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Monday, March 31, 2014


            Danielle was walking back down the long hallways of the hospital, her mind far away as she did so. It was the eve of her death all those years ago and despite her youthful appearance she was beginning to feel quite old.

            She passed by the room of a child who had been in a coma for three years, and she paused in the doorway to watch the parents who sat in quiet reverie around their son, just as they had done every night since his accident. Their faces were gaunt and tight, and they looked very much like ghosts in the half-light of the outside lamps that filtered inside through the curtain.
            Danielle let out a long sigh, her mind pulling her through the time she’d spent on Earth, about how she had lived longer than any human and yet she had never had a baby, had never felt a lover’s touch or the glory of aging. Instead, she had dwelled in the shape of a child for several eternities and she was growing tired of the whole experience.
            She turned to keep walking, and stopped as she noticed the figure of a man standing in the shadow of the hallway with his face partially obscured with only the curve of his beautiful mouth into a smile showing up in the darkness. He said softly, “Happy anniversary, Mother.”
            Danielle’s face split into a smile, and she rushed down the hallway towards him, laughing happily as he scooped her up and spun her, “Achan! I didn’t think that you would come!”
            The second in command of the White Collars planted a kiss on her cheek and set her down, “Then you don’t know anything. Don’t I come and visit every year?”
            She grinned and slid her hand into his and they walked down the darkened hall to the library. The doors were locked after hours, but both Danielle and Achan easily slipped inside and sat down on the well-worn couch, a tradition that they had kept up for as long as Danielle had been at the hospital.
            The vampiress beamed at Achan and whispered, “I have missed you.”
            “I’m sorry that I’ve been away. Things in the outside world are…” Achan rubbed his temples, but still managed a shot laugh, “Well, they are interesting.”
            Danielle smoothed his hair with her tiny hand. She had been the one to turn him into a revenant so many years ago, back when he had been a citizen of Trans-Jordan. Like a dutiful son, Achan had appeared at her side every year on the anniversary of her death, a tradition that meant much more to Danielle than she would freely admit. Unfortunately, for the past forty years that single night was the only time that she had seen him.
            Achan held out his balled fists to her with a grin on his face, “Pick a hand,”
            With a grin, Danielle tapped his right wrist and he uncurled his fingers to reveal an empty, smooth palm. She shot him a glance and he laughed easily, “Almost. Here.” he opened his other hand to reveal a beautiful silver necklace twisted into the shape of a falling leaf.
            She beamed at him and quickly tied it around her neck, “It’s beautiful!”
            Achan reached around her neck and smoothed her hair away from her skin to keep it from being trapped by the clasp, “Just like you,”
            Danielle beamed at him and cupped his face in her hands, “You are far too kind to me,”
            He smiled at her and gently pulled her hands away from his face, “Listen, I need to ask you something again.”
            Her smile evaporated, “If it is what you have asked me every time you have come here then you should know what my answer will be.”
            “Danielle, it is becoming more and more dangerous to be alone in our world.” Achan grabbed both of her hands like a supplicant, “Please come and join Timaeus. He can protect you.”
            “From what?” the look in her eyes was fierce as she yanked her hands away, “I have existed on this earth for much longer than that upstart, and yet you are convinced that he can do a better job taking care of me than I can?”
            “You don’t know what is happening out there in the world. Only a short while ago our enemy took over and destroyed four public hospitals in the same day.”
            “That could not happen here,” the old woman in the little girl’s shape bared her fangs, “This place is under my protection. I would not let it fall.”
            Achan’s usually pleasant and carefree face was suddenly lined with worry as he murmured, “The Choir of Zuriel shouldn’t be underestimated. Timaeus is trying to bring in all of the independent vampire like yourself. He insists that your kind will be the first one targeted.”
            “Let them come.” Danielle stood up from the couch, her fingers wrapped around the silver leaf at her throat, “Thank you for the gift…as always, I enjoyed seeing you.”
            “Don’t do this, Danuté.” Achan said, his voice cracking as he used her original name.
            “Goodbye,” Danielle turned and vanished into the shadows of the hallway, leaving Achan alone in the silent library, bathed blue by the moon-like glow of the outside streetlamp.

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