Thursday, August 20, 2009

Blood is Thicker than Water: Polly's End

Benjamin found me three days later. I had taken to sleeping most of the day, to avoid my blood lust, and his coming alarmed me because I was napping. “Polly? I know you’re out here.”

I was a wild thing with unkempt hair and tattered clothes. I peered at him through the branches of a cypress. “Forgive me for not serving you refreshments. I seldom have visitors.”

“I would have come sooner, but there was the funeral. Come down. We have things to discuss.”

I dropped out of the tree and made a futile attempt to smooth my dress. “Simpson, of course. I am sorry.”

“Abigail is desperate to find you.”

“Well, she won’t. I can’t trust myself around any of them. You know that.”

He nodded. “What are you going to do with yourself?”

“Take care of any vampires that are left. We may have missed some. Since I’m the only one of Shalimar’s kind here, they are my responsibility.”

“My question remains.”

“Mr. Stewart, what would you have me do? I wish you would kill me, but I will live until I have killed all of them.”

“Mr. Forte and Mr. Hyland have dealt with most of them. Father Stewart purified the bodies and gave them a blessing. You are the last one left. Something must be done about you.”

“I see.” Fear gripped my stomach, but I knew what had to be done. “You must kill me.” I drew a deep breath. “Right now. Do it right now.”

Benjamin nodded. “You niece would have given herself for you,” he said. “This would be my gift to that sacrifice. Intense light glowed from his hands, dazzling. I was surrounded by pain as the light filled me, driving Shalimar’s stain out of my body. Spots danced before my eyes. Benjamin flickered into view.

“It’s gone, isn’t it?” I said. The bayou was less hazy, less dreamlike.

He proffered a hand. “It’s a long walk back, Polly. Shall we go?”

I took his hand. “You don’t want to tell me how--?”

“You can guess.”

The swamp whispered its goodbyes around us.

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