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.Her eyes were clearing and she had stopped trembling.Of this I was glad.“That night,” I said, “after we met and spoke together, you put a spell on me, Merrick.On my way back to the Rue Royale, I kept seeing you everywhere; to the right of me, and to the left of me, Merrick.And then I saw Great Nananne.”“Great Nananne?” she asked in a subdued voice, but one which couldn’t conceal her disbelief.“What do you mean, you saw Great Nananne?”“When I reached the carriageway of my town house,” I said, “I saw two spirits behind the iron bars—one in the image of you, a girl of ten, the way you were when I first met you, and the other, Great Nananne in her nightgown, as she was on the only day I was ever to know her, the day of her death.These two spirits stood in the carriageway and spoke together, intimately, tête à tête, their eyes fixed on me.And when I approached them, they disappeared.”For a moment, she said nothing.Her eyes were narrow and her lips slightly parted, as if she was pondering this with extreme concentration.“Great Nananne,” she said again.“Just as I’ve told you, Merrick,” I said.“Am I to understand now that you yourself didn’t call her? You know what happened next, don’t you? I went back to the Windsor Court, to the suite where I’d left you.I found you dead drunk on the bed.”“Don’t use such a charming expression for it,” she whispered crossly.“You came back, yes, and you wrote me a note.”“But after I wrote that note, Merrick, I saw Great Nananne there in the hotel, standing in the door of your bedroom.She was challenging me, Merrick.She was challenging me by her very presence and posture.It was a dense and undeniable apparition.It endured for moments—chilling moments, Merrick.Am I to understand this wasn’t part of your spell?”Merrick sat silent for a long moment, her hands still splayed in her hair.She lifted her knees and drew them close to her breasts.Her sharp gaze never left me.“Great Nananne,” she whispered.“You’re telling me the truth.Of course you are.And you thought that I called my godmother? You thought I could call her and make her appear like that?”“Merrick, I saw the statue of St.Peter.I saw my own handkerchief beneath it with the drops of blood on it.I saw the candle you’d lighted.I saw the offerings.You had cast a spell.”“Yes, my darling,” she said quickly, her right hand clutching mine to quiet me.“I fixed you, yes, I put a little fixing spell on you to make you want me, to make you quite unable to think of anything else but me, to make you come back if by the slightest chance you had decided never to come to me again.Just a fixing spell, David, you know what I’m saying.I wanted to see if I could do it now that you were a vam-pire.And you see what happened? You didn’t feel love or obsession, David, you saw images of me instead.Your strength came to the fore, David, that’s all that happened.And you wrote your sharp little note to me, and when I read it, I think I might have even laughed.”She broke off, deeply troubled, her eyes large as she stared in front her, perhaps into her own thoughts.“And Great Nananne?” I pressed.“You didn’t call her?”“I can’t call my godmother,” she said, her tone serious, her eyes narrow as she looked at me again.“I pray to my godmother, David, don’t you realize that, as I pray to Cold Sandra, as I pray to Oncle Vervain.They’re no longer near us, any of them, my ancestors.I pray to them in Heaven as I would to the angels and the saints.”“I’m telling you I saw her spirit.”“And I’m telling you I’ve never seen it,” she whispered.“I’m telling you I’d give anything I possess if only I could.”She looked at my hand, the one which she held in her own, and then she pressed it warmly and she let it go.Her hands went up to her temples again and her fingers found their way again into her hair.“Great Nananne’s in the Light,” she said, as though she were arguing with me, and perhaps she was.But her gaze was lost to me.“Great Nananne’s in the Light, David,” she said again.“I tell you I know she is.” She looked up into the airy semi-darkness, and then her eyes drifted to the altar and the candles in their long flickering rows.“I don’t believe she came,” she whispered.“I don’t believe they’re all in some ‘insubstantial realm!’ No, I tell you, I don’t believe it,” she said.She put her hands on her knees.“I don’t believe anything so absolutely awful—that all the souls of the ‘faithful departed’ are lost in darkness.No, I can’t believe such a thing.”“Very well, then,” I said, wanting for the moment only to comfort her, and remembering too keenly the spirits at the gate once more, old woman and young girl.“Great Nananne came of her own accord.It’s as you indicated earlier—you said that spirits only tell the truth if they come of their own accord.Great Nananne didn’t want me near you, Merrick.Great Nananne has told me that.And maybe she’ll come again if I don’t somewhat repair the damage I’ve done to you, and leave you alone.”She appeared to be thinking this over.A long interval ensued during which I watched her intently, and she gave me no clue of her feelings or her intentions, and then finally, she took my hand again.She drew it up to her lips and she kissed it.It was painfully sweet.“David, my beloved David,” she said, but her eyes were secretive.“Leave me now.”“No, I won’t even think of it, until I have to do it.”“No, I want you to go,” she said.“I’ll be quite all right on my own.”“Call the caretaker,” I said.“I want him here before I leave the property at dawn.”She reached over to the night table and produced one of those small modern cellular phones that is no bigger than a man’s wallet.She punched in a series of numbers.I heard the appropriate voice on the other end, “Yes, Ma’am, coming directly.”I was satisfied.I stood up.I took several steps towards the center of the room, and then the most desolate feeling descended upon me.I turned around and looked at her as she sat there, her knees up close to her breasts, her head resting on her knees, her arms locked around her legs.“Am I fixed now with a spell, Merrick?” I asked her, my voice even more gentle than I meant for it to be.“I don’t want to leave you, my precious darling,” I said.“I can’t bear the thought of it, but I know that we have to part from one another, you and I.One more meeting, perhaps two.No more than two.”She looked up, startled, and her face was touched with fear.“Bring him back to me, David,” she said imploringly.“In the name of God, you have to do that.I must see Louis and talk to him again.” She waited a moment, during which time I didn’t answer her.“As for you and me, don’t talk as if we can simply say goodbye to one another.David, I can’t bear that just now.You must assure me—.”“It won’t be abrupt,” I said, cutting her off, “and it won’t be without your knowledge.But we can’t go on, Merrick.If we try to go on, you’ll lose faith in yourself and everything that matters to you.Believe me, I know.”“But it never happened to you, dearest,” she said, with strong confidence, as though she’d thought through this very matter.“You were happy and independent when the Vampire Lestat brought you over.You told me so.Don’t you give me credit for that much, David? Each of us is different.”“Know that I love you, Merrick,” I said softly.“Don’t try to say farewell, David.Come here and kiss me and come back to me tomorrow night [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]