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."It's very like aparty, in fact.""Are you gonna kill me?""Oh no.That wouldspoilthe party we're not even going to hurt you.""Then could you take off the blindfold? I'm getting kinda scared.""Ah, but then wewouldhave to kill you, I'm afraid if you saw us."Jesus-fuck, she thinks weakly."Look, mister, I'm a ho on the Ave you thinkthe five-oh's gonna give two shits whether you fuck metieddown orupsidedownor ""Now just relax." That's the woman who picked her up.Sounds like she'sstanding on the other side of the bed; Darlene feels the mattress shift as shesits down.It's quiet here no city noises; she wonders how far they've takenher."I promise, we're not going to hurt you.""Then why am I all tied up?""So you won't dislodge the I.V.Your veins are in terrible condition,y'know." The man's voice reeks of concern."If my friend here hadn't neededthe lesson, we'd have simply opened a vein.As it was, it took me three triesto find a decent one for the I.V., and then I had to run a catheter in to keepit from collapsing.We're taking a little blood from you, you see.So ifyouwouldkeep still for just alittlewhile longer, we'll finish up here.Then wecan have a drinkie and send you on your way."The tone is calm and soothing; it makes her feel like a little girl tenderand tired and sad."I'm cold," she says; her own voice seems farther away thanhis."Here, I'll fix the spread for you."The woman's voice again; her weight comes off the bed.Darlene smellsperfume jasmine hears a soft rustle in the air above her, feels the puff ofbreeze and then the blanket being tucked in around her; for the first time shesenses the needle in her left arm."Did you tell me why?" asks Darlene."Why what?" She can feel the woman sitting on the side of the bed again, feelthe warmth against her hip, and a soothing hand on her shoulder."Taking& blood." Sleepy now."We drink it.We're vampires."The thought occurs to Darlene again this time she says it aloud, aconfidence, as if she were among friends: "I'm dead.""Oh no no no," says the man."Tch tch tch tch." Clucking as his voice comesnearer."You're just a bit out of sorts from the chloroform.You'd besurprised how little blood a person really needs." His thumb presses cottonagainst her vein the pain wakes her a little he slides the needle out thatdoesn't hurt, but then the catheter slithers out after it, and that stings.When they loosen the ropes she feels pins and needles as the blood flows backinto her hands and feet; with it comes a flow of possibility."I won't tellPage 53 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlanybody, you know.I promise, I swear I won't tell anybody." Desperately:"Even if anybody cared, nobody'd believe me.""Ah, but Iwantyou to tell someone, Darlene.I have in mind one particularperson for you to tell, and no one else.I want you to tell that person thatvampires took your blood.Nothing else, though just that vampires took yourblood.Then I want you to take the money I'm going to leave in your purse, andnever mention what happened here never eventhinkabout it again.If you do,then Iwillkill you, and that would be a loss and a shame."Darlene cannot trust her voice.She nods; her eyes are open wide behind herblindfold."Who " She tries again."Who who do you want me to tell?""A very nice woman you'll like her.A minister, in fact." Then Darlene smellsthat sick sweet sleepy smell again her chest heaves as she tries to hold herbreath, tries to fight the thundering grayness stealing over her.THREEMidnight found Nick in his office again, seated before the old XT.All thoseunbearable memories and feelings that Whistler and the meeting had stirred upmade sleep pretty much out of the question anyway it hadn't taken him fiveminutes of lying there in the dark forthatparticular revelation to dawn.Butall other avenues of escape from his feelings blood, booze, weed, sleepingpills being closed off to him by one program or another, he'd found himselfthinking about how much like a drug the act of startingMy Life on Bloodlastweek had affected him.He'd forgotten that about writing: how it had always taken him out ofhimself; how for a few hours at a time, anyway, he could leave the regrets andanxieties of his life behind on another continent, while he drifted off intothat timeless sea.Then he rememberedBeverly 's share at the meeting, and it occurred to himthat perhapsMy Life on Bloodwas reallyhistrue Fourth Step, his Searching andFearless Moral Inventory; that instead of trying to escape from thoseunbearable memories and feelings, he could use them for his recovery, as yeastfor the process.And what yeast he would have to work with tonight: his friendship withWhistler and his rivalry; that terrible night on blood and acid; the nightmareof baby-blood.No, not baby-blood.He couldn't face that yet.But that nighton acid, that night after which it was no longer possible to pretend thatblood was only a recreational drug, that being a vampire was a relativelyharmless pursuit maybe he was ready now, at long last, to drag that out intothe light.Or maybe not he decided to start with something easier.Whistler, perhaps.That first Halloween.Now there was a nice high jumping-off place.Suddenly hethought of Selene, and a song fragment sprang to mind before he could suppressit.Those were the days, my friend.Those were the fucking days.Not exactlythe most appropriate sentiment for a Fourth Step, but sometimes, he knew, youhave to be like the Fool in the tarot: you just have to trust in the process,and step off the cliff.I'm afraid that Leon rather spoiled me we drank live blood at least twice aPage 54 ABC Amber Palm Converter, http://www.processtext.com/abcpalm.htmlweek, and fresh blood, not live but recently drawn, the rest of the time.Wehad donors, whom we paid, and stoners, like our friend on the Parthenon roof;druggees, whomLeon mickeyed at thePistachioPalace , and thuggees, low-ridersfrom theMission or white boys fromConcord descending on the Castro for a nightof fag-bashing.Meanwhile my education continued.I learned about the vampire red eye, andnever went out without my Visine.I learned sunlight burned my eyes like asonofabitch the day after the night before; soon, when every day was the dayafter the night before, I learned how to protect my eyes, how to rearrange mylife, where to find an all-night this or a twenty-four-hour that.I learnedanatomy the vascular system, anyway and how to use a hypodermic needle; Ilearned when to stalk, and when to lie in wait.I learned that one out of ahundred people's blood would not get me high; I learned that that person was avampire; I learned to letLeon decide whether he or she should be Awakened.I remember I'd only been a vampire for about three weeks when I startedbugging Leon about the other vampires I now knew existed: where were they, howmany, when could I meet them? To which he answered, with disappointingconsistency: everywhere; more than you think; and Halloween.Now Halloween was already the biggest day of the year in the Castro we didn'thave so many tourists back then as later, but it was still Mardi Gras on acid,even when you weren'tonacid.When you were, of course, it was Mardi Gras onacid, on acid.And when you were on blood oh lordy!I wasn't at first, mind you [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]