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He had stepped over the precipice. There was no going back. In his imagination, he could already feel the prick of needle-sharp fangs in his neck, a sharp prelude to eternal life.
The sound began. It was low and sad, like the rushing of an underground river. It took him several long seconds to recognize it as laughter.
“This is not life,” said the voice.
It said nothing more, and after a while the young man knew he was alone in the graveyard.
Apple blossom, peppermint, allspice, and yellow sandalwood speckled with grave loam and clods of grave dirt.
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Her skin was pale, and her eyes were dark, and her hair was dyed black. She went on a daytime talk show and proclaimed herself a vampire queen. She showed the cameras her dentally crafted fangs, and brought on ex-lovers who, in various stages of embarrassment, admitted that she had drawn their blood, and that she drank it.
“You can be seen in a mirror, though?” asked the talk show hostess.
She was the richest woman in America, and had got that way by bringing the freaks and the hurt and the lost out in front of her cameras and showing their pain to the world.
The studio audience laughed.
The woman seemed slightly affronted. “Yes. Contrary to what people may think, vampires can be seen in mirrors and on television cameras.”
“Well, that’s one thing you finally got right, honey,” said the hostess of the daytime talk show. But she put her hand over her microphone as she said it, and it was never broadcast.
White sandalwood, life everlasting, nicotiana, iris pallida, and juniper berry.
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After she was dead, she began to come to him in the night. He grew pale, and there were deep circles under his eyes. At first, they thought he was mourning her. And then, one night, he was gone.
It was hard for them to obtain permission to disinter her, but they got it. They hauled up the coffin and unscrewed the lid. Then they prized what they found out of the box. There was six inches of water in the bottom, the iron had colored it a deep, orangish red. There were two bodies in the coffin: hers, of course, and his. He was more decayed than she was.
Later, someone wondered aloud how both of them had fitted in a coffin built for one. Especially given her condition, he said; for she was very obviously very pregnant.
This caused some confusion, for she had not been noticeably pregnant when she was buried.
Still later they dug up her got one last time, at the request of the church authorities, who had heard rumors of what had been found in the grave. Her stomach was flat. The local doctor told them all that it had just been gas and bloating as the stomach swelled, The townsfolk nodded, almost as if they believed him.
Black Phoenix’s most disquieting scent: baby’s breath and upturned soil.
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This is my body, he said, two thousand years ago. This is my blood.
It was the only religion that delivered exactly what it promised: life eternal, for its adherents.
There are some of us alive today who remember him. And some of us claim that he was a messiah, and some think that he was just a man with very special powers. But that misses the point. Whatever he was, he changed the world.
Life everlasting: clove-smoke, benzoin, rose maroc, Jerusalem cedar, cistus, and frankincense.