Four: a Taste of Things to Come
…the throwing axe cut into my forearm, but only enough to puncture the skin and vein that traversed its length and no more. What supernatural instinct did Billy possess to execute such strength and precision I was yet to comprehend. But that ignorance was soon to be satiated.
As he had done when giving me the Rite of Passage, Billy closed his eyes, sank to his knees beside me and placed his mouth around the trickling wound. If I thought that previous exchange had been powerful then this next encounter not only stole what little remained of my mortal soul, but my consciousness, too. I saw Billy quiver, felt a million memories of his gush through my veins.
Horrors that drove me to the edge of madness were counteracted by visions of such beauty that they brought me back from the precipice, sent my soul soaring, out of my body, beyond the ceiling of the clouds. The world glittered below in its nakedness, with all of the synthetic shenanigans stripped clean.
Without warning my mind reached capacity, it physically could not handle any more troughs and peaks that plunged madness deeper than the ocean’s unexplored canyons and found ecstasy on the very edge of the ionosphere.
Before my consciousness left me, I saw Billy fighting with himself – but the moment he withdrew his fangs, I started to fade. In slipping into oblivion, I was comforted by the sobbing and sighing of my sister as she sung her soft soliloquy. Whatever madness she had encountered, she had survived. I believed her part in this drama to be over and she would be delivered home to her children safe and sound, before they awoke, never knowing the part their mommy had played in their uncle’s demise. Mayhap, neither would she, if there was a God after all.
I regained consciousness on the twilight of the evening after, June 22nd. At first, I thought it all to be a very bad dream, but the aching in my arm and the single feeler-bristles protruding from each canine told me differently. Behind me there was a muffled commotion. I turned to see the doings and once again Billy was there. But this time, in the half-light when day lays the path for glorious night to overshadow man’s misdemeanours against nature, I could see past Billy to the shufflings, beyond.
Two of his cohorts propped up my brother, hands beneath his armpits as he simply stood there, unconscious and motionless, aside from the convulsing. Was it some memory drug or had Billy tried too to bring my brother with us into my new family. Either way, it seemed that, for once, my might was stronger than that of my eldest sibling. He did not look well and his fate would be whatever Billy decided it would be.
Billy bade me lie back and accept this natural course of events. It was my soul Billy had courted; I, for whatever reason, was the important link in the chain. It was time to complete the third and final ingratiation into the Brotherhood of the Night. Without a word, Billy rolled back the sleeve to expose the wound from the previous evening that was already well on the way to preternatural recovery. He sighed.
Unsheathing the throwing axe, he flung back that powerful arm, his great coat flapping backwards like some leather stage curtain draping closed after the final act and the blade came down once again. To the naked eye, the new wound was in the self-same place as its predecessor from in the crystal chamber the previous evening. No such pleasure, this time; he gave and he took – eternal life for my mortal soul, the oldest bargain in the world. There was no going back, now.