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September 25, 2023

Bohemian Morning 27

By Lydia Manx

Chapter Twenty-Seven

In all my years on this Earth I had never seen anything like the scrolling proclamation of annihilation being announced by the Vampire Council on all of the West Coast supernatural creatures. The Council had always been judge, jury, and executioners -- by proxy at times -- for all of the vampires and their minions. They were ruthless and merciless in the sentences. On the laptops Harry had set up there was a scrolling message to us all on the West Coast of the coming purge of the land. I noticed that specific geography wasn't being delineated in their words. From the way the block letters rolled the only thing mentioned as the starting location was vaguely 'West' without any specific border for the starting point of the slaughtering to come. For all purposes the Council could be talking about anywhere West of the original thirteen colonies -- if an executioner felt the supernaturals had strayed from the Council's rigid rules of exposure. Words damning any and all supernaturals who had shown themselves to any humans removed any doubt that they were just coming for the vampires. Harsh phrases spelled out the necessary eradication of all failing to be invisible. There wasn't even specific reasons, just that it must be done immediately for the good of all.

Eyes wide, I looked up to see Harry watching my reactions. Honestly, I didn't have any fast and hard response. I was basically frozen in place, speechless. This news crossed anything that I'd ever experienced, and I'd been through a few nasty purges and burnt earth endings of wayward vampires in my 'lifetime' as a vampire. Nothing so open-ended or absolute: the Vampire Council wasn't just calling for a total culling of vampires, but any supernaturals that strayed. As I kept reading, I did not detect any offers of sanctuary to vampires, werewolves, witches, or any kind of otherly creatures vaguely mentioned in the as of yet unnamed territories. Harry nodded slowly as he watched me process what I was reading.

"As you see, it's not precisely the normal Council tactics. I'd heard whispers of something coming but this is a declaration of war -- a calling for the total extermination of the supernaturals in all of the Western USA. From what I understand it's going to be a purge of any creature the Council deems unworthy of staying in the West." Harry's voice was soft but unwavering in what he thought.

I sat speechless still -- watching the yellow letters begin the declaration over again -- it was on a loop for all vampires to read -- I didn't understand and finally spit out, "Harry, why? I don't get it." I had more but was having trouble framing my words. I was muttering softly to myself and to my shock it was in Latin -- a dead language for a dead vampire. This was not good.

"Now, Bethany, you understand why I sought you out?" Harry was speaking softly as if trying to soothe me.

Yeah, not working. The Council was overstepping, in a power move that was going to hit us all, even if we vampires hadn't done anything wrong. I didn't see werewolves stopping to ask questions once the blades and guns began to kill them. It would be a massive wave of death and destruction from East to West making the Spanish Inquisition look like a kid's party.

I found myself shaking my head slowly, as if the action would deny the words on the screen. Finally, "Yes, chaos and the Council are on their way to decimate the West and remove all supernaturals."

Harry grinned, reflecting my feelings well -- slight fangs with lots of sass -- somethings never changed. I felt his mind pushing softly at my frayed thoughts. For once I didn't push his mind away from mine -- he was offering me a challenge with a small drop of comfort. My world shifted.

There was an audible pop in the room -- instinctively I knew it was from the doorway Harry and I had used from the basement to get into the library. He'd closed it but it sounded like either Eddie or Jasmine knew where the switch to the pocket door was. I felt the motion of the door opening fully allowing the two creatures entrance to the house. Neither the witch nor the werewolf came forward inside the library. The shapes stayed back, I could feel them waiting, but as the basement was now dark, one of them must have flipped off the lights, they remained shadows undefined just out of reach.

Harry looked to me -- unasked questions in his eyes and then in my thoughts -- I nodded.

"You may enter." He said to them -- I watched them flow into the small room. Eddie hadn't shifted back into his human nature and they both smelt like wet, bloody death. That said neither had spatters of Violet on them, but Jasmine had a heavy scent of raw magics emanating from her.

It was obvious to me she'd removed Violet's body from the basement and all the associated DNA long dissipated with a spell or two. Witches did a good job of body disposal -- I wasn't bothered but rather pleased I wouldn't have that task in the morning. Eddie's werewolf eyes gleamed; he was excited from the small hunt. Jasmine looked pleased; she was darker than I'd thought. Mentally I made a note not to be misled by her sweet and innocent act. Harry really did know how to pick them.

"She all caught up?" Jasmine asked Harry in a quiet voice. Eddie could speak as a were, I knew, but he wasn't overly talkative. I'd already figured that out from the time we'd spent together in the night.

Harry indicated that they should come into the library while framing his reply to Jasmine. I felt like he was handling me. From the glance he threw my way I knew I'd picked that up correctly. He hadn't entirely forgotten me in the decades that had passed since we'd been together. But I think I'd nevertheless surprised him. Without my Master I had to learn how to survive -- it meant knowing precisely how and when I was being played, even by Harry.

Jasmine perched on the far end of Harry's couch while Eddie stayed on his back legs -- walking in the smooth predatory way all werewolves had -- sinewy and taut -- the way they had in either natures, ready to pounce. -- Not exactly relaxing. His nature made me twitch and Harry's two companions were lethal alone much less paired. I was starting to wonder if I had any options but to follow Harry. I kept my views out of my mind and hopefully off my face.

"Bethany has seen the Vampire Council's proclamation," I nodded and indicated with a jerk of my chin that it was still scrolling on both laptops in front of us, "You two were faster than expected. We haven't completely discussed it." Nice way for Harry to toss it out there. I kept quiet and tried to read them. My life -- as it were -- depended on it. There was no need to have it spelt out, I felt it to my core.

Taking an unnecessary breath, I said, "Okay, what is it that you need me to do?"

With that all three visibly relaxed cluing me in that I'd been on trial. Yeah, not a great feeling -- all my skillsets were easily defeated with an older vampire, a witch, and werewolf. I really had the one option open to me if I wanted to survive the coming horde. I was envisioning something along the way the Turks invaded Hungary and the Old World. My brain churned with graphic memories of slaughters and invasions.

Harry leaned in -- carefully closing the space between us -- meeting my eyes directly he said, "Go to war with us. All three of our families need to unite if we are to endure another sunrise. Your bohemian ways will serve us well. You have connections here the three of us don't."

Looking into his face I saw the truth of his words. My days and nights of running free as basically a rogue vampire were obviously finished. Just then I could feel dawn breaking -- as we vampires all could, just our nature -- it felt different -- the winds of change were coming. My freedoms broken by a Council bringing destruction to us all. Laughing I said, "What the hell. How do we start?"

25 October 2020
Del Mar, California

Article © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
Published on 2021-05-24
Image(s) © Lydia Manx. All rights reserved.
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