Friday, September 15, 2006

The Sleepy Hollow Inn, Part IV

The Sleepy Hollow Inn
By M. Davenport

I sat beside her for perhaps almost a minute in our cooperative silence before my curiosity wrung the question that was burning on my mind, "May I ask why you asked me something so...metaphysical?"

I did not want to be rude, yet, at the same time, I was most curious. Of course I could have invaded her mind, but what fun would that have been? That always seemed to me like skipping to the back of a book to see what happens. It was cheating. Bad form, as my father would say.

"Sometimes I feel this...presence...very close to me. It is neither god nor devil, but a mixture of both, or none. It feels very close to me tonight. It has felt close to me since we arrived here." I watched as Veronica's gave swept out into the darkness to search for the presence she sensed. "I think I am going to turn in early tonight. My heart feels very heavy and sad," she said, smiling a sweet, apologetic smile.

"Would you like for me to get Mr. James for you?" I had to stop myself from saying fetch him as we used to do. Veronica smiled very kindly at me and shook her head.

"Thank you," she said, and vanished inside, leaving me alone on the front porch swing. It had been quite some time since I had run into a human so out of Time. It made me sad. She was so young and so beautiful, but this was not her Time.

Vampires are always bringing up references to time, I've noticed. The past is always present with us, just as much as the present. Many become historians because of it, or actors. Yes, it is a cover, but it goes much deeper than that. We keep the good parts of ourselves alive that way. If we're lucky we don't become the monsters of legend by remembering the good about our past life, or lives. Unlike humans, we are continually forced to reinvent ourselves.

I wish I could tell you the continuous reinvention was a good thing, but it isn't on a whole, not for us. Just when you are content with the person you have created, you have to change, give it all away so people don't discover your secret. It is difficult to keep going, keep changing and coming up with different people to become every fifty or sixty years or so. If you let yourself remain one person for longer, humans become suspicious. Humans age. Vampires don't.

The watch in my vest pocket chimed at the fifteen minutes of ten. Its sound startled me from my own deep, ponderous thoughts. While Veronica had been outside Time had seeming stopped.

Something tickled down my spine. I didn't enjoy it.

There was a taste of malice in the air. It was bold. New. Hungry.

Perhaps it was just a cat I was picking up, or a hungry dog? I knew it wasn't vampire or werewolf (yes, they really do exist). My body reacted to it calling forth the fangs and claws which rarely came out.

Was it something Veronica had, perhaps, brought with her? Edward perhaps?

I let my mind roll out toward it. It was intangibly tangible. Just as I almost touched its full mind, it vanished.

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