Chapter 10

When I return to my room, I call Seymour Dorsten, my friend and personal biographer, the young man I cured of AIDS with a few drops of my blood. Seymour is my psychic twin--he often writes about what I am experiencing, without my having to tell him what it is. Lately, I've been broadcasting him great material. I wake him up, but as soon as he hears my voice he is instantly alert.

"I knew you'd be calling me soon," he says. "Was that you down in Los Angeles?"

"Joel and I."

He takes a moment to absorb what I am saying. "Joel is a vampire now?"

"Yes. Eddie roughed him up bad. He was dying. I had no choice."

"You've broken your vow."

"Do you need to remind me?"

"Sorry." He pauses. "Can I become a vampire?"

"You don't want the headache. Let me tell you what's been happening."

For the next ninety minutes Seymour listens while I detail everything that has occurred since just before I rescued Yaksha and battled with Eddie. I mention Tex, sleeping in his shallow grave in the desert, and my levitating in the moonlight. Seymour ponders my words for a long time.

"Well?" I ask finally. "Have you been writing about all of this already?"

He hesitates. "I was writing a story about you. In it you were an angel."

"Did I have wings?"

"You were glowing white and flying high above a ruined landscape."

"Sounds like the end of the world," I remark.

Seymour is serious. "It will be the end of the world if you don't get Joel away from these people. You think they really have another vampire in addition to Joel?"

"Yes. Andy has constructed a model of vampire DNA. He wouldn't have had time to do it after Joel was brought to him."

"How do you know what vampire DNA looks like?"

I haven't told Seymour about Arturo. The story is too painful, and besides, I don't think it applies to the situation.

"Trust me, I have experience in the matter," I reply. "Andy's model is accurate. Anyway, whether I have to rescue one or two, my dilemma is the same. I have to get in there and then I have to get three of us out"

"It sounds like your best bet is Andy. Can't you stare him in the eye and make him do what you want?"

"That can backfire. If I push too hard, I'll scramble his brain, and the others will know there's something wrong with him. But if I'm careful I can plant a few suggestions deep in his mind."

"Money is a smart angle. Offer him millions. The fact that he hates his boss doesn't hurt either."

"I agree. But, Seymour, you're supposed to tell me what I'm missing."

"Do you feel you're missing something?" he asks.

"Yes. I can't explain, but I know it's there. It's just not evident to me."

Seymour considers. "I'll tell you a couple things you won't want to hear. When you get inside the com?pound, you can't go straight for Joel."

"Why not?"

"You have to get to the general. You have to be able to control him."

"He might be harder to get to than Joel."

"I doubt it. Joel will be locked in a cage even you wouldn't be able to escape from. Obviously they know how strong a vampire is."

"Joel is powerful, no doubt. But he is still a child next to me. They don't know that."

"They know more than you think, Sita. "You're  really not looking at the whole picture. They're proba?bly still searching Lake Mead for your body. The fact that they haven't found it tells the general that you're still alive. And for you to have survived what they put you through means that you have to be handled with extreme care." Seymour pauses. "The general must have figured you'll come for Joel." "You sound so certain," I say. "I'm not." "Look at it logically. You had several chances to leave Joel during your fight with the LAPD--but you didn't. In fact, you showed tremendous loyalty to him. Believe me, they have constructed a psychological profile on you. They know you're coming for him. They'll be waiting for you. That's one of the reasons you have to go after the general first. Control him and his mind and you control the compound."

"His associates will know something is up."

"You need only control him for a short time. Also, you have no choice. You need the general for some?thing other than rescue and escape." "What?" I ask, knowing what he'll say. "Samples of vampire blood will be spread all over the compound. I bet they have several labs there, and you won't be able to walk around and find all the samples. On top of that, they'll have the research that they've conducted in their computers. For these rea?sons the compound has to be completely destroyed. It's the only way. You're going to have to force the general to detonate a nuclear warhead."

"Just like that? Blow up all those people?"  

"You killed plenty of people down in L.A." My voice is cool. "I didn't enjoy that, Seymour." He pauses. "I'm sorry, Sita. I didn't mean to imply that you did. And I don't mean to sound cold and cruel. I'm not, you know. I'm just a high school kid, and a lousy writer on top of that."

"You're too brilliant to be lousy at anything. Please continue with your analysis. How can I get Joel out alive and blow the place up?"

He hesitates. '"You might not be able to do both."

I nod to myself. "This could be a suicide mission. I've thought of that" I add sadly; "Won't you miss me?"

He speaks with feeling. "Yes. Come here tonight. Make me a vampire, I'll help you."

"You're not vampire material."

"Why? I'm not sexy enough?"

"Oh, that's not the problem. If you were a vampire, Tm sure you'd be a sex machine. It's just that you're too special to be ..." My voice falters as I think of Arturo. "To be contaminated by my blood."

"Sita? What's wrong?"

I swallow past my pain. "It's nothing--the past. That's the trouble with living for five thousand years--I have so much past. It's hard to live in the present when all that history is inside you."

"Your blood saved my life," Seymour says gently.

"How are you feeling? Are the HIV tests still negative?"

"Yes, I'm fine. Don't worry about me. When do you see Andy next?"

"In a few hours, near dawn. Then, when he returns to work in the evening, I plan to stow away in the trunk of his car."

"You'll need his cooperation. You can't go search?ing the compound for Joel."

"Andy will cooperate, one way or the other." I pause. "Is there anything else you can tell me that might help?"

"Yeah. Practice that levitating trick. You never know when it'll come in handy."

"I don't know what's causing it."

"Obviously, Yaksha's blood. He must have devel?oped the ability over the centuries. Could he fly when you knew him in India?"

"He never demonstrated that he could."

"You vampires are full of surprises."

I sigh. "You're so anxious to become like me. You envy my powers. But what you don't know is that I envy you more."

Seymour is surprised. "What do I have that you could possibly want?"

I think of Lalita, my daughter.

But I cannot talk about children, on this of all nights.

"You're human" is all I say.

P/S: Copyright -->www_novelfreereadonline_Com