Nov 2007

Chapter 62About Subtle Substances

Khuna was down in the alley, I heard her walking in and moved out of the way, taking Valerie with me. Khuna jumped up and looked surprised as she saw us on the roof. Awe, wonder and worry all flashed on her face. I could only imagine.

"I was wondering where you two were. How did you get her up here?" Her voice mostly full of worry.

"I climbed, holding her." I tried to smile bravely but a memory of it's danger must have been visible in my eyes.

"Still... Well done" Khuna smiled at me.

She opened the door for me as I led Valerie inside. Through the corridor into the living room and to my surprise Kai noted us as soon as we got in. He jumped up as if he had received a shock. He almost ran toward us but started to slow down as he saw underneath the hood.

"Is that... Valerie?" He slightly hesitated as he spoke.

Khuna and I nodded. Kai calmed down immensely. "Tell me everything." He said.

Khuna nodded. "We found her in the same place as where we found Isabel. The brothers must have captured her and put her in the same room they put Isabel in. She wasn't physically hurt as much as we could see... Which was... eh... " I couldn't get myself to say it.

"She was naked." Khuna said it clearly.

Kai nodded to urge me on, his mind in high gear. I continued. "There were monk-robes nearby and we took them for her, having little else to cover her with. And we brought her here. She hasn't spoken at all, or moved by her own will. If you nudge her she walks where you want her to, but that's all."

Kai closed his eyes and was almost emanating thought, to flow all his memories and inventiveness together to figure out what had happened. It felt as if he wrapped time around himself, filling the room with a sense of meditation. Pure thought, no distractions. Almost no breathing either. Khuna and I didn't dare to breathe normal either, afraid to interrupt him. The only sound left was Valeries calm inhales and exhales, completely unaware of the world around her.

He opened his eyes again "Amy, get that book, I hope it verifies something I want to know."

I went downstairs immediately, trusting Valerie's care to Khuna mostly. I picked up the book and brought it back upstairs. With a bit of ceremony I handed it to Kai, it was precious after all. He opened it and leafed through it, scanning the index with his eyes and smiling as if he found something. Then to the right page and reading. He started quoting.

"One interesting of vampirism is that of the effects of drugs. Their physique is mostly human even though their metabolism has changed. When alcohol is imbibed it is retched out almost immediately, as the stomach cannot bear it. This has been observed several times throughout reports. If, however, a drug is applied in a differed method, by air or direct injection, their effects are diminished but still present. Their higher metabolism makes them not immune to drugs, just more able to cope with them."

Kai closed the book. "This means they might have drugged her, though I wonder how long she'll stay in this vegetative state."

I thought out loud. "Kind of like an elephant, you need more drugs to get it to work and we burn through it faster?"

Kai nodded. "That's what it comes down to, if we're lucky she burns through it by morning. Unless..."

Khuna looked from Valerie to Kai. "Unless?"

"Unless it has already worn out but they've given her something that broke her mind. Some drugs do that... They have impacts that last way beyond the chemical ones." Kai looked at Valerie's eyes intensely. "It's hard to tell though. Amy, Khuna, can you bring her to her room. There is one more thing I want to talk about with you two."

Khuna and I both nodded, we guided her to the stairs and were glad to at least see her able to walk down on her own. She stopped as soon as she reached the bottom of the stairs, waiting for her next command. Command... That made me wonder.

"Valerie, open that door." I tried to sound firm and pointed to her room.

She didn't move. So it wasn't just obedience, just the absence of her own needs and wants. Khuna opened the door and I pushed Valerie in. I wanted to help her disrobe but hesitated when I realized she wasn't wearing anything underneath it, Khuna helped me by pulling it over her head. It needed to get done. I couldn't look, not in the bright light of the room. Not wanting to see her flawless pale skin or any forms expressed by it. I turned to the bed and pulled the sheets aside, holding them up. Khuna turned Valerie around and pushed her toward the bed. Valerie sat down neatly and let herself be pressed backwards to sleep. She laid down like a robot, no desires. I covered her with the sheets and nodded to Khuna.

As I left the room I heard Khuna kiss Valerie's forehead. "Sleep well."

We closed the door of her room behind us and went upstairs. Both of us curious what Kai had to say. Kai stood in the middle of the room, waiting for us, still holding the thick black book. He smiled to us both in kindness, but there was no humor in it, just friendship. He cleared his throat once and spoke.

"Lately, I've been getting stronger."