To be touched by God's grace, and yet live on, is a precious agony.
Since I was in France anyway, I finally made time to visit the Devere's. The taxi dropped me off at a yellow-painted house with a stone arch around its door. I walked through the neat garden and rang the bell.
No answer for a while, but then a man in shirt-sleeves and half a jacket answered, and smiled at me, and spoke rapidly in French.
The poor bastard looked like me.
"Sorry," I said, "can you...?"
"You're English?" He shrugged fully into his jacket. "How far apart are the contractions?"
"No, it's not a baby."
His face fell. "It's very early if it's not a baby, Monsieur."
I glanced up at a sky grey with the promise of dawn. Perhaps it was. "I'm sorry, I didn't think about the time. I can come back later."
"Nonsense, I wouldn't hear of it." He stepped back into his house, and held the door open for me. "You don't mind if I ask who you are? You're familiar, but we've never met before." Perhaps he saw my ring when I offered my hand to shake, for he added, "Ohhhhh, c'est comme ça? Germain told us he'd spoken to you about our poor René. But I was expecting someone--"
"Human? You, of all people, should know we do not make a habit of openly identifying ourselves."
He pulled back, jacket unzipped. "What is this?" he demanded.
"Der Furher is in need of blood. And he insists on your presence." It pleased me to know Hitler had trusted me, of all the Vampirkorps, to carry out his mission.
He nodded. "One moment," he said. "How can I tell you are . . . secure?"
I smiled, letting him catch a glimpse of my vampirzahn. I understood his caution. With all the neoNazis, outcast teenagers, and Twilight fanatics wandering about, a vampir can't be too careful.
Opening: BuffySquirrel.....Continuation: Khazar-khum