Bunny, an old-time vampire, tells Meadowlark why she stopped sucking human blood.
|Dancing with the Luna Moth
Knyflok, Meadowlark and I went down to the fields to pick elephant garlic by moonlight. The waning crescent cast enough light to show us the way. Our hands grasped the garlic and pulled. We chatted until Meadowlark became quiet, then Knyflok, then I got tired of talking to myself. The stars listened of course, but shone mute, nary a cloud in the sky.
Meadowlark began to speak as if in a trance.
My mother came here once on a night like this.
We sat up, shocked. Bunny was allergic to anything remotely garlic and never strayed far from the alleys at night.
The rats must've been relieved, I squeaked, as Knyflok kicked me to shut me up.
Yes. The rats. You know ... she didn't always kill rats.
The starlight in Meadowlarks eyes went out.
She was distraught and told me a story of a time before time, before ... well you know ...
As her voice trailed off we stopped pulling and set as quiet as a mouse.
You know about moths, she said, how they are attracted to lamplight, how they will circle them till they die. I don't think she heard my reply. Her face was vacant and she seemed old for a moment, weighed down by a memory older than these trees, perhaps older than these rocks.
I use to go out by moonlight, attracted by the reflective shimmer from a sun I knew would burn me by day. I danced in the dew or the frost. It mattered little to me. I was glad to be free. I knew the names of the stars and knew they knew mine. I was attracted to their light like one of those big green moths.
And although I almost had the night to myself, I wasn't the only one. Most sensible folks knew how to stay inside after dark. There were thieves about and worse. And worse than their nightmares ... there was me.
One night I heard a shuffle through leaves as a young boy crossed my path. He was looking up at the moon, entranced by the stars, oblivious to me. He stretched out his arms and began to twirl as if in a trance, calling down gossamer, orchestrating the dance of the fireflies that wink on and off.
I had seen nothing so beautiful, so rare, so right, as if he too owned the night. I stood silent and began to sway to his movement. I had always danced solo, but I got caught up on the melody of moonlight, the descant of Venus; they sang a duet; we danced a pas de deux.
I bit him lightly at first, a tenuous brush of death; he kept dancing. I bit him harder and he laughed. He never once showed fear. He never stopped moving till he dropped dead at my feet. I was stunned by the cessation of movement, of music, of moonlight as a cloud scurried past its face.
When it passed, I saw a figure of gossamer, moth-like still dancing in the light, still smiling, still holding out his hand for me to join him.
I had never cried before, and since only twice. I was mesmerized until the grey in the east warned me I must quickly head home. He was still twirling as I left, the empty husk of his body cold as the stars.
I swore then I would never taste blood again, but try as I might I couldn't die. There was no garlic to wrap around my neck, no silver to slit my throat. My heart had already been pierced; yet, I lived.
I regained my strength by sucking on rats that were ravaging our village. I like to think looking back that many a young child was spared the plague by my ravenous hunger. Not a rat dared enter my realm and I started to hunt other vermin, always hungry, always haunted by the old crescent moon. And I knew the stars knew.
I sat silent until my mother got up, Meadowlark whispered. I watched her dance up that path lit only by stars and the half-light of an old crescent moon. I swear she did not dance alone.
in the dying light
dancing with the Luna Moth
dying in the light
© Kåre Enga [165.367] 2008-December-03
~ 720 words