2018年4月6日 星期五


“…Amel and I were both determined to pay Gremt a visit. We
should have done this long before now, and I was ashamed that we hadn’t.
Did I really want to be here just now? Well, no. I wanted to be
across the sea, in New Orleans, because I’d persuaded my beloved
fledgling Louis to meet me there. But this visit was important….”

“…Courtly life, endless demands for audiences, and bodyguards
who wouldn’t leave my side. It was coming home to me every
night just what it meant to be the Prince and to have Amel inside
me, in more ways than they knew. And I had built up this secret
fantasy that the one person in all the world who would let me moan 
about it was Louis. Ah, Louis…”

“…Silence again and I hated it. Something unspoken in the air.
And I thought suddenly of leaving, going ahead up into the sky
and over the sea to find Louis. But it was far too soon to leave, just
because I was uncomfortable…”

“…I couldn’t see out the windows from where I sat, but I could feel
that it was snowing. I longed for the sweet balmy air of New
Orleans, across the sea, for Louis….”

“…Amel answered me with more laughter. “Let’s be off to find
Louis,” he said...”

“Come now, enough of these ‘things,’ ” he said with a tone of
remarkable weariness. “New Orleans waits. Louis waits. And if he
hasn’t come down to New Orleans as you asked, I say we go to
New York and get him.”
He had mentioned Louis countless times in the last six
months, but the strange thing was, I didn’t trust him with all these
mentions of how I needed Louis, and ought to write to Louis, and
ought to pick up one of the many telephones around me and call
Louis. I had some deep fear that he was in fact jealous of Louis,
but I was ashamed of that feeling. Now he was saying, Let’s go,
let’s find Louis.
“Lestat, don’t I always know what’s best for you?” he asked.
“Who was it told you decades ago to restore the Château? Who
was it came to you in the mirror at Trinity Gate with the vision of
what I was, so that you wouldn’t fear me?”
“And who was it urged Rhoshamandes to take my son
captive?” I asked angrily. “And urged Rhoshamandes to kill the
great Maharet and would have driven him to kill her sister?”
He sighed. “You are merciless,” he muttered.
Thorne came up close to me, with Cyril not far behind. Cyril
was such a big hulk of a blood drinker that he made Thorne look a
little small. Male beings like that know an insolent fearlessness
that smaller men never quite know. But when I didn’t move, when
I just stood there in the snow, with the snow covering my head
and my shoulders as if I were a statue in a park, the two of them
said nothing.
“You need Louis,” Amel said. “I always know what you need.
“Besides what?”
“I like to look at him through your eyes.”
“I don’t want to think of you inside of Louis,” I said.
“Oh, don’t concern yourself. I don’t go into Louis. Weak ones
like Louis have never interested me. Consider those who heard
‘the Voice.’ Were any of them as human as Louis? No, they were
not. If you must know, I can’t find Louis. I can’t go into Louis.
Maybe in a century or two, yes, he’ll be able to hear me, but for
now, no. But I like to look at him through your eyes.”
He sighed. “Something happens to your senses when you look
on Louis. Behold Louis. I don’t know. I see him more vividly than
I sometimes see the others. I see a blood drinker. I think I see a
whole life in Louis when I see Louis through your eyes. I want to
know whole lives. I want to know big things, whole things, long
I smiled. Did he know when I was smiling? I was impressed
by the continuity of what he was saying. Long things indeed. He
spoke in brilliant bursts, but seldom did his thoughts hold to a
continuity. Seldom was his train of thought long.
He was correct that most of those who heard his Voice last
year had been the older ones….
“You like the ones with power,” I said. “You like to go into
those who can make fire.”
Long raw moan of misery.
“And your beloved Louis, if he has the power to make fire,
would not discover it and not use it, unless of course someone
threatens those he loves.”
That was likely very true.
“Listen, I’m closer to you than any other being in creation,”
he said. “But I can’t see you, can I, when I’m inside of you. I only
see what you see. And something happens when you are with
Louis, something happens when you reach out to touch him. I
wish I could see you as he sees you. He has green eyes. I like
green eyes. My Mekare had green eyes.”
This troubled me, and I wasn’t sure quite why. What if he
suddenly wanted to hurt Louis? What if he became jealous of
Louis—of my affection for Louis?
“Nonsense, go to him,” he said. Calm voice. Manly voice. “Am
I jealous of your son, Viktor? Am I jealous of your beloved
daughter, Rose? You need Louis and you know it, and he’s ready
now to surrender. He’s held back on principle long enough. I
sense—.” He broke off. I heard a sound like a hiss.
“You sense what?”
“I don’t know. I want you to go to him. You waste your time
and my time! I want to go up! I want to be in the clouds.”
I didn’t move.
“Amel,” I said. “The things Gremt said about you, were
they true?”
Silence. Confusion in him. Agitation.
Again came that flash: a city of glistening buildings falling
into the sea. Was it a real city, or was it some dream of a city?
A spasm in my throat, and in my temples. I looked up into the
blinding swirl of snow. And then I closed my eyes. I saw the
burning city etched on the darkness.
A beat. A moment. The soundlessness of snow is remarkably
beautiful. I had a hand filled with snow. And my fingers suddenly
curled around the snow though I hadn’t told them to.
“Stop that,” I said.
No answer from him. There was a faint pain in my fingers as I
relaxed them against his will. This really alarmed me. What if he
could take over my entire body like this, make me stand, make me
sit, make me go up—?
“Gentlemen,” I said beckoning to Cyril and Thorne. “I’m going
up and over the sea. The sun’s just setting on the city of New
Thorne nodded. Cyril said nothing.
“I want to be in the only city I love more than I love Paris,” I
said as if I were speaking to people who cared.
“Where you go, we go,” said Cyril with a shrug. “Long as I feed
sometime or other in the next fortnight, what’s it to me if you
want to go to China?”
“Don’t say that,” Thorne muttered, rolling his eyes. “We’re
ready when you are, Prince.”
I laughed. I think I liked Cyril a little better than Thorne, but
then Thorne had his moments too. And Thorne had suffered
agony when Maharet was killed. Maharet had been the maker and
the goddess of Thorne. Thorne had begged for permission to lead a
band of vengeful vampires to burn Rhoshamandes for the slaying
of Maharet. So the real and true Thorne was only just emerging
from that grief.
“All right, gentlemen, and now we make for the stars.”
I shot upwards with all my strength, traveling above the
clouds within seconds. I knew they were right behind me. Did they
see the constellations as I saw them? Did they see the great white
moon as I saw it? Or were they simply fixed on me as they
struggled to keep up with me?
With all my strength I sent out my call.
Armand, Benji—tell my beloved Louis I’m on my way.
Over and over I sent out the call, as if my telepathic voice
could strike the moon and be deflected with its light, shining
down on the busy world of New York, on the many rooms and
crypts of Trinity Gate, as I rose higher and higher and soared
across the great dark void of the Atlantic.

SOMEWHERE OVER THE North Atlantic, when I was riding the
winds, Amel left me.
When I entered the carriageway of my old townhouse
in the Rue Royale in New Orleans I was apparently alone. Had
Louis come as I’d asked him to do? Very likely not. But how was I
to know? Masters can’t hear the thoughts of fledglings. Masters
are forever locked out of the minds of their children. And for all I
knew I was locked out of Louis’s heart.
The back courtyard was luxuriantly overgrown the way I loved
it, the bright magenta bougainvillea heaped over the high brick
walls. The little common flowers of Louisiana, the yellow and the
purple lantana, were huge and fragrant and softly beautiful with
their dusty dark little leaves, and the oleander magnificent with its
pink blooms. The giant banana trees were rustling and swaying in
the cool breeze off the nearby river, and the new fountain, the
splendid new fountain with its moss-covered cherubs, was filled
with water singing in the lights of the lanterns along the back
Did I feel an immediate sense of well-being? Well, no. This
was as painful as it was sweet; this was honey with a bitter taste.
I’d had my heart broken here more than once, almost died
upstairs in this flat, hadn’t I, and I’d come out of a deep sleep once
not so long ago to find Louis in this very courtyard, in an open
coffin, nearly burnt to death by the sun. I’d brought him back with
my blood then. And my beloved fledgling David Talbot had helped
me. Louis had been more powerful since then—thanks to that new
infusion of my blood—and though at first he’d been happy, happy
for a while with the love of David and a strange unearthly blood
drinker named Merrick, he had come to hate me for the increased
strength that took him even further away from the human he
could never be again.
I knew what I was up against with Louis. I had to convince
him that this time was different from the earlier times when we’d
tried to come together—different from the brief coven of the old
Night Island, different from the brief connection after he’d tried to
destroy himself, different even from his time at Trinity Gate
which was forever changed now by recent events—different
because we were all different now and I, in my heart and soul, was
different. And I needed him to help me write a new page in the
history of our entire tribe.
But what was the point of pondering it further? Words
wouldn’t carry the motion. One way or other, he’d make a decision
of the heart.
I hurried up the iron stairs to the door of the flat, ready to
kick in a wall if the place was truly empty, ground the doorknob
nearly to rusted powder as I turned it, and went inside.
The old back parlor looked splendid with its fresh burgundy
velvet wallpaper, and a new Victorian couch of lacquered
fruitwood with artful pillows plumped with modern chemical
foam. Ah, I didn’t care. What matters to me is how things look,
and it all looked fine, the machine-made blue-and-beige Aubusson
carpet as lovely as any ever made by human fingers. Same old
gilded Louis XV desk and chairs, but all was shining, restored,
pretty. A Chinese vase filled with fragrant leafy eucalyptus, and a
small undoubtedly genuine French Impressionist painting on the
wall of a woman in profile, a woman with long russet hair.
I breathed in the scent of furniture wax, the eucalyptus, and
stronger blooms, roses perhaps in another room. The place felt
tight, smaller than I remembered, but that was always the case
when I first arrived.
There was someone here. And it was not Cyril or Thorne, who
were now in the courtyard below, exploring the old slaves’
quarters building and the concrete crypts recently created beneath
them which could shield at least six of the Undead from sunshine
or catastrophe during the hours of the day.
I stood for a moment in the hallway, peering towards the
front parlor where the lights of the Rue Royale shone yellow in
the lace curtains, and I closed my eyes.
For fifty years we’d lived here, Louis, Claudia, and I; and
Claudia had put a match to it for all the inevitable reasons that
Adam and Eve turn their backs on paradise every night or day.
These boards, these very boards, once carpeted and now hard and
gleaming with lacquer! How she loved to run the length of this
hall, ribbons streaming, and leap into my arms! A shiver ran
through me as if I were feeling her cold white cheek against mine,
and her confidential husky voice in my ear.
Well, the place wasn’t really empty, was it; it was haunted,
and always would be haunted, and no new Chinese patterned
wallpaper would change it, nor electric chandeliers replete with
glistening crystal illuminating the rooms to the right and the left.
I went into his bedroom—the chamber that has always been
for Louis, Louis sitting up against the back of his massive fourposter,
reading Dickens, Louis writing at the desk in a diary I
never read, Louis dozing there with his head on a pillow staring at
the flowers above in the tester as if the flowers were alive.
Empty. Of course. A museum chamber, down to the old brass
brackets of the gas lamps with their frosted globes, and the tall
hulking armoire in which he’d once kept all of his simple black
clothes. Well, what had I expected? Nothing personal marred the
effect until I realized I was staring at a discarded pair of worn
black shoes, shoes so thoroughly coated in dust they seemed made
of it, and there on the chair beside the chest of drawers was a
worn old shirt.
Could this possibly mean—?
I turned around.
Louis was standing in the door of the room opposite, across
the hall.
I drew in my breath. I didn’t say a word. I like to look at him
through your eyes.
He was outfitted entirely in the new clothes I’d ordered for
him, a long black riding jacket, sleek at the waist and flaring, and a
pale pink European-linen handmade shirt. He wore a tie of green
silk, almost exactly the color of his eyes, and there was an emerald
ring on his finger of that very same green. Bit of handkerchief in
his breast pocket to match the tie, and fine-cut trousers of black
wool and sleek boots fitted to his calves like gloves.
I was unable to speak. He’d put on these clothes for me, and I
knew it. Nothing else in this world would have prompted him to
dress like this, or to have brushed all the dust out of his glistening
black hair. And the hair he’d left long on rising so that it was full
as it had been in the old days, wavy, a little unruly, curling just
under his ears. Even his white skin looked polished. And a scent
rose from him of a rare and expensive male cologne. That too, I
had sent for. That too, servants had brought here along with my
other gifts.
Silence. It was like when Gabrielle, my mother, undid her
long braid and combed her free and luxuriant hair. I could scarcely
I sensed he understood. He crossed the hall and put his arms
around me and kissed me on the lips.
“This is what you wanted, isn’t it?” he asked. Nothing
mocking or mean in the tone.
Shocked. Unable to respond.
“Well, I figured you could use some new clothes, that you
always can.” I was stammering, clinging to a shred of dignity,
trivializing the moment with ridiculous words.
“A whole room full of clothes?” he asked. “Lestat, the century
will be ended before I can wear all that.”
“Come, let’s hunt,” I said. Which really meant, Let’s get out of
here, let’s walk together and be quiet together and please let me
see you drink. Let me see you draw the blood and the life out of a
human being. Let me see you need it, and go for it, and have it,
and be filled to the brim with it.
I slipped on my large violet-tinted sunglasses, so essential to
helping me pass for human in crowded streets, and guided Louis
to the door.
We made a swift exit like two normal human beings, and we
were halfway down the block, and turning towards Chartres
Street, before he noticed Cyril and Thorne behind us, too close,
and too conspicuous, and asked if they were going to follow us
wherever we went.
“Can’t get rid of them,” I said. “Price of having the Core in me.
Price of being the Prince.”
“And you truly are the Prince now, aren’t you?” he asked.
“You’re really trying to make a go of it. You don’t want it to fall
“It will not fall apart,” I said. “Not this time, not while I have
breath in my body. It’s more than another coven, more than a
gathering of three or four in a new city. It’s more than anything
that ever happened to any of us ever in the past.” I sighed. I gave
up. “When you see the Court, you’ll understand.”
“I felt certain you’d already be sick of it,” he said. “The Brat
Prince becoming the Prince? I would never have predicted it.”
“Me neither,” I said. “But you know my motto, what it’s
always been. I refuse to be bad at what I do, and that includes
being bad. I won’t be bad at being bad. I won’t do this badly now
either. Wait and see.”
“I already see,” he said.
“I can make the bodyguards take to the roofs, if you want.”
“They don’t matter,” he said. “You’re the one who matters.”
We headed down Chartres towards Jackson Square. There
was a fancy restaurant café on a nearby corner, and he seemed
drawn to it, though why I wasn’t sure. It was too thrilling just
being near him, walking with him as if we’d been walking like this
for a hundred years. The night was balmy and almost warm, the
way winter nights can be in New Orleans, between colder weather,
and the crowds were mostly well-dressed tourists on the prowl,
innocent, exuberant the way people become when they are in New
Orleans and looking for a good time.
Soon as he was seated at the café table, he had his eyes on a
couple near the back. I could tell from the manner in which he
fixed on the woman that he was listening to her thoughts. He’d
gained telepathic power from his new blood, and with time. She
was perhaps fifty, in a sleeveless black dress, exquisitely groomed
with hair like white nylon, and firm well-molded arms. She wore
very dark glasses, which looked a bit ridiculous, and so did the
man opposite, who was, however, disguised. She didn’t know that
he was disguised. His mouth had been deliberately distorted by
something artificial that he wore on his gums, and his short
uninteresting brown hair had been dyed. She was paying the man
to kill her husband and she wanted the man to understand why.
The man didn’t care at all why she wanted the deed done. He
wanted the money and to be gone. He thought the woman was a
complete fool.
I sized up the situation easily enough and obviously so did
When the woman started to cry, the man hastily took his
leave, but not before receiving an envelope from the woman,
which he slipped into his inner coat pocket without so much as a
glance at it. He was gone, off fast, towards Jackson Square, and
then she sat there brooding, crying, refused another drink from
the waiter, insisting to herself that she had to get her husband out
of her life, and this was the way to do it and that no one would
ever understand the miserable life she’d lived. Then, leaving a bill
on the table, she went out. It was done and couldn’t be undone.
She was hungry; she would have a good dinner and get drunk at
her hotel.
Louis went after her.
I went ahead and drifted around to the Rue Royale entrance
of Pirates Alley as she came walking towards me, weeping again,
head bowed, shoulder bag clasped to her side, her handkerchief
twisted in the other hand.
The huge silent cathedral rose to my right like a great shadow.
Tourists trickled by, jostling one another; and she came on, with
Louis behind her silently, his face like a pale flame in the halflight
as he drew up to her and placed his hand, the hand with the
emerald ring, on her left shoulder. He turned her as gently as a
lover and tenderly pressed her head to the stone wall.
I stood watching as he drank from her, slipping into her mind
now to find him and what he was feeling as all that sweet salty
blood flooded his mouth and his senses, as the heart of the
woman weakened and slowed. He paced himself, letting her
recover ever so slightly—the inevitable images of childhood,
fetched in desperation as the body realizes that it is losing its
vitality, her head drowsing to her right and his fingers holding her
chin firmly—and passersby thinking them lovers, and the voices of
the city humming and rustling and the scent of rain coming on the
Suddenly he collected her in both arms and ascended,
vanishing so quickly the tourists walking to and fro never saw it
happen, only felt the faintest disturbance in the air. Wasn’t there
someone there a moment ago? Gone. Gone the scent of blood and
And so he was using all his faculties now, his new gifts, the
gifts of the powerful blood, gifts he wouldn’t have come by in the
regular scheme of things for maybe another century or maybe
never, ascending to the clouds or just up and up into the darkness
until he could find a place to deposit her remains on some remote
rooftop, tucked between a chimney and a parapet, perhaps, who
Well, if someone did not dispose of the assassin in the subtle
disguise, the murder of her husband would take place as usual
though all the reasons for it were gone.
But a distant blast of intelligence let me know that Cyril had
taken care of the rascal, feasting on him quickly, and then
depositing him in the river, while Thorne had hung back to remain
with me. Bodyguards have to feed.
Amel was still gone, after all that talk of wanting to see Louis
through my eyes, and I’d closed my mind to telepathic voices, and
Louis was gone, and I was hungry and tired from riding the wind,
and sick at heart. Innocent blood. I wanted innocent blood, not
minds and hearts like sewers, but innocent blood. Well, I wasn’t
going to drink innocent blood. Not while preaching to so many
others that they couldn’t drink innocent blood. No. I could not…

…The streets might as well have been mud, and the gas lamps
dim and grimy, and the barrooms packed with deliciously filthy
riverboat men and the sound of dice and billiard balls, and
carriages might have been crowded in the Rue Saint Peter with
people coming from the old French Opera on Bourbon at
Toulouse. And it might as well have been the night, long after
Louis and Claudia had left me after trying to kill me, that Antoine,
my fledgling musician, and I had gone to see the premiere of a
French opera called Mignon. I’d been scarred and broken and
crushed in soul, led as if blind by Antoine, as people scurried out
of our path to get away from the burnt one, yet I’d allowed him to
bully me to sit there in the dark with him and hear that lustrous
clarinet or oboe begin the overture. Music like that could make
you feel that you were alive. It could even make you feel like all
the pain in the world was headed someplace glorious that could be
shared by the simplest of the beings around you.
Well, what did it matter now?...

A shadow fell over the table, over the bright white sugar on
the beignets, and the white marble. Louis was sitting there. Calm,
and collected, as they say, arms folded on his chest, very much
clear of the sticky marble table, and his mellow green eyes fixed
on me.
“Now why the Hell do you want me, of all people,” he asked,
“to come with you to France?”
Vaguely, I was aware that Thorne wanted me, that moving
about restlessly in the crowd beyond the café he was signaling to
me, something important, something, please attend now. I shut
him out.
I looked squarely at Louis, who looked as splendidly human
as he ever had. A rage of jealousy exploded in me against the blood
in his veins that wasn’t mine.
“You know why,” I said turning my head and looking at the
nearby crowds. Street performers were out there, dancing, singing,
bringing big soft explosions of approval from the crowds. “You
know damned good and well why. Because you were there when I
was just Born to Darkness. You were there when I stumbled onto
these shores and sought to find a companion, and found you; and
you were there when we lived all those decades together, you and
me and Claudia, and you are the only one living who remembers
the sound of her happy voice, her young voice, or the ring of her
laugh. And you were there when I almost died at her hands, and
when the pair of you fought me again and left me in the flames.
And you were there when I was humiliated and ruined at the
Théâtre des Vampires, and they murdered her due to my crimes,
my weakness, my blunder, my ignorance, my failure to steer one
fragile little bark in the right direction, and you were there when I
rose from the dead and had my shabby little moment of triumph
on the rock music stage, my cheap little hour as Freddie Mercury
before the footlights, you were there. You came. You were there.
And you were there when I took the spirit of Amel into me, and
when all around me were telling me I had to be the Prince
whether I wanted to be or not, you were there. You were there
when all these streets ran with mud and river water, and when
you and I went to see Macbeth onstage, and I couldn’t stop
dancing under the streetlamps afterwards reciting the words,
‘Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow,’ and Claudia thought I
was so handsome and so witty and so clever, and we would all of
us always be safe, you were there.”
Silence, or the inevitable silence one enjoys in a crowded
noisy café where someone is screaming with laughter at a nearby
table, and someone else is arguing with the man beside him over
who should pay the check.
I didn’t dare to look at Louis. I shut my eyes and tried to
listen to the river itself, the great broad Mississippi River only a
matter of yards from us, running past the city of New Orleans and
so deep that no one would ever find all the bodies committed to its
depths, the great broad river that might swallow the city one night
for reasons no one would ever be able to explain, and carry every
particle of the city south into the Gulf of Mexico and the great
ocean beyond…all that wallpaper, all those gas lamps, all the
laughter and the purple flagstones and the shimmering green
banana leaves like blades of a knife.
I could hear the water, hear the earth itself shifting and
softening, and the plants themselves growing, and Thorne, Thorne
insisting that I come out, that I talk to him, that I was needed,
always needed, and Cyril saying, “Ah, leave the son of a bitch
Now that’s my kind of bodyguard! Leave the son of a bitch
alone indeed.
I turned to see Louis was looking at me. The old familiar
green eyes and the faint smile. Is Amel inside you? Is it you, Amel,
looking through Louis’s eyes?
“Very well,” Louis said.
“What do you mean?”
He shrugged and smiled.
“I’ll come if you want me. I’ll come and I’ll stay and I’ll be
your companion if you want. I don’t know why you want this or
how long you’ll want it, or what it’s going to be like, being with
you and watching all your antics up close, and trying to be of help
and not knowing how to be of help, but I’ll come. I’m tired of
fighting it; I give up; I’ll come.”
I couldn’t believe I’d heard right. I stared at him as helplessly
as I had in the hallway of the townhouse when I’d first seen him,
trying to grasp what he had said.
He leaned close to me, and he put his hand on my arm.
“ ‘Wither thou goest, I will go, and where thou lodgest, I will
lodge; thy people shall be my people’; and because I have no other
god and never will, you shall be my god.”
Was it Amel speaking these words through him? Was it Amel
touching my arm through his hand? Had Amel lied about not
being able to find Louis? When I looked into these green eyes, I
saw only Louis, and the words echoing in my mind were Louis’s
“I know what you need,” he said. “You need one person who is
always on your side. Well, I’m ready to be that one now. I don’t
know why I tormented you, made you pay for asking, made you
come all this way. I always knew I was going to come. Maybe I
thought you’d lose interest because I never really understood why
you wanted me in the first place. But you’re not losing interest,
not even with the whole Court, and so I’ll come. And when you
tire of me and want me gone, I’ll hate you, of course.”
“Trust me,” I whispered. He was cutting me to the heart and
making me happy, and this was pain.
“I do,” he said.
“It’s you, you saying these things, isn’t it?”
“And who else would it be?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” I said. I sat back and looked around the café.
The lights were too bright here and people were staring at the
strange men with the luminescent skin. The violet sunglasses
always distracted people, and helped to cover a face that was too
white and eyes that were too bright. But it was never enough. And
Louis had no such glasses. Time to move on.
“You’ll enjoy the Court,” I said. “There are beautiful things to
hear and see.”

But for now, Lestat would have to deal with that alarm. Or
Armand. Lestat was in America. Lestat had gone there tonight to
meet his beloved Louis in New Orleans, or so it was being said.
Lestat needed his old companion, Louis, all agreed….

“…Louis and I were walking uptown towards the old Lafayette
Cemetery. We’d been talking for hours, talking about Amel and
what it was like for me with Amel inside of me, and I was doing
most of the talking and Louis doing most of the listening. I didn’t
want to be disturbed. I wanted to talk to Louis forever, share with
Louis what had been happening to me, and Louis was attentive,
appreciative. This meant the world to me. But I knew Thorne and
Cyril would never have approached if there hadn’t been a good

“Louis is going with you?”
There was a great deal more to the question than any casual
listener might have supposed. Louis and Armand were the pillars
of the New York household at Trinity Gate. Louis and Armand had
been together for almost a century long before that.
“Yes,” I said. “I’m taking him back with me as soon as we
wake.” I waited.
I stood on the flagstone sidewalk looking at the distant white
wall of the old cemetery. It was quiet and beautiful on this Garden
District street with its giant black-barked oaks, and the dark silent
multistory houses on either side. “I need Louis,” I said.
Oh, the old entanglements, the old jealousies and defeats. But
what creature in the world doesn’t want to be loved for itself?
Even a non-human thing that looked human might want to be
“I’m happy for you,” Armand said. Then, “This is serious. This
being, whatever it is, it smashed the skull of a blood drinker and
devoured the brain.”