Blood and Gold

Blood and Gold by Anne Rice Read Free Book Online

Book: Blood and Gold by Anne Rice Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anne Rice
Tags: Fiction
said Thorne, probing the mind, “have you killed men just for pushing you?”
    “I have,” said the other, his mouth in a cruel sneer. “I’ll kill you too, if you don’t get out of here.”
    “But let me give you my kiss,” said Thorne, and clutching this one by the shoulders he bent to sink his teeth as the others around him, totally unaware of the secret fangs, laughed at this intimate and puzzling gesture. He drew a rich draught. Then licked the place artfully.
    The hateful stranger was baffled and weakened, and tottered on his feet. His friends continued to laugh.
    Quickly Thorne made his way out of the place and into the snow, and there he found Marius waiting for him. The wind was stronger than before, but the snow itself had stopped falling.
    “The thirst is so strong now,” said Thorne. “When I slept in the ice, I kept it like a beast chained up, but now it rules me. Once begun, I can’t stop. I want more even now.”
    “Then more you’ll have. But kill you can’t. Not even in such a city as large as this. Come, follow me.”
    Thorne nodded. He had already killed. He looked at Marius, confessing this crime silently. Marius shrugged his shoulders. Then he put his arm around Thorne as they walked on.
    “We’ve many places to visit.”
    It was almost dawn when they returned to the house.
    Down into the wood-lined cellar they went, and there Marius showed Thorne to a chamber cut into the stone. The walls of it were cold, but a large sumptuous bed had been made inside the chamber, hung with brightly colored linen draperies, and heaped with intricately sewn covers. The mattress looked thick and so did the many pillows.
    It was startling to Thorne that there was no crypt, no true hiding place. Anyone could find him here. It seemed as simple as his cave in the North, but far more inviting, far more luxurious. He was so tired in all his limbs that he could scarce speak. Yet he was anxious.
    “Who is to disturb us here?” asked Marius. “Other blood drinkers go to their rest in this strange darkness just as we do. And there is no mortal who can enter here. But if you are afraid, I understand if we must seek some other shelter for you.”
    “Do you sleep in this way, unguarded?” Thorne asked.
    “Even more so, in the bedroom above, like a mortal man, sprawled on my mattress in the cabinet bed among my comforts. The only enemy who has ever harmed me was a swarm of blood drinkers. They came when I was fully awake and aware as must needs be. If you like, I shall tell you that awful story.”
    Marius’s face had gone dark, as though the mere mention of this disaster was evocative of terrible pain.
    And Thorne understood something suddenly. It was that Marius wanted to tell this story. Marius needed to speak in a long flow of words as much as Thorne needed to hear words. Marius and Thorne had come upon each other in the proper moment.
    But that would be tomorrow night. This night was ended.
    Marius drew himself up and went on with his reassurance.
    “The light won’t come as you know, and no one will trouble you here. Sleep and dream as you must. And we’ll talk on the morrow. Now let me take my leave. Daniel, my friend, is young. He falls on the floor by his little empire. I have to make him retire to a comfortable place, though I wonder sometimes if it matters.”
    “Will you tell me one thing before you go?” asked Thorne.
    “If I can,” said Marius gently, though suddenly he looked overwhelmingly hesitant. He looked as though he contained heavy secrets which he must tell and yet he feared to do it.
    “The blood drinker who walked on the seashore,” said Thorne, “looking at the pretty shells one by one, what became of her?”
    Marius was relieved. He gave Thorne a long look and then in careful words he answered.
    “They said that she gave herself up to the sun. She was not so old. They found her one evening in the moonlight. She’d drawn a great circle around herself of shells so they knew

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