【The bottom line? Nothing had changed. Nothing, that is,
except that each and every one of them was now a discrete entity.
Or as Louis described it, each and every one had his or her own
etheric body with its etheric brain—the etheric brain collected,
formed, and developed in the biological brain of the fledgling
when the vampiric blood of the master had first gone into it, and
the etheric body that had developed from that etheric brain all
through the biological body of the fledgling as the vampiric blood
circulated through the biological body driven by the biological
Louis’s simple explanation became the explanation that most
And Fareed had acknowledged more than once that Louis’s
simple understanding of old-fashioned Theosophical rhetoric had
led them in the right way.
But Louis took no pleasure in his triumph. He received
acknowledgments with sad eyes and bitter smiles. Fareed
understood this only too well.】
“He danced with the young ones and the old ones, took long
walks up and down the mountain with Louis, played chess or
cards whenever he wanted, and spent hours watching films in the
screening room of the castle just as he had done before.
Maybe Lestat knew something that they didn’t know.”
“And it seemed to Fareed that those who suffered in the
extreme were Gabrielle and Marius—and, of course, Louis, who
never left the Prince’s side.”
“Louis had been gravely hurt that Lestat had gone off to meet
Rhoshamandes alone. So Lestat had promised never to do such a
“He needed to see the smiling face
of the Prince himself sitting in a softly lighted corner somewhere
in fast conversation with Louis or Viktor.”
“Tonight, as the hours pushed towards dawn—and Lestat had
no need to go early to his vault to protect anyone from anything—
Fareed stood watching Lestat and Louis playing chess with a
marvelous medieval set of exquisitely detailed figures. They were
in the largest of the salons off the ballroom, sitting at one of the
many round tables scattered all through the castle. Lestat
appeared calm, even cheerful, smiling and nodding when he saw
“All the faces were soon there, except for Louis and Rose and
Viktor. But how could that be? I turned around. They stood only
two feet away from me, huddled together, and down the pure
whiteness of Louis’s face were two thin lines of blood tears.”
“The blood tears ran down my face the way they’d run down
Louis’s face until the shirt and coat were ruined, and then I wept
like a child.”
“The truth was, no one knew.
Now others were curious about the fate of Amel, obviously,
but I don’t think anyone felt the pain I felt. Louis knew what I
couldn’t confide, and he was respectful of it, and comforting and
patient. Louis never failed me.”
【By mid-June, I was walking about Paris all the time and Louis
invariably accompanied me. Soon we had our favorite streets, and
our favorite bookshops, and our favorite cafés. We saw films
together, and occasional plays. We haunted the Louvre and the
Centre Georges Pompidou. But mostly we roamed.
So it was that on a particularly beautiful and warm Saturday
night we found ourselves in Paris, talking softly about how
miraculously changed our world was from the times in which
vampires believed themselves to be sinister supernatural beings
endowed with myriad mysterious characteristics by someone’s
Louis spoke of having recovered Paris from the pain of the
loss of Claudia, and of loving the modern city more than he had
ever thought he could.
Well before midnight, we came to the Quartier Latin and
settled in a spacious outdoor café, one of our favorites, a tourist
mecca now, but as genuine and vital a place as one could desire.
We took a table on the very outside of the flagstone sidewalk
to sit and talk some more and watch the passersby. I was thirsting.
And once again, I kept thinking of innocent blood.
But there is a lot to be said about spending most of the night
thirsting, when one’s senses are sharpened by the thirst and colors
are more vivid and sounds more piercing and sweet. So I ignored
the thirst, and certainly I ignored the temptation to seek innocent
We ordered enough of everything—wine, sandwiches, coffee,
pastries—so that the waiter, to whom we slipped a large bill, would
leave us alone for a long time.
Louis went off at one point to find a newspaper, and I was
sitting there alone, hoping that no wandering members of the
Undead would recognize me or seize on this moment to “talk.”】
““It’s me,” he said, his warm fingers squeezing my hand tight
enough to hurt a mortal hand. “It’s Amel.”
“I’m going to lose it,” I said quietly. I could hardly speak.
Beyond him I saw Louis approaching with his newspaper, but
when Louis saw what was happening at the table, he nodded,
folded the paper, and moved out of sight.”
【He tapped his right temple.
“This ghost brain is organizing this biological brain and I’m
recovering old knowledge and acquiring new knowledge all the
time! But tell me, what is Fareed doing? What has he discovered?
What is Seth up to? I want to know them. I must know them. And
Louis, I must come to know Louis. Louis is over there watching
us. Louis is making you happy? Before we were separated, I knew
Louis through you and—.”
He broke off.
He wanted to say something, but he couldn’t. “I lost all of
you,” he whispered, “and I grieve for that loss.” The tears rose
“Yes,” I said. “I know that. And I lost you.” I fought my own
tears. “You brought me together with Louis, you did that, and you
gave Louis back to me. I have Louis now because of you.”】
【Louis came up finally, and took my arm and we began to walk
“You heard it all?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “If you’d wanted me gone beyond hearing, of
course, I would have gone.”
“Not at all,” I said. “You’re the only one who really knows the
full extent of it, of how much I love him.”
“Yes,” he said. “I know.”
We headed for a dark deserted alleyway, far from human
eyes. And then we headed for home.】