some relevance in his life, now that his master had his higher path have gone. And all that time I was distracted by the thought that the night before, I may have seen the last magic left in the world.