He was the kid who looked at the sun too long. He hunted for lighters like sharks hunted for blood. Christ intrigued him for all the wrong reasons. He only ate smoke.
If you ask me for a story on a night like this, when the wind howls through the canyons like a live thing, there’s only one I can tell. I know well that when I’ve gone up to bed, some of you will whisper that I’m just an old and crazy widow who should, by rights, be dead by now. How well I understand that there are truths too frightening to believe. But truths these are.
I am subject to dreams, especially one of a curious type in which I wake on my back, unable to move, my arms pinned to my side, my legs straight. My paralysis is complete, and a thick darkness pervades my bedchamber, a darkness of an almost viscous weight, so that I can feel it pressing upon my face and bearing down against the bedclothes. And there is something else, as well: a sense of obscure doom falls upon me.
There is nothing more absurdly incongruous—ironic perhaps—than the burning fear found in the hearts of all men: the fear of death. Ironic, I say, for it is only those who have known death’s euphoric touch who find their eyes opened to the truer horror of waking life.
“We’re God’s beautiful creatures,” the vampire said, something like joy leaking into its voice for the first time since it had crawled under this house four days ago. “We’re the pinnacle of his art. If you believe in that kind of thing, anyway.”
The Pernille’s housekeeper shows me into the music room, where they’ve shoved the piano to the wall to make room for the coffin and the table and my seat. You can always tell serious clients. They lower the lights.
It happened the first time during the four a.m. feeding, and Kagome believed she was dreaming. This was not unusual; she almost never slept anymore, and most of her life felt like dreaming, now. She’d already flushed out Joe’s catheter, sponged gently at the pus that dripped incessantly from the tumor that had devoured his upper lip, and replaced the nutrient bag on the IV stand.
It all started when Ms. Salinas told us about her third eye. It was home ec., and we were sitting in front of the sewing machines with table runners that we were going to make our moms or yayas do for us anyway. I was pretty anxious about that project.
If I tell you to think about a ghost story, you will probably imagine that it takes place in the dark. Perhaps your mind will conjure up the darkness of a campfire, the scent of wood smoke and burned sugar from making s’mores, the crackle of the wind in the trees.
So if there’s anyone listening at this god-awful hour, tonight’s topic is the same one as this morning, this afternoon, and earlier this evening . . . in fact, it’s the same topic the whole world’s had for the last thirteen days, if anyone’s been counting: Our Loved Ones; Why Have They Come Back from the Dead and What the Fuck Do They Want?