Happy almost Thanksgiving, folks! Are you all excited for the yummy goodies this week will provide? I sure as heck know I am! I hope you all have a wonderful Turkey Day, full of happiness and family.
To whet your appetite, I've prepared a little follow up to the roof top showdown. What does this have to do with Thanksgiving, you may ask? Well, read it and find out!
Be safe and happy on Thursday, my internet lovelies!
He wasn’t sure when he had developed a taste for it, but François quite enjoyed Bollywood love songs. There was something in them that he found comforting. Maybe it was the memories of his youth that welled to the surface when he listened to them. When his family was exiled, they had considered French India as their new home before deciding on the colonies in the west.
François wondered sometimes what his life might have been like if his family had chosen India. He was certain that he would not be alive now, or at least his version of alive. He would never have seen Marguerite and he wouldn’t have been murdered by the poachers that were hunting her. He might have lived to be an old man in India, though that seemed unlikely. He couldn’t help but wonder, though.
It was early morning and the sun was just beginning to filter through the trees; a few stray beams had found his windows and were projecting playful patterns on the linen curtains. The compound was quiet and had been for a few days, ever since the night the vampire got in. François had been in bed for all those days.
“Dying takes a great deal of energy,” he had joked to Charlotte, “and coming back to life takes even more. I need time to rest.” Charlotte had been the only person he had seen. François asked about Amanda, but Charlotte only gave a non-committal shrug.
François felt guilty for spooking Amanda, but when was he supposed to have told her what he was and what he could do. It wasn’t exactly something one brought up over breakfast. “Oh, by the way,” he said mawkishly, testing out what could have been said, “I am, how you say, immortal but not really. I just wanted to warn you that I sometimes die but do not fret, ma chère, it is only temporary.”
He laughed despite the heaviness that was weighing him down. Yes, he thought, that would have put her at ease. François sighed, his fingers finding their way to the necklace he always wore. He tugged on the old chain and held the small bottle up to the faint sunlight and studied it, as he had thousands of times before. It contained a mixture of earth from what would have been his grave and water from the cave where the spirits dwelt. This was what kept him alive; François held his own life in his hands.
There was a monumental crash from somewhere below him, in the basement level of the compound. François leapt from his bed, his long, lanky legs tangling in the sheets. His mind raced as he frantically searched for a weapon in the mostly dark room. Finding only a gnarled cudgel, a gift from a very nice tree sprite, François crept downstairs. The concrete steps were cold on his bare feet.
Another crash, smaller this time, came from the kitchen. It’s ransacking our pantry, François thought with growing dread. He gripped the cudgel tightly and, summoning all his strength, he kicked the kitchen door in. The room exploded with savory aroma. François looked for the culprit but instead he found Amanda holding a large roasting pan.
“It’s only turkey.” Amanda said dryly. “I know I’m not the best cook, but there’s no need for violence.” She gestured at the cudgel that François still had raised above his head. He lowered it sheepishly, realizing what a sight he must be.
“I thought there might be another intruder.” He muttered by way of an apology. “What are you doing here so early?” François knew he probably shouldn’t question her, he was just glad she was talking to him and not cowering in the corner in terror.
“It’s Thanksgiving. I used to cook dinner for my family, a long time ago.” Amanda’s voice betrayed the slightest bit of uncertainty, but she took a deep breath and mustered a smile. “And as weird as this whole set up is, you two are the closest thing I have to a family right now. I couldn’t let the day pass without some sort of celebration.”
“So, you will stay?” François tried to hide his hope.
Amanda lifted the cover of the roasting pan and studied the turkey inside. The aroma of the spices made François light headed with memories of his childhood, of being happy.
“I’ll stay on one condition. Tell me who you are, so there won’t be anymore surprises.” Amanda looked him in the eyes for the first time since he burst into the kitchen and, despite his best efforts to fight it, he began to smile.
“François Guillaume Camille Boudreaux,” he bowed elegantly, “and I will tell you anything you want to know.”
Laughter slowly filled the kitchen as Charlotte walked away unseen. She removed a slim phone from her pocket and dialed. “She’s staying. Yes, I am pleased. Of course. I wasn’t looking forward to what I would have had to do to keep her from talking. This saves me a lot of trouble. Yes, sir. I’ll do my best.” Charlotte closed the phone and smiled.