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He went to the main
computer console. His fingers moved swiftly over the keys. The
computer could not keep up as he entered the code for his own
Seconds later, once the
operating system had been irrevocably contaminated, he walked
Behind him computers
started exploding like fireworks at a fanfare.
Wyn took the stairs up the
rest of the way to the 120th floor.
The door to the floor
opened for him automatically. It closed behind him the same
Then the doorway vanished
From Ms. Crystobal’s
report, Wyn knew that the 120th floor was large, but he had not
quite believed her. Now that he saw it with his own eyes, it was
indeed vaster than he could have ever imagined. He could not see
any walls or ceiling. He found himself standing in the middle of an
empty space. The room seemed to stretch on beyond the horizon into
The low-hanging ceiling was
a cluster of stars and nebulae and massive planets, each a
different size and color. There were so many that it seemed as if a
whole galaxy had been compacted together to frame a marvelous
skyscape. Wyn could have easily reached up and brushed his fingers
across the surface of an enchanting green planet with rings of
The floor was made of tiles
as large as his stride, each tile perfectly square, each black and
blank, and each made of a metal that Wyn did not
Between the tiles was a
golden light. Wyn could see no source for it.
His powerful Blood
Vivicanti eyes peered far into the distance. He could see a metal
coffin. It was far, far away. But he was close enough to the Origin
Blood. He knew that inside was the Red Man.
Wyn ran to the coffin as
fast as he could go. The run took him thirty minutes. It was a big
Ms. Crystobal spoke to him
through their telepathic link. She explained to him that he was now
on a duel-dimensional plane.
Breathable air is not a
reality in other dimensions,” she told him. “This room is a link
connecting one dimension to another.”
Wyn got to the coffin and
opened the lid.
Inside, Bach’s music was no
longer playing. Now it had moved on to the moving wall of music in
the first movement of
, otherwise known as
The Symphony of Sorrowful
The Red Man looked so
helpless and sad.
Wyn was tempted to weep.
But Vulcans like him do not weep, not because they can’t, they just
choose not to.
Bright light shone out from
the coffin. It would have blinded Wyn, but Ms. Crystobal had
prepared him. Together they had made the sunglasses that they were
wearing. It helped block out the light that Lowen had harnessed. It
was not a light from earth. It was the light of Khariton’s sun.
Lowen had channeled it into the Red Man’s coffin through a spectral
wormhole. He had magnified its power similar to a magnifying glass
harnessing the sun’s rays over an ant.
The Red Man was immobile
from the music. He was weakening from the light.
Wyn destroyed the speakers
with the thrusts of his fists.
The Red Man blinked and
looked at Lowen. He looked so tired and confused, like a sleeper
waking from a bad dream.
I’m sorry,” Wyn said. And
he meant it too. “It’s time to free you.”
The Red Man simply stared
at Wyn, too weak to move.
Wyn leaned down. He and the
Red Man angled their heads toward one another’s neck. Each one
lengthened his Probiscus. Each one pierced the other.
Together they drank one
another’s blood. Together they shared their Blood Memories.
Together they communicated.
For a Blood Vivicanti,
drinking down someone else’s Blood Memories can be like going to a
really good movie, only in this movie you’d not only lose track of
the time, but you’d also find yourself in a 3D
You would be surrounded and
swallowed by millions of sights and sounds and sensations that the
twin nets of your mind – the conscious and the subconscious – would
gather into a writhing mass of data.
Your intellect would say to
your feelings, “Hey these aren’t really your experiences, you
know,” while your feelings would say to your intellect, “Bugger
Wyn knew that the Red Man’s
experiences were not his own. But the power of Blood Memories
helped his intellectual side and his sensitive side come to an
Look: objectively, we Blood
Vivicanti know and understand that other people’s experiences are
not our own.
But, subjectively, we don’t
Quaffing down great gulps
of blood, Wyn now knew what the Red Man knew. He felt what he
And in the same vein (pun
intended), the Red Man had the best of Wyn’s memories and
understanding too. The Red Man could engineer an earthling
super-computer, he could develop a computer virus, he could make
more Blood Vivicanti if he wanted to. He could do many
He could even bake a Bundt
cake since it was the only thing Aemilia had taught Wyn to do in
The Red Man was surprised
to feel love for her. He had never felt love for anyone before. He
did not know he could love a human.
And I must confess, lately,
his love has been surprising me too. But then again I’m not quite
Blood does not make us
The Red Man was still very
weak, despite the blood he drank. He could barely move.
Yet also in spite of his
weakness, he gripped Wyn’s hand and held up his palm. Then with his
own fingernail he carved into Wyn’s flesh three letters.
He knew that Wyn’s injury
would heal almost instantly.
Wyn knew this too. So he
let the Red Man carve away into his flesh.
It was painful. But the
pain Wyn felt did not overpower his fascination.
He knew that the Red Man
had been called Silent on Khariton. And he knew that Silent was
trying to communicate with him now. So he eagerly watched the Red
Man carve one letter after another into his flesh.
The Red Man finished and
collapsed back into his coffin, utterly exhausted.
Wyn spelled out the three
letters carved into his palm.
R - U - N
Wyn heard movement behind
As the carved message on
his palm healed, he understood that the Red Man had wanted him to
But it was too
Wyn whirled around and came
face to face with Theo.
Only it was not Theo
anymore. It was Theo’s face, but not his expression. It was Theo’s
body, but not his body language. He was no longer graceful and
beautiful. In very subtle ways, Theo looked twisted and
Theo?” asked Wyn although
he already knew the answer.
Behind Theo stood more
Sleeper Devils than Wyn had ever seen. They seemed to fill the
whole room, as far as the Blood Vivicanti eye could see.
Theo was sneering at Wyn.
“Hello, my old friend.”
It was Theo’s voice, yet it
wasn’t his tone.
Theo?” Wyn asked again in
not home right now. But if you leave a message, he might
get back to
Wyn scowled. “Who are
Theo’s face brightened with
laughter. “I think you know.”
I can’t answer
Ah,” Theo’s face beamed,
“that I can answer. How is he gone? He is gone forever. His house
is under new management, as they say.”
Wyn grabbed Theo’s neck and
drew him close.
The Sleeper Devils started
to move behind Theo’s body, but Lowen, now fully in command of his
new host, held up the hand that had once cupped my head and had
drawn me close to his neck.
The Sleeper Devils waited
for Lowen’s command – a command that would come from Theo’s
Theo’s eyes now stared Wyn
in the face with a cocky smile.
You might have been able to
hurt me in another body,” Theo said in Lowen’s tone. “But I like
this one. I could fall from the top of my building and suffer
hardly a flesh wound.”
Lowen dropped his hand. The
Sleeper Devils understood the sign. They mobbed Wyn. There were too
many. They overwhelmed him. He could not fight them all.
Lowen casually turned back
to the Red Man in the coffin. The Red Man tried to crawl out, but
the music and the light had drained his energy entirely.
Lowen gently placed the Red
Man back inside. He fixed earbuds into the Red Man’s
Renaissance motets started
singing songs of existential lamentation and regret.
The Red Man once again
became paralyzed by the music.
He lay perfectly motionless
in the coffin.
Lowen closed the lid. “I
still need you, my brother.”
That whole time, I had been
And I have to admit: I did
look rather steampunk that night. Yes, I was wearing tight black
clothes for stealth. And I was wearing a black jacket, with the
collar folded over my neck and the jacket zipped up to my chin. And
over all that, Wyn had outfitted me with a few of his gadgets and
gizmos and whirlidoos.
In case Ms. Crystobal could
not contact me through her telepathic power, Wyn would call me on
one of his many marvelous devices.
At that time, I was sitting
in the largest eighteen-wheeler I could find.
Why, you might ask, was a
not-quite-five-foot-tall Blood Vivicanti sitting in a rig where you
might ordinarily find a Chewbacca of a man?
It was all a part of Wyn’s
It was also his plan for me
to pierce a professional truck driver, drink his blood, and let his
Blood Memories fill me with the knowhow for handling such a
Before that time, I had not
really wanted to drink much blood. I did not have the stomach for
Nell’s black blood had done
that to me.
Normally – if there is
anything normal about a race of Blood Vivicanti developed in a
laboratory – the blood that we drink fills us with out victim’s
Blood Memories. And those Blood Memories are the best part about
those other people.
I had abused my Blood
Vivicanti power when I chose not to drink the blood of someone with
great talent or artistry. Instead I drank the blood of an ordinary
family. And I almost drained them to the point of death, destroying
the thing that I loved about them, their ordinariness. They were
not special, not a family that history might remember. Yet what
made them special was the fact that they loved one another. And
that love made them extraordinary, at least in my mind, since I had
never experienced anything like that in my life.
Then I drank Nell’s Blood
Memories. And they filled me with the best qualities of her too –
which were perhaps the absolute worst torture anyone could go
through, a torture of the mind and the spirit.
Nell’s black blood nearly
destroyed me, pushing me off the cliff of my ego and letting me hit
the rock bottom of a bad behavior. Her blood instilled in me a
great desire to be sober.
Wyn practically had to
force me to drink the truck driver’s blood.
The taste of the blood
wasn’t bad. The association was horrible. Tasting it was like
tasting my mistakes.
But once the truck driver’s
Blood Memories settled inside me, they made me smile.
They also taught me how to
drive a semi-truck quite well. And my photographic memory would
never let me forget that talent.