Twenty-two – Some Mothers…
“Okay. Here goes,” Perveen said, visibly blowing, struggling to summon the courage to run the tale that final furlong. “With the power the High Priest had bestowed upon me as a reward, I guess, for the willing acceptance of the task he’d outlined, I broke Billy’s magical hold on my mother, who came, in turn, flying forwards into my arms as her resistance was suddenly forced against nothing.
“She began to blubber, telling me just how sorry she was; all the while Billy continued feasting upon my father’s last droplets of blood, drinking in all of his life-force,” said Perveen, with not an ounce of remorse. “My thoughts broke into her mind: ‘Mother, you are so weak. I hate you. If you wish to be with him that much, go join him.’ I stared just long enough for my thought to register in perhaps the last sane outpost of her traumatised mind, see the fear illuminate her eyes, and then I reared my head, fangs glistening in the red pulsating glow of the chamber and sank them, hardened as they had been following the infusion from the High Priest, deep into my mother’s neck.”
A tear welled in Perveen’s eye, but then vanished as if sucked back in by an element of her body that wanted to show no ties relating to human sentiment, whatsoever. I was stunned, but on some level totally understood the motivation.
“Then something strange happened,” she added, almost as if everything that had gone before was the norm. “Sebastian, you also want to know why I became so powerful? Why Billy serves me, does my bidding and not the other way around?” she asked, not that she needed my confirmation, she must have seen the question appear in my mind many times before this round of the hot new quiz – ‘solve your fiancée’s murderous history before she tells you it herself’.
“My father lay dead, but Billy still hungered, deprived as he had been of sharing in my mother’s blood during their consummation. Not to be robbed, he pursed his lips around my mother’s wrist – don’t ask, he always drinks from the wrist, I don’t know why – and plunged his fangs either side of my mother’s pulse.
“He was instantly lost in the ‘what could have been’ and I could hear and even see every one of his thoughts, his distant dreams and murderous memories. Somehow, I managed to hold down the contents of my stomach, but I watched and listened and, sure enough, I knew Billy better than he knew himself at the point seconds before my mother’s beating heart stopped pumped its last. More importantly, I knew his Achilles heel.
“When both of my parents were suitably dead, the three of us, Billy, the High Priest and I, concluded the ceremony. I conveyed to them both what I had seen; Billy was astounded that he had shown his soft underbelly so unwittingly. The High Priest decreed there and then that this should in no way become common knowledge and, as reward for completing the task and assurance that I should say nothing of Billy’s Achilles heel, he was bound over to me by the High Priest to do my will, within reason.”
“I bet he didn’t like that,” I scoffed, to which Perveen shook her head.
“On the contrary. He saw it as a sign of strength in me, something to be feared. And so he should. Many new vampires are made by poor vampires; we try to keep both them and their victims here. Those vampires linger too long, rob too much of their victims’ mental capacity in the process; when they are born again to this Undead life, they are nothing more than simpletons with a lust for blood. In truth, it would be better to let them die for the work it causes our community afterwards.
“This is nothing new. This ‘Eden’ as you call it was, mm, ‘procured’ for their benefit. Let those simple ones out on the mortal realm and our identity would not be confined to myth for long; it is better this way. The Well of All Time is made from victims brought down here to satisfy these ‘trampires’’ hunger, so Billy calls them. The Well gets deeper every year and, although harmless to us of a higher creed, is deterrent to make all vampires and trampires alike think twice about breaking etiquette, for fear of ever becoming a part of its living walls.”
We walked on in silence, our minds hushed with what we had imparted and learned of each other. The walls changed colour slightly, taking on a more orange hue, which grew redder with every few dozen steps. Again, she stopped and dragged my face so that she could look into my eyes and glimpse my very soul, beyond.
“We are nearly there,” she said. “Have you heard all I have told unto you? Are you prepared for whatever it is the High Priest has in store for us before we commit to our vows?”
I nodded ‘yes’, but was more concerned about the ‘vows’ bit at the end. “We are to be married now?”
“Yes, Sebastian, my love. It is our time and I pray that I have prepared you, set you in greater stead, than Billy ever did with my mother. Are you strong enough, my brave boy?” she asked.
It felt strange, me being so much older than her in mortal years, her appearance so lithe and carefree; but her appraisal of the situation was justified enough. I was like her pupil, her little-boy-lost in this harsh, cruel sub-subterranean realm.
“Yes, I am ready,” I answered, simply enough. If only I had known what did lie in store, I would have gladly ran back up The Well, using those gruesome hands as leverage and footholds to clamber out of the hell-hole that awaited us, the final commitment in our lightning courtship.